SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  6-10.6.16, No. 626  
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Foreign Policy

China to host anti-corruption conference for OECD (SCMP)
2016-06-10
China says it will host a roundtable conference on anti-corruption efforts with the ­Organisation for Economic Co­operation and Development (OECD) later this year, and push for collaboration on the issue at the upcoming G20 summit. The pledge was made on Wednesday in a list of agreements ­between China and the United States after their annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue wrapped up in Beijing. While both hailed the annual meeting as making progress, business representatives said changes were needed to improve the system. The agreements listed by the two nations included joint efforts to push for an anti-graft action plan at the G20 summit to be held in September in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and to set up a related study centre. China reiterated it would soon join an anti-bribery working group with the OECD, and hold a roundtable conference on the subject in the second half of this year. Beijing is seeking Washington's assistance over the repatriation of Ling Wancheng, who went to the US after brother Ling Jihua, a former presidential aide to Hu Jintao, became caught up in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. The countries pledged to step up cooperation in areas ­including ensuring peace in ­Afghanistan and resolving differences in the Asia-Pacific region through peaceful means. But the list of agreements made no mention of the tensions in the disputed South China Sea – reflecting divisions over the issue. The two sides also agreed to incorporate exercises to improve the implementation of the Rules of Behaviour for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters. During a meeting with US ­Secretary of State John Kerry, ­Premier Li Keqiang said the countries' common interests far outweighed their differences and they should manage disagreements in a constructive manner. Chinese analysts say the ­annual talks filled the gap left by a lack of communication over ­security. “The two countries' communication over security issues has always lagged that of economic cooperation,” Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies of Peking University, said. James McGregor, of communications consultancy APCO Worldwide, said: “It was a chance for the American businesspeople to express opinions to the Chinese officials. “The American side expressed concerns about the narrowing opportunities for American ­businesses [in China]. “Chinese businessmen also said it was becoming harder for them to invest in America.” The US-China Business Council said in a statement: “In the next administration, the mechanisms for dialogue can be tweaked to make further improvements and become more effective, but high-level engagement is now ­mandatory in the US-China ­relationship.” ^ top ^

China, ASEAN nations vow to effectively implement DOC on South China Sea (Xinhua)
2016-06-09
Senior officials from China and the ASEAN nations vowed on Thursday to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on Conducts of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The 12th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC, co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Singapore's Permanent Secretary of Foreign Ministry Chee Wee Kiong, was held in Vietnam's northern Halong City. All parties vowed to continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC, deepen practical maritime cooperation and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. The officials discussed the proposal that foreign ministers of China and the ASEAN nations issue a joint statement on the full and effective implementation of the DOC, and agreed to strive to reach a consensus at an early date. On the consultations of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), the 11 parties promised to implement relevant early harvest measures as soon as possible and speed up the formulation of a guideline for the Hotline Platform among senior officials of ministries of foreign affairs between China and ASEAN nations in response to maritime emergencies. They also discussed the better use of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea. All parties reaffirmed their aspirations for an early conclusion of the COC on the basis of consensus, and vowed to boost maritime cooperation, enhance mutual trust, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea as well as prosperity and development in the region. ^ top ^

Pakistan lists strategic partnership with China as key foreign policy achievement (Xinhua)
2016-06-09
Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday that the most important achievement for the government in the past three years was "undoubtedly the path breaking transformation in Pakistan's strategic partnership with China." Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office in June 2013 after his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won the parliamentary elections. "The most visible manifestation of this transformation was the launch, in April 2015, of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) involving Chinese investment of 46 billion U.S. dollars in energy, infrastructure, communication projects and for developing the Gwadar Port (in Balochistan province)," Aziz told a news conference. He said the CPEC's implementation will lay a solid foundation for enhanced regional trade, integration, connectivity and industrial investment, adding that China has already become Pakistan's largest trading partner with two way trade at 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. He said Pakistan also succeeded in enhancing cooperation with Central Asian countries and three important projects with these nations have already been finalized, including CASA-1000, which would bring surplus electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and TAPI gas pipeline which would transmit natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. An Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is also being pursued. "Air links with Central Asia are being restored and new road links will emerge with the completion of CPEC," Aziz said. He said Pakistan's obtaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was another achievement in the past three years that is an important milestone for re-balancing Pakistan's place in the global arena. On Afghanistan, he said Pakistan has been making sincere efforts to deepen its engagement with Afghanistan and address post 9/11 mistrust, by facilitating reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The adviser referred to the creation of a new mechanism, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) during the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad in December 2015, describing it as a major step forward. As for India, Aziz said there was some positive progress in December 2015 to revive the dialogue process with India when he and the Indian external affairs minister agreed to resume the Comprehensive Dialogue on all issues in a meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad in December. […] Pakistan will be hosting a South Asian summit in Islamabad in November this year, he said, adding that connectivity agreements among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are under active consideration. SAARC groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. ^ top ^

China urges Philippines to immediately cease arbitral proceedings (Global Times)
2016-06-09
China on Wednesday again urged the Philippines to stop its arbitral proceedings and return to the right track of settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment at a routine press briefing. The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying that disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should be settled through bilateral negotiation. Hong said that by unilaterally initiating the arbitration in 2013, the Philippines had turned its back on the possibility of solving the issue through negotiation, leading to a dramatic deterioration of relations between China and the Philippines. China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling maritime disputes through bilateral negotiation in a number of bilateral documents, but the two countries have never engaged in any negotiation on the subject-matters of the arbitration, said Hong. By unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines has violated its agreement with China as well as its own solemn commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said. This is an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is against international law, including UNCLOS, he added. The door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open, he said. "China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law." "China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China," Hong said.  ^ top ^

China, EU to hold high-level strategic dialogue in Brussels (China Daily)
2016-06-08
China and the European Union (EU) will hold their sixth round of high-level strategic dialogue in Brussels on June 10, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday. State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-chair the dialogue with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini at the EU headquarters in Brussels. Yang will also meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, spokesperson Hong Lei told a regular press briefing. Yang and Mogherini will discuss the 18th China-EU leaders' meeting in Beijing scheduled for later this year, discuss global governance and international and regional hot issues, to boost communication and coordination between China and the European Union in international affairs, Hong noted. China is a comprehensive strategic partner of the European Union, Hong said. "China has always supported efforts by the EU to deal with inside and outside challenges, and extended hope that it would remain united, strong and prosperous." ^ top ^

China urges US to stop close surveillance over East China Sea (Global Times)
2016-06-09
China on Wednesday demanded that the United States refrain from flying reconnaissance aircraft over Chinese waters. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to a US claim on China's "unsafe" interception of an American aircraft over the East China Sea. "The United States that is deliberately stirring up the issue," said Hong. China's air fleet have always acted in a professional and responsible way and in line with law, said Hong. "The United States' frequent reconnaissance over Chinese waters, which severely undermines China's maritime and air safety, is the real source of danger," said Hong, urging the US side to stop its close surveillance of China. 'China has the right to take defensive measures, said the spokesperson. US Pacific Command said in a statement that two Chinese J-10 fighter jets carried out an "unsafe" intercept of an American RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the East China Sea. ^ top ^

Customers can bank on new services in Sansha (China Daily)
2016-06-09
ATM machines, VIP rooms, an air-conditioned waiting room. These are common features in all city banks but the bank on Yongxing Island, host of the country's southernmost city government of Sansha, is not a typical city bank. These modern-day trappings are not taken for granted. Luo Haiyun, 43, the Sansha branch chief of Chinese banking giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), told China Daily that the services provided on the island can now match those on offer anywhere. The various financial products are increasingly popular with the customers, many of whom are trying their hand at being entrepreneurs. "The financial products offered by our bank have been welcomed by the islanders for years. One of the most popular products - Xinjinyi 1 (which means "Profitable Wage 1" in Chinese) - accounts for 10 percent of the total deposits in our branch," Luo said. In the central part of Beijing Road, a major commercial hub on the island, stands the well-adorned ICBC branch, which is currently the only one that has been officially put into use. "Now, there is no difference between the services provided on the island and those by branches outside, as we have all the needed functions in place and operations have been fully networked," Luo said. The bank is now assisting fishermen's plans to shift to other businesses, such as restaurants and processing seafood, and the services include the installment of point-of-sale machines and loans. "In the past, they only sold seafood. Now they are capable of processing the seafood, and sales have surged," Luo said. Partly due to increased business and growing local demand, Beijing Road is also home to ATM machines or 24-hour automatic banking outposts of other banks. Close by will be the branch of another Chinese banking giant - the Bank of China, which is waiting to be officially inaugurated after approval for its operation was announced earlier this year. Unlike the crowded halls of a typical banking branch in more densely populated mainland cities, the ICBC Sansha branch is a picture of order and efficiency. Thanks to the small population and good public security climate, the branch does not even need a guard to maintain order. Of course, surveillance cameras are still working. The customers - often clerks and fishermen - sit in chairs to await their turn. It may be humid outside, but every corner in the hall is air-conditioned. But the outside world is encroaching. At the ATM a poster warns users against phone fraud. ^ top ^

What they agreed on... and what they left out at the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SCMP)
2016-06-08
China promised to submit a “negative list” for a US-China bilateral investment treaty next week. Washington welcomed Chinese investment in the United States and said it was ready to seize opportunities created by China's supply-side structural reform and increase investment. China will grant a 250 billion yuan (HK$300 billion) investment quota to US firms under the renminbi qualified foreign institutional investor scheme. STEEL INDUSTRY The US said China agreed to cut output, but Beijing cautioned that private companies had become key players and imposing orders on the industry was no longer feasible. NORTH KOREA Both sides agreed not to recognise North Korea as a nuclear state and pledged to exert joint efforts towards stopping any further provocations. They said they were determined to enforce sanctions against Pyongyang. FINANCIAL SECTOR China would take steps to open its financial sector wider to US companies. CURRENCY Beijing agreed there was no reason for a sustained weakening of its currency. It reaffirmed a commitment to not engage in competitive devaluations or target the exchange rate for competitive purposes. China committed to continue “market-oriented exchange rate reform that allows for two-way flexibility” of the yuan. Both sides agreed on a policy framework for the private sector to improve yuan trading in the US. CLIMATE They convened a joint session on climate change to promote the full roll-out of the Paris Agreement. DIFFERENCES South China Sea: Beijing said talks should only include the countries involved. But both sides would work on improving confidence measures, especially rules of behaviour for safety and maritime encounters Human rights: The US voiced concerns over China's crackdown on lawyers and religious freedom, and the impact of a new law on non-governmental organisations. Beijing said the law wouldn't make China less open. WHAT'S MISSING Observers expected the two nations to discuss Hong Kong, but neither side made any mention of the issue in their public remarks. ^ top ^

Beijing's hospital construction on South China Sea island to finish in June amid heightened tensions with neighbours (SCMP)
2016-06-07
China is carrying out construction, including the building of a hospital on one of its islands in the South China Sea, state media says, amid increased tensions with its Southeast Asian neighbours over the hotly contested waters. The building work on Fiery Cross Reef, or known as Yongshu Reef by the Chinese, in the Spratly Islands would be finished later in June and was expected to go into use quite soon, the state-owned news portal Xinhuanet.com reports. Wang Zhiguang, the party chief of the project at First Harbour Engineering Company, which is part of China Communications Construction Company, said the construction, which started in November, would cover a total area of 16,000 square metres. It had taken more than 500 engineers and construction workers less than three months to complete the project, he said. The report also quoted an unnamed official as saying that the hospital would be equipped with modern medical facilities, while mainland experts would be able to offer consultations via remote telecommunications for the diagnosis and treatment involving major operations or rare diseases. Other civilian facilities built on the reef include a farm that has raised 68 pigs, the report said. China has been speeding up the construction of facilities, including beacons and airstrips, on the reef and islets – most of which are artificial – which are territories that are disputed with nations in the region. Fiery Cross is also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. China completed the construction of three lighthouses on Cuarteron Reef, Johnson South Reef and Subi Reef last year, and two more are expected to be built on Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross Reef – both man-made islets, the report said. The lighthouse on the Mischief Reef, which will be more than 60 metres tall, will be the highest building on the Spratly Islands. It will be equipped with the Chinese-produced Beidou satellite navigation system, as well as powerful lamps that will be able to emit a white light at night that can reach distances of more than 20 nautical miles, the report quoted Xue Anqing, a deputy director of First Harbour, as saying. China says such civilian facilities, though partly for military purposes, will serve the public by providing meteorological information for rescue operations as well as helping fishermen to find their way home, although such moves have been widely seen as Beijing attempting to boost its claims of sovereignty in the resources-rich sea. China has claimed more than 80 per cent of the South China Sea – based on a so-called “nine-dash line”, drawn on a map in the 1940s, which was lodged informally with the United Nations in 2009. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to rule on the legality of the nine-dash line after the Philippines challenged China's South China Sea claims. The Philippines claims, in part, that no reefs, atolls or islets in the Spratly archipelago can legally be considered islands, and, therefore, cannot bestow rights to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. Manila wants the court to ­declare that Beijing's claims must comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which both the Philippines and China are parties. However, Beijing refused to participate in the case. China has repeatedly criticised the international court ruling – calling it an “orchestrated show” – and has said it will not accept the decision, which is likely to go against Beijing. The ruling could come later in June. ^ top ^

China, US to unveil new list of off-limits areas at bilateral investment pact talks next week (SCMP)
2016-06-07
China and the United States will next week exchange the latest lists of off-limits sectors as part their bilateral investment treaty talks, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on Monday. Wang made the announcement on the “negative lists” at the start of the economic track of the two-day China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing. Under a negative list system, investors are free to operate in any sector except for those on the list. It is widely believed that a substantial cut in the Chinese restrictions is key to sealing a deal in the marathon eight-year talks. US businesses had complained that China's previous version imposed too many restrictions on them entering Chinese markets. Beijing also delayed submitting revisions that had been scheduled for early April. “More time was needed to work on revising the negative list. The negotiation teams on both sides are communicating closely to make progress on the talks,” Deputy China International Trade Representative Zhang ­Xiangchen said on the sidelines of the dialogue. But Zhang did not shed light on whether a final agreement would be reached this year. This is the last round of the high-level talks during Barack Obama's presidency. If a deal promising greater market access were sealed, it would be one of the biggest political legacies of Obama's two terms. But it is unclear if it would be backed by the Republican-controlled US Congress. At the same time, China has embarked on talks for a similar investment pact with the European Union. They come as China is under greater attack over protectionism of domestic firms and home-grown technology. In a letter signed by nearly 30 foreign business associations and insurance groups, Chinese regulators were asked to delay the adoption of cybersecurity rules that require “secure and controllable” information technology and to allow for major revisions. Zhang said security reviews were a concern for both sides. “China hopes the US will treat Chinese enterprises equally during security reviews, and prevent reviews from being a barrier to the two countries' trade and investment,” he said. He said Chinese companies had created more than 90,000 full-time jobs in the United States for local residents. “We are willing to deepen communication and understanding with governments including the US, which will create a sound external investment environment for companies from both sides,” Zhang said. ^ top ^

FM rebuke of reporter gets support (Global Times)
2016-06-07
Most Chinese net users said they support the Chinese foreign minister's public rebuke of a Canadian journalist, stressing such diplomats are needed to denounce the Western countries' accusations against China. Wang Yi berated a reporter for her question on China's human rights record during his visit to Canada on Thursday. "I would like to suggest to you please don't ask questions in such an irresponsible manner. We welcome goodwill suggestions, but we reject groundless or unwarranted accusations," Wang said. "I have to say that your question is full of prejudice against China and arrogance … I don't know where that comes from. This is totally unacceptable," he noted. Some Western media outlets and politicians quickly weighed in as the incident made international headlines, calling Wang's remarks "rude and unacceptable." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed "dissatisfaction" with China, who said that "the fact of the matter is freedom of the press is extremely important to me," the Guardian reported on Friday. "Foreign media should also focus on Chinese netizens' reactions. Many Chinese netizens support the minister and despise some foreign media outlets, mainly because [we] have heard enough biased reports from them on China. They have been using reports that smear China's image to cater to Western readers' tastes and bias," netizen "Yang Chang M" said on Sina Weibo. Wang's reprimand has been trending online under the hashtag, "Wang Yi scolded a foreign reporter," which received more than 1.7 million page views as of press time. "China's diplomatic policies have been quite gentle and peaceful in the past few decades. Wang's stern remarks have satisfied some netizens' desire to defend the country, but surprised foreign media outlets which have already become used to China's mild diplomacy," said Jin Canrong, deputy director of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China. Western media should quit applying their standards on China, Liu Yuqin, former Chinese ambassador to Cuba and a research fellow at the China Foundation for International Studies, told the Global Times. Liu pointed out that the time when Western countries have the final say on international issues has passed, and China will further protect its interests. "As the country's foreign minister, once the country's honor and core interests are challenged, he is obliged to respond and clarify China's stand," Liu said, noting that Wang's remarks did not go against diplomatic protocol. ^ top ^

China ready to play greater role for Syria crisis: envoy (Xinhua)
2016-06-07
China's special envoy for the Syrian issue Xie Xiaoyan said on Monday that Beijing is ready play an even greater role in helping end the Syrian crisis. He made the remarks while attending a press conference at the headquarters of the Arab League (AL) following a meeting with Nabil al-Araby, the secretary general of AL. Xie said the Syrian crisis has now arrived at a very critical stage, while all concerned parties and the international community should work even harder toward a political solution, and take effective steps. "China believes that cease-fire must be implemented thoroughly and comprehensively," he said, adding that "urgent measures should be put in place to ensure that relief aid reach those affected." The Chinese envoy arrived in Cairo on Sunday. It is his first visit to Egypt since he landed on the job in March. Also on Monday, he held a meeting with senior Egyptian diplomats on the Syrian issue. ^ top ^

China to keep up overseas graft hunt down to last fugitive – even if ill-gotten gains are gone (SCMP)
2016-06-06
The Communist Party's corruption watchdog has vowed to ­track down and return fugitives from overseas, even if they have spent all their ill-gotten gains. In an article published by a website affiliated with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Monday, the anti-graft watchdog said President Xi Jinping, who is also party general secretary, was using meetings with foreign leaders to increase cooperation on repatriation of fugitives. “No matter if it's during formal visits or international conferences, General Secretary Xi Jinping will raise the issue about ­cooperation... to repatriate fugitives and retrieve their fortunes, whenever and wherever he comes across foreign state leaders,” it said. Extraditing fugitives and recovering illicit assets has become one of the commission's top jobs, especially since Xi came to power and his political ally Wang Qishan took the helm of the graft-busting agency in late 2012. As part of this push, China has signed repatriation deals with 39 countries. “[We] must send those fugitives back to the homeland before giving them severe penalties in accordance with party discipline and the country's laws, even if they have wiped out almost all the money they corruptly took,” the article said. “We must show these corrupt people that foreign countries are by no means a haven for the evasion of... responsibility... They will definitely be subject to investigation, which means fleeing the country is no longer a way out.” In another article in the Communist Party journal Qiushi, CCDI deputy head and Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian said more efforts would be made to sign extradition deals with more countries. Huang also said more routine checks on cadres and stricter implementation of rules about cadres' spouses and children moving overseas were needed. Beijing said earlier this year it was in talks with Washington over the repatriation of Ling Wancheng, who went to the US after his brother Ling Jihua, a one-time aide to former president Hu Jintao, became caught in Xi's anti-graft campaign. In an apparent show of its resolution to hunt fugitives, Beijing named former assistant minister of foreign affairs Liu Jianchao as the new director of the CCDI's International Cooperation ­Bureau in September. Liu said on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in March that since the start of the “Skynet” operation last year, more than 1,000 fugitives had been repatriated, including more than 240 public servants. Other media reported a total of 3 billion yuan (HK$3.5 billion) in illicit gains had been recovered. Along with the launch of the “Skynet 2016” operation, the agency vowed to keep up the hunt for fugitives, no matter where they hid or if there was only one still on the run. ^ top ^

Chinese admiral expects Singapore to guide Shangri-la Dialogue toward conflict resolution process (global Times)
2016-06-04
A high-ranking Chinese military official said here on Friday that he expects host country Singapore to properly guide the process of the ongoing Shangri-la Dialogue, making it conducive to conflict resolution and regional peace and stability. When meeting with Singapore's Minister of Defense Ng Eng Hen on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue, Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, said China attaches great importance to China-Singapore relations and hopes to deepen cooperation in all sectors including defense. Sun expressed the wishes that host Singapore would properly direct the dialogue progress, in an effort to decrease conflicts, boost cooperation and help stabilize regional security. The Singaporean defense chief, during his talk with Sun, hailed the Singapore-China relations as in a smooth development run, which sees fruitful cooperation in various sectors. He said Singapore takes an objective stance in international and regional cooperation, with no purpose to harm any side. He expressed the wishes for concerned parties to exchange views and enhance understanding on matters including the South China Sea issue at the dialogue. Sun, on the sidelines of the dialogue, met on Friday with defense ministers, military chiefs and high-ranking defense officials from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia and Brunei. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China grants 746,000 residence permits to unregistered citizens (Global Times)
2016-06-10
Chinese police provided about 746,000 unregistered citizens with household registration permits, a crucial document entitling them to social welfare, in the first five months of this year, according to the Ministry of Public Security. In China, various social benefits such as medical insurance and access to basic education are based on permits known as "hukou" and are supposed to be in line with long-term places of work and residence. The move to register unregistered citizens, which are estimated at 13 million, or 1 percent of the entire population, was announced in December. Between January and May, more than 1.09 million unregistered people were confirmed, the ministry said in a Wednesday statement. They include orphans and second children born illegally under the one-child policy, the homeless and those who have yet to apply for one or who have simply lost theirs. Parents who violated family planning policy often refrained from getting hukou for their children in order to avoid fines. The ministry also revealed that police across the country have confiscated three million duplicated hukou and more than 1.7 million IDs that have duplicated numbers. The ministry said last year that some of the duplications were honest mistakes from manual errors or separated police management systems in the past, but others were the result of police officers illegally using professional privilege to seek benefits for their connections. ^ top ^

China's propaganda chiefs rapped by government inspectors over 'weak' efforts to control the internet, media (SCMP)
2016-06-09
The Communist Party's propaganda department has been strongly criticised by anti-graft inspectors who say it has failed to take tough or effective action to promote ideology, control the media and the internet, and oversee universities and colleges. The criticism from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection came after inspectors launched a two-month review of the department in February. The government has stepped up controls of the media, the internet and ideological oversight of teaching at universities since President Xi Jinping took power more than three years ago. The president made highly publicised visits to state media outlets in February, stressing they must show absolute loyalty to the party. Dozens of rights lawyers, activists and petitioners have also been detained over the past year and the government has warned universities against using textbooks that “promote Western values”. The inspectors' feedback to the propaganda department was given at a conference at the end of their review. “[The propaganda department] lacks depth in its research into developing contemporary China's Marxism. “The effect of guiding art and literature to serve socialism and the people was not obvious enough and the news propaganda is not targeted and effective enough,” Wang Haichen, the leader of the inspection team, was quoted as saying on the commission's website. The department should make news propaganda more “appealing” to take the initiative in setting the agenda and refute “wrong trends of thought”. Meanwhile, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, China's press and entertainment regulator, was also blasted by inspectors for “not firmly keeping the correct direction for public opinion”, for weak guidance and influence in news propaganda, and for weak leadership in both traditional and new media. ^ top ^

Interview: Full play of state role believed key to China's success (Xinhua)
2016-06-09
The state role in enabling economic growth and increasing social benefits is among what the world can learn from China, Paolo Yu, South Center's head of administration and coordinator of the Global Governance for Development Program, told Xinhua in a recent interview. Speaking at the Geneva-based office of the intergovernmental organization, Yu noted that while experiencing domestic changes in a complex geopolitical context, China's efforts and achievements have long been underpinned by a solid stability at home. This is particularly relevant to developing and least-developed countries where the public sector is often the major employer and the principal source of income for people. "In a developing country, the role of the state is extremely important in shaping economic forces and the distribution of social wealth, as well as in ensuring a proper role to be played by the private sector in economic growth," Yu said. The strong capacity to implement government policies is also seen as one of the main factors behind China's success. In addition to consistent and long-term policies, such factors have facilitated economic and social progress in China over years, in a mode to be a possible inspiration to other developing countries. "China's mode may not necessarily work in another country, but similar strong points may be developed in state governance elsewhere," he noted. In his opinion, stability and policy efficiency have worked to bring China through challenges in the past, and will further help China weather through present time when an economic slowdown and structural changes are a major source of concern. In addition, the central, steady and effective leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has worked as an anchor and guarantee in China's rapid development, according to the expert. ^ top ^

China mulls regulating facilities for mentally ill offenders (China Daily)
2016-06-09
China is drafting a law that would allow the establishment of special psychiatric institutions under the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities, to take care of mentally ill offenders. The draft regulation, published by the State Council on Wednesday to solicit opinions from the public, says that facilities taking in psychiatric patients institutionalized by courts should be managed and supervised in the same way as other police detention centers. Under China's Criminal Law, offenders deemed not criminally responsible due to mental illness may be exempted from criminal penalties but should receive medical treatment supervised by his or her guardians. If necessary, the government will force them to be institutionalized. In practice, however, institutionalization is loosely enforced due to lack of facilities and detailed protocols. Mentally ill offenders are sometimes sent to normal psychiatric hospitals. Incidents of assaults committed by such patients, fatal in some cases, have been reported from time to time. The draft regulation clarifies the responsibilities and power of psychiatric detention facilities. The facilities are allowed to place patients under confinement or use constraints when they may harm themselves or other people, but it should be done for medical reasons rather than as a punishment, according to the draft. They are banned from forcing patients to work or conducting surgeries on them. If the regulation enters law, patients will be reviewed within 30 days after the first-year term at the facilities and reviewed again every six months. If they are considered stable and harmless, the facilities will apply to the court for releasing or transferring them. If a patient dies during detention, the court and police should be informed along with the patient's guardians. Police will investigate the cause of death, and the guardians and families can go to prosecutors if they disagree with the investigation outcome. ^ top ^

Prosecutors meet family's lawyer in Lei Yang case (SCMP)
2016-06-08
Prosecutors from the Beijing People's Procuratorate met the lawyer hired by the family of Lei Yang, a Beijing resident who died in custody last month and police officers involved in the high-profile case today, the procuratorate said. The procuratorate said in a statement on Wednesday that prosecutors solicited opinions from the lawyer on handling the case and accepted the documents provided. It said it would carefully study the documents and ensure the investigation follows the law and regulations. The procuratorate also notified the police officers that they have been put under investigation, the statement said. Lei, 29, died on May 7 about an hour after he was detained on suspicion of soliciting prostitution. His family demanded an investigation to assess if he had been attacked by police. Beijing People's Procuratorate announced earlier this month that five police officers involved in the case have been put under investigation. ^ top ^

New Communist Party rules to test cadres' political loyalty … and they'll be punished if they fail (SCMP)
2016-06-08
The Communist Party will create a set of rules to penalise cadres who fail to meet standards for political loyalty, according to the party's top anti-graft chief. Wang Qishan, head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said the regulations would be an important “institutionalised cage” to rule the party strictly, according to a statement posted on the CCDI's website on Tuesday. The decision to draft the rules was meant to send “a strong signal” to unify thought in the party, he added. The red badge of loyalty: Communist Party urges members to wear pins in unity drive (Wang's comments come three weeks after Ling Jihua, a one-time top aide to former president Hu Jintao, was officially charged. State media reported in mid-May that Ling would have to answer to charges of corruption, obtaining state secrets illegally and abuse of power. “[We] must hold people accountable to force implementation, and transform rule over the party from 'lax and soft' to 'tight and rigid',” he said. The comments were made during meetings in Beijing and Liaoning province to discuss the regulations, the statement said. The rules aimed to address the clear failure of “pressure” from the top not being transmitted down the party ranks, Wang said. There was no reference to corruption being discussed in the meetings. Institutionalising the fight against corruption has been on the party's agenda since 2013, when President Xi Jinping called for “putting power in the cage of institutions”, but details of the new rules were not made public until January, during an annual meeting of the CCDI. Back then, Wang said the party would seek to draft a set of regulations on accountability of its cadres. Wang chaired the meeting in Liaoning, where the former party boss Wang Min was detained for alleged corruption this year. Some Liaoning cadres also “unscrupulously formed their own clans”, according to a statement delivered by top discipline inspectors last week. The central government issued a set of “accountability regulations” in 2009, but these rules only punish dereliction of duty that leads to serious consequences such as a massive protest or a major loss of assets. ^ top ^

'No harm intended' but Chinese court told to apologise to lawyer whose clothes were ripped off (SCMP)
2016-06-08
The government of Nanning, Guangxi, denied on Tuesday that court police physically assaulted a lawyer but still ordered the court to apologise and pay compensation. Lawyer Wu Liangshu walked out of a Qingxiu district court half-naked on Friday claiming he was beaten by three court policemen in the presence of two judges and one other official after his request to file a case was rejected. The clash broke out when Wu refused to hand over his mobile phone to the officers who suspected him of using it to record a conversation with court officials in its petition office. Photos posted online showed Wu outside the court with injuries to his hands, his shirt unbuttoned and half of his trousers ripped away revealing his underpants. Over the weekend, about 1,000 mainland lawyers signed a petition condemning Wu's attack, calling it a “barbaric and violent abuse of power”. Caixin quoted All China Lawyers Association chairman Wang Junfeng as saying the incident was “regrettable” and he would get to the bottom of the case. “If Wu was really assaulted by court police while filing a court case, the association will petition for his rights according to the law,” Wang said. Within hours of the Caixin report being published, the Nanning government released the findings of its own preliminary investigation, concluding that Wu was “not subjected to intentional physical assault”. “Within one minute, court policemen took Wu's cell phone by force which resulted in his pants being ripped. It involved restraining him from the back, closing the door, forcing him to the ground and stamping him on the chest,” the city authorities said. “The purpose was to check whether his phone contained unauthorised video or voice recordings. All of the restraining measures ceased when court policemen got hold of his phone... There was no intentional harm or physical assault.” It said the Qingxiu court had the right to delete all unauthorised recordings but court policemen carried out the phone inspection without any evidence that Wu had made one. “This exceeded the power of law enforcement and was an abuse of restraining measures,” the statement said. It said the court should apologise to Wu, cover his losses and accept his request to file a case according to the law. ^ top ^

China releases wives and defenders of detained lawyers in Tianjin (SCMP)
2016-06-08
Tianjin authorities released on Tuesday eight protesters detained after they mounted a peaceful demonstration on Monday in support of four lawyers held since an unprecedented crackdown on rights advocates and activists last year. The eight – three wives, a volunteer and four legal representatives of detained lawyers Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang, Ge Ping and Zhai Yanmin – had protested outside the office of the second division of the Tianjin Municipal Procuratorate and the Tianjin Second Intermediate People's Court. They held up red buckets with messages of support but were summoned by police shortly after the protest began. They were all released by lunchtime on Tuesday. More than 290 lawyers and their legal assistants were taken away in a sweeping crackdown on rights lawyers and activists in July. In a joint statement on Monday, the advocates for the lawyers detained last year said: “It's been 11 months and we are here demanding a meeting with our clients but there is no sign of Tianjin police handling the cases according to the rule of law.” “Our rights as defence lawyers have been violently stolen,” it said. Wang Quanxiu, the sister of Wang Quanzhang who was charged with subversion of state power, criticised police for taking away the peaceful demonstrators on Monday. “Taking away anyone as you please – is there any law left in this nation?” she said. ^ top ^

Rules aim to stamp out soil pollution amid scandals (China Daily)
2016-06-08
China is putting stricter rules in place around soil pollution to make sure polluting companies are prevented from creating toxic environments for residential communities, schools and hospitals, ensuring only good quality land is used for building projects. The move was necessary to combat soil pollution, and especially to control the deterioration of land inside and nearby polluting plants, according to a statement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. A joint survey conducted by the ministries of environmental protection and of land and resources in 2014 showed 36.3 percent of surveyed samples were polluted - with 34.9 percent of samples from former industrial zones and 29.4 percent of samples from industrial zones being found to be contaminated. Several public health issues related to soil pollution have emerged recently, drawing attention to the need to avoid using polluted land for building projects. Among the recent scandals, blood samples taken from hundreds of students at Changzhou Foreign Language School during April showed abnormal readings after the children moved to the school's new campus, which was built on land that had been used by chemical factories. In response, the Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, which the State Council released on May 31, established standards covering the whole process - from quality assessments to repairing damaged land. Starting in 2017, land used by major soil-polluting industries will need to be assessed before it can be passed fit for use for residential buildings or new schools and hospitals. It will no longer be possible to transfer ownership of polluted land and polluting companies owning such land will not be allowed to build on it. Major industries with poor records related to soil pollution include those involved with nonferrous metals, oil exploration and petroleum processing, the chemical industry, coking, electroplating and leather processing, the statement added. Lin Yusuo, head of soil pollution control at Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences Institute, said it is not an easy task to repair polluted land but tougher controls on the sources of pollution and the ability to learn from advanced technologies developed overseas coupled with steady effort will ensure the goals are reached. ^ top ^

Big cities show more tolerance toward LGBT cultures (China Daily)
2016-06-08
China's first-tier cities are becoming more tolerant toward diverse sexual orientation, experts and business leaders said during a job fair in Shanghai for people identifying as LGBT. The Annual China LGBT Talent Job Fair late last month was the second of its kind to be held in China. It was hosted by the nonprofit business network WorkForLGBT that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The fair attracted 34 companies-double last year's number-and about 500 job seekers. Major multinationals, including Starbucks, L'Oreal, PwC, Ford, 3M and Morgan Stanley took part, in addition to a handful of Chinese brands that included Blued, China's largest gay social networking app, and Didi Chuxing, the country's biggest car-on-demand service provider. "All 34 companies that registered for our job fair this year pledged their support for inclusive policies for LGBT employees, including prohibiting LGBT workplace discrimination", said Steven Bielinski, the founder of WorkForLGBT. "This is an enormous step forward for the business community in China as they increasingly realize the importance of LGBT talent." China is thought to have between 40 and 70 million LGBT people. The number is based on estimates generated from overseas surveys that suggest the LGBT population is usually around 3 to 5 percent of the total population. Official figures about the size of the LGBT population are not available, and some experts say being openly gay in the workplace is still something the majority of LGBT employees in China can only dream of. Bielinski said companies wanting to remain competitive in China need forward thinking and innovative HR programs and policies supporting the LGBT community. These include nondiscriminating workplace policies, diversity and inclusion training programs that create a welcoming environment, as well as employee networks that allow LGBT employees an organizational voice. Geng Le, CEO of Blued, told China Daily that China has made progress and become more inclusive in recent years. He said the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as well as overseas companies, technological firms and the fashion industry were all very tolerant of LGBT culture. But he said discrimination still exists within many native companies in traditional sectors. "In terms of working capabilities, LGBT people are no different from straight people," he added. Geng was also one of the bosses looking for employees on a reality TV show for job seekers broadcast by Tianjin Satellite TV. He said his participation in the TV show as an entrepreneur with a company that specializes in the same-sex sector shows how traditional TV has changed in the way it deals with the LGBT community. Jobseekers at the LGBT job fair were pleased to attend. "I was worried about whether there would be any discrimination from employers and whether people from outside the LGBT community would attend," said Li Liang, 38, an IT operator. "But when I arrived, those concerns disappeared quickly." Li also said that, as a gay man, the biggest problem he has in the workplace is concealing his sexual orientation and feeling isolated. "I can't reveal my orientation to my colleagues," he said. The topics of marriage and girlfriends make him nervous, and he has pretended to be in heterosexual relationships that do not exist. Li Na, 28, delivered two resumes at the job fair and was seeking a position as an accounting specialist. "I was surprised and very happy to learn there was a job fair specially for the LGBT group. I told myself that I must be there," she said. ^ top ^

Villagers petition govt to find hepatitis C outbreak source (Global Times)
2016-06-07
Dozens of villagers with hepatitis C in Taoyuan county, Central China's Hunan Province on Monday urged the local government to identify the source of the virus, as patients sought relief from overwhelming discrimination. A total of 76 villagers in Shibanping village in Taoyuan's Qihe township were found to be infected with hepatitis C in April, thecover.cn, a news website affiliated with Sichuan Daily, reported Monday. As of Saturday, 50 patients diagnosed with hepatitis C in Qihe had been discharged from the hospital, according to a press release issued by the Health and Family Planning Bureau of Taoyuan county on Monday. Locals suspected that they had been infected with the virus at a public clinic operated by local doctor Li Shengzhai, as almost all the infected villagers had received injections at Li's clinic within the past six months, said thecover.cn. Li denied often reusing disposable needles, though he admitted he often prepared only two or three needles for use each day. In its press release, the county health bureau said there was no direct evidence that the infections were caused by Li's reuse of disposable needles. A petition signed by several villagers on Monday demanded that the local government identify the source of the virus and provide affected patients with lifelong free treatment. Citing a provincial panel's opinion, the bureau said some patients had been infected decades ago. Statistics showed that the infection rate from intravenous infusion in the village's clinic is not significantly different from that of other medical institutions, the press release stated. Many villagers said that in addition to physical suffering, they were also overwhelmed by discrimination. Villager Chen Mei was quoted by thecover.cn as saying that nearby residents declined to buy vegetables and fruit grown in the village. Other villagers even considered asking relatives living outside the village to help raise their children, fearing that they might otherwise have difficulty finding marriage partners in the future. China reported 200,000 cases of hepatitis C in 2015, including 95 fatal cases, according to figures released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the Xinhua News Agency reported. According to the World Health Organization, the disease can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. ^ top ^

Hundreds of Chinese lawyers condemn police attack after attorney has clothes ripped off in court (SCMP)
2016-06-07
About 1,000 lawyers in China have signed a statement condemning an attack on a lawyer who says he was assaulted in a courtroom by police officers. The lawyer, Wu Liangshu, says he was beaten by three court policemen in the presence of two judges and one other official on Friday after his request to file a case in a district court in Nanning, Guangxi, was rejected. The clash broke out when Wu refused to hand over his mobile phone for inspection by Qingxiu district court police. Wu had used the phone to record a conversation with court officials in its petition office. “The refusal to establish a court case and the violent assault and search of a lawyer seriously damage the rights of attorneys. If even a professional lawyer is treated with barbaric and violent means, just imagine how they deal with civilians,” said the lawyers' statement, posted online on Sunday evening. “The act of the court takes the nation's justice system as a joke and this is not the first time lawyers have been assaulted but we will not give up this time and we will press ahead,” it said. Wu was photographed leaving the court with his shirt torn open and half of his trousers ripped away revealing his underpants, Caixin reported. It said that Wu had red marks on his chest and multiple injuries to his fingers, and he claimed a court police officer had stamped on him. The lawyers said that without legal paperwork such as a search warrant, court policemen did not have the power to demand the attorney hand over his phone for inspection. “We are of the view that this is a classic case of abuse of power. Searching people in whatever way they please is an illegal act punishable by law,” the lawyers' statement said. They urged the court to immediately release surveillance camera footage of the incident to the public. They also called on the court policemen to turn themselves for aggravated bodily harm and for the upper level courts in Guangxi to review the case the district court had refused to establish. There was no law prohibiting anyone from recording sound or footage in a court's petition office, the lawyers' statement said. “The law only prohibits recording during a hearing inside a court room. It does not apply to other court areas such as its main hall and petition office,” it said. The Qingxiu district court said it was investigating the incident, which had resulted from “Wu refusing to hand over his cell phone that was used to record a conversation with court officials.” It said Wu had kept the phone inside the pocket of his trousers and that “court policemen offered Wu a new pair but he refused”. Nanning city lawyers association is also investigating the incident. Meanwhile, Thepaper.cn reported that a county police station in Hunan province's Yiyang city had placed two suspects under criminal detention for assaulting a lawyer representing the opposite side during a civil contract hearing. ^ top ^

Supreme procuratorate releases case studies to act as guide (China Daily)
2016-06-06
China's top procuratorate released four case studies on Monday to highlight the importance of supervision when implementing laws or following legal procedures. Topics touched upon in the release included the accurate application of criminal law, reviewing evidence and the dismissal of evidence gathered illegally, according to a statement from the Supreme People's Procuratorate. One of the case studies concerned Ma Le, a former fund manager at Bosera Funds, who was given a three-year prison sentence for insider trading in December last year in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. An alternative sentence of five years probation was rejected because the top prosecutor protested that it was not in line with criminal law, the statement said. Another two cases involved Chen Man and Yu Yingsheng, two defendants who were acquitted due to insufficient evidence or unclear facts. The pair had been wrongfully detained because their guilt had not been proven, the statement said, adding that prosecutors played a role in supervising whether the judgments were right in the two incidents. The last case released on Monday concerned Wang Yulei, who had all charges against him dropped after prosecutors dismissed evidence that had been gathered illegally, the statement said, describing this as an example of prioritizing the protection of human rights. An official of the top prosecuting body, whose name was not released in the statement, said that all four case studies would be useful in guiding the work of grassroots prosecutors, urging them to avoid wrongful prosecutions and improve their judicial supervision. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan demonstrators held after protests against mining at 'sacred mountain' in western China (SCMP)
2016-06-08
At least seven ethnic-Tibetan protesters were detained in western China after hundreds of villagers staged five days of protests against mining on their sacred mountain, according to a source familiar with the matter. The protests in Amchock township in Xiahe county in a Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Gansu province started on Tuesday last week, the source said. A local government statement confirmed the protests had occurred and that some demonstrators were held. Chinese province orders crackdown on portraits of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (Photographs taken by local villagers show protesters holding banners with Tibetan slogans in the mountainous area, plus gathering at a mine site, marching down a town street and sitting outside the local government building. A large number of policemen, including paramilitary police, were deployed to contain protesters. Seven were seized, among whom two were beaten by the police during arrest and suffered relatively serious injuries, according to the source. All seven protesters had been released by Wednesday morning and the demonstrators have dispersed, but a heavy police presence remained in the town, the source said. The sacred mountain, known as “A Myes Gong Sngon,” is the highest peak in the township, worshipped by eight local tribes. The villagers allege that some local gold miners have been operating on the mountain illegally under the blind eye of the local government, severely damaging the environment and creating conflict with local residents. Villagers have petitioned many times calling for the authorities to stop the mining, but to no avail. A notice issued by the local government on Friday and circulated on the internet blamed the protests on a few ill-intended individuals who have “colluded” with “overseas anti-China forces”. “A few people with an evil agenda have planned and organised some members of the masses who are unaware of the truth in the name of protecting the sacred mountain and the environment,” the notice said. “[They] illegally gathered about a hundred people to disturb the regular production of the Nahedi gold mine many times and collided with overseas anti-China forces to distort the truth and create much hype, causing a baneful influence and serious consequences,” it said. The police had arrested the main organisers of the protest, it noted, warning villagers to stay away from a temple where some protesters gathered on Friday. An employee at the Xiahe county government who picked up the phone on Wednesday morning referred the South China Morning Post to the government's publicity department for comments. Repeated calls to the department went unanswered. Amchock is a township of over 25,000 people about 80km south of the town centre of Xiahe, a popular tourist destination known for its historic culture, temples and scenery on the northeastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. More than 80 per cent of residents in Xiahe county are ethnic Tibetans. ^ top ^

Tibetan students get Gaokao bonus (Global Times)
2016-06-08
A total of 3,880 Tibetan students - 1,279 of whom are from border counties and towns - will be awarded extra points on their national college entrance examination, commonly known as the gaokao, Tibet Financial Daily reported Monday. "A large number of the students are from ethnic minority groups, including the Tibetan, Monba and Lhoba [groups]," an official from the Tibet Education Examinations Authority told the Global Times on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity. "The merit point system for ethnic minorities was established decades ago, which has produced a good effect, as it helped to cultivate talents from ethnic minorities and ensured the fairness of education," Lao Kaisheng, a professor of education at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times. But Lao added that as times have changed, the value of the policy has become more and more questionable, as the gaps in education between the Han and ethnic minority groups in some regions has narrowed. He added that the preferential policy may lead to inequality in education and reverse discrimination against the Han group. Given the large number of Chinese students competing in the gaokao, several extra points could make a difference between getting into a high-level university instead of a mid-level institution. As a result, many Han Chinese often complain that policies favoring ethnic minorities constitute "unfair competition." According to a survey conducted by the China Youth Daily in 2014, more than 64 percent of 46,659 respondents believed that the "extra points" system, like the US' "affirmative action" policy, had harmed the interests of the majority of students. Such concerns have led to reforms of the merit point system in some regions. East China's Shandong Province, for example, will cancel merit point awards for minority groups starting in 2017, local newspaper Qilu Evening News reported Monday. Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Educational Sciences, previously told the Global Times that ethnic minority students should not be awarded the merit points if they have the same access to education as the Han people. "Only if they are living in underdeveloped regions and Putonghua is not their commonly used language should ethnic minority groups get some extra credit," Chu said. According to a college admission policy implemented in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2015, minority students who take the Putonghua exam intended for Han students are entitled to 50 extra points if either of their parents is from one of 11 ethnic groups, including Uyghur, Kazak and Mongol groups. But the policy only applies to students from the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang - Hotan, Kashgar, Aksu and Kizilsu Kirgiz. "The merit point system should be maintained in some remote regions to compensate for their poor education conditions, but in some big cities, the removal of such policies should be considered by the government to ensure the fairness of exams," Lao said. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China opens Horgos railway port in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2016-06-08
The railway port of Horgos in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which borders Kazakhstan, was officially opened Tuesday, local authorities said Wednesday. With financial backing of 1.9 billion yuan (289 million U.S. dollars), the first stage of construction on the 90,000-square-meter port station has been completed, said Bai Yongfeng, director of the port station. Horgos railway port began a restricted-operating period in 2012, now that it is fully open, the port expects a surge in cargo flow. From December 2012, when a cross-border railway between China and Kazakhstan via Horgos opened, until April 2016, the import and export trade volume via the railway port of Horgos totaled 4 billion U.S. dollars. A passenger train route from Horgos to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, had transported 200,000 passengers as of May 2016 since it opened at the end of 2013. The increased cargo and passenger flow through Horgos will play a positive role in trade relations between China and Central Asia, West Asia, and Europe, according to Bai. ^ top ^

DNA samples required for travel papers as border area in China's Xinjiang tightens immigration procedures for Ramadan (SCMP)
2016-06-07
People living in a border prefecture in Xinjiang must now give DNA samples when applying for travel documents. The regulations were put in force before the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started on Monday and was marked by the government's customary ban on fasting by civil servants, students and children. Residents in the Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture who wanted to apply for any type of immigration documents had to go to the police station nearest their registered homes to have their DNA samples, fingerprints, voiceprints and a three-dimensional image collected, the prefectural Communist Party committee newspaper Yili Daily said. The new policy applies to ­applications for passports, two-way permits to Hong Kong and Macau, entry permits to Taiwan, and renewals of these permits. Applicants who failed to provide all the biological identification ­information would have their applications refused, the report said. The prefecture of Yili, bordering Kazakhstan, is an ethnically diverse area of 2.5 million people, including Kazakhs, Uygurs and Mongolians. Some 64.7 per cent of residents are ethnic minorities and the rest Han Chinese. China's Xinjiang region to draft laws to combat religious extremism amid series of violent attacks blamed on Islamic militants( The policy comes amid efforts to combat a surge in violence in Xinjiang blamed by the authorities on Islamist separatists allegedly linked to jihadist militant groups including Islamic State. Uygur rights groups say government restrictions on Islam have added to ethnic tensions in the region, where hundreds have died in attacks in recent years. The government said in a white paper last week that freedom of religion in the region was “unparalleled” compared to any other period in Xinjiang's history. The Communist Party is officially atheist and for years has banned government employees and minors from fasting in ­Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million, mostly Muslim, Uygurs. Several local government ­departments in Xinjiang have posted notices on their websites in the past week ordering restrictions on fasting during Ramadan. “Party members, cadres, civil servants, students and minors must not fast for Ramadan and must not take part in religious activities,” a notice on the government website of central Xinjiang's Korla city said. “During the month of Ramadan, food and drink businesses must not close,” it added. Yili Daily said the number of applications for travel documents in Yili had “skyrocketed” in the past year, from 20,000 in 2014 to 100,000 in 2015, after the authorities “twice simplified application requirements”. More than 200,000 travel documents were expected to be issued this year, the report said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong government accused of interfering in Legco polls after think tank quizzes electors (SCMP)
2016-06-08
Pan-democrats have accused the government of trying to interfere with the Legislative Council elections after a media exposé of an internal government poll that asked people about their voting preference in relation to a candidate's stance over Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's seeking another term. They demanded a full explanation by the Central Policy Unit, the government think tank that conducted the opinion poll last week. According to poll results leaked to the media on Tuesday, 56.8 per cent of the 568 voters questioned said whether a candidate would support Leung to serve another term would be an important factor when they considered if they should vote for that person. That compared with the 24.3 per cent who said the candidate's stance over Leung was “not very important”, and 14.7 per cent who said it was “not important at all”. The question did not ask respondents whether the impact would be negative or positive. Further analysis showed that younger voters and those with higher education levels regarded it as an important factor. Some 34 per cent of those aged 18 to 39, and 36.4 per cent of those with tertiary education, said whether a candidate would support Leung for a second term was an “very important” factor in voting for or against him or her. This compared with 17.1 per cent for those aged 61 or above and 15.3 per cent for those with primary education or lower. The poll, entitled “Public Opinion Poll on the 2016 Legislative Council elections (First Round)”, was conducted from May 27 to June 1. Information technology lawmaker Charles Mok said: “It seems to hint that Leung wants to seek another term. He can use the poll findings to plan his own election campaign.” A spokesman for the unit said: “The Central Policy Unit collects through different channels public views on various political, economic and social issues, as well as matters of concern to the public in respect of government policy and people's livelihood, for the government's internal reference.” The Chief Executive's Office declined to comment. Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok said it was not unfair for the government to gauge public views on voters' preferences. “How the government will make use of the findings is the question. The CPU should explain it and make the poll results public,” he said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan seeks stronger support from US to counter pressure from Beijing (SCMP)
2016-06-07
Taiwan is seeking further support from the United States in a bid to counter pressure from Beijing. Analysts said the move was inevitable given the refusal by ­Taipei's new government to acknowledge the “1992 consensus”, which the mainland insists upon if talks and exchanges between the two are to continue. But they warned that, while the US considered Taiwan as a part of its overall strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, Washington had always treated its relationship with Beijing as more important than its relationship with Taipei. Too heavy a reliance by Taiwan on the US would result only in Washington demanding more from the island, they said. Meeting visiting US Senator John McCain on Sunday, the island's leader Tsai Ing-wen pledged to seek further cooperation with the US on security, trade and investment, and international participation. “I hope you can continue to voice support for Taiwan... so that our relationship can become even better,” Tsai said. She asked McCain, who heads the US Senate Armed Services Committee, to help facilitate US weapon sales to Taiwan to boost the island's defence. She also sought US congressional support for the island's bid to join the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. In response, McCain suggested Taiwan increase its defence budget to 3 per cent of its gross ­domestic product. Local media said McCain's visit, the first by a Senate Armed Services Committee chairman to Taiwan in 24 years, represented US support for Tsai, who has sought to increase trust with Washington since declaring her presidential bid last year. Beijing has demanded Tsai adhere to the “1992 consensus” or face suspension of cross-strait interactions. The consensus refers to an understanding in 1992 that for the two sides to continue to talk, they agree there is only one China, though each can have its own interpretation of what that China stands for. Tsai, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, has declined to acknowledge the consensus. Alexander Wang Chieh-cheng, professor of American and strategic studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, said the Tsai government hoped to deepen economic and military ties with the US to cope with the pressure from Beijing. “But the new government needs to take into account that Washington always treats US-China relations as above US-Taiwan relations, and that the more Taiwan relies on the US, the more demands the US will make on Taiwan,” Wang said. He said there had been divisions in the US over free-trade issues, and the Tsai government should not rely solely on Washington for its bid to join the TPP. ^ top ^

Taipei won't recognise Beijing's South China Sea air defence zone, says Taiwanese defence minister (SCMP)
2016-06-06
Taiwan's new defence minister said on Monday that it would not recognise any air defence zone declared by Beijing over the South China Sea, as the island's top security agency warned such a move could usher in a wave of regional tension. United States officials have expressed concern that an international court ruling – expected in the coming weeks – involving a case brought by the Philippines against Beijing over its South China Sea claims could prompt China to declare an air defence identification zone (ADIZ), as it did over the East China Sea in 2013. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion in shipbourne trade passes every year. “We will not recognise any ADIZ by China,” Taiwanese Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said in a parliamentary session on Monday. The comments come after Taiwan's new government, led by Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning ruling party, was sworn into power last month. Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party overturned eight years of Beijing-friendly Kuomintang rule on the island. The mainland drew condemnation from Japan and the US when it imposed its ADIZ, in which aircraft are supposed to identify themselves to Beijing authorities, above the East China Sea. Beijing has neither confirmed nor denied it plans such a zone for the South China Sea, saying that a decision would be based on the threat level and that it had every right to set one up. “In the future, we don't rule out [mainland] China designating an ADIZ. If China is on track to announce this, it could usher in a new wave of tension in the region,” Taiwan's National Security Bureau said in a report presented to parliament. US Secretary of State John ­Kerry said on Sunday the United States would consider any Chinese establishment of an air ­defence zone over the South China Sea “provocative and ­destabilising”. Speaking at the start of a high-level strategic dialogue in Beijing yesterday, Kerry said he would make it clear the US was looking for a peaceful resolution to the disputes. “The only position we've taken is, let's not resolve this by unilateral action, let's resolve this through rule of law, through diplomacy, through negotiation, and we urge all nations to find a diplomatic ­solution rooted in international standards and rule of law,” he said. Beijing's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, said Beijing “resolutely makes its own contribution to peace, stability and development”. China has been angered by what it views as provocative US military patrols close to islands Beijing controls in the South China Sea. The US says the patrols are to protect freedom of navigation. Taiwan's defence ministry said in its own report it would strengthen its defences on Pratas Island, in the north of the South China Sea, and on Itu Aba in the Spratly Islands. Feng told lawmakers Taiwan would send additional ammunition to Itu Aba for its anti-aircraft guns in the next month. The move is largely symbolic as the guns are not considered advanced weaponry. The ministry said Beijing was building up of its military presence in the South China Sea with deployments of anti-missile systems, drones and fast missile ships in the area. Last month, Beijing demanded an end to US surveillance near China after two Chinese fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an “unsafe” intercept of a US military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea. ^ top ^

Only Beijing can heal people's June 4 Tiananmen pain, says Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (SCMP)
2016-06-04
Taiwan's new president has urged Beijing to give its people greater rights on the 27th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown against 1989 pro-democracy protests. “As a president, I'm not finger-pointing at the political system on the mainland, but sincerely sharing the experience of the democratisation of Taiwan,” Tsai Ing-wen, who took up office in May, said on Saturday in her first statement about the crackdown. “If the mainland could give the people more rights, the world would pay it more respect.” She said it could be “seen by all eyes” that the Chinese people were having a higher standard of living while facing the pressure of political and social transformation. The comments of Tsai, the island's first female president, have come at a delicate time, with Beijing paying close attention to Taipei's plans after Taiwanese voters elected their first president from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in eight years. In May the mainland's top official for cross-strait affairs warned a group of Taiwan business representatives in Beijing that relations between the mainland and Taiwan would face tensions and turbulence if the island failed to recognise the “one China” principle. Like Ma Ying-jeou – the island's former president, who spoke on the issue every year during both of his four-year terms in office – Tsai also tried to look for positives between the two sides over the issue. “Don't let June 4th be the inconvenient truth between the two sides,” she wrote on her Facebook social media page on Saturday. “Only the ruling party on the mainland can heal the past wounds and pain of the Chinese people. “[I] hope the two sides will have the same ideas about democracy and human rights one day.” Mainland troops used guns and tanks to crush the pro-democracy protests on June 4, 1989. The incident resulted in hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000 deaths, according to various sources. Beijing has never apologised for the incident and has banned any public discussion on the mainland about the subject, despite repeated calls for it to do so by human rights groups. All elected presidents of Taiwan since 2000 have spoken about the June 4 crackdown during their tenures. Ma, who served as president from 2008 to 2016, referred to the crackdown every year on the anniversary. “Were the mainland authorities to vindicate June 4, it would greatly shorten the mental distance between the two sides and add to the common grounds of cross-strait interactions,” Ma, known for his pro-reunification stance, said in June last year. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China creates more development zones to foster innovation (Xinhua)
2016-06-10
The Chinese government said on Wednesday that it will accelerate building two more national-level development zones to encourage innovation, as the country seeks to foster new engines for growth. The government approved the establishment of the two "national innovation demonstration zones" in Fujian Province and Anhui Province, respectively, according to a statement released after the State Council's executive meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The decision was made after similar zones, including Beijing's Zhongguancun, and Shanghai's Zhangjiang high tech zone, have played experimental and pioneering role in the nation, and those models need to be replicated across the country, said the statement. The government vowed to cut red tape and provide better services to those development zones, making them better serve the nation's economic rebalancing drive. The government also announced a string of new measures to provide more medical financial aid for residents in the poverty-stricken areas. Rural residents living in poverty would get more reimbursement when they are hospitalized, and would be covered by the critical illness insurance, according to the statement. The government also vowed to build a health and medical data platform across the country, which aims to improve healthcare services, and also a key part of the country's supply-side structural reform. ^ top ^

Forget Beijing, Shanghai, new tech hub is Shenzhen (China Daily)
2016-06-06
Forget Beijing and Shanghai. China's economic future is emerging in Shenzhen. Once a collection of fishing enclaves next door to Hong Kong, Shenzhen has become the epicenter of China's manufacturing-driven miracle. It is staking its future growth on finance, technology and culture. The metropolis teeming with millions of migrant workers is home to some of China's biggest and hottest companies. Many are led by a new wave of young Chinese entrepreneurs hoping to build global brand recognition. Divided from Hong Kong by a river, Shenzhen has been the preferred laboratory for experiments by China's leaders since reformist Deng Xiaoping designated the tranquil area as the country's first "special economic zone" in 1979. Now a sprawling megacity of 11 million people, its fortunes were made churning out cheap clothes, electronics and toys for big foreign brands. But low cost manufacturers like Apple supplier Foxconn have been moving inland or out of China as labor costs increased. Now the focus is on higher value-added, homegrown technology. Innovative new companies are drawn by Shenzhen's well-established manufacturing supply chains and transport links, proximity to Hong Kong's banking and financial expertise, and better traffic, milder weather and less air pollution than Beijing and Shanghai. "Shenzhen is becoming the new frontier for technology because it has the infrastructure for whoever wants to turn their ideas into products," said Eric Pan, founder of Seeed Technology, a contract manufacturer for "makers" - tinkerers, hackers and inventors. Pan quit a job at Intel in Beijing and moved to Shenzhen seven years ago. He helped foster the city's "maker faire" movement, festivals that celebrate arts, crafts, engineering and open-source technology that have been spreading around the world over the past decade. Shenzhen's event last year drew 190,000 people. "People rush over to Shenzhen. They are young, they are reckless and they shape the city. I think that's the fundamental difference from other cities in China," Pan said. Established tech giants such as telecom gear makers Huawei and ZTE and internet company Tencent call Shenzhen home. […] Emerging industries such as information technology, biotech, green energy and new materials now account for about 40 percent of Shenzhen's economic output, Mayor Xu Qin said last month, according to State media. He gave no specific figures. […] Per capita GDP has risen to 158,000 yuan ($24,334), on a par with Portugal. Meanwhile, growth in Hong Kong slowed to 2.4 percent. Christopher Balding, an economics professor at Peking University's Shenzhen-based graduate HSBC School of Business, says Shenzhen's business environment is more open to hardworking newcomers than those of other Chinese cities where state-owned industries dominate and vested interests mean that success often depends more on government connections, or "guanxi." "Competition is one of the things that really sets Shenzhen apart," Balding said. If China's leaders can replicate Shenzhen's innovation and competition-focused economic model nationwide, it would indirectly have an "enormous impact" on the world economy, he said. "It's a relatively safe bet that in 10 years the tech sector in Shenzhen will be continuing to grow and thrive and kind of be the Chinese Silicon Valley," Balding said. During a visit early last year, Premier Li Keqiang stopped in at China's first virtual bank and checked out a "maker space" for hobbyist inventors and entrepreneurs tinkering on prototypes, seeking to promote businesses relying on finance and innovation that Beijing is nurturing as the State-dominated economy matures. Hoping to woo and nurture top talent, the city government earmarked 4.4 billion yuan ($676 million) to hire foreign experts such as scientists and academics to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship. The challenge is in how to refashion the city as a modern, desirable place to live and work, the kind of place highly educated, well-paid white collar workers, including those from overseas, will want to call home. Shenzhen shares many of the same trappings of growing wealth seen in other big Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Hong Kong. Its 599-meter (1,965-foot) Ping An International Finance Center is the world's fourth-tallest, and China's second-tallest, skyscraper. Britain's Victoria and Albert Museum is collaborating with State-owned China Merchants Group on a design museum set to open next year.^ top ^

Lufthansa to pursue Air China venture (China Daily)
2016-06-05
Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr will travel to Beijing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week in a bid to seal a joint venture deal with Air China Ltd seen as crucial to bolstering his company's access to the world's second-largest economy. Spohr will meet with senior management from the Chinese flag carrier with the aim of making progress on the commercial pact, the CEO said in Dublin, adding that the talks are "complex". Lufthansa is pursuing joint ventures as part of a plan to stem the loss of lucrative long-haul traffic to fast-growing rivals from the Persian Gulf. Such deals allow partners to coordinate capacity and share revenue and represent the closest accords possible in the industry short of full-scale mergers. A final agreement with Air China would complete Lufthansa's roll call of accords covering all of its main long-haul markets, though the plan is running behind schedule, with the signoff having originally been targeted for last year. Europe's third-biggest airline already has deals in place with Air Canada and United Continental Holdings Inc on trans-Atlantic flights and with ANA Holdings Inc in the Germany-Japan market, and in November announced a tie-up with Singapore Airlines Ltd from the city state to Germany and Switzerland.^ top ^

US subpoenas China's Huawei in probe over exports to Syria, others: NYTimes (China Daily)
2016-06-05
The US Commerce Department has issued a subpoena to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as part of a probe into the Chinese technology company's transactions in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Citing a copy of the subpoena sent to the Shenzhen-based Huawei, the Times said the department is demanding the company turn over all its information on the export or re-export of US technology to those countries. The request comes as part of the United States' investigation into whether Huawei broke export controls in its dealings with the five countries. Huawei had not been accused of wrongdoing, and the subpoena is administrative, not criminal, in nature, the Times said. Huawei declined comment on the subpoena but said that it abides by the laws and regulations of the countries it operates in. "In particular, Huawei has a strict code of conduct, rigorous training, and detailed policies relating to export control compliance and actively cooperates with the relevant government agencies, including the Department of Commerce, regarding Huawei's compliance with export control laws," a company spokesperson said in an email. A Commerce Department spokesman declined comment. Huawei is a world leader in producing telecommunications equipment and has six US research centers, though it is a bit player in America's telecoms infrastructure market. US national security concerns have helped scuttle several attempts by Huawei to expand its presence in the country. According to the Times, the subpoena was issued after US officials earlier blocked sales of American technology to another Chinese company ZTE Corp, Huawei's smaller rival. In March, the US government gave ZTE a three-month reprieve on its tough export restrictions. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

North Korea appears to have restarted plutonium plant, IAEA says (SCMP)
2016-06-07
North Korea appears to have reactivated a plant north of Pyongyang for reprocessing plutonium for use in nuclear weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Monday. “There are indications the reprocessing plant at Yongbyon has been reactivated. It is possible that it is reprocessing spent fuel,” a spokesman for the UN nuclear watchdog said. North Korea said in 2013 that it would reopen its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, the nerve centre of the country's nuclear programme that was closed in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament deal with the United States and other members of the six-party talks. Earlier on Monday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano expressed serious concern over North Korea continuing with its nuclear programme in defiance of a recent UN Security Council resolution. “It is deeply regrettable that the DPRK [an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name] has shown no indication that it is willing to comply with the Security Council resolution adopted in response to its nuclear test earlier this year,” he said in his address to the IAEA's Board of Governors meeting. “I strongly urge the DPRK to implement fully all relevant IAEA and Security Council resolutions. The agency remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue by resuming its verification activities once a political agreement is reached among countries concerned,” he said. North Korea conducted its fourth underground nuclear test in January followed in February by a launch of a long-range ballistic missile, prompting the UN Security Council to impose a new sanctions resolution against the country in early March. Citing recent commercial satellite images, the US-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins University said on its 38 North website last week that North Korea may be preparing or has already started reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to harvest plutonium for nuclear weapons. US intelligence chief James Clapper said in February that North Korea could extract plutonium, the core material of a nuclear bomb, within weeks to months at the Yongbyon facility. ^ top ^

South Korea courts North's old allies in diplomatic push for all-round change in isolated country (SCMP)
2016-06-07
South Korea's foreign minister will visit Moscow next week after touring Cuba, Uganda and Iran as part of a push to enlist North Korea's old allies to press for change in the isolated state, Seoul said on Tuesday. North Korea has come under growing diplomatic pressure since its January nuclear test and a space rocket launch in February, which led to a new UN Security Council resolution in March tightening sanctions against Pyongyang. “The minister's visit to Russia following Iran, Uganda and Cuba is part of diplomatic efforts to enlist the international community to the effort to bring about change in North Korea on all fronts,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a briefing. South Korea said last week that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to halt security and military cooperation with North Korea, following a summit in Kampala with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visited Cuba, a first for the country's top diplomat, and held talks with his counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, at the weekend. South Korean media said Yun conveyed Seoul's hope for establishing diplomatic ties with Havana. In May, Park made the first visit to Iran by a South Korean leader in the hope of broadening political and commercial ties after Iran emerged from years of economic sanctions in January. Cho also said Poland had stopped issuing visas for North Korean workers amid concern that Pyongyang may be subjecting them to conditions that violated their human rights. An official at the Polish embassy in Seoul said Poland had not issued any work visas for North Korean citizens this year, in reaction to the North's nuclear test and rocket launch at the beginning of the year. North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. North Korea has 53 embassies and overseas missions, according to South Korean government data, some of which have been notorious for engaging in business, including illicit activities. Much of North Korea's support at the United Nations is from fellow members of the cold war-era Non-Aligned Movement. It has enjoyed consistent backing in UN General Assembly votes on human rights from a core group including Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Beijing at the end of high-level talks between the United States and China, said on Tuesday the two countries were determined to fully enforce sanctions against North Korea. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Myanmar senior officials learn Mongolia's practices of transition to democracy (Montsame)
2016-06-09
Senior officials from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar are learning practices from Mongolia, as invited by the International Cooperation Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia between June 6 and 10. The Ministry has organized a seminar called “Mongolia's practices of transition to democracy” to present to the guests the experiences gained and challenges faced in developing and strengthening democracy, state body organizational structures, and reforms in the legal sphere. Corresponding officials from the Office of the President, Office of Parliament, Supreme Court, National Human Rights Commission and related ministries have given presentations. In his opening address, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag remarked that Mongolia chose the path to democracy 26 years ago and made profound transformations and vigorious changes in the economy. He gave some details on Mongolia's cooperation with new and restored democracies. During the meeting with the Deputy Director-General of the Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Mr Soe Lynn Han and other senior officials, Mongolian FM L.Purevsuren expressed readiness to help Myanmar go through its transition to democracy. ^ top ^

Mongolia wants to have financing from AIIB for mega-projects (Montsame)
2016-06-09
As one of the founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Mongolia is seeking a chance for receiving financing from the bank for particular infrastructure projectsture. It was said by the Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg when he met Wednesday Jin Liqun, the AIIB President, who is visiting here to take part in the Finance Ministers' Meeting of the ASEM in Ulaanbaatar. They touched upon issues of cooperation opportunities for Mongolia with the AIIB. The Prime Minister pointed out that Mongolia wants to benefit from financing from the AIIB for implementing projects on construction of the Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait 267 km railway, railways connecting between Russia and China through Mongolian territoriy as well as for re-funding the auto-roads under operation with credit. In response, the AIIB President proposed determining the ways of cooperation on certain projects after scrutinizing detailed information on the offered projects from Mongolia and performing feasibilities over the projects. He emphasized that high-skilled people are possible to be employed at the AIIB when the Premier inquired him about opportunities for Mongolian people to work at the bank. Established with an authorized capital of USD 100 billion, the AIIB is available to provide economically-fruitful projects with a big amount of credit, and it pursues a policy on realizing mega-projects on infrastructure in collaboration with international financial and banking institutions. The AIIB requires a governmental guarantee if private companies ask credit from the AIIB. ^ top ^

Asia-Europe Finance Minister's Meeting commences today (Montsame)
2016-06-09
The 12th Asia-Europe Finance Ministers' Meeting (#FiNMM12) is taking place in Ulaanbaatar on June 9-10, as an official side event ahead of the 11th Asia-Europe Summit, to be held on July 15-16. The ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting is an integral part of the Asia-Europe connectivity, and the meeting aims to facilitate dialogues and common interests of the two regions. Starting from today, Mongolia welcomes finance ministers and heads of delegations from 43 ASEM nations, as well as chief representatives of the 13 international economic and financial organisations, including the European Commission, IFC, World Bank, ECB, EBRD, EIB, ADB, AIIB and ASEAN for the two-day event. The high-level meeting will cover the following areas: § Macroeconomic Developments and Prospects in Asia and Europe § Financial Stability at Regional and Global Level: Experiences from Asia and Europe § Connectivity between Asia and Europe High-profile keynote speeches will be delivered by the heads of delegates and chief representatives throughout the second day of the meeting; the event details are available at http://finmm12.mof.gov.mn/page.aspx?d=12. The ASEM finance ministers and international development policy leaders are expected to have free-flowing discussions on fiscal and monetary policies, and initiate bilateral meetings in order to boost regional economic growth and to structure reforms to policy frameworks, reports www.asem11.mn. ^ top ^

Mongolia's Cybersecurity Cooperation (Montsame)
2016-06-08
Mongolia has declared in its National Security Concept its determination to develop friendly-neighbor relations and comprehensive cooperation with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. Yet individuals and other groups both in China and Russia have attempted cyber attacks on Mongolia numerous times, most of which have been reported to the Cybersecurity Department of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia. Clearly, Mongolia's two neighbors do overwhelmingly try to access information and databases in Mongolia. So what are the prospects for Mongolia's cybersecurity cooperation with Russia and China? On the International Telecommunication Union's 2014 Global Cybersecurity Index, Mongolia was ranked 15th, Russia was ranked 12th, and China was ranked 14th. Mongolia will naturally research the cybersecurity preparedness of some countries with higher rankings, including Russia and China as well as the Republic of Korea (ranked fifth). Russia and China have both officially expressed their interest in international cooperation on cyber issues. Russia, in its Draft Cybersecurity Strategy Concept, advocated for enhancing international cooperation on development agreements and mechanisms to enhance global-level cybersecurity. And China's Military Strategy makes it clear that ”As cyberspace weighs more in military security, China will … participation in international cyber cooperation, so as to stem major cyber crises, ensure national network and information security, and maintain national security and social stability.” A key indicator of Mongolia's policy cooperation on cybersecurity with Russia and China will be developments in legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity building, and national and international cooperation. One specific aspect Mongolia needs to consider is its response to the draft International Code of Conduct for Information Security, an annex to a letter dated January 9, 2015 addressed to the UN secretary-general from the permanent representatives of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The original 2011 draft was criticized by many Western countries, including the United States, as an attempt by the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to justify greater state control over the Internet's governance structures and online content. Member states of the SCO then updated and submitted a draft of a code of conduct in the sphere of international information security to the UN and officials have called for others to support the draft's underlying idea. Discussion on a draft International Code of Conduct for Information Security is not the only ongoing international conversation on cybersecurity. During the 2016 World Summit on the Information Society was held May 2-6 in Geneva, stakeholders from more than 150 countries discussed cybersecurity and sustainable development. On May 25, ASEAN defense ministers adopted a concept paper on the establishment of a cybersecurity working group. Also, G7 Summit, held May 26-27 in Japan, issued G7 Principles and Actions on Cyber. Mongolia, in other words, has no shortage of potential cybersecurity models and principles to choose from. In addition, Mongolia has been studying the experience of other countries' bilateral and trilateral relations on cybersecurity such as interactions between U.S.-Russia; China-South Korea-Japan; U.S.-Japan; Russia-China,Australia-South Korea; U.S.-China; U.S.-South Korea; and Estonia-Japan. These events show key players on cybersecurity, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Russia, China, Australia, and Estonia are cooperating and forming mutual obligations on cybersecurity. Mongolia also needs to cooperate on cybersecurity with its two neighbors (Russia and China) and “third neighbors,” including Japan, South Korea, the United States, Australia and Estonia. Furthermore, Mongolia will need to improve its cybersecurity and advance in the ranks of the Global Cybersecurity Index based on studying the cybersecurity policies of key player countries and international and regional organizations, writes Galbaatar Lkhagvasuren, an analyst at the Mongolian Institute for Geopolitical Studies, at the diplomat.com. ^ top ^

New Mongolia-China cooperation might bloom in green development (Montsame)
2016-06-08
A team of 46 Mongolian media reporters visited China, to get acquainted with the green development and ecological preservation works of the People's Republic of China between May 31 and June 6. The press and interview tour stopped by Beijing, Tianjing and Inner Mongolian cities, Ordos, Baotou (Bugat) and Hohhot. The visit is the second shift of the journalists exchange, which was agreed on during the visit of Mr Xi Jinping, the President of People's Republic of China, to Mongolia in August 2014. The Chinese president pledged to receive 250 Mongolian journalists in the course of five years, in order to improve understanding between the two nations through the media and press. This year's topic was “Let's focus on green development!”. In the margin of this, team of reporters, cameramen, translators, authors and photographers of Mongolian media organizations visited key institutions of China that concern the green development, including Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as newly created eco-parks. Beijing and Tianjin are the centers of China's environmental management, administering enormous control centers and environmental pollution reporting stations. Waste water management and the largest solar energy plant were the objects of Mongolian reporters' interest. In Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, forestations have been made in the areas of high concern, at the cost of 47.8 billion CNY (7.3 billion USD), where 410 hectares of area was covered with trees. As a result, desert field was reduced in size by more than 70 thousand hectares, since 2011, the start of 12th five year plan of the People's Republic of China. Thanks to the “10 thousand entities” initiative, in accord with the 12th five year plan, China saved energy in the amount that can equal to 16.25 million tons of coal energy. New potential areas of cooperation between Mongolia and China might emerge in green development, energy saving, waste management and renewable energy, as well as liquid gas fuel trades and coal gasification, according to the authorities of Xinxing Group in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. Visit progresses and interviews of Mongolian reporters were broadcasted by CCTV, Nei Mongol TV, China Daily, China Report, Xinhua and other news websites in China. ^ top ^

Vice-ministerial level meeting taking place in Beijing (Montsame)
2016-06-08
State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia D.Gankhuyag is taking part in the consultative meeting of vice ministers of foreign affairs of Mongolia, China and Russia, being held in Beijing on June 8. The meeting's purpose is to commence lead-ups to the next high-level tri-partite meeting of the presidents of the three countries, to take place on June 23 in Tashkent, the capital city of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and to consent agreements and other documents to be signed during the meeting. ^ top ^

Mongolia-Japan EPA takes effect (Montsame)
2016-06-08
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Mongolia and Japan took effect on June 7 on occasion of which the EPA's intergovernmental committee held the same day the first its meeting in Ulaanbaatar. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia MrL.Purevsuren and the Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr Seiji Kihara gave opening speeches. The sides exchanged information and agreed upon operational rules of the intergovernmental committee, regulations on goods trade, certificates of origin and quotes. The joint protocol of the committee meeting was signed by Mr L.Purevsuren and Mr S.Kihara. The EPA is expected to facilitate Mongolia with opportunities to introduce know-how and investment, penetrate third markets through Japan, to connect to regional production networks and the economic connectivity. According to the agreement, 5,700 types of goods from Mongolia and some 9,300 types of goods from Japan will be exempted directly and gradually from import taxes and custom duties respectively. Thus, the businesspeople from both countries will be able to supply goods bearing origin certificates on discounted tariffs. ^ top ^

Program on building of economic corridor backed (Montsame)
2016-06-07
The cabinet meeting held Monday authorized L.Purevsuren, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to sign a program on establishing the Mongolia-Russia-China economic corridor. It was initiated by the Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj during a trilateral meeting of leaders of Mongolia, Russia and China held in 2014 for boosting the trilateral cooperation in trade, economy, infrastructure and investment areas. At the 2nd high-level meeting of the State leaders in 2015, the countries concurred to create the Economic corridor in compliance with the “Steppe road” project of Mongolia, the “Economic zone of Silk Road” initiative of China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Designed in accordance with the agreements reached, the project sets out 32 objectives of expanding the cooperation in constructions of infrastructure, corridors of auto-roads and railways, transit-transport and industry, facilitating border controls, intensifying the cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism, environment, education, agriculture, health, humanity and sciences. The project is expected to be signed on June 23 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. ^ top ^

Candidates for Citizens' Representative Khural elections receives certificates (Montsame)
2016-06-07
The General Election Commission (GEC) handed over Tuesday certificates to candidates who are nominated for the elections of the Citizens' Representative Khural (city council) to be held on June 29 alongside the parliamentary elections. A total of 272 candidates from nine political parties, two coalitions and 31 independent candidates are going to run for the local elections of the Citizens' Representative Khural. The city's Democratic Party (DP), the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) and the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) nominated 45 candidates each; the Civil Movement Party (CMP)--41 candidates; the Unified Coalition of Patriots of the United Party of Patriots and the Labor Party of Pan-Mongolia--27 candidates; the National Labor Party (NLP)--24 candidates; Republican Party (RP)--21 candidates; the Mongolian Conservative Party (MCP)--eight candidates; the Unified Coalition of Patriots of the United Party of Patriots and the Labor Party of Pan-Mongolia--four candidates; and the Mongolian Conservative United Party (MCUP)--three candidates. Four independent candidates will stand for elections as well. ^ top ^

ASEM Summit preparation updates given to heads of diplomatic missions (Montsame)
2016-06-07
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted Tuesday a meeting to give updates to heads of the diplomatic missions in Mongolia about ongoing preparation works for the 11th ASEM Summit such as a registration of delegates, visa concession, accommodation, the Summit's organization and program. The 40 hotels selected to accommodate ASEM delegates have compete their preparations, and started online bookings. As of today, Shangi-La UB hotel has confirmed reservations of 280 guests of 24 countries, Blue Sky hotel--180 guests of seven countries, and Best Western Tuushin hotel--190 guests of 16 countries, officials said. Major events of the ASEM Summit will be hosted in the Shangri-La hotel where 55 rooms are available for press conferences and offices for participating countries. According to the Summit's program, guests will enjoy the “Nomads' Naadam” cultural event besides official activities. ^ top ^

John Kerry concludes visit to Mongolia (Montsame)
2016-06-05
The US Secretary of State John Kerry paid an official visit to Mongolia on Sunday. In the scope of the visit, the US Secretary of State held official talks with the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and attended a meeting with representatives of Mongolian young leaders. He paid a courtesy call on the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj in the “Ikh Tenger” complex. Within his visit, John Kerry enjoyed a mini Naadam festival organized near Turgenii Gol. Mongolia established the diplomatic relations with the USA on January 27, 1987. The two countries are now developing their comprehensive partnership relations. Since the diplomatic relations establishment, the US Secretary of State James Baker visited twice Mongolia in 1990 and 1991, Madeleine Albright--1998 and Hillary Clinton--in 2012. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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