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
  25-29.7.16, No. 632  
Startseite / Homepage   Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK

^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Chinese, African companies ink 17-billion-USD deals (Global Times)
2016-07-29
Companies from China and Africa signed 39 deals worth around 17 billion US dollars on Thursday. The deals, involving financial institutions and enterprises, were signed on the eve of a meeting on delivering the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). More than 400 participants from government agencies, financial institutions, business associations and enterprises attended the Seminar on China-Africa Business Cooperation and Signing Ceremony in Beijing on Thursday. The seminar was hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), which is a supporting event for the Coordinators' Meeting of the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the FOCAC. During the seminar, participants exchanged views on industrial capacity cooperation, trade and investment facilitation and financial cooperation. Chinese and African companies spanning the sectors of infrastructure, processing and manufacturing, finance, investment, energy, chemicals, agriculture, pharmaceutical and ICT, reached consensus for future cooperation. Jiang Weixin, chairman of the CCPIT, said the development strategies of Africa and China were highly compatible, and the two sides have many advantages. In the future, the CCPIT will work with its African counterparts to enhance communication, strengthen policy coordination, and organize more trade and investment events to boost China-Africa trade ties, said Jiang. Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao had a group meeting with the African delegates. Hailing the success of the Johannesburg summit, Li called on China and the African countries to enhance mutual trust, promote pragmatic cooperation, expand people-to-people exchanges and improve coordination on global affairs. State Councilor Yang Jiechi held separate meetings with the foreign minister of Chad, Moussa Faki Mahamat; Sudanese Presidential Assistant Al-Jaz; and Gambian Foreign Minister Neneh MacDouall-Gaye, exchanging views on China's ties with their respective countries as well as Africa as a whole. At the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last December in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced ten major China-Africa cooperation plans for the next three years, backed by 60 billion US dollars, including interest free loans and preferential policies. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his counterparts from Mali,Madagascar, Comoros and Democratic Republic of Congo. ^ top ^

China, Russia voice serious concern over THAAD deployment in South Korea (Xinhua)
2016-07-29
China and Russia on Thursday voiced serious concern over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea. At a fourth meeting on Northeast Asia security held in Moscow, Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov noted that such a unilateral and non-constructive action taken by the US brings negative effects to the strategic balance, security and stability of the region and the world. The deployment of the advanced US missile defense system in South Korea is just a part of Washington's global anti-missile scheme, which clearly contradicts with the aims claimed by the US and South Korean governments, the two officials noted. Expressing the firm opposition to issues relevant to the THAAD deployment, both sides agreed to enhance coordination in order to better cope with the negative developments, also to protect the strategic security of China, Russia and other regional countries. Under the comprehensive strategic partnership, China and Russia would further strengthen communications and coordinations based on the joint statement on strengthening global strategic stability, signed in June by leaders of the two countries, with a view to protect each other's interests, especially the interest in strategic stability, through the most reliable and effective ways. Kong and Morgulov also said the two countries would continue pushing forward the settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula through dialogues and negotiations, in particular the irreplaceable platform of Six Party Talks. To realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary to reduce military and political tensions on the peninsula, to downscale the military drills held in the region and thus to build mutual trust, the two officials added. They also urged both South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to resume dialogues to achieve inter-Korean reconciliation and create a sound environment for development on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this month, Seoul and Washington announced the agreement to install one THAAD battery in Seongju, a county some 250 km southeast of the South Korean capital city, by the end of next year, as one way to counter the nuclear and missile threats posed by the DPRK. China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with and resolute opposition to the THAAD deployment in South Korean territory as it damaged China's security interests and broke a strategic balance in the region, while Russia indicated a military response by deploying a missile unit in the Far Eastern region. ^ top ^

UNAIDS chief hails China's progress in AIDS fight (China Daily)
2016-07-28
A senior United Nations (UN) official on Thursday acknowledged China's encouraging progress in combating HIV/AIDS, saying new successes have been achieved in the country. China has made "a lot of progress," said Michel Sidibe, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), citing the reduced rate of HIV-related deaths and the increasing number of people on treatment. "Since 2014, we have not had any babies born with HIV in Beijing, which is very important," Sidibe told reporters during a visit to Xinhua News Agency. He highlighted the importance of China's nationwide program on mother-to-child transmission to control the epidemic among children. "The only challenge that we are still having is how to reach men having sex with men, how to reach sex workers, and how to make sure infections among those groups can be controlled," Sidibe said. The UN official also applauded China's contribution to the work of UNAIDS. "China, particularly the government, has been very helpful, supporting us to negotiate a new political declaration, which is key for the future," he said. Key Chinese leaders have been fully committed to fighting stigma and discrimination, often with new policies that can be really helpful, Sidibe added. During the visit, Sidibe presented the UNAIDS Leaders and Innovators Award to Cai Mingzhao, president of Xinhua, in recognition of Cai's personal contribution to the vision of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 through exemplary leadership or a novel approach. The award granted to Cai also recognizes the commitment of the Chinese government to combating HIV/AIDS, Sidibe said while addressing the award ceremony. There have been encouraging results in the fight against AIDS globally, with the number of people receiving treatment increasing from 1 million or less in 2000 to 17 million today, Sidibe said, highlighting the media's contribution. "All of that (progress) would never have happened without you, without our collective efforts, without solidarity...We can't reach people without innovation, without news, without information, without a new way to communicate," he said. ^ top ^

China, Russia to hold joint naval drill in South China Sea (SCMP)
2016-07-28
China and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea in September, the defence ministry said on Thursday, after an international tribunal invalidated the Asian giant's extensive claims in the area. The drills will be carried out in the “relevant sea and air of the South China Sea”, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said, adding that the exercise was “routine” and “does not target any third party”. The announcement comes after a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that there was “no legal basis” to Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, embodied in a “nine-dash line” dating from Chinese maps of the 1940s and extending almost to the coasts of other countries, which have competing claims. China has built a series of artificial islands on rocks and reefs in the area hosting facilities capable of supporting military operations, widely seen as an attempt to bolster its control of the strategically vital waters. The tribunal ruling infuriated Beijing and fuelled tensions with Washington, which has sent naval vessels close to Chinese-claimed outcrops in recent months to assert the principle of freedom of navigation. Beijing rejected the judgement as “waste paper” and asserted its right to declare an air-defence identification zone controlling flights over the area. China and Russia have close military and diplomatic ties, often in opposition to the West, particularly the United States, and leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin enjoy a tight relationship. The two sides hold joint drills regularly. Last August, the two countries carried out military exercises in the waters and airspace of the Peter the Great Gulf, south of the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok, involving 22 vessels, up to 20 aircraft and more than 500 marines. In May last year, they conducted their first joint naval exercises in European waters in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, China's farthest-ever drills from its home waters. Xi and Putin meet frequently and their countries, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, often take similar stances there on divisive issues such as the conflict in Syria. ^ top ^

Tokyo denies that Japanese man detained in China was spying (SCMP)
2016-07-28
A Japanese man has been detained in Beijing since earlier this month by Chinese authorities, the Japanese government said on Thursday. Responding to reports that the man, who has not been named, may have been involved in spying, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan “is not engaged in such activities toward any country”. The government is assisting the man through its embassy in Beijing, and working to confirm the circumstances of his detention, Suga, whose position makes him the top government spokesman, told a press conference. The man, who heads an organisation to promote exchanges between Japan and China, was due to stay in Beijing from July 11-15, but did not return to Japan and had not been answering his mobile phone, according to sources close to the Japanese government. The man, in his late 50s, comes from Ibaraki Prefecture and has a history of involvement with the Social Democratic Party, a minor opposition party, the sources said. Suga said there have been no reported issues with the man's health, but declined to give further details about him. In a written reply, the Japanese embassy in Beijing would only confirm that a Japanese citizen had been taken away. “This month, we received a notice from the Chinese side that a Japanese citizen had been taken into custody by the Chinese authorities.” Four Japanese were arrested last year for alleged spying activities, one of whom has since been indicted. China has been stepping up its surveillance of foreign organisations and individuals under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. ^ top ^

Most Asean countries 'want to stay out of Beijing's South China Sea dispute with the Philippines' (SCMP)
2016-07-28
Most Asean countries want to stay out of the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines, says a diplomat with inside knowledge about the negotiations that went on before the bloc issued a joint statement on the matter this week. The Philippines had pushed to include this month's international court ruling on the South China Sea in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' joint statement, the diplomat said, but the communique released on Monday left it out in the end. No one but the Philippines insisted that the arbitral ruling be included, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. He said most countries in the bloc, especially those who had no claims in the South China Sea, wished to stay out of the dispute. The Asean statement carried a section on the contested waters, expressing serious concern over land reclamations and “escalations of activities” in the region, but did not directly challenge China nor mention the ruling. The bloc had, during a meeting in Laos, been deadlocked over the language of the initial statement and whether to mention the ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on July 12. The court had ruled in the Philippines' favour, declaring China's claims to the contested South China Sea invalid. “The arbitration was never intended to be included in the statement,” the diplomat said on the sidelines of the Laos meeting on Tuesday. He added that the impression that China had emerged as the winner and Asean the loser after the statement's release had caused pressure on the bloc. “For some small countries, if they think Asean cannot be relied on, they will go to the big powers,” the diplomat said. On Tuesday, Vice-President Li Yuanchao thanked Cambodia's visiting National Assembly President Samdech Heng Samrin in Beijing for his country's “impartial stance” and for “speaking out for justice on the South China Sea issue”. Earlier reports said that according to Asean diplomats, Cambodia had spoken out in opposition to the inclusion of the ruling in the bloc's statement. In 2012, the Asean summit held in Cambodia for the first time failed to issue a joint statement because its members could not agree over the South China Sea disputes with China. In June, the Asean foreign ministers retracted a joint statement expressing concern over the South China Sea situation, after a special Asean-China foreign ministers' meeting held in Yunnan province. Philippines foreign minister Perfecto Yasay said that the issuance of the joint communique this time was a victory for Asean. The bloc had initially been divided but eventually showed its united stance on the need to abide by international law and ensure peace, Yasay said. “I am just saying this to dispel the reports that have been said that China came out victorious in the Asean meeting because we precisely agreed not to mention the arbitral award,” Yasay told a news conference on Wednesday. He said the arbitration was a matter between China and the Philippines and that his country did not want to gloat over the win or rock the boat with Asean. It is no surprise that the Asean omitted the arbitration ruling in their joint statement as the countries each hold very different opinions on the issue, analysts say The shot heard around the bloc: South China Sea ruling will put China's ties with Asean to the test( Among the Asean's 10 members, Cambodia and Laos have sided with China since 2012, while the Philippines and Vietnam have been pushing for a more hardline approach, said Oh Ei-sun, senior fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. The remaining nations are somewhere in between. “The Asean way is if there is no consensus among all members, the Asean will not make a statement on it,” he said. There has been speculation that China, the United States or Japan have been trying to influence the smaller Asean nations and are dividing the 49-year-old bloc from the inside. But Xue Li, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Asean countries – just like the European Union – had the right to balance their own national interests and the unity of the regional group. “The policy choices of the Asean countries on the South China Sea issue is fundamentally based on their own interest needs, not outside pressure,” Xue said. Huang Jing, a professor at the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said individual Asean countries were reluctant to back the one-sided ruling on the South China Sea as it would mean that they wholly supported the Philippines. Some of these countries were themselves also locked in maritime disputes with the Philippines, he said. “If anyone or anything had divided the Asean, it was the ruling itself, because it wiped out any possible grey areas in the disputes, which are necessary for negotiation towards a compromise, and made it impossible for the Asean to take a position in such a take-it-or-leave-it situation,” Huang said. A strong, powerful Asean would benefit regional peace and stability, which was also in China's interest, said Xu Liping, an expert in Southeast Asian affairs from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Meanwhile, former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to serve as a special envoy to restart talks with China. Yasay said he hoped dialogue could be arranged, but did not say whether the Philippines would insist on discussing the arbitration ruling. ^ top ^

Xi calls for armed forces reform (Global Times)
2016-07-27
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for the building of strong armed forces through military reform. Xi presided over a group study seminar of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which focused on national defense and military reform. He called the reform drive "a comprehensive and revolutionary change," and said obstacles and policy issues that may hold back reform measures must be addressed so as to build a strong armed forces commensurate with China's international status. Cai Hongshuo, deputy head of the advisory team of the leading group for deepened national defense and military reform under the Central Military Commission (CMC), delivered a lecture on the issue and offered some suggestions. Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee then discussed relevant issues during the study. Xi said under the CPC's leadership, the armed forces have been constantly reformed and improved, adding that further military reform is needed to cope with the changing international situation and to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. After the 18th National Congress of the CPC in late 2012, Xi said, the CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to defense and military reform. After the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the CMC established the leading group, and later drafted a reform plan. Based on the reform plan, the general command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army, the PLA Rocket Force, and the PLA Strategic Support Force were established. The previous seven military area commands were regrouped into five theater commands, and the four military departments -- staff, politics, logistics and armaments -- were reorganized into 15 agencies. With those reforms, the PLA has a system in which the CMC is tasked with the overall administration of the armed forces, while theater commands focus on combat preparedness, and various armed services pursue development, Xi added. These measures solved some deep-seated problems that many considered unsolvable, according to Xi. The reform drive marks a historic change in the organization and structure of the PLA, he said. By 2020, advances should be made in reforming the leadership and management system, as well as the joint battle command system, Xi said, citing the timetable outlined in the reform plan. Significant progress should be achieved in optimizing scale and structure, improving policies and systems, and promoting the integration of military and civilian development, he said. Xi underscored that the aim is to build a modern military with Chinese characteristics, which is able to win an informationized war and fulfill missions and tasks efficiently, while improving the socialist military institution with Chinese characteristics. Military Party committees at various levels should fulfill their respective reform tasks to the highest standard, and military leaders, especially senior ones, should take the lead in implementing reform tasks, Xi noted. Calling deepened national defense and military reform "a common cause for the whole Party and country," Xi called on all levels of governments and Party committees, as well as relevant parties, to support national defense and military development, to cooperate actively to fulfill reform tasks that involve multiple regions, and to integrate the adjustment of the economic layout with the improvement of national defense layout. Moreover, Xi ordered that any military officers demobilized during the reform should be offered help and guidance to secure new jobs. ^ top ^

UN Security Council reform negotiations should continue to be led by member states: Chinese envoy (Global Times)
2016-07-28
The Inter-Government Negotiations of the UN Security Council reform, or IGN, should continue to be led by UN member states, said a Chinese envoy to the United Nations Wednesday. The UN General Assembly adopted a brief and technical decision to roll the IGN process over to the next session in a plenary meeting. "The IGN should uphold the ownership and leadership of the member states and be based on the positions, proposals and suggestions and ideas of the entire membership," said Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, after the decision was adopted at the meeting. Since 2009, IGN has in general followed the UN membership-led principle. However, there have also been some missteps, Liu said. The envoy said that during the current General Assembly session, the member states conducted "candid and in-depth" discussion on the five categories of issues concerning Security Council reform. "The IGN has returned to the right track of UN membership ownership and leadership," Liu added. China welcomes the positive efforts made by General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft and Luxembourg's envoy to the UN, Sylvie Lucas, who has been the IGN chair since October, 2015, Liu said. China hopes that the IGN during next session of GA will continue to uphold the leadership of the member states, and that all sides will continue to undertake extensive and democratic discussions on the five category of issues, meet each other halfway and gradually foster conditions for seeking a package of solutions and finding the broadest consensus, said Liu. "China stands ready to work with all stakeholders to contribute to moving forward the Security Council reform along the line of conforming to the common interests of member states and long-term interests of the United Nations," he noted. ^ top ^

Chinese passport is scribbled with 'F*ck you' by Vietnamese border staff (Global Times)
2016-07-28
A woman surnamed Zhong from south China's Guangzhou visited Vietnam on July 23. While entering the border, the Vietnamese border staff asked Zhong to hand in her passport and wrote offensive languages on it. Chinese Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City said the embassy is currently dealing with the matter. Zhong's passport was handed to Vietnamese border staff when she was entering the border at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. "The border staff kept my passport for around three minutes and after I got it back, I saw 'F*ck you' was scribbled on two pages where nine-dash line is printed", said Zhong, who also expressed her disappointment at Vietnamese civil servants' appalling conducts. All new Chinese passports issued from 2012 feature Chinese map printed with nine-dashline on page 8, 24 and 46. The offensive scribblings were written on page 8 and 24 of Zhong's passport. The Vietnam Embassy in China has declined to comment. ^ top ^

Fatal crash of Chinese J-15 carrier jet puts question mark over troubled programme (SCMP)
2016-07-27
Mainland state media confirmed for the first time yesterday that a home-grown, carrier-based J-15 jet fighter crashed during training in April. The crash could deal a blow to the development of the fighter jet and cast a shadow over the PLA Navy's blue sea strategy and aircraft carrier programme. J-15s are the core jet fighters for the mainland's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and other more advanced domestic carriers reportedly under construction. China National Radio reported yesterday that a top-class PLA J-15 pilot died after he lost control of his plane during a simulated deck landing exercise at a unspecified inland base. “When Zhang Chao was flying a carrier-based jet fighter in a mock landing on an aircraft carrier on April 27, he encountered a breakdown with the fly-by-wire flight control system,” the report said. “At the critical moment, Zhang tried his best to save the aircraft. When the pushrods failed, he ejected and died as a result of an injury on landing.” Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong warned that the fatal accident might indicate that the J-15 was not of high enough standard for an aircraft carrier, which would be a major disappointment to the navy. “As was with case with accidents during trial flights of the Su-27s in the 1980s, the reason behind the crash of the J-15 could either be a failure in the flight control system or a problem with production quality,” Wong said. Canada-based Kanwa Defence Review reported in January that the programme for the development of the J-15 was well behind the demands of the navy, with the aircraft's maker, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, managing to deliver no more than 10 of the planes between 2012 and 2015. Some military observer suggested that the People's Liberation Army might reconsider its commitment to the J-15, but Wong said he thought the reverse might be the case. “As there is no alternative in sight, I think the Chinese military will not abandon its plan but be forced to go on building J-15s,” Wong said. The state radio report said Zhang, a 29-year-old Hunan native, had just been promoted as a full battalion ranking lieutenant commander this month. The defence ministry said late last year that it was building its second aircraft carrier, the first to be made in China.It would adopt the same ski-jump take-off design that analysts said would suit J-15 jets. Analysts had expected the carrier to be ready for use by 2020. ^ top ^

Boycott calls grow against South Korea (Global Times)
2016-07-27
Although the Chinese government has not imposed any sanctions following the US announcement to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, public calls to boycott South Korean pop stars and products have been growing on Chinese social media. The decision of Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province to postpone the visit of an official delegation from a South Korean sister city due to the "inappropriate atmosphere," as the local government puts it, is believed to be another sign of increasing strains in China-South Korea ties at the grass-roots level. "The visit of a delegation headed by Daegu mayor Kwon Young-jin in August was postponed for various reasons," an official at the Qingdao Foreign Affairs Office told the Global Times on Tuesday. "The timing is not appropriate and the atmosphere is not good," said the official, who requested anonymity. The official neither admitted nor denied whether the THAAD issue led to the postponement, only saying that some local people showed discontent after the deployment. Kwon and 90 city officials were scheduled to attend the Qingdao International Beer Festival in August, and the group was to open 11 booths at the festival to promote Korean fried chicken, South Korea's Joongang Daily reported on Monday. Qingdao and Daegu have been sister cities since 1993, a year after China and South Korea established diplomatic relations. The host of Qingdao's beer festival told the Global Times that they have not heard of any report saying the Daegu delegation is unwanted or was refused entry. The government official said that 19 people from Qingdao, including performers, will not attend the Daegu Chimac Festival which begins on Wednesday, though some Qingdao companies will still participate in the festival. In 2013, when the first Daegu Chimac Festival was held, and the following year, Qingdao sent 10 artists to perform at the festival. No one was sent last year because of the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the Joongang Daily reported. On July 8, the US and South Korea announced their decision to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea, which drew angry protest from Beijing. The decision, which was announced a few days before an arbitration court in The Hague was expected to rule on the maritime territorial disputes between China and the Philippines, has also hurt the feelings of many Chinese people, who previously regarded South Korea as a friendly neighbor, and the image of the country has been deteriorating ever since, Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies of the Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The deployment also tarnished South Korean President Park Geun-hye's image among many Chinese, who felt the "always smiling and friendly president" had stabbed China in the back, said Dong Xiangrong, a research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Park won praise from China after she resisted US pressure and visited Beijing in September last year to observe a military parade to mark the defeat of Japan in World War II. Chinese netizens are calling for a boycott of Korean pop stars, such as boy bands BigBang, EXO and iKon, and actors like Song Joong-ki and Lee Jong-suk. The hashtag "No idols before country" on Chinese social media Sina Weibo has been viewed more than 15 million times as of press time, with many saying they had un-followed the South Korean entertainers' Weibo accounts. "Farewell, Big Bang, fried chicken, cosmetics made in South Korea, I love my country and there's no way I will contribute to the GDP of South Korea so that the country could buy weapons and use it against China," Sina Weibo user "Emily-Chun" wrote on Friday. The boycott also covers South Korean-made products and travel to the country, with Net users compiling a list of the 10 most visited South Korea tourist sites and 100 most popular products, with calls to support domestic substitutes. Many South Koreans are also worried that the THAAD deployment will damage bilateral ties, and protests against the deployment have not stopped since the announcement was made. More than 2,000 people from Seongju County, where one THAAD battery will be deployed, staged a rally at a square in Seoul on Thursday to protest the THAAD deployment, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Also last week, hundreds of young people rallied outside South Korea's foreign ministry, holding signs saying "Peace and No THAAD" to protest the deployment and to demand its withdrawal, said Dong. Many South Koreans reject THAAD because they say it cannot protect the country and the deployment will create trouble in the region, experts said. ^ top ^

Chinese FM says ASEAN ministerial meetings focus on dialogue, cooperation (Global Times)
2016-07-27
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have exerted joint efforts to make the ministerial meetings focus on dialogue and cooperation. Wang told the Chinese media after the meetings in the Lao capital that most of the foreign ministers from 27 countries came to Vientiane with desire for cooperation. This year marks the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. "China and the ASEAN nations have agreed to build a closer community of common destiny," Wang said, adding that they have set six priority areas for further development of China-ASEAN ties. China and the 10 ASEAN members agreed to jointly strive to boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges as the third pillar for their cooperation besides the other two pillars, political-security dialogue and trade and economic ties. The top Chinese diplomat said the foreign ministers' meeting between China and ASEAN nations (10+1)has made preparation for a commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary for their dialogue relationship in September. The foreign ministers also discussed differences, such as the South China Sea issue. China and the ASEAN nations have reached an important consensus in Laos that they agreed to return to the right track of solving their disputes through dialogue and consultation, Wang noted. The so-called arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines has soured China-Philippines relations, adversely impacted regional stability and disturbed the process of implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and accelerating negotiations for a Code of Conduct (COC) by China and ASEAN members. ASEAN foreign ministers have made it clear that ASEAN as a whole will not take a position on the so-called arbitration case, which they believe is a bilateral issue between China and the Philippines, Wang said. He also mentioned that China and the ASEAN nations issued a joint statement on full and effective implementation of the DOC, which stipulates that disputes should be resolved peacefully through negotiation between the parties directly concerned, and China and ASEAN countries should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. While firmly defending its territorial integrity, China is also ready to work with the ASEAN members to safeguard peace and stability in the region, and properly manage their differences so as to further promote their relations. As for the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) or "10+3" mechanism, Wang said China proposed to build an East Asia Community based on the ASEAN Community. China has clearly stated that the East Asia Summit (EAS) should serve as a "leaders-led strategic forum," for both political-security dialogue and economic cooperation. According to the Chinese foreign minister, the 27-member ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is mainly designed for preventive diplomacy and China will continue to play an active role in pushing forward its healthy development. ^ top ^

China refutes joint statement by US, Japan, Australia on South China Sea (Global Times)
2016-07-27
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday refuted a trilateral statement issued by the United States, Japan and Australia which touched upon the South China Sea situation, questioning the trio to be peacekeepers or troublemakers. Wang made the remarks when attending the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in the Lao capital Vientiane, in response to the statement issued by the three countries on Monday evening. Wang Yi said the China-ASEAN meeting was held in an amicable and harmonious atmosphere. A joint statement on fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) was announced at the end of the meeting by the 11 foreign ministers. All parties pledged in the China-ASEAN joint statement to return to the right track of resolving specific disputes through consultations by parties directly concerned. It sends out a positive message that China and the ASEAN will jointly maintain stability in the South China Sea, Wang said. However, regrettably, late last night, the US, Japan and Australia jointly issued a statement, further playing up the South China Sea issue and regional tension targeting China, the Chinese foreign minister said, considering the damage this trilateral statement has done, China has to make a response. Wang Yi said since Monday, on the one hand, regional countries are determined to enhance cooperation and want to see the South China Sea situation cool down. On the other hand, this trilateral statement is fanning the flames. On the one hand, regional countries resist taking sides on the arbitration case, believing that it is a bilateral issue between China and the Philippines. On the other hand, the trilateral statement asserts that the so-called ruling which is highly contentious is binding, Wang continued. On the one hand, more than 70 countries have shown their understanding and support to China's legitimate stance in various ways. On the other hand, the trilateral statement still, directly and indirectly, places the blame on China, he said. "This trilateral statement came at a highly inappropriate time and conforms in no way with the development of the situation," Wang said, adding that the trilateral statement is inconsistent with the efforts being made by regional countries to safeguard stability in the South China Sea, inconsistent with the aspiration of regional people to lower the temperature surrounding the South China Sea situation, and inconsistent with the constructive role that non-regional countries should play." "If you truly want stability in the South China Sea, you should support the efforts by China and the ASEAN in implementing the DOC and the settlement of the dispute through dialogue and consultation by countries directly concerned." "Now it is the time to test whether you are peacekeepers or troublemakers, " Wang said. ^ top ^

China promises more aid to Africa (Global Times)
2016-07-27
China will gradually increase aid to Africa, a Ministry of Commerce (MOC) official said here on Tuesday. "China's aid to Africa has been carried out in accordance with China's capabilities. The aid to Africa accounts for a limited proportion of China's gross domestic product," said Shu Luomei, an official with the MOC Department of Western Asian and African Affairs. Since 2000, China has helped Africa build more than 120 educational facilities, nearly 40 irrigation projects to support agricultural production, and over 70 medical facilities. Shu's remarks at a press conference came three days before a Sino-African coordinators' meeting on the implementation of actions resulting from the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2015. At the Johannesburg Summit, China announced 10 major plans for China-Africa cooperation over the next three years, backed by a package of 60 billion US dollars. Of the financial package, 10 billion dollars was allocated to a China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation fund, which will mainly invest in manufacturing, hi-tech, agriculture, energy, infrastructure construction and finance in African countries. The package also includes 5 billion dollars of free aid and interest-free loans, 35 billion dollars of preferential loans and export credit on more favorable terms and 5 billion dollars of additional capital for the China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African small and medium-sized enterprises. "The MOC, for its part, will push forward these projects in an orderly manner and in accordance with the schedule," Shu told reporters. Since 2012, China has provided African countries with over 20 billion dollars in loans to support infrastructure, investment, small- and medium-sized enterprises, agriculture and manufacturing. Shu said Sino-African economic cooperation has diversified in the past few years and expanded to more fields including trade, infrastructure, industrial investment, finance, logistics and regional aviation. "China's investment in Africa is a highlight of Sino-African economic and trade cooperation in the past years. It is set to bring Sino-African economic ties to a new level in the years to come," she said. MOC data showed that China's non-financial outbound investment in Africa jumped 10 percent year on year in the first half of 2016 to more than 1.3 billion US dollars. ^ top ^

US agrees it's time to 'turn the page' (China Daily)
2016-07-27
Washington agrees with Beijing that "the time has come" to move away from the tensions in the South China Sea and to "turn the page", US Secretary of State John Kerry said, adding that he will encourage the Philippines to pursue dialogue and negotiation with China in their dispute. He made the comments to reporters in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, while recalling his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday. Both Wang and Kerry attended a range of multilateral meetings of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from Sunday to Tuesday. Kerry told a news conference on Tuesday that "we don't take a position, as I said earlier, on the claimants" in the South China Sea issue. He said the US "would like to see a process of dialogue" between Beijing and Manila. "I will be leaving to the Philippines this afternoon, meeting with President (Rodrigo) Duterte tomorrow, and I would encourage President Duterte to engage in dialogue and in negotiation," he said. The consensus between Kerry and Wang surprised many observers, since Washington has publicly pressed Beijing to accept the recent ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal of The Hague in a case unilaterally initiated by Manila in 2013. Wang told China Daily on Tuesday night that the three-day meetings were a success, and "the biggest consensus between China and ASEAN this year is to return to the track of resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation" after the arbitration ruling. Wang said that since ASEAN said during the meetings that it takes no position as a whole on the arbitral ruling, the hyping about the South China Sea did not resolve the issue, but instead "offered excuses to forces outside the region to impose intervention". Chen Qinghong, a researcher on Southeast Asian and Philippine studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Research, welcomed Washington's milder tone. "The possibility cannot be ruled out that Washington may require Manila to make the ruling a condition for future talks with China, while this condition has been refused by Beijing," Chen added. On the sidelines of the meetings, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia, which assumes the chairmanship of the European Union this year, told China Daily that the EU believes the South China Sea issue should be solved "in a direct dialogue of parties affected". He said that "we are pleased by the joint communique" achieved on Monday in the meeting between ASEAN member states and China, which renewed commitment to managing the disputes. "We believe that this is a step in the right direction, and we believe that in this spirit, the progress will continue in the future," he added. Zhou Fangyin, a professor of Chinese foreign policy at Guangdong Institute for International Strategies, said the meetings "set a tone" for ASEAN's future South China Sea policies, and ASEAN's not taking a position on the arbitration ruling "will be a restraint for Manila". ^ top ^

Xi calls for mutual respect between China and US as he meets senior American official (SCMP)
2016-07-26
Chinese President Xi Jinping told US National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday that both countries should effectively manage their differences and respect each other's core interests. Yet Xi's top general also told Rice that failure to properly handle sensitive issues between the United States and China could “very likely disturb and undermine” their military-to-military relations. Rice is the most senior US official to visit the capital since an international tribunal this month rejected China's vast territorial claims in the South China Sea – infuriating Beijing and fuelling tensions with Washington. Rice's trip is intended to prepare for a visit by US President Barack Obama to a G20 summit in Hangzhou in September. Meeting Xi, Rice said the US and China's interdependence meant that China's success was also in America's interest. The two nations had demonstrated that they could work together on major global issues such as climate change, Rice said. “At the same time, we are confronting our differences with candour and clarity and we believe that clarity produces predictability, and predictability produces stability,” Rice said. Xi told Rice that he was committed to building a good bilateral relationship on “the basis of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.” The South China Sea was not mentioned in any of the opening remarks Rice and Chinese leaders made in front of reporters. Tensions have mounted since the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12 that there was no legal basis for Beijing's claims to nearly all of the waterway. In recent months Washington has sent naval vessels close to reefs and outcrops claimed by Beijing. Rice met General Fan Changlong, who told her the sides still faced “obstacles and challenges”. “We should be honest with ourselves that deep down in this relationship we're still faced with obstacles and challenges,” said Fan, who is a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, adding that military ties had been “impacted by some complicated and some sensitive factors”. ^ top ^

China and Asean reach deal on uninhabited South China Sea islands (SCMP)
2016-07-26
China and Asean members agreed on Monday to avoid basing people on now-uninhabited islands and reefs in the disputed South China Sea, as the bloc made its first official joint statement on the waters since an international tribunal ruling this month. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations' joint communique expressed serious concerns over land reclamation and “escalations of activities in the area”, but did not directly challenge China nor mention the ruling. China and Asean then released a separate joint statement on implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The statement said China and Asean agreed to refrain from “action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner”. It also underlined their pledge to respect freedom of navigation and to peacefully solve territorial disputes through negotiation in accordance with international laws, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Asean statement came after days of deadlock among senior Asean diplomats at a series of meetings in Vientiane, during which China's close ally Cambodia was blamed for opposing references to the South China Sea in the joint statement. An Asean diplomat said the statement was drafted with Asean's common interest in mind, but “not the interest of certain countries”. In a meeting late yesterday with Asean foreign ministers, US Secretary of State John Kerry made no direct mention of the South China Sea tensions between China and its smaller neighbours. But he did praise Asean generally for speaking up for “a rules-based international system that protects the rights of all nations whether big or small”, the Associated Press reported. In a meeting with his Asean counterparts, Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for a new page to be turned after the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. China, which refused to take part in the arbitration or implement the tribunal's ruling, has insisted the disputes will not affect its relations with Asean. Wang said his meeting with Asean foreign ministers was mostly about cooperation. “Only one country mentioned the arbitration [on the South China Sea],” he said. China and Asean would continue to push for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Discussions about a binding code of conduct would be finalised by the first half of next year, he said. Wang warned again against “interference from outside countries” and efforts to “divide relations between China and Asean”, a veiled reference to the United States and Japan. “This page has to be turned over … The hype has to cool down,” he said. A Chinese diplomat said Beijing had been pushing for cooperation with Asean to export excess production capacity to countries in the region. Jinan University Southeast Asian studies expert Zhang Mingliang said Asean struck a careful balance in its response to the South China Sea disputes. “Asean has been very cautious on the issue. It has to safeguard its interests while at the same time avoid angering China,” he said. Zhang said the bloc had learned to manage differences since the 2012 meetings in Cambodia, when Asean officials failed to issue a joint statement for the first time due to clashes over the South China Sea. He had doubts that China and Asean could agree on the code of conduct by the first half of 2017 due to the grave differences between China and Asean countries. “But the two sides can start their cooperation in less sensitive areas such as fisheries and joint maritime rescue efforts,” Zhang said. ^ top ^

India asks 3 Chinese Xinhua journalists 'who met Tibetan activists' to leave country by end of July (SCMP)
2016-07-25
The Indian government has asked three Chinese journalists working for Xinhua to leave the country by the end of July and refused to extend their visas, Indian media reported on Sunday. They came under the “adverse attention of security agencies” for allegedly indulging in activities beyond their journalistic brief, the English-language Hindustan Times quoted an anonymous source as saying. An official declined to disclose reasons for the refusal to renew the visas, but said Xinhua could send their replacements. The three had received several visa extensions and one of them had been in India for the past seven years, the official said. The newspaper reported that Wu Qiang, Xinhua's New Delhi bureau chief, Tang Lu, the Mumbai bureau chief, and Mumbai reporter She Yonggang had been ordered to leave India by the end of this month. Staff at Xinhua's head office said they were still verifying the information, while China's Foreign Ministry was unable to comment. A Chinese embassy official in New Delhi said he had not received such information. Wu has worked in India for seven years, while the other two were posted to Mumbai last year. A Hindu newspaper report said the three travelled to the southern Indian city of Bangalore recently and met exiled Tibetan activists, which became an issue with India's government. Although the Tibetan government in exile is headquartered in the northern town of Dharamsala, thousands of Tibetans live in southern Karnataka state, whose capital is Bangalore. Indian media reports said the non-renewal of visas was generally a step taken by various governments to expel foreign journalists. But it is the first time India had denied a visa to Chinese journalists. The Indian government's decision comes with the two nations' ties under strain following China's refusal to support India's application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at a meeting in Seoul last month. The two nations fought a month-long battle in 1962 over their Himalayan border. ^ top ^

China and international finance chiefs raise alarm on trade protectionism (SCMP)
2016-07-23
China and six major international bodies raised the alarm on Friday about trade restrictions ahead of a gathering in Chengdu, Sichuan, of G20 finance ministers and central bankers. Following an unprecedented round-table meeting, the group of also called for better international coordination on economic policy amid a gloomy global outlook, lacklustre growth from unconventional monetary policy easing, and rising trade protectionism. Premier Li Keqiang also said the world should not look to China as the sole engine of growth because a global recovery required the input of many other countries. “China is still a developing country. We cannot shoulder the major responsibilities of the world economy,” Li said after the “1+6” talks with international agency chiefs, including the International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. In addition, Li said the IMF's upward revision of its estimates for China's gross domestic product growth for this year had put “pressure” on Beijing. Ding Shuang, chief China economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, said Li was trying to manage expectations. “He is basically saying there won't be any big China stimulus,” Ding said. “Beijing is not giving up the targeted bottom growth of 6.5 per cent, but neither it is trying to push up the GDP growth rate to, say, above 7 per cent.” Other participants in the round-table meeting were World Trade Organisation director general Roberto Azevedo, International Labour Organisation director general Guy Ryder, OECD secretary general Angel Gurria, and Financial Stability Board chairman Mark Carney. Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, and National Development and Reform Commission head Xu Shaoshi sat behind Li in the talks. In a joint statement, China and the six agencies agreed that countries around the world should mobilise “forceful, comprehensive and coordinated” currency and fiscal policies and structural reforms to foster new economic engines, including innovation, a new industrial revolution and the digital economy. They would encourage structural reforms of deregulation and greater competition and explore a system to assess and monitoring such reforms. On trade front, they urged greater “vigilance against protectionism”. On China's bloated steel and coal sectors, Li said China was cutting about 5 million tonnes of steel production capacity and 100 million tonnes of coal output. The seven participants agreed to make the forum a regular event. Zhao Yang, chief China economist with Nomura Holdings in Hong Kong, said the “1+6” forum could be another platform for China to talk to the world about its economic policies. Zhao also said: “But Li is right that China is now moving towards slower growth, and the world can't expect China to continue its old growth model. “China growth will continue to slow down, but the world shouldn't be panic about this.” Fears about China growth prospects and the value of Chinese currency have waned over the last few months, especially since Beijing reported 6.7 per cent growth for the first half and modest growth in foreign exchange reserves in June. The IMF this week revised up its forecast of China's 2016 GDP growth by 0.1 per cent to 6.6 per cent, citing the country's “recent policy support” of fiscal expansion and rising investment. ^ top ^

Ramos accepts Duterte's offer to be special envoy to China: media (Xinhua)
2016-07-23
Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos told reporters on Saturday evening in Davao that he accepted the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to be special envoy to China, local media reported on Saturday. Ramos made the announcement after meeting with Duterte for two hours in Davao City in southern Philippines, according to the ABS-CBN breaking news report. The media quoted Ramos as saying that he has consulted his doctors who gave him the go-signal to perform the job. On July 14, Duterte bared his plan to send Ramos to Beijing to help kickstart bilateral talks over strained relations between the two countries. Tensions between China and the Philippines heightened in recent years over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. In 2013, the philippine government under former President Benegno Aquino unilaterally initiated an arbitration case against China over the dispute to a court of arbitration in The Hague. The court issued its ruling on the dispute on July 12, which China has rejected as illegal. Malacanang presidential palace has yet to officially announce details of the meeting between Ramos and Duterte. Ramos earlier expressed reluctance to accept the role citing health reasons and possible conflict of schedules. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese Vice Premier stresses east-west cooperation in poverty relief (Global Times)
2016-07-29
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on Thursday called for stronger partnerships between developed regions in the east and the less developed west to better fight poverty. Poverty alleviation through east-west cooperation will help to narrow the regional gap and foster coordinated development, Wang told a meeting of the State Council leading group on poverty relief. More efforts should be made to strengthen pairing between eastern and western regions and expand cooperation, said Wang, who is also head of the group. Industries in the east should be encouraged to move west to create jobs and boost the local economy, thus, helping to alleviate poverty, and personnel support must be reinforced, he said. At the end of 2014, China had 70 million people living below the nation's poverty line. Almost all live in the countryside, particularly in the west. The government has vowed to lift them all out of poverty by 2020. ^ top ^

75k call for apology to gay couple (Global Times)
2016-07-29
An international LGBT group has submitted a petition asking a Guangdong-based university to apologize to a Guangzhou lesbian student couple for not issuing them diplomas as punishment for their highly publicized marriage proposal. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group All Out sent signatures collected from more than 75,000 people in more than 30 countries to Guangdong University of Foreign Studies on Thursday, requesting that the university apologize to the two students. "I call on you [the university] to apologize publicly to the two students and their families and to take comprehensive measures to prevent discrimination and homophobic harassment on campus," All Out said on its official website. "The university received the signatures and said they will look at it," a student who participated in organizing the petition and asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that he hopes the university can foster more communication with LGBT students instead of discriminating against them. The university refused to give the lesbian couple diplomas because their public proposal in June had "violated certain regulations," one of the women, surnamed Ouyang, confirmed with the Global Times. Ouyang said that although the two have now received their diplomas, the mental and emotional harm caused by the university's actions cannot be erased, and the university has not given any apology as requested. According to comments written by Ouyang's partner Wang Xiaoyu on All Out's website, officials with the Communist Party of China's on-campus organization told Wang she would face punishment after photos of their proposal went viral online. Wang said Party officials told her and Ouyang to "keep our homosexuality to ourselves" and even had police "break into" her apartment to "collect personal notes as 'evidence.'" The university could not be reached for comment as of press time. Peng Yanhui, a member of a Guangzhou-based NGO that helped organize the petition, told the Global Times on Thursday that his group suggested that the university offer lessons to educate its faculty about the harm caused by homophobia. According to a survey conducted by Pan Suiming, a well-known sexologist from Renmin University of China, 11.4 percent of college students in the country display homosexual tendencies. Yet according to a 2012 Aibai Center poll of 421 students, most of whom identified themselves as gay, 77 percent said they had been subjected to bullying on campus because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ^ top ^

China inspects local gov'ts after private investment slowdown (China Daily)
2016-07-29
China's cabinet said Thursday that inspectors had been dispatched to seven provinces and municipalities that reported huge but markedly slowed private investment. The inspection teams consist of officials from the National Development and Reform Commission and other relevant departments, according to a notice from the State Council. The regions to be inspected are Beijing, Liaoning, Anhui, Shandong, Henan, Hubei and Qinghai. China saw fixed-asset investment by the private sector increase 2.8 percent in the first half of the year, down from 3.9 percent in the first five months and 5.7 percent in the first quarter. A State Council executive meeting last month revealed that during official surveys in May some local governments were found to have failed to fully implement the pro-private investment measures. Private firms were treated unfavorably, having difficulty raising funds and suffering from heavy financial burdens, according to the surveys. The inspection will identify outstanding problems and push local governments to take effective measures to support private investment, the State Council said Thursday. Authorities should improve government services, widen market access and create a level playing field for private investors. The private sector generates about 60 percent of China's GDP and around 80 percent of jobs. Private fixed-asset investment accounts for more than 60 percent of the total. ^ top ^

Polluters to face more business, financing restrictions as China cracks down on wayward firms (SCMP)
2016-07-28
Chinese firms guilty of exceeding emissions limits or building plants without environmental permits will face tougher punishments including credit bans and land use restrictions, the environmental ministry said on Wednesday. China has been cracking down on polluting enterprises, raising fines and threatening criminal action against persistent offenders, but regulators have long struggled to impose rules on powerful industrial enterprises and local governments anxious to protect revenue and jobs. The country is beefing up its traditionally underpowered environment ministry and spreading the burden of enforcement to other agencies, including dedicated courts, police authorities and financial regulators. The Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a notice published on its website that it has signed a cooperation agreement with 30 government departments, including the central bank, to broaden the range of punishments for offenders as well as improve information sharing. The 31 government departments will draw up a blacklist of offenders to create a “unified punishment mechanism”, the ministry's official publication, China Environmental News, said. Businesses or individuals that have seriously violated environmental rules will not be able to apply for new land, safety or business permits, and will not be able to get their products certified by customs. Preferential tax policies may be cancelled, and firms will also face restrictions when issuing bonds or making use of other financing tools. Some may also be restricted or banned from entering the market. This month, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said it would allow only companies with a clean bill of environmental health for three full years to issue shares on local stock exchanges. “Environmental enforcement needs to be enhanced, but if they can be assisted by other stakeholders and other powerful departments, especially investors, banks and stock market regulators, it can provide a big help,” said Ma Jun, director of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, which campaigns against pollution. ^ top ^

Chinese lawyers group investigates member for questioning Communist Party policy (SCMP)
2016-07-28
A Shenzhen-based lawyer has been investigated by the city's lawyers association for “making inappropriate comments” about the Communist Party's major policies. According to a Shenzhen Lawyers Association document posted online, Li Guobin, a copyright lawyer and partner at the Shenzhen-based Rongguan Law Firm, was under investigation for comments he made on his Sina Weibo microblog. Li confirmed on Thursday that an investigation was under way. Li has been outspoken on Weibo, questioning the official response to floods in Hebei and making sarcastic remarks about Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It was unclear which comments triggered the investigation. “We received complaints that Li Guobin made inappropriate comments about the party's major policies,” the notice said. “The case was transferred from Shenzhen's judiciary to our association.” Under discipline rules amended in October, party members can be expelled for inappropriate comments about the party's key policies, for vilifying party leaders or for distorting party history. The rule applies only to party members and Li declined to say if he was a member. Veteran rights lawyer Yang Xuelin said the rule on inappropriate comments was a party matter. “Ordinary people can make inappropriate comments, it's just party members who can't,” Yang said. “The association should be responsible only for matters related to the professional behaviour of lawyers. If he is a party member and made inappropriate comments, the matter should be investigated by the party branch he belongs to.” Lawyers associations on the mainland are closely affiliated with the government. Such associations have generally remained silent on official crackdowns on rights lawyers, including the jailing, detention and interrogation of about 300 rights advocates and activists across the country last July. ^ top ^

CPC to hold key plenum in October, focus on Party management (Global Times)
2016-07-27
The sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has been scheduled for October, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee announced after a meeting on Tuesday. The plenum in Beijing will include the delivery of a work report to the CPC Central Committee by the Political Bureau, review of key issues concerning the comprehensive and strict management of the Party, writing the norms of intra-Party political life under the new situation; and a revision to an intra-Party supervision regulation, according to a statement released after Tuesday's meeting. The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Attendees agreed that self-management and strict governance "must all begin from the intra-Party political life." A serious and meticulous approach to political life has been a fine tradition and political advantage of the CPC, the statement said. Over the years, the CPC has formulated basic norms of intra-Party political life, featuring principles such as "seeking truth from facts," linking theory with realities, maintaining close links to the masses, among others. Although the political life in the Party has been good in general terms, there has also been outstanding problems, hence there is the need for writing a set of norms for political life in the Party under the new circumstances, the statement said. When improving and regulating intra-Party political life under the new circumstances, the statement said, attention will be focused on government agencies and officials at all levels, particularly senior officials including members of the CPC Central Committee, Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Senior officials, particularly members of the central leadership, must lead by example, follow the Party Constitution and rules, conform to the Party's political norms and disciplines, always remember the Party's mission and set a good example for Party members. "Intra-Party supervision is the basic and primary form of supervision, and only by pushing forward other forms of supervision alongside intra-Party supervision can we guarantee the comprehensive and strict management of the Party," the statement said. According to the statement, the current intra-Party supervision regulation, promulgated in 2003, has supported the management of the Party, by safeguarding Party unity and ensuring that the Party exists for the public and governs for the people. However, it noted that the regulation has become "incompatible with new practices and demands," adding that the experience gained in recent years laid the starting blocks for its revision. "Now is the time to revise the regulation, and we should grasp this opportunity," it said. ^ top ^

Former top PLA general Guo Boxiong jailed for life over graft (SCMP)
2016-07-26
A military court on Monday handed down a life sentence to former top general Guo Boxiong, making him the most senior PLA figure convicted of corruption since 1949. The sentencing came days before the 89th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, which is undergoing a major overhaul steered by President Xi Jinping. Guo, 74, was a vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission between 2002 and 2012, in charge of daily operations. Xu Caihou, another CMC vice-chairman, died of cancer last year at age 72 while in custody under investigation for graft. A signed commentary in the official PLA Daily issued after the verdict said the inquiries into the activities of Guo and Xu – as well as former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, former Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai and former presidential aide Ling Jihua – had eliminated “major threats” to the party and the military. But Guo's case differed from the other disgraced officials in that he faced only a single charge of accepting bribes, according to Xinhua. Xinhua cited an anonymous representative of the court martial as saying Guo had taken advantage of his position to help in the promotion and reassignment of others. He accepted “extremely huge amounts” of bribes, both personally and in collusion with others, the official said. But the exact amount he took was not specified. The South China Morning Post reported in April that prosecutors charged him with taking 80 million yuan (HK$96 million) in bribes. The court said Guo's crimes were “extremely serious”, but he had “confessed, owned up to his misdeeds, repented in good faith, and all the proceeds of his crimes have been recovered”. The report did not reveal when the trial started and said it was closed-door as it involved military secrets. Guo pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal. All of his personal property would be confiscated and his rank nullified, it said. Other suspects linked to the case would also be tried. A source close to the PLA told the Post the court found Guo and his family had sold promotions to high-ranking officers. His wife, daughter and son Guo Zhenggang had all been involved in his corruption. Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said the sentence might also reinforce Xi's standing ahead of the annual summer conclave at Beidaihe, where the tone for key policies and party reshuffles is expected to be discussed. “It's a show of strength before the Beidaihe meeting. The military overhaul is still under way,” he said. ^ top ^

CPC to strengthen its presence in primary and middle schools (Global Times)
2016-07-25
Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations at various levels have been told to strengthen "Party building" in elementary and middle schools and integrate their work into all aspects of education and school operations. A circular jointly released Friday by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Ministry of Education said that Party organizations should effectively participate in school decision-making and supervision at schools. "Party work's key mission in these schools is to strengthen students' morality education... and guide faculty to strengthen political identification and their sense of obligation to foster talent," it said. It urged schools to establish Party groups based on each school's size and number of Party members, stressing that equal attention should be paid to planning, implementation and evaluation of the schools' Party work and education. The document also encouraged the allocation of more education resources to schools in rural areas and those lacking a Party presence. ^ top ^

News programs shut down for running own reporting (Global Times)
2016-07-25
Beijing's Internet regulator on Sunday shut down some programs of several commercial news portals run by a number of major Internet giants for publishing news articles that they had reported and composed themselves, in violation of recent regulations on Internet management, news site thepaper.cn reported. The Beijing Cyberspace Administration has shut down "Geek News," a news program run by Sina, and is cleaning the forbidden content from its live channel "Sina Live." Moreover, news programs such as "People in News", "Radian", and "Click Today" run by Sohu, news programs "Echos", "Road Sign" run by Netease have also been required to close. Website ifeng.com has already closed its "Serious-News" program. The platforms such as websites, mobile applications and WeChat accounts of all these banned news programs will be shut down. An official from the administration said that these channels have seriously violated recently introduced regulations which stipulate that the re-posting or releasing news articles on social and political issues can only be done if they come from news agencies run by the central, provincial or municipal governments and should also note the sources. The official said that the administration will also fine the related websites, adding that it will enhance law enforcement and regulate the news services provided by the websites under its jurisdiction. China gave interviewing and reporting rights to online media for the first time in November, when central authorities finally granted press credentials to employees of news websites. The Cyberspace of Administration of China (CAC) issued a first group of online media press cards to 594 reporters from 14 "major central news portals," including the official websites of the People's Daily and the Xinhua News Agency. Employees of commercial news portals such as Sina and Sohu were not included. In July, the CAC ruled that online news outlets must verify social media content before publishing reports based on such content. News sites must verify social media sources and are banned from "fabricating stories or distorting facts". The CAC has already punished some major news websites for fabricating stories this year, including sina.com, ifeng.com, 163.com and news.qq.com, run by Chinese Internet giant Tencent. ^ top ^

225 dead or missing in Hebei province floods (SCMP)
2016-07-24
A new round of heavy rain swept through large parts of China over the past week has caused heavy casualties, leaving at least 114 people dead and 111 others missing by Saturday evening in Hebei provinces. In Xingtai city, 400km south of capital Beijing, at least 25 people were killed and another 13 missing, including many children, in a torrential flooding triggered by the biggest rainfall recorded since 1996, according to the provincial civil affairs department. The disaster occurred just days after President Xi Jinping stressed on Wednesday the importance of prompt issuance of early warnings in flood-prone areas and warned officials whose dereliction of duty results in heavy casualties must be held accountable. Floodwaters burst river banks and submerged at least 12 villages, authorities in Xingtai said yesterday. In Daxian village, one of the worst-hit, where at least seven people, including three school kids, were killed and another two kids still missing, the Beijing News reported. Over one million people in 21 counties and districts in the city were affected, forcing nearly 90,000 people from their homes and damaged about 19,000 houses. About 9 million people in Hebei were affected. Authorities in Xingtai initially denied any casualties. The news of heavy death toll began to emerge only after thousands of local residents took to the street on Friday, protesting against the alleged belated disaster warnings and ineffective rescue efforts. According to a video posted online and mainland media reports, disgruntled villagers blocked a main road for a few hours, accusing local government of failing to alert them before the flooding hit and attempting to cover up the casualties. Hundreds of policemen were sent to the scene to put down the protest. “I was woke up by huge noises at around 2am early Wednesday morning and found my house partially submerged in floodwaters,” a Daxian villager surnamed Wu told Caixin magazine. The floodwaters quickly rose by two metres within a few minutes and he had to climb to the roof to wait for rescue. “Unlike the floods in 1996 when everyone was successfully evacuated, I did not get any warnings for such a huge flooding,” Wu claimed. Other residents from the villages along the Qili river, which were hit hard by the flooding, told similar stories and said water had reached chest-level before an alarm was raised. Authorities in Xingtai dismissed the allegation at a briefing yesterday, insisting that they had tried their best to alert and evacuate local residents. Instead, they blamed the unprecedented torrential rains and said the fact that the river narrowed significant near Daxian village was also to blame for such heavy casualties. “Our early warnings and evacuation plan was already in place and we had issued warnings at about 1:40 am,” said Qiu Wenshuang, a deputy mayor of Xingtai yesterday. The protest video and photos showing destroyed homes and debris submerged in a tide of brown mud have sparked online fury, with many questioning local authorities' apparent failure to send out warnings and carry out evacuation effectively to save more lives. Xinhua said the floodwater killed another 26 people and left 34 missing in Jingxing county in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang city. Hebei provincial government has sent an inspection team to Xingtai to investigate into the allegations and help local authorities with disaster relief effort, People's Daily reported. Meteorological authorities in Hebei said torrential rains were expected in Xingtai and other disaster-hit areas in the next two days. In the central province of Henan, 15 people were killed and eight were missing after thunderstorms and strong winds forced 7.2 million people from their homes and damaged 18,000 houses. ^ top ^

Chinese court rejects lawsuit filed by outspoken journal over sackings (SCMP)
2016-07-23
A Beijing district court on Friday refused to accept a lawsuit filed by outspoken political journal Yanhuang Chunqiu against its supervising organisation, the Chinese National Academy of Arts, over the sacking of its publisher and demotion of its chief editor, a lawyer said. Yanhuang Chunqiu, which has the support of senior liberal veterans in the Communist Party, said the sacking last week breached a written agreement over the journal's independence. Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, who is one of two lawyers representing the magazine, saidthe case they filed one week ago in Chaoyang District Court, was turned down with no reason given. “The court refused to give us a reason in black and white, which we can use as a legal statement to appeal to an intermediate court,” Mo said. “Their ambiguity indicated that the case, which is a simple case involving contract disputes between Yanhuang Chunqiu and its contract party, was interfered with by some external factors.” He said the agreement between Yanhuang Chunqiu and the academy, which was assigned by the Ministry of Culture to oversee the publication, promised editorial independence and freedom in making decisions related to human resources and finances, all within the confines of the constitution. The 25-year-old influential journal, which had a monthly circulation of nearly 200,000 and financial independence, has voiced support for constitutional democracy and been known to contest the official version of party history. It stopped publication on Sunday after a July 13 reshuffle of top management that included the sacking of long-time publisher Du Daozheng. Top management led by Du, 92, decided to sue the academy and hired Mo and his colleague Ding Xikui to represent the magazine. “The academy's move to unilaterally terminate the agreement by removing all the newsroom staff and appointing a new management is a typical defaulting move,” Mo said. After negotiations, the district court agreed to send a presiding judge on Monday to meet the lawyers and explain the reasons for rejecting the suit, Mo said. If the presiding judge still refused to issue a legal statement explaining the rationale, Mo said they would complain to the leadership of the district court. ^ top ^

Popular elected Chinese village chief arrested on bribery charges (SCMP)
2016-07-22
Guangdong authorities formally arrested Wukan village chief Lin Zuluan on Thursday for alleged graft as defiant residents pressed on with their month-long protest in support of their elected leader. The Shanwei government, which oversees Wukan, announced the arrest in an online statement. But, a month after Lin, 70, was detained, villagers continued their daily demonstrations demanding his release. “No matter how hard the authorities try to smear Lin's character, our eyes are crystal clear,” one Wukan resident said. “Lin's respected reputation is not something that can be distorted by some articles online... That thousands of villagers are marching every day is testament to him. [The authorities] have underestimated the people of Wukan.” Wukan made international headlines in 2011 after massive protests by villagers against land seizures and corruption ended with the provincial government allowing them to directly elect their chief. The villagers of the remote fishing village had fought to regain more than 10 sq km of illegally occupied land. They reclaimed 1.3 sq km, but the rest remains in limbo. Last month, Lin planned to spearhead village complaints about land use but he was detained by police in a midnight raid on his home on June 18. Authorities in Lufeng and Shanwei accused Lin of taking 80,000 yuan (HK$93,000) in kickbacks over the construction of a running track a local school. Residents then began mounting daily protests to demand Lin's release. Lin's family said the authorities had interfered with their attempts to hire lawyers for the 70-year-old. His 68-year-old wife Yang Zhen said in a statement published earlier this month that she did not recognise the two government-appointed lawyers representing her husband. “We are entirely capable of affording our own lawyers so we do not require legal aid. The lawyers [appointed by the government] to handle Lin's case are not recognised by Lin's family,” Yang's statement said. According to villagers, Yang was receiving medical treatment for high blood pressure at an unknown location. Authorities are understood to have restricted the movements of other family members, including his grandchildren, for at least two weeks. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Reincarnation claim of Dalai only a 'political show': report (Global Times)
2016-07-25
The 14th Dalai Lama has put up another "political show," claiming he would reincarnate on another galaxy or planet, State media said Sunday, calling such remarks a repetitive trick to attract more attention. In an interview with Taiwan-based news portal The Reporter, the Dalai Lama said, "my reincarnation may happen on other planets and galaxies. Maybe after several hundred million years, there will be a big bang and the whole universe will disappear. I will need to go somewhere else." "I hope I can reincarnate in a place where there are more sufferings, not pure land. Or I reincarnate as a warrior," he said. Calling the remarks "capricious," tibet.cn, a website affiliated with the Chinese government, said this is not the first time the Dalai Lama has "attracted Western media attention through his remarks on reincarnation." Tibet.cn said the Dalai Lama claimed he would be the last Dalai Lama in 2014. In May 2015, he said it is possible that he would be reincarnated as a "mischievous" blond woman. Citing analysts, the website noted that the Dalai Lama was putting on a "political show" through his "gaudy remarks," and it is a fig leaf for him to say continuing the reincarnation system shall be "decided by all Tibetans." The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has to be endorsed by the central government, instead of himself or anyone else, according to Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee under the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. ^ top ^

Panchen Lama's first Kalachakra ritual closes successfully (Global Times)
2016-07-24
The first Kalachakra ritual given by the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu concluded on Sunday. The four-day Kalachakra (wheel of time) ritual was held in the New Palace of the Panchen Lama at the request of the monks of the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the home temple of Panchen Lamas, in Xigaze. It was the first large-scale kalachakra ritual held in Tibet for 60 years. Records from the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery showed that the 10th Panchen Lama performed one in 1954. The ceremony began with a closed-door observance by senior monks from Labrang Lamasery in northwest China's Gansu Province and Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery every morning from July 21 to July 24. Every afternoon, Panchen Lama gave four hour sermons, chanting mantras, explaining scripture and giving blessings. Yanglha, 76, was grateful for the rare teachings. "An ordinary person would be hoarse after speaking for hours, but Panchen Lama's voice is always loud and resonant," she said. Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery began preparations one month ago. A mandala made of colored sand by 20 senior monks was displayed to devotees on Sunday. Some 100 lamas and 5,000 monks and nuns from Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan attended the ritual that is to help people through the cycle of life. Despite intermittent rain, more than 100,000 believers attended the ritual each day. Cumulative attendance for the four days reached 426,000. Four LED screens and dozens of loud speakers ensured the audience could clearly follow the teachings. Hong Song, 56, a Tibetan from Qinghai Province, left four days in advance with his family. They flew from Yushu to Lhasa and took a train to Xigaze. He carried three kilograms of fried highland barley for breakfast and snacks in case there was no time for meals. He called the teachings "very, very precious". Lama Thubten Drakpa with the Gyatso Ling Monastery said Panchen Rinpoche has "set a good example for living buddhas, especially the young ones." Currently serving as vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, Panchen Lama, 26, has received some 1,000 initiations and given head-touching blessings to about 1.5 million Buddhists. In Zhaxi Lhunbo last December, he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his enthronement. Dawa Tsering, a monk and president of the Buddhism Association of Shannan City of Tibet, was present to receive the kalachakra teachings. He said he was very grateful to Panchen Rinpoche's confident and thorough explanation of the teachings. "I think he is an honor to Tibetan Buddhism and as followers we feel blessed,"said Dawa Tsering. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Mainland, HK to include rights protection in two-way mechanism (Global Times)
2016-07-29
The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong agreed on Thursday to add protecting human rights to a two-way notification system at a meeting in Shenzhen, according to a Ministry of Public Security (MPS) statement. The statement said the two sides will write the principle of "acting according to law, embracing differences, identifying mutually beneficial grounds and protecting human rights" to the improved mechanism. Co-chaired by Hong Kong Security Chief Lai Tung-kwok and MPS Vice Minister Chen Zhimin, the meeting was the second on improving the notification mechanism. The two sides have held honest discussions on issues, including the protection of people's legitimate rights and a crackdown on cross-border crimes, read the statement. Both sides also agreed to uphold the "one country, two systems" principle and abide by the Constitution, the Basic Law and the related laws of both sides, according to a press release on the Hong Kong government website. "The two sides conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, candid and practical discussion on the reciprocal notification mechanism, including arrangements on the time frame, content, scope and channel," said a Hong Kong government spokesperson. The first meeting was held on July 5, when Hong Kong officials were briefed on the detention of Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee and a suspect, Jie Guanguo, in the murder of a store owner in March, according to another MPS statement. Jie was transferred to Hong Kong police on Thursday, the MPS said. Both sides have increased communication in handling suspected crimes by residents from the other side since the notification system was implemented in 2000, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The MPS said 6,172 Hong Kong residents placed under "coercive measures" on the mainland had been reported to Hong Kong police in 2015, and 6,934 mainland residents were placed under a similar status in Hong Kong. ^ top ^

Outgoing Legco president Jasper Tsang may challenge CY Leung for Hong Kong's top job (SCMP)
2016-07-29
Outgoing Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has sent shock waves through Hong Kong on Friday by announcing for the first time that he might run for the city's top job if no competent candidate comes to challenge Leung Chun-ying's expected re-election bid. The pro-establishment heavyweight expressed his strong wish to see genuine competition in the 2017 race, but so far had yet to see any electable aspirants – such as Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah – show any intention to run head-to-head with Leung. “Let me give you this answer that I have not given anyone before,” said Tsang when he was asked by RTHK's The Pulse whether he would throw his hat into the ring in an interview. “If no one else really wants to run, and if it turns out it is both necessary and possible for me to stand as a candidate to offer a genuine choice - at least to the election committee – then I will consider that. But still, I hope in due course other much better qualified candidates, much better than I am, would come out.” Tsang, 69, said he was “fully aware of” his shortcomings in relation to the role of Hong Kong's leader - namely his lack of experience in the administration and his age. “I genuinely believe that you need some knowledge in running the government, in economic and financial affairs, to be a competent chief executive,” Tsang said, adding he was “too old for learning”. Tsang stopped short of criticising his potential rival Leung, saying he was doomed to be stuck in a difficult position as his victory was the result of a controversial electoral system. The city's chief is chosen by a 1200-strong Election Committee, which is occupied by Beijing-loyalists. When asked if Leung was not a good leader, Tsang said: “But he was chosen to be the leader. Within that system, it was a consequence.” Earlier, Tsang had repeatedly said he would not run for the top job, because he will turn 70 next May. In an interview with the Post earlier this month, he said he was confident that there would be “a genuine competition” next year. “The competitor will not be reliant on pan-democrats' support... but someone supported by the pro-establishment camp and trusted by the central government,” he said. “This must be the case; I cannot see any other possibility.” The Legco president decided against running last time, just weeks before the chief executive election was held in March 2012. ^ top ^

New Hong Kong election declaration could backfire, former think tank head warns (SCMP)
2016-07-25
The tightened government measure apparently aimed at barring pro-independence candidates from running in the Legislative Council elections could backfire, a former head of the Hong Kong government think tank has warned. The warning by Professor Lau Siu-kai on Sunday came as police were sent to “observe” a press conference hosted by the Hong Kong National Party, which advocates Hong Kong breaking away from China. Party convenor Chan Ho-tin however claimed initial victory as the pro-independence group was able to force the government to resort to such unusual moves. The police said the officer was from the Police Public Engagement Office, part of whose role is to build up contacts with various civic groups. The force said his presence at the press conference had nothing to do with “surveillance” or “spying”. Speaking in a TVB interview on Sunday, Lau said: “If a pro-independence activist is barred from running in the Legislative Council, not only his supporters, but also voters who sympathise with him or some voters who do not support independence could vote for the radicals allowed in the race.” But Lau, who is now a vice-chairman of the semi-official mainland think tank, the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, believed the Hong Kong and Beijing governments had assessed the consequences and were “willing to bear such risks” as it was a matter of national sovereignty. The new measure, announced two days before the start of the nomination period for September's elections, requires all candidates to declare their acceptance of Hong Kong as an inalienable part of China or face disqualification. The current system already requires candidates to sign a declaration in the nomination form to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong. The new measure requires them to sign an additional form to confirm their clear understanding of it. Critics say it is “political screening” and many pan-democrats and pro-independence activists have vowed not to sign the new form. Despite the controversy, Lau said he believed the move was “conducive” to good relations between Beijing and Hong Kong because it showed that the city's government was “capable of protecting national security and sovereignty”. He also said it was not unusual for restrictions to be imposed in elections. He said: “I think German politicians cannot run for elections if they support Nazism or Communism.” Chan echoed Lau's analysis, adding that the pro-independence force had already won the first round. “If the government ends up disallowing us to run, it will arouse bigger public awareness of Beijing's suppression of Hong Kong and it may encourage more people to come out to support the independence force. “If we are in the end allowed to run, we will get platforms like TV debates to promote our ideas. Either way, we are going to emerge a winner,” said a defiant Chan, who has submitted nomination forms to run in New Territories West constituency without signing the new declaration. The party said it had written to the government to ask it to explain the legal basis for introducing the new form. On the presence of a police officer at its press conference, the party confirmed they and the police had kept in contact. “They approach us and make inquiries when they know we are planning public events. But we were a bit surprised to see an officer sit in on our press conference,” a party spokesman said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan opposition party KMT faces probe into its alleged 'ill-gotten' finances (SCMP)
2016-07-26
Taiwan is to launch an official investigation into the ill-gotten assets of political parties in a move blasted by the opposition Kuomintang as persecution. The move comes after Beijing-sceptic president Tsai Ing-wen formally took office in May. The new investigation is likely to deepen divisions between Taiwan's main parties. Tsai repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the KMT's assets in her presidential campaign and accused it of trying to dispose of them before presidential and parliamentary elections in January. Although the bill passed by parliament late on Monday authorises the investigation and seizure of ill-gotten assets from all parties, it is only the KMT which has faced questions about its finances. Considered one of the richest parties in the world, it registered total assets of NT$18.96 billion (HK$4.6 billion) by the end of last year, compared with NT$478.72 million by Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party. The KMT, which fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese communists on the mainland, traces its wealth to its origins in pre-communist China. It also inherited assets nationalised by the Japanese, who ruled Taiwan as a colony from 1895 to 1945. However, critics have long accused the party of stealing from the people of Taiwan and illegally amassing fortunes through cosy business links during its half-century grip on power. Tsai described the passing of the bill as a “milestone for mature development in Taiwan's democratic politics”. But KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu lashed out at Tsai's party for using “majority violence to pass an illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic vicious law” for its own partisan interests. The party has repeatedly blocked the assets bill, which was first proposed 14 years ago when it held a parliamentary majority. Now it faces a detailed probe after losing the presidency and control of parliament for the first time ever in January, as the public became increasingly uneasy over closer ties with the mainland China. Under the bill, all assets of a political party, with the exception of membership fees, political donations and government subsidies, obtained since August 15, 1945 - when the KMT took over Taiwan from Japan - are considered ill-gotten and must be returned to the government. Political parties must declare assets to a new commission within a year of the bill's enactment and violators will be fined up to NT$5 million. After it fled to Taiwan in 1949, the KMT ruled under martial law until 1987, then continued to lead the government until 2000 when it lost power for the first time to the Democratic Progressive Party. The party was in power again from 2008 to 2016 when Beijing-friendly leader Ma Ying-jeou oversaw an unprecedented thaw in ties with the mainland China. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

Chinese, North Korean envoys meet amid strained ties (SCMP)
2016-07-26
North Korea's new top envoy sat down with his Chinese counterpart in Vientiane on Monday with relations between Pyongyang and Beijing on edge as North Korea pursues its internationally condemned nuclear programme. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho was making his first appearance at a major diplomatic gathering in his new role. US Secretary of State John Kerry also held talks with ally South Korea,with both sides describing ties as closer than ever in the face of Pyongyang's sabre-rattling. “This is the right time for us to send out a very clear and strong message to North Korea that our alliance is stronger, deeper and broader than ever,” Seoul's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said after a sitdown with Kerry. Little emerged from Ri's meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. “The meeting was held as part of the two countries' normal communication process,” an unnamed North Korean official said. Both Beijing and Pyongyang share a deep suspicion of Washington's strong presence in the region. But China has grown impatient with North Korea's refusal to rein in its weapons programme after its fourth nuclear test in January and a series of missile launches this year sparked international uproar. Pyongyang's repeated provocations have pushed tensions on the Korean peninsula to a new high, and finally led Washington and Seoul to announce earlier in July the long-discussed deployment a US missile defence system in South Korea to counter the threat from the North. ^ top ^

Deploying missile defence system in South Korea harms ties with China, says Chinese foreign minister (SCMP)
2016-07-25
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has criticised South Korea's move to deploy an advanced US anti-missile defence system to counter threats from North Korea, saying it harmed the foundation of their mutual trust, news reports said on Monday. The announcement by South Korea and the United States this month that they would deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence unit has already drawn protests from Beijing that it would destabilize regional security. The decision to deploy the defence system is the latest move to squeeze the increasingly isolated North Korea, but China worries the system's radar will be able to track its military capabilities. Russia also opposes the deployment. “The recent move by the South Korean side has harmed the foundation of mutual trust between the two countries,” Wang was quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency and KBS television as telling South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Wang and Yun met late on Sunday on the sidelines of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference of foreign ministers in Vientiane. Yun told Wang that the move was aimed at protecting South Korea's security and that it would not damage China's security interests, Yonhap said. South Korea and the United States have said the defence system would only be used in defence against North Korean ballistic missiles. North Korea has launched a series of missiles in recent months, the latest last week when it fired three ballistic missiles that it said was a simulated test of pre-emptive strikes against South Korean ports and airfields used by the U.S. military. The missiles flew 500km to 600km into the sea off its east coast and could have hit anywhere in South Korea if the North intended, the South's military said. North Korea came under the latest round of United Nations Security Council sanctions in March after Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket the following month. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Parliament session to close (Montsame)
2016-07-29
The State Great Khural will hold its closing session today (July 29) upon discussing the appointment of four remaining ministers. The Administrative Council of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) came up with new nominations to the positions of ministers of health, energy, construction and urban development, and food agriculture and light industry, on July 28. The new cabinet, headed by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, has 15 members excluding himself, out of whom 11 ministers were appointed and received their seals. Four candidatures were withdrawn after a conclusion of the Anti-Corruption Agency on conflict of interests. ^ top ^

Cabinet meeting in brief (Montsame)
2016-07-28
In connection with the renewed structure and composition of the Cabinet, members of the National Emergency Commission have been changed. The Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh became the chief of the commission which comprises the Minister of Defense B.Bat-Erdene and the chief of the National Emergency Management Agency, the deputies, and some members of cabinet and the ministries' state secretaries. At the first meeting of this cabinet, held July 27, the Consul General of Mongolia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Mr B.Enkh-Amgalan was recalled, and assigned to the position of senior adviser to the Deputy PM and head of the service. Chief of Cabinet Secretariat and Minister J.Monkhbat presented measures being undertaken by ministries for winter preparations. In consideration of the difficulties in budget revenue accumulation and shortcomings in finance and cadres, the Ministers were charged to submit estimates of required costs for winter preparations. ^ top ^

109 vacancies reduced in Ministries (Montsame)
2016-07-28
In connection with the decision on the new composition and structure of government, the Cabinet adopted a revised version of the organizational charts of ministries at the new cabinet's first meeting, held July 27. During the administration of the Government for Solutions, 1,490 persons worked in 15 ministries, whereas the new organizational structure provides for 1,381 vacancies in 13 ministries. In developing the new organizational charts, the cabinet members focused on ensuring the unity of state policies for each sector, eliminating the duplications of duties of state administrative bodies, and on meeting the objectives reflected in the Mongolian People's Party platform. In regard to the state policy on industrializing the country, divisions of investment and production is to be established under the departments of strategy and policy planning. The departments and divisions will have no deputy directors as well. ^ top ^

Ministries of Energy, Food and Agriculture, Construction and Urban Development have acting ministers (Montsame)
2016-07-27
On July 27, Prime Minister J. Erdenebat issued a direction on assigning temporal heads of Ministries. Thus, the recently appointed Minister of Road and Transport Developemnt D.Ganbat was assigned as acting Minister of Construction and Urban Development, Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh – acting Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, while the Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry Ts.Dashdorj takes up the position of acting Minister of Energy. ​ ^ top ^

N.Nomtoibayar appointed as acting Health Minister (Montsame)
2016-07-27
Member of Parliament and newly appointed Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Nomtoibayar Nyamtaishir was assigned today (July 27) the acting Minister of Health. He is currently holding a meeting with the staff of the Ministry of Health. The Mongolian People's Party (MPP), the majority in the State Great Khural (Parliament), is setting up the incumbent cabinet with 16 members, including 13 sectorial ministers, the Prime Minister, the Deputy PM and the Head of Cabinet Secretariat and Minister of Mongolia. As of today, 11 members have been appointed, and the candidates to the offices of ministers of health, energy, construction and urban development and of food and light industry are indefinite. ^ top ^

11 New Ministers take their offices and seals (Montsame)
2016-07-25
State Great Khural (Parliament), on the plenary meetings of July 22 and 23, appointed 11 new members of cabinet. The MPP Board withdrew 4 nominees to offices of ministers of Construction and Urban Development, Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, Health and of Energy. As per the decision, U.Khurelsukh was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, J.Monkhbat -- Chief of Cabinet Secretariat, B.Choijilsuren -- Minister of Finance, N.Nomtoibayar – Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, B.Bat-Erdene – Minister of Defense, Ts.Monkh-Orgil – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ts.Oyunkhorol- Minister of the Environment and Tourism, S.Byambatsogt –Minister of Justice and Domestics Affairs, Ts.Dashdorj – Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry, D.Ganbat – Minister of Road and Transport Development, and J.Batsuuri – Minister of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports. The appointed Ministers solemnly received ministerial seals last weekend. The Parliament could not finalize the appointment of the remaining 4 ministers, due to the conclusion of the Corruption Combating Agency (CCA) on the conflict of interests of the MPP-nominated candidates. The leaders of ruling power – MPP – have accepted the CCA's conclusion and decided to re-consider the nominations on the following meetings. ^ top ^

MPP to re-consider ministers nomination (Montsame)
2015-07-22
Parliamentary faction of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) has reportedly called a special meeting of Board to review the nominations to the Ministers' offices. The MPP has been promising to form a “professional cabinet” ever since the beginning of its election campaigns. The nominations by the previous meeting of the MPP board, held on July 21, has been greatly subjected to public criticism, as well as from their own members. President Ts.Elbegdorj also sent an official letter to the PM J.Erdenebat once again to review the ministers' appointments to reach consensus. The head of state is disappointed with the dissolving of the Ministry of Industry, which he considers to be “essential” for the country's economic growth. ^ 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.
 
Page created and hosted by SinOptic Back to the top of the page To SinOptic - Services and Studies on the Chinese World's Homepage