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
  1-5.8.16, No. 633  
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Switzerland

Swiss British missionary who helped army in Long March (China Daily)
2016-08-03
It's hard to imagine a foreign-language map becoming valuable for army when it's in a language nobody knows and at a time when the area is more or less closed off to outsiders. It was early October 1934, and the Red Army just started the Long March when it accidently came across Rudolf Bosshardt, a Swiss British missionary working in China, in Guizhou province. General Xiao Ke of the Sixth Corps decided to keep Bosshardt with the unit as he did not want to risk their secret military maneuver becoming public by allowing the missionary to go. This decision had a far-reaching consequence that even General Xiao had not anticipated. At that time, the army was relying on nothing but a small map torn from middle school geography textbook. So a detailed map measuring one square meter was undoubtedly very valuable for the troops, but there was a small hitch: It was in French, a language none of the soldiers knew. This is where Bosshardt's help proved to be invaluable as he knew French well and also bit of Chinese. Bosshardt, who was 37 and then stayed with the Red Army for more than 500 days, translated the whole map. […] With the help of the map and Bosshardt's information, leaders of the Six Corps decided to head towards the western part of Central China's Hubei province through the eastern part of Guizhou province to join forces with the Third Corps. Bosshardt was a unique participant during the Long March. Although the Red Army did not have enough supplies, they tried their best to meet his needs, which moved him a lot. And he was also impressed by the strict discipline and spirit of the Red Army, according to Fang Wei, an editor based with Military Museum of China. Bosshardt later recounted his experience in his book The Restraining Hand: Captivity for Christ in China, which was published in 1936, whose name was changed into The Guiding Hand when reprinted in 1978. Bosshardt's legendary story will now grace the big screen in October in a joint production between Hunan's Xiaoxiang Film Group and local government of Huangping county in Guizhou province, according to an earlier report in Hunan Daily. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

THAAD likely focus of summit (China Daily)
2016-08-05
ROK's Park may seek to ease Russia's concerns over deployment in talks with Putin, experts say The visit to Russia by the Republic of Korea's president in early September is likely to address tensions between Seoul and Moscow over the THAAD missile defense system and seek to break Russia and China's united stance on the issue, experts said. The ROK presidential Blue House announced on Wednesday that President Park Geun-hye will fly to Russia on Sept 2 to attend an economic forum on developing Russia's Far East and to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Washington and Seoul said in a joint announcement on July 8 that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will be deployed to deal with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear and missile threats. China and Russia expressed strong opposition to the system, whose radar will be capable of monitoring missiles in the two countries, saying it will destabilize the balance of security in the region. An official from Park's office told The Associated Press that he couldn't confirm whether THAAD will be discussed in the meeting between Park and Putin scheduled for Sept 3. Nam Chang-Hee, an international politics professor at Inha University in Incheon, told ROK news agency Yonhap, "Park is likely to use her summit with Putin to ease Russia's concerns over THAAD." Zhang Liangui, an expert on Korean studies at the Party School of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, said that "China and Russia have been on the same line since the announcement of the system, which has exerted great pressure on the ROK". Zhang said one target of Park's Russia trip is likely to be seeking to use economic cooperation documents in exchange for a softened stance by Moscow on the planned THAAD deployment, in order to influence the Chinese government. The planned THAAD deployment could be an incentive for security cooperation between Russia and China, said Sergei Luzianin, acting director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences. "The deployment of a new missile defense system (in the ROK) is the most serious challenge in recent years, above all, to China and Russia," he told Chinese media, warning that the action could be the start of an arms race in Northeast Asia. Moscow and Beijing might use the "huge strategic potential of military deterrence" to counter the new tensions that the US is trying to create in the region, he said. Moscow has warned that missile units could be deployed in eastern Russia in response to THAAD. On Wednesday, Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles in an apparent response to plans to deploy THAAD. The decision to deploy THAAD has drawn strong domestic opposition, particularly from residents in the ROK's southern town of Seongju, the site selected for the deployment. ^ top ^

China vows to deepen economic, trade cooperation with ASEAN (Xinhua)
2016-08-05
China on Thursday vowed to deepen economic and trade cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The pledge was made during the 15th China-ASEAN (10+1) economic ministers' meeting which was held here in the Lao capital on Thursday. Speaking at the meeting, Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng highlighted the fruitful cooperation between China and ASEAN over the past 25 years. He said bilateral cooperation in trade and economy has all along been a "ballast" and "propeller" in China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. Pointing out that there is immense potential for cooperation in industrial capacity between China and ASEAN, the Chinese minister called for more efforts in this regard and building cross-border industrial chains. China stands ready to work with ASEAN on cluster cooperation in such fields as railway, information and communication, chemical industry, engineering machinery and agriculture, he said, adding that enterprises from both sides are encouraged to carry out all-round cooperation. The Chinese minister called for greater synergy between China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and development strategies of ASEAN member countries. He said the two sides should actively implement projects in related areas for mutual benefit and win-win results. Gao expressed China's willingness to support ASEAN's community construction and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 as well as to participate in the region's integration. He said China will continue to provide development assistance as its capacity allows and help narrow the development gaps between ASEAN member countries. China will also participate in the formulation and implementation of the master plan on ASEAN's connectivity and its post-2015 agenda, he added. According to Gao, China will vigorously promote China-East ASEAN Growth Area cooperation and the Lancang-Mekong cooperation and provide financial support via platforms like China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. China will support ASEAN's centrality in pushing forward the conclusion of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year, he said. China is also willing to expand cooperation areas with ASEAN by supporting economic and trade cooperation between China's provincial areas and ASEAN member countries, he added. A joint communique on industrial capacity cooperation was approved at the meeting and it will be submitted to a commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relationship in September this year. ^ top ^

Seoul's tilt towards Tokyo could lead to worst-case scenario for Beijing (SCMP)
2016-08-05
China is finding itself falling into a strategic nightmare with the first sign of a Washington-Tokyo - Seoul military alliance at its doorstep after South Korea hinted it would share missile intelligence with Japan, analysts say. South Korea's Ministry of Defence only said it could share with Japan the information on North Korean missiles gathered via a US-supplied anti-missile system. But that is a dangerous step in the eyes of Beijing, as it could knit Tokyo and Seoul closer in military cooperation down the road. Both Japan and South Korea are military allies of the United States, but Seoul is always reluctant to engage in bilateral military cooperation with Tokyo because of territorial disputes and wartime atrocities suffered by Koreans. However, Seoul's stance changed on Thursday. In his regular press conference, the South Korean defence ministry spokesman said information sharing with Japan would be possible, citing a memorandum signed in 2014 by the US, South Korea and Japan regarding Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported. This modest start could lead to wider information-sharing between South Korea and Japan, and remotely, a military alliance, said Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military analyst who previously worked as an instructor for the PLA's Second Artillery Corps, the former strategic missile force. “This could mean a three-party alliance, rather than two-sided alliances [of the US and Japan, and the US and South Korea], and this would pose a damaging threat to the stability of Northeast Asia,” Song said. If South Korea drifts into the orbit of the US and Japan, China's influence on the Korean peninsula could be badly compromised. At a military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan last September, South Korean President Park Geun-hye was the only American ally present, standing with President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. A few months later, the US and Seoul announced they would deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. Its stated purpose is to counter North Korea's missile threat, but it could also be used to watch China. China was so infuriated that Beijing told its television stations to suspend any new shows with South Korean stars, sources said earlier this week. Xu Guangyu, a retired PLA major general, said China would be pushed into a corner if South Korea and Japan widened their collusion, giving China's leaders no choice but to lean towards a Beijing-Moscow alliance to provide a counterbalance. “In such a case, China and Russia would face a powerful challenge from the US, South Korea and Japan, who can obtain missile information about China and Russia in a short time and take immediate action,” Xu said. “This would in turn trigger a stronger backlash from China and Russia and lead to an arms race in Northeast Asia.” ^ top ^

China, U.S. hold first legal dialogue (Xinhua)
2016-08-04
China and the United States on Wednesday and Thursday held their first legal dialogue in Beijing. The dialogue was jointly sponsored by the office of China's central leading group for judicial reform and the U.S. departments of justice and commerce. A total of 30 officials, judges and experts joined the dialogue. The two sides agreed that the dialogue was an important aspect of the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, according to a statement issued by China. The dialogue focused on reform and economic growth, commercial cases, practices and challenges. The second dialogue will be held in 2017 in Washington. ^ top ^

China remains committed to pushing Sino-Africa cooperation forward: envoy (Xinhua)
2016-08-04
China will continue working together with African nations to push the China-Africa cooperation forward despite all ups and downs of global economic situations, said a Chinese envoy. La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held on July 29 in Beijing, convened in a manner further promoting the cooperation between China and Africa. He said the two sides have inked a number of new agreements during the Beijing meeting, showing the dynamic development of China-Africa cooperation. The ambassador made the remarks on Wednesday during a ceremony in its embassy to award the Chinese Government 2016/17 scholarship to Ethiopian students, who will be pursuing their postgraduate studies of masters and PhD programs in China. La said the Beijing meeting deliberated on ways of jointly pushing forward the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC. The Summit opened a new era of win-win cooperation and common development between China and Africa, and was a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations, said Chinese President Xi Jinping in his message to the Coordinators' Meeting. Over the past six months, China and Africa have worked together to overcome the negative impact of the sluggish world economy, reached consensus on jointly implementing the outcomes of the summit, and achieved tangible results, Xi said. "It is not the end; it is a new beginning. We believe this South-South cooperation between China and African countries. We could work together to overcome the downward pressure of the world economy and moving forward," said La. "China will continue working together with African countries, with Ethiopia, despite all ups and downs of the current economic situations," he added. Recalling that China would host the G20 summit in Hangzhou next month, La expressed China's commitment to using the summit as a platform for deliberation on issues of sustainable development in Africa. "We certainly believe that it is not the club of the wealth and most powerful; it is the club that should pay attention to development of the south, so for that purpose we have to make sure to take on board the achievements of sustainable development goals, in particular African countries, as one of the component of the G20 summit," said the ambassador. "We will always work together with the countries in the South to achieve common progress, common prosperity," he added. ^ top ^

China 'strongly dissatisfied' with Japan's defense white paper: Foreign Ministry (Global Times)
2016-08-03
China is "strongly dissatisfied" with Japan's 2016 defense white paper over its groundless accusations against China's defense development and military activities, according to a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement that China made solemn representations to Japan over the irresponsible white paper. Japan has no right to make carping comments on China's legitimate activities near Diaoyu Islands, Hua said, stressing that China's determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is "unshakable." She noted that China's navy and air force activities are in line with international law, domestic law as well as national defense needs. China will not accept the "award" of the South China Sea arbitration initiated unilaterally by the Philippines, said Hua, adding that China will continue to work for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation between countries directly concerned on the basis of respect for historical facts. The spokesperson blamed Japan for fabricating excuses for military expansion through stirring up enmity on regional security. She urged Japan to earnestly learn from history, stick to a peaceful development path, act prudently in the military field and gain trust from its neighbors instead of undermining regional stability. Chinese Defense Ministry on Tuesday also expressed strong opposition to the Japanese white paper. ^ top ^

ROK should rethink THAAD deployment (Global Times)
2016-08-03
With the Republic of Korea (ROK) continuing to stress the need to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system on its territory, Seoul has been tied to Washington's chariot. The ROK has become the outpost of the United States missile defense system. Apparently, the ROK has been dangerously coerced by the United States. The ROK media have been quite clear about this. According to a commentary carried by The Hankyoreh, deploying THAAD on the Korean Peninsula is part of the United States' Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy. However, the commentary said, THAAD will worsen the peninsula's security environment, as it will break the military balance of the region. A wedge placed by the United States in the Northeast Asia, THAAD not only contributes nothing to the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, but will also create new contradictions that lead to further deterioration of the peninsula. The move will bring a series of political, economic, security, environmental and social risks to the ROK. If conflict were to break out, the ROK would be the first to be affected and the country would be fundamentally changed, with the ROK people paying the price. Can the ROK government afford the price? It is clear that ROK's real protection is neither THAAD nor the United States far away. The country's amulet is its grasp of the overall international situation and a clear-headed sense of reality. It is known to all that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is a systematic process full of difficulties. However, adding fuel to the flames is foolish and irresponsible. Let us remind the ROK about China's irreplaceable role when the Korean Peninsula was in crisis as well as China's push to resume the six-party talks. Recent years have seen the rapid development of Sino-ROK relations, frequent high-level exchanges and the deepening of the strategic partnership between the two countries. China has been the ROK's biggest trade partner, export destination and source of imports. The Free Trade Agreement has shown progress, and friendly civilian exchanges have brought tangible benefits to both peoples. In spite of all the achievements, bilateral relations need care from both sides. From Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya, the United States has been using "agents" to consolidate its hegemony and upset a region before quitting. Considering these facts, the ROK should stop playing with fire in order to avoid being the victim of its own evil deeds, and should stop serving as the errand boy of the United States. Its decision makers should remain sober-minded and take into account the ROK's long-term interests and the wellbeing of its people. ^ top ^

China opens S. China Sea website (Xinhua)
2016-08-03
China on Wednesday opened a website on the South China Sea, complete with historical maps, articles and research, according to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA). Run by the National Marine Data & Information Service, the Chinese language site has 10 sections that cover basic information, news, historical archives, development and management, expert opinion, law and regulations, a timeline of major events, pictures and videos and Q&A. "The South China Sea has drawn huge attention, but some information online is not accurate," said Zhang Haiwen, SOA official in charge of international cooperation. "We hope that this website will enable domestic and overseas people to better understand it and learn about the truth behind the 'dispute' over it." According to Zhang, the website contains not only maps and archives but also exclusive analysis and expository articles based on experts' research of thousands of maps. Zhang cited that a map often used by Vietnam to prove that it owned the Xisha Islands was actually pieced together by two maps, which have already been obtained by experts and might be used to refute the country's claim. Zhang said new findings will be published on the website once verified. According to the SOA, information on the website must first be reviewed by an expert panel and be "comprehensive, authoritative, detailed and accurate." "The website is founded with the aim of positively publicizing our policies, claims, historical proof, legal basis and international cooperation while serving as a reliable channel for domestic and overseas government departments, research groups and individuals to learn about the South China Sea," said SOA spokesman Shi Qingfeng. The website has now six domain names, including www.thesouthchinasea.org and www.china-nanhai.org, due to "information unification and security concerns," according to the SOA. ^ top ^

China to jail foreign fishermen who ply trade in sovereign waters (SCMP)
2016-08-03
People who are caught illegally fishing in Chinese waters could face up to one year in jail, China's top court said on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to enforce maritime sovereignty amid territorial tensions with neighbours. The Supreme People's Court interpretation came following the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, that China had violated the fishing rights of the Philippines by preventing its citizens from fishing in the South China Sea. Beijing has refused to accept the ruling. According to the new jurisdictional interpretation, which came into effect on Tuesday, foreign vessels and their crews illegally entering Chinese waters – including China's contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves – had been involved in crimes and could face trial, Professor Wang Hanling of the Chinese Academy of Social Science said. SSNow [authorities] know clearly what to do when illegal fishermen enter the waters Wang Hanling, professor, Chinese Academy of Social Science “When it came to illegal fishing by foreign fishermen before, we usually just drove them out, or, in some serious cases, confiscated the goods or fishing tools but finally would let them go rather than taking them to court,” Wang said. “Now [Chinese courts and law enforcement officials] know clearly what to do when illegal fishermen enter the waters.” Though the supreme court did not directly mention the South China Sea or the Hague ruling, Wang, a maritime law expert, said that such an interpretation was needed. He said that China now faced an increasingly complicated situation where it was defending its resource-development and maritime rights in a disputed region. An unnamed spokesman for the supreme court told Xinhua that the new interpretation would support government departments in legally performing maritime-management duties, and safeguard Chinese territorial sovereignty and maritime interests. Previously, foreign fishing vessels were usually driven out of disputed areas by Chinese coastguard boats. Under the new interpretation, people who illegally entered Chinese territorial waters and refused to leave, or who re-entered after being driven away or fined in the previous year, would be seen as having committed “serious” criminal acts and could get up to a year in jail and face fines, the supreme court said. Similar penalties could also be imposed on those who illegally harvest corals or endangered rare wildlife in Chinese waters. Fishing disputes have been increasing among the nations locked in territorial disputes in the South China Sea, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia ^ top ^

Alibaba denies contributing to Hillary Clinton's campaign (Global Times)
2016-08-03
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Monday dismissed speculation that its cooperation with a US foundation named for former US president Bill Clinton was linked with financial support for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Alibaba's contributions to the Clinton Foundation dated back to a $250,000 donation to international AIDS care and treatment in 2005, Alibaba said on its official Sina Weibo account on Monday. Alibaba stopped contributing donations to the foundation in 2012, the company said, stressing that it boasts a specialized team to ensure that the foundation's work advanced Alibaba's goals. The Clinton Foundation, a non-governmental organization, was established in 1997 during Bill Clinton's second presidential term. It aims to resolve issues related to global health and wellness, climate change, and girls and women's rights. Donations to the Clinton Foundation have come from a broad range of national governments and transnational companies, thepaper.cn reported. Some online reports linked Clinton Foundation donors to contributions to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, particularly pointing out the contributions of Chinese companies including Alibaba, Fosun Group - one of the largest holding companies in China - and Minsheng Banking Corp. The foundation's donations records show that Chinese companies including Alibaba gave less than $1 million, while many foreign companies gave donations of about $5 million, thepaper.cn reported. Alibaba also dismissed speculation about its involvement in the former secretary of state's e-mail controversy, explaining that the foundation began to make its donation records open to the public in 2008. The use of Alibaba's funds was strictly supervised and was absolutely restricted to charitable actions, said thepaper.cn. Hillary Clinton left the board of the Clinton Foundation when she launched her latest presidential bid in April 2015, amid conflict of interest concerns, AFP reported. ^ top ^

China's defense minister stresses preparedness for "war at sea" (Xinhua)
2016-08-02
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan has warned of offshore security threats and called for substantial preparation for a "people's war at sea" to safeguard sovereignty. Chang was speaking during an inspection of national defence work in coastal regions of east China's Zhejiang Province. He called for recognition of the seriousness of the national security situation, especially the threat from the sea. Chang said the military, police and people should prepare for mobilization to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also asked to promote national defence education among the public. ^ top ^

Draft law aims to curtail foreign influence on charities (Global Times)
2016-08-02
The Chinese government is considering revoking the qualifications of charity organizations to raise public donations when more than one-third of an organization's board members hail from outside the Chinese mainland, according to a draft regulation released Friday. The draft issued for solicitation of public opinions by the Ministry of Civil Affairs includes nine conditions charity organizations must meet to carry out fundraising in China. One of these conditions - which requires that the number of a charity's board members who hail from outside the mainland should not exceed one-third of the board's total membership and stipulates that the charity's legal representative in China should be a mainland citizen - has been particularly disputed. Liu Youping, deputy head of the China Charity and Donation Information Center, told the Global Times that he "holds reservations about the regulation." Liu said that in the past, most foreign charity organizations that broke Chinese laws or regulations normally received most of their funding from outside the Chinese mainland, so the restraint the regulation imposes on mainland fundraising by charity organizations that have non-mainland board members cannot effectively prevent infiltration by foreign powers. "China has already become such a great country in the world that the government should not welcome foreign assistance while at the same time limiting foreign people and groups from raising donations in China," Liu said. However, Zhang Gaorong, an assistant dean at Beijing Normal University's China Philanthropy Research Institute, told the Global Times that since many charity organizations are also NGOs, the draft regulation does not contradict China's existing Foreign NGO Management Law, which states that foreign NGOs cannot raise donations in China. Liu also pointed out that if over one-third of a charity organization's council members are from areas outside the Chinese mainland, it can in fact be controlled by foreign forces. "Some charity organizations might become troublemakers if foreign, anti-Chinese government parties gain a dominant position in them," he added. China's national lawmakers approved a new philanthropy law in March, which stipulates how charities should be registered and gives approved charities more freedom to operate in the mainland, the Xinhua News Agency reported. It will take effect on September 1. The law does not yet include the regulations proposed by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. ^ top ^

Britain urged to expedite decision on nuclear power project (Xinhua)
2016-08-01
China on Monday urged Britain to decide "as soon as possible" to proceed with the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant after the new British government said it would delay the final decision. "I'd like to stress that the project was agreed on by China, Britain and France in the spirit of reciprocity and win-win cooperation," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press release, adding that the project had always been strongly backed by the British and French sides. According to an agreement reached last October, the Chinese consortium led by China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN) would hold a 33.5 percent stake in the project, and Electricite de France, or EDF, a 66.5 percent. A deal was supposed to be inked by the British government, EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp. on July 29. The British government, however, said recently it wanted to give the project further consideration. "[We] hope that the British side will make a decision as soon as possible to ensure the project's smooth implementation," Hua said. ^ top ^

Britain continues to seek closer ties with China despite nuclear deal delay: PM spokeswoman (Xinhua)
2016-08-01
A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that Britain will continue to seek a stronger relationship with China, Reuters reported. The statement came following British new cabinet's decision last week to delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program, which has raised concerns about its openness towards foreign investment. May's spokeswoman said it was natural for the incoming government to want to look at the plans in detail, adding that Britain still valued its ties with China. "With the role that China has to play on world affairs, on the global economy, on a whole range of international issues, we are going to continue to seek a strong relationship with China," the spokeswoman said, as quoted by Reuters. Asked whether national security would play a part in the review of the Hinkley Point nuclear project, the spokeswoman declined to comment on the review process. Britain has cast doubt on the 24-billion-U.S.-dollar project with French utility EDF to build Britain's first new nuclear plant in decades, delaying a final decision on the plan just weeks after May took office as prime minister. "The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix," Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement Friday, adding that the government will consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn. The new nuclear power station would be Britain's first since Sizewell B opened in 1995 and is considered vital in helping the country meet its energy requirements. The project is expected to offer thousands of jobs for local people while bridging the electricity gap left by the closure of all coal-fired plants in Britain as of 2025, with 7 percent of electricity supply guaranteed nationwide. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Activist accused of subversion pleads guilty (China Daily)
2016-08-05
An activist accused of damaging national security by spreading subversive thoughts and conducting anti-national activities pleaded guilty at Tianjin No 2 Intermediate People's Court on Friday. Prosecutors said that Gou Hongguo went abroad to allegedly get training in subversion after met Hu Shigen, leader of an illegal organization, which claims to hold religious activities, in 2013. Since then, Gou, led by Hu, allegedly took part in anti-China forums abroad and spread subversive thoughts after he returned home, according to prosecutors. Gou allegedly provided money for Hu, lawyer Zhou Shifeng and other activists Zhai Yanmin and Le Heping to organize protests against the country, the prosecutors said. Earlier this week, Zhai, Hu and Zhou were sentenced for subverting State power by the court. Zhai was given three years in prison with a four-year reprieve. Hu was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and Zhou was jailed for seven years. Li is being prosecuted in a separate case. ^ top ^

Book reveals CPC's fight for peace, democracy (Xinhua)
2016-08-04
A newly published book tells the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its fight for peace and democracy over the past 90-plus years (1921-2012). Compiled by the Party History Research Center, the book details the CPC's battles, traditions and experience. The book, which has become a bestseller in many localities since it debuted in late June, tells how the Party led the Chinese people to independence and liberation, how it led China during opening up and reform and how it developed socialism with Chinese characteristics. Compilation took six years of combined efforts by various experts and scholars of the Party's history. It is regarded as the most complete Party history. Zhou Yong, an expert on China's history, hailed the book for its honest description of the Party's past. "The book showcases an honest and truthful party that is the CPC," he said. "It revealed that the CPC has always protected people's interests in pursuing a path of peaceful development." ^ top ^

Head of Beijing law firm gets seven years as crackdown on rights activists continues (SCMP)
2016-08-04
The former director of a Beijing law firm at the centre of a sweeping government crackdown on human rights activists last year was sentenced to seven years in jail for subversion on Thursday. Zhou Shifeng, 51, was the first lawyer to face trial among the two dozen human rights activists and lawyers formally arrested last July. About 300 suspects were detained or interrogated in the so-called 709 crackdown, named after the date of the first arrests on July 9 last year. Zhou pleaded guilty to subverting state power and pledged no appeal after a hearing lasting less than three hours at the Tianjin No 2 Intermediate People's Court yesterday morning. The court ruled that Zhou had on many occasions made comments online and in person to “attack the socialist system, the fundamental policy of one country, two systems, and to incite confrontation against state power”. He was also guilty of ordering his staff and other lawyers to “hype up sensitive cases to discredit judicial authorities, attack the country's judicial system and incite hostility towards state power” through representing the cases, the court heard. Zhou made a 10-minute impromptu final statement, which the judge halted after several attempts to interject. “I apologise to all 90 million members of the Communist Party” and the government, he said, adding that “the legal system and democracy of China's is so much beyond that of the Western rule of law and it's much beyond that of the United States”. “I will never appeal!” he said, pumping his fist into his seat. Like the hearings of the other two rights advocates Zhai Yanmin and Hu Shigen held by the same court this week, none of Zhou's relatives were present at the trial. Zhai and Hu's family said they were barred from the hearings and escorted home by authorities. The night before Zhou's trial, the Tianjin court posted a handwritten letter attributed to Zhou saying it was his own wish that his family should not attend his trial, citing their “low educational levels” as peasants. But lawyers said the court had no legal ground to exclude family members from the courtroom, regardless of Zhou's wishes. Liu Xiaoyuan, a rights lawyer and former colleague of Zhou, said the right of relatives to attend an open trial is stipulated in the courtroom rules issued by the Supreme People's Court. He said Liu was given a “very harsh sentence”, given that “he had not committed the same crime before and showed a good attitude in pleading guilty”. Like Zhai and Hu's cases, the government appointed a defence lawyer for Zhou. The Fengrui law firm headed by Zhou in Beijing employed nearly 100 lawyers at its peak and has handled many sensitive cases. It represented victims of the scandal involving melamine-contaminated infant formula in 2008, dissident artist Ai Weiwei, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng and ethnic Uygur scholar Ilham Tohti. Two witnesses were summoned to testify against Zhou – Huang Liqun, a former colleague at his law firm, and rights activist Zhai Yanmin, who was handed a suspended three-year sentence for subversion on Tuesday. Both Zhai and Huang were detained in the massive crackdown last July. The two witnesses alleged that Zhou used sensitive cases to instil public resentment of the Communist Party and the government. Prosecutors accused Zhou of “being influenced for a long time by the infiltration of anti-China forces and gradually developing the idea of overturning the country's current political system”. A prosecutor read out a written statement by Zhou in court, which stated: “I have attracted the interest of foreign consulates and NGOs... Their ultimate goal is to overturn the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.” Amnesty International said the series of convictions this week showed that the Chinese government wanted to “silence anyone who raises legitimate questions about human rights and uses the legal system to seek redress”. “This wave of trials against lawyers and activists is a political charade. Their fate was sealed before they stepped into the courtroom,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director for Amnesty International. Gou Hongguo, the fourth and last defendant in this week's trials, will stand trial on Friday. ^ top ^

Most prominent cases in China by lawyers now in custody (SCMP)
2016-08-04
Trials started this week of Chinese lawyers and legal rights activists who were detained in July last year and charged with subversion for their attempts to bring attention to rights abuses and demand government accountability. They include lawyer Zhou Shifeng and three activists associated with his Fengrui Law Firm, among the best known in the field that is broadly known as “rights defending.” The firm has pursued many sensitive cases and represented outspoken critics of the ruling Communist Party. Others, including disbarred lawyer Li Heping, remain in detention, their legal status a continuing mystery. The following is a look at some of the most prominent cases taken up by lawyers and activists now in custody: ' In 2008, Fengrui represented victims in a contaminated infant formula scandal that the government sought to gloss over amid preparations to hold the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Around 300,000 children became ill and six died from kidney failure caused by the adulteration of formula with the chemical melamine. Fengrui represented victims' families in cases against Sanlu Group, the maker of the formula and one of China's biggest dairy companies. The firm's work drew exactly the sort of attention that the government was hoping to avoid, further undermining public confidence in food safety and the leadership's commitment to candour and accountability. ' Fengrui also represented members of the Falun Gong sect that the government has suppressed since banning it as an “evil cult” in 1999. Group leaders have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms and ordinary followers locked up as threats to social order. As recently as last year, one of Fengrui's lawyers was beaten by court officers after he objected to being prevented from communicating with his Falun Gong clients. That lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, was also detained last year and charged with subversion of state power in January. ' Outspoken artist, blogger, filmmaker and designer Ai Weiwei hired Fengrui in 2011, when he was slapped with a $2.4 million tax evasion suit that was widely seen as an attempt to intimidate him into silence on political issues. That followed Ai's three-month detention without charges at a government guest house where he was under constant supervision and repeatedly interrogated. Ai lost the case and was largely confined to his Beijing compound before his passport was unexpectedly returned last year and he left for Europe. Despite his experience, Ai remains as outspoken as ever, frequently discussing his detention and the dark side of China's burgeoning security state. ' Fengrui also represented Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar from the Uygur minority group who was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 on charges of fanning ethnic hatred, advocating violence and instigating terror through his classroom teaching and a website on Uygur issues. His appeal was rejected two months later at a hearing held inside a detention centre in the far western region of Xinjiang, in violation of normal judicial procedure, his lawyers said. The professor had long been a critic of China's polices toward Uygurs and Xinjiang and his sentence was the most severe in a decade for illegal political speech. ' Blind since childhood, Chen Guangcheng obtained a working knowledge of the law and embarked on a career of activism on behalf of the disabled and fellow villagers in Shandong province. In 2006, he was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment after filing a class-action lawsuit against the local family planning bureau over forced abortions and other practices. Released in 2010, he was kept under house arrest but escaped in 2012, and made his way to the American Embassy in Beijing from where he and his family were allowed to leave for the United States. Chen filed complaints against officials in his province with the help of Li Heping, a lawyer whose license was revoked by the authorities and who is among those now detained with no word of a trial. ' One of China's best-known dissident lawyers, Gao Zhisheng emerged from years of solitary confinement and torture to release a memoir this year that sparked international criticism of Beijing. After representing unpopular causes such as Falun Gong and Christians worshipping outside the official church, Gao was given a suspended sentence for subversion in 2006, but was repeatedly detained for long periods and returned to prison in 2011. Since his release in 2014, he has been living under near-constant surveillance by Chinese authorities, while his family has been living in the United States since fleeing there in 2009. Li Heping had appealed to Beijing judicial authorities on Gao's behalf after Gao's license was revoked. ^ top ^

Underground church leader gets 7-year jail term for subverting power of the State (Global Times)
2016-08-04
Hu Shigen, the leader of an underground church, received a sentence of seven and a half years in prison after he was convicted of subverting State power on Wednesday. The 61-year-old man pled guilty and said he will not appeal, according to a statement released by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court on its official Sina Weibo account. "I recognize the severity of my crimes and the huge damage I've brought to the country, society, my family and myself," Hu said in his final statement. Since 2009, Hu has used his illegal religious organization to illicitly attract lawyers and paid petitioners to spread subversive thoughts and ideas, the court said in a statement, adding that Hu also arranged for Gou Hongguo, another suspect, to receive anti-China training overseas. Hu asked Gou to fly overseas to receive training attended by separatists supporting "Tibet independence" and "Xinjiang independence" to learn how to fight against the Chinese government, the court said. According to the court, Hu also established "a systematic ideology, method and steps" to subvert State power in addition to conspiring and plotting with others to achieve this goal. The court said Hu's coconspirators included Zhai Yanmin, who was sentenced to a 3-year suspended prison term after being found guilty of subverting State power on Tuesday. With Hu's consent, Zhai organized gatherings in Qing'an county, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and incited others to stir up hatred for the government after a man was shot dead by local police while passing through the security checkpoint at the Qing'an railway station in May 2015. Hu spread the rumor that the man had been murdered by police. The China News Service reported that the man allegedly tried to stop other passengers from entering the station. He then grabbed and threw his young child at the police while trying to snatch a gun before he was shot and killed by an armed officer. Hu had been imprisoned from 1994 to 2008 after he was convicted of inciting, organizing and leading "counterrevolutionary" activities, the Xinhua News Agency reported. He said he had "long been influenced by bourgeois liberalism" and after being released from prison "fell deeper and deeper into the criminal mire of anti-Party and anti-government groups." ^ top ^

Party trims youth league to make better link to public (Global Times)
2016-08-04
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has started the largest reform in decades to its reserve force, the Communist Youth League (CYL), after the league was recently criticized for being too bureaucratic and aristocratic. The reform will downsize the league's central committee and increase the number of members recruited from local branches or "front lines" in order to make it more representative of the grass roots of youth. "The Communist Youth League is the bridge and bond linking the Party and government with the youth," says the document released by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee on Tuesday. "Pushing the reform ahead is part of the drive to strictly run the Party, as well as an important measure to revitalize the league." The document also states the league's central committee will send more officials to the grass roots to serve the nation's youth. Elitist and inefficient Recently, the league's central committee had come under fire after receiving criticism for being too elitist and inefficient. The Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) reported in February that an inspection team it sent to the committee found problems of "bureaucratization, administerization, elitism and excessive entertainment." Analysts believe that this kind of criticism directed at the CYL committee comes directly from the Party leadership, which shows that the Party is determined to fix these problems. Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said on his WeChat public account that these problems will negatively impact relations between the Party and the grass roots, which is an error of too much bureaucracy. Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Committee, told the Global Times that the CYL central committee is not a government department or ministry, and its role is supporting the CPC to help and train the young, so the Party can be reinvigorated. Some CYL organizations have lost their purpose as a bridge linking the Party and the public, Su noted. According to CYL data, the 91-year-old league currently has over 87.4 million members nationwide and more than 3.87 million grass-roots organizations in China as of 2015. The CYL central committee provides one of the main paths for training Party officials. Many of the country's senior officials got their start there, including former president Hu Jintao and current premier Li Keqiang. More voices, opinions An official from the league's central committee, who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times that the reform will be effective in tackling the problem of elitism. "In future, the CYL will increase the seats for members from the grass roots at the CYL National Congress. A minimum of 70 percent of the seats at the national congress should come from the grass roots, so it will bring more voices and opinions from grass-root league organizations," the official said. In the past, many young elites treated the CYL committee as a "short cut" to promotion within the Party, Su said. "The league's central committee is a provincial and ministerial-level agency, but this doesn't mean these officials are all prepared and have enough experience," he said. The CYL official said that according to the reform, the committee should be made up of three kinds of people. Some will be professional officials just as before; some will be recruited from public service organizations and thirdly, some will be officials from other ministries and local governments. In general, the officials serving on the CYL committee will become more diversified and experienced, he said. He stressed that while the foreign media might report that the reform is going to weaken the CYL central committee's position, this interpretation is wrong. "The CYL central committee will not be weakened, but it will add more power to grass-root issues and cut bureaucracy and elitism problems from the top," he said. ^ top ^

700 officials punished by green teams (China Daily)
2016-08-04
Up to 700 officials in eight provinces and autonomous regions have been punished by central government inspectors in an unprecedentedly tough move to strengthen the nation's environmental supervision. In what People's Daily described as an "accountability storm" for environmental laws and rules, the inspectors have exposed about 4,000 offenses including cases of dereliction of duty since they were commissioned in mid-July. The first areas covered by the inspections are Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Henan and Yunnan provinces, and the Inner Mongolia, Guangxi Zhuang and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions. The inspections still have two weeks to run. Environmental experts have been quick to praise the central government's swift and tough action in dealing with local officials responsible for illegal pollution discharges. One of the eight provincial regions where tough punishment was handed out was Guangxi, which punished 112 officials. Among them, 37 at city and county level were found to have been responsible for pollution caused by illegal quarrying at a nationally known scenic area on the Lijiang River in Guilin. Zhang Benxing, a 73-year-old resident of Xiangshan district in Guilin, said, "The quarry near my village has been worked for more than 20 years, generating heavy dust all the time, and I think it caused my respiratory disease." He added that many houses near the quarry have cracks due to continuous blasting at the quarry. The Henan provincial government said in a statement, "The cases transferred by the central-level inspectors will go immediately to the governments involved.... They will be required to investigate them straightaway." Henan, which completed the investigation of 310 cases in two weeks, had punished 216 government officials by Saturday last week based on Party rules and administrative regulations. Ma Yong, an environmental researcher at a Supreme People's Court law center, praised the large number of cases exposed and the tougher punishment for officials. "It shows the central government has been striving to reduce pollution and has seen some success." China has introduced laws and regulations stipulating that key leaders should play the major role in environmental protection, but the implementation of these has not been so good, Ma said. Chang Jiwen, deputy director of the Institute for Resources and Environment Policies at the State Council Development Research Center, agreed that progress has been made with the number of cases exposed. But he suggested that the central inspection teams should focus more on provincial and city-level governments and start investigating them. This year, central inspectors plan to investigate 14 provincial regions, according to the National Environmental Protection Inspection Office. Similar to the inspections ordered by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to check for cases of official corruption, the central government has started to send the high-level inspection teams to look for environmental offenses. Cracking down Results to date of the monthlong inspection of eight provinces and autonomous regions: NingxiaHui autonomous region By July 31, 224 cases reported, 53 officials summoned, another 29 held accountable, two detained.Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region By Aug 1, 879 cases reported, 112 officials held accountableInnerMongolia autonomous region By July 30, 773 cases reported, 81 officials summoned, another 104 held accountable, 40 detained.Jiangxi province By July 28, 333 cases reported, at least eight officials summoned,more than 21 held accountable.Jiangsu province By July 24, 522 cases reported, eight officials summoned, another 13 held accountable, 14 etained.Yunnan province By July 30, 432 cases reported, 35 officials held accountable. Henan province By July 30, at least 310 cases reported, 216 officials punished. Heilongjiang province By July 30, 464 cases reported, 32 officials held accountable. ^ top ^

Key Chinese leadership financial conference 'postponed' (SCMP)
2016-08-03
China may have postponed a top financial conference, according to information buried in a governmental agency notice, reflecting difficulties within the top leadership in building consensus on how to overhaul the country's financial system. The national financial work conference, a key policymaking meeting held every five years, will convene no earlier than late September, later than expected. The news came to light after the international cooperation agency of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top planning authority, published a notice about a separate academic meeting in September 24-26. ' In the notice, the agency, which takes care of international affairs for the NDRC, noted that discussions from the academic meeting would be in line with the theme of the national financial work conference, without specifying the actual date. The obscure notice sheds rare light on one of the most important meetings to be held under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. While the national financial work meetings are widely watched as their decisions set the course for China's financial regulatory system and the financial industry, the dates, venues and agendas are guarded in secrecy. China has only held four such meetings in the past, with first convened in 1997 when Beijing decided to bail out state banks. The second meeting, in 2002, pushed state banks to make initial public offerings and create the national banking regulator. In 2007, the third work conference decided to develop an onshore bond market and create China's sovereign wealth fund. ' The most recent meeting, in 2012, didn't produce new major policy moves partly because of the transition of power from the “fourth generation” leadership of president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao to Xi and Li. The fifth national financial work conference was originally scheduled for January, 2017, but the leadership decided to bring the meeting ahead to last month, Bloomberg reported earlier, following last year's stock market rout and systemic risks of the growing shadow banking system. While recognising the existence of the problems was easy, agreeing on a solution has proven more difficult. Zhou Hao, senior emerging markets economist for Asia at Commerzbank, said there is no ideal plan to please all sides even though they see the problem. “It's not only about overcoming vested interests,” Zhou said. “Every proposal has pros and cons. That's probably why policymakers can't make a decision.” One of the meeting's main themes is expected to be the overhaul of China's financial regulatory system. Currently, the watchdogs – the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission – operate independently while the boundaries of actual financial activity have become increasingly blurred. At the same time, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, has remained relatively aloof. ' An industry observer who declined to be named said on Wednesday that a real merger of the regulators into a more encompassing body would be unlikely. Zhang Chenghui, head of the financial research institute at the NDRC's Development Research Centre, said in June that there were three reform scenarios. First, the top three financial regulators could become bureaus under the PBOC. Second, the banking regulator could merge with the PBOC, while the securities and insurance watchdogs maintain their independence. Finally, the three regulators could be combined into a single agency that ran parallel with the PBOC. But Zhang noted that all the three options could fall short because the finance ministry, another key player in China's financial industry, was not included in any of the three possible reform options. Li Yang, a former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a senior government adviser on financial affairs, said in June that internal disagreement within the leadership and the agencies was “very big”, making it very hard to reach consensus. “Given the importance of the meeting, every ministry and government agency was is trying to instil their own agenda into the meeting,” Li was quoted by Sina.com as saying then. ^ top ^

Hangzhou goes all out for G20 security (Global Times)
2016-08-02
With only one month to the G20 summit, host city Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province is finalizing security measures in all possible areas, including mobilizing citizen volunteers as patrollers, increasing security checks on inbound travelers and parcels, and even establishing a special food storehouse for summit guests and personnel. Police from nearby cities and police academy cadets have recently been called in as additional security for deployment in the streets. A Global Times reporter on Monday found one to two security guards or police officers every five to 10 meters at popular attractions around the West Lake, and all manhole covers were checked and labeled as "exclusively for the G20 security check." Two volunteers working around the West Lake told the Global Times that Hangzhou has intensified security in public places, especially scenic spots, from Monday, and some gatherings, including square dancing usually composed of older women in the neighborhoods, have been canceled. Thousands of local residents have volunteered to patrol residential compounds, according to Zhao Yide, secretary of the Communist Party of China's Hangzhou Municipal Committee. He added that the volunteers were also asked to carry on the work after the summit to push forward community governance. "Without security, everything is meaningless. Hangzhou believes that security matters more than anything, and the city is going all out to guarantee security during the G20 summit, " Zhao said Monday at a conference marking the one-month countdown to the summit. This year's G20 summit will be held from September 4 to 5, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and dozens of leaders from the world's major economies will be attending. Zhao said that under the guidance of the Ministry of Public Security, Hangzhou has updated security measures on every aspect, including food, accommodations, and transportation. In response to some reports that say preparations are excessive and have disturbed local residents' livelihoods, Zhao said that the city's intensified security work is consistent with international practices, and has earned the residents' understanding and support. Hangzhou has conducted several overnight drills - from 11 pm to 4 am -to reduce disturbing local residents as well as to facilitate the procedures during the summit, said Zhao. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Nuclear cover-up: environment ministry slaps penalties on errant crew over failures at Guangdong plant (SCMP)
2016-08-05
Four staff members at a nuclear power plant in Guangdong have been punished for breaching operational guidelines and trying to cover up the failures, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said this week, more than a year after the incident took place. Three staff at the Yangjiang nuclear power plant in Guangdong, about 220km north of Hong Kong, were given administrative warnings, while the crew's leader, Wei Haifeng, was stripped of his senior nuclear operator's licence, a severe punishment. Their actions caused a heat removal pump on one of the key reactors to stop functioning for six minutes at the plant, the first to go online in China after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The operators then tried to cover up the incident by failing to log it as required, the ministry said. The incident did not result in a radioactive leak or pose a direct public safety threat, two nuclear experts said. According to the ministry, the breaches occurred on March 22, 2015 when the reactor was undergoing maintenance. The pump is a crucial part of the reactor's water cooling system. The plant's developer, China General National Power Corp, told the South China Morning Post the incident did not affect plant safety because it occurred during maintenance. It also said it did “thorough analysis and a deep review” after the incident and initiated a “safety culture re-education” campaign among all staff. It said the incident was discovered during “self-assessment” in February and it reported it to the ministry's nuclear safety bureau “in a timely manner” for sake of “credibility and transparency”. But some experts warned the incident exposed human weaknesses in nuclear safety in China. China has embarked on a nuclear power spree, aiming to develop 58 million kWh of nuclear power capacity by 2020 to account for 5 per cent of overall energy supplies. It is also promoting its nuclear technology overseas. Revealing further details about the incident, a former National Nuclear Safety Administration employee said that as soon as the pump stopped working due to the crew's operational error, an alert popped up in the central control room. Controllers immediately contacted the maintenance crew, asking what happened. Meanwhile, backup pumps started to avoid dangerous overheating. Wei, the crew leader who received the heaviest punishment, had worked more than a decade to earn his senior operator's licence, a qualification that can cost millions of yuan to obtain. His experience should have prevented him or his subordinates from carrying out the “suicidal” operation which would almost guarantee the shutdown of the main pump, the expert said. “Why did they do this, that's the question asked by many people in the industry. Even a cadet would have known it could lead to severe consequences,” the expert said. “Like captains in airlines, operators in nuclear power plants also receive regular mental health checks. If they are unhappy at work or at home, they must report it. None of them filed any reports.” The ministry imposed the penalties on July 26 and posted a notice on its website on Tuesday. Kai Ji-jung, chair professor of nuclear engineering at City University, said a residual heat removal pump was mainly used to cool the system as a backup in the case of an accident or power failure, so a six-minute stoppage under normal operations was not too big a technical safety issue. “The bigger safety issue is the breaching of regulations as an operator is required to report this to the regulatory body within a given time frame,” he said. “This reporting is required to ensure the quality of operations. A lot of small things being allowed to happen may indicate that there are problems with the operators.” Greenpeace senior campaigner Frances Yeung Hoi-shan questioned why Hong Kong was not informed under the notification mechanism it has with Guangdong over nuclear accidents or events in the province. “The fact that it was covered up is frightening. No one knew about this until a year later,” Yeung said. “You cannot have effective regulatory oversight without transparency.” The Security Bureau said it was aware of the event but would not say if the plant informed the Hong Kong government. Dr Raymond Ho Chung-tai, chairman of Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station and Lingao Nuclear Power Station Nuclear Safety Consultative Committee, said such human errors needed to be rectified but his was a learning experience for the plant's operators. Xu Yuming, deputy secretary general of the China Nuclear Energy Association in Beijing, said the public reporting of the incident showed improved transparency on the government's side. “I think it is a good thing that the ministry reported the incident in a high-profile manner … It shows the government is serious about strengthening management of nuclear plants to improve safety standards.” The notice about the punishment was among a series of administrative orders and notices published on its website. The ministry did not reply to requests for comment and information on Thursday. Hu Xinmin, senior manager at Hong Kong-based electricity industry consultancy The Lantau Group, said: “Lessons should be learned from the Fukushima disaster, where post-accident investigations found that small procedural non-compliance incidents were not property reported to the national authority, contributing to a culture of complacency.” Wang Biao, dean of the Sino-French Institute of Nuclear Engineering and Technology in Zhuhai, said: “It is normal that non-compliance incidences and their consequences are reported to the public this way, since safety is paramount from the government's point of view. It must be noted that in every nuclear plant, there are multiple backup cooling pump systems, so even if one fails, the other systems will kick in to prevent any major problems.” The Yangjiang nuclear power station went into commercial operation in March 2014. It was based on the CPR-1000 design found in most Chinese nuclear reactors commissioned since 2010. ^ top ^

Guangdong is China's most-hacked province, with many victims lured by gambling sites: report (SCMP)
2016-08-02
Across China, Guangdong province suffered the most cyberattacks, with Beijing and Shandong coming in second and third respectively, according to a report from a Chinese antivirus software developer. Between January and June, Guangdong, China's most populous province, suffered more than 4.55 million attacks from phishing websites, said the report released by Rising last week. The spoof sites lured users to click on a link that led to a seemingly legitimate website and stole their private information. Beijing and Shandong province came in the second- and third-most-attacked regions targeted by the phishing sites that Rising tracked. The type of phishing sites Chinese people fell victim to varied by the region, however. For instance, most of the phishing victims in Guangdong and Beijing were tricked to gambling sites, while 90 per cent of victims in Heilongjiang province were lured into pornography-related websites. Separately, China generated more than four million malicious URLs that led internet users to such spoof sites in the first six months of the year, according to the Rising report. Half of these malicious URLs originated from Tianjin, followed by Beijing and Hong Kong, the report said. Rising said it blocked a total of 68 million such URLs globally in the same period, half of which were from the United States. “A large part of the world's internet bandwidths are in the US and China, so it's not too surprising to me that many hacking attempts are from these two countries,” Hong Kong-based security analyst Michael Gazeley said. The extent of hacking attempts could also be related to bandwidth speed and capacity as well as efforts to improve cybersecurity in different cities across China, Gazeley said. A more alarming and also one of the most lucrative hacking methods was through ransomware, which often came through spoof emails as attachments, he said. “Once executed, the ransomware encrypts all kinds of files in your computer and hackers will demand a ransom from you,” Gazeley said. “This is very different from the old days, when hackers hack a computer and delete its software – that's a bit like juvenile vandalism.” According to the Rising report, Anhui province suffered the most ransomware attacks – almost 500,000 such incidents in the first half of the year, followed by Guangdong, Zhejiang and Beijing. Cyberattacks on mobile devices are also on the rise. The number of mobile viruses that Rising tracked for the report grew over 155 per cent from January to June. Ninety per cent of China's 688 million internet users go online using smartphones. An average of 679,000 Chinese people have their Android mobile devices infected by malware each day, according to Qihoo 360's latest quarterly mobile security report. Qihoo 360 holds the largest market share among all of China's antivirus software developers. Other major security threats on mobile devices include phishing sites, harassment calls and spam text messages. Guangdong was also the province most vulnerable to mobile attacks, according to Qihoo 360. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dam bursts in Tibet (Global Times)
2016-08-03
Days of heavy rain has caused a dam to burst in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, local authorities said Wednesday. The dam in Lhaze County, Xigaze Prefecture, was breached on Tuesday as water in the Yarlung Tsangpo River rose. Water from the dam flooded three villages, with more than 100 hectares of crops and forest inundated, according to the local government. Soldiers have been working overnight to repair the dam. No casualties have been reported. Since the high water season began in early June, flooding has left hundreds of people dead or missing in China. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang toughens anti-terror stance (China Daily)
2016-08-03
New regulations limit expansion of concepts used to promote extremism. The latest anti-terrorism regulation in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will help to prevent terrorists from using religion to lure people into terrorist activities, anti-terrorism experts said on Tuesday. Under the new regulation, which took effect on Monday, people who expand the concept of halal in Islam - which means adherence to dietary laws - to include other areas of life will face detention and fines. In recent years, the region has seen many cases of terrorists and extremists making people believe that bank notes, ID cards and marriage certificates are not halal, so people become isolated from modern society and are easily radicalized. The regulation, which is a legal interpretation of China's Anti-Terrorism Law, will also punish those who use the preaching of religious teachings to promote terrorism or extremism. "The detailed regulation is drafted to deal with the anti-terrorism situations that are unique in Xinjiang, which faces a greater terrorist threat than any other place in China," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. Xinjiang toughens anti-terror stance Xinjiang has always been China's front line against terrorism. The penetration of religious extremism has led to an increasing number of terrorist attacks in recent years. […] The Anti-Terrorism Law, which was implemented on Jan 1, is a general guideline for China's anti-terrorism work, and Xinjiang desperately needs the legal interpretation to make sure the law in the region is practical, Li said. The regulation was passed by the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang regional People's Congress on Friday. Xinjiang is the first provincial-level region to introduce the legal interpretation of the Anti-Terrorism Law. "Authorities in Xinjiang have gained rich experiences in combating terrorism in recent years. Such experiences have helped us to make sure the legal interpretation can effectively help Xinjiang fight terrorism in accordance with law," said Lu Ping, a member of the Standing Committee. The regulation also gives a clear guideline for how to handle terrorist criminals in prison. Leaders of terrorist organizations and terrorist convicts who incite others while serving sentences will receive solitary confinement. Terror convicts now need to go through risk assessments six months before release, and local courts are required to decide if the convicts can be released. Acts of terrorism defined in the latest legal interpretation Funding, carrying out or plotting terrorist activities after receiving instructions from individuals or terrorist organizations from home or abroad. Setting up terrorist organizations and recruiting members to organize, plan or carry out terrorist activities by preaching terrorism and religious extremism to others. Providing facilities or organizing others for physical or tactical training for those who plan to carry out terrorist activities. Providing assistance in transporting those who are involved in terrorist organizations' training and recruitment activities, as well as plotting or carrying out attacks. Crossing borders illegally to receive terrorist training or joining terrorist organizations. Using cellphones, internet, video or audio files or publications to spread terrorism and extremism. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Row over election ban on localist escalates as Hong Kong justice minister's explanation backfires (SCMP)
2016-08-04
The row over the barring of a localist leader from next month's Legislative Council elections intensified yesterday as the Hong Kong justice minister's explanation backfired and 30 members of the committee that picks the city's leader jointly questioned the power of electoral officials to make such decisions. Justice minister Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung waded in to explain that Edward Leung Tin-kei was disqualified from the September 4 elections over his pro-independence views but not last February's by-election because he did not make “an explicit independence claim” back then. He was promptly accused of double standards and not doing his homework as Leung countered that he had openly advocated Hong Kong's independence from China, a fact confirmed by the Post and other media outlets. The justice chief tried to defend the Electoral Affairs Commission's decision to disqualify Leung a day after returning officer Cora Ho Lai-sheung invalidated the Hong Kong Indigenous member's candidacy on the grounds that he had no intention of upholding the Basic Law. “The returning officer has already explained the argument clearly in her reply, which I think has a legal basis,” Yuen said. But all 30 members of the legal sub-sector in the 1,200-strong Election Committee that picked Hong Kong's leader in 2012 hit out in a joint statement yesterday. They countered that returning officers were not empowered to investigate the “genuineness” of candidates' declarations to respect the city's mini-constitution, let alone make "a subjective and political decision to disqualify a candidate without following any due process on the purported ground that the candidate will not genuinely uphold the Basic Law”. “Such an inquiry and decision are not only unlawful but amount to political censorship and screening by the returning officer without any legal basis,” they said. The 30 committee members are all either from the pan-democratic camp or linked to it. The election watchdog sparked uproar last month by imposing a new requirement on Legco candidates to sign an extra form reinforcing acceptance of the city's status as an inalienable part of China, on top of the standard declaration to uphold the Basic Law. In a complete U-turn to head off disqualification last week, Leung gave up his campaigning for independence and signed the additional form. He still ended up being rejected, as the returning officer decided he had not “genuinely changed” his pro-independence stance. At the same time, the watchdog gave 42 lists of candidates from the pan-democratic and localist camps the green light to run even though they refused to sign the new form. A check by the Post found Leung had promoted independence as early as last December – well before his candidacy for the by-election was validated and gazetted on January 29. Leung vowed to challenge the ban in court, recalling that he had advocated independence “as a way out” for Hong Kong in a by-election forum before the February poll. “Why didn't the returning officers immediately disqualify me back then?” he said. He complained that the ban was tantamount to depriving him of his political rights for life. “When will they eventually believe I will uphold the Basic Law? In four years or eight years? Do I have to sign a 'letter of repentance' and pledge I won't call for independence in front of six cameras?” Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok said the justice minister's explanation was “subjective, selective and unconvincing”. “Many people have touched on independence one way or another but why some of them were qualified but others were not?” ^ top ^

How the election ban on Hong Kong localist leader could tip the balance when people vote (SCMP)
2016-08-03
It may be early days yet in a month-long campaign but with one high-profile candidate banned from contesting, attention is turning to the likely winners and losers of the fallout in the Legislative Council elections come September. Political analysts said one immediate beneficiary would be the localists who were given the green light to run. They were divided, however, on how the rejection of Hong Kong Indigenous leader Edward Leung Tin-kei would affect veteran radicals and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's likely bid for re-election in March. Overall, they painted a gloomy picture for traditional pan-democrats and predicted that they were unlikely to gain much advantage by slamming the government for nothing more than political screening of candidates through the new requirement of a confirmation form. The rejection of Leung and a clutch of other localists was also unlikely to have much impact on the pro-establishment camp with its relatively firm support base, they said. The question of the impact of the ban on Leung takes on a greater significance given that the September 4 elections mark a generational shift for both political camps, as a fifth of lawmakers from the previous Legco term, mostly veterans, are making way for a younger slate of candidates. It will be a test of the appeal of the younger generations of both camps, who now will have to contend with localists, who tend to be young, vocal and radical. ' With Leung's rejection on Tuesday, a total of six candidates in four constituencies have had their nominations invalidated by the Electoral Affairs Commission because of their advocacy of the city's independence. Leung said he would back his localist allies and Youngspiration candidates in three constituencies in the coming weeks: Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang in New Territories East, Yau Wai-ching in Kowloon West and Kenny Wong Chun-kit in New Territories West. Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok told the Post that Leung's endorsements meant that Youngspiration was most likely to gain from the candidates' rejections. “[Sixtus] Leung is the most favoured because he will get many of Edward Leung's votes,” Ma said. “Even supporters of traditional pan-democrats and radical lawmakers might be angered by the government's decision and cast sympathy votes for Youngspiration next month.” But Ma added that the five radicals from the alliance formed by Civic Passion, Proletariat Political Institute and Hong Kong Resurgence Order, were unlikely to gain as their views were different from Hong Kong Indigenous and Youngspiration. In February, Edward Leung garnered 66,000 votes in the New Territories East by-election. Ma said Leung's voters in February included supporters who voted for radical lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Gary Fan Kwok-wai in the Legco elections of 2012 and who transferred their votes to Leung given that their men were not in the by-election fray. While their support might have returned to these three radicals, the banning had changed the picture. “If no candidate were banned from running in the poll next month, those voters might vote for the likes of 'Long Hair', Chan and Fan, but now it is unfavourable for those three as their supporters are more likely to support Youngspiration,” Ma said. But Polytechnic University political scientist Dr Chung Kim-wah believed that while Sixtus Leung's chances had been boosted, not all the radical voters might be so moved to switch sides in September and would still rely on the proven record of the so-called traditional radicals. In Kowloon West, Chung and Ma said Youngspiration's star Yau Wai-ching, 25, could win with Edward Leung's support, and with the number of seats in the constituency increased from five to six. In last November's district council elections, Yau lost to her rival, pro-establishment lawmaker Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, by only 304 votes. Yau took 2,041 votes, or 41 per cent of ballots cast. In New Territories West, where the candidacy of Hong Kong National Party's Chan Ho-tin was rejected, Edward Leung will be backing Youngspiration's Kenny Wong. On Hong Kong Island, City University political analyst Dr James Sung Lap- kung said Demosisto chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung could benefit from Edward Leung's rejection. Chung also warned that the rejection of candidates on the basis of the confirmation form could affect Leung Chun-ying's re-election prospects. “Beijing would agree with the rejection, but it was done in a mess and the Legco polls would need to be organised all over again if the government loses the legal challenges against the decision,” Chung said. But Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semi-official mainland think tank, disagreed with such a scenario. “It was messy... but you can say that Leung has shown he is politically loyal and reliable as he made efforts to safeguard national security and sovereignty,” Lau said. “I also think it is very unlikely for the polls to be organised again.”  ^ top ^

No contest: six newcomers running unopposed in Hong Kong elections (SCMP)
2016-08-02
While hundreds of hopefuls are preparing for Legislative Council election battles in a month's time, 12 candidates are set to be returned uncontested in the functional constituencies. They include six new faces from five constituencies: Edward Lau Kwok-fan (District Council First), Jimmy Ng Wing-ka (Industrial Second), Ronick Chan Chun-ying (Finance), Kenneth Lau Ip-keung (Heung Yee Kuk), and Michael Luk Chung-hung and Jonathan Ho Kai-ming (Labour). ' While the new faces pledged to work as hard as their elected counterparts on a range of issues, the lack of competition in their constituencies was in sharp contrast to the record number of 153 candidate lists, including 64 candidates for 35 functional seats, that were submitted for September's polls – the last showdown between the rival blocs before the chief executive election in March. Most of the uncontested constituencies have relatively small electorates, including some dominated by corporate voters. For example, only 769 corporate voting members of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association are eligible to vote in Industrial (Second), and just 431 district councillors can vote in District Council (First). But Edward Lau, 35, whose lawmaker status was expected to be confirmed in the gazette on Friday, dismissed critics' claims that politicians like him lacked public recognition. “No vote didn't mean no effort,” he said. “I spent years cultivating relationships among district councillors, and pan-democrats could have sent someone to challenge me.” Lau is a Northern district councillor from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest party in district councils and Legco. Lau told the Post that his main goal in Legco would be to fight for more power and allowances for district councillors. “I will push for a review of district councillors' roles... because our jobs concern residents' daily lives. For example, the government hired companies to help with street cleaning. District councillors should have more say on the renewal of those companies' contracts,” Lau said. ' Two rising stars from the Federation of Trade Unions, Jonathan Ho Kai-ming, 31, and Michael Luk Chung-hung, 38, are district councillors in Kwun Tong and Yuen Long respectively. Luk said that as labour representatives they would focus on pressing the government to improve working conditions. “I hope officials will accept our demands, such as to legislate on standard working hours,” Luk said. “I hope to talk to some open-minded business representatives... and that they will understand our ideas. I think it is win-win for society to have better working conditions.” ' Chinese Manufacturers' Association vice-president Jimmy Ng, a 47-year-old lawyer who owns machinery factories on mainland China, said he would “look forward to listening to [Luk and Ho] on how that win-win situation can be achieved”. “We believe that Hong Kong needs a good business environment to encourage economic progress, and then the government will be capable of taking care of the labour sector's demands,” he added. Referring to Beijing's trade and development strategy, which spans Central Asia and Eastern Europe, Ng said: “I will also follow up on the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative... and see if the government and our banks can do anything to support our small and medium enterprises.” The national strategy is also a focus for Ronick Chan, board secretary of Bank of China (Hong Kong). He said: “I will fight for more development opportunities in yuan business in Hong Kong and to promote Hong Kong's fund-raising role in the One Belt One Road project in the coming years.” ' For the rural power broker Heung Yee Kuk's seat, kuk chairman Kenneth Lau is taking over from his father, Lau Wong-fat, who is stepping down after 31 years in Legco. Kenneth Lau, 50, could not be reached for comment. But as he signed up for the elections on July 22, he said he would “safeguard the legal rights of indigenous villagers in the New Territories and support the government”. In recent years the kuk has been at odds with officials over new town development projects. In 2012, 62 candidates signed up to contest 35 functional constituencies seats, and 16 of them – including seven new faces – were returned uncontested. ^ top ^

'The dark shadow of the Stars and Stripes': Beijing blasts Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong as a pro-independence advocate backed by the USA (SCMP)
2016-08-03
A video released by China's highest prosecution agency has branded Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy youngster, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a pro-independence advocate backed by the US, which it said wanted to turn China into another Syria. The video, posted on August 1 by the Supreme People's Procuratorate on its official weibo account, starts with a series of apocalyptic images of refugees from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia starving, dying or being treated cruelly. This is followed by shots of a harmonious China. “The shadow of internal and external troubles has not dispersed from the Chinese sky,” the text reads. “Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan independence, as well as dissident leaders, lawyers who would fight until death and other agents of the Western forces are damaging China's internal stability and harmony by hook or by crook. Behind all these incidents, we can often catch a glimpse of the dark shadow of the Stars and Stripes.” Wong's image appears twice – a photo of him on hunger strike ahead of the pro-democratic civil-disobedience Occupy movement in 2014, and in a newspaper clip from the pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po highlighting his “American background”. “I felt very frustrated after watching the video, because I've been smeared for a long time in the past,” Wong said. “But it's very rare to see information released by communist officials on the mainland.” Wong posted a response on his Facebook page on Tuesday, along with the news that pro-rights activist Zhai Yanmin had been found guilty of subverting state power in Tianjin and given a suspended jail sentence. “[The sentence] is enough to prove the mainland's discredited legal system, and [the video]... is another example that there is no separation between the party and the country,” Wong wrote. Wong said he did not advocate for Hong Kong independence during his 2014 hunger strike and that he viewed the “false statements” from the “state apparatus” as jokes. The video also featured members of Taiwan's Sunflower Movement, who occupied the island's legislature in 2014 in protest at a trade agreement with mainland China, saying they supported independence for Taiwan and were backed by the US. In a response, one of the leaders of the movement, Lin Fei-fan, said any revolution in Taiwan would not be Beijing's business because Taiwan was not part of China. ^ top ^

Jasper Tsang denies claims over interest in Hong Kong chief executive role (SCMP)
2016-08-01
Retiring Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing yesterday denied timing his announcement that he was willing to stand for chief executive with that of the financial secretary. Tsang also refuted claims his move was aimed at helping the pro-establishment camp in next month's Legco elections. Both he and John Tsang Chun-wah made it clear on Friday that they were prepared to join the chief executive race. Jasper Tsang made his announcement on the RTHK English website just before the financial secretary told Commercial Radio he was willing to take up the post, now held by Leung Chun-ying, “if it contributes to Hong Kong”. Addressing the media yesterday, Tsang denied coordinating the announcements, saying they were pre-recorded. “I finished the RTHK interview early last week... and John Tsang's interview was conducted a long time ago and I didn't know what he said.” He did not rule out helping John Tsang should the minister decide to run, but saw winning the trust of Beijing and the traditional leftists as his biggest challenge. Political analysts said the comments of the two men would take some pressure off Beijing loyalists who had struggled to express support for Leung for a second term. Tsang said this was not his intention, but it emerged as a way out for pro-establishment candidates at forums yesterday. Speaking on RTHK, Starry Lee Wai-king and Holden Chow Ho-ding, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said they would support Jasper Tsang as he co-founded the DAB. Lee and Chow are contesting five “super seats” to be elected by 3.5 million voters citywide. On Commercial Radio, four out of 16 Hong Kong Island candidates – running independently or topping their party's list – also said they would support Jasper Tsang. They included Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan of the DAB, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People's Party and Ricky Wong Wai-kay, independent candidate and founder of HKTV. Ip said Jasper Tsang could communicate better with different parties and she respected him. She declined to comment on Leung's performance because she is also an executive councillor. Gary Wong Chi-him of the Path of Democracy, said he would consider either of the Tsangs, but feared the outgoing Legco president would casually appoint those from the DAB to his cabinet. Alice Lai Yee-man from the newly founded Conservative Party, which lobbies for the resumption of British sovereignty over Hong Kong, and district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin, said they would back John Tsang. None of the candidates voiced support for Leung. Most of the hopefuls, including district councillor Paul Zimmerman and Ted Hui Chi-fung of the Democratic Party, said they would not pick any of the three, saying they did not support a “small-circle election”. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Natl authorities dismiss reports of loyalty pledge requirement for HK, Taiwan artists (Global Times)
2016-08-02
A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council dismissed as "hype" recent media reports that actors must sign a statement pledging not to engage in activities that separate China's sovereign territory before they participate in any projects on the Chinese mainland. "It is simply hype created by some Taiwan media," An Fengshan, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, told the Global Times on Monday when asked if the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has required actors from Hong Kong and Taiwan to sign statements to "not engage in any activities which divide China's sovereign territory." Apple Daily reported on July 26 that people in the entertainment industry from Hong Kong and Taiwan - including pop stars, directors and producers - must sign the statement before producing music, filming or playing roles in movies and television series in the Chinese mainland. If they sign this statement, any past behavior that violated the pledge will allegedly be forgiven, otherwise they will be banned from engaging in any entertainment-related activities in the Chinese mainland, the report said. Dream Star, a Beijing-based talent agency for stars from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea told the Global Times on Monday that they had no knowledge of this alleged requirement. According to the Apple Daily, Taiwan director Ko I-chen said he "heard the news from some friends." Meanwhile, following several weeks of controversy, the producers of mainland-produced film Meiyou Biede Ai announced on July 15 that they will find a replacement for famous Taiwan actor and director Leon Dai due to overwhelming protests by mainland netizens, who claim the actor is a Taiwan separatist. The film's producers also expressed their support for the unification of the nation in the statement and apologized to audiences for their lack of oversight when choosing actors. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China 'regrets' EU anti-dumping duties on Chinese cold-rolled steel (SCMP)
2016-08-05
China's Commerce Ministry said on Thursday it “regrets” the European Commission's decision to put anti-dumping duties on Chinese cold-rolled steel plates, the latest spat between the trade partners battling a global steel glut. China's steel industry, a major employer, has struggled to meet targets to reduce its overcapacity, and rising prices for steel have encouraged firms to ramp up production for export. Rival producers have accused China of selling into export markets at below cost after a slowdown in demand at home, forcing job cuts and plant closures elsewhere amid a deepening global crisis in the industry. The European Commission said on Thursday that it would levy retroactive anti-dumping duties on imports of certain cold rolled steel products from China and Russia after a year-long investigation triggered by a claim from European steel lobbying group Eurofer. “In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers,” its said in an emailed statement. The duties of between 19.7 per cent and 22.1 per cent on Chinese firms Angang Group and Shougang Group would weaken the European Union's downstream manufacturing competitiveness, China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website. “This move amplifies legal uncertainty and gravely affects normal international trade,” the ministry said. It called on the EU to “avoid abusing trade remedies and sending a wrong signal” to the world, and added that it was willing to work with the EU to appropriately handle current problems facing the steel industry. China is by far the world's biggest steel producer and its annual output is almost double that of the 28-nation EU. Britain, which has voted to leave the European Union but remains in it until its exit has been negotiated, issued an emailed statement welcoming the duties and saying it would do all it can to protect its steel industry. “It's very positive to see these tariffs being imposed to stop unfair steel dumping,” a spokesman for Britain's Business Department said. “The Prime Minister has been clear that we will do everything we can to look after workers in the steel industry.” The EU duties on cold-rolled steel, used in the construction and the automotive industries, will last for five years and be applied to products registered two months before they were initially adopted on February 12, the commission said.^ top ^

 

DPRK

Presidential office says gov't can consider new THAAD site although it 'may not be easy'(The Korea Times)
2016-08-05
South Korea's government will consider an alternative location in the southern county of Seongju for the deployment of an advanced U.S. antimissile system upon request, although it "may not be easy" to find a new site, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday. The statement came a day after President Park Geun-hye raised the possibility of her government mulling stationing a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in a new location in Seongju rather than the already designated spot, amid strong opposition by residents in the county. "Although it may not be easy to change the already designated site, (the government) will conduct a thorough study to see if there is another site (capable of hosting THAAD) should there be a request (for such a study)," presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk told reporters. Since Seoul and Washington designated a South Korean artillery unit in Seongju as the site for the deployment of THAAD last month, residents there have strenuously opposed the decision. The residents fear that THAAD's powerful radar system could pose health risks and hurt their agricultural crops, and that their hometown could become a military target in case of an armed conflict on the peninsula. Strong opposition also comes from China and Russia that argue THAAD, a core element of America's global multilayered missile defense program, will needlessly escalate regional military tensions and undermine their security interests. ^ top ^

Latest U.N. sanctions having little impact on N. Korea yet: U.S. expert (The Korea Herald)
2016-08-05
The latest U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea are having little impact on the country's economy, a U.S. expert said, citing trade data between the North and its biggest economic partner, China. William Brown, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and non-resident fellow at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, also said in a recent report that the sanctions do not appear to be affecting the North's domestic economy. The latest sanctions, which were adopted on March 2 in response to the North's fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch the following month, have been billed as the harshest-ever sanctions imposed on the communist regime. The sanctions require mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of the North, regardless of whether by land, sea or air, while banning its exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's total exports. "The March 2 U.N. sanctions are having little impact so far on North Korea's economy although they may be making Pyongyang even more dependent on China. Trade with countries except China seems to be slipping but, because it was so low to begin with, the significance pales in comparison to the large and generally flat pace of China-North Korean trade," Brown said in the report. China's exports to the North in the second quarter were valued at $796 million, up a slight 3 percent from last year, while China's imports from the North in the same quarter amounted to $548 million, down 14 percent from a year ago, the professor said. The fall in exports was fully accounted for by a drop in anthracite coal shipments, which at $246 million in the second quarter, occupied half of Chinese imports, but the "decline is due mostly to a drop in prices -- the volume of coal shipped remains high," he said. The expert said the North's domestic economy appears to show no signs of effects of the sanctions. Observed market prices of rice and other staples have been unusually stable this year as has the widely used unofficial market exchange rate of North Korea's won against the U.S. dollar, he said. "One would think the 'toughest sanctions ever' would have caused a flight to the dollar and away from won but it hasn't, possibly because the dollar has become too intertwined in North Korea's domestic finance," Brown said. Still, the sanctions could cause longer-term trouble for the North, he said. "The sanctions create hurdles for Pyongyang's foreign investment elicitation. And investment in the country, aside from apartment buildings that may be funded by Chinese investors, appears to be very low. This might spell trouble for Kim's 'byong-jin' policy in the future, but not now," Brown said. ^ top ^

N. Korean leader stresses higher morale, combat readiness at military meeting (The Korea Times)
2016-08-04
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has stressed the need to strengthen the military's morale and boost combat readiness at a military gathering for exemplary servicemen, the North's media said Thursday. The leader made a speech at the meeting for commanding officers and soldiers from military units, which won the title of the O Jung-hup-led 7th Regiment, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The O Jung-hup-led 7th Regiment served as the military unit that defended the command of the North's late founder Kim Il-sung in the 1930s, when Koreans waged an independence struggle against Japan's colonial rule (1910-45). What's important is "to direct primary efforts to strengthen the army in political, ideological and moral aspects," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA. "It is also important to channel efforts into rounding off the combat preparations and organize all works in this aspect," the report said. The meeting, the third of its kind, was the first military event for the Korean People's Army (KPA) since the ruling party's congress held in early May. It also marked the first meeting since 2006. In 1996, the North's former leader Kim Jong-il ordered a mass movement to be held with the winner to be given the title of the 7th regiment in a bid to bolster the KPA's morale. In 2003 and 2006, the communist country held meetings of the KPA's activists for such a mass movement. An official at Seoul's unification ministry said that the meeting appeared to be aimed at tightening the military's discipline as North Korea has completed the overhaul of organizations and reshuffling of officials for the leader's rule. "The meeting seemed to be aimed at checking the military's morale and strengthening discipline," the official said, asking not to be named. On Wednesday, North Korea fired off two Rodong mid-range ballistic missiles with one of them presumed to have landed in waters near Japan, raising tension in the region. "As there is a possibility that North Korean servicemen could make provocative acts to excessively show loyalty to their leader, we are closely analyzing the purpose of the military meeting," an official in the South Korean military said. ^ top ^

N. Korea completes new hydroelectric power plant (Yonhap)
2016-08-04
North Korea's state media on Thursday reported that the country had completed a new hydroelectric power plant despite international sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs. The new power plant on the Kumya River in South Hamgyong Province began operations on Wednesday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The KCNA described the new power plant as "large-scale" without saying how much electricity it can produce. The new power plant is expected to help address the "issue of electricity" for North Korea to pursue its five-year economic development program, according to the report. North Korea has suffered from widespread electricity shortages. International sanctions were tightened earlier this year after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and launched a long-range rocket. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Parliament's first session to close (Montsame)
2016-08-03
On August 3, the State Great Khural, elected by the 2016 parliamentary elections, will close its first plenary session, after finalizing the dismissal of some members of the Civil Service Council (CSC) and appointment of new members. The Democratic Party (DP) faction requested a break on this issue on the last Friday's meeting. The three-day break ends today. After the closing of the plenary session, at 14.00, the Standing committees will call meetings on selecting heads of sub-committees. The Standing committee on Budget is to hold a special meeting to discuss the 2017 State Budget. ^ top ^

Japanese military engineers to share practices with Mongolian colleagues (Montsame)
2016-08-02
The Second annual joint exercise called “Road” of personnel of the Mongolian Armed Forces and military engineers of the Japanese Self Defense Ground Force is taking place in Mongolia. The first exercise incorporated a two-month training of 15 military engineers of Japan and more than 20 military personal of Mongolia on the construction of roads. This year's exercise term is shortened to be 45 days, to further deepen the knowledge gained during previous year's training. The opening ceremony was attended by the head of Foreign Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Defense of Mongolia Brigade General Ch.Sosorbaram, the Commander General of the Ground Force of the Mongolian Armed Forces Brigade General B.Amgalanbaatar and other leaders of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces, along with the officials of Japanese diplomatic mission to Mongolia. ^ top ^

Mongolian and Qatari armed forces commence joint peacekeeping exercise (Montsame)
2016-08-02
The war game dubbed “Decisive Action” for peacekeeping operations began on August 1 at the Military training center near Ulaanbaatar. The full contingent of the 350th Military Unit, commanded by Colonel D.Ulziibayar is taking Mongolia's part in the exercise. From Qatar's side, 160 personnel are partaking. Pursuant to the Mongolia-Qatar agreement on military cooperation, joint exercises were organized in 2008 and 2009. In 2013, the sides restarted the exchange of joint war games and made it an annual action. ^ top ^

AmCham to host newly elected MP D.Tsogtbaatar for first private sector meeting (Montsame)
2016-08-02
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia will host its July Monthly Meeting with H.E. D. Tsogtbaatar, Member of Parliament on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 at 8:30AM at the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel. The Honorable Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia will also attend the meeting as a guest of honor. The meeting will convene over 60 participants, including AmCham members and representatives from the private sector. Guests will hear about the Mongolian People's Party national development platform and plans to enhance the private sector and rebuild foreign investors' confidence followed by a Q&A Session with the guest speaker. AmCham is hosting the first formal engagement between the MPP and the private sector since the election and this is His Excellency D. Tsogtbaatar's first public appearance as a new Member of Parliament, reported AmCham Mongolia on Tuesday.​ ^ top ^

Four ministers appointed (Montsame)
2016-08-01
At the plenary meeting of the State Great Khural, assembled on July 29, the majority of parliament members backed the nominations by MPP to the offices of four ministers. Thus, P.Sergelen was appointed Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, G.Monkhbayar – Minister of Construction and Urban Development, A.Tsogtsetseg – Minister of Health, and P.Gankhuu—Minister of Energy. P.Sergelen graduated from the Mongolian University of Education in 1994, and the Institute of Finance and Economy in 2006. He has received specialized training in the US, Hong Kong, Italy and Singapore, in management of livestock's genetic pool and livestock registry, small and medium enterprises, development policy, and information technology. He was the director of “Noyon Suld” LLC in 1995-2009, and the CEO of “Buudain Khur” land-farming company in 2010-2014. The new minister of Construction and Urban Development G.Monkhbayar graduated from the Ural State Technical University in 1989, and the University of Technology of Mongolia in 1997, majoring in engineer, and has defended a master's degree in consultant engineer. G.Monkhbayar worked as a technician at a ministry in 1989-1990, engineer at public establishment of housing apartments in 1990-1991, General Manager of Ulaanbaatar in 1991-2004, Chairman of the Citizens' Representatives Khural of Capital City in 2007-2008, Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar in 2008-2012, and a citizens' representatives in the Capital City Citizens' Khural. Minister of Health A.Tsogtsetseg graduated from the University of Medical Science in 1986, and the National Academy of Governance in 2001, and received specialized training and has defended higher degrees in 1988, 1992 and 1997 in the University of Medical Sciences, specializing in cellular studies of epidermis, in South Korea in 2006 majoring in beauty specialist, and in the University of Medical Sciences in 2015, specializing in in hospital management. She worked as a doctor at the National Research Center for Venereology in 1986-1988, head of department in 1988-2003, and as the Director General of the Research Center since May of 2003. Energy Minister P.Gankhuu graduated from the Institute of Social Sciences and Economy in 1997, School of Economy of the National University of Mongolia in 1999, and the University of Sydney of Australia in 2015. He defended a master's degree in economy in the US and received a specialized training in energy in Japan. P.Gankhuu worked as a lecturer at the Institute of Social Sciences and Economy in 1997-1999, adviser to the “TASIS” project of the National University of Mongolia in 1999-2001, a specialist at the Ministry of Infrastructure in 2002-2004, senior official, head of department and divisions in the Ministry of Fuel and Energy in 2004-2009, and a deputy director of the Department of Energy in 2009-2012. ^ top ^

National Statistical Office has new leader (Montsame)
2016-08-01
The newly appointed chairwoman of the National Statistical Office (NSO) A.Ariunzaya received the seal and office on July 30. The seal was handed by the former chairman S.Mendsaihan, and the latter wished success to her works. Ms Ariunzaya graduated the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and a college in Germany between 1996 and 1999, and has defended a master's degree in Leibniz University of Hanover in 2005, and graduated from the National Academy of Governance of Mongolia in 2015, majoring in public governance. She worked as a human resource and insurance manager and chief manager at Mongol Daatgal Compnay between 2005 and 2015, and head of the Strategic Planning Department and Economic Policy Department of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) since 2013. Present during the office receiving were D.Sumiyabazar MP. ^ top ^

O.Erdembileg appointed First Deputy Governor of Central bank (Monitsame)
2016-08-01
First plenary session of the State Great Khural, formed after the 2016 parliamentary elections, have backed the resolution on appointing Erdembileg Ochirkhuu as the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mongolia (BoM). O.Erdembileg was born in Ulaanbaatar in 1976, graduated from the National University of Mongolia, majoring in economy and finance in 1998. He has defended a master's degree in Development Economics in 2002 at the Australian National University. Mr Erdembile worked as an officer, a head of department and divisions at the Ministry of Finance in 1998-2007, economist and chief economic analyst at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2007-2013, adviser to the Director of Board of the Golomt Bank in 2014-2015, and the first deputy director of Golomt Bank since 2015. ^ top ^

 

Ms. Annina Burri
Embassy of Switzerland
 

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