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
  11-15.9.17, No. 687  
Startseite / Homepage   Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

Mongolia

^ top ^

 

Switzerland

Chinese companies support young entrepreneurs at top Swiss university: experts (Xinhua)
2017-09-12
Chinese companies are supporting young and talented, science-oriented entrepreneurs not only by investing in local entrepreneurship-promoted programs but lately also by bringing their expertise to global markets, Swiss experts have said. Lukas Huber, Asia director of Greater Zurich Area AG, a non profit organization helping international companies set up companies and make investments in the region, applauded Chinese telecommunications company Huawei's latest cooperation with ETH Zurich, the world-ranked Swiss university, by financing a so-called "Pioneer Fellowship Program." ETH Zurich files around 100 patents each year and numerous discoveries are made in its laboratories and by its research groups on a daily basis. However, a start-up or marketable product is often a long way off. The program, founded by Detlef Gunther, vice president of ETH Zurich in charge of research and corporate relations, aims to help young researchers realize an innovative product and solid business plan out of their research results. Young entrepreneurs can receive up to 150,000 Swiss francs (155,000 U.S. dollars) in seed capital and coach for a maximum of 18 months. Under a partnership agreement signed in February with ETH Zurich, Huawei has promised to support two "pioneer fellows" every year in the next three years. "Huawei realizes the innovation potential here is worthwhile to take a closer look and they start to support the most promising, high-profile spin-offs from ETH," said Huber. He said companies like Huawei are also important and unique to Switzerland in that they bring expertise in links to one of the largest markets in the world. There is a natural development in that China becomes more interesting for local tech start-ups with its massive e-commerce entities such as Tencent and Alibaba, he noted. "Different initiatives, companies, activities can help build bridges, connections with China and will also help local companies and start-ups to have a smoother, easier access, or a variety of potential partners in China," he said. Lorenz Meier, also a pioneer fellow of ZTH Zurich, is just named as one of top under 35 innovators by MIT Technology Review. He maintains a close cooperation with Chinese companies in a different way. In February, he helped Chinese electric aviation company Yuneec to establish its R&D (research and development) center in Zurich and since then has become an advisor to the company in high-tech development. Yuneec is at the forefront of electric aircraft and drone technology, producing a million units or parts of them a year through its regional offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Hamburg. Meier said the concentration of talent in Switzerland is high but the country does not have strong consumer electronics companies. "So it's interesting to have companies like Yuneec with its input into products," said Meier, admitting that "Yuneec is enabling access of Swiss technology to global markets." "Yuneec is also facilitating the access of Swiss start-ups to global markets," he added, explaining that the Chinese company is enabling Swiss start-ups to develop components or accessories for drones. ^ top ^

China's progress on human rights promotion applauded at photo exhibition in Geneva (Xinhua)
2017-09-11
China's progress in human rights promotion were applauded by a number of senior diplomats and international organizations' leaders who joined some 800 viewers at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition. Titled "For a Better Life of the People" and showcasing China's progress and achievements in the human rights promotions in recent years, the exhibition was opened Monday in the Palaise des Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva. "I am able to visit China every year and I'm pleased and honored to have such an opportunity to see the progress being made there in human rights of its people," Ambassador William Lacy Swing, director general of the International Organization for Migration, told Xinhua. He said the most impressive thing is the reduction of the poverty levels in China. According to figures provided at the exhibition, since the start of its reform and opening up in 1978, China has lifted more than 700 million rural people out of poverty. Ambassador Farukh Amil, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN and other international organizations at Geneva, told Xinhua that his country is always very happy to see China's development at such an "incredible speed." "What I saw here at the exhibition is a testimony for that, and what I see here shows very clearly that China has improved the human rights situation for hundreds of millions of people," he said. "What the Chinese government has done is to provide dignity to its people through development, through access to clean drinking water, through education and so on," said the ambassador. Amil said it's normal for the world to have different understanding about issues, including human rights, "but the important thing is that how you put these differences in a harmonious and constructive way." Ambassador Alexey Borodavkin, Russia's permanent representative to the UN Office and other international organizations at Geneva, also applauded China's development as being "very impressing, especially China's reduction of poverty and the sustainability of social and economic development." "There are so many human rights fields being improved comparing with previous years, such as heath care, social care, education and so on. It's really an example of how sustained development can contribute to the promotion of human rights," he told Xinhua. "Our understanding is that in order to promote human rights, we need economic development, improvement in education and reduction of poverty. Without that, we can not achieve our human rights goals," he said. The exhibition, the first ever held in the Palaise des Nations, contains a collection of 70 pictures and 15 short videos. "I believe they provide a comprehensive guide to how far China has come in social and economic development," Ma Zhaoxu, China's ambassador and permanent representative to the UN at Geneva, said at the opening ceremony. "Over the past 40 years since the start of reform and opening up, particularly over the last five years, China has stayed committed to sustainable development," Ma said. China is also making every effort to improve education, create more reliable jobs, deliver more rewarding incomes, weave a stronger social safety net, provide more advanced medical and health care, improve housing conditions and the natural environment, and offer a more enriched cultural life, he said. Huang Junxian, inspector of the Human Rights Affairs Department of China's State Council Information Office, said that respecting and protecting human rights are a key principle of governance for the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government. "It is also an important goal of pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics," he said. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Trump says he will visit China, Japan and South Korea in November (SCMP)
2017-09-15
US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced he intends to visit China, Japan and South Korea later this year, a blockbuster maiden presidential visit to Asia. Trump said aboard Air Force One that a US delegation would likely make the trip in November, adding that he will "possibly" go to the Apec summit in Vietnam at the same time. The announcement sets the stage for a wildly ambitious first visit to a region that is vital to US economic and security interests. The visit is likely to focus heavily on trade and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes, one of Trump's biggest security challenges since coming to office. Trump has repeatedly said that he will not tolerate Pyongyang developing the capability of hitting the United States with a thermonuclear weapon, threatening to rain down "fire and fury" if necessary. But with North Korea on the cusp of marrying nuclear warhead and intercontinental ballistic missile technology, Trump has struggled to get China to buy in to biting sanctions. The visit will be another opportunity for Trump to press his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and crucially will come after an October Congress of the Communist Party. Privately, US officials admit Xi is unlikely to back tougher sanctions before that meeting, which sets the course for China's leadership in the next five years. Vice-president Mike Pence had earlier announced that Trump would also visit the Philippines in November for an Asean summit, but the president was more cool to the idea. Trump said only that "he invited us so we're going to see," apparently referring to controversial President Rodrigo Duterte. Police have reported killing more than 3,800 people to fulfil Duterte's vow to rid the country of narcotics, with the 15-month crackdown triggering wider violence that has seen thousands of other people found dead in unexplained circumstances. ^ top ^

China slams M&A block from US (Global Times)
2017-09-15
China on Thursday criticized US President Donald Trump's decision to block a planned acquisition of a US semiconductor company by a Chinese-backed investment fund, urging the US not to use national security as a protectionist tool in reviewing mergers and acquisitions in sensitive sectors, and to treat Chinese firms fairly. Trump's rare move to use presidential power to prevent the purchase of Lattice Semiconductor by a Chinese investor will have a very limited impact on China's development of the semiconductor industry but could slow down M&As in the US by Chinese firms, which in turn, could hurt US firms and its economy, experts added. Citing national security concerns, Trump on Wednesday blocked Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC's $1.3 billion bid to acquire the US semiconductor company. That's only the fourth time a US president has banned a merger in over a quarter of a century, according to US media. The decision has drawn concerns from Beijing, where a Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) spokesperson told a press conference on Thursday that while it is a country's legitimate right to conduct national security reviews of investments in sensitive sectors, "it should not be a protectionist tool." MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng further urged "relevant countries to treat Chinese companies' overseas M&As objectively and fairly, and to create a reasonable and transparent operating environment for them." Experts said Trump's move was in line with the US' increasingly tougher stand against China aimed at stopping the latter from acquiring technologies in the semiconductor and other advanced technologies, but that its impact is very limited. "If the US thinks it can stop the progress of the Chinese semiconductor sector by blocking these deals, they've got it wrong," Xiang Ligang, chief executive of domestic telecom industry portal cctime.com, told the Global Times. Xiang said that the US and other countries have long tried to block China from acquiring these technologies, yet China's domestic industry has been rising rapidly. He identified several of the sector's rising stars, including Huawei and ZTE. "We might be lagging behind the US, but it's not like we don't have these technologies. We have hundreds of companies and billions of dollars in State funds to support them," Xiang said. In 2016 alone, the number of Chinese companies in the semiconductor and other related areas grew to about 1,200 from 700 the previous year, according to Liu Kun, vice president of CCID Consulting's IC Industry Research Center in Beijing. "The US can block the takeover of its companies, but there are so many other ways China can improve its technologies," Liu told the Global Times. One such way is to attract foreign or Chinese talent with a foreign educational background. He said the majority of these companies have at least a few people who have returned from working in Silicon Valley or other areas. Not only will the move not stop China but it could isolate US companies and industries from engaging with the world's largest market, said Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation. "The US is still the dominant player in semiconductors, but the number of market players has grown. Frankly, it is the US that needs the Chinese market and capital to rejuvenate its industry, not the other way around," Bai told the Global Times. Trump's move also affects deals in other areas, as it creates a chilling effect on future M&As, Bai said. "The bottom line is that these US companies agreed to be taken over by Chinese firms, because the bids are attractive and the long-term prospects are good for them. If you stop those, the US firms are hurt. That's very unwise," he said. ^ top ^

Aviation, space cooperation to benefit China and Russia (Global Times)
2017-09-15
Strengthened China and Russia cooperation in aviation and space technologies, including helicopters and rocket engines, will benefit both countries which have strong complementarities in these areas, experts said, while warning that it will take more mutual trust between the two governments to see full benefits. China and Russia have made progress in talks to produce a new model of heavy-lift helicopters. The two sides have reached a consensus on technical terms, splitting up responsibilities, and a roadmap to implement the project, said Huang Chuanyue on Wednesday, deputy chief engineer of Avicopter, the helicopter arm of the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Avicopter and Russian Helicopters agreed to cooperate on the project in 2015. A year later, the two governments signed a deal, giving the project the go-ahead, Huang said at a helicopter industry forum in the city of Tianjin. Huang said the new helicopter will be made primarily to meet the needs of Chinese clients. The helicopter will be designed with a take-off weight of 38 tons, with internal cargo capacity of 10 tons and an external sling capacity of 15 tons. "It will be able to fly over plateaus higher than 3,000 meters and maneuver among mountains … and the helicopter will be fitted with aero-engines on par with those on Russia's Mi-26," Huang said. "In the aviation sector, China and Russia can cooperate in many areas. Apart from helicopters, which are a shortcoming in China, the two are also cooperating in other areas like the C929 wide-body passenger jet," said Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military industry expert. "Russia has advantages in areas like engine and body design, while China does well in avionics and financing, so the cooperation will be sustainable and it will impact the global aircraft market and shake the West's status in this field," he noted. In aerospace, China and Russia look set to sign a cooperation treaty for 2018-2022 in October. According to news site cri.cn, the cooperation will cover areas like rocket engines, Earth-sensing technology, special materials, satellites, and exploration on the moon and deep space. "China and Russia have unique advantages in aerospace. Russia has great advantages in rocket engines - even the US imports rocket engines from Russia, as in the Soviet days, it had already gained valuable experience on running and developing a space station," Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, previously told the Global Times. China is progressing steadily on space station development and lunar exploration, and China has a stable and sustainable financial base, so these will bring great potentials to Sino-Russian aerospace cooperation, Wang said. Sino-Russian cooperation projects will also be open to other countries. According to TASS, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics Andrei Ionin believes that "considering the Western sanctions imposed on Russia," new potential partners should also include, in the first place, other BRICS countries "and also, possibly, Indonesia, the UAE, Vietnam, Iran and others." However, the cooperation on exploration might not directly lead to cooperation on exploitation and usage, since this needs really high mutual trust, Wang added. China's lunar plans are more ambitious than the US in the 1960s. China's goal is not merely sending people to land on the moon, but will prepare for exploitation and even the construction of a lunar base, so this will link to the strategic interests of the country, Wang said. "Further cooperation depends on the political and strategic mutual trust between these two major space powers," he said. ^ top ^

Xi discusses cooperation with Brunei sultan (China Daily)
2017-09-15
Infrastructure, health and defense affairs are among highlights of the cooperative documents signed following the meeting on Wednesday between President Xi Jinping and Brunei's visiting Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. During their meeting, Xi said the two countries should reinforce the exchange of governing experience, the synergy of their development strategies as well as pragmatic cooperation in various fields. Both countries should strengthen cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, energy, halal food, agriculture, fisheries and digital economy. Hassanal, who is both the sultan and prime minister, said his country supports the Belt and Road Initiative and it will continue honoring the one-China policy. Brunei welcomes Chinese enterprises making investments and developing business there, and the country is ready to further maintain high-level contacts with China and expand cultural exchanges. Hassanal was making his second state visit to China — the first was in 2013. Wednesday's talk was amicable, and the outcomes were fruitful, said Xiao Qian, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs. Speaking about the South China Sea, Xi said the current situation is increasingly stable and cooling, and it shows a positive momentum of development. China is ready to work with parties concerned, including Brunei, to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, Xi said. Brunei is ready to work with China to champion peace and stability in the South China Sea and continue to nurture the ties between ASEAN and China, Hassanal said. Before arriving in Beijing, Hassanal attended the 14th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. China appreciates Brunei pushing forward the development of the China-ASEAN relationship, Xi said. China is willing to strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development plans of ASEAN, promote and upgrade their ties and boost the buildup of the ASEAN Community, Xi said. ^ top ^

Laos to set up consulate general in central China's Changsha (Xinhua)
2017-09-15
Laos will establish a consulate general in central China's Changsha within the year, the first foreign consulate in Hunan Province, the provincial foreign and overseas Chinese affairs office said Thursday. The consular district will include the provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Henan and Guizhou. The consulate will promote cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation in investment, trade and education between Laos and central China. Since a regular flight between Vientiane and Changsha was launched in August 2015, Laos has become a popular investment and travel destination for Hunan. Currently more than 160 Hunan companies have invested in Laos. ^ top ^

Chinese submarine docks at Malaysian port for second time this year (SCMP)
2017-09-14
A Chinese submarine has docked in Malaysia, the second such visit to the Southeast Asian country this year, as Western powers fret over China's expanding reach in the South China Sea. China claims nearly all of the disputed waterway, through which an estimated US$3 trillion in international trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also have claims. Tensions between China and Malaysia over their overlapping claims, however, appear to have eased after Kuala Lumpur agreed in November to buy four Chinese naval vessels and agreed with Beijing to handle South China Sea disputes bilaterally. The Royal Malaysian Navy confirmed the visit by the Chinese submarine, which docked at the Sepanggar naval base in the state of Sabah in Borneo between Friday and Monday. RMN chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said it was standard international procedure to welcome visits by foreign navy vessels, "based on each nation's request and upon diplomatic clearance". "This is part of our efforts to enhance defence diplomacy and strengthen bilateral relations," he said. The submarine was escorted by a surface ship from the Chinese navy and was returning to China after conducting escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, according to defence magazine Jane's 360, which first reported the submarine's docking. In January, a Chinese submarine docked in Sepanggar, only the second confirmed visit of a Chinese submarine to a foreign port, according to state media. Chinese warships have also been calling at ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, unnerving regional rival India. ^ top ^

As tensions mount over North Korea and South China Sea, does Asia needs a new diplomatic forum? (SCMP)
2017-09-14
The escalation in tensions around North Korea and the dominance of the US and China in reaching a resolution underscore the need for a stronger multilateral framework in Asia, said the project director of an Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) report calling for a new approach to economic and security issues in the region. The report, titled Preserving the Long Peace in Asia, argues that Asean-based institutions and the East Asia Summit (EAS) – both of which include China and the US – should be strengthened as venues for discussion of regional issues and used to offset the tendency of many countries to "shop" for forums that suit their interests better. "Big countries have to demonstrate that they are accommodating the opinions of smaller countries in the region as well and that they're not just seeking to say 'we're going to do this the way we want to do it or we're going to gang up in a G2 against you guys'," Lindsey Ford, Director of Policy-Security Affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. The report was produced to reflect the consensus view of ASPI's Independent Commission on Regional Security Architecture, which is chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Other members of the commission include Thomas E. Donilon, National Security Advisor under former US President Barack Obama. Efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons programme are likely to be a focal point of an expected summit between presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in November. "There have also been people like the Secretary of State and others that are pushing towards potential discussions with North Korea," former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview with the Post earlier this week. "But I think the first thing we need to push is actually engage China one-on-one on North Korea." Such an approach to tensions on the Korean Peninsula are an example of the bilateral channels that ASPI calls "inadequate to address many of the region's most prevalent concerns, such as nuclear proliferation, natural disasters, violent extremism, and cyber threats, which require a coordinated regional response". The ASPI report called for more dialogue about security issues within Asean Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus, a forum that consists of the 10 Asean members and eight other countries including the US, China, Japan and Russia. As well, the EAS should build "its operational capacity by establishing temporary working groups tasked with developing recommendations on discrete security policy topics". "Asean can help bring countries together as a neutral arbiter," Ford said. "When things are going right, what big countries see, and China has seen this in some instances is if you push too hard on that you're the 800-pound gorilla in the room, it doesn't go well for you." Ford was referring to the 2010 ASEAN Regional Forum meeting, when China called then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comments about competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea "an attack on China". At that meeting in Hanoi, Clinton said: "We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant." The prominence of the US and China as primary brokers in regional issues have created challenges in building a more coordinated consensus around how to handle the North Korea problem, the ASPI report said. "Countries across the region often feel torn between their dependence on the US security umbrella and their reliance on China's growing economic influence," the report said. The report also addressed the missile defence system deployed by the US in South Korea as a measure of protection against possible attacks by Pyongyang. "The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) case also puts a spotlight on the growing concern for many Asian nations: in a world in which their economic and security interests diverge, partners are increasingly being forced to choose between the two in uncomfortable ways," it said. ^ top ^

India sends mixed signal by denying official's China trip (Global Times)
2017-09-11
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran of southern India's Kerala state was denied permission by India's Ministry of External Affairs last week to attend the 22nd session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization held in Chengdu, China, from Monday to Saturday. Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan said that the state is disappointed at the denial of opportunity in promoting its tourism at an international forum. Personnel exchanges seem to be the most disrupted part of China-India exchanges. After the Doklam standoff ended two weeks ago, Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu Saturday called for greater Chinese investment in his country. But his invitation was received by doubts of Chinese who were struck by Indian organizations' calls for boycotts of Chinese products during the standoff. While India's Ministry of External Affairs denied permission for the Indian official to visit China, it appears that New Delhi still holds a grudge against its neighbor. In fact, many Chinese scholars and reporters have had similar experiences of being denied a visa just before their scheduled departure for India. Sometimes the events had therefore to be canceled. India's Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for such exchanges, is alarmingly vigilant in this regard. The Indian government's refusal to extend the visas of three Chinese journalists from the Xinhua News Agency in 2016 went beyond the estimation of Chinese about India's strict visa control concerning Chinese except for tourist visas. While a state's tourism minister, a post far away from national security, was stopped by New Delhi from attending a tourism conference in China, it feels that New Delhi still maintains tight control over bilateral exchanges. China is one of the countries that has the biggest number of inbound and outbound travelers. But India has denied permission to Chinese for business more than any other country, and its refusal to allow its officials to come to China seldom happens in other countries. India seems to be more watchful about China than China is about the US. China has a standard for refusing foreigners' entry, but India seems to be vigilant about everything. After the Nathu-la Pass on the China-India border was reopened in 2006, many Chinese businessmen went there in the hope of thriving bilateral trade. But the pass hasn't prospered as expected, most possibly due to India's concerns about national security. Indian society has to free its mind from viewing everyone its enemy. While China and the US compete with each other strategically, most Chinese don't deem the US a potential enemy, but instead hold that China faces a challenge to handle its relations with the US. Despite China's structural conflicts with Japan and their current strained relations, few Chinese object to improving bilateral relations. During the Doklam standoff, many Chinese thought that China should teach India a lesson, but they are happy to see China-India relations improve after the standoff was solved. India is obviously narrow-minded in considering China a No.1 potential enemy. Yet these two large developing countries work in multilateral organizations like the SCO and BRICS and are hence supposed to have many common interests. While India's shelter of the Dalai Lama has posed a security threat to China, how come New Delhi conceives the threat the other way around? India's elites really need to look at the world with fresh eyes and renewed thoughts. ^ top ^

Chinese FM to attend 72nd UN general assembly session (Xinhua)
2017-09-11
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the annual general debate of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday. The 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) will convene at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. The General Debate will open on Sept. 19, with the theme of "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet." During the General Debate, Wang will elaborate on China's position and propositions on the international situation as well as major international and regional issues, spokesman Geng Shuang said at the daily press briefing. Wang will express China's resolute determination to work with UN member states to safeguard world peace and stability and promote development and prosperity, said Geng. As a founding member of the UN and permanent member of the UN Security Council, China upholds multilateralism and stands firmly for the international order with the UN at the core, he said. China supports the UN to play a leading role in safeguarding international and regional peace, boosting global development and improving global governance, said Geng. China will continue to actively participate in the UN's work on politics, security, development, human rights and disarmament, promote democracy and rule of law in international relations, and work with UN member states to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and build a community of shared future for mankind, he said. Before attending the general debate, Wang will pay official visits to Costa Rica and Panama from Sept. 14 to 17, according to Geng. ^ top ^

Interview: India-China cooperation crucial to BRICS development (Xinhua)
2017-09-10
India and China are two crucial countries in BRICS and their mutual understanding and cooperation will go a long way in sustaining BRICS and its future prospects, an Indian scholar said. In a recent interview with Xinhua, A. K. Sinha, a retired professor of Delhi University and foreign affairs expert, said the successful meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "an extremely positive sign for BRICS all together." The Chinese president's remarks of putting bilateral relationship with India on "the right track" signify stable bilateral ties in the future, Sinha said. During the ninth BRICS summit in China's southeastern city of Xiamen, President Xi Jinping said China is willing to work with India on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to improve political mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, and push Sino-Indian ties along the right track. Modi agreed that India and China should not see each other as rivals and should instead make cooperation the focus of bilateral ties. The Indian prime minister said the two sides should advance mutual political trust, expand practical cooperation, increase people-to-people exchanges, and jointly protect regional peace and stability. "This is in consonance with the larger principles of BRICS as well," Sinha commented. "Cooperation between the two countries will raise the efficacy of BRICS and make the group a strong contributor to the new global growth order." India and China are both influential economies in BRICS, said the Indian scholar, adding that the two countries putting up a united front at BRICS after recent resolution of Doklam (Dong Lang) stand-off was a remarkable achievement of the summit. "By finding common grounds, BRICS can further make contribution to global economic development," he said. "BRICS has a bright future." The share of BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - in the global economy has risen from 12 percent to 23 percent in the past decade and they collectively contribute more than half of global growth, the professor pointed out. ^ top ^

PLA Navy conducts drills in East China Sea (Global Times)
2017-09-09
China's People Liberation Army (PLA) Navy conducted large-scale military exercises in the East China Sea in the past few days. Ships which participated in the drills included three Type 052C missile-equipped destroyers, multiple Type 054A guided-missile frigates and a 056 corvette, news website youth.cn reported on Saturday. The ships formed two fleets - the Xuzhou and Jinan fleets. The two fleets practiced dozens of tasks in the drills, including anti-scuba diver defense, firing at island targets using the main guns and underway replenishment. The report did not disclose the exact dates and area of the drills. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China pushes core socialist values knowledge in primary, middle schools (Global Times)
2017-09-14
A student holds a calligraphy work with the words "prosperity, democracy" at the Yuantong Primary School in Tonglu county, East China's Zhejiang Province on May 17. The school held calligraphy themed "socialist core values" contest that day. Photo: VCG Students and teachers across China are being asked to enhance their knowledge of the core socialist values, with teachers in some regions being graded and monitored. Schools in many provinces, including kindergartens, primary and middle schools, are asked to read and recite the core socialist values regularly, some on daily basis, the Global Times found out Thursday. "Students need to read the socialist core values textbook every day before the first morning class for three minutes. It is something we've done for years, but ideological education has intensified in recent years," said Li Shenghui, a middle school math teacher in Guangzong, North China's Hebei Province. "Learning the core values can make the younger generation better understand their responsibilities. It is a moral impetus to make students become better people," Li told the Global Times. Li asked every student in his class to paste the core socialist values on their desks, dormitory walls and their pockets. Students are required to read it three times if they forget portions of it. Classes at middle and primary schools as well as kindergartens in Hoxud county, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have contained five-minute content about core socialist values since mid-September, local news site ts.cn reported. This campaign was first launched in 2015. Students from the Jiaxing Third Middle School, East China's Zhejiang Province are randomly picked to recite the socialist core values every day before morning exercises, according to the local education bureau. Meanwhile, all teachers in Beijing's kindergartens, primary and middle schools will be required to take courses on core socialist values and traditional cultures in 2018, the Beijing Education Commission said on September 8. The course is now being piloted in six schools. Whether teachers take the courses and use the core values in teaching will be monitored and graded, according to the local education commission. The core socialist values have taken root in the public's mind and have been translated into action since it was first defined at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the People's Daily reported. The 24-character core socialist values, which summarize the nation, society and individual, are a set of moral principles defined by the central authorities. They are prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship, according to the People's Daily. ^ top ^

Monopoly law under revision (China Daily)
2017-09-15
China is revising its anti-monopoly law, the first such move since the legislation took effect 10 years ago. The draft by NDRC will be submitted for review next month, according to an official from the country's top economic planner. The revision is expected to incorporate into law the fair market competition review system outlined by the State Council, the nation's Cabinet, according to an official from the National Development and Reform Commission with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named. Officials from local governmental regulatory bodies will be held accountable for administrative monopoly abuses such as granting favorable conditions to preferred enterprises at the expense of other market players, the official said. Once the draft is approved by the National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, it will be illegal for policymakers to create preferential policies to favor certain companies or limit their market access. Based on its past law enforcement experiences, the NDRC hopes that some unclear areas that may cause confusion can be better addressed in the revision of the legislation, the official said. The official said the draft version is expected to be submitted to the State Council for review by the end of this month. Wang Junlin, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in international commerce and business competition, said the revision, if approved by the top legislature, would mark a huge step forward by China as it improves its anti-monopoly law enforcement. In 2016, the State Council published guidelines on establishing a fair competition review system, requiring local policymakers and regulators to perform self-reviews before issuing policies related to the economic activities of market players. Despite the guidelines, some local authorities reportedly have disregarded the self-review process since it was not mandatory. The NDRC cracked down on 18 cases in 2016 involving local governments found to have aided enterprises' price-fixing by issuing discriminatory conditions for market entry or requiring businesses to use goods and services provided by designated producers in the utilities, tourism, clothing and building materials industries. Shi Jianzhong, vice-president of China University of Political Science and Law, said by putting fair market competition into legislation, it is no longer just a reminder for local governments. "It can be used as a preventive tool for law enforcement agencies. Currently, authorities launch investigations only after dubious activities are found," he said. Zhang Qiong, an expert and consultant for the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council, said anti-monopoly law enforcement is expected to expand to new areas, such as artificial intelligence, big data and other new, emerging industries. Law enforcement agencies will be required to adapt to new market developments, according to Zhang. Cybereconomy is expected to become a new area that the law enforcement agencies will watch closely, according to Deng Zhisong, a senior partner at the Beijing office of the Denton global law firm. ^ top ^

Facial scanners implemented at bank ATMs (China Daily)
2017-09-15
The Agricultural Bank of China is piloting facial recognition scanners on two of its ATM machines in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province. Sometimes referred to as "Smile to Pay" technology, this ATM lets you smile to get paid. Shandong Business Daily reports users can withdraw money from the ATM machines by looking into a camera to have their facial features scanned. The scanners feature infrared cameras that can tell a real human face apart from pictures and masks. In addition to scanning their faces, users will have to type in their cell phone and ID numbers to get the money. They can withdraw a maximum of 3,000 yuan per day through facial recognition ATMs. The bank is aiming to have facial scanners installed on all of its ATM machines across Guizhou by the end of this year. The Agricultural Bank already has these scanners at 37 of its bank counters across China. The scanners are also featured at the Merchants Bank's ATM machines in 106 cities across China. Face scanning is widely applied in China. In addition to withdrawing money, it can help make payments at fast-food restaurants, checking in at various hotels and other parts of traveling both easier and faster. ^ top ^

China creates cyberattack database, requires telecom firms to report threats (Global Times)
2017-09-13
China will create a national database on cyberattacks and require telecom firms, Internet companies and domain name providers to report threats. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said companies, telecommunication firms and government agencies must share information on attacks, including Trojan malware, hardware vulnerabilities, and content linked to malicious IP addresses to the new platform. An MIIT policy note also said that the ministry will be responsible for disposing the threats under the new rules, which take effect in 2018. Companies and network providers which fail to follow the rules will be subject to warnings, fines and other administrative penalties. The law is the latest in a series of moves by China designed to guard core infrastructure and private enterprises against cyberattacks. In June, China's cyber administration formalized a nationwide cyber emergency response plan. ^ top ^

WeChat users censoring content amid China crackdown on social media (SCMP)
2017-09-12
Self-censorship is kicking in fast on WeChat as China's new rules on message groups cast a chill among the 963 million users of Tencent Holdings' social network. Regulations released last week made creators of online groups responsible for managing information within their forums and the behaviour of members. The measure do not take effect until next month, but the authorities have jumped into action by disciplining 40 people in one group for spreading petition letters and arresting a man who complained about police raids, according to reports in official Chinese media. The prospect of punishment for the actions of others has led many administrators to disband groups while others circulate self-imposed rules discouraging the spreading of rumours or unauthorised information about Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some are turning to alternatives, such as encrypted messaging apps, to avoid government scrutiny. The regulations are the latest in a series of moves carried out by the authorities as China ramps up for the politically sensitive period of the 19th Communist Party congress this autumn. "WeChat is really the modern printing press, so of course there will be restrictions," said Duncan Clark, chairman of technology consulting firm BDA China and a shareholder of Tencent. "If you are an investor in Tencent, you are basically betting on management's ability to adjust to policies and yet still be able to create a product that people like." Tencent's WeChat and QQ, which has 662 million mobile users, evolved from instant messaging to become true social networks by adding news feeds, photo sharing and other services. Anyone can create a group, usually of as many as 500 people, to share pictures, voice chats and links to websites. Jane Yip, a spokeswoman for Shenzhen based Tencent, did not respond to a request for comment. Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, went through similar tightening a few years ago when users were required to reveal their real identities and opinion leaders were arrested for comments. As smartphones became pervasive, users shifted to then nascent WeChat, which was under less scrutiny, fuelling Tencent's rise to become a US$400 billion empire today. Weibo has a market value of US$23 billion. Qiao Mu, a former journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University who recently emigrated to the US, had four personal WeChat accounts and 16 public ones deleted without his consent. "WeChat groups scared the party because it's the simplest way to mobilise and organise a group of people," Qiao said. "The new rule is an upgrade as they want to hush people and enforce self-censorship. They want to avoid mass incidents and prevent crises before they emerge." Whether Tencent can navigate the more stringent policies while keeping users happy remains to be seen. The new rules apply to all internet and mobile forums, meaning there are few alternatives. While virtual private networks can provide access to blocked messaging services such as Line and Telegram, the country is zeroing in on such services. Apple is removing many VPNs from its Chinese app store to comply with local rules. "People in China are really between a rock and a hard place," said Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor at the school of journalism and communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. ^ top ^

China jails Muslim man for 2 years over Islam WeChat groups (SCMP)
2017-09-12
A member of a Muslim minority group has been sentenced to two years in a Chinese prison after forming online discussions groups to teach Islam. Huang Shike was arrested in Xinjiang last year, three months after he formed a discussion group about Muslim worship on the messaging app WeChat, according to the official website China Judgments Online. Huang, 49, taught about the Koran in another WeChat discussion group. More than 100 people were members of each group, the website said. The discussion groups "disturbed normal religious activity" and violated laws about using the internet to discuss religion, the website said. Chinese authorities have dramatically increased surveillance and police patrols in Xinjiang, fearing the spread of militant Islam which they believe has infiltrated the region from Central Asia. Huang is a member of the Hui minority. There are more than 20 million Muslims in China, mainly among Uygur, Hui and other ethnic minorities. China's 10.6 million Hui – descendants of Muslim settlers and Chinese who converted to Islam – have long endured strained relations with the Han, who constitute more than 90 per cent of the country's 1.37 billion people. Chinese officials have increasingly urged local governments to better assimilate Muslim minorities into Han Chinese culture, as many ethnic policy hardliners have decried a trend of what they call "Arabisation" among Chinese Muslims. ^ top ^

Hundreds of thousands could be evacuated as 'giant' typhoon set to hit southeastern China this week (SCMP)
2017-09-12
Authorities in southeastern China will begin evacuating up to half a million people from their homes on Tuesday as the region braces for a "giant" typhoon that is expected to make landfall later in the week. Typhoon Talim was forecast to strike several cities along central and northern sections of the Fujian coastline, including Fuzhou and Ningde, Liu Aiming, chief engineer at the province's meteorological bureau, said. Evacuation notices could be issued to as many as 400,000 or 500,000 people, though the exact figure was subject to change as the situation was still evolving, Liu said. Most of the people affected live either in properties that might not be able to withstand the high winds, in areas that are prone to flooding or mudslides, or are close to construction sites where they could be hit by flying debris, she said, adding that school buildings and sports stadiums will be used as temporary shelters. Talim formed east of the Philippines on Saturday and was on course to hit both Fujian and Taiwan, Liu said. It had been steadily gathering strength and by the time it made landfall would most likely have grown into a super typhoon, the highest level in China's rating system and comparable to a category 4 or 5 hurricane in the United States, she said. "Talim is a giant. It will dwarf any of the others [typhoons] we've seen this year," she said. If people chose not to leave, they would be forced to do so by inspection teams made up of Communist Party and government officials, she said. "It's routine practice. [If they were not told to evacuate] most people would just stay in their homes. Nobody hits the highway," she said, adding that she was a "bit surprised at what happened in the US". As Hurricane Irma raced towards the coast of Florida last week, more than five million residents fled coastal areas in response to government warnings. The exodus caused huge jams on the motorways and many service stations ran out of fuel. Although Fujian's population is about 50 per cent higher than Florida's and the two storms are comparable in strength, the number of people set to be evacuated in the province is only a tenth of those who fled Irma. Huang Peng, a professor in architecture and wind engineering at Tongji University in Shanghai who used to work at the International Hurricane Research Centre in Florida, said it was understandable that China and the US had adopted different approaches to keep people safe. "In Florida, the government's advice was for people to flee and that was best for the situation," he said. "Most of the people live in timber properties on low-lying ground and that makes them vulnerable to the high winds," he said. "And because they are spread over such a wide area, it would have been difficult to get aid and support to them in the aftermath of the hurricane." "In China, mass evacuations are usually not considered an option, but for those living in poorly built properties or at-risk locations it is better if they are relocated," he said. The reason why mass evacuations were not as popular in China was mostly due to population densities, Huang said. "In the panic of a disaster situation, the escape route can turn into a traffic nightmare," he said. "In places like Fujian the roads get jam-packed even during the holidays." According to Wang Kanghong, a researcher at the meteorological disaster laboratory under the Ministry of Education in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, the Chinese government was very selective when it came to ordering evacuations. Orders were issued only if the data suggested a building was vulnerable to a typhoon. "[However] the climate is changing. It is possible we will one day be faced with a mega-typhoon that few buildings would be able to withstand," he said. Senior officials in every city had emergency plans to deal with such a "doomsday scenario", he said. These included computer simulations that could be used to evacuate entire cities, by deciding such things as which motorways should remain open and which groups of people should be moved first, he said. But there were no guarantees such a plan would work, Wang said. "There has never been a drill. Many things can go wrong." ^ top ^

Smog cuts 3 years off lives in northern China, international study finds (SCMP)
2017-09-12
Smog from burning coal cuts roughly three years on average off the lives of people in northern China compared with their southern counterparts, a new study suggests. The report, based on air quality data in 154 cities from 1981 to 2012, found pollution levels were 46 per cent higher north of the Huai River, a dividing line between northern and southern China. The study by researchers in China, Israel and the United States was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers said poor air quality in the north meant people lost an average of 3.1 years of life compared to residents in the south due to the higher prevalence of illnesses such as lung cancer and stroke. "The higher mortality rates are evident throughout the life cycle," said Michael Greenstone, an energy and environment expert at the University of Chicago, who co-authored the study. "They are not just among the young and the old, but we see them also among middle-aged people. It [air pollution] is affecting everyone." Coal-fired boilers have in the past been more widely used in colder northern China, partly due to government policies that provided free coal to households. Northern China suffers from heavier smog, especially in the autumn and winter, when more coal is burned for heating. Rising public discontent about the hazardous levels of smog has prompted the government to embark on an anti-air pollution campaign that has seen households forced to replace coal-fired heaters with electric or gas-fired units. Such efforts are working, according to Greenstone. A similar study in 2013, which he also co-authored, found the difference in life expectancy between the north and south was 5½ years. However, the government admitted last month it was still under pressure to meet targets to significantly cut levels of PM2.5 – the small particles in air pollution most harmful to health. Widespread air pollution continues to cause premature deaths across the country, especially in industrial regions, according to an air quality-life index compiled by researchers at the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute. The average Chinese person could live 3½ years longer if PM2.5 concentrations could be kept below standard levels set by the World Health Organisation, according to the institute. Beijing residents could enjoy an extra 6.4 years of life if the capital's PM2.5 level met international standards, while people in the northern city of Harbin could live 6.9 more years, the institute said. Many previous studies have highlighted the alarming health effects created by the country's toxic smog. A report by Nanjing University's School of the Environment last year found smog was related to nearly one-third of deaths in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta based on a study of mortality rates in 2013. Another project by the US-based Health Effects Institute, published earlier this year found air pollution caused about 1.1 million premature deaths in China. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing government mobilizes medical resources to protect runners (Global Times)
2017-09-15
The Beijing government has mobilized extra medical workers and resources to ensure that participants in this weekend's Beijing marathon have a safe experience, according to news site thepaper.cn. An estimated 30,000 people will run in the 2017 Beijing Marathon on Sunday, which will take runners to iconic landmarks like Tiananmen Square and the Olympic stadiums. First held in 1981, the race has been called China's "national marathon" and is one of the most important events of its kind in the country. Twenty doctors will run in the race and give medical aid to runners who get into difficulty. These doctors are from top "grade-A" hospitals across the country. Ten service sites will be set up along the route to offer medical support, and there will be one every 2.5 kilometers in the second half of the race. The marathon organizing committee has also mobilized 50 medical staff to carry defibrillators to give timely treatment to runners experiencing any heart problems. Bilingual doctors, nurses and volunteers are on standby to offer support services. The organizing committee will also arrange medical services at the finish line. From September 14 to 16, the committee will invite bone doctors and emergency physicians to help publicize knowledge about health issues and recovery tips for the marathon runners. In recent years, many accidents have been reported during marathons in China. Last December, two runners died after collapsing during the Xiamen International Half-Marathon in East China's Fujian Province, even though both runners were given immediate emergency treatment by medical staff. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Official urges Xinjiang to reject wrong influences (Global Times)
2017-09-14
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will develop better if it rids itself of misleading historical, cultural, ethnic and religious thoughts, China's top political adviser said at a seminar. Clearing out those negative thoughts will build the ideological and political basis for a legal and united Xinjiang, Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee said at a two-day meeting on Xinjiang, which concluded on Wednesday in Beijing. "Over the decade, China has seen great changes in religions. New conflicts and problems have become increasingly prominent. Foreign-influenced religious beliefs have intensified, and religious extremism is spreading in some regions. The commercialization of religions and other problems are getting worse," Wang Zuo'an, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, wrote in the People's Daily on Tuesday. Their comments came after the State Council revised religious affairs regulations in September. The ordinance stresses "self-management" of religious groups to avoid being controlled by foreign forces, and stresses that religious groups cannot spread content harmful to national security, engage in religious extremism and ethnic disunity. Wang said that "the regulation makes religion a positive influence by adapting to socialist doctrine." ^ top ^

Top political advisor addresses ideological issues about Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2017-09-13
China's top political advisor has made a clear stance on a string of historical issues concerning Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, saying they serve as important guidelines to address ideological problems in the area. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks while addressing a two-day symposium on the region's historical issues, which closed Wednesday. Yu emphasized that Xinjiang is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and that China has been a unified and multi-ethnic country since the Qin and Han dynasties more than 2,000 years ago. He pointed out that the various ethnic groups in the region are members of the Chinese nation, and share the common interest of realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. The culture of ethnic groups in the region is rooted in the rich soil of Chinese civilization and is an indivisible part of it, according to Yu. He further noted that promoting harmonious relations between religions can help maintain peace and prosperity in the region. These views will serve as important guidelines for solving ideological problems in Xinjiang, a consensus which is reached on historical issues among officials and people from different ethnic groups in the region, and an important thought which helps take the initiative in ideological work, he said. Yu underlined the need to uphold such important principles and integrate them into the practical work of ideology. He also stressed efforts to win the public trust, fight splitism, eliminate the influence of wrong ideas and solve the long-standing and deep-seated ideological problems. Yu asked Communist Party cadres, the highly educated and religious leaders to do a better job in educating the people, and fulfill their responsibilities to lead. The symposium was attended by Zhang Chunxian and Li Zhanshu, both members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. Those at present also included Du Qinglin, vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee; Yang Jing, state councilor and secretary-general of the State Council; and Guo Shengkun, minister of public security." ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

'Important areas' of 'one country, two systems' under threat, UK foreign secretary says in report (SCMP)
2017-09-15
The British government has warned that "important areas" of the "one country, two systems" model under which China governs Hong Kong have come under increasing pressure, citing reports of mainland security officials operating in the city and Beijing's increasing influence. In his latest six-monthly report to the UK parliament on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made clear that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, under which Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy is enshrined, remains as valid today as it was when it was signed by the British and mainland Chinese governments in 1984. "We judge that 'one country, two systems' has generally functioned well since 1997. We can look back at Hong Kong's significant achievements over the last 20 years since the handover, and look forward to many more in the years to come," the report said. "However, at the same time, we cannot ignore that important areas of the 'one country, two systems' framework are coming under increasing pressure." In response to the report, the Hong Kong government said in a statement: "Foreign governments should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the (city)." Since the handover, the statement said, the city has been exercising a high degree of autonomy and the principle of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" in strict accordance with the Basic Law. "This demonstrates the full and successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' principle, which has been widely recognised by the international community," it said. The British government document cited reports of mainland security officials operating in Hong Kong, reports of Beijing's liaison office in the city increasing its influence, as well as "continuing concerns" about the exercise of some rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution. In June, the Chinese foreign ministry's spokesman Lu Kang caused a stir by declaring that the Joint Declaration, which laid the groundwork for Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China in 1997, was a "historical document that no longer has any realistic meaning". Xu Hong, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry's treaty and law department, later clarified that the Joint Declaration was legally binding but that it did not give Britain the right to interfere in the city's affairs. Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy. Its capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years until 2047. Mainland security agents are not allowed to carry out law enforcement duties in the city. "(The Joint Declaration) remains as valid today as it did when it was signed by both the government of the UK and of China over 30 years ago and lodged with the United Nations. It is a legally binding treaty registered with the UN, and continues to be in force," said the report, which covers the first half of this year. "The UK government is committed to monitoring its implementation closely. We have been unequivocal about our position on this issue both publicly and privately with the Chinese government." The report said the British government welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping's commitment to the continued implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle, which he set out during his visit to Hong Kong earlier this year. "In line with this important commitment, it is essential that Hong Kong enjoys, and is seen to enjoy, the full measure of its high degree of autonomy and rule of law enshrined in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law," it said. The British government does not consider independence for Hong Kong, as advocated by a small group of activists in the city, a realistic option. The report gave a summary of events that gripped Hong Kong in the first half of this year, including concerns that Beijing's liaison office in the city had interfered in the chief executive election. "The UK government's view is that respect for Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rule of law remain key to its success," the report said. "We continue to take the view that the best way to secure the long-term future of 'one country, two systems' is through a transition to universal suffrage which meets the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong, within the parameters of the Basic Law." Before Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, Hongkongers moved overseas in several waves due to fears of how the city would change under Chinese rule. The Post has learned that 1,210 Hongkongers became permanent residents in Canada last year, double the figure of 630 in 2015 and 585 in 2014. ^ top ^

Jailed activist Nathan Law says the future of his Demosisto party is unclear (SCMP)
2017-09-11
The youngest lawmaker – at 24 – was slapped with a five-year ban from public office after he was jailed for eight months in August for storming a government compound just days before the start of the 79-day Occupy sit-ins of 2014. The verdict caught many activists off guard. Yet, well before the court laid down its ruling, Law, in an interview with the Post, said he had already prepared for the end of his Legislative Council career. He even doubted his party, Demosisto, would be allowed to run given what he called political suppression by the Hong Kong and Beijing governments. "We have to consider how Demosisto should transform as its path in Legco may not work any more. We need to have two strings to our bow, and we can never live without a sense of crisis," Law said, speaking in his Legco office just before he was forced to move out. "We cannot take [running in elections] for granted... Being too optimistic does not fit the political climate here in Hong Kong," It remains uncertain if Law, who raised his tone when he mentioned the People's Republic of China in his oath, making the words sound like a question, will ever get a chance to run again. "Beijing's power is without constraint... It may interpret the Basic Law tomorrow and say [chanting slogans to] end one-party dictatorship violates the Basic Law and all who go up on stage at the annual June 4 vigil are not allowed to run," he said. Law admitted the future direction of Demosisto, which he chairs, had yet to be settled. "We have to consider how to develop in a sustainable way and [have] a unique status in civil society. It is a question that we have to spend time to discuss and think about," Law said, adding that the party would hopefully maintain a district office, engagement with the international community and research on the city's history. However, a potential headache will be the loss of money coming from a Legco seat. Law said he donated half of his monthly salary – over HK$90,000 – to the party and the allowance had sustained 12 staff in his office. Looking at the staff, who are mostly in their early 20s, busy packing up items in his Legco office, Law lamented that they had to rely on fundraising to support party work and their livelihoods. ^ top ^

Cyberattackers hack website of Hong Kong pro-democracy party Demosisto (SCMP)
2017-09-11
The website of pro-democracy political party Demosisto was hacked on Saturday, with pro-China messages appearing on their pages instead of their usual message advocating self-determination. The attack came as political tensions in the city flared up again, and just weeks after two Demosisto leaders were jailed for unlawful assembly. An IT expert warned that political cyberattacks would only get more common in future. At about noon on Saturday, the group, which had been attacked in the past, wrote on Twitter: "Our website is hacked with fabricated 'patriotic' messages. We condemn such uncivilised action." About one hour later, the site was inaccessible. The hackers' post on the party's site depicted a cartoon of Demosisto secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, and listed the core values of socialism. There was also a list of "things to be proud of" and "things to be ashamed of". Among the latter was "harming your country". "Given the political situation in Hong Kong, this sort of hacking of political groups will be even more frequent as we move forward... It's something we will have to live with," Michael Leung, an IT expert who works in the banking sector, said. "They can do very little about it, because the hacking technology moves very fast. It's possible to completely hijack a website or make it unavailable," Leung, former president of the Hong Kong Computer Society, said. As well as deploying security tools and procedures, Leung said big companies, like banks, were using big data analytics to understand past attacks and trace patterns, to try to get ahead of the game and prevent attacks. "But of course, political parties don't have such resources," he said. Alongside Wong at the party's helm is chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who sat in the Legislative Council until he was disqualified over a badly taken oath. Both men are serving six and eight months, respectively, in jail for their role in clashes at the government headquarters in 2014, soon before the pro-democracy Occupy protests officially took to the streets. After the attack, Demosisto said on Facebook that the Hong Kong government was increasingly "authoritarian", recalling an interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing last year, which allowed a number of elected legislators to be removed from their seats by court rulings for improper oath-taking. Meanwhile, tensions between local and mainland students reached boiling point this week. Three large black banners bearing the words "Hong Kong independence" appeared at Chinese University on Monday. Similar posters were later seen on other local campuses. On Tuesday, a video emerged on social media of a mainland student tearing down pro-independence posters. Later in the week, some students openly confronted each other over posters advocating Hong Kong's independence at Chinese University. Cyberattackers have targeted various people and organisations in Hong Kong, in a trend that experts said had increased after the Occupy protests. In September last year, news agency AFP cited a US-based security firm saying that mainland Chinese hackers had attacked two Hong Kong government departments ahead of the 2016 legislative elections. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland official stresses common political foundation of upholding 1992 Consensus (Xinhua)
2017-09-15
The Chinese mainland is willing to work with the Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT) party to consolidate the common political foundation of adhering to 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief said Thursday. Zhang Zhijun, head of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks while meeting with Hau Lung-bin, vice chairman of the KMT in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. "We are willing to strengthen exchanges with the KMT and jointly advance relations between the two parties and cross-Strait relations," Zhang said. Hau is in Nanning to attend a Guangxi-Taiwan forum on trade and cultural cooperation. ^ top ^

Don't use Taiwan activist's trial to attack Chinese law, mainland authorities warn (SCMP)
2017-09-13
Attacks on China's legal or political system using the trial of Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che will prove futile, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday after Lee's wife and supporters rejected the authority of the court that tried him. Lee, a community college teacher known for his pro-democracy and rights activism, went missing on a trip to mainland China in March. Chinese authorities later confirmed that he was being investigated on suspicion of damaging national security. Lee confessed on Monday to attempting to subvert the Beijing government, according to videos of his hearing released by the Chinese authorities. His wife and supporters said the trial was not fair and that they did not recognise the court's authority. An Fengshan, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs office, told a regular briefing that "any attempts to use this case for political means, to influence or slander the mainland's handling of the case in accordance with the law, or to attack the mainland's political or legal systems will all be futile". The legal rights of Lee and his family had been upheld and guaranteed, he said. A meeting between Lee and his wife and mother had been arranged after the hearing at the request of his family, An said. The hearing process was broadcast by the court in videos and on social media website Weibo in what An said was an "open" trial. Activists who had travelled to Yueyang in Hunan province to support Lee said after the trial they had been barred from attending, saying that was proof the case was not truly open or fair. Releasing videos and transcripts of court hearings has become increasingly common in China as part of a push for greater judicial transparency and oversight. However, rights activists say that holding "open" trials in sensitive cases allows the authorities to demonstrate state power as a deterrence, with statements and verdicts usually agreed in advance. Ties between Beijing and Taipei have been strained since President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, took office last year. Tsai's refusal to say that Taiwan and China are part of one country has angered Beijing, as have her comments about human rights on the mainland. Beijing maintains has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control. The island, which has a democratic system, has shown no interest in being governed by the Communist Party in Beijing. ^ top ^

Wife of detained Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che to attend his trial in mainland China (SCMP)
2017-09-10
The wife and mother of detained Taiwanese rights activist Lee Ming-che were due to arrive on the mainland on Sunday to attend his subversion trial on Monday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement, calling for Lee's safe return home. Lee, a community college teacher and pro-democracy and human rights activist, went missing during a March visit to the mainland. Authorities later confirmed he had been detained, straining already-tense ties between Beijing and Taipei. Authorities at the Intermediate People's Court of Yueyang, in the central province of Hunan, said Lee's trial on charges of subverting state power would be an open hearing. Courts on the mainland have video-streamed or live-blogged an increasing numbers of proceedings in recent years as part of a push towards judicial transparency. ' However, rights activists say that in sensitive cases, holding "open" hearings is a tool for the authorities to demonstrate state power and that usually the defendant has agreed to an outcome. On Saturday, Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu, asked supporters to forgive her husband if he said something in court which disappointed them, as he might be required to give testimony against his will. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said it would do everything in its power to enable Lee's safe return. "Our government's approach to this case has been predicated on preserving our country's dignity while ensuring Lee Ming-che's safety," it said. Lee's case has strained relations between Taipei and Beijing, which have been particularly tense since President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of Taiwan's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, took office last year. Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province and it has never renounced the use of force to bring it back under mainland control. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Economic Watch: Chinese economy slower in expansion, steady in reforms (Xinhua)
2017-09-14
Rather than adding to pure optimism, fresh official data released Thursday painted a realistic picture of the world's second largest economy that is slower in expansion but steady in reforms. China posted weaker-than-expected growth in key economic indicators in the first eight months of this year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Industrial output, a gauge of the activity of large enterprises, grew 6 percent year on year in August, down from the 6.4-percent pace a month earlier and retreating to the lowest level this year. Fixed asset investment fell short of expectations with a 7.8-percent rise in the January-August period, the weakest since 1999. Retail sales rose 10.1 percent last month, lower than market estimates of 10.5 percent and July's 10.4-percent rate. Private investment and property sales also registered slower growth. Thursday's data came after a strong economic rebound that features forecast-beating GDP expansion in the first two quarters and aroused concerns over the growth impetus of the economy. Bloomberg chief Asia economist Tom Orlik said in an e-mail that the data showed "a slightly sharper-than-expected loss of momentum," adding that headwinds against the economy are significant. "China still faces lurking problems and challenges" from external uncertainties and domestic transformation, NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said at a press conference, but dismissed worries that the lackluster performance will linger for the remainder of the year. "Short-term volatility can be triggered by non-economic factors, such as weather and comparison bases, and does not represents the overall trend," Liu said, adding that high temperatures and more rainfall disrupted factory activity this summer. Employment was stable and inflation was under control. The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 cities was under 5 percent last month and consumer prices rose 1.8 percent. Industrial enterprises saw their profits improve substantially in the first seven months. "The economy still stayed within a reasonable range," Liu said, predicting stability in the second half. China has targeted an annual economic growth of around 6.5 percent for 2017, down from the 6.7 percent pace recorded in 2016. The NBS data also pointed to solid progress in the country's economic rebalancing and industrial upgrades. With old growth engines losing steam, China is pressing forward with a new model of economic development that draws strength from consumption, services sector and innovation. Services maintained rapid expansion in August, with revenues of information and rental services logging double-digit growth. Investment into high-tech sectors jumped 19.5 percent in the first eight months, while the environmental protection industry saw investment up by 28.2 percent. The output of industrial robots surged 63 percent in the January-August period, and 25 percent more new energy vehicles rolled off assembly lines. "In the details, there were some positives for China's reform and rebalancing story, with most of the slowdown in production coming from investment and output of old-line industries," Orlik said. China has made headway in downsizing saturated sectors. Around 128 million tonnes of excess coal capacity was eliminated during the January-July period, while shoddy steel products were banned. Economic adjustments continued with improvements in quality and efficiency, Liu said. ^ top ^

Mobike wins lock patent dispute (China Daily)
2017-09-15
An auto parts technician from Shanghai who claimed that the locking system Mobike uses on its shared bicycles infringed on his patent has lost a lawsuit against the company. Shanghai No 3 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Mobike, saying its technical process for unlocking bikes is not the same as the intellectual property held by the plaintiff, identified only as Hu. "Their technical characteristics and the technical paths of unlocking the bikes are different," judge Shang Jiangang said in announcing the verdict. She Yifeng, the attorney for Mobike, had argued that the company's unlocking process-which involves a Mobike smartphone app, cloud server and lock controller on each vehicle connected by a wireless signal-is more complicated than Hu's patent. Hu said he submitted an application to patent his invention for an operation method to unlock bicycles to the State Intellectual Property Office in June 2013, and was awarded the patent in May 2016. He told a court on Aug 16 that the unlocking procedure he invented involved users' smartphones and the vehicles. "When a user scans a QR code with a smartphone to unlock a bicycle, the system will compare the image to the one stored in its database to determine if they are identical. If yes, it will signal the controller to unlock the bicycle," he told the court. He argued that Mobike's lock controlling system has the same technical characteristics as his patent. In April he requested the court to order the company to stop manufacturing shared bikes with such a system, destroy all locks on existing Mobike bicycles and pay 500,000 yuan ($76,300) in compensation. Mobike's attorney told the court that the first step of the bike-sharing company's unlocking process is when a user scans a QR code on the bike with a smartphone and the system sends an unlocking request to the cloud server. "The request includes the user data and the information of this bike. Upon receiving the request, the cloud server will check if the user is qualified. The process will stop for any user with a substandard credit record or who does not have enough money in their prepaid account," She said. If the user is qualified to ride the bike, the cloud server will send a signal to the lock controller on the bike, which will then check if the bike is in good condition to be used, She added. "Bikes that are reported by previous users to be out of order will not be unlocked." Mobike, which began operating in Shanghai in April last year, has distributed more than 7 million bikes in 160 cities on the Chinese mainland and in Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

US demands China take 'direct action' after North Korea fires another missile over Japan (SCMP)
2017-09-15
North Korea fired a missile on Friday that flew over Japan's northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean and Japanese officials said, further ratcheting up tensions after Pyongyang's recent test of a powerful nuclear bomb. The missile flew over Japan, landing in the Pacific about 2,000km east of Hokkaido, Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in a hastily organised media conference. The launch prompted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to demand that China and Russia take "direct actions" against Pyongyang. "China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own," he said in a statement. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would "never tolerate" what he called North Korea's "dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace". "We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community's strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act," Abe said. The unidentified ballistic missile reached an altitude of about 770km and flew 3,700km, according to South Korea's military – far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam. It was "the furthest overground any of their ballistic missiles has ever travelled", Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Twitter. The North's last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 IRBM just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan's main islands and was the first to do so for years. Analysts have speculated the new test was of the same intermediate-range missile launched in that earlier flight. The launch immediately triggered emergency alerts in Japan, with text messages and loud speakers telling residents on the missile's potential flight path to seek shelter. The Japanese government warned people not to approach any debris or other suspicious-looking material, a reflection of that fact that North Korean missiles sometimes break up in flight. South Korea said it had fired a missile test into the sea to coincide with North Korea's launch. The presidential Blue House has called an urgent National Security Council meeting. Japan also convened a National Security Council meeting. The North's launch comes a day after the North threatened to sink Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for supporting a UN Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions against it for its September 3 nuclear test, its most powerful by far. The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies. Australia, a strong and vocal ally of the United States, quickly condemned the launch. "This is another dangerous, reckless, criminal act by the North Korean regime, threatening the stability of the region and the world and we condemn it, utterly," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. "This is a sign, I believe, of their frustration at the increased sanctions on North Korea, recently imposed by the Security Council. It's a sign that the sanctions are working." The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on a US-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions on Monday, banning North Korea's textile exports and capping fuel supplies. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday at 3pm (3am Hong Kong time Saturday), according to the Ethopian council presidency. The meeting will be closed-door, diplomats said. The US dollar fell sharply against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc in early Asian hours in response to the launch, though losses were quickly pared in very jittery trade. US President Donald Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile, but has also asked China to do more to rein in its neighbour. China in turn favours an international response to the problem. The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty. ^ top ^

China's envoy says dialogue needed to resolve DPRK nuclear crisis (Xinhua)
2017-09-14
China's envoy to UN organizations in Vienna said on Wednesday that the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) should be resolved through dialogue. Shi Zhongjun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, made the remarks at a UN nuclear agency meeting. The latest nuclear test by the DPRK in disregard of repeated dissuasion of the international community including China, posed a challenge to efforts to preserve the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, severely violated UN Security Council resolutions, aggravated tension on the Korean Peninsula and undermined regional peace and stability. The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on the DPRK over its nuclear test on Sept. 3 for violating previous Security Council resolutions. This is the eighth time for the United Nations to slap sanctions on Pyongyang since it carried out the first underground nuclear explosion in 2006. "It is the firm position of China to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, uphold the non-proliferation regime and maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia," he told a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Chinese envoy said China supports the Security Council's adoption of a series of resolutions and has submitted to the relevant sanctions committee of the Security Council five reports on the implementation of the resolutions on the DPRK, which presented detailed information about the tremendous efforts made by China to implement the resolutions. The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula must be resolved peacefully and a multi-pronged approach must be taken to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties, said Shi, adding that dialogue is the only effective way to solve this issue. China is willing to work with the international community to implement relevant Security Council resolutions on the DPRK in a comprehensive and complete manner, unswervingly advance the objective of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and firmly maintain peace and stability in the region, Shi said. "We urge all parties concerned to assume due responsibilities, take effective measures to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula and bring the DPRK nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue as soon as possible," he said. The Chinese envoy called on the parties concerned to refrain from taking actions that would harm the strategic and security interests of the countries in the region as such actions would not be conducive to achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as peace and stability in the region. ^ top ^

China calls for calm over Korean Peninsula crisis (Xinhua)
2017-09-12
China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, on Monday called for calm over the crisis on the Korean Peninsula after the UN Security Council adopted new sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its latest nuclear test. "At present, the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complex and grave. All relevant parties must be cool-headed and avoid rhetoric or action that might aggravate tension," Liu told the council after the vote. Monday's resolution imposed further sanctions on the DPRK over the country's nuclear test on Sept. 3, particularly targeting its oil supplies and textile exports. The Chinese envoy condemned the DPRK's nuclear test, and said China is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the maintenance of peace and stability there and a peaceful settlement of the issue through dialogue. He urged the DPRK to heed the aspirations and will of the international community, abide by relevant Security Council resolutions, refrain from any more missile launches or nuclear tests, and return to the track of denuclearization. He noted that Monday's resolution also reiterated the maintenance of peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia and the peaceful settlement of the issue, the resumption of the six-party talks and the importance of de-escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. He called for the comprehensive implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. "The nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula must be resolved peacefully, integrated measures must be taken to balance the legitimate concerns of all parties," said Liu. He said the suspension-for-suspension proposal and dual-track approach put forward by China and the idea of step-by-step approach proposed by Russia formed a roadmap for the settlement of the issue. The roadmap is realistic and feasible, he said, asking the relevant parties for due consideration and positive responses. The idea of dual-track approach involves parallel efforts to move forward both denuclearization and the establishment of a peaceful mechanism on the peninsula, the initiative of suspension-for-suspension calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile activities and for the United States and South Korea to suspend their large-scale war games. Liu expressed the hope that the United States would incorporate into its DPRK policy its promises of not seeking a regime change in Pyongyang, not seeking the collapse of the DPRK government, not seeking acceleration of reunification of the Korean Peninsula and not sending its military north of the 38 Parallel. The deployment of military forces on the Korean Peninsula runs counter to the goal of denuclearization and to regional peace and stability. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield severely jeopardizes the strategic interests of regional countries, including those of China, said Liu. China strongly urges the relevant parties to stop deployment of the system and dismantle relevant equipment, he said. Parties concerned should resume dialogue and negotiations in order to push for the denuclearization of the peninsula. The Security Council should take up its historic responsibility on the issue, said the Chinese envoy. China will continue to push for dialogue and consultations, and together with various parties, to play a constructive role in realizing the goal of denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said. ^ top ^

China ends radiation monitoring in border regions with North Korea (Global Times)
2017-09-11
China has ended monitoring the environment in its northeast border regions on Sunday in response to a nuclear test conducted by North Korea on September 3. The Ministry of Environmental Protection's (MEP) National Nuclear Safety Administration said "We have stopped our emergency response because North Korea's sixth nuclear test did no damage to China's environment." The emergency response ended at 6pm on Sunday, according to a statement sent to the Global Times. The MEP led other government agencies in evaluating the radiation levels in China's northeastern border areas for eight days. The radiation levels were normal, the statement said. The MEP conducted its emergency response on September 3 shortly after North Korea announced it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb that can be placed in an intercontinental ballistic missile. The National Nuclear Safety Administration said in the statement it will continue to monitor the area's radiation level on a routine basis. "The MEP statement provided comfort to residents in China's Northeast, who have been concerned about their safety," said Jin Qiangyi, director of Yanbian University's Asia Research Center in Yanji, Northeast China's Jilin Province. However, a resident from Yanbian surnamed Zhao told the Global Times on Monday that "I'm still worried about the nuclear tests. It might contaminate our water and air, and even revive the Changbai Mountain, an active volcano along the North Korean border." Jin said the MEP statement was about a brief observation period, but the environment should be monitored much longer. "It's quite scary, to be honest. If there were leaks, it would affect our drinking water," Jin said. ^ top ^

NK crisis 'an excuse for US militarization' (Global Times)
2017-09-10
The current nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula has provided an excuse for the US to further militarize the region, and the countermeasure for China is to increase military deployment and readiness for any escalation of the crisis, analysts said. US President Donald Trump tweeted last week: "I am allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States," but he didn't say what kind of "sophisticated military equipment" will be included. "These weapons might include both attack and defense military equipment, including Patriot missiles, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interception system, Tomahawk missiles and stealth fighter jets, so US allies can both increase their defensive capability and strengthen their capability to detect and destroy North Korea's military targets preemptively," Song Zhongping, a military expert who used to serve in the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times on Sunday. The White House said that Trump agreed to sell South Korea billions of dollars of US arms, Reuters reported Tuesday. Trump also approved that "Seoul could review a joint treaty which places a cap on the development of its ballistic missiles - meaning the strike distance and force of the weapons could be increased," South Korea's presidential Blue House said. Japan might also get permission to purchase offensive weapons like Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US, because since North Korea's provocative nuclear test, the US is considering offering its allies more weapons, so the US can keep away from the damage if conflict breaks out, according to Song. The Washington Times reported Tuesday that the Trump administration is considering selling Tomahawk cruise missiles to Japan, which the US has previously been hesitant to do. Under the Shinzo Abe government, "Tokyo has been mulling a constitutional change to allow its armed forces to acquire offensive weapons such as the Tomahawk cruise missile. Current Japanese law limits Tokyo from obtaining such weapons," the Washington Times reported. An arms race is almost unstoppable, and just like THAAD, these weapons will also threaten the stability of the region and other countries' security, including China and Russia, so the US arms sales can only make the situation more dangerous, Song said. "From the crisis, North Korea has achieved its nuclear aims, and the US gets an excuse to strengthen its military presence and push arms sales to its allies, while South Korea and Japan can get weapons they couldn't before," said Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations. "But China just got a more intense and militarized northeastern Asia, and it will be forced to join the arms race as well," Chu said. China can strengthen its offensive and defensive military deployments, and also its anti-missile capability, Song said. "Being capable of a limited military intervention in the peninsula is also important. If there is conflict, China should be capable of controlling the situation as soon as possible." It may take years for foreign military sales in the US to go through, as Congress authorization is needed before negotiations over contracts and prices can begin, the US Department of Defense website says. ^ top ^

No matter what China does, it may not be enough to stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions (SCMP)
2017-09-10
After nearly a year of anticipation, North Korea finally went ahead with its sixth and largest nuclear test to date. Based on early seismic evidence, it became apparent that the device Pyongyang had tested had likely yielded an explosion an order of magnitude larger than the device tested in its previous test in September last year. Tremors were immediately felt on the other side of the Yalu and Tumen Rivers, in China – once North Korea's closest and most important neighbour. Today, owing to its economic importance to Pyongyang, Beijing is perhaps just the latter. The relationship between China and North Korea is often described with reference to Mao Zedong's apocryphal description of the two countries being as "close as lips and teeth". But it is known to have declined considerably under Kim Jong-un Beijing's unease was apparent as early as 2012, but it intensified the following year when Kim executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who had been one of the major intermediaries between the two countries during the rule of the North Korean leader's father, Kim Jong-il. Since an October 2015 visit to Pyongyang by Liu Yunshan, a member of the Communist Party of China's Politburo Standing Committee, no serious high-level summits between the two countries have taken place. A 2016 meeting between Ri Su-yong, North Korea's foreign minister at the time, and President Xi Jinping led to a rare photo-op of the Chinese leader with a senior figure from Pyongyang but yielded few results. North Korea's sixth nuclear test once again puts China's relationship with its troublesome neighbour under the spotlight. Beijing has publicly condemned the test and continued to stick to its preferred solution of de-escalating tensions between the United States, South Korea, and Japan, on the one hand, and North Korea on the other. China, along with Russia, is proposing a "freeze-for-freeze" as a first step towards a more comprehensive diplomatic process involving multiple regional stakeholders. Under this framework, the United States and South Korea would modify their military exercises in exchange for North Korea agreement to a moratorium on ballistic missile and nuclear testing. However, what remains unsaid, is the extent to which China may be willing to use its considerable economic leverage to punish Pyongyang for its behaviour. Trade with China accounts for 85 to 90 per cent of North Korea's overseas trade and while its other important trading partners, including India and the Philippines, have taken steps to better implement existing UN Security Council sanctions, Beijing remains a laggard. China has in recent years agreed to increasingly expansive UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea, but has repeatedly transgressed when it comes to limiting imports (for example, on coal). Its recent acquiescence to Resolution 2371 – the latest round of UN sanctions – is unlikely change this. Policymakers in the United States often cite China's lack of good faith when implementing sanctions as a major obstacle in their attempts to punish North Korea for its provocative behaviour. But recent years may have revealed a more worrying state of affairs: China, try as it might, may no longer hold the key to punishing North Korea. While North Korea's founding ideology of juche, or self-reliance, may seem like an overstated propaganda tool, it has repeatedly shown itself to be capable of following its paramount strategic objective of a building a nuclear deterrent no matter what the cost. Even an oil embargo, which could be easily implemented should Beijing acquiesce, may be limited in its capacity to punish the juche state. Should oil become inaccessible, Pyongyang may turn to coal liquefaction. Its oil consumption has already declined from its heyday in the 1990s. Of course, Beijing is unlikely to agree to an embargo or even an expansion of sanctions; authoritative reports in Chinese state media have echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of this last nuclear test in stressing the ineffectiveness of sanctions. China's fundamental calculation, even after the sixth nuclear test, remains that a nuclear-armed North Korea is preferable to a North Korea where the regime may teeter on the brink of collapse or where a humanitarian crisis leads to massive refugee inflows to China. Accordingly, despite the significant increase in the explosive yield of this most recent and extraordinary test, China's basic response remained ordinary. Beijing simply lacks the will to take on North Korea in ways that would count. But above all, North Korea's nuclear forces may tell us that self-reliance is now its only option. China, from Pyongyang's perspective, can no longer be relied upon as a patron. The kind of diversified nuclear force North Korea is assembling suggests a deeply insecure state that expects to have to one day fight and fight alone against the world's foremost nuclear superpower and its allies. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

State Secretary of Foreign Ministry attends Zermatt Roundtable (Montsame)
2017-09-15
D.Davaasuren, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the Sixth Zermatt Roundtable on Current Security Issues in the North Pacific Region in Glion/Montreux, in Switzerland on September 11-13. The Roundtable was co-organized by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the Geneva Center for Security Policy with participation of governmental representatives and scientific experts from the U.S, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, the Russian Federation and Japan, as well as the European Union and Switzerland. The attendees shared views on five topics 'The Impact of the New American Policy on the North Pacific Power Balance, 'The North Korean Nuclear Programme', 'Dialogue in the Korean Peninsula', 'Evolving Security Strategies in North Pacific' and 'The Role of Soft Power in Asia-Pacific Dynamics'. The State Secretary highlighted that the nuclear issues in the Korean Peninsula could be resolved through peaceful negotiations and affirming that Mongolia will support a restoration of talks between the related parties. He noted Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar Dialogue Initiative on Northeast Asian Security will help resolve the issue peacefully and expressed his gratitude towards the representatives for gathering to the roundtable meeting in this critical moment. Furthermore, during his visit to Switzerland, State Secretary D.Davaasuren met with Jams Zhan, senior Director of the Investment and Enterprise at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on September 13. They exchanged views on investment environment, encouraging investment and process of drafting an agreement on mutual protection. State Secretary D.Davaasuren gave detailed information of Mongolian Government's policy and action on improving investment environment and expressed his interesting in cooperating with UNCTAD in encouraging investment, processing draft agreement on mutual protection and listening the opinions of lateral experts. The sides highlighted the need for improving investment environment in accordance to the international economic state and development process of other countries. Then UNCTAD Director expressed his readiness to cooperate on this matter. ^ top ^

The National Forum on Food Security of Mongolia takes place (Gogo Mongolia)
2017-09-13
On Sep 12, The National Forum on Food Security of Mongolia is taking place in the Great Chamber of the State Palace. As initiated by the President, the forum is being jointly organized by the Office of the President, Secretariat of the National Security Council, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, Mongolian Association of Food Producers and the United National Food and Agriculture Organization. Workers in food production, farmers, livestock herders, researchers, physicians and scientists coming from all 21aimags of Mongolia and representatives of government and non-government organizations have attended. President of Mongolia Kh.Battulga addressed the opening and said: As the head of the National Security Council of Mongolia, I attach special importance to ensuring food security and have initiated today's forum. The issue of food security was described in the Concept of National Security, which was revised in 2010, as an integral part of the national security of Mongolia. Regardless of many years of discussion, food security has remained an unsolved problem, which people have become already tired of. So, let's put aside the definitions, slogans, and manifestations for now, and instead, let's take actions and find the right solutions. I really wish that this forum could achieve tangible solutions without making excuses and be pedantry. We can talk about how food security is weak, how it is dependent on imports and how important promoting domestic food production is as much as we want. Unfortunately, nice words cannot replace food. Tangible and effective options must be motivating the government decisions. For instance, allowing long-term and low-interest loans to food factories will help increase their capitals in circulation and improve their economic compatibility. Unless we support the food producers basing on the time they dedicated to the food sector, amount of products they produce and supply in a year and quality performances, business loans with 20 percent annual interest will take them nowhere. Everyone with a brain knows that most of the total of 80 tons of fruits and berries sold at "Bars" market every day are poisoned with pesticides and preservatives, and do not meet the minimum health standards. Nevertheless, greenhouse farming has been thriving in Mongolia compared to what it had been before. Showing support from the government to greenhouse farmers through, for example, by allowing a discount on night time electricity and heat tariffs would become an effective solution to limiting imports of underqualified vegetables, the origins of which are uncertain. Mongolian food production has been working with only 30 percent of its full capacity, while the government has been making excuses to take no action. Increasing the customs tax for imported food products, which are similar to the foods produced in Mongolia, up to 20 percent, which is the permitted amount according to the World Trade Organization, would be a tremendous support. Our two neighbors, [Russia and China], are protecting their domestic industries by 32 percent customs tax. Only the government can protect the domestic production. Mongolia has a population of 3.1 million, over 70.0 million of livestock and 1.0 million hectares of arable land. These numbers represent important things. We run land-farming in only 1.0 percent of our whole territory. If the conditions are good, the annual harvest sees surplus after full domestic supply. If only we can increase the portion of the land-farming area up to 3.0 percent, our consumers of wheat, flour, potato, carrot, and rapeseed are right next to us. Mongolia exported 4,958 tons of potatoes in 2014, 720 tons of carrots in 2015 and 200 tons of potatoes in 2016 to Russia. To China, export of bran totaled to 42,100 tons, 489.5 tons of hay, 489.5 tons of rapeseed in 2016. Demand for Mongolian-made flour and noodles are sufficient in China. However, government policies and adjustments in support of supply of these products are missing. Competitiveness of Vietnam is quite high, because the government has been regulating the supply of white rice to domestic market and for exports through single-window policy by purchasing 70 percent of the total demand from ordinary land-farming households, whereas Mongolia is sticking to only one regulation, which is allowing MNT 50-70 thousand per ton of wheat as land-farming incentive. The wheat incentive has been proven less and less efficient as the time goes by. Facilitating the favorable environment for irritated land-farming has turned out to be more effective than the wheat incentive. Moreover, great opportunities await our meat sector. In 2014, 1,460 tons of horse meat and 360 tons of beef were exported, whereas, in 2015, 1,620 tons of horse meat and 860 tons of beef, and in 2016, 1,999.3 tons of horse meat and 600 tons of beef were exported to Russia. To China, only within the last year, Mongolia exported 4.0 tons of beef, 6,460 tons of horse meat, 862 tons of goat meat. There is potential for Mongolia to increase the mentioned amounts. I will require tangible and farsighted solutions from the cabinet, after hearing your comments and reflecting on your recommendations on this issue. I would like to thank Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry Mr. P.Sergelen who is here with us today. We believe the Minister will convey the solutions found during this event to the cabinet. The fact that food security is an essential issue must be talked about at all levels and through television, radio and all instruments of media. And, through food security, we must face the reality of how we are living today. Children's health, especially, dental health is in a horrific place. One of every ten children has some kind of dental issue. Eight out of ten children have cavities and decays. It also comes back to the food issue. It is the high time parents started paying close attention to their children's dental health. It also raises the question of unemployment and poverty. There is even a family of six that has only two toothbrushes. These problems must be addressed. I reckon the banks should give out loans according to companies history and basing on their experience in and loyalty for the food sector. It is impossible to run food business when you have debt with more than 2.0 percent monthly interest. I believe you all agree. Mongolia has four seasons. In order to effectively use the wintertime, it is important to promote greenhouse farming. We already have practiced exports of potatoes and carrots to certain countries and regions. Why can't we encourage it? We should be encouraging regional trade through customs discount within the 50, 100 or 200 kilometers from our neighboring countries. We made the first big step by exporting potatoes. Today's forum aims to address such issues as the above-mentioned. Today, I wish all participants to talk openly about your problems and challenges, in order to make your voices heard by the cabinet". ^ top ^

President extends apologies to victims of political repression (Montsame)
2017-09-11
On behalf government of Mongolia, President Kh.Battulga has extended apologies to victims of the political repression and their families, friends and relatives. Respect is paid to the Memorial of the Repressed on September 10 of each year. This year marks the 80th year since the political repression started and took thousands of lives of the people who had been condenmed for false political crimes. On the occasion, President of Mongolia Kh.Battulga, Speaker of the State Great Khural M.Enkhbold, Chairman of the State Commission on Rehabilitation Ya.Sanjmyatav along with some members of the parliament and citizens who wanted to honor the repressed laid flower wreaths in front of the Monument for the Victims of Political Repression. After laying wreaths, President Battulga gave a speech, extending apologies on behalf of government of Mongolia to families and relatives of the politically repressed. He said, "We are here to remember the dark days that happened 80 years ago and about which we must not forget, honor the memory of the political repression victims, immortalize the uneasy lessons and reflect on the importance of strengthening the state's immunity to anything that might harm human rights and freedom". Statistical documents prepared by the State Commission on Rehabilitation reveal some heart-breaking numbers. Within the two years between 1937 and 1939, the institute called the Special Commission with Full Rights falsely charged 25 thousand and 824 people for political crimes and the court sentenced 20 thousand of them to execution by shooting. 14 thousand out of the total of about 17 thousand accused Buddhist practitioners were executed. This is a number that cannot be tolerated by any Mongolian. It is the number that expresses the damage the political repression has done to our traditions, way of thinking, memory of the nation and patriotism", noted President Battulga. "Political repression is cruelty, which cannot be repeated by any government ever again, and is an attempt to destroy the national immunity and core values", he underlined and expressed his wish that human rights and freedom thrive in Mongolia from generation to generation, informed the Press and Media Department of the Office of the President. ^ top ^

Parliament adopts dismissal of Cabinet (Montsame)
2017-09-08
In its irregular session held till Thursday night, majority of parliament members voted to dismiss the Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and in accordance with relevant laws the cabinet has been dissolved following to PM's dismissal. It happened after alleged incompetent actions of the Cabinet. Parliament now should appoint new Prime Minister within 30 days and the dissolved Ministers have been assigned to work as acting ministers until formation of a new Cabinet. Earlier, on August 23, 30 members of the Mongolian People's Party group at Parliament submitted a petition to dismiss Prime Minister of Mongolia J.Erdenebat, accusing him for alleged actions violated laws and making decisions in favor of interests of some groups, including the establishment of a concession agreement of MNT 807.8 billion with companies, which work for the interest of some cabinet members. Formed after the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Erdenebat's Cabinet lasted for 404 days or 14 months. ^ top ^

The Government led by Prime minister J. Edernebat resigned (Gogo Mongolia)
2017-09-08
73 out of 76 MPs attended the session and 44 of them voted to dismiss the Government led by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat. According to the resolution of the Parliament on the resignation of the Government, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat will serve as Acting Prime Minister until the next appointment. According to the Law, the next Government must be appointed by the Parliament within 30 days. Earlier on Aug 23, 31 members of ruling Mongolian People`s Party (MPP) in Parliament submitted a request to resign Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and his government, breaking their promise to prefer unity. "13 Government has served since the adoption of the Mongolian Democratic Constitution in 1992. The current Government was the 14th. Only two of them have worked for the full term and remaining 11 Government have resigned before their terms, working for 1-2 years. In other words, the resignation of the Government has become a tradition. The dismissal of the Government can halt the development of the country and harm the economy. Sometimes we see foreign investment as an economic killer, but in fact, "we", the politicians are the problem. It is time to stop the wrong tradition, maintain the stability of government, improve our system and strictly obey the Constitution in order to develop our country. Over the past year, the Government has worked hard and honestly for the common interests of Mongolians", says J.Erdenebat before his resignation. ^ top ^

 

Mr. Valentin Jeanneret and Mr. Aurèle Aquillon
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
Page created and hosted by SinOptic Back to the top of the page To SinOptic - Services and Studies on the Chinese World's Homepage