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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
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  23-27.11.2020, No. 843  
    Archiv / Archives
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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#Hashtag of the Week

#Elderly man's 3m yuan gift to stall holder#
#上海独居老人将300万房产送给水果摊主#
2020-11-27
Commentary: Zhou Xianchun, the director of Shanghai Putuo Notary Public Office, has made a determination in the case of an 88-year-old man who gave his property, worth 3 million yuan (US$457,000), to the owner of a fruit stall,which sparkles heated discussion on the situation of the lonely elderly on Chinese social media.

 

Switzerland

Pianist's ringing endorsement of Wuhan's bravery (China Daily)
2020-11-26
Swiss-born Chinese pianist and composer Melodie Zhao began studying the piano at age 3, held her first stage performance at age 6, and has been holding master classes since age 14. In early 2020, 26-year-old Zhao stole the hearts of her audience at Geneva's renowned Victoria Hall auditorium when she concluded a rendition of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5 with a 6-minute piano capriccio she herself wrote to honor the heroes of Wuhan, the central Chinese city that first reported the coronavirus outbreak. The piece was originally titled Wuhan - The Dawn of Victory. Zhao says she took inspiration from a local folk melody and from reading about the bravery of Wuhan's young health workers on the front line. She says she felt a strong inner urge to do something that would somehow bring calm to her heart. In less than two weeks - which included many a sleepless night - the capriccio was scored. "As a pianist, I believe in the power of music. For me it is the best way to express my emotions and convey encouragement," she says. Her aim was "not only to pay tribute and send a blessing to Wuhan, but also to honor the courage" it took for the millions in Hubei province to be the first to confront what soon would become a serious global health threat - and to convey the hope that together they would indeed overcome the virus. And so they have. Wuhan's anti-epidemic campaign has achieved a decisive victory, and China has basically curbed the spread of the novel coronavirus. Life in Wuhan has gradually gone back to normal, the lockdown was lifted in April and no domestically transmitted cases have been reported in Wuhan or Hubei province since mid-May. Since its early spring premiere in Geneva, Zhao has performed the piano capriccio onstage several times in Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, and it has been revised and its title changed to Bells of Victory. "I hope with all my heart that Europe will follow the example of Wuhan and China, and will find the way out of this crisis as soon as possible," she says. Zhao also hopes to have more opportunities to play the piece in the coming years, "to convey to the world the spirit of unity and solidarity shown by the people of Wuhan and other places in the fight against the pandemic". Zhao's father, Yuan Zhao, who is also a musician, got teary-eyed as he listened to the piece. "In my view, Bells of Victory is not only ringing for the success of Wuhan's fight against the epidemic, but also for humanity, which is strong and unyielding," Yuan Zhao says. ^ top ^

Experts call for deeper Sino-Swiss cooperation in sustainable development (China Daily)
2020-11-22
China and Switzerland should deepen bilateral cooperation in sustainable development to bring out innovative and creative solutions to global concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, business and government leaders said at a forum in Beijing on Friday. They made the remarks at a panel discussion of the sixth Sino-Swiss Economic Forum, which also marks the 70th anniversary of Sino-Swiss relations. The conference, organized by the embassy of Switzerland and Swiss Chamber of Commerce in China, centered on sustainability and the role of technology in achieving sustainable goals. In the welcome speech, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch stressed strong bilateral economic relations despite the pandemic. "We continue to implement our bilateral Free Trade Agreement, and each year brings additional tariff reductions for imports into China. At the same time, discussions toward enhancing the FTA, including in the area of tariffs, are ongoing." To achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of all, she said that the two countries should not only depend on more sustainable technologies, but also "on a broader research and innovation landscape". Bernardino Regazzoni, Swiss ambassador to China, said companies in Switzerland and China have been working towards a more sustainable future. Hailing the thriving economic ties of the two countries, he also called for more "smart and sustainable" cooperation in both public and private sectors by using a strategic innovative partnership, enhancing FTA and carrying on bilateral dialogues, especially when all nations have common challenges right now. While this year's pandemic has cast over the world a shadow of uncertainty, it also prompts business observers to reflect on how to achieve more sustainable development. "COVID-19 is a severe wake-up call for mankind. We realized that it is so important to respect nature. Globalization will take a new turn now," said Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank based in Beijing. "It is time to turn to sustainable concrete practices if we want to reach targets, such as the 2060 Chinese carbon neutrality goal," he said during a panel discussing at the forum. Echoing Wang's comments, Rashid Qureshi, chairman and CEO of Nestlé GCR, noticed that the pandemic changes consumer behaviors as they are now "more aware of the necessity to protect the environment", which direct companies into more sustainable business models. He said sustainability cannot be finished by one country but through partnership; that's why better cooperation between Switzerland and China counts. The Sino-Swiss Economic Forum started in 2010 and is a biennial event that is the biggest economic forum between Switzerland and China. Friday's event, attended by more than 300 business and government leaders, marked the closing ceremony for this year's forum, which saw a series of seminars in October. Switzerland and China signed a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in 2013, the first FTA China had with a continental European country. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Southeast Asian countries eye co-prosperity with China via enhanced party-to-party exchanges (Global Times)
2020-11-26
Southeast Asian countries envision greater involvement in China's development and look forward to working with the Communist Party of China (CPC) to promote regional multilateralism, said representatives to a dialogue between the CPC and political parties of Southeast Asian countries on Thursday. It was the CPC's first multilateral dialogue with the political parties of Southeast Asian countries, and the first meeting between representatives of the CPC and leaders of ASEAN political party leaders since the recently-signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The dialogue, initiated by the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, was held in Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a vital region linking China with ASEAN counties, and attracted party leaders, government representatives, and envoys of nearly 40 political parties in Southeast Asian countries. The dialogue was held on the day before the 27th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, which features regional cooperation in digital economy, science and technology, health and other fields, to promote the construction of China-ASEAN community. "The high-level dialogue is very important, especially among the policy makers of ASEAN countries and China. It helps them share experiences in best practices, move towards making policies and regulations more in tune with each other, and to more coherently complement each other," Arthayudh Srisamoot, Thailand Ambassador to China, told the Global Times on Thursday. Representatives also acknowledged the CPC's long-term plan on social and economic evolvement, saying that China's 2035 targets boosted confidence in neighboring countries and would become a core driver of future economic growth. Party leaders said they are pinning their hopes on China giving a boost to regional economies, saying that trading with China will be the impetus for economic growth and recovery throughout the entire Southeast Asian region in the future. Many suggested that the coming Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines have also created a safer environment for overall regional economic recovery. China has offered various anti-epidemic materials and sent medical experts, which ASEAN countries representatives appreciated most. "China's early assistance in giving out millions of facemasks to ASEAN countries has been much appreciated, and China's vaccine development and its availability to ASEAN countries will enable Southeast Asian governments and peoples to overcome the pandemic at the earliest possibility," said Nalinee Taveesin, Chairperson of Foreign Affairs of Pheu Thai Party at the dialogue. Despite different national conditions, political systems and beliefs, Southeast Asian countries cooperate with China based on the principle of "mutual respect and harmony but not sameness." "The past has been painted with differences, disputes, and even confrontations, but history has also shown us the common interest linking common culture and heritage, as well as the values that are shared among us and the feeling of brotherhood that we share and will always prevails, said Sugiono, Vice General Chairman of the Indonesia's Great Indonesia Movement Party, at the dialogue session. Recognizing the remaining potential dispute among some Southeast Asian countries in regards to territorial sovereignty or maritime rights and interests, Sugiono appealed for peaceful solutions be sought via dialogue and friendly consultation. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping sends congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden (SCMP)
2020-11-25
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message on Wednesday night congratulating Joe Biden on his victory in the US presidential election, marking Beijing's formal recognition of the result after Washington officially started the power transition days ago. Xi said it was in the interests of both countries to promote not only the healthy and stable development of China-US relations but also shared expectations around the world, according to official news agency Xinhua. "We hope both countries uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, focus on cooperation, manage and control conflict, to promote China-US relations towards a healthy and stable path, and advance the noble course of global peace and development jointly with every country and the global community," Xi said. Vice-President Wang Qishan also sent congratulations to US Senator Kamala Harris, who will become vice-president, on Wednesday. Beijing has watched the election closely but strictly followed diplomatic protocol in its response to the result. Wednesday's official messages came after the US General Services Administration on Tuesday allowed the Biden team to start the formal transition process. Soon after Biden was declared the winner on November 8, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among the leaders in Europe to congratulate him. But China did not, prompting speculation that Beijing was waiting until the results had been officially confirmed so as not to appear to be favouring any side or risk getting embroiled in US domestic politics amid strained ties with Washington. Analysts said China carefully calibrated the timing and wording of its congratulatory messages as it has tried to navigate the prickly divide between Biden and President Donald Trump. "They will be watching both very carefully," said Paul Heer, a Centre for the National Interest fellow and former national intelligence officer for East Asia. "China has been smart enough not to say who they favour." Heer said Beijing initially congratulated Biden – but did not explicitly say what the congratulations were for – on November 14, when after several conspicuous days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily news conference: "We express our congratulations to Mr Biden and Ms Harris. We respect the choice of the American people." "I think they were concerned about jumping on the Biden bandwagon too early in ways that might antagonise Trump, based on speculation, which we've now seen [had merit], that Trump would do things in his final weeks." Many of those steps on his way out the White House door – including provocative high-level visits to Taiwan, stepped up sanctions against Chinese officials and companies, and the announcement of steps against China for alleged currency manipulation – are aimed as much against Biden as they are against Beijing, even as China sought to skirt the line, Heer said. "The Chinese don't want to be the last party to say something because they don't want to alienate Biden either," he said. "This is speculation, but after Trump announced sanctions on Chinese companies with connection to the [Chinese military], China had reason to conclude that Trump was going to do it anyway." That, he added, may have led to the earlier step of having a low level Foreign Ministry functionary rather than Xi issue the vaguely worded first acknowledgement. Beijing's messages on Wednesday also came after Biden announced the key members of his foreign policy and security team, which is expected to reject Trump's "America first" mantra and start embracing US allies to tackle the world's most pressing challenges. Biden picked Antony Blinken as his secretary of state and named John Kerry as climate envoy on the National Security Council. Both are former diplomats and security advisers who served in the Barack Obama administration. Jake Sullivan, an old China hand, has been chosen as national security adviser, with Janet Yellen, the former US Federal Reserve chair who supports open trade, as Treasury secretary. Xi's congratulatory remarks "are significant in that they front load security concerns, not surprisingly but nonetheless starkly, in a way that underscores the genuine challenges facing the bilateral relationship", said Andrew Mertha, director of the China studies programme at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. "Xi would certainly have preferred to have waited until a formal concession by Trump, yet given the diminishing probability of that happening, combined with the groundswell of international recognition of the US election results and Biden's appointing of his foreign policy team, the optics of delaying this further would have raised eyebrows," Mertha said. With several veteran diplomats who have experience dealing with China in the incoming administration, hopes are rising that China and the US can resume cooperation on global issues such as climate change and seek to ease tensions, though confrontation over human rights and security is expected to continue. "This is a gracious and perfectly appropriate note of congratulations to the president-elect," said David Adelman, a partner with the global law firm Reed Smith and former US ambassador to Singapore in the Obama administration. "Beijing and Washington have a shared interest in calm waters across the Pacific, and both leaders undoubtedly look forward to a more conciliatory tone." Biden said in an interview earlier this year that China was a competitor, and before the election said that he would force China to play by the international rules when it came to trade, treatment of foreign companies and its actions in the South China Sea. Trump "embraces … thugs like [Kim Jong-un] in North Korea and the Chinese president and [Russia's Vladimir] Putin and others, and he pokes his finger in the eye of all of our friends, all of our allies", Biden said during the final presidential debate last month. "We need to be having the rest of our friends with us saying to China: these are the rules," Biden said of his plans to rally American allies to pressure Beijing. "You play by them or you're going to pay the price for not playing by them, economically." Fu Ying, a former Chinese deputy foreign minister, wrote on Tuesday in The New York Times that it would be "a tragedy of history if two countries of such power moved toward confrontation based on misperceptions", and said "cooperative competition" was possible between the two nations. "Both governments have heavy domestic agendas to attend to, and so even if competition between China and the United States is unavoidable, it needs to be managed well, cooperatively. It is possible for the two countries to develop a relationship of "coopetition" (cooperation + competition) by addressing each other's concerns," Fu wrote. China's Foreign Ministry has called for the new US administration to meet Beijing "halfway" to improve relations. Meanwhile, Trump's efforts to invalidate election results in key battleground states lost more momentum on Wednesday after a string of courtroom defeats. Trump abandoned a plan to attend a meeting in Pennsylvania led by Republicans and his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani focused on his team's allegations of election irregularities. Instead of travelling to the event, Trump called in on an adviser's phone to rehash claims for which his campaign has yet to produce any evidence. Campaign aides have not held any briefings on the subject since a widely mocked appearance by Giuliani last week, when he claimed, falsely, that machines used to count votes were owned by Democrats. Politico cited a senior campaign official on Wednesday as describing Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien as "MIA". ^ top ^

China, Russia eye enhanced energy cooperation for more pragmatic outcomes (Xinhua)
2020-11-25
China and Russia on Tuesday agreed to advance energy cooperation, eying for more pragmatic outcomes and a higher level of bilateral relations. That came at the 17th meeting of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak via video link. Hailing the sound momentum of energy cooperation thanks to the interest and promotion of the two countries' leaders, Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said energy cooperation between the two sides have shown strong resilience and vitality in spite of the ravaging COVID-19, as indicated by a radical increase of energy trade and the steady progress in major projects. Han urged the two countries to actively promote cooperation in major projects of strategic importance, to translate the high-level strategic relationship into more mutually beneficial cooperation outcomes in the energy sector. Han also called for cooperation in new areas including energy equipment, renewable energy, hydrogen energy, as well as increasing the use of currencies of the two countries in energy trade and project financing. Novak expressed Russia's willingness to work with China in implementing the important consensus reached by the two countries' leaders and enhancing all-around cooperation including energy cooperation, to advance bilateral ties to a higher level. ^ top ^

China Calls for Fair Treatment After India's Latest Ban on Chinese Apps (Caixin)
2020-11-25
The Chinese government has urged its Indian counterpart to level the playing field after New Delhi added dozens more names to its list of banned Chinese apps, as bilateral relations remain cold after border clashes earlier this year. India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Tuesday issued a statement banning 43 apps, including several operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. such as global retail marketplace AliExpress and workplace collaboration software DingTalk. That brought the total number of banned Chinese apps in India to over 200. "This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order," the ministry said in the statement, adding that it issued the order "based on the comprehensive reports received from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs." Tensions have simmered since April as disputes escalated on a stretch of their mountainous border. In early June, the border saw its first deadly clashes in four decades. "We firmly oppose the Indian side's repeated use of 'national security' as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background," Ji Rong, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in India, said Wednesday in a statement. Ji said that the Chinese government has always required overseas Chinese companies to abide by international rules, operate in compliance with laws and regulations and conform to public order and good morals. "We hope the Indian side provides a fair, impartial and nondiscriminatory business environment for all market players from various countries including China, and rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules," Ji said. In late June, India blocked local access to 59 apps, including ByteDance Ltd.'s wildly popular short-video platform TikTok, Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat and QQ Mail, as well as Alibaba's UC Browser. In September, India banned 118 more apps, including Alibaba's Taobao, Ant Group Co. Ltd.'s widely used payment service Alipay, Tencent's popular game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Baidu Inc.'s search service. The Tuesday ban also includes some streaming apps such as Snack Video, MangoTV and Tencent's overseas service WeTV. India also blocked a number of dating and networking apps such as Chinese Social, Date in Asia, gay dating app Guys Only Dating and lesbian social app Rela. However, neighboring Pakistan took a different approach. In October, Pakistan lifted its ban on TikTok just 10 days after implementing it, setting off a flood of new downloads that propelled it to being the country's third most popular app. Indian policy toward Chinese investment was growing hostile even before the border clash. In April, the Indian's trade ministry toughened its foreign direct investment policy to narrow the scope of eligible investors, a move widely seen as mainly targeted at Chinese companies. This lead to Alibaba reportedly putting the brakes on new investments in India. The Chinese conglomerate is a key financial backer for some Indian unicorns like payment platform Paytm and food delivery service Zomato. ^ top ^

Japanese PM Suga meets Chinese FM, agrees to enhance bilateral relations (Xinhua)
2020-11-25
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday met here with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and both sides agreed to enhance bilateral relations. Wang said that after the establishment of the new Japanese government, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Suga reached important consensus on improving bilateral ties, which has enabled a stable transition for bilateral relations and provided a clear direction for developing bilateral relations in the next stage. After years of efforts, Wang said, China-Japan relations have returned to the right track and both sides should cherish the hard-won situation. Going forward, China is willing to work with Japan to build a bilateral relationship that will meet the requirements of the new era, he said while expressing China's hope for realizing such a bilateral relationship at an early date for it to bear fruit, benefit the two peoples, and lay a solid foundation for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations in 2022. In further developing China-Japan relations, Wang said that firstly, the two sides need to build genuine mutual trust, properly handle sensitive issues and advance an all-round cooperation. Secondly, he said, the two countries need to push forward regional cooperation, speed up the building of the free trade zone and jointly build a better future for Asia. Thirdly, Wang said, the two countries need to make joint efforts to reform the global governance system, make globalization to be more open and inclusive and of win-win results, and shoulder their due international responsibilities. In their meeting, Suga said that the development of stable Japan-China relations is not only of great significance to both countries, but also to the region and the international community, adding that this is a shared responsibility of the two countries. The new Japanese Cabinet attaches great importance to Japan-China relations and is willing to work with China to enhance mutual trust and jointly push for a steady development of bilateral relations, he said. The Japanese side hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side to make both the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Beijing Winter Olympics a success, and to jointly celebrate the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations. During his visit to Japan, Wang also held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party Toshihiro Nikai, respectively. ^ top ^

Xiplomacy shows China's sense of responsibility in time of pandemic, global recession (People's Daily)
2020-11-25
As the world grapples with the worst pandemic in a century and a flagging global economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken the world stage to offer China's approach to overcoming these challenges. Attending an array of international events in the past week that virtually gathered leaders of the world's major economies, Xi has demonstrated China's firm commitment to helping the world defeat COVID-19, building an open world economy, and advocating multilateralism. His pledges and proposals, ranging from vowing to actively consider providing vaccines to others and further cutting tariffs to honoring China's carbon neutrality commitment, won broad recognition at the meetings of BRICS, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Group of 20 (G20). As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, sickening 58 million people, all eyes are on the race for an effective vaccine. China has five vaccines under phase-three clinical trials in multiple countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The country has also joined COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization, to ensure effective and equitable global access to vaccines. Xi reiterated China's promise to make its COVID-19 vaccines a "global public good." "China stands ready to step up cooperation with other countries on research and development, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19," Xi said at the G20 Riyadh Summit. "We will honor our commitment of giving assistance and support to other developing countries, and work to make vaccines a global public good accessible and affordable to people around the world," he said. Pierre Defraigne, executive director of the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, said Xi's speech is part of "a responsible choice of a great nation, which has shown a lot of credit for its actions in the world." Speaking at the BRICS summit, Xi said China has designated its own national vaccine R&D center and will work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize the production and recognize each other's standards. Addressing the events, Xi has championed building an open world economy and facilitating free trade. Speaking at the 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Xi called for continued efforts to press ahead with regional economic integration for the early realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, adding that China will favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. "This important announcement once again demonstrated China's firm determination to further open up and was widely welcomed by the international community," Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. This followed the signing of the world's largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), by 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Xi also reassured the world that China's new development paradigm is by no means aimed to close its doors but to build a new system of open economy of higher standards. Noting that the pandemic has fueled the boom of new technologies, new business models and latest tech innovations such as 5G, artificial intelligence and smart cities, Xi urged tapping into the booming digital economy to battle the pandemic and reboot the flagging world economy. He proposed measures including enhancing data security cooperation, strengthening the digital infrastructure, and leveling the playing field for high-tech companies from all countries. Xi has consistently championed multilateralism. He used these diplomatic occasions to take swipes at the rising protectionism, unilateralism and attempts at "de-globalization" or "economic decoupling." "History teaches us that multilateralism, equity and justice can keep war and conflict at bay, while unilateralism and power politics will inflate dispute and confrontation," Xi said. "Flouting rules and laws, treading the path of unilateralism and bullying, and withdrawing from international organizations and agreements run counter to the will of the general public and trample on the legitimate rights and dignity of all nations," he said. Bobby M. Tuazon, director of Policy Studies at the Center for People Empowerment in Governance of the Philippines, said multilateralism and international cooperation proposed by China is the way forward especially in the light of critical global challenges. Xi urged the G20 members and BRICS countries to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, calling the United Nations "the core institution for addressing international affairs through cooperation." "We remain convinced that the theme of our times -- peace and development -- has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around," Xi said. ^ top ^

Xi Vows to Push Forward Conclusion of China-EU Investment Pact (Caixin)
2020-11-24
Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to reach an investment deal with Europe this year that will give European businesses greater market access in China. "We hope that Germany and the European Union will remain open to Chinese companies," Xi told German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday during a phone conversation, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Xi made the remarks days after the G20 summit. Merkel congratulated China on signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 14 other Asia-Pacific countries and said she hoped to "put in more effort" to conclude the investment deal between the European Union and China, Xinhua reported. The two leaders also discussed Covid-19 vaccine coordination to ensure equitable and efficient distribution, Xinhua said. A China-EU bilateral investment treaty has been under negotiation for years. Senior Chinese officials said a conclusion can be expected by the end of this year. China is seeking to recalibrate its ties with key American allies ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next year. Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier this week called for enhanced strategic cooperation between China and the EU in a phone talk with Josep Borrell, the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy.  ^ top ^

China ready to continue sharing epidemic prevention experience with Indonesia: FM (Xinhua)
2020-11-24
China is ready to continue sharing its experience in epidemic prevention and control with Indonesia, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday. Wang made the remarks during his telephone conversation with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. He said the Chinese side appreciates Indonesia for playing an important role as a regional major country with global influence in promoting world peace and development amid the pandemic. Noting that the current pandemic situation remains grim, Wang said that he believes under the leadership of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the Indonesian people will eventually beat the epidemic, adding that China is willing to continue sharing its experience in epidemic prevention and control with Indonesia, provide support and assistance to the best of China's capability, and is willing to continue to deepen vaccine cooperation with Indonesia. For her part, Retno said the fact that Indonesia and China have taken the lead in carrying out vaccine research and development cooperation has reflected the high level of bilateral relations and China's strong trust in Indonesia. She thanked China for its strong support to her country, and said that it is hoped that the two sides will continue to promote vaccine cooperation. ^ top ^

Xi expounds on sustainable development at G20 meeting (People's Daily)
2020-11-23
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday stressed the critical importance of continuously advancing global poverty reduction to create an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future. "We need substantial measures more than ever in the face of COVID-19," Xi said when he attended Session II of the G20 Riyadh Summit via video link in Beijing. Xi stressed the need to uphold the vision of prioritizing development. He called for efforts to strengthen development cooperation and narrow the North-South gap in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Calling for adopting comprehensive and balanced policies, Xi said targeted measures must be taken to tackle poverty caused by COVID-19. He stressed efforts to alleviate developing countries' debt burden, continue to provide them with necessary financing support, as well as boost infrastructure construction and connectivity. On creating a favorable international economic environment, Xi called for lowering tariff and non-tariff barriers, advancing poverty reduction and economic growth through trade, and help developing countries better integrate into the global market. Underscoring the role of digital technology in poverty alleviation, Xi urged efforts to create more opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, women, youth and other vulnerable groups to move from poverty to prosperity. He stressed that China is about to achieve the goal of eliminating absolute poverty, 10 years ahead of the schedule set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening up, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70 percent of the global poverty reduction, Xi added. China is ready to work with other countries to build a better world that is free of poverty and enjoys common development, Xi said. Leaders participating in the event said G20 should step up support for developing countries to overcome the impact of COVID-19, achieve economic recovery and growth, bridge the digital divide and eliminate poverty, among other measures, to realize inclusive development. They also stressed reducing carbon emissions and promoting green and low-carbon development, and called for joint efforts to respond to global challenges such as climate change. A leaders' declaration was adopted at the summit. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Liu He Calls for China to Get Technologically Self-Reliant, Fast (Caixin)
2020-11-26
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has called for China to move faster toward becoming technologically self-reliant, a goal that will play a decisive role in the country's economic development agenda for the next 15 years. In an article published Wednesday in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party, Liu identified innovation and technological self-reliance as keys to China's "dual circulation" strategy, a crucial part of the draft proposal of the 2021-2025 Five-Year Plan and long-term development targets through 2035 In the "dual circulation" strategy, policymakers have put greater importance on developing domestic supply chains, especially for high-tech products, and tapping the potential of the domestic market to drive economic growth in the future. Policymakers have justified the strategy by citing changes in the "external environment," presumably a reference to U.S. bans on selling American technology to some Chinese firms, as well as the rising trends of antiglobalization, populism and trade protectionism in some Western countries. "Faced with new contradictions and challenges brought about by changes in the external environment, we must adjust the path of economic development," Liu said. "(We should) make economic development more autonomous, sustainable and resilient." China should change its development strategy because its economic development has entered a new phase, he said. With per capita GDP surpassing $10,000, the domestic demand structure is significantly different from before. The major pain point in China's economy still lies on the supply side, as the supply structure has not been able to adapt to the changes in demand, he added, urging an innovation-driven, high-quality supply side that can drive and create demand. Some analysts have said that China will make building a domestic supply chain for semiconductors one of its priorities. "Self-reliance in semiconductors is seen as particularly crucial, given the current dependence on U.S.-made chip-design tools and patents as well as critical manufacturing technologies from U.S. allies," Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at research firm Oxford Economics Ltd., wrote in a report earlier this month. New-generation information technology is one of the high-tech industries highlighted in the party's new Five-Year Plan proposal. Other industries include biotechnology, new materials, and aerospace equipment. ^ top ^

Mighty Long March 9 carrier rocket set to debut in 2030 (China Daily)
2020-11-26
The China National Space Administration has revealed design specifications about the Long March 9, a super-heavy carrier rocket that will likely become one of the world's largest and mightiest launch vehicles. Xu Hongliang, secretary-general of the administration, said on Tuesday afternoon in Haikou, capital of Hainan province, that the Long March 9 is in the research and development stage and is expected to enter service around 2030. The super-heavy rocket will be 93 meters tall, have a liftoff weight of 4,140 metric tons and a thrust power of 5,760 tons. Its core stage will be about 10 meters in diameter, Xu said at the Wenchang International Aviation and Aerospace Forum's opening ceremony on Tuesday. The craft will be so powerful that it will be able to transport spacecraft with a combined weight of 140 tons to a low-Earth orbit hundreds of kilometers above the planet, he said. Li Benqi, deputy head of the Wenchang Space Launch Center's planning department, said at the opening ceremony that the rocket will also be able to place spaceships weighing up to 50 tons in an Earth-moon transfer trajectory for lunar expeditions. He added that the center will construct a new launchpad and new testing and support facilities for the Long March 9. Engineers at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's leading space contractor, have started to conduct tests on the 500-ton-thrust liquid oxygen/kerosene engine, which is expected to become the nation's most powerful rocket engine, the company said. Once Long March 9 enters operation, its carrying capacity will be more than five times that of Long March 5, currently the mightiest and tallest in China's rocket family. The 20-story-tall Long March 5 has a liftoff weight of 869 tons and a maximum carrying capacity of 25 tons to a low-Earth orbit. A Long March 5 was launched early on Tuesday morning to send China's biggest lunar probe-Chang'e 5-to the moon. The Long March 9 will be crucial in realizing the nation's ambitious plans for manned missions to the moon and sending large robotic spacecraft into deep space. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp has estimated that about 10 Long March 9s will be needed each year from 2030 to 2035 in China to serve the nation's robust demand for heavy-lift rockets. More than 300 officials, scientists, engineers, business representatives and delegates from overseas space organizations took part in the two-day forum, the first of its kind in Hainan. The island province in South China is determined to develop local space-related industries as a new engine for its economy, local officials said. ^ top ^

Xi stresses military training to raise capability of winning wars (Xinhua)
2020-11-25
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday ordered the armed forces to strengthen training under real combat conditions and raise their capability of winning wars. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks at a CMC meeting on military training. Xi stressed the implementation of the Party's thinking on strengthening the military, as well as the military strategy, for the new era. He urged faster establishment of a new-type military training system and strong support for achieving the Party's goal of building stronger armed forces for the new era and developing the armed forces into a world-class military. Xi met with the meeting participants and model individuals and groups who had excelled in military training and had a group photo with them. Xi said military training is the center of the military's regular work as it is the means for the military to generate and improve its combat capability and is the most direct form of military preparedness. He noted that new changes are taking place in the country's security environment, military combat situation, forms of modern warfare, bringing the military's training into a new stage. He called for better strategic planning and top-level design to transform military training to accommodate the needs in real combat. Xi urged efforts to improve the military's capability for integrated and joint operations, raise the scientific and technological literacy of the officers and soldiers, and apply new weaponry and new strengths in training. Stressing strengthening the Party's leadership over military training, Xi urged efforts to carry out real combat-oriented training and rectify the practices of formalities for formalities' sake and bureaucratism in training. A total of 10 military units and 23 individuals were commended for their work in military training at the meeting. Xi and other senior military officials presented awards to the honorees. ^ top ^

China vows to help elderly with difficulties in using smart technologies (Xinhua)
2020-11-25
China will help the elderly solve problems in using smart technologies and reserve traditional way of services for them, according to a plan issued by the General Office of the State Council. The plan sets objectives for work in the 2020-2022 period focusing on seven types of services and scenarios most frequently used by or facing the elderly, such as day-to-day traveling, medical treatment, recreational activities, and civic services. Improvements will include securing elderly services in emergencies, including optimizing the health screening procedure that requires QR codes produced with mobile applications before entering public places, and offering basic services to senior citizens staying at home. The plan urged efforts to help the elderly make medical treatment appointments by providing diversified channels and improving the way online appointments are made. It also underscored the importance of retaining traditional financial service modes while making online consumption more convenient for this group. To improve the competence of the elderly in terms of technology, measures will be taken to increase the supply of senior-friendly products, redesign internet applications, and enhance technology training for them. The country will introduce a string of measures effectively addressing the most pressing problems of the elderly in using smart technologies by the end of the year to meet their basic needs. The plan also stipulates benefitting more senior citizens with smart services while improving traditional elderly services next year. By the end of 2022, the level and convenience of smart services for the elderly will be significantly improved, online and offline services will be better coordinated, and long-term mechanisms bridging the digital divide will be established, according to the plan. ^ top ^

Amphibious landing ships, stealth missile boats conduct exercises in South China Sea (Global Times)
2020-11-25
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently sent three Type 071 amphibious dock landing ships, and multiple Type 022 stealth missile boats to two exercises in the South China Sea, sending a strong message of deterrence to Taiwan secessionists and forces with ulterior motives, analysts said on Tuesday. On November 18, three Type 071 amphibious dock landing ships attached to a landing ship flotilla with the navy under the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command. The three ships, the Wuzhishan, Kunlunshan and Changbaishan, conducted a four-day maritime training exercise, which focused on 10 subjects including comprehensive defense and the transfer of landing craft air cushions, live-fire operations and visit, board, search and seizure operations, eng.chinamil.com.cn, an English-language news website sponsored by the PLA, reported on Monday. As many as three Type 071 amphibious dock landing ships operating together should be considered a very powerful landing force, and the exercise could be simulating a mission to land on a large island or a large group of islands and reefs, a Beijing-based military analyst told the Global Times on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity. In a separate event also in the South China Sea, a flotilla of Type 022 stealth missile boats conducted a real combat scenario drill, with the catamarans training in comprehensive attack and defense, air defense and anti-terrorism, China Central Television (CCTV) reported. The Type 022 is fast, flexible, stealthy and powerful, which are characteristics making it suitable for coastal defense missions against hostile middle-sized and large ships and combat groups from outside of the defense zone, but it can also confront hostile aircraft and cover larger ships in high sea operations, CCTV said. Military observers used to think the Type 022 was only suitable for coastal defense, but the PLA is seemingly exploring its potential to operate beyond that, the expert said. The two exercises, one with huge warships and the other with small but fast boats, again demonstrated the PLA's capability in amphibious landing missions and in its coastal waters, analysts said, noting that they should serve as a strong deterrent to Taiwan secessionists and forces with ulterior motives in the South China Sea. ^ top ^

China removes all remaining counties from poverty list (People's Daily)
2020-11-24
China has achieved the feat of removing all remaining counties from the country's poverty list. The last nine impoverished counties, all in southwest China's Guizhou Province, have eliminated absolute poverty, the provincial government announced on Monday. This means that all 832 registered poor counties in China have shaken off poverty. An assessment conducted by third-party agencies earlier this month showed that the overall incidence of poverty in the nine counties in Guizhou had been reduced to zero percent, and the satisfaction rate among locals was over 99 percent, said Li Jian, director of the provincial poverty alleviation and development office, at a press briefing. The average annual net income of impoverished people in these nine counties has risen to 11,487 yuan (about 1,740 U.S. dollars), well above the 4,000-yuan national poverty line set this year, Li said. China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of 2020. At the end of 2019, 52 counties in the northwest, southwest and south of the country remained on the poverty list. Earlier this month, all poor counties in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, as well as the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Gansu were lifted out of poverty. Guizhou, which used to be a provincial-level region with the biggest population of poor people, has lifted more than 9 million people out of poverty since 2012. "Delisting all poverty-stricken counties indicates China has resolved the millennia-old issue of extreme poverty," said Gao Gang, a researcher with the Guizhou Academy of Social Sciences. In the new development stage, more rural vitalization efforts should be made to consolidate poverty reduction achievements, said Gao. Yanhe Tujia Autonomous County is one of the nine counties recently removed from the poverty list. In late October, Chen Maofu, a resident in Bianjiang Village in Yanhe, signed his name on a document certifying that his family had been lifted out of poverty. "My two sons now work in Zhejiang Province, and are much better off than before," said Chen, noting that each of his five family members has an annual net income of over 10,000 yuan. The standard of living of residents in Bianjiang stands in stark contrast to that in 2014, when there were 699 registered poor people. "Poor transportation was the main reason that caused poverty in Bianjiang. The only way out of the village was a narrow footpath near the cliff of a mountain," Chen said. As China intensified its efforts on poverty reduction over the past years, more roads were built linking the village with the outside world. Even the footpath leading to Chen's house was paved. As a result of improved transportation, the fishing, chicken-raising and chrysanthemum industries began to prosper in the village, providing locals with increasing income. With the elimination of absolute poverty this year, China will achieve the poverty reduction target of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening up, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70 percent of the global poverty reduction. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken highly of China's success in poverty reduction, calling the achievements "very strong." ^ top ^

China's new coal plants risk 2060 climate target – researchers (HKFP)
2020-11-23
China must stop building new coal power plants and ramp up its wind and solar capacity if it wants to become carbon neutral by 2060, researchers said Friday. A new report published by the Helsinki-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air warned that overcapacity of existing plants and new ones being built mean it will be hard for Beijing to meet the much-lauded climate goal promised by President Xi Jinping earlier this year. The research organisation called for the Chinese government to shut down all new coal-fired power plants built from 2020 and double the growth of wind and solar power in the next decade. The country should aim to whittle its coal fleet down to about 680 gigawatts by 2030 — instead of current plans to expand it to about 1,300 gigawatts, it said. Without proper policy intervention to retire these surplus plants early and halt the construction of new ones, the researchers claimed the level of carbon dioxide emitted by China would show almost no reduction compared to this year's level. "The power section needs to achieve zero emissions as soon as possible," the report said. "Coal power should be phased out rapidly in a cost-effective manner." As part of the plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2060, China also pledged to reach its peak carbon emissions by 2030, which researchers claim needs coal-fired power to start reducing almost immediately. "As long as coal consumption continues to drop significantly, peaking carbon emissions before 2030 will be a relatively achievable goal," Yuan Jiahai, Professor at North China Electric Power University, said in the report. One way to reach this target, the report says, is to set a high carbon price in the carbon trading market, in turn incentivising the carbon-emitters to reduce coal-fired power generation. The report also called for coordination among the Chinese government, think tanks and other NGOs to ensure the visibility and transparency of the process. China's carbon promise, announced in September in a speech by Xi to the United Nations, came as a surprise as Beijing has relied heavily on coal to spur its economic emergence from poverty to superpower status over the last few decades. ^ top ^

Xi sends congratulatory letter to World Internet Conference - Internet Development Forum (China Daily)
2020-11-23
The World Internet Conference will be held here [Wuzhen] from Nov 23 to 24, with the theme of "Digital Empowerment to Create a Better Future: Jointly Build a Community of Shared Future in Cyberspace." President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the World Internet Conference/Internet Development Forum on Monday. ^ top ^

Chinese premier stresses policy continuity to spur vitality, promote economic recovery (Xinhua)
2020-11-22
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has underscored policy continuity, effectiveness and sustainability to spur greater vitality among market entities, promote stable economic recovery and sustained growth, as well as constantly improve people's livelihoods. Li made the remarks via video link as he presided over a symposium on the economic situation that was attended by local government officials on Friday. Vice Premier Han Zheng attended the symposium. Leading government officials from the provinces of Heilongjiang, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong and Yunnan reported on local economic situations and made suggestions for policy making. China has made major strategic achievements in COVID-19 prevention and control and its economy has recorded positive growth relatively quickly, thanks to the concerted efforts from both higher and lower levels, and state policies that are timely and effective, Li said. He called for efforts to implement the spirit of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, apply new development philosophies, promote high-quality development and forge new development paradigm to ensure stable economic development and improve people's livelihoods. Li urged efforts to maintain the continuity, effectiveness and sustainability of policies, keep the policy focus on market entities and people's livelihoods, as well as stabilizing employment and increasing domestic demand. The policy prioritizing employment should be strengthened and efforts should be made to create more job opportunities, he said. Li also called on governments to optimize polices in a timely manner, based on the needs of market entities and changing circumstances, while stabilizing market expectations, and taking targeted measures to help market entities overcome difficulties and improve people's livelihoods. Local governments are encouraged to introduce measures to inject more vitality and impetus into the market, creating a better environment that invigorates existing market entities and fosters new ones, Li said. The premier also called for efforts to promote high-level opening-up, and continue efforts to maintain the stability of foreign trade and investment, as well as the industrial and supply chains. The country should also leverage the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, make good use of relevant rules and facilitation measures, and actively explore new areas of international cooperation, he said. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

International flights bring COVID to Beijing (China Daily)
2020-11-24
Beijing has reported 17 cases of COVID-19 since it resumed direct international flights on Sept 3, according to Chen Xiaoyou, deputy head of Beijing Ditan Hospital, at a news conference on Monday. Of those infections, 15 of the patients displayed symptoms and two did not. The 15 symptomatic patients —10 males and five females — ranged in age from 22 to 55. They came from six countries: eight from Pakistan, three from Switzerland, one from Sweden, one from Greece, one from Jordan and one from Equatorial Guinea. In the group were 10 cases of "normal" severity and five of slight symptoms. None were severe. The two asymptomatic cases were males from Canada and Hungary. Beijing identified one new imported case on Sunday, according to Xu Hejian, spokesman for the municipal government. That case involved a 44-year-old man who was coming back from Greece. His test result was negative after he arrived in China on Nov 8. A second test was positive on Nov 21, before he completed his quarantine. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai concert marks 50 years of China-Italy ties (Xinhua)
2020-11-26
A concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy has been held in Shanghai. Famous musicians and singers, including singer and music producer Li Quan, joined in the performances on Tuesday. The concert interweaved classic melodies beloved by the peoples of the two countries. Italian Ambassador to China Luca Ferrari said Italy is looking forward to deepening its friendship and expanding its cooperation with China. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

World 5G Convention opens in Guangzhou (Xinhua)
2020-11-26
The 2020 World 5G Convention kicked off in Guangzhou Thursday, during which world-renowned infocom scientists, 5G service providers and 5G application adopters will exchange ideas on aspects of cutting-edge technologies, industrial development trends and innovative applications in 5G industry. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet disposes of household garbage in rural areas (Xinhua)
2020-11-25
Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has disposed of household garbage in more than 90 percent of its villages to improve the rural living environment. Efforts have been strengthened from early 2018 when the central authorities released a three-year action plan to improve the living environment of the rural areas across the nation. To date, the garbage dumping sites that did not meet the relevant standards had all improved, said an official with the regional department of agriculture and rural affairs. The region has also made efforts to prevent the random disposal of domestic wastewater in rural areas. According to the department, the region will further spread health and sanitation knowledge, instruct farmers and herders to get rid of unhealthy living habits, and encourage them to actively participate in improving the living environment. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

'Evidence' of Muslims being suppressed 'utter nonsense', Xinjiang officials say (China Daily)
2020-11-20
The so-called evidence of China violently suppressing Muslims and arresting a large number of people from certain ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region filed by "East Turkestan" organizations to the International Criminal Court are completely fabricated and "utter nonsense", Xinjiang officials said. The "East Turkestan government-in-exile" that aims to separate Xinjiang from China has teamed up with the "East Turkestan National Awakening Movement" to spread false information through every means to confuse the public, poison public opinion and bring shame on Xinjiang, Ekbel Adar, deputy director of the committee of ethnic, religious, foreign and overseas Chinese affairs of the Xinjiang regional people's congress standing committee, said at a news conference held in the regional capital of Urumqi on Wednesday evening. In July, the two organizations presented so-called evidence to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, and called on the court to investigate cases of so-called genocide and crimes against humanity. "The organizations once again aim to stir up trouble. The farce of the so-called litigation is boring and extremely clumsy," Ekbel said. "They have gone farther and farther down the shameless road, trying to show the whole world their ugly images." Due to the penetration of religious extremism, the region had been frequently hit by terrorist attacks for a period of time. As a result, the region has implemented a series of anti-terrorism and anti-extremism measures in recent years. "Anti-terrorism and anti-extremism measures in Xinjiang are backed by a clear legal basis and legal procedures. Those measures have never targeted any specific region, ethnic group or religion, so there is no 'suppression of Muslims' or 'mass detention of people from certain ethnic groups' at all," Ekbel added. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent announcement to remove the East Turkestan Islamic Movement from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations disregards the bloody crimes committed by the group and has undermined international anti-terrorism cooperation. It has fully unveiled the US "double standard" on anti-terrorism issues, Ilijan Anayt, spokesman for the regional government, said at the news conference. The ETIM was designated a terrorist organization and added to the sanctions list under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1390 in 2002. For a long time, the ETIM, with the purpose of separating Xinjiang from China, has spread violent terrorist thoughts in the guise of religion and has instigated, planned and implemented a series of violent terrorist activities, greatly harming people's lives and property. It has released a large number of violent terrorist audio recordings and videos on the internet, has incited extremists to commit violent terrorist attacks and has given instructions on how to carry out such attacks, Ilijan said. "The most violent terrorist cases in China are directly related to the ETIM and the violent terrorist audio recordings and videos they have released. Almost all the personnel involved have watched or listened to those recordings and videos," Ilijan said. "The ETIM is part of the international terrorism system and threatens both China and the whole world." Xinjiang will not waver in its determination to crack down on the ETIM and other terrorist forces, safeguard the lives and property of people of all ethnic groups and protect social stability and national unity. Any attempt to undermine the stability and development of Xinjiang will not succeed, the spokesman said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Joshua Wong's guilty plea 'another political performance': experts (Global Times)
2020-11-23
Hong Kong secessionist Joshua Wong Chi-fung pleaded guilty to two charges of inciting and organizing an unauthorized assembly in a siege of the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) in June 2019, which experts noted was "another political performance." Wong's fellow secessionists and long-time colleagues Agnes Chow Ting and Ivan Lam also pleaded guilty to charges related to the same siege earlier on Monday morning. The three were taken away ahead of a sentencing hearing on Dec 2, where they could face a maximum of five years in prison if convicted, local media reported. Wong faced three charges and pleaded guilty to two counts of organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly, and was acquitted of the charge of participating in an unauthorized assembly. Later on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian expressed support for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government to carry out responsibilities to safeguard Hong Kong. "This is not a diplomatic problem. We support relevant departments of HKSAR government to perform their functions in accordance with the law," Zhao said. Wong was among the most infamous figures in the prolonged secessionist riots in the HKSAR from 2019. As the co-founder of the secessionist social group Demosisto, he announced the group's disbandment hours after the central government passed the national security law in Hong Kong in June. "Since the national security law was introduced in Hong Kong, the social atmosphere has left no room for the secessionists to run riot again," Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times. "For Wong and his fellow secessionists, their lawyers probably advised them to make this guilty plea. As they have realized that they could not continue making trouble, they took guilty pleas to get a reduced sentence." The guilty plea was yet another political performance by Wong and the others, Tang noted. "When they are unable to make trouble, they hope to attract political attention again by going to prison," Tang said, "It is more like a halo for these people, accumulating political capital for their subsequent elections." Earlier in July, Wong and 11 other secessionists were disqualified from running in the general elections of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo), which were originally scheduled for September but postponed over COVID-19 epidemic concerns, by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) in July, as they failed to meet the requirements of the elections, in addition to being infamous for their misdeeds. While the EAC can decide whether lawmaker candidates can pursue their positions, the disqualification of incumbent lawmakers requires a two-thirds majority vote from LegCo members. Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times that the guilty plea from Wong and the others proves that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to convict the rioters. "But it is not enough to prosecute and convict. A number of recent cases with over-lenient sentences are evidence of the persistent instability in Hong Kong's judicial system," Li said. Judicial reform in Hong Kong will be an important factor in determining whether order and stability can be fully restored in the future, Li noted, adding If the judicial system can heed the voices of the public and carry out comprehensive reform, only then can Hong Kong move towards a truly law-abiding society. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

US Navy admiral makes unannounced visit to Taiwan in a move that could vex China (SCMP)
2020-11-23
A two-star Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday, in a high-level trip that could vex China. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity. According to the Navy's website, Studeman is director of the J2, which oversees intelligence, at the US military's Indo-Pacific Command. The Pentagon declined to comment. Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday that a US official had arrived in Taiwan but declined to provide details, saying the trip had not been made public. China, which claims democratically run Taiwan as its own territory, reacted with fury when US Health Secretary Alex Azar went to Taipei in August, followed by US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach in September, sending fighter jets near the island each time. US President Donald Trump's administration has ramped up support for Taiwan, including with new arms sales, alarming China. It was not immediately clear whether Studeman's visit would be seen as an escalation by Beijing. Still, he could be one of the most high-ranking US military officers known to have visited Taipei in recent years. Douglas Paal, a former head of the US representative office in Taiwan who is now with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: "If it is Indopacom J2 Studeman, I know of no precedent for such a visit." But Randall Schriver, a former assistant secretary of defence for Asia during the Trump administration, said Trump's Pentagon had been quietly sending one-star flag officers to Taiwan on a routine basis. He noted that the United States and Taiwan had close intelligence exchanges on the threat from China's military. Bonnie Glaser, a regional security expert at Washington's Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said it would not be unprecedented for a US flag officer to visit Taipei. Taiwan's United Daily News published pictures of an unmarked private jet, which it identified as being a US military aircraft, arriving at Taipei's downtown Songshan airport, and what appeared to be officials waiting at its VIP terminal. Data on the flight-tracking website planefinder.net showed a private flight arriving from Hawaii – home to the headquarters of the Indo-Pacific Command – into Songshan airport late on Sunday afternoon, soon before the United Daily News published the pictures on is website. In a brief statement, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said there were frequent interactions with the United States and that "we welcome the visit of the US official." "But as this itinerary has not been made public, based on mutual trust between Taiwan and the United States, the Foreign Ministry has no further explanation or comment," it added. However, it said in a separate statement that Taiwan media reports that a delegation led by CIA chief Gina Haspel had arrived in Taiwan were untrue, and that Haspel had no plans to come. The de facto US embassy in Taipei declined to comment. The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is the democratic island's most important international backer and supplier of arms. Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said last week the cabinet-level head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, will visit Taiwan. US media said that trip is likely next month. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Foxconn to Move Some China Apple Production to Vietnam, Reports Say (Caixin)
2020-11-27
Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics and the biggest assembler of Apple products, will move the manufacturing of some Apple Inc. iPads and MacBooks to Vietnam from China, Bloomberg reported. Reuters reported that Foxconn, formerly known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is building assembly lines for Apple's tablet and notebook products at its plant in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Giang, which will come online in the first half of 2021. Foxconn earlier this week announced $270 million of new investments, which were for the Vietnam plant, Bloomberg said citing an unidentified source. Global manufacturers have been shifting some of their production capacity out of China amid escalating tensions between China and the U.S. over the past couple of years. Vietnam remains the most favored destination, followed by Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Thailand, according to a recent survey by Standard Chartered Plc. Foxconn Chairman Young Liu said in August the company moved more manufacturing to Southeast Asia and other regions to avoid escalating tariffs on Chinese-made goods headed to U.S. markets. The proportion outside the country reached 30%, up from 25% last June. ^ top ^

US gives ByteDance new 7-day-extension for TikTok sale (China Daily)
2020-11-26
The US Treasury on Wednesday said it had given a new 7-day-extension to TikTok's parent ByteDance for selling TikTok's American business, according to a court filing. "The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has granted ByteDance a one-week extension, from November 27, 2020, to December 4, 2020, to allow time to review a revised submission that the Committee recently received," a Treasury spokesperson said, Reuters reported. The short video-sharing app filed a petition on November 10 to challenge the Trump administration's order of the original November 12 deadline, saying no substantive feedbacks have been received since the company offered detailed solutions to The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in nearly two months. The US government on November 13 announced a 15-day extension until November 27, for the company to reach a deal with US buyers. ByteDance struck a deal with American companies Oracle and Walmart in September for setting up a new entity, TikTok Global, after which they can take up to a 20-percent stake, while ByteDance owns 80 percent, according to a TikTok statement earlier. But the deal was not finalized as Trump demands total US control of the entity. The TikTok sale dates back to August when Trump announced an executive order that set a 45-day deadline. ^ top ^

Li: Nation to maintain proactive fiscal policy (China Daily)
2020-11-25
China will secure positive growth in its economy this year, and the country is aiming to restore its economic development to a reasonable range next year, Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday. In remarks made at a news conference after the Fifth "1+6" Roundtable via video link in Beijing, Li pledged to maintain the consistency and stability of China's macroeconomic policies and continue with a proactive fiscal policy, prudent monetary policy and an employment first policy going forward. The government will enhance the consistency and efficacy of macro policies, enrich the policies' content and refine the mix of policy tools based on the dynamic situation, he said. Li's remarks came as China's economic recovery gathered momentum in recent months, with retail sales growing by 4.3 percent in October on a yearly basis, up from 3.3 percent in September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector stood at 51.4 in October-marking the eighth consecutive month in which China's factory activities stayed in expansionary territory, according to the NBS. Goods export growth rose to 11.4 percent year-on-year in October and China's shipments continued to lead the world trade recovery. Li highlighted the resilience of China's market players, numbering over 100 million, as the strongest underpinning for the country to cope with difficulties and challenges. The country's market players and the Chinese people have shown strong resilience in the face of the fallout from the pandemic, and have been the strongest support for the country's economic fundamentals, he said. China added 10.09 million new jobs in urban areas in the first 10 months of this year-reaching its preset target for job creation for 2020 two months ahead of schedule-with the surveyed urban unemployment rate standing at 5.3 percent in October. Li also highlighted the importance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, saying that the signing of the world's largest trade pact will help promote economic globalization and trade liberalization. The RCEP is an open and inclusive trade pact that not only belongs to its 15 participating countries but also welcomes more nations to join, he said, adding that the rules of the RCEP are in alignment with those of the World Trade Organization and serve to reinforce other regional free-trade arrangements and the multilateral trade mechanism. The virtual roundtable brought together leaders of major economic organizations including World Bank Group President David Malpass, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Trade Organization Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff. Georgieva said China's fast economic recovery is based on resolute measures in combating COVID-19, mitigating its impact and supporting growth. "With the right mix of supportive macroeconomic policies focused on strengthening social safety nets and further key reforms, China will secure its recovery and ensure balanced, high-quality growth that benefits China and the world," she said. Under the theme of "Promoting World Economic Recovery and Growth in the Post-COVID-19 Era", the participants had an in-depth exchange of views on topics including the world economic landscape, global economic governance beyond COVID-19, and China's economic situation and trends. ^ top ^

Top Financial Regulator Pledges Zero Tolerance for Debt Dodgers (Caixin)
2020-11-23
China's top financial regulatory body has pledged "zero tolerance" for misconduct after a wave of bond defaults shed light on suspected fraud by several high-profile state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The Financial Stability and Development Committee (FSDC) vowed to strictly investigate any bond issuer suspected of violations including fraudulent issuance, disclosure of false information, malicious transfer of assets, and misappropriation of bond issuance funds, according to a Saturday meeting chaired by Vice Premier Liu He. The FSDC is a cabinet-level body under the State Council that oversees various agencies supervising China's financial sector. The recent string of bond defaults, including on AAA-rated bonds issued by a state-owned coal miner and a major state-owned carmaker, has sent shockwaves through the country's onshore bond market and set off a chain reaction affecting other debt issuers, including local government financing vehicles. It has also diminished investors' confidence in bonds issued by SOEs, particularly since it has raised questions about whether the companies defaulted intentionally in order to get out of paying their debts. Some of the companies are suspected to have transferred valuable assets just as they were about to default on their debts. A Singaporean creditor of Brilliance Auto Group Holdings Co. Ltd., parent of German car giant BMW AG's main Chinese joint-venture partner, filed an arbitration to freeze Brilliance assets over such concerns. Yongcheng Coal and Electricity Holding Group Co. Ltd., a coal mining SOE in Henan province, is also facing similar allegations from investors. It transferred equity in Hong Kong-listed Zhongyuan Bank Co. Ltd. — which some creditors say is a liquid and high-quality asset — to two other state-owned companies in Henan immediately before defaulting. Yongcheng was also involved in "structured issuance," a shady fundraising practice in which a company tries to improve its image to attract investors by buying a portion of its own bond offerings to inflate the size of its issuance, Caixin has learned from sources with knowledge of the matter. China's interbank bond market regulator has launched a probe into intermediaries linked to Yongcheng's bond issuances for possible violations. The FSDC said it would protect investors' rights and interests, and severely punish bond issuers found to have intentionally dodged debts, adding that the industry should strengthen its self-discipline. Bond issuers and their shareholders, financial institutions, intermediaries and other market entities must strictly abide by laws and regulations, as well as market rules, the regulator said. The FSDC also called for closer cooperation between financial regulators, and pledged to strengthen prevention and warning systems to keep liquidity reasonably ample and guard against systemic risks. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Today is Day of Proclamation of Mongolia (Montsame)
2020-11-26
Today is the 96th anniversary of the adoption of the first Constitution of Mongolia, proclaiming the Mongolian People's Republic. History says that the first State Great Khural was kicked off on September 8, 1924 in Niislel Khuree (present Ulaanbaatar), with 77 representatives from all across the country. During the Great Khural, the representatives discussed many vital issues and unanimously adopted the first Constitution of Mongolia on November 26, 1924. Historians say that this historical event not only defined the goals of Mongolians but also stamped it as an independent state. With the adoption of the first Constitution, it not only strengthened the many socioeconomic achievements, but also declared all of the land, resources, forests, and animals under the ownership of citizens of Mongolia. The Day of Proclamation was made a public holiday in accordance with the parliamentary resolution made on November 18, 2016. ^ top ^

Meeting of Mongolia-EU subcommittee on trade and investment held (Montsame)
2020-11-24
A meeting of the Mongolia-EU subcommittee on trade and investment under the Mongolia-EU Joint Committee was held virtually on November 23. During the meeting, the parties exchanged information on the present economic situations and trade policy. They also discussed the intensification of bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and investment, particularly the implementation of GSP+, REX system and TRAM project. Moreover, the discussion covered issues, such as the priority areas of cooperation to implement the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Mongolia and the European Union, animal and plant quarantine, investment environment, and the expansion of bilateral cooperation in raw materials' fields. The parties agreed minutes of the meeting. The result of the subcommittee meeting will be reported at the regular meeting of the Mongolia-EU Joint Committee to be held in December via videoconference. ^ top ^

President Battulga sends letter to his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Montsame)
2020-11-20
President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga wrote a letter to President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier in sought for support for COVID-19 vaccine procurement. In his letter, President Battulga remarked that the two countries' partnership and long-standing friendship and cooperation have been growing in every possible field on the basis of our interests and common values for democracy, world peace and security. Highlighting the importance of active international collaboration, unity, understanding and policy coordination in these times of COVID-19 outbreak, the President expressed gratitude for Germany's leadership in the global effort for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. In the letter, President Battulga also stated that the fact that Mongolia has a small population scattered through a vast territory may be an advantage in the battle with COVID-19, but protecting those who serve in the frontlines, including medical staff, emergency, law enforcement and inspection personnel, is a priority. Therefore, President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga requested from President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier special support for Mongolia's procurement of vaccines for citizens and those who work in high-risk environments. ^ top ^

 

Embassy of Switzerland
 

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