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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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  3-7.5.2021, No. 864  
    Archiv / Archives
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Table of contents

DPRK

Mongolia

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Switzerland

Global spotlight to shine on Hainan (China Daily)
2021-06-06
More than 60,000 participants register for international consumer products event, including world-renowned luxury brands Two weeks after the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, South China's Hainan is to come under the global spotlight again with the opening of the first China International Consumer Products Expo. From May 7, producers of world-class boutique brands will gather to showcase and debut their latest products and explore future trends and opportunities in the Chinese market, according to the organizers. To be held at the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center in Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan, the event, also known as the Hainan Expo, is the country's first and only national platform featuring imports of consumer products. Chinese consumers can enjoy a special policy that waives taxation for purchasing some imported products at the event, said officials with the Hainan provincial government, which is jointly sponsoring the landmark event with the Ministry of Commerce. Shen Xiaoming, secretary of the Communist Party of China Hainan Provincial Committee, said that the expo will be one of the highest-standard exhibitions in China and is a practical action to implement the CPC Central Committee's strategic plan of comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up in Hainan. He said Hainan is doing its best to ensure service guarantees, and risk prevention and control, and make the expo a grand consumer event with international standards and a global reputation. Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce, said the event is seen as an important initiative to better meet people's needs and a significant platform to foster a new development paradigm. He said China, considered the world's most promising consumer market, will remain committed to its basic national policy of opening-up and will hold events such as the Hainan expo as platforms to promote domestic consumption, and welcome all countries to share the Chinese market for common global prosperity. MOC officials said on April 25 that more than 60,000 professional exhibitors, retailers and experts and observers have registered for attendance at the expo. It is expected to be the largest consumer products exposition in the Asia-Pacific region, and about 200,000 visitors are expected from around China. Representatives of businesses including LVHM Group, Richemont Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Burberry, Shiseido, Omron, Tapestry Group, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Tesla, Swatch, Swarovski, Coach, and Hans Yachts have arrived in Haikou to attend the grand opening ceremony on Thursday evening, according to the organizing committee. With a total exhibition area of 80,000 square meters, the expo will feature a rich variety of products, including watches and jewelry, cosmetics and perfumes, alcoholic beverages, garments, gems, food and health products, and automobiles, as well as electronic and cultural goods. The international boutique exhibition area will cover 60,000 sq m, showcasing boutique products of 1,319 global brands from 69 countries and regions. Switzerland is the guest country of honor. More than 10 countries including Japan, France, South Korea, Canada, Ireland and Thailand have sent delegations to the event, the organizers said. Domestically, more than 1,200 brands from over 800 companies across 34 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have registered to take part. They include consumer goods companies and time-honored brands such as Beijing Tongrentang Group and porcelain from Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province-which was the center of porcelain production in ancient China. About 70 debut events will be held during the expo. Domestic and foreign duty-free businesses, high-end retailers, large-scale shopping malls, top e-commerce and luxury e-commerce companies will host matchmaking sessions and seek business opportunities, said Han Shengjian, director-general of the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development, which oversees the expo. The construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port has generated widespread interest among renowned international brands from luxury, fast-moving consumer goods to other sectors, according to local officials. Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni said the Hainan expo marks a great step in the development of the Hainan FTP and a new step in China's integration into the global economic system. […] ^ top ^

Competition brewing up in China's RTD coffee market (China Daily)
2021-05-04
[…] Local innovation has also been the main driver for leading coffee brand Nescafe, owned by Swiss food giant Nestle SA, in China. In March, Nestle's Nescafe launched a new RTD coffee product Sakura Souffle SmoovLatte in the Chinese market. Last spring, it launched Sakura Plum Latte RTD and it quickly gained traction with Chinese consumers, said Nestle officials. This year, Nescafe's new coffee beverage has been upgraded further in terms of taste innovation, combining the freshness of sakura with the dessert flavor of soufflé and bringing multi-sensorial tasting experiences. The flower-flavored drinks, tailored for Chinese consumers, is one of the first products developed and launched at Nestle's product innovation center in Laixi, near Qingdao of Shandong province in East China. The center has focused on beverages and dairy products and works closely with Nestle's three product innovation centers in the US, Switzerland and Singapore. In recent years, Nescafe has entered a "blowout" innovation stage focused on the Chinese market, aiming to fulfill the individual needs of various consumers with varied tastes and enriching the daily lives of consumers. Since entering the Chinese market in the 1980s, the coffee brand has gradually cultivated the habit of drinking coffee among Chinese people. […] ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

EU-China Investment Deal Up in the Air Amid Heightened Tensions (Caixin)
2021-05-07
The fate of the European Union's investment deal with China after seven years of negotiations fell into doubt after EU officials made conflicting comments about it in the wake of an exchange of sanctions related to China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region. EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told Agence France-Presse Wednesday that the EU suspended its political outreach activities regarding the investment deal. "It's clear in the current situation with the EU sanctions in place against China and Chinese counter-sanctions in place, including against members of European Parliament, (that) the environment is not conducive for ratification of the agreement," Dombrovskis said in an interview. It will "depend really on how broader EU-China relations will evolve," he said. In March, the EU imposed travel and economic sanctions on four Chinese officials in response to China's treatment of the Uyghurs. In response, Beijing announced counter-sanctions against 10 European officials, half of them members of the European Parliament, and four entities. An EU spokesperson later said the ratification of the deal is "not quite suspended." "The agreement needs to be now legally reviewed and translated before it can be presented for adoption and ratification," the EU spokesperson said in a written statement. "However, the ratification process of the [deal] cannot be separated from the evolving dynamics of the wider EU-China relationship. "In this context, Chinese retaliatory sanctions targeting members of the European Parliament and an entire parliamentary committee are unacceptable and regrettable," the spokesperson said. "The prospects for … ratification will depend on how the situation evolves." Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a routine press briefing Thursday said he was aware of the news reports and the EU spokesperson's comment. "The China-EU investment agreement is essentially mutually beneficial, Wang said. "It serves the interests of both sides and the whole world. China stands ready to maintain communication and coordination with the EU and work together for the early entry into force of the deal for the benefit of the people and to send out a positive signal of China and the EU supporting an open world economy." Brussels and Beijing hammered out the investment agreement in December 2020. Before it can take effect, the accord needs to be ratified by EU member states and the European Parliament, where it faces massive opposition. The pact would offer European companies access to Chinese markets and facilitate Chinese investment in Europe. It also sets level-playing-field rules that prevent state assistance from undercutting competition and sustainable-development provisions. A European source familiar with the negotiations told Caixin that no new decisions have been made within the EU in recent days on the prospect of reviewing the agreement. The "suspension" mentioned by Dombrovskis is more about a pause in the review of the agreement following the sanctions rather than any new EU decision, the source said. According to the original roadmap for the accord, China and the EU were to spend at least six months in 2021 finalizing the legal language and text of the agreement. Then it would take three to four months to complete the translation and review of the translation before the ratification process could start. EU Ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis told Caixin Thursday that the agreement is undergoing legal review and translation. Once this process is over, there will be a decision, and it will depend on how the political situation between the EU and China evolves, he said. Hannah Neumann, a German member of the European Parliament and vice chair of the parliament's subcommittee on human rights, told the South China Morning Post that regardless of whether Dombrovskis spoke out of context, the parliament would vote whether to push the ratification process forward or freeze it in the May session. ^ top ^

China's suspension of economic dialogue with Australia 'a necessary step' to defend national interests: analysts (Global Times)
2021-05-07
China's top economic planner announced on Thursday that it is suspending indefinitely all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, marking the first time that a diplomatic mechanism between the two countries was frozen on the heels of downward spiraling bilateral relations. The decision represents a substantial and resolute response from China to a major shot fired by the Australian government in scrapping the Belt and Road Initiative deal signed with China. It also sends a clear signal that China is resolute, and prepared to take all necessary moves to defend its national interests in response to Australia's provocations, and that more measures would follow if Canberra further escalates its anti-China agenda, observers said. The suspension is a strong political gesture and indicates that more bilateral government-to-government communication avenues would likely to be put on hold, trade deals would shrink drastically and bilateral relations would sink from "deadlock" to "implosion" if Canberra does not exhibit good faith measures to repair bilateral relations, analysts said. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced on Thursday that it will indefinitely suspend all activities under China-Australia strategic economic dialogue, which is jointly held by NDRC and the relevant ministries of the Australian Commonwealth Government. The decision takes effect immediately. NDRC said that the decision was based on the current attitude of the Australian Commonwealth Government toward China-Australia cooperation, as some Australian Commonwealth Government officials recently "launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination," according to a statement on the website of NDRC. The China-Australia strategic economic dialogue, an important mechanism under China-Australia Annual Prime Ministerial Meeting and an important tool to cement bilateral relation mechanisms, was launched in 2014. It aims to conduct strategic dialogue on key bilateral economic and investment areas and strengthen economic ties. According to media reports, the last round of dialogue, or the third round under the framework, was held in Beijing in September 2017. The two sides had signed a memorandum of understanding on third-party market cooperation by then. […] "China's suspension of economic dialogue with Australia is a necessary and legitimate response toward Australia's restrictions on bilateral cooperation projects, and the country should bear full responsibility for such moves," Wang Wenbin, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said at a press briefing on Thursday. In April, China's Foreign Ministry requested Australia revoke its wrong decision over the BRI deal, and the ministry also warned that it will hit back hard. Chinese observers stressed that to date, it is meaningless for China to honor communication mechanisms given Australia's anti-China stance. "First of all, Australia does not display the right attitude for a dialogue to plow on. And Australia's unilateral tore-up of BRI deal also shows that any agreement formally signed between China and Australia could be scrapped by any unjustified excuse at any time," Zhou noted. Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Thursday that the country is disappointed with China's decision, and "remains open to holding the dialogue and engaging at the ministerial level." Australia's previous sabotage on bilateral relations mostly remained at the level of a flurry of threatening rhetoric, but it now has taken a series of concrete actions, firing shots in trade and investment areas - deemed as a cornerstone for bilateral relations - to inflict substantial harm on China-Australia relations. In addition to scrapping the BRI deal, Australia's Department of Defence is also reviewing the 99-year lease of Darwin port, a commercial and military port, to the Chinese firm Landbridge Group. The strategic economic dialogue between China and Australia has played an important role in bilateral strategic cooperation, indirectly prompting the signing of a free trade agreement, the use of UnionPay cards in Australia, and the signing of a BRI memorandum of understanding with the state of Victoria. Although the shut-down of this communication channel won't generate an immediate impact on the Australian economy, it could deprive the nation of forward-looking cooperation opportunities in sectors such as energy, mining and electronic payments with China, Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries at Liaocheng University in East China's Shandong Province, told the Global Times. The suspension also casts doubt on any China-Australia Annual Prime Ministerial Meeting, analysts predicted. In 2019, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held in Bangkok the 7th round of China-Australia Annual Prime Ministerial Meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, and the meeting in 2020 was cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak. Given a series of damages the Australian government has caused to China-Australia ties, the two countries have been engaged in a deadlocked situation until now, but if Australia continues making mistakes resulting in the already disheartening and disappointing situation becoming worse, the two countries might not be able to avoid an "implosion," Chen said. "It won't be the only case for an official communication channel to be shut down. Bilateral government-to-government communication would see a reduction in the near future, so as communications between commerce departments, which in turn would not yield new trade deals," Zhou said. Analysts predict Australia's trade with China would further plunge, including in bulk commodities such as iron ore, wreaking havoc throughout Australia's economy. A long list of Australia's exports to China, from wine and lobster to timber and hay, have run into problems as bilateral ties took a dive starting in 2018 when Australia became the first country to ban Chinese telecoms firm Huawei's 5G participation in the country. Australia's cross-Tasman neighbor, which takes a drastically different approach toward China from Australia and distances itself from a unified Five Eyes' stance, appears to have been reaping a windfall out of souring relations between China and Australia. "Both of the two countries share complementary trade relations with China, with an overlap in the exports of agricultural products such as wood, milk powder, meat, wool, and wine," Zhou said. This means that when Australia continuously sabotages the bilateral relationship, New Zealand has the full capability of "filling the demand gap" amid growing demand from the Chinese middle class for imported quality products like wine, beef, dairy products, and so on, analysts said. Some Australian media reported earlier that when Australia was affected by souring ties with China, New Zealand was "rewarded" with booming exports to China. In 2020, China's imports from Australia dwindled 2.15 percent to 145.2 billion Australian dollars, while imports from New Zealand surged about 16 percent to $19.4 billion, among which dairy products accounted for more than $5 billion, relevant data showed. "Many Australian products that were previously exported to China can be replaced by products made in New Zealand," Chen said. New Zealand could also be an alternative destination for studying abroad, especially when many Chinese students prioritize safety amid rising incidences of racial discrimination in Australia, the expert added. Most Australia-China education businesses reported a fall in business confidence and deteriorating attitudes toward Australian education among Chinese people during the past year amid fraught bilateral ties and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a previous industry survey. "New Zealand is more pragmatic and attaches great importance to the Chinese market. Unlike Australia which joined the Western-led bloc to interfere in China's internal affairs, New Zealand draws a line between politics and the economy, and that's why it wins and Australia loses amid rising geopolitical uncertainty," Zhou said. In January, New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O'Connor suggested Australia could mend ties with China by showing its government more "respect." New Zealand and China upgraded their existing trade pact in January, which further expands bilateral market access, reduces export procedures and widens tariff-free schemes. ^ top ^

Xi holds phone conversation with UN chief (Xinhua)
2021-05-07
Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone conversation with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday. Noting that the United Nations (UN) has gone through rare and complicated situations in recent years, Xi said multilateralism has received more and more support as a result. Pursuing multilateralism is inseparable from the United Nations, international law and cooperation among countries, Xi said. The world needs genuine multilateralism, Xi said, adding that all countries should act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, refrain from pursuing unilateralism and hegemonism, and should not use multilateralism as a pretext to form small circles or stir up ideological confrontation. China will continue to support the work of the United Nations and that of Secretary-General Guterres, and uphold genuine multilateralism, Xi said. Xi stressed that the most important task for the international community remains fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the world should strengthen cooperation and reject political manipulation. Noting that major countries should set an example by providing more public goods, Xi said that China has provided vaccine assistance for more than 80 developing countries and exported vaccines to more than 50 countries. China has decided to offer vaccines to the UN peacekeeping operations and the International Olympic Committee, and will continue to actively support COVAX and make continuous efforts to eliminate the "vaccine divide," Xi added. Noting that the global campaign to tackle climate change is of great importance, Xi said China has announced that it will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, which is a much shorter time span than many developed countries would spend. China has taken the initiative to do that, instead of doing it passively, Xi said, adding that action speaks louder than words. China will make its utmost efforts and contribution to addressing climate change in light of actual possibilities, and will continue to actively promote international cooperation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, Xi said. He stressed that China has done its best to promote South-South cooperation and provide assistance for developing countries, adding that this is China's consistent practice as well as its moral responsibility. Many of the initiatives put forward by China, especially the joint Belt and Road construction, are based on such considerations, Xi said, adding that the Chinese always keep their words and do what they say. Noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Xi said China has scored a complete victory in poverty alleviation, achieved significant strategic results in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and embarked on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country. As this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the People's Republic of China's (PRC's) lawful seat in the United Nations, China will hold grand commemorative activities, Xi said. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations, and continue to push forward the implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Xi added. For his part, Guterres congratulated the CPC on its centenary, and the PRC on the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its lawful seat in the United Nations. The United Nations, he said, highly appreciates China's great achievements in the country's poverty alleviation, as well as its firm support for multilateralism and the work of the United Nations, speaks highly of the targets for the intended nationally determined contributions and major measures announced by China to tackle global climate change, and thanks China for its important contributions to the international cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to achieving fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries and promoting the recovery and growth of the world economy. Guterres said he fully agrees that all countries should practice genuine multilateralism on the basis of the UN Charter and international law, adding that China is vital to the international multilateral system. The United Nations, Guterres said, looks forward to closer cooperation with China in such fields as world peace and security, biodiversity protection, climate change response, and assistance for developing countries to achieve sustainable development, so as to take the UN-China relationship to a new height. ^ top ^

US takes subtle moves to rope in G7 allies against China (Global Times)
2021-05-06
With China topping the agenda of the Group of Seven (G7) meeting as foreign ministers of member states have been urged to coordinate and form a common stance in addressing the "challenges" posed by China, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected claims of a "Cold War" between the US and China, signaling that rather than making all-out efforts to form an anti-China choir, the Biden administration is making subtle moves to align its allies, Chinese experts said, noting that in return, EU officials' mixed signals on the ratification of its most promising investment deal appear to be a gesture of echoing the "alignment sentiment" in the face of growing domestic pressure. The UK held the first face-to-face meeting of G7 foreign ministers this week since the COVID-19 pandemic began, during which China-related topics remained the major focus, despite Blinken clarifying ahead of the meeting that "it is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down," the US Secretary of State was quoted as saying in a Reuters report. Blinken however further elaborated that the West would defend the international rules based order from subversive attempts by any country, including China. Apparently, during the three-day talks, which wrapped up on Wednesday Blinken sought to rope in allies to form a common front against China, but experts raised doubts whether tactics like a war of words embedded with "targeting China" or "blaming China" would really work when not only members of the G7 but also the US itself, need to work with Beijing on major global issues such as vaccine supplies, climate change, North Korea and Iran, experts said. The final session of the G7 meeting that set the agenda for a G7 leaders' summit next month in Cornwall will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, as member countries emphasize on the COVAX vaccine jab distribution mechanism under the UN, after the WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently urged G7 countries to take decisive action in funding the global post-COVID-19 recovery, as "they are also home to many of the world's vaccine producers." Even though the COVAX mechanism has shipped about 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 121 countries and economies, the world still faces severe supply constraints, the WHO said in a post on Monday, noting that solving this dilemma demands courageous leadership from the world's largest economies. Blinken has been emphasizing that the purpose of the G7 is not about containing China because he clearly understands if he pressures other nations to form a unified anti-China stance, the allies of the US would keep their distance from it, so he has to be more tactical in handling the matter because other nations have large-scale interactions with China regarding the economy and people-to-people exchanges, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "The US government has to weigh the current situation with full consideration of the level of acceptance among its allies," Li said. Besides economic benefits, the global post-COVID-19 recovery demands an active role of Chinese-made vaccines, experts said on Wednesday, after Europe's medicines regulator said it has begun a real-time review of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine, according to media reports on Tuesday. Meanwhile, vaccines developed by two major vaccine producers Sinopharm and Sinovac have been put under the WHO's assessment for emergency use. The US and the West need China's cooperation in regional security issues and public goods distribution, including the Korean Peninsula and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, which were on the agendas of the G7 foreign ministers, according to experts. "Without China's cooperation, these issues will not be solved. On the contrary, they might be worsened," Li said, noting that the EU has realized this and will not follow the US' China containment policy. Diplomats from South Korea, the US and Japan held three-way talks on the sidelines of the G7 meeting early Wednesday, a crucial meeting coming after the Biden administration said last week that it completed its policy review on North Korea, according to the Yonhap News Agency. The US government also recognized the importance of engaging with China on various issues such as Iran and the North Korean and climate change, as Blinken told the Financial Times in a recent interview that climate change is also among the areas the two countries have overlapping interests in. What Blinken said about "not containing China" was not new at all, indicating that the US is very clear in its own mind that it's impossible to contain China, especially not like what it did to contain the Soviet Union, and the US, whose power is not what it used to be, is incapable of roping in its allies to besiege China, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. Amid the G7 foreign ministers' meeting, the European Commission seems to have "dialed down" efforts to push forward its planned investment deal with China, with some media reports suggesting that "EU efforts to ratify the China investment deal is on ice after sanctions." After the EU's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis reportedly suggested on Tuesday that Brussels has suspended some efforts in ratifying the deal, the EU spokesperson on Wednesday sought to clarify the issue without specifically confirming the EU has halted efforts. The agreement needs to be now legally reviewed and translated before it can be presented for adoption and ratification. However, the ratification process of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) cannot be separated from the evolving dynamics of the wider EU-China relationship, Miriam García Ferrer, a spokesperson of the European Commission, said in an e-mail to the Global Times on Wednesday. The prospects for the CAI's ratification will depend on how the situation evolves, she said, referring to sanctions on members of the European Parliament and an entire parliamentary committee as "unacceptable and regrettable." With the mixed signals, the European Commission was trying to placate the discontent and maladaptation of some EU members after China's countermeasures against the EU over so-called human rights issues, and also to make a gesture to please the US, Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of European Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "However, EU members, especially major powers such as France and Germany want the deal to be approved as soon as possible, and the EU is likely to approve the deal in the first half of 2022 at the latest when France takes over the rotating EU Council presidency," Wang said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she remained convinced that the EU-China investment deal was an "important undertaking" even as strained relations complicate the agreement's ratification. "Despite all the difficulties that will surely arise with the ratification, it is a very important undertaking," Merkel said. ^ top ^

Chinese vaccines under WHO assessment for emergency use, data published (Global Times)
2021-05-05
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released data from its recent assessment of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines developed by Sinopharm and Sinovac for the WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure. According to the data posted on the WHO website, the Sinopharm vaccine had an overall efficacy of 78.1 percent in multi-country Phase 3 Trial and 78.7 percent efficacy in preventing hospitalization. "No safety concerns identified from pre-clinical or repro/tox studies," the report summarized. The Sinopharm vaccine has been authorized by 45 countries and jurisdictions for use in adults over 18, and more than 65 million doses have been administered through emergency use programs. Meanwhile, the Sinovac vaccine has been authorized by 32 countries and 260 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed to the public in domestic and overseas markets. Its protection against COVID-19 symptomatic infection was 84 percent in Turkey, 67 percent in Chile, 65 percent in Indonesia and 51 percent in Brazil. And its efficacy in preventing hospitalization was 100 percent in Turkey and in Brazil and 85 percent in Chile. The WHO report also said that based on pre-clinical and repro/tox studies there were no safety concerns with the Sinovac vaccine. "We are very confident that two doses of CoronaVac are efficacious in preventing PCR confirmed COVID-19 in adults (18-59 years)," the report concluded. The decision date for the Sinopharm vaccine is the end of this week, and for Sinovac on May 5, according to earlier reports. The WHO has listed Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Janssen vaccines for emergency use. ^ top ^

China's Zhang Xiangchen appointed as WTO deputy chief (China Daily)
2021-05-04
Zhang Xiangchen, Vice Minister in the Ministry of Commerce of China, was appointed Tuesday as deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Zhang has had an extensive career of more than 30 years in international trade, and served from 2017 to 2020 as China's Permanent Representative to the WTO. Zhang is one of the four deputy directors-general (DDGs) appointed Tuesday by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The other three are Angela Ellard of the United States, Anabel Gonzalez of Costa Rica, and Jean-Marie Paugam of France. "It is the first time in the history of our Organization that half of the DDGs are women. This underscores my commitment to strengthening our Organization with talented leaders whilst at the same time achieving gender balance in senior positions," said Okonjo-Iweala. The four DDGs are expected to work with the director-general to advance the interests of the organization, including the preparations for the upcoming 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held at the end of this year in Geneva. ^ top ^

Concert marks 20th anniversary of China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation (Xinhua)
2021-05-04
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said on Monday that China and Russia will promote the development of bilateral relations with a broader scope, covering a wider field and at a deeper level. Sun made the remarks in a video speech during a special concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. Noting that celebrating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty represents a milestone in the development of Sino-Russian relations, Sun said that under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, the two sides will continue to carry forward the spirit of the treaty. The two sides will hold more people-to-people exchange activities, in areas such as education, culture, health, sports and tourism, to promote mutual understanding between the two peoples and mutual learning between the two civilizations, and to advance the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, Sun added. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said in her video speech that Russia is willing to make joint efforts with China to deepen cultural and people-to-people cooperation and consolidate the social foundation of Russia-China friendship. Artists from the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow performed Chinese and Russian classic pieces in the concert held in both online and offline. ^ top ^

South China Sea heats up as Philippines drops the F-bomb over Chinese boats (SCMP)
2021-05-04
The Philippines has taken the gloves off in its dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea, with its top diplomat dropping the F-bomb as he demanded the withdrawal of Chinese vessels near the Scarborough Shoal. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr dispensed with diplomatic niceties as he took to Twitter on Monday, calling China an "ugly oaf" and demanding it "get the f*** out" of Philippine maritime waters. His colourful language followed reports that Chinese coastguard ships had harassed their Philippine counterparts in the vicinity of the shoal, which is claimed by both countries. The shoal lies 220km west of the Philippine island of Luzon and is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone but is also within the nine-dash line that Beijing uses to stake its claims to more than 90 per cent of the South China Sea. Locsin's outburst is the latest escalation in a war of words that has taken a turn for the worse since March, when hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted lingering near Whitsun Reef, another feature of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said in a statement on Monday that "China has no law enforcement rights in these areas … the unauthorised and lingering presence of these vessels is a blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty." Locsin put it in simpler language: "China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see … get the f*** out. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We're trying. You." He compared China to "an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be your friend". 'MASSIVE TWITTER TROLL' Like his boss President Rodrigo Duterte, Locsin is famous for using crude language in public. In 2016, Buzzfeed called him a "massive Twitter troll". Asked about Locsin's tweet, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, "we won't meddle in the free-speech rights of secretary Locsin". China has so far not responded to the foreign secretary. A high-ranking Philippine government official, who asked not to be identified, said it was "hard to say" whether Chinese officials took Locsin's tweets seriously. "They likely take note and are probably trying to figure out what he really means." However, defence analyst Chester Cabalza said "the king has the last word, China will only listen to what Duterte has to say." While Duterte has crudely insulted both the United States and the European Union, he has never publicly criticised Beijing. Cabalza said Locsin's tweet "was not done in the sophisticated fashion that is expected in foreign affairs" and predicted that "Twitter diplomacy would bring no chilling effect to Beijing". Philippine coastguard sends strong warning to Chinese vessels during South China Sea patrol The defence analyst, a fellow at both Beijing's National Defence University and the US State Department, said China would "not spend efforts [on a] word war this time with Manila but will [instead] flex its military muscle in the contested area". Locsin's crude choice of words reflects Manila's growing exasperation at what it sees as Chinese bullying. The high-ranking government official who asked to remain anonymous said that while "different cabinet officials may have their own way of expressing their views" it was still the president who set "the overall direction of foreign policy". He said that despite Locsin's outburst the government's diplomatic strategy was unchanged: "Develop friendly relations with China while asserting Philippine sovereignty. It's a combination of cooperation as much as possible and pushback whenever necessary." On Sunday, Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana said that "while we acknowledge that China's military capability is more advanced than ours, this does not deter us from defending our national interest, and our dignity as a people, with all that we have". Locsin's tweet was the latest in an increasingly harsh four-way verbal tussle that has involved government critics attacking Duterte for his closeness to China; Duterte defending his ties to China and attacking his critics; his cabinet defending the president while asserting Philippine sovereignty; and China occasionally butting in to assert its claims and criticise Duterte's cabinet secretaries. However, just as Duterte has refrained from insulting China, China has stopped short of criticising Duterte. When Duterte took office in 2016 he announced his intention to move the Philippines away from its traditional ally, the US, and closer to China. Soon after coming to power he said he would set aside an international arbitral court ruling that had sided with Manila in its South China Sea dispute with Beijing. He reasoned that doing so would help unlock aid Beijing has promised the Philippines. Duterte has also said he is unable to oppose China's activities in what Manila refers to as the "West Philippine Sea" because doing so would anger Beijing and risk war. He has said on more than one occasion that China is already in possession of the West Philippine Sea. In an online forum on April 28, former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio said Filipinos should question this. "Shout out loud so that President Duterte will wake from his deep sleep under the kulambo [mosquito net] and admit to the nation the truth, that China is not in possession of the West Philippine Sea." It was a barbed reference to Duterte's habit of vanishing from the public eye for days and the president's claims that he is a late sleeper. Carpio noted how Duterte announced in 2019 that he had made a "verbal" fishing agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that would allow Chinese fishermen access to the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. On April 29, Duterte shot back by accusing Carpio and the former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario of having "lost" the maritime area during the previous administration. "If you're so bright, why did we lose it?" On May 1, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jnr said the Duterte government had never lost an island to China. The next day the presidential palace said that Duterte had never renounced the Philippines' claims, with Roque saying the president's foreign policy was "careful, calculated and calibrated". This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: top manila envoy in swipe at 'ugly oaf'. ^ top ^

Xi sends condolences to Israeli president over deadly stampede (People's Daily)
2021-05-03
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a message of condolences to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin over a stampede that has caused heavy casualties. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi expressed his deep condolences to the victims and extended sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Xi sends congratulations to first China International Consumer Products Expo (Xinhua)
2021-05-07
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday sent a congratulatory message to the first China International Consumer Products Expo. The expo, which opened on Thursday in Haikou, Hainan Province, will see the participation of nearly 1,500 enterprises from around 70 countries and regions. Xi said the expo, serving as a global platform of displaying and trading high-end consumer products, is conducive to all countries sharing opportunities provided by the Chinese market and conducive to global economic recovery and growth. It will also enable China to offer the world more quality consumer products, Xi added. It is hoped guests and participants of various sectors would have in-depth communications regarding cooperation to better benefit peoples of all countries, Xi said in the message. China is ready to give play to the advantages brought by the Hainan free trade port in comprehensively deepening reforms and putting up the highest-level opening-up policies on a trial basis. China is also ready to deepen bilateral, multilateral, and regional cooperation and work with all sides in building a better future for humanity, Xi added. ^ top ^

Top university sets up CPC research institute, to help 'understand history and reality, reality and future' (Global Times)
2021-05-06
Peking University, one of China's top universities, has established a new academic institute for researching the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC), signaling that research and education on the Party's history are strengthening as the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding is being celebrated this year, experts said. The establishment ceremony of the Peking University Institute for Historical Studies of the CPC was held on Tuesday. Chen Jin, former vice director of the Party Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, will be the director of the new institute. Chen said at the ceremony that studies of the CPC require a combination of history and theory. Research needs to touch upon the key figures, meetings and events throughout the history of the CPC, while theory is the soul, "so we need to research key literature and the basic theories of the CPC." "We need to cultivate the correct view of the Party's history, to learn what happened throughout the journey of the Party and the country… and better understand the connections between history and reality, reality and future." After the ceremony, Peking University held a forum on the research and education of the CPC's history with experts from other top Chinese academic institutes and universities, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Renmin University of China, and Tsinghua University. Lu Keli, an associate professor at the School of Marxism Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday that many top universities in China have established institutes or schools to research Marxism and other key theories of the CPC, but institutes that specifically focus on the Party's history are still needed. In the year of the 100th founding anniversary of the CPC, "we should use the time as an opportunity to further promote this research, which will benefit unity within the Party and make more people, especially the young, better understand the nature of the CPC and how it attained legitimacy," Lu said. ^ top ^

Xi highlights commitment to green development (China Daily)
2021-05-06
President Xi Jinping's speech on April 22 to the virtual Leader's Summit on Climate, hosted by the United States, was prudent and pertinent to engagement with environmentally accountable development. It built on crucial environmental principles, including proportionality, responsibility and being precautionary, and further revitalized the ancient Chinese philosophy of the unity of nature and man and following nature's course. The ideology is engraved in Xi's government, through the Constitution and the master blueprint of national development, as an ecological civilization to be observed in all socioeconomic developments and political agendas. Indeed, as countries aim for rapid industrialization after COVID-19, environmental sustainability is non-negotiable. A compromise on its preservation has left the world grappling with the devastating impacts of climate change (droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, flash floods and melting glaciers, among others). Significantly, it would be promising to phase out coal investments to reduce carbon emissions, which pose a threat to the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, especially Goal 13 on climate action. This position is supported by President Xi's call for green development, showing China's commitment to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.This is achievable, considering that in 2020, the country surpassed its climate targets, with carbon emissions per unit of GDP reduced by 48.4 percent from the 2005 level. Intending to hold the global average temperature increase to well less than 2 C above preindustrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 C, multilateralism is paramount. Beijing has highlighted its willingness to work with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance. This is not surprising, since it has cooperated before with several countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative toward "greening "the initiative. For instance, through joint partnership, China established the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition, which serves as a platform for BRI cooperation on green development. Under the platform, China has provided more than 2,000 training opportunities for environmental protection officials, experts and technicians from more than 120 participating countries. As China looks forward to the 26th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, or COP26, in Glasgow in November, its targets in raising global climate ambition on mitigation and adaptation offer its development partners, especially Africa, the opportunity to learn from the success of its policies and implementation, including the policy on Ecological Conservation Red Line of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. This framework has enhanced land use planning, making China the largest contributor to the greening of the global landscape between 2000 and 2017, covering more than a quarter of the newly added green space in the world. However, moderation should be exercised while borrowing from these policies, based on the unique histories and challenges encountered by different countries. China's support of Africa's endeavor toward green, low-carbon and sustainable development, through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation's Beijing Action Plan (2019-21), is a strategy that should be considered by other developed countries in supporting developing nations in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on climate should be a priority, because they are sacred in climate governance. It would be great for the COP26 to provide a window for negotiating the setting of a new collective quantified goal on climate finance to mobilize funds from developed countries for extensive climate action. Climate change is undeniably an environmental challenge that, if left unchecked, would culminate in an interconnected, long-term driver of insecurity such as resource scarcity, loss of infrastructure and mass displacement of people. Consequently, it is necessary for countries, policy stakeholders, companies, organizations and individuals to jointly commit to sustainable development, creating a balance between environmental conservation and socioeconomic development. ^ top ^

China's tourism market embraces robust recovery over May Day holiday (Xinhua)
2021-05-05
As COVID-19 has been successfully brought under control in China and the vaccination rate is rising steadily, the five-day May Day holiday has witnessed strong domestic demand for tourism. Public anxiety over COVID-19 has been eased thanks to the clearance of at-risk areas across the country and the popularization of vaccines, and more Chinese tourists have chosen to go further beyond their cities and provinces. A tourist from Shanghai surnamed Hu traveled to central China's Changsha to attend a friend's wedding, planning to explore the city afterward. "Changsha has been so popular among tourists these years, and I've always wanted to have a look," Hu said. Per data provided by multiple online travel platforms, inter-provincial tours have become popular. During the holiday, inter-provincial orders accounted for 77 percent of the total, according to Chinese homestay booking platform Xiaozhu.com. Nearly 90 percent of car rental bookings for May Day travel have been for inter-provincial use, with Sanya, Chengdu and Haikou being the three most popular destinations, while Xinjiang and Tibet are seeing skyrocketing orders, according to Chinese travel services provider Trip.com. Passenger traffic in and out of Beijing hit a new record on May 1. On the national scale, the number of civil aviation passengers on April 30 significantly exceeded the number seen during the same period in 2019, with domestic routes increasing by more than 20 percent over the same period in 2019. Industry analysts said that the domestic air transport volume during the holiday has exceeded the pre-epidemic level and is likely to register a record high. The Wanshou Palace cultural block in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, has issued multiple warnings to limit numbers of tourists as the scenic spot saw an average daily inflow of 100,000 tourists from May 1 to 3. "Visitors entering the block are required to wear masks and go through temperature checks. When the instantaneous flow of people reaches 10,000, flow restriction measures will be taken," said Huang Zhigang, director of the block's management company. The Beijing Badaling Great Wall has strictly implemented its online real-name booking system and restricted the number of tourists during the holiday. The number of tourists at the Badaling Great Wall scenic area is capped at 48,750 per day. A yellow alert will be issued when the daily booking volume reaches 29,000. An orange alert will be triggered if the booking volume reaches 39,000. The booking system will be halted when 48,700 tickets are booked. Shanghai received over 10.3 million tourists in the first three days of the May Day holiday. Compared with the same period in 2020, cultural and tourism consumption has increased significantly and even exceeded the May Day holiday in 2019 in some areas, according to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism. As the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its centenary this year, revolutionary sites across the country have been popular during the holiday. In Shaoshan, Hunan Province, 85,000 people visited the former residence of the late Chairman Mao Zedong on May 2. It was the third most popular tourist site in the province on that day. Tonggu County of Jiangxi, which has many red tourism sites, reported its first tourist flow peak of the year over the holiday. The audience looked back on war-torn historical scenes in Jieyuan Village of Ruijin, a city of significance during the CPC revolution. At a performance venue transformed from an abandoned mine, lights dazzled and guns rumbled. As night fell, over 200 locals put on a show using cutting-edge stage technologies. From May 1 to 3, red tourism sites in Jiangxi's Ganzhou City received 1.59 million tourists, generating a total income of 1 billion yuan (154 million U.S. dollars), per a count from the city's cultural and tourism bureau. The integration of modern science and red tourism has brought new vitality to old revolutionary bases. ^ top ^

China's public opinion no more 'nationalistic' than Western, Indian opinions (Global Times)
2021-05-05
I don't think the Chinese public hold a collective schadenfreude attitude toward the devastating epidemic in India. It is normal that some are vocal about India's China stance. It is also normal that there are opinions that may not rest comfortably with some Indians. Similarly, when China encounters a disaster, there are confrontational, rather than all sympathetic, opinions in the Western and Indian opinion spheres. I don't think China's public opinion is "particularly nationalistic." I don't think that Chinese people crossed the line, either. The Chinese people are generally kind and sympathetic and strive for equality. Objectively speaking, the country that suffers the most slings and arrows in the global opinion sphere is China, not any other country. The opinion iron curtain made by the US-led West has caused enormous resentment among the Chinese public. China has firmly supported and assisted India at the official level, which represents China's overall stance, while the various voices in the society show the vitality and diversity of opinion in China. On India-related matters, the vibrancy and diversity across China's opinion sphere is fully displayed. The public has the right to express their opinions, and the authorities have enough leverage to adjust their official stance of the country. The outside world should respect the vitality and diversity of China's opinion sphere. The discussions that take place within the boundary of China's opinion sphere should aim at promoting togetherness across Chinese society in a diverse environment, rather than driving a wedge between people. ^ top ^

Chinese youth a critical source of strength in building a modern country (People's Daily)
2021-05-04
Tuesday marks the 102nd anniversary of the May Fourth Movement in China. As the country embarks on a new quest to fully build a modern socialist country, the strength of youth will play a vital role in achieving this goal. The May Fourth Movement started with mass student protests on May 4, 1919, opposing the government's response to the Treaty of Versailles that imposed unfair treaties on China and undermined the country's sovereignty in the aftermath of World War I. The movement then triggered a national campaign to overthrow the old society and promote new ideas, including science, democracy and Marxism. The May Fourth spirit refers to patriotism, progress, democracy and science, with patriotism at the core. In the new era, Chinese youth are expected to carry on the May Fourth spirit and bear their responsibility to strive for national rejuvenation. Chinese youth are a fresh and important force of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 2019, the CPC recruited over 2.34 million new members, 80.3 percent of whom were aged 35 or younger, according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. Nurturing the young generation is the political responsibility of the whole Party. It is important for young Chinese people to follow the instructions and guidance of the Party, and remain dedicated to the country and the people. As the most dynamic and creative group in society, young people should stand at the forefront of innovation and creation. They should not only care about their family and country but also have concern for humanity. China is closer than ever to realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but it is also facing both foreseeable and unforeseeable risks and challenges on the road ahead. Chinese youth are a source of indispensable strength for the country in tackling the difficulties ahead. Only by integrating individual dreams into the national cause can youth make great achievements for the country. ^ top ^

Chinese vice-premier stresses quality construction of Xiongan New Area (China Daily)
2021-05-04
Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng Wednesday stressed high standards and quality in the construction of the Xiongan New Area, which is expected to help relieve Beijing of functions non-essential to its role as the national capital. Han, during an inspection tour of Xiongan, highlighted clear goals and guiding principles in the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. "Whether planning macro projects or micro ones, we must stick to the core principle to relieve Beijing of functions non-essential to its role as the national capital," said Han, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. Some Beijing-based universities, hospitals and headquarters of centrally-administered state-owned enterprises will move to Xiongan in batches, while favorable policies on education, healthcare, social insurance and housing should be in place and improving to make Xiongan more attractive to those who move there, he noted. Han also underscored construction quality, pollution treatment and ecology protection. China announced its plan to establish the Xiongan New Area on April 1, 2017 to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. ^ top ^

China charges ahead in research fields (China Daily)
2021-05-03
China saw rapid growth in key scientific and technological research areas between 2012 and 2017, boasting an edge in fields including nanotechnology, computer science and engineering, telecommunications, artificial intelligence and environmental governance, according to a report published on Friday. However, a large gap remained between China and the United States, the leading scientific powerhouse. China would need to expand its list of competitive scientific fields, publish higher quality papers, and collaborate with more countries, especially in Europe, on research projects and co-authored papers. The report, titled "Mapping Science Structure 2021" and published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institutes of Science and Development, examined highly cited papers from over 10,220 research fronts from 2012 to 2017. It presented a detailed visual representation of the layout and dynamics of academic knowledge. Zhang Feng, vice-president of the institutes, said the report aims to show how science and technology are developing around the world, which will yield valuable insights for researchers and policymakers when prioritizing and planning science projects. From 2010 to 2015, a total of 44,495 core papers were published around the world. According to the report, 5,107 of these were published by China, making it the world's second-largest publisher of the highly influential papers, behind the United States at 16,483. From 2012 to 2017, some 46,405 core papers were published and China contributed to 6,550 of them, a 23 percent increase over the 2010 to 2015 period. The country accounted for 14 percent of all core papers in the later period, an increase from 11.5 percent. Wang Xiaomei, a researcher at the institute and the author of the report, said the data suggest that China witnessed tremendous growth in key research areas, but the gap with the United States remained substantial. One notable finding of the report is that the scientific structures of China and the US are highly complementary, meaning the two countries may have more research areas to cooperate in than previously thought, Wang said. "We excel in fields that the US is also pretty good at, like nanotechnologies, system and control engineering, and telecommunications and artificial intelligence," she said. "But the US is exceptional in fields such as medicine, social sciences, economics and business, and biosciences, all of which are topics in which China needs significant improvements." The US also led the world by a large margin in the number of papers cited by patents, contributing 58 percent of these from 2012 to 2017. China, with 17 percent, and the United Kingdom, with 16 percent, held second and third place, and Germany followed with 15 percent. "This shows that the US still holds an absolute advantage in research fields that would have a great effect on technological innovations, particularly in medicine and biosciences," Wang said. ^ top ^

Xi stresses strategic resolve on building eco-civilization (Xinhua)
2021-05-03
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has stressed maintaining strategic resolve on developing an ecological civilization and achieving modernization featuring human-nature harmony. Xi made the remarks while presiding over a study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday. During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, China's ecological conservation entered a vital phase, Xi noted, calling for maintaining strategic resolve and planning economic and social development at the height of the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. At the study session, Wang Jinnan, head of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, explained related issues and proposed work suggestions for discussion. In a speech, Xi said one of the key characteristics of China's socialist modernization is human-nature harmony, urging efforts to accelerate the adjustments of industrial, energy, transportation, and land use structures. Territorial space planning and use control should be strengthened and resource utilization efficiency be comprehensively improved. Achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality is a solemn commitment to the world and also a profound economic and social transformation that is by no means easy, Xi noted. He called on party officials and governments at all levels to clarify timetables and roadmaps to push economic and social development based on efficient use of resource and green, low-carbon growth. "High-energy-consuming and high-emission projects that do not meet requirements must be resolutely taken down," Xi stressed. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

COVID-19 vaccination for foreigners ongoing in Beijing amid May Day holiday (Xinhua)
2021-05-04
Beijing is providing COVID-19 vaccination service for foreign nationals. Vaccination spots such as the United Family Hospital are running smoothly amid the May Day holiday. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Training boosts job skills for Tibetan herders (China Daily)
2021-05-07
Wanglang, 41, used to eke out a living as a herder in the city of Nagchu, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, as he lacked basic work skills. "I told the local officials who visited my family that I would like to learn some skills," he says. After completing training courses and exams, Wanglang finally received his welding certificate. In 2018, he bought some equipment and opened his own welding workshop, which saw a turnover of 36,000 yuan ($5,545) that year. Wanglang's story is a familiar one on the plateau, as an increasing number of farmers and herders in Tibet now have the opportunity to pursue a career different from that of their forebears. Before the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, most of the residents in the region lived in a system of feudal serfdom and abject penury. Since the democratic reform launched in 1959, China has mobilized the whole nation to support the development of Tibet and gradually established a complete modern industrial system in the region. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the plateau region's peaceful liberation. Over seven decades, the number of permanent residents in Tibet has increased from more than 1 million to over 3.5 million. By the end of 2019, Tibet had lifted all of its 74 impoverished counties and residents out of poverty. In 2020, Tibet saw its regional GDP top 190 billion yuan, up 7.8 percent year-on-year. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China's Xinjiang policies 'poorly explained and ruthlessly executed' (SCMP)
2021-05-03
It was 65 years ago last week – on April 25, 1956 – that Mao Zedong spelt out how China's ethnic minorities should be governed, in a seminal speech to the Politburo outlining his vision of a socialist China and its path towards modernisation. The speech, "On the 10 Major Relationships", signalled a break from the Soviet model which the Chinese Communist Party had followed since it came to power in 1949. Instead, Mao said, the party must find its own way in building socialism, developing the economy and sharing power with other political parties. The same was true of China's policies towards its ethnic minorities. "We must sincerely and actively help the minority nationalities to develop their economy and culture. In the Soviet Union, the relationship between the Russian nationality and the minority nationalities is very abnormal. We should draw lessons from this," Mao said in a reference to policies that promoted Russian nationalism. "The population of the minorities in our country is small but the area they inhabit is large. The Han people comprise 94 per cent of the total population, an overwhelming majority. If they [the Han] practised Han chauvinism and discriminated against the minority people, that would be very bad. And who has more land? The minority nationalities occupy 50 to 60 per cent of the territory." The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region was officially established a year before Mao's speech, in 1955, and extended special rights and privileges to its non-Han Chinese ethnic groups, including the Uygurs, Kazakhs and Huis. These included bonus points for ethnic minorities on their university and public service recruitment examinations, giving them a leg up in their competition for jobs with Han Chinese. Most notably, many ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang were allowed to have more than one child during China's one-child policy, implemented from 1979 until 2015 to control the country's growing population. Some Han Chinese academics say that the historical lack of birth controls has left them baffled as to why the West is now accusing Beijing of carrying out genocide in Xinjiang. "Genocide? I don't understand how such lies happened," said Yang Shu, former dean of Lanzhou University's Central Asian Institute in the northwestern province of Gansu. "By definition, genocide should mean planned and mass slaughtering of people. But the population of the ethnic minority people in Xinjiang has been on the rise," he said. "For many years we practised strict population control on Han Chinese but among ethnic minorities, especially those in rural areas in southern Xinjiang, the phenomenon of having extra kids was very common." The United Nations Convention on Genocide define genocide crimes as the mass killing of members of an ethnic group, and also policies that cause serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions designed to destroy the group, imposing measures to prevent births within the group or forcibly transferring children to an ethnic group. However, UN human rights courts have stated that such definition also requires a high standard of proof that the destruction of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group is intentional. Yang and other academics who have studied China's ethnic minority issues say the Western criticism is based on "guesswork and unverified testimonies". "They have not actually seen and experienced what's happened in Xinjiang," Yang said. "Western media doesn't have first-hand information." However, the academics acknowledged that Chinese leaders should also share blame for the increasingly raucous attacks and counter-attacks with the West over Xinjiang, and that policies to counter terrorism and religious extremism and maintain social stability had been poorly explained and ruthlessly implemented. Following the appointment of Chen Quanguo as party chief in 2016, the security apparatus in the region underwent a massive expansion, with the construction of a network of detention facilities, strict surveillance and an enhanced political indoctrination drive. "The execution of some of our policies at the local level has gone overboard, like the policing [by local cadres] which may have gone too far in ensuring social stability," said Li Sheng, former director of the Research Centre for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a think tank in Beijing. "The [cadres'] original intention might have been good and [they] didn't mean to mess up Xinjiang. However, the execution [of policies] was varied and not of a high standard," he said. "[But we should understand that] such problems exist everywhere. Didn't it happen in the US where police officers have taken people's lives in the execution of the law?" According to the academics – some of whom have previously advised the Chinese leadership on Xinjiang – it was both imperative and legitimate for Beijing to crack down on terrorism after a series of violent and bloody attacks, and also to rethink the country's ethnic minority policies. The most alarming attack happened in 2009, when anti-Han Chinese rioting broke out in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi, prompting retaliatory Han attacks on Uygurs, leaving 197 people dead and another 1,721 injured. The attacks spilled to Beijing in 2013 and a year later to Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province. A series of bomb and knife attacks in Urumqi in the spring of 2014 – on the heels of Xi Jinping's first visit to the region as president – prompted the leadership to announce a strict crackdown. Police said last month that China's "battle against terrorism" had been a success, with no terrorist attacks for four consecutive years. "The situation was very precarious then, as China's governance of Xinjiang – not to mention stability – became questionable," said Yin Gang, a Middle East specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. But a major mistake had been a reluctance to be transparent and open about the problem, he said. "The biggest problem was the lack of transparency, and simplicity and crudeness [in implementing the policies]," said Yin, who has been studying Xinjiang issues for nearly 20 years. While imposing a news blackout over the incidents and subsequent crackdown had made it easier for Beijing to project an image of stability and unity, experts said the high-handed control and secrecy also bred misunderstanding and gave room for malicious attacks – especially as independent researchers were denied opportunities to understand the real picture on the ground. Beijing hits back at Western sanctions against China's alleged treatment of Uygur Muslims "If China and the West had real dialogue and exchange of information, then the problem [over Xinjiang] would not have become as serious as it is today," Yin said. "Both sides should share responsibility over this." It is only in recent years that Beijing has begun to make public more details of the terrorist attacks, after a deluge of criticism. "It is necessary to increase transparency and strengthen academic exchanges between China and foreign countries, which is good for dispelling rumours," Yin said. The UN and human rights groups have accused the Chinese authorities of detaining up to a million Uygurs and other members of mainly Muslim minority groups in "re-education camps". Multiple witnesses have alleged that detainees are subjected to a series of abuses, including forced sterilisation, and the region's cotton industry has now found itself at the centre of a row concerning allegations of forced labour. The accusations have prompted the United States to describe China's actions as "genocide", but Beijing has defended the network of camps, saying they are designed to counter extremism and offer vocational training and denied using forced labour. Some Chinese observers and Western scholars have also challenged some of the accusations and the validity of some of the accusations. Ma Rong, a professor with Peking University, was among the first Chinese social scientists to suggest, in 2004, that China should strengthen national identity education by "depoliticising" ethnic issues, arguing that preferential policies based on ethnicity could endanger social cohesion. In a 2019 speech, Xi said all ethnic groups in China should be treated equally, suggesting that the policy of giving minorities preferential treatment in certain areas would end. Yin said the shift had been a step in the right direction. "[The policy] needed adjustment. First of all, we are all citizens, independent of what ethnicity we belong to, so we should all have equal rights in terms of employment, education and joining the Communist Party. In other words, giving ethnic minority people special preferences is a form of discrimination so we should dilute the consciousness of ethnicity and stress equality more." A social researcher, who requested anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity, said Beijing's philosophy on Xinjiang had shifted to focus on "equal treatment and governance by law" instead of emphasising ethnic differences — a policy derived from the Soviets "After the founding of the People's Republic, our ethnic minority policies were largely modelled on that of the [former] Soviet Union and mostly of Stalin's. In retrospect, many of our policies [in Xinjiang] have gone overboard," the researcher said. "Sometimes our policies were too generous, offering a lot of preferential treatment, but the effects were not good. But then sometimes we were too harsh in our crackdown. So we have not had a good grasp of the policies and the execution was poor." Another researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the press, agreed that the time had come for Beijing to adopt a more consistent approach. "China's ethnic policies often go from one extreme to another – either giving too many benefits or exercising relentless suppression," he said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Public in HK gets details of legal changes (China Daily)
2021-05-04
Hong Kong government officials and political heavyweights recently explained the city's new law and recent policy changes on different platforms to help to make sure the local and international communities better comprehend them. Since late April, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has hosted a 40-episode talk show, Get to Know the Election Committee Subsectors, to explain the ongoing electoral reform. The show airs on broadcaster RTHK and the internet. Twelve guests have been invited to discuss how the electoral improvements would promote Hong Kong's development, including lawmakers, community groups' leaders, members of the legal, financial and business sectors and a youth representative. "I've seen a few episodes of this series, and I think it's pretty good.… I can hear what leaders in different industries have to say about their professionals," a viewer with the username Elmer Doung wrote, adding that each episode is too short for in-depth discussions. Earlier, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, amended Annex l and Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the two annexes related to the city's electoral rules. The city's election amendment is under deliberation by the Legislative Council. Lam told the Chinese-language magazine Outlook Weekly that the improved electoral system would curb political chaos like the city experienced and attract more capable and responsible individuals to politics. She added that the amendment will allow the city to put more effort into addressing long-standing livelihood problems like land and housing issues. Vice-chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, also discussed the electoral revamp, the "one country, two systems" policy and the city's future with Outlook Weekly. Tung said the electoral shake-up will break new ground in selecting and cultivating political talent. Under the new system, candidates need to win the voters' hearts through political achievements instead of radical slogans and grandstanding, Tung said. Leung said the city's return to the motherland in 1997 was fundamentally different from the end of British rule in Singapore and India-Hong Kong is not a sovereign state. Regarding foreign investors' concerns, Leung said he's confident about the global financial hub's further development, as long as threats to its political stability are wiped out and the city is proactively integrated into the nation's overall development. Hong Kong's gross domestic product jumped 7.8 percent in real terms in the first quarter this year over a year earlier, compared with a drop of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Census and Statistics Department estimated on Monday. Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu in late April wrote an article for Bauhinia Magazine, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language monthly magazine, touching on the significance of safeguarding national security and Hong Kong's challenges. Lee warned that the city, which was rocked by street violence during the 2019 social unrest, still needs to prevent and curb terrorist acts and activities. He stressed that safeguarding national security and the city's stability is the responsibility of every resident. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

China opposes US' unprecedented meeting invitation to Taiwan rep in France, calling it endorsement for Taiwan secessionists (Global Times)
2021-05-04
China strongly opposed to the US Embassy in France's invitation to Taiwan's representative in France to attend a lunch meeting on Friday, stating that the move seriously violated the one-China principle and endorsed the Taiwan "secessionist forces," the Chinese embassy in France responded on its official website on Sunday. Brian Aggeler, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at the US Embassy in France, on Friday invited "Taiwan Representative to France"Wu Chih-chung to his residence for lunch at the embassy. Some Taiwan-based media outlets called it "the first time since the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan in 1979" that the US Embassy in France invited to its residence a "representative of Taiwan in France" for a visit exchange, and some even see it as a sign of "US normalizing Taiwan exchanges with unprecedented meeting in France." There is only one China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legal government representing all of China. This is a fact recognized by the entire international community and a fundamental norm in international relations, said the Chinese embassy in France. The move seriously violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-American Joint Communiqués, and goes against their long-standing political commitments to China on the Taiwan question, and endorses the "forces" of "Taiwan secessionists," the embassy noted in a response. "We urge the US to strictly observe the one-China principle and the Three China-US Joint Communiques, immediately stop all forms of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan island and stop using the Taiwan question to undermine China-US relations," said the embassy. "The US maneuvering can never change the fact that there is only one China in the world, let alone the Chinese government's strong position on the Taiwan question," it stressed. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China Calls Out 33 Apps for Violating User Privacy (Caixin)
2021-05-06
China's cyberspace watchdog has released another list of app-makers caught abusing user data — including some backed by China's biggest tech firms — as part of an ongoing national crackdown. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Saturday released a list of 33 apps — including popular Gaode Map, Baidu Map and Tencent Map — that it said were violating data rules by collecting personal information that's not necessary for their services, or using the data without consent. Specifically, Gaode Map, developed by Alibaba-backed Auto-Navi Software Co. Ltd., Baidu Map, developed by search giant Baidu Inc., and Tencent Map, operated by Tencent Holdings Ltd., were all found to have collected user data that was not necessary for the operation of the apps, according to the authority. The CAC said the firms had 10 working days to rectify the issues and report back to the administration. Multiple regulators in March jointly issued new rules that clarified what categories of data can be considered "necessary" for apps and stipulated that apps should not deny users access to basic services if they refuse to share data beyond the designated categories. It's not unusual for apps in China to collect unnecessary user information without their consent, and in December, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said it had ordered the removal of 120 apps from app stores in recent years over data privacy issues. In February, the MIIT said it was drafting new rules to crack down on app operators that don't obtain permission before accessing devices' microphones, photo albums and contact lists. High-profile data breaches and the growing use of facial recognition technology has strengthened public calls for the government to pass a unified law safeguarding the personal information of citizens. In the first seven months of last year, more than 8,000 apps and 478 companies were penalized by regulators for violating data collection rules. A draft Personal Information Protection Law unveiled in October proposed a maximum fine of 50 million yuan ($7.7 million) or the equivalent of as much as 5% of revenue from the previous year on those that illegally handle personal information, among the toughest penalties in the world. The suggestion has drawn a sharp response from the business sector, amid concerns about a lack of clarity and excessive punishment. The draft law also stirred debate about how best to regulate the use of personal data by government agencies. ^ top ^

Digital yuan will boost real economy via consumption with more application scenarios in China (Global Times)
2021-05-04
The scope of the use of the digital yuan will be further expanded during this year's May 5 Shopping Festival, which will kick off on Saturday. With digital yuan red envelopes, or consumption coupons, that will be handed out to consumers, analysts say digital yuan will help boost the real economy through growth in consumption. East China's Suzhou and Shanghai will give out red envelopes to consumers during the upcoming shopping festival, further diversifying its versatility. At present, six banks that will run trial digital yuan have connected with merchants and will together launch promotional activities, according to notices released by the commerce bureau of Shanghai municipality and Suzhou government last week. Nearly 50 Carrefour stores in Shanghai, Suzhou and other neighboring cities will fully launch the digital yuan payment trial runs during the upcoming second May 5 Shopping Festival, Carrefour told the Global Times on Wednesday. Meanwhile, more digital yuan pilot uses will be carried out in several core business districts in Beijing, in a bid to accelerate the digital environment building for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, announced Financial Supervision Administration of Beijing on Wednesday. "Digital currency in China currently combines the form of red envelopes with consumption festivals. Red envelopes can promote consumption, which can indirectly promote the real economy," Wang Peng, assistant professor of the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday. And new application terminal forms like bracelets will also arouse curiosity. Thus, more people will be willing to try the digital yuan, which will boost consumption, said Wang. In the just-ended 4th Digital China Summit, various forms of digital yuan wallet products debuted to the public. For example, watches, wristbands, walking sticks for the elderly and blind timers can make payment with digital yuan by touching an induction zone even without internet access. "Unlike Alipay and WeChat wallet, the digital yuan can be used without internet network. It is very convenient. However, at the moment there are limited stores that can accept digital yuan payment, which I hope will change in the future," He Jian, a Shanghai resident, told the Global Times on Thursday. A fruit vendor in Shanghai said that the use of digital yuan will definitely become a trend. "It has been half a month since my store opened digital yuan payment. Some consumers come to me specifically to experience the use of digital yuan. I think the advantage is that there is no charge for withdrawal, and you can transfer it directly to bank cards," the vendor told Global Times on Thursday. In the long term, after digital currency participates in economic operation, it will generate new payment methods and industrial chains, thus driving the economy. In addition to the payment and savings functions, the country can realize the supervision of anti-money laundering and anti-monopoly through digital currency, Wang added. "The pilot has been a success so far, and there is no timetable for national rollout," said Li Bo, deputy governor of People's Bank of China (PBC), on April 18 at the Boao Forum. Li added that more trial runs will be carried out in more cities and the release of relevant laws and supervision mechanism is necessary before the national rollout. Wang also said that in order to realize early large-scale application, the pilot scope should be expanded and functions other than payment should be tested. At present, the trials are limited to personal consumption, that is, the payment function. The financial function should go on trial as early as possible. But this requires coordination between enterprises and various parts. The combination of digital currency and industries driven by digital economy has many advantages, both of which are the result of digital upgrading and transformation of traditional industries, said Wang. ^ top ^

China's leadership urges cool heads over economy to push balanced recovery (People's Daily)
2021-05-03
Moving on from a strong economic rebound, China's top leadership has called for cool heads over the impressive growth to put more focus on deepening structural reform for balanced recovery in the long term. Though China's economy has got off to a good start this year, the central leadership stressed Friday that the country's first-quarter data should be viewed dialectically. "The current economic recovery is still unbalanced and the foundation not solid," noted the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. China's economy grew 18.3 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2021, as strong domestic and foreign demands powered recovery from a low base in early 2020 when COVID-19 stalled the world's second-largest economy. Soberly aware that the double-digit growth was fueled by base effect, policymakers underscored more efforts to deepen supply-side structural reform and remove the impediments to domestic and international circulations as China faced "a window of opportunities" at a time when there is less pressure to maintain steady growth. Domestically, while most sectors have emerged from the epidemic impacts faster and stronger than expected, some are still feeling the pinch. Official data showed China's first-quarter manufacturing investment of 2020 and 2021 was down 2 percent on average from the 2019 level. Recovery of consumption, an important pillar of economic growth, also needs further consolidation. Other challenges include pushing industrial upgrading, keeping stability in the property market, defusing financial risks and advancing plans towards carbon neutrality, along with coping with increasing uncertainties in the global market. Friday's meeting detailed requirements to address such issues, vowing to implement macro policies with precision while maintaining their continuity, stability and sustainability. It urged efforts to maintain stable expectations, keep the economy running within an appropriate range, and ensure it reaches a higher level of equilibrium during the course of the recovery. The country's proactive fiscal policy should be implemented thoroughly, while a prudent monetary policy should be adopted to maintain reasonable and sufficient liquidity, the meeting stressed. China has to strike a balance between short-term tasks and long-term goals, and focus on resolving structural problems to enable a higher level of equilibrium, said Dong Yu, executive deputy dean of the China Institute for Development Planning at Tsinghua University. As the Chinese government has absolutely no pressure to achieve its growth target of over 6 percent this year, the difficult problems accumulated over the past years will be beginning to be cleaned up one by one this year, according to Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management. Zhang cited China's recent policy measures, including regulation on mortgage loans, as evidence of government resolution to tackle the economic problems. "It is worth noting that although these policies may bring certain risks in the short-term, in the long-term, they are good for the development of China's economy and capital market," Zhang said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

North Korea says Biden policy shows US is intent on being hostile – and vows to respond (SCMP)
2021-05-03
Recent comments from US President Joe Biden and members of his administration show he is intent on maintaining a hostile policy towards North Korea that will require a corresponding response from Pyongyang, North Korean officials said on Sunday. The officials' comments came in a series of statements carried on state news agency KCNA, after the White House on Friday said US officials had completed a months-long review of North Korean policy. In one statement, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of insulting the dignity of the country's supreme leadership by criticising North Korea's human rights situation. The criticism was a provocation that showed the United States was "girding itself up for an all-out showdown" with North Korea, and would be answered accordingly, the unnamed spokesman said. In a separate statement, Kwon Jong-gun, director general of the Department of US Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, cited Biden's first policy speech to Congress on Wednesday, where the president said nuclear programmes in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through "diplomacy and stern deterrence". Kwon said it was illogical and an encroachment upon North Korea's right to self-defence for the US to call its defensive deterrence a threat. Biden's speech was "intolerable" and "a big blunder", Kwon said. "His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the US for over half a century," he said, using the initials for North Korea's official name. The North Korean statements appear to echo comments by the ministry in March saying relations with the US would be shaped by the "principle of power for power and goodwill for goodwill", said Jenny Town, director of the US-based 38 North programme, which tracks North Korea. "So for the US to keep emphasising the threat, it keeps focus on the negative aspects of the relationship and will elicit negative responses," she said. Town noted that while one statement alluded to the policy review, the North Korean commentary seemed more focused on the Biden administration's talk of threats. Talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear weapons programme have been stalled since a series of summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Biden's predecessor Donald Trump failed to result in a deal. Under the policy review announced on Friday, Biden has settled on a new approach to pressuring North Korea that will explore using diplomacy to break the stalemate but not seek a grand bargain with Kim, the White House said. The White House and State Department did not immediately comment on the latest North Korean statements. In Sunday's statement, Kwon said US talk of diplomacy was aimed at covering up its hostile acts, and its deterrence was just a means for posing nuclear threats to North Korea. Now that Biden's policy had become clear, North Korea would be "compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the US will find itself in a very grave situation", he concluded. In a third statement, Kim Yo-jong, a senior official in the government and sister of leader Kim Jong-un, sharply criticised South Korea for failing to stop defector activists from launching anti-North Korea leaflets. An activist group in South Korea said on Friday it had released balloons into North Korea carrying dollar bills and leaflets denouncing the government in Pyongyang, defying a recently imposed law banning such releases after complaints by the North. "We regard the manoeuvres committed by the human wastes in the south as a serious provocation against our state and will look into corresponding action," Kim Yo-jong said. Last year, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea, after Kim Yo-jong led a campaign of criticism over the leaflet launches. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Biden 'shows u.s. still hostile' to Pyongyang. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Government decides to ease lockdown restrictions from May 8 (Montsame)
2021-05-06
At its meeting today, the Cabinet decided to downgrade the country's coronavirus emergency regime level of current Red Level down to Orange Level starting from May 8 until June 5. Under the Orange Level regime, complete or partial heightened state of readiness is declared and operations of public and private organizations and individuals are restricted to a certain extent depending on the situation. Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the State Emergency Commission S.Amarsaikhan and Minister of Finance B.Javkhlan introduced about the Cabinet's decision. Currently, 55 percent of the nationwide vaccination target- 2,067,292 adult populations have gotten the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 26 percent have received the second dose. The Cabinet also resolved to allocate MNT 3.2 billion for the purchase of necessary equipment and maintenance of the National Center for Communicable Diseases. With a view to return to normalcy as quick as possible, the Government is aiming to accelerate the vaccine drive. Therefore, it plans to complete involving the total adult population of Ulaanbaatar city in the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within May 8 and rural citizens in the first and second dosage in June. Citizens' engagement is so vital to complete vaccine drive, said the Deputy PM. "As the number of infection cases has not decreased, it was decided not to open the country's border until June 1," he added. Moreover, Minister of Finance B.Javkhlan informed that social welfare services will not be provided next month unless welfare beneficiaries are vaccinated. There are 211 thousand citizens who receive various welfares in Ulaanbaatar city. As of May 4, 80 thousand of them have not had the first dose. Moreover, 29 thousand out of 47 thousand adult citizens who receive food vouchers have not been involved in vaccination. Furthermore, the Cabinet decided to provide MNT 50,000 in cash to every citizen, who has been fully vaccinated, to support their health. Citing that the citizens' involvement in vaccination has drastically gone down in the capital city, Finance Minister B.Javkhlan said, " A whole society should not be at risk due to unvaccinated citizens, even though the vaccine is given on a voluntary basis. Mongolia's economy has expanded and reached MNT 40 trillion by manufacturing MNT 100 billion worth gross domestic product in a single day. But, we are losing 50 percent of our opportunity in time of the lockdown and 10-20 percent in normal period. We hope we will complete vaccinating 60 percent of the entire population by the half of this year to recover the country's economy." ^ top ^

Parties nominate candidates for 2021 Presidential Election (Montsame)
2021-05-04
Over the past weekend, two political parties and one coalition in the Mongolian parliament, State Great Khural, have completed selecting their candidates to run for the upcoming presidential election of Mongolia, scheduled on June 9, 2021. In specific, the Steering Committee of the ruling Mongolian People's Party supported Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, who is a leader of the party and served as Prime Minister of Mongolia between 2017 and 2021, as a presidential candidate. The Democratic Party – the opposing party in the parliament is currently divided into two parts. The General Election Commission is expected to decide registering which Democratic Party by the end of this week. The Democratic Party led by O.Tsogtgerel is nominating the current member of the parliament Altankhuyag Norov, who was a Prime Minister between 2012 and 2014. He was elected from Orkhon aimag in the 2020 parliamentary elections as an only independent member in the parliament, and joined the Democratic Party last week. The other part of the Democratic Party led by M.Tulgat has approved to nominate Erdene Sodnomzundui, former member of the parliament, leader of the Democratic Party and Minister of Population Development and Social Protection, for the presidential election. The Right Person Electorate Coalition, which won one seat (MP T.Dorjkhand) in the 76-seat parliament as a result of the 2020 legislation elections, is nominating Enkhbat Dangaasuren, former member of the parliament in 2008-2012 and Founder, CEO of DataCom LLC - Information Technology Service Company in Mongolia. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which holds one seat in the parliament, last week announced to merge with the Mongolian People's Party. In line with the Law on Presidential Election, the candidates are required to submit their platform between May 3 and 5 to the National Audit Office, which will check and make conclusion on their compliance with legislations, such as country's development policy, long and medium term official documents and other corresponding regulations. Based on the conclusion, the General Election Commission will register the eligible candidates as official candidates for the 2021 presidential election and will grant candidates card to them within 16 days prior to the polling day. With the latest amendments made to the Constitution of Mongolia in 2019, future presidents of the country will be limited to one six-year term instead of previous four-year terms and will be required to have reached the age of 50. ^ 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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