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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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  18-22.10.2021, No. 888  
    Archiv / Archives
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Table of contents

DPRK

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

MOC: China, US should create conditions to push trade deal (China Daily)
2021-10-22
Phase-1 of the economic and trade agreement between China and the United States-signed in January 2020-can be mutually beneficial as well as benefit the rest of the world, so the two sides should join hands to create conditions to promote its implementation, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. Shu Jueting, spokeswoman of the ministry, said at a media briefing that China would welcome a move by the US to start a targeted tariff exclusion process while keeping open the potential for additional exclusion processes. "China always believes lifting additional tariffs is in line with the interests of consumers and producers in both countries and also is good for global economic recovery,"Shu said, adding economic and trade teams of the two countries have been maintaining normal communication, and the MOC will release news on any new information. Shu also delineated China's key tasks to grow its trade in services during 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). The tasks include deepening reform and expanding opening-up, accelerating digitalization, optimizing industry structure and regional layout, supporting market players, and enriching cross-border cooperation, according to a new development plan released by 24 government departments, including the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, she said. The plan has included digital trade for the first time to align with the development trend of digitalized, internet-based and intelligent services trade, she said. The plan emphasized reform and opening-up in a designated chapter, which focused on expanding market access, promoting higher opening-up in cross-border trade in services, and building high-level reform and opening-up platforms. Wang Tuo, an associate researcher at the Institute of International Trade in Services, which operates under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic remain a big challenge for China to develop its trade in services, especially as movement of individuals is still obstructed, dampening cross-border economic cooperation and globalization. In addition, governments of various countries have been stepping up regulation of cross-border data flows relating to personal information. They have also strengthened cybersecurity protection. This will likely have an impact on international cooperation in digital economy, he said. During the Thursday briefing, the ministry released the latest data on the nation's nonfinancial outbound direct investment for the first three quarters, which fell more than 5 percent year-on-year to 522.76 billion yuan ($81.72 billion). However, in US dollar terms, the investment increased by 2.4 percent year-on-year to $80.78 billion, with $13.66 billion flowing into manufacturing-up more than 9 percent year-on-year-while $6.2 billion flowed into information transmission, software and information technology services, up more than 37 percent year-on-year. During the first nine months, China's investment in economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative reached $14.87 billion, up more than 14 percent year-on-year. This accounted for more than 18 percent of the overall nonfinancial ODI, up 1.9 percentage points from the same period last year. ^ top ^

China vows closer ties with Pacific Island countries: FM (Xinhua)
2021-10-22
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China is willing to work with Pacific Island countries for a closer comprehensive strategic partnership. Wang made the remarks while chairing the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting via video link. Wang said the relations between China and Pacific Island countries have set a good example of friendly exchanges, solidarity and cooperation between countries of different regions, sizes and systems. He called for further deepening policy communication, promoting mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, and establishing a mechanism for regular foreign ministers' meetings between China and Pacific Island countries. Wang said that China will continue to provide vaccines and various anti epidemic materials to island countries, establish a China-Pacific Island Countries reserve of emergency supplies, and inject additional capital into the fund which provides support to China and Pacific Island countries to fight against the pandemic. China will continue providing economic and technical assistance to island countries with no political conditions attached, Wang said. A forum on fishery cooperation and development between China and Pacific Island countries will be held within the year, and a cooperation center on poverty reduction and development will be established to help the island countries accelerate their independent and sustainable development, he added. On climate change cooperation, Wang said China has decided to establish a cooperation center for China and Pacific Island countries on climate change, supports the island countries' blue Pacific initiative, and will continue to fund the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. China calls for an open, transparent and responsible manner to prudently deal with the disposal of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, and the discharge shall not be started until an agreement is reached with all stakeholders, Wang said. He said China will also expand exchanges and cooperation with Pacific Island countries in the fields of education, culture, health and sports. Wang noted that the nuclear submarine cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia will bring nuclear proliferation risks, trigger an arms race, and undermine regional peace and stability. China is willing to work with the island countries to jointly uphold the international non-proliferation regime with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as its cornerstone and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. Foreign ministers and representatives from Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, as well as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, attended the meeting. Representatives of participating island countries expressed their gratitude to China for its long-term help and support, congratulated the Communist Party of China on its founding centenary and reaffirmed their firm adherence to the one-China principle. They also expressed their willingness to support China's Global Development Initiative, deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road, and promote the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides to a new level. ^ top ^

US ambassador nominee's remarks full of Cold War and zero-sum mentality, inconsistent with facts: Chinese FM (GT)
2021-10-22
The Chinese Foreign Ministry opposed the remarks of Nicholas Burns, who was nominated as US ambassador to China, saying his remarks were full of Cold War and zero-sum mentality and inconsistent with facts, after Burns smeared China's Xinjiang, Xizang and Taiwan policies at a hearing on Wednesday. Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Thursday's media briefing that we urge Burns to have a clear understanding of the overall trend of the world and the will of international people, view China's development and China-US relations in a rational way, never underestimate the strong determination of the Chinese people to defend their rights, and say and do more constructive things to boost bilateral relations. According to Reuters, Burns took a tough line on dealings with China at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, and he called China the US' "most dangerous competitor," attacked China's Xinjiang, Xizang and Taiwan policies. Burns said China's military threat to Taiwan was growing, and Beijing had been "stonewalling" the world about the origins of the coronavirus, Reuters said. Wang said China opposed the definition of China-US relations as competition, and even if China and the US competed in some areas such as economy and trade, it should be healthy competition for mutual improvement. The so-called genocide in Xinjiang is a "century lie" by a few Western anti-China scholars and some US politicians, whose real purpose is to suppress and contain China's development, Wang said, adding that the One-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. On the pandemic, Wang said that China shared information with the World Health Organization and international society in an open, transparent and responsible attitude. A few US politicians are obsessed with politicizing the virus origins issue and their sinister intentions to smear and stigmatize China are well known to all. ^ top ^

If the US and EU were divided on China, Aukus 'betrayal' just dug the trenches deeper (SCMP)
2021-10-20
It was not a phone call from one of his American, Australian or British counterparts that informed the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell about a new Anglophonic defence alliance designed to tackle China. Rather, one of his colleagues sent him a news story outlining the details via WhatsApp, to which Borrell responded with a curt: "Caray" – a Spanish exclamation loosely translated as "damn" or "ouch" – according to a source close to the event. The European Union and even France, which lost to Washington a US$66 billion contract to provide Australia with a fleet of nuclear submarines, were kept in the dark up until the news had been leaked. The French described it as "a stab in the back", while a beleaguered Borrell was sent to launch the EU's own Indo-Pacific strategy a day later and faced a blizzard of questions on a defence pact he said he had no idea about. Commission sources described it as "humiliating". Perhaps more than anything, the Aukus affair and its continued fallout demonstrate the vastly different positions the EU and US occupy towards China. In Europe, Washington is seen to view all foreign policy through a Beijing-tinted lens. Its handling of Aukus is seen as proof that it is willing to jeopardise some of its most important relationships to "get at" China. […] American embassies continue to prod European capitals on a near-daily basis to toughen their positions on China, a trend that began during the Trump era and which was described as "wearying" by one European official. In the run up to the much-vaunted launch of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh last month, there was some haggling over how much China should be alluded to in the text. In the end, it was not mentioned at all. But the partnership did demonstrate that the allies shared wariness toward China's growing military, political and economic muscle, even if weaving those concerns into a common strategy remains a significant challenge. "They're very concerned with the same things we are, the power of state-funded enterprises, the use of stolen intellectual property, the unfairness of Western firms getting involved in Chinese markets versus Chinese firms in Western markets," said Richard Boucher, a fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute, referring to the EU. "But there's clearly a tendency in the United States to try and build walls against China and to see China primarily as a threat. And in Europe, I think they still see China as an opportunity," added Boucher, former deputy secretary general of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and US consul general in Hong Kong. Bonnie Glaser, Asia director with the German Marshall Fund think tank, added that while Europe is "very uneasy about confronting China", senior German officials have told her discreetly that Europe often adopts a different stance in public but this does not suggest their interests are not aligned with the United States. "Where values are concerned, I think there's greater opportunity for the US and Europe to act in lockstep," Glaser said. Others are less sure. In an interview with the New York Times last week, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire laid out his perception of the differences in black and white terms. "The United States wants to confront China. The European Union wants to engage China," he said, adding that the EU must be "independent from the United States, able to defend its own interests, whether economic or strategic interests". This chimes with some establishment views in Berlin and Brussels, where significant political capital has been expended over the past couple of weeks to secure calls with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Calls with outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel are seen in some quarters as part of a diplomatic re-engagement with China, with major powers spooked by Xi's reluctance to hold top level talks following tit-for-tat sanctions in March. But it does not reflect the diversity of opinions throughout the bloc, where many member states hold less decisive views on China. For this reason, it is near impossible to achieve consensus on many issues relating to Beijing, meaning it is sometimes bumped off the agenda to be replaced by matters in which they can hope to achieve progress. […] US observers are hopeful that some headway can be made if the Biden administration follows through with its pledge to listen better to its allies. "As we've seen, this administration has a gap between theory and practice, strategy and operationalising that strategy," said Daniel Fried, an Atlantic Council fellow and former US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. "You have to work hard with Europe. You can't issue a statement and think things will fall into place. You have to know what the hell you're doing. That involves putting a team together and understanding the issues," said Fried, who hoped that the future German coalition government might be more receptive to overtures, especially if the foreign minister position goes to the Green Party as some expect. "The Greens are even more inclined to work with the US; the Greens have a democracy-based foreign policy," Fried said, "especially if the US doesn't lead with hard security issues, which are always difficult in Europe. But if it focuses on global standards, rules and regulations, those are good German buzzwords." "They have to listen. They can't just jam it down their throats." ^ top ^

'Moscow format' talks highlight China-Russia coordination on Afghan issue, conspicuous US absence (GT)
2021-10-20
The "Moscow format" talks on Wednesday highlighted the prominent role of China-Russia coordination on the Afghan crisis when the US and some Western countries chose to evade responsibility, experts said, as Moscow gathered 10 countries and the Taliban to focus on the developing political and military situation in Afghanistan. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the political and military situation of Afghanistan will be the focus of this meeting in Moscow. The agenda also includes the establishment of an inclusive government and efforts for a global response to prevent a humanitarian crisis. It has been a diplomatic tradition of Russia to lead a multilateral mechanism that involves regional and relevant parties to coordinate and cope with crises. And gathering Afghanistan's neighboring countries to this meeting is beneficial to address their concerns, build consensus and help Afghanistan seek a way out in the future, Wang Jin, an associate professor at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies of Northwest University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. According to Anadolu Agency, the "Moscow format" was a mechanism established in 2017 for the Afghanistan issue, and it includes China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and Afghanistan. Experts believe this platform shed lights on the prominent role of China-Russia coordination and cooperation on the Afghan crisis. China and Russia are involved in many multilateral mechanisms to address Afghanistan's concerns and establish cooperation, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which focuses on security issues. China-Russia coordination in Afghanistan could be comprehensive, ranging from humanitarian aid, the recognition of the new government, refugee issues and how to manage terrorism and share intelligence, not like some Western countries that offer help only when their political preconditions are met, Wang noted. A day before the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday after talks with Chinese and Pakistani officials that the three countries are willing to provide humanitarian aid and economic support to Afghanistan. Just one day after the Afghan Taliban announced a new interim government, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced in early September that China will provide Afghanistan with 200 million yuan ($31 million) worth of grain, winter supplies, vaccines and other medicine in line with the needs of the Afghan people. Media reported that the US, though invited, is not attending. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow regrets the absence of US officials from international talks. Wang said the US' absence reflects its escapist psychology of being irresponsible on Afghan issues. As a prime culprit of the Afghan crisis, the US should shoulder major responsibility on contributing humanitarian aid to the country, where all kinds of aid were in urgent need as winter approaches. But the US requested the Afghan Taliban to meet certain requirements in regard to the political system, religious policy, and policies on women's and children's rights, before they provide aid to the war-torn nation, Wang noted. Another reason why the US dodged this Russia-led meeting is that the US is fettered by its own "principles" on the Afghan issue, that it rejects the legitimacy of the Taliban but still hopes to engage in dialogue with the group. The two only engaged in the Doha dialogue mechanism, but refrained from conducting dialogue in other mechanisms, said Wang. ^ top ^

Chinese, Saudi Arabian FMs talk over phone on ties, cooperation (Xinhua)
2021-10-18
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday held a phone conversation with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud over bilateral ties and cooperation. Wang said that in the face of the volatile international situation, China and Saudi Arabia need to maintain close strategic communication, which is an inherent part of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. In recent years, under the personal care and strategic guidance of the two heads of state, bilateral relations have continued to develop, Wang said. Noting that China always gives priority to its relations with Saudi Arabia in its diplomacy in the Middle East, Wang said that China is willing to be a long-term reliable and stable good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia, and looks forward to working with Saudi Arabia to push bilateral relations to a higher and deeper level. China appreciates Saudi Arabia's firm stand with China on issues concerning China's core interests, and will, as always, firmly support Saudi Arabia in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and stability, and resolutely oppose any interference in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs, Wang said. China will continue to support Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, Green Saudi Arabia and Green Middle East initiatives, and actively participate in major development projects in Saudi Arabia, Wang said, adding that China is ready to work with Saudi Arabia to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and push for more results in bilateral cooperation in such fields as energy, infrastructure, investment and 5G. China is ready to take the opportunity of the 40th anniversary of China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) relations to conclude negotiations on a China-GCC free trade agreement at an early date, Wang said. China appreciates Saudi Arabia's active preparations for the China-Arab summit, and is willing to maintain communication with Saudi Arabia and start preparations for the summit in due course. Wang also said that China upholds an objective and just position on the Iranian nuclear issue, and is committed to upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as security and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region without any selfish interests or geopolitical considerations. China understands and supports Saudi Arabia's legitimate concern for safeguarding national security, Wang said, adding that the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue is an important achievement of multilateralism. China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the negotiations on resuming the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, he added. For his part, Faisal said the Saudi-China relationship is very important and is developing very well, adding that Saudi Arabia always regards China as a truly credible strategic partner, and is willing to work with China to deepen all-round bilateral cooperation in various fields. Expressing gratitude to China for opposing external interference in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs, he said that Saudi Arabia also firmly opposes any interference in China's internal affairs, which is a principle Saudi Arabia has always defended. Saudi Arabia looks forward to holding the first Arab-China summit next year and believes that the summit will become an important milestone in the history of Arab-China relations, he said. Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to and will actively promote the negotiations on the free trade agreement between the GCC and China, believing that this is in the common interests of both sides, he noted. Faisal also said that Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to China's unique role on the Iranian nuclear issue, and expects China to play an important role in promoting the resumption of the Iran nuclear deal and the comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues of common concern. ^ top ^

Chinese military newspaper calls for 'people's war' to counter US spies after CIA sets up new China unit (SCMP)
2021-10-18
A Chinese military newspaper has called for a "people's war" to defeat American espionage after the CIA set up a new unit dedicated to China. The launch of China Mission Centre on October 7, which CIA Director William Burns said was aimed at countering "the most important geopolitical threat" of the century, has gone viral on Chinese social media. A widely circulated video clip in the past few days, carried by many state-controlled media outlets, claimed that the CIA was recruiting Chinese-speaking operatives who understood Mandarin as well as Cantonese, Hakka and Shanghainese. CIA Director William Burns has said China is the "most important geopolitical threat" of the century. Photo: AFP CIA Director William Burns has said China is the "most important geopolitical threat" of the century. Photo: AFP A Weibo account run by the People's Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper for the armed forces, described the CIA as a foreign hostile force, adding that "the US intelligence service, which is so blatantly recruiting special agents, must have more sinister and unbearable methods behind it". But Sunday's post continued: "No cunning fox can beat a good hunter. To maintain national security, we only need to trust the people and rely on the people." It went on to call for greater public support and said a "people's war" was needed to guard against intelligence risks and "make it impossible for spies to operate and hide themselves". Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had earlier denounced the CIA's move, calling it "a typical symptom of a cold war mentality". The move to create a dedicated CIA China unit was seen in the US as a belated step to reflect Joe Biden's foreign policy agenda. But for Beijing, still haunted by the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, the CIA's new focus on China seems to have corroborated its fears of a "colour revolution", the name given to a series of popular uprisings in former Soviet republics over a decade ago. The announcement of the new centre came just a day after China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi met the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Zurich for the first time in six months amid signs of a thaw in bilateral ties. In an interview with state broadcaster CGTN last week, China's deputy foreign minister Le Yucheng questioned Biden's sincerity over his pledge to not "seek a new cold war" with China and lashed out at Washington's intensifying efforts to curb Beijing's rise. "Internationally, the US has created one mess after another through 'colour revolution' and 'democratic transformation'," he said, without mentioning the China Mission Centre. The Chinese authorities have remained vigilant towards foreign espionage risks over the years, carrying out crackdowns and rallying the public to help report suspicious spy activities. After unveiling detailed guidelines in April, the Ministry of State Security said in August that last year there had been a sevenfold increase in economic and financial spying cases compared with five years previously. The creation of the China Mission Centre is also believed to be motivated by concerns that China has stepped up its espionage activities in the US and designed to counter criticisms of the CIA's activities in China. The New York Times reported in 2017 that CIA spying operations inside China had suffered a devastating blow between 2010 and 2012, with at least a dozen CIA sources being killed or disappeared. Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer, admitted a decade ago that numerous agents based in Beijing did not speak Mandarin. Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and defence secretary under Barack Obama, told Politico that "China remains a very hard target to be able to penetrate, and for that reason creating that centre to establish a real focus on China makes sense." ^ top ^

Kishida makes 'bad start' by sending ritual offering to Yasukuni; foundation of China-Japan relations eroded, observers warn (GT)
2021-10-18
The new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a "bad start" by sending a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where the war criminals are enshrined, on Sunday, only two weeks after he took office. The move, following in the footsteps of his predecessors Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga, demonstrated again the rise of right-wing conservative forces in Tokyo, Chinese observers said, warning that the foundation of China-Japan ties is being eroded through a series of provocative moves. Japan Times reported that the new Japanese prime minister on Sunday sent a ritual offering to Yasukuni to mark the shrine's autumn festival. Yasukuni Shrine has been viewed as a symbol of Japan's past militarism by its Asian neighbors. It was the first such observance by Kishida since he took office on October 4, the report noted. Kishida does not plan to visit the shrine during the festival, said the report. Former prime minister Shinzo Abe's Yasukuni visit in December 2013, a year after the start of his second stint as prime minister, prompted outrage from China and South Korea and also disappointed Japan's key ally the US, media said. South Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday expressing "deep disappointment and regrets" over Kishida's sending of ritual offering and Suga's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. "Yasukuni Shrine is a place where Japan's war of aggression was glorified and war criminals were enshrined, hoping the Japanese government will take concrete actions to sincerely reflect on and face up to history in a humble manner with the new cabinet in office," the statement said. Suga only made offerings during his one-year leadership. He stepped down in September and visited the shrine on Sunday. Under the influence of growing right-wing forces in Japan, it has seemingly become a routine in recent years for every Japanese prime minister to send ritual offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine, and they will also visit the shrine after stepping down, Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Sunday. Both visiting the shrine and sending ritual offerings have been strongly opposed by many peace-loving people in Japan and the international community, and has also caused tensions between Japan and other Asian countries such as China and South Korea, said Chinese observers. The move is disruptive as it goes against the historical view of war, Liu said. Kishida, who has been viewed as a relatively dovish politician, had never visited nor sent ritual offerings to the shrine until he took office as prime minister. Liu believes Kishida was trying to play an "edge ball" by sending an offering to the shrine during the festival while claiming that he is merely following his predecessors. Kishida is engaging in wishful thinking, according to Da Zhigang, director and research fellow at the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences and chief expert at the Northeast Asian Strategic Studies Institute. On the one hand, he does not want to provoke Japan's neighboring countries and create diplomatic problems concerning the sensitive historical matter ahead of the 2021 Japanese general election. On the other hand, he is looking to gain support from Tokyo's conservative forces at a time when his domestic approval rating is low. However, "a little leak can sink a great ship," Liu said. If the Japanese politicians continue to send offerings to and visit the shrine instead of reflecting on Japan's past aggression under its militarism, the foundation of China-Japan relations could be eroded, Liu warned. "I hope he will not follow bad examples," said Liu, noting that Japan's international image and the maintenance of the post-war international order need to be carefully considered by the Japanese leader. On alert In an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun on Friday, Kishida said he would consider specifying the possession of capabilities to destroy enemy missile bases under the National Security Strategy while expressing his hopes of visiting the US by the end of this year for a summit with US President Joe Biden. Specifying in the security strategy the capability to strike enemy bases for self-defense purposes was "one option", said the prime minister, regarding threats such as hypersonic glide weapons and ballistic missiles flying on irregular trajectories that North Korea is developing. As for when the government would aim to revise the National Security Strategy, Kishida said, "I want to do it as soon as possible," but stopped short of mentioning a specific timeline, Yomiuri Shimbun reported. In 2020, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the government would consider acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said earlier that Japan's military security moves have been closely watched by the international community and its Asian neighbors due to historical reasons. Some people in Japan have long hyped up so-called external threats in an attempt to loosen ties and make breakthroughs in military and security policies. What Tokyo is up to is only too evident, said Zhao. He urged Tokyo to earnestly learn lessons from history, honor its commitment to "exclusive defense" and continue to follow the path of peaceful development with concrete actions. Da warned China to be on high alert over the revision of Japan's National Security Strategy, as Japan is trying to lift the ban on self-defense and expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Europe and the US in response to geopolitical security concerns. As Kishida expressed his hopes of meeting Biden in the US soon, it can be expected that the two priorities of the possible visit could be to reiterate that Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty applies to the Diaoyu Islands, and to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, Liu predicted. Also, the Taiwan question cannot be ruled out from their possible meeting, Liu noted. The Taiwan question and the Diaoyu Islands issue are tests for Japanese politicians' collective political wisdom, observers said. If it is not handled properly, playing with this hot button issue will lead Japan down a dangerous road, they warned. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China issues guideline on green development in urban, rural areas (Xinhua)
2021-10-22
The general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council have issued a guideline underpinning green development in urban and rural areas. The guideline sets a target that by 2025 the institutional mechanisms and policy systems for green development in urban and rural areas will be basically established. The country will also make substantial progress on the green transformation of construction and solidly advance carbon reduction during the period, according to the guideline. Incidence of "urban diseases" should be reduced, the quality of ecology and environment improved and green lifestyle widely promoted, it says. It sets another target that by 2035 green development will cover urban and rural areas in a comprehensive way, with an increased cut in carbon emissions. By the target date, the living environment will improve and institutions of governance and capacity will basically achieve modernization in terms of urban and rural construction. As part of promoting integrated urban-rural development, the guideline stresses green development of various regions and city clusters, pledging to build beautiful cities where man and nature coexist in harmony and a beautiful countryside which is green, ecologically rich and livable. It calls for improving development patterns involving high-quality green construction and better infrastructure in rural and urban areas. The country should strengthen the protection and inheritance of history and culture in cities and rural areas, adhere to green construction in the process and promote the formation of a green lifestyle, according to the guideline. China should also coordinate the planning and construction of cities and rural areas, establish an evaluation system, intensify innovation during the process and promote the building of smart cities, said the guideline. The guideline pledges to add fiscal and financial input, improve the green financial system, and provide more support for major projects on green development in urban and rural areas. ^ top ^

China can't look to Singapore for a way to live with Covid-19, health economist says (SCMP)
2021-10-21
Singapore's "experiment" to live with the coronavirus – and its subsequent spike in infections – might not be a useful model for China as it considers whether to reopen its borders, a Chinese health researcher has said. "This safety net protecting the health of 1.4 billion people did not come easily. We can't let it go just like that," Li Ling, from Peking University's National School of Development, was quoted as saying by mainland news website Guancha.cn on Wednesday. China has adopted a zero-tolerance strategy to combat the coronavirus, enforcing swift and sweeping lockdowns coupled with repeated mass testing of entire communities whenever clusters of cases emerge. However, Singapore, where 83 per cent of the population is vaccinated, lifted gathering restrictions in August, allowing its citizens to eat in at restaurants and more employees to work in the office, as part of its blueprint for Covid-19 to become endemic in the country. Restrictions were reimposed in late September after cases surged and hospitals came under pressure. The restrictions, originally set to expire on Monday, will continue until November 21, Singaporean officials said on Wednesday after a record 3,994 cases were reported on Tuesday. Li said Singapore's strategy had failed to contain the number of cases and if similar conditions occurred in China, a country of 1.4 billion, "it would not be just a matter of 3,000 daily new cases". The key to China reopening was whether infections and new variants were under control in other countries. "As long as one country cannot control the virus, no country can eliminate the threat of infection," she said. She also said there was less economic pressure for China to open up. "With the 'dual circulation strategy', the Chinese economy has recovered steadily," Li said, referring to the central government's attempt to boost the economy through domestic consumption and demand. "Now, it is less urgent for China to 'reopen the doors' than it is for Singapore. China should put the people's health first." Singapore's role as a smaller international financial hub also meant it was more important for the city state to open its borders to the world, Li said. There has been little public sign of support in China for a Singapore-style approach. Prominent Chinese virologist Zhang Wenhong suggested in July that every country had to find a way to live with the virus because data showed that it would continue to spread despite widespread vaccination. But in a thinly veiled criticism, former health minister Gao Qiang said it was contradictory for certain experts in China to highlight the infectiousness of the Delta variant of the coronavirus yet advise the nation about coexistence with it. Nevertheless there are signs that opening up the country might be in the sight, with Zhong Nanshan, a leading respiratory diseases expert, and Gao Fu, chief of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, both suggesting an overall vaccination rate of at least 85 per cent and a lower death rate could be the conditions of reopening. As of mid-September, about 78 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated. Despite the use of QR health codes to restrict the movements of people in China, the country has continued to have sporadic outbreaks of Covid-19, with the latest series of cases spread across a bigger geographical area. Cases have been reported in the last few days in the provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi and Guizhou, as well as the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, and even the nation's capital Beijing. While authorities have yet to determine how the first reported patients were infected, the nine community symptomatic cases reported on Tuesday and 17 on Wednesday are part of a cluster that has a specific chain of transmission. A holidaying couple from Shanghai were the first reported cases of Covid-19 in the latest outbreak. They flew on October 9 from Shanghai to Zhangye in Gansu province in northwest China, with a stopover in Xian, Shaanxi province. The retirees then went on a road trip in Gansu and Inner Mongolia, according to the Shaanxi health commission. They tested negative before they boarded their flight from Shanghai and again before they flew from Jiayuguan in Gansu to Xian. They later tested positive. The couple were in close contact with six others on their road trip who later tested positive. Another man, surnamed Ai, rented two cars with the couple was also infected. After spending time with the couple, Ai took a train from Jiayuguan to Beijing, with another person in the compartment becoming infected. Five people who worked at an Inner Mongolian restaurant that the couple visited were also tested positive. ^ top ^

Premier Li calls for 'all-out' efforts to ensure 'warm winter' (GT)
2021-10-20
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated on Wednesday the country's commitment to ensuring people's heating, and continuing the efforts to crack down on coal marketing speculation, a clear and firm voice from the central government to put people's livelihood at the forefront after a series of measures that have been taken over the past weeks to ensure the coal supply. During the State Council executive meeting on Wednesday, Li called for "all-out" efforts to ensure coal production and transportation for people's heating use, especially in the northern part of the country, where cold weather comes earlier this year. The meeting vowed to organize enterprises to increase gas supply, coordinate gas resources, and a more localized measure to ensure the people's heating requirements, while asking local authorities to keep gas and heating prices at a stable level. The meeting also asked local authorities and companies to reasonably control the lighting of night scenes to promote energy conservation. On the same day, officials from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's economic planner, conducted field inspections to the ports of Qinhuangdao and Caofeidian in North China's Hebei Province, summoning energy companies to ensure thermal coal supply for the winter and vowing to crack down on hoarding and speculating activities. Inspectors told companies to strictly stick to long-term contracts, guide coal prices to fall back to "rational ranges," optimize the production/transportation process, and prioritize the supply of thermal coal and for heating use. A separate NDRC inspecting team to a coal storage and distribution center in Hebi, Central China's Henan Province vowed to better manage the spot trading market, crack down on capital speculations on spot coal, and publicize the wrongdoings. "These are the strongest coal supply guarantee measures I've ever seen," Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 'All-out' national effort The "coal-supply guarantee battle" has been going on for months. It's been a national effort under the macro guidance of the central government. At the Port of Rizhao in East China's Shandong Province, the urgently-needed thermal coal mined and transported from northern parts of the country were being loaded on ships to be sent to other Chinese ports, as traders and wholesalers try to secure coal supply as the winter heating season approaches. The scene mirrors how each link in the coal supply chain--from mines to transportation to seaports--is ramping up supply of thermal coal under the central government's call to guarantee coal supply "at all costs" amid a power shortage that has been lasting for months. NDRC has asked all regions to safely maintain normal production at coal mines even during holidays and major events, and to strictly prohibit the practice of shutting down coal mines or to suspend production in an entire region due to individual coal mine accidents. The NDRC said it would ensure coal mines operate at full capacity and to achieve at least 12 million tons per day of output, which would be up more than 1.6 million tons from late September. China Resources Power Company, a major power-generating company in China, said in a note sent to the Global Times on Wednesday that it has taken multiple measures to secure coal supply for its power plants in central and eastern provinces. One of its subsidiaries asked fuel supply departments to ramp up coal inventories at power plants to a "required level" before November 15, the date northern provinces start winter heating, the firm said. The National Energy Administration also approved the construction of three new mines in Northwest China's Gansu Province on Tuesday, with a scale of 2.4 million tons, 1.5 million tons, and 2 million tons output per year, respectively. The swift measures have already worked. Official data released on Tuesday showed that average daily output has increased by more than 1.2 million tons from September. The daily coal output on Monday has exceeded 11.6 million tons, a new high this year. Coal storage at power plants nationwide is nearly 88 million tons, which can be used for 16 days, an increase of more than 9 million tons from the beginning of the month. The power plants in the three northeastern provinces, the country's most coal-needed region, have coal storage enough for 24 days, an increase of 11 days from the beginning of the month. Supply still tight There's no doubt that the country can ensure a "warm winter" with a slew of supply measures. But even with the accelerated efforts, a release of production capacity may not be that fast, industry players and analysts told the Global Times. The Global Times observed traders are still scrambling in hopes of securing stable supply. A wholesaler surnamed Shi in Rizhao told the Global Times on Wednesday that a scarcity of coal on the market has forced his company to send procurement managers to North China's Shanxi Province, one of the major coal hubs, to look for supplies. "Although some regions in North China have recently been hit by flooding, the coal mines were not affected much, but the tricky thing is what little supply I can get are only several hundred tons. So I have to use trucks to transport coal back," Shi said. A manager surnamed Yu at a coal testing company said insufficient coal supply in the market has forced some users to buy low-grade fuel low in thermal power as a temporary measure. "It may take at least one to two months before the tight supply situation is eased," Lin said. The scarcity has also driven coal prices to a record high over the past days. NDRC vowed on Tuesday that it will resort to "all necessary means" based on the country's price law, mulling concrete measures to intervene in coal prices, as the official stance grows harsher on runaway coal prices that have put coal supplies at stake. The Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange said on Wednesday evening that it will set a transaction limit on some thermal coal futures contracts to curb soaring prices. "State-owned firms will be the first to carry out the price limit, while private firms will soon follow," Han Xiaoping, chief analyst at energy industry website china5e.com, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "It's a matter that's closely connected with people's livelihood, that's why the government will take it seriously," Han said. The main coal production bases in North China's Shanxi Province, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are required to immediately lower prices by 100 yuan a ton starting Tuesday, and officials in Yulin, a coal mining hub in Shaanxi, said all state-owned mines there would cut prices by 6pm on Tuesday, according to industry outlet coalresource.com. Companies that don't comply will face administrative measures imposed by different departments, the outlet said. Lin also warned that as winter approaches, high energy-consuming factories' activities could be further limited in a bid to ensure residents' heating demand, which may also drag China's fourth quarter economic performance. Carbon neutrality to continue While pushing forward coal production, China has also asked its power grid companies and relevant authorities to promote the use of new energy power generation projects, refuting some western media's claim that China is undermining its carbon neutrality promise under the pressure of power shortage. Speeding up the construction of wind power and photovoltaic power generation projects and increasing the supply of clean power will not only help alleviate the supply crunch, but also help promote transit to low-carbon energy, said the National Energy Administration on Wednesday. Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said on Wednesday that to achieve CO2 emissions peak before 2030 means that China will continue to maintain a rigid growth in fossil energy consumption for a period of time in the future. China will continue to actively explore new energy sources such as low-carbon and zero-carbon, and carry out research and application of carbon capture and storage technologies, Guo said. But he warned that "they must not be divorced from reality," noting that China will ensure a smooth transition, rather than a "one size fits all" way. China's slew of measures to ensuring coal supply also come as coal, oil and gas prices have skyrocketed amid a worsening global energy crisis over the past weeks, hammering factories and consumers from Beijing to Brussels. A swift and effective response from the world's second-largest economy will also prevent inflation from further rising, which risks slowing down a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said. ^ top ^

Top legislature scheduled to beef up Anti-Monopoly Law (People's Daily)
2021-10-20
China is on track to revise the Anti-Monopoly Law as lawmakers began deliberating on draft amendments submitted to the country's top legislature on Tuesday. With emphasis on regulation and development, the draft revision aims to address major problems in the law's current implementation, further improve the anti-monopoly system and increase penalties for monopolistic practices, according to Xinhua News Agency. The draft amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law was submitted on Tuesday to the ongoing session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, for review. Enacted in 2008, the Anti-Monopoly Law has played an important role in protecting fair competition, improving the efficiency of economic operations, safeguarding consumers' and the public's interests, and promoting high-quality development, said Zhang Gong, director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, in an explanatory note to the draft revision. Issues to be looked at include inadequate penalties for certain monopolistic behavior and the need to improve law enforcement. The draft clarifies the status of competition policy and the legal status of the fair competition review system. While strengthening competition policy, the country will also establish and improve the fair competition review system, according to Xinhua. When formulating regulations involving the activities of market entities, relevant administrative agencies and organizations will undertake fair competition review. The draft summarizes the practice of anti-monopoly law enforcement, draws on international experiences, and further improves the anti-monopoly system and its rules. It bans business operators from eliminating or restricting competition through the abuse of data, algorithms, technology, capital advantages and platform rules. They are also prohibited from organizing other parties to form monopoly agreements, or provide assistance to help them reach monopoly agreements. The State Council's anti-monopoly law enforcement agency will also strengthen reviews of areas such as people's livelihood, finance, science and technology and media. The draft proposes the establishment of a "safe harbor" system, where exemptions are given to business operators who can prove their market share does not exceed limits set by the law enforcement agency. It also proposed granting the law enforcement agency the right to recalculate the review period, should the operator under review fail to submit documents or files in time or new situations or facts arise that could have a major impact on the review. The draft further strengthens the protection of anti-monopoly law enforcement and fines for violations are also substantially increased under the revision. ^ top ^

CPC Central Committee plenary session to review key resolution (China Daily)
2021-10-19
The 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will hold its sixth plenary session in Beijing from Nov 8 to 11, during which a key resolution on the major achievements and historical experience of the Party's 100 years of endeavors will be reviewed. This was decided at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau on Monday. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting. The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau listened to a report on soliciting opinions for drafting the resolution and decided to submit the draft, after revisions, to the plenary session for deliberation. The views and suggestions from all sides -- both within and outside the Party -- were collected. Xi also chaired a symposium to hear from the central committees of the non-CPC political parties, the head of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and individuals with no party affiliation. The draft won wide recognition from various regions, departments, and sides, along with delegates to the 19th CPC National Congress. Their views and suggestions were absorbed in the document. The CPC has led all ethnic groups of the country in making remarkable achievements over the past 100 years in the history of human development, said a statement issued after the meeting. Chinese people who had suffered subjugation and bullying since the advent of modern times had stood up, the statement said. It added that the Chinese nation is advancing toward modernization on all fronts and socialism has blazed a successful trail in the world's most populous country. It also said that China is taking strides to keep abreast with the times, and the Chinese nation is embracing a bright prospect of national rejuvenation. It added that Chinese Communists, with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao as chief representatives, led the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups in achieving vital progress in the revolution, construction and reform, with precious experience accumulated. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has led the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups in making new notable achievements and accumulating new precious experience. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has demonstrated its strong vitality. The Party, the military, and the public became united as never before. China's international status has further consolidated, the statement said. All these factors provide more refined institutional guarantees, firmer material foundations, and more spiritual power for achieving national rejuvenation, the statement said. The national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability, it added. The meeting called on the whole Party to demonstrate more vigilance and always be prepared for potential danger, even in times of calm, and continue to advance the great new project of Party building in the new era. The Party shall always rally and lead the people of all ethnic groups to work tirelessly to realize their aspirations for a better life, said the statement. The meeting also discussed other issues. ^ top ^

China's coal hub Shanxi emerges from floods, easing coal supply concerns (GT)
2021-10-18
As the sun rises over the flooded areas in North China's Shanxi Province, the country's coal hub, woes over a downpour-exacerbated coal-fired power shortage are beginning to subside, as evidenced by the Global Times' onsite interviews in coal-mining regions. With the province's coal exploration and deliveries emerging from the heavy rains, optimism about a recovery in the country's coal supplies during the fourth quarter is on the rise, according to industry insiders, citing a government-led tenacious push to ensure energy adequacy and market shifts expected already under way. Coal mining back on track Coal mines in Shanxi are busy producing and transporting shipments out of the province as they gradually resumed production after a temporary suspension due to torrential rainfall during the National Day holidays in early October. During a recent visit to a coal mining area in a mountainous region of central Shanxi Province - Linfen and Jiexiu - the Global Times reporters saw streams of trucks full of coal from the local mines on the roads, with congestion and long lines of traffic at the entrance to expressways as they wait to transport coal to other regions. A driver of a coal truck in Linfen, surnamed Chang, who usually transports coal from Linfen to neighboring Shaanxi Province told the Global Times the mudslide in mountain roads slowed down efficiency of coal to be transported to other regions. Drivers, instead, have to transport coal through expressway. The Global Times learned that rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris had blocked coal-transport lanes after the torrential rainfall hit the province, and many are yet to be declared free of danger. Global Times reporters saw warning signs and road workers clearing away scattered boulder and other debris that blocked the road. "Despite rising costs, we've been extremely busy recently. Coal mines are eager to sell as prices for thermal coal have surged to a record high. Coal transportation orders are immediately picked up once they are made by producers and agencies," Chang added. Of the 60 coal mines in Shanxi, which has a total 670 mines, that were forced to suspend production due to the downpours, 56 have resumed production. Authorities had said the brief suspension would not cause too much obvious influence on Shanxi's coal supply. Three mines in Linfen with a combined annual output capacity of 3.6 million tons were waiting to resume normal operations after final safety assessments, while another one is located in Taiyuan, with an annual output of 1.2 million tons, but cannot resume production due to blocked coal transport channels, reports said. The Global Times learned from an interview with management at a coal mine in Jiexiu, a city next to Linfen, that local authorities have ordered coal mines to boost output to ensure supply as winter approaches under the premise of ensuring safety. Feng Libing, general manager of Anyi Coal Mine Company in Jiexiu, told the Global Times "We have zero stockpiled coal as it's immediately transported as soon as we mine it. Some buyers even tried to find available coal through social connections." When the rain was at its heaviest on October 5, coal production temporarily halted as workers had to evacuate the mine for safety reasons, but production quickly got back to normal after one day. "The rainfall basically didn't influence our production. The annual plan to mine 900,000 tons of coal won't be affected." Improvement expected in Q4 Feng said his mine is ramping up efforts to complete the goal of producing more than 34,000 tons of mines for the country's fuel supply guarantee scheme this winter at the price of 500-600 yuan per ton, much lower than the market price. Li Zhengmao, the head of the energy bureau of Jiexiu, told the Global Times that Jiexiu is home to 17 coal mines and this winter shoulders the responsibility of supplying 200,000 tons of mines to other regions in China and another 200,000 for local use. As most mines in Jiexiu are close to major transport routes, the rainfall had limited impact. Findings from onsite interviews apparently serve to ease concerns over coal supplies that have been kept tight amid rising power demand as the economy continues to rebound and international commodity prices continue to surge. Shanxi was the country's largest coal mining region in 2020 with 1.06 billion tons in output, an increase of 8.2 percent year-on-year, followed by North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region with 1 billion tons of output, official data showed. The two provinces made up 53.7 percent of the country's coal output last year. An improvement is well on the cards in coal supply terms heading into the fourth quarter, a coal analyst told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity, basing this optimism on a resolute governmental push for adequate energy supplies. As the main coal-producing regions step up their mining capacities, coal supplies are estimated to maintain growth while coal demand growth is set to moderate, although coal prices would continue to fluctuate at a high level, the Securities Times reported Sunday, citing the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association. In the first 13 days of October, key coal mining firms of China tracked by the association posted average daily coal production of 6.93 million tons, up 4.5 percent from the month before, according to the report. At a press briefing last week, the National Mine Safety Administration disclosed that 153 out of 976 coal mines it has inspected met the requirements for ensuring supplies in a safe manner and would result in an output increase of approximately 220 million tons per annum. That suggests a coal output rise of 55 million tons over the fourth quarter, with a daily addition of 600,000 tons, boding well for easing supply tightness and taming coal prices, per the administration. The country's coal prices continued an upward trend in the week ending October 10, with thermal coal prices jumping 5.3 percent to 890 yuan per ton, showed data from the Ministry of Commerce. There is little room for coal prices to spiral up, factoring in the government's reiterated vow to rein in coal rates, among other commodity prices, the analyst said. While efforts to rev up coal production might still be dwarfed by the demand-supply gap, the eagerness of domestic power plants to stockpile coal tend to be in decline also, thereby leading to eased supply strains throughout the final quarter of the year, according to the analyst. The industry veteran anticipated limited progress in coal imports however, citing skyrocketing global commodity prices as eradicating the appeal of imported coal that were previously cheaper than its domestically mined counterpart as one of the reasons behind lackluster imports. In addition to the push to steady supplies, the country has put in place a power tariff reform that came into force on Friday with a wider market-driven power sales tariff band, as part of moves to maintain power supply stability while advancing the country's decarbonization pledge to shift the economy toward greener growth. Not only coal power generators sporting higher operating efficiency and scale are expected to benefit from the new mechanism, operators of renewables such as nuclear and hydropower will benefit from the higher released tariffs, Moody's said in a research note sent to the Global Times. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Speed skating competition an anti-epidemic rehearsal for Winter Olympics (GT)
2021-10-22
More than 360 foreign athletes and delegation staff members have descended on Beijing's Capital Indoor Stadium, where they will participate in the World Cup Short Track Speed Skating from Thursday to Sunday. It's the qualification match for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The event will also serve as a rare opportunity for China's capital to rehearse closed-loop and bubble management against the backdrop of the latest COVID-19 sporadic cases. According to the organizers, the qualifying match is being held with Olympic-level epidemic prevention measures, with a little over 100 days to go to the Winter Games' opening in February 2022. "It's an official rehearsal for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, which will be broadcast to the world," Zhang Yanxiang, the head of the sports authority of Beijing's Haidian district, told the media on Wednesday. Consistent with the Winter Olympics, the Short Track Speed Skating competition has a total of nine events. A total of 232 athletes from 37 countries and regions have signed up to participate, including 102 women and 130 men. Li Jintao, the director of the center for epidemic prevention and control of Haidian district, told the media that game-related personnel will be transported with chartered vehicles from spot to spot, to ensure isolation from the public. Materials and garbage are also being strictly managed under the closed-loop system. In September, the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee announced that all athletes for the 2022 Winter Games who are fully vaccinated will enter a closed-loop management system upon arrival in Beijing. Games participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to serve a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing. For this competition, Global Times learned from the organizers that foreign athletes will not be subject to the "14+7" quarantine, but will be required to provide a negative nucleic acid test certificate within 72 hours. They will have to leave immediately after events, using designated buses to reach the airport. For arrival and departure receptions, reporters have learned that a closed-off route of "airport-hotels-stadium" is being adopted, with designated passage channels and pick-up and guiding staff to assist overseas delegations. Organizers said on Wednesday that during the World Cup match, the arrival and departure service support team plans to dispatch more than 400 bus services a day with 24-hour operations. The vehicles have fixed lines, drop-off points are also designated, and the vehicles have designated gas stations. Bus drivers will undergo a daily nucleic acid test. In addition, nucleic acid testing for the event will cover all people, objects and the environment. Technology such as smart temperature monitoring and contactless exchange will also ensure that the hosting of the event is low risk, media reports said. The three-month test matches for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics began on October 5. Eight venues of the Winter Olympics in the Beijing urban area, Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou of Hebei Province are expected to host 10 international matches, three international training weeks and two domestic testing activities, organizers said. The Capital Indoor Stadium in Haidian district just finished its first test event for figure skating on October 16, passing the first test in epidemic prevention and sports event management. Latvian figure skater Deniss Vasiļjevs was impressed by Beijing's preparations,telling media that he had never seen a place where quarantine protocols were so well enforced. Ru Xiuying, a professor with the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports, told the Global Times on Thursday that hosting such a test event is not only a test of athletes and stadium facilities, but also a comprehensive test and rehearsal of the city's manpower and services. "The strict anti-epidemic measures for the event match China's consistent attitude toward the virus, and the safety of China's 1.4 billion people is based on this experience," Ru said. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

MOU signed to boost fintech regulation in Greater Bay Area (China Daily)
2021-10-22
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) jointly announced on Thursday that they have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Fintech Innovation Supervisory Cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). By signing the MOU, they have agreed to link up the PBOC's Fintech Innovation Regulatory Facility with the HKMA's Fintech Supervisory Sandbox. The move aims to advance cooperation on fintech innovation on the basis of law and regulations, improve the quality and efficiency of financial services in the GBA and increase financial support for its development, said the PBOC. In the next step, the two sides will, under the cooperation framework, adhere to the principles of mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual respect, provide efficient fintech innovation testing services, and inject new impetus into the high-quality financial development of the GBA, it said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet a vivid portrayal of China's democracy and human rights, a window for opening-up: Chinese FM (Xinhua)
2021-10-21
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that Tibet has become a vivid portrayal of the progress of China's democracy and human rights, and an important window for China's opening-up and cooperation with the world. Wang made the remarks at a special foreign ministry event that was organized to present the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China to the world. The event, themed "China on a New Journey: A New Chapter of Development for a Happy New Tibet," was attended by diplomatic envoys to China as well as representatives of international organizations in China. Wang said that 70 years ago, through unremitting efforts of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Tibet achieved peaceful liberation. Under the leadership of the CPC over the past 70 years, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have united and worked together to make the region an epitome of the success of China's leapfrog development, a vivid portrayal of the progress of China's democracy and human rights, and an important window for China's opening-up and cooperation with the world, he said. Wang said the foreign ministry will support Tibet in promoting economic and social development, expanding opening-up and cooperation, building an international ecological civilization highland, safeguarding security, stability and national unity, and opposes any attempt to undermine security and stability in Tibet. Wang said China's opening-up and development have always been closely linked to the world, and China will continue to share new opportunities with the world, work with other countries to implement the Global Development Initiative, and continue to promote the construction of a global community of development with a shared future. ^ top ^

How well-off villages in Xizang contribute to border defense: development vital to defending territory (GT)
2021-10-20
In the border regions of Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, newly-built and consistently-developing comparatively well-off villages have become an essential and effective part of border defense. The Global Times reporters recently visited some of these villages near the front of border regions. They found that the policies to revitalize villages and settle down relocated residents have allowed villagers to move into new and comfortable houses, learn new skills, and find new job opportunities. The comfortable life of the border residents in Xizang refuted slanderous attacks from foreign forces, especially those from Indian media, some of which in late September accused China's project that has helped build hundreds of comparatively well-off border villages of possessing "doubtable aims." What they could not understand is that as the frontline to defend border security, villagers at these regions have been deeply rooted there to guard the homeland and create their own happy future. Model home Walking into the comparatively well-off model border village in Xiayadong town in Yadong county, Xizang, which borders Bhutan and India, one would be surprised by its cleanness and orderliness. The village is surrounded by green mountains. Along the tidy asphalt road are staggered two-floor Tibetan-style houses, each proudly displaying a Chinese national flag on the roof. The village is fully covered and connected with utilities such as tap water, electricity, roads, and the internet. It's also fitted with its own facilities such as a square for activities, gym, a police station, kindergartens, a supermarket, and plastic runways. Inside the houses is combination of modern and traditional Xizang styles - household appliances such as televisions and refrigerators are arranged along with traditional furniture, while in front of the houses, children play with each other. Lin Lichao, the first Party secretary of the village, told the Global Times that 27 households moved into this village, 2,100 meters above sea level on September 20, 2020 from a village 130 kilometers away, which stood at an altitude of 4,630 meters. "There are 28 houses for residents in our village, each measuring 183 square meters. It only took nine months to complete construction of all these buildings," Lin told the Global Times. The place where the villagers previously lived had a harsh environment. Before they moved to Xiayadong, they could only make a living by herding. Therefore, after hearing about the relocation policy, many residents volunteered to join the plan. At their new home, with the support of the local government and the advantages of resources and a border location, villagers have been developing industries such as salmon farming and greenhouse vegetable cultivation. By cultivating vegetables in 62 greenhouses, the village made a profit of 300,000 yuan ($46,000) in six months, according to Lin. "Thus, the villagers not only learned new skills, but also increased their incomes," Lin said. "Their grassland in hometown is not abandoned. Some of the villagers would still drive back to herd sheep and yaks." Today, the villagers are also developing tourism. Some villagers have vacated certain rooms in their homes to transform them into homestays. A small-scale trial operation has already begun, Lin introduced. Villagers also enjoy a border subsidy of 12,000 yuan per adult per year. Lin elaborated that through various forms of industrial development, the per capita income of villagers had reached 19,000 yuan at the end of last year. Tashi Puci, a villager at the well-off model village in Xiayadong town, also serves as a border patrolman. He has a strong sense of patriotism. He often says, "We enjoy our good life thanks to the Party and the country. Each of us is part of the motherland and has the obligation and responsibility to guard the country." The well-off model village in Xiayadong town is just a microcosm of the rural revitalization of Yadong county as well as the entire border region in Xizang. When visiting the well-off villages in the border regions, the Global Times reporters found that the newly-built rural villages usually have unified Tibetan houses, neat streets together with kindergartens, fitness equipment, and other supporting facilities. In a well-off village at an altitude of 4800 meters, the newly relocated residents live in new, well-appointed houses with exquisite and gorgeous Tibetan decoration. The room is not only spacious and warm, but bedrooms are also fitted with an oxygen supply system. In recent years, Xizang has been vigorously implementing the construction of well-off villages in border areas. The main construction contents include housing improvement, infrastructure, public service facilities, industrial construction, and ecological and human settlements. By the end of 2020, Tibet had built more than 600 well-off, high-standard border villages. The roads connecting border villages are also quite accessible. At least 130 border roads have been newly built or reconstructed with a total length of 3,080 kilometers, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The main power grid is extended to all border towns, as well as postal services, mobile communication networks, and safe drinking water. The living standards of border residents have improved significantly. Defending the frontline The border region in Xizang is not only the key region for rural development and revitalization, but also the frontier to guard the country's territory. Every resident there deeply knows their duty in safeguarding border security, and many of them are contributing to this cause. Medog county, sitting in the Yarlung Zangbo River valley in southeastern Xizang, is one of the most inaccessible places in China. From the county town driving southwest for about one hour, one could arrive at the Gelin village, 1,721 meters above sea level, nestled in the primeval forests. A village of the Monba people, Gelin not only enjoys a beautiful scenery of Mount Namcha Barwa, but is also famous for its strategic value as a border "outpost." Gelin village has a long history of defending the territory and villagers have strong willingness to safeguard the border. Dorje Phuntsok, director at the villager committee, told the Global Times that the Monba people used to be hunters. In the past, villagers would often enter the mountains with shotguns. "At that time, people from neighboring countries dared not come to our places." "Now we do not need to seek a living in the forest, but we have never given up defending it," he said. Huang Jiabin, Party secretary of Gelin village, said that young men and the border defense troops in the village regularly form border patrol teams. Every month they carry out two to three patrols, which could last from three days to 10 days. In the village, every family hangs a national flag outside. They also have some extra flags which they usually bring along with them when patrolling in the mountains and place them at key spots when necessary to claim the territory. Dorje Phuntsok said that it has advantages to have villagers participating in border patrols. "The villagers are more familiar with the routes and conditions in the forests. During patrols, they could serve as guides, carrying supplies and sharing their experience and skills of living in the wild with the soldiers." Meanwhile, border defense troops near the village have also involved themselves in activities that could increase the income of the villagers. Huang believes that such activities improved villagers' livelihoods. Under the help of local border defense troops, Gelin village has now formed an industrial layout consisting of tea, red rice, glossy ganoderma and honey cultivation. "The border defense soldiers and officers not only guide us to learn about laws and policies regarding border regions, but also teach us techniques in developing agricultural and sideline products," Huang said. Under such a model, the Gelin villagers, who lived a slash-and-burn cultivation existence before the peaceful liberation of Xizang in 1951, have all shaken off poverty. In 2020, the average annual income was 12,530.77 yuan, making the Gelin a renowned, comparatively well-off village in the border regions. ^ top ^

China promotes its most sanctioned official to Tibetan party chief (SCMP)
2021-10-19
A senior official sanctioned by the US, Britain, the European Union and Canada for his role in China's far western Xinjiang region has been appointed to the top job in Tibet. Wang Junzheng's promotion to party chief of the Tibet autonomous region was announced in Chinese state media on Tuesday. Wang, 58, became China's highest ranking official to be widely sanctioned over accusations of human rights violations in March, during his tenure as Xinjiang's deputy party secretary and security chief. His boss, Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo, appeared only on the Trump administration's sanctions list announced last year. Wang's promotion underlines Beijing's snub of the West's response to its policies in Xinjiang, as well as its growing interest in the pool of officials who have served in the region as examples of competence in areas with large ethnic minority populations. He served as Xinjiang's security chief since 2019 before starting his most recent role last year as political commissar of the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, while retaining his post as deputy party chief. Wang will be taking over the Tibetan helm from Wu Yingjie when he retires at the age of 65 in two months' time. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

US, Britain and EU voice objections to Hong Kong's disqualification of opposition district councilors (SCMP)
2021-10-22
The United States, Britain and the European Union accused the Hong Kong government of stripping Hongkongers' democratic rights on Thursday, following further disqualifications of opposition district councillors for allegedly insufficient loyalty to the city. Earlier on Thursday, Hong Kong's home affairs chief announced that 16 district councillors would be ousted from their positions because of invalid oaths, bringing the total number of recently unseated municipal-level politicians to 55. "These retroactive and targeted disqualifications, based on the Hong Kong authorities' arbitrary determination that these district councillors' loyalty oaths are invalid, prevent people in Hong Kong from participating meaningfully in their own governance," US State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Following Beijing's imposition of a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong last year, the requirement that those in public office pledge allegiance to the city was extended from top officials, lawmakers, and judges to officers of all levels, including district councillors. US State Department spokesman Ned Price denounced "the continued erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms" in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters US State Department spokesman Ned Price denounced "the continued erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms" in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters "The oath-taker must sincerely believe in and strictly abide by the relevant oath prescribed by law," the city's Home Affairs Bureau said on Thursday. "An oath-taker who makes a false oath or who, after taking the oath, engages in conduct in breach of the oath shall bear legal responsibility in accordance with the law." Beside the disqualifications, around 260 councillors have resigned this year over fears that their accrued salaries would be seized if they were ousted over their oaths. The US remained "seriously concerned at the continued erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms", Price said, urging Beijing to abide by its treaty obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy until at least 2047. The Hong Kong SAR Government must uphold freedom of speech and allow the public a genuine choice of political representatives Calling Hong Kong's people and civil society its "greatest resource", Price said the US would "continue to support people in Hong Kong and their rights and freedoms". Adding to the criticism, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was "deeply concerning that 55 district councillors have been disqualified and over 250 pressured to resign for political reasons". "The Hong Kong SAR Government must uphold freedom of speech and allow the public a genuine choice of political representatives," Truss said. In a statement later on Thursday, an EU spokesperson said that the expulsions and resignations "negate" the results of the 2019 elections and had weakened Hong Kong's "democratic governance structure". "The protection of civil and political rights in Hong Kong is a fundamental part of the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle, which the EU supports," the spokesperson said. "The EU calls on China to act in accordance with its international commitments and its legal obligations and to respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms." Hong Kong's district councils, representing 18 localities, became overwhelmingly controlled by the opposition camp in 2019, amid citywide protests over a government plan to allow extraditions to mainland China. Opposition members took 392 of the 452 directly elected council seats, with all but one of the districts coming under their control. Seven Democratic Party members were among those disqualified on Thursday, including Yuen Long District Council chairman Zachary Wong Wai-yin and Tsuen Wan District Council vice-chairman Li Hung-por. The oustings are the latest in a string of actions by the Hong Kong government that the US and its allies say are Beijing's efforts to quash dissent and bring the semi-autonomous city further under its control. Since the imposition last year of the national security law – which prohibits a broad range of acts under the categories of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces – authorities have arrested more than 150 people, according to a tally this month by Bloomberg. Those include journalists, protesters, pro-democracy politicians and lawyers. The first conviction under the law came in July when a 24-year-old protester, Leon Tong Ying-kit, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Tong was charged with secession and terrorism crimes, after he collided with police officers on a motorcycle while waving a flag carrying the popular protest slogan, "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times". On Thursday, Price accused Hong Kong authorities of launching "politically motivated prosecutions" under the national security law whose targets included teachers, journalists and labour unions. "We again call on the Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to release those unjustly detained and cease their crackdown on peaceful civil society organisations," he said. US offers temporary 'safe haven' for Hongkongers in response to crackdown on opposition The criticism comes as the US seeks to coordinate more closely with Britain and other European allies on responses to Beijing's actions. The US, Britain and the EU were among a bloc of governments that sanctioned Beijing in March over alleged human rights abuses in western China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Washington and London also recently embarked on a new security alliance with Australia to counter China's military presence in the Indo-Pacific region – though that pact angered France, which lost a US$66 billion sale of submarines to Australia as a result. Both the US and Britain have also offered some protections to those who have either fled Hong Kong or are fearful of returning due to the prospect of political persecution. On Wednesday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency unveiled broad eligibility for a "safe haven" programme that will allow Hongkongers in the US to remain for 18 months even if their current visas expire. That follows a move by Britain to create a new five-year visa for people from Hong Kong who hold a British National (Overseas) passport, a nationality document granted to some Hongkongers prior to the 1997 handover. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's reputation takes hit after national security law imposed but foreign forces to blame, Carrie Lam says (SCMP)
2021-10-20
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has admitted that Hong Kong's reputation has "undeniably" taken a hit since Beijing's imposition of a national security law, but blamed the development on "foreign forces" and insisted her administration simply needed to do a better job of explaining the sweeping legislation. Lam made the remarks on the first episode of a new RTHK limited series called Overview Policy, which debuted on Wednesday and will review her government's work dating back to when she ascended to the city's top office in 2017. The Chinese-language programme, which is also expected to review the work of ministers in Lam's government, will air every Wednesday at 8pm on RTHK's TV31 channel. The first episode – filmed before Lam fractured her elbow in a fall on Monday – saw the chief executive discuss her recent policy address, the last of her term, and her vision for the city's future with the programme's hosts, veteran newsman Vincent Wong Wing and public affairs consultant Benson Luk Hon-man. The next chief executive election is slated for March 2022, but Lam, whose first term will end the following June, has not indicated whether she will run again. Lam on Wednesday thanked Beijing for helping Hong Kong restore peace and good governance after the 2019 social unrest, citing the introduction of the national security law and the overhaul of the city's electoral system to ensure only "patriots" held office. But Lam also conceded the security law had dealt a blow to the city's international reputation. "Undeniably, our international reputation has been somewhat impaired after the implementation of the national security law," she told the hosts. "It is mainly because many foreign politicians, organisations, foreign forces and even some foreign media have exaggerated the normal law enforcement work under the law as suppression of human rights and freedoms," she added. "We need to do more effective explanatory work in this regard." The law, imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in June of last year, criminalises acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. There are currently scores of opposition politicians and activists in jail awaiting trial under the law. Offenders face penalties ranging up to life imprisonment. But in spite of the law, Lam maintained Hong Kong's international status as a bridge between mainland China and the outside world was as strong as ever. She also said the next government should "not be shy" about making a case for enacting local security legislation in line with Article 23 of the Basic Law. The last time the Hong Kong government attempted to introduce legislation under Article 23 nearly 20 years ago, it was forced to back down in the face of massive protests. Both Article 23 and Beijing's constitutional jurisdiction over Hong Kong have been taboo topics in recent years, Lam said, because of fears they could spark misunderstandings about the abridgment of the civil rights and "high degree of autonomy" enshrined in the city's mini-constitution. "If we cannot make it clear [to the people] on this constitutional order, and if we just keep it fuzzy, how can we ensure the smooth and steady successful practice of the 'one country, two systems policy'? How can we avoid taking the wrong track?" she asked. "I hope the future terms of government will approve what is right and condemn what is wrong. Especially on such important, high-level principles, the government should tell the people plainly that the central government has overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong, but the central government also very much respects the autonomy of Hong Kong." Asked about her policy address, Lam noted there were no major disputes as to the basic principles of the initiatives she mentioned. "People do agree to having a transport and infrastructure-led approach for development. People also applaud developing more land [for housing]; and developing more land for innovation and technology is also welcomed," she said. ^ top ^

 

Macau

News outlet Macau Concealers closes and deletes content, blames 'unprecedented environmental changes' (HKFP)
2021-10-21
Digital news site Macau Concealers, backed by a major Macanese pro-democracy party, has announced it will cease operations, citing "unprecedented environmental changes" and "scant resources." The digital news outlet wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night that it would shut down on Wednesday after operating in the former Portuguese colony for almost 16 years. Macau Concealers thanked its readers for their support over the years, saying it had "done its duty" by safeguarding press freedom and presenting a "diversified view" of the city that neighbours Hong Kong. "Because of unprecedented environmental changes and scant resources, the social media platforms of Macau Concealers will stop operating at midnight on October 20, 2021," the news outlet wrote. Its Facebook page was no longer accessible on Wednesday morning and its Instagram page was set to private. Its website "mcnews.cc" was also inaccessible. Its YouTube profile was intact, though has been dormant for six years. Founded by members of the pro-democracy New Macau Association in November 2005, Macau Concealers was originally a satirical publication but later became a major local online news source. Its Chinese name was a wordplay on mainstream newspaper Macao Daily News, mocking what they saw as a pro-government stance. Reports by Macau Concealers syndicated in Hong Kong online news outlet Stand News included the winding up of Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily in June and the ousting of 21 opposition candidates from Macau's legislative polls in July. The decision to halt Macau Concealers was "quite shocking" and "hasty," its ex-deputy director Roy Choi told HKFP on Wednesday. The 34-year-old said the online media outlet, which had been financed by the New Macau Association, had insufficient funds after party member Sulu Sou was disqualified from the legislature. The ousting targeted the opposition camp, Choi alleged, including the affiliated news platform which had uncovered stories "unfavourable to the Macau government." The Macau Concealers founder said it remained unclear whether the digital outlet faced any political pressure, but the team should have considered other fundraising methods before shutting down the "influential" platform, he said. "To put it bluntly, now it feels like the outlet helped the government to get rid of something unfavourable [to the authorities]…" said Choi, who left Macau Concealers in June 2018 and is currently based in Taiwan. In an open letter published in Stand News on Wednesday, former Macau Concealers director Jason Chao and Choi urged the current director Kam Sut-leng to "take proactive actions" to save content published by the outlet and make the archive available online. "News is the first draft of history. The content on Macau Concealers' page, including interactions within the community, are of unique cultural and historical value…" the letter read. "This can let future readers know that there was once a different voice in Macau," Chao and Choi added. ^ top ^

Macao banks to launch Wealth Management Connect related services (Xinhua)
2021-10-19
Seven banks in China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) have completed the necessary procedure to get ready to provide wealth management services in the Chinese mainland from Tuesday, the Monetary Authority of Macao said on Monday. The banks include the Macao branches of China's major banks such as the Bank of China, the Bank of Communications, and the China Construction Bank, which will participate in the Wealth Management Connect (WMC) pilot scheme for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Under the scheme, Macao residents can open accounts in these banks as well as in the banks' mainland partner bank offices and buy yuan-denominated wealth management products, the Monetary Authority of Macao said Residents in the mainland can also open accounts in Macao banks via the latter's partner banks in the mainland and buy the wealth management products in Macao. The Monetary Authority of Macao said the WMC is a major move and innovative arrangement for promoting mutual access between the financial markets in the Greater Bay Area. The Macao monetary regulator pledged to maintain close communication with supervisory bodies in the mainland and the Hong Kong SAR to ensure the pilot scheme operates smoothly. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

China condemns, rejects EU report on ties with Taiwan: spokesperson (Xinhua)
2021-10-22
China strongly condemned and firmly rejected the so-called report on the political relations and cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Taiwan adopted by the European Parliament and urged the European Parliament to immediately stop its words and deeds that undermined China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily news briefing when answering a query on the adoption of a so-called report on the political relations and cooperation between the EU and Taiwan by the European Parliament. Wang said there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The one-China principle is an international consensus and the political foundation of China's diplomatic relations with the EU. The report adopted by the European Parliament is a serious violation of the basic norms of international relations, the one-China principle and the commitments made by the EU on the Taiwan issue, Wang said. "The European Parliament should immediately stop its words and deeds that undermined China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop provocation and confrontation. We urge relevant parties not to underestimate the strong resolution, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. ^ top ^

US official says Beijing's block of Taiwan from United Nations harms international community (SCMP)
2021-10-22
A senior US official pushed back on Thursday over China's growing clout in the United Nations, arguing that Beijing is crowding out Taiwan to the detriment of the international community. Monday is the 50th anniversary of UN resolution 2758, which states that the People's Republic of China (PRC) is the sole holder of credentials and the "only legitimate" representative of China in the global body. But Rick Waters, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for China, Taiwan and Mongolia, said China has overstepped the UN provision. "The People's Republic of China has misused resolution 2758," said Waters, a former political counsellor in the US embassy in Beijing, at a German Marshall Fund event. "Taiwan being blocked for participation in nearly all of the UN activities creates an immense cost, not just for Taiwan, but I think to UN members as well." US ambassador to China nominee takes tough line toward Beijing at hearing As examples of this cost, Waters cited Taiwan being blocked from the World Health Organization (WHO) despite a strong record fighting the Covid-19 pandemic; from the International Civil Aviation Organization triennial assembly despite having 50 million passengers through its airports annually; and from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), denying it two-way data on criminal activity. Taiwan supporters have long argued the benefits of a bigger global voice for the island of 23.5 million people but it is unclear – given China's growing clout, resources and ability to muscle support in the UN – whether that will happen any time soon. "Resolution 2758 decided the issue of China's representation in the United Nations," said Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at the Global Marshall Fund. "But the matter of Taiwan's participation in the UN remains unresolved." In a press conference a few hours later, China's ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said according to the UN charter, Taiwan has no right to participate in the United Nations. He added that Beijing continues to battle a number of "anti-China forces". "We are fighting in maintaining our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are not the troublemakers. Some countries, the US in particular, are taking actions leading the Taiwan Strait into a dangerous direction," he added. China's moves toward Taiwan shine a spotlight on Beijing's increasingly aggressive tactics at the UN that threaten to erode the rule-based order with implications beyond Taiwan's case, Waters and others said. Otmar Kloiber, secretary general of the World Medical Association, a group of 115 national medical associations, said it has been pressured to lean on member Taiwan Medical Association to change its name to wording suggesting it is part of China. The group has also seen its representatives denied access to UN events, he said. "I cannot ask them to change their name," said Kloiber, who noted that there is a line at the Beijing airport for those holding "passports from Taiwan". "So, is there a little bit of hypocrisy in there and the game that is being played with us," he added. Earlier this year, the medical association reaffirmed a resolution passed in 2005 calling for greater Taiwan participation in WHO activities. "Of course there were fierce discussions with our Chinese colleagues, which is a strong member in our World Medical Association, that we have experienced," said Kloiber. "But in the end, there was a very, very clear majority in favour of this resolution. So our position towards the participation of Taiwan has not changed." Wang Liang-yu, deputy representative with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington, said China has taken the narrowly worded resolution 2758 on UN credentials and expanded it into political and even legal areas. "I think the question countries need to ask themselves is, whether you want to allow China to dictate your policy for you in the UN system," said Wang. Using its expanded UN muscle, China has pushed for wording requiring people entering UN buildings show their "national" passports, effectively excluding even Taiwanese tourists from visiting, she said. It has also put Chinese nationals into senior and increasingly junior positions, including on the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, to able to vet civic groups that do not tow its line on Taiwan, human rights and other issues. US ambassador to China nominee takes tough line toward Beijing at hearing "Our concerns are far broader and include how the PRC is using its nationals in the UN system," said Waters. "It has professional staff and elected leaders, to advance national agendas and not their own." Earlier this year, China blocked the Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado from attending a UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting until it changed a reference to Taiwan it did not like on the school website. "There are many more examples of Taiwan students, artists, journalists, human rights advocates and others being blocked from UN activities or entering UN facilities," Waters added. In another example, Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, was denied observer status at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization after China claimed the website featured information contrary to the one China principle. "If you find this case surprising, I'm sorry to tell you that this is not by any means an isolated incident, similar episodes happen, year after year, in New York," said Wang. "And in recent years, we have noticed that the situation is also getting worse in Geneva." Zhang also told reporters that Washington has no right to criticise China over human rights in Hong Kong or Xinjiang – amid reports that up to 1 million Uygurs have been held in detention camps that Beijing has characterised as vocational training centers – as the United States has many human rights issues. ^ top ^

DPP's collusion with East European politicians a farce for selfish interests (GT)
2021-10-21
It is no secret that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority of the island of Taiwan have wooed some countries' politicians who seek political interests with anti-China gimmicks to create the illusion that Taiwan is gaining support in the world. The DPP authority does so in a bid to deceive and benumb the Taiwan people for its secessionist goal. However, only the DPP authority and those politicians living on anti-China approaches can benefit from such a political maneuver. Ordinary people are the ones who have to bear the consequences of politicians' crossing the red line of the one-China principle. According to media reports, Joseph Wu, head of the external affairs authority of Taiwan, will visit the Czech Republic for a meeting on October 27 and 28. Before Wu's trip, a business delegation from the island of Taiwan will attend a meeting on high-tech cooperation from October 23 to 26. The delegation is reportedly slated to visit Slovakia and Lithuania. The arrangement was described as the latest sign of "warmer relations" between the Czech Republic and the island of Taiwan. The Chinese government is not opposed to any country developing economic, social and cultural cooperation with the island of Taiwan, because this serves the well-being of the Taiwan people, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times. But if Wu's visit pushes through, it will be a blatant challenge to the one-China principle. "China will take firm measures in response. A downgrade in relations between China and the Czech Republic might be inevitable. The visit will negatively affect the situation across the Taiwan Straits. It is also possible that more Chinese People's Liberation Army's aircraft will be sent to areas around Taiwan more frequently," Xin noted. In the past months, the three European countries had petty moves in regard to the Taiwan question. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe had left some people in some of these countries with a deep-rooted anti-communist sentiment. The malicious politicians in some of these countries take advantage to play up ideological antagonism to gain power. They have been deceiving people that supporting Taiwan is supporting the so-called democracy and that challenging the Chinese mainland is challenging the so-called autocracy. In fact, the three countries are more closely connected in economy, trade, and diplomacy with the Chinese mainland than with the island of Taiwan. But these politicians are completely lost to their greed for political support and more votes at home. The DPP's collusion with these politicians is a political farce designed for their own selfish interests and has no practical significance. The DPP authority is aware of this. The island's exports to the mainland in the first nine months of the year have already reached $140 billion, or 42.7 percent of its total exports. As a comparison, the island's exports to the US, which the DPP authority sees as a backer, was only $47 billion in the same period. The DPP authority knows the consequences of provoking the mainland too much. But they are playing with fire soliciting foreign support while continuing to test the waters with salami-slicing tactics. The Taiwan authorities have used "dollar diplomacy" to woo some unscrupulous politicians. But to their countries, such an amount of money means nothing. Take the Czech Republic. In 2019, the Eastern European country's exports to the island of Taiwan was about $259 million, but $2.4 billion to the Chinese mainland. The Chinese mainland has become the second largest trading partner of the Czech Republic and its largest outside the EU. There are broad prospects for the two countries in future cooperation. It is in the interest of both countries to maintain and develop their relations. This is the same case with other countries that have tried to use the Taiwan question to sound China out. China is not opposed to countries developing normal cooperative relations with the island of Taiwan. But if they cross the bottom line of the one-China principle, they must pay the corresponding price. At that time, how can selfish politicians, who harm their own countries' national interests, continue their wishful thinking? ^ top ^

 

Economy

Renminbi to gain clout via stock connect programs (China Daily)
2021-10-22
Multiple funding channels that connect the Chinese mainland and offshore capital markets will further promote the international use of the renminbi, while the exchange rate and cross-border capital flows are expected to remain stable, officials and analysts said on Thursday. The stock and bond connect programs between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong are warmly welcomed by international investors and are helpful to further develop an important platform in Hong Kong to offer RMB-denominated assets as well as promote the process of RMB internationalization, according to Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po. By the end of August, average daily northbound trading utilizing Shanghai-Hong Kong and Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect programs reached 120.7 billion yuan ($18.87 billion), up 34 percent compared with the same period in 2020, Chan said at the 2021 Annual Conference of Financial Street Forum on Thursday. In addition, onshore bonds held by foreign institutions through the northbound trading program have increased to nearly 3.8 trillion yuan, Chan added. Experts expect increased usage of the RMB in international trade and settlements based on the expanded connect programs that channel more RMB funds into offshore markets. Ba Shusong, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing managing director and chief China economist, said RMB internationalization is still at an early stage. Further steps could be considered, such as developing RMB-denominated transactions among offshore investors, Ba said. Pan Gongsheng, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China and head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said on Wednesday that the structure of capital flowing into China has been optimized with steady increases in foreign investment. Long-term foreign investment in the RMB bond market has come to dominate capital inflows. China has experienced a deleveraging process of foreign debt from 2015 to 2016. And in the earlier period, cross-border capital flows were sensitive to exchange rate floats. At present, the RMB exchange rate shows greater flexibility, supported by resilient economic growth, said Pan at the opening ceremony of the forum. China's foreign exchange market is expected to be stable despite the effect of the US Federal Reserve monetary policy shift. Cross-border capital will show "two way" flows, in and out, and the RMB exchange rate will remain basically stable with reasonable equilibrium, Pan added. Pan predicted that during this round of US monetary policy tightening, appreciation of the US dollar will be within a limited range, and the Fed's withdrawal of the last round of quantitative easing is unlikely to hit emerging markets so strongly as the last time after the 2008 global financial crisis. ^ top ^

Seven Investors in Unigroup Takeover Talks (Caixin)
2021-10-19
Tsinghua Unigroup Co. Ltd. is in talks with seven strategic investors including state-owned China Electronics Corp. and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Caixin learned. The talks suggest that the restructuring of the once high-flying chipmaking conglomerate to resolve massive debt woes is accelerating. Unigroup, majority owned by Tsinghua University in Beijing, held its first meeting with creditors online to review its debt obligations, the company said in a statement Monday on its official social media account. Representatives of more than 400 creditors participated in the meeting, claiming more than 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) of debts, an attendee told Caixin. Although Unigroup's businesses are generating less than 100 billion yuan in annual revenue, the company still has the capacity to repay the debts, the person said. "The convening of the creditors meeting indicated that Unigroup's restructuring is entering a key stage that will confirm the strategic investors as soon as possible to help revive its business," Unigroup said in the statement. Government-appointed administrators are evaluating restructuring proposals by seven strategic investors that are interested in taking over the company, Unigroup said in its statement. Unigroup didn't identify the investors, but Caixin learned that they include the five candidates shortlisted in June plus two new participants — leading state-owned electronics producer China Electronics Corp. and a consortium formed by Shanghai Summitview High-Tech Venture Capital Management Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Guosheng Group. The five candidates shortlisted in June are Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holding Co. Ltd., Beijing Electronic Holding Co. Ltd., Beijing Jianguang Asset Management Co. Ltd., Wuxi Industry Development Group Co. Ltd. and Alibaba Group. The five were hand-picked from 14 candidates by a working team sent by the Beijing municipal government to Unigroup to lead the restructuring. All five companies agreed to take over Unigroup as a whole and offered between 50 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan for the assets. The Monday meeting attendee said the Unigroup reorganization is moving in the direction of overall takeover by new investors while also resolving the debts. "The seven potential investors are all long-term industrial investors, meaning they may help the company win support from bank creditors," the person said. Unigroup was once at the forefront of China's drive to develop a domestic semiconductor industry. The company embarked on a series of acquisitions and investments in the capital-intensive integrated circuit sector between 2013 and 2019, forging partnerships with Intel Corp. and HP Inc. and emerging as a major player. But it failed to generate income quickly in an industry famous for huge costs of entry and long payback periods. Since late 2020, the company has defaulted on a raft of bonds amid an escalating capital crunch. According to company filings, Unigroup had 296.6 billion yuan ($46 billion) of total assets as of the end of June 2020. Liabilities amounted 202.9 billion yuan, with nearly 80 billion yuan maturing within a year. A court in Beijing ordered Unigroup's creditors to file claims by Oct. 8. Under China's bankruptcy law, the company will have until April 2022 to discuss and settle on a reorganization plan with potential strategic investors. Unigroup is expected to attempt to reach an agreement with creditors for some of its debt to be forgiven and for repayment deadlines to be delayed, while strategic investors will be invited to provide new funds. If the company, its creditors and potential strategic investors fail to reach agreement, the company could be liquidated. Regulators have signaled a preference for investors that are willing to take over Unigroup's major assets as a whole. According to company filings, as of the end of June 2020, Unigroup had 286 subsidiaries. The most valuable assets include Shenzhen-listed cloud unit Tsinghua Unisplendour, security chipmaker Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics Co., mobile phone chipmaker Unisoc and Yangtze Memory Technologies, all leading players in segments of the semiconductor industry. But it will also make the rescue of Unigroup a challenging task because of the massive assets and complicated debts involved, analysts said. ^ top ^

China's GDP Growth Slows to 4.9% Amid Power Crunch, Real Estate Woes (Caixin)
2021-10-18
China's GDP grew 4.9% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, official data showed Monday, as growth continued to slow amid a power crunch, soaring commodity prices and tightening restrictions on the real estate industry. The figure came in just shy of the median estimate for 5% growth in a Caixin survey of economists. It was much lower than the 7.9% year-on-year growth rate for the second quarter and the 12.7% growth rate for the first half of the year. In the first nine months of 2021, China's GDP was up 9.8% year-on-year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). […] China's economic performance in September showed that industrial production and property investment took the biggest hits from regulation-induced downside risks, HSBC Bank PLC economist Chen Jingyang wrote in a research note Monday. Value-added industrial output — which measures production by factories, mines and utilities — rose 3.1% year-on-year in September, falling short of the median estimate of 3.6% in the Caixin survey — and down from the previous month's 5.3% growth rate. Over the past month, many regions across China have suffered power shortages due to insufficient coal supplies and intensive government scrutiny over energy consumption in an effort to meet carbon reduction goals. This situation has forced many manufacturers to suspend or curtail production. Meanwhile, the government's tightening restrictions on the property market further reined in investment in the sector. In the first nine months, investment in property development grew 8.8% year-on-year, slower than the 10.9% pace recorded for the first eight months. The debt crisis of real estate giant China Evergrande Group added to worries about the growing risk of contagion in the financial system, which could push other developers, banks, suppliers and homebuyers to become more cautious, economists at Macquarie Capital Ltd. wrote in a note. Dragged down by weakening property investment, fixed-asset investment, a key driver of domestic demand, rose 7.3% year-on-year in the first nine months, lower than the 8.9% rate of expansion in the first eight months. Infrastructure investment — which includes spending on road and railway construction and is generally led by the government — increased 1.5% year-on-year in the first nine months, lower than the 2.9% growth rate of the first eight months. HSBC's Chen said it may take time for local governments to accelerate issuances of special-purpose bonds, which are used to finance infrastructure and public welfare projects, as regulators remain vigilant about local government debt risk. Still, she expects that issuance of such debt will pick up in the fourth quarter, which may lead to a moderate rebound in infrastructure investment toward the end of the year. Consumption was one bright spot in the September economic numbers. Retail sales — which include spending by households, governments and businesses — rose 4.4% year-on-year in September, higher than August's rate of 2.5%. That was largely supported by a partial recovery in services consumption as China had Covid-19 under better control than in the previous month, Chen said. Looking ahead, Chen forecast that China's GDP growth will slow to 4.6% year-on-year in fourth quarter. Economists at Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd. predicted that economic growth will slow to 3% in the fourth quarter, with Macquarie forecasting around 4%. Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics Ltd., forecast that GDP growth will slow to 3.6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, but policymakers won't be idle. "In response to the ugly growth numbers we expect in coming months, policymakers will take more steps to shore up growth, including ensuring ample liquidity in the interbank market, accelerating infrastructure development and relaxing some aspects of overall credit and real estate policies," he wrote. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

U.S. remains prepared to engage with DPRK after missile test: White House (Xinhua)
2021-10-20
The White House said on Tuesday that the United States remains prepared to engage with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after its latest missile test. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday that the DPRK had fired a short-range ballistic missile into the eastern waters. DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported early Wednesday local time that the country test-fired a new-type submarine-launched ballistic missile on Tuesday. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a daily briefing that the United States condemns the missile launch while noting "these launches also underscore the urgent need for dialogue and diplomacy." "Our offer remains to meet anywhere, any time without preconditions. We're also closely consulting with allies in this," she added. "We remain prepared to engage in diplomacy with the DPRK." Also on Tuesday, U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim held a trilateral meeting with his counterparts from South Korea and Japan over the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement issued by the State Department. "Kim emphasized U.S. condemnation of the DPRK's October 19 ballistic missile launch, which violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions, and called on the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and engage in sustained and substantive dialogue," said the statement. The U.S. Joe Biden administration has repeatedly suggested that it seeks to engage with Pyongyang over the denuclearization issue but has showed no willingness to ease sanctions. DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un said last week that there has been "no behavioral ground" to believe the recent U.S. signaling that Washington is not hostile to Pyongyang, slamming South Korea for its "double standards" to continue to boost military capabilities. Kim, however, noted that the DPRK's enemy is a "war itself, not a certain country or forces like South Korea and the United States." ^ top ^

Sanctions relief can be considered if DPRK accepts dialogue offer: S.Korean FM (Xinhua)
2021-10-20
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong Wednesday said the country will consider sanctions relief if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) accepts dialogue offer.
Chung made the remark during a parliamentary audit of government offices, saying some actions should be rapidly taken to prevent the DPRK from developing nuclear and missile capabilities further. He said sanctions relief can be considered for sure among ways to prevent the further development, on condition that the DPRK accepts the dialogue proposal. Chung's comment was made hours after the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency reported that Pyongyang successfully conducted the test-firing of a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday. Asked about whether the United States was on the same page with South Korea as to the condition-based easing of sanctions, Chung said Washington has officially made it clear that it can discuss all issues if the DPRK returns to the dialogue table. Chung noted that South Korean President Moon Jae-in's proposal to declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War is one of several options to restart the Korean Peninsula peace process. The minister said the end-of-war declaration aims to build trust to create an atmosphere for dialogue, adding that it is the first gateway and an essential step for the peninsula peace process. The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war as the fratricidal war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Renewable energy sources in Mongolia will be urgently increased" (Montsame)
2021-10-21
A preliminary discussion under the theme 'Mongolia - Green Development' for the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference kicked off at the State House today on October 21. The discussion aims to accelerate works being carried out in the sectors of forestry and energy as well as pasture management, and boost the government's active participation in the framework of the fight against climate change. In his opening remarks, President of Mongolia U.Khurelsukh noted that Mongolia is fully supporting the works being carried out by international organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and is currently putting in all its efforts to fulfill the commitments and obligations under the Paris Agreement. He also highlighted how the country aims to urgently increase renewable energy sources as a country that only produces energy from coal. Mongolia aims to reduce GHG, a core factor for climate change, by 22.7 percent by 2030. By introducing new technology and innovation, and creating a sustainable system for green financing, it is planned to further increase the reduction of GHG, reaching 27.2 percent. No less than one percent of the GDP is currently planned to be utilized for the fight against climate change and desertification. Private entities, domestic and foreign investors, and especially the practices, direct and indirect financial support provided by donor countries and international organizations also have a significant role in the works. The discussion is being attended by representatives of the government, heads of missions at Diplomatic Representative's Offices in Mongolia as well as representatives of organizations such as the United Nations, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank. ADB Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ahmed Saeed: Mongolia would face many challenges and difficulties in the fight against climate change, without a doubt. However, many new opportunities are also being created. The Asian Development Bank fully supports your country's decisive step. Areas involving energy and pasture management would especially receive support. As a country that has a large amount of resources for renewable energy, it is possible for Mongolia to meet domestic demands as well as to export energy to other countries. Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Usha Rao-Monari: I express my gratitude for how Mongolia is focusing on climate change. The 'One Billion Trees' national campaign is a great step. In its framework, all citizens, and especially women and youth, should be involved. Countries of the world must join forces in order to reach results in the fight against climate change. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Philip Malone: Desertification, dust storms, and natural disasters - climate change is causing a lot of damage. Attention should be paid to building capacity for overcoming disasters and enhancing resilience, and increasing financing. It is important that countries of the world discuss the matter and reach certain results during the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. As for Minister of Environment and Tourism N.Urtnasan, she noted the necessity to implement projects on renewable energy, create a management system to keep the number of livestock animals at a suitable ratio, and increase financing for construction of waste plants and buildings that are heat and energy-efficient. Discussions will take place under the themes, 'The participation of the forestry sector in Mongolia's vision for green development', 'Expanding green energy solutions', and 'Sustainable pasture management and green economy diversification'. The preliminary discussions are being organized by the Office of the President of Mongolia, Asian Development Bank, and the United Nations. ^ top ^

University complexes to be established in rural areas (Montsame)
2021-10-20
At its regular meeting today, the Cabinet put out a resolution to develop universities in rural areas as academic, research and industrial complexes. Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Enkh-Amgalan said that the development of universities in rural regions will be a complex solution that will reduce traffic congestion in the capital city, strengthen human resources in rural areas and contribute to regional development. He said, "Previously, a resolution was issued to relocate some branches of public universities from Ulaanbaatar to rural areas. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Looking back to the past, we have not been able to create a system that provides quality education in rural areas as we have not been able to see the problem comprehensively." "There is a gap between urban and rural education at all levels. In the future, when universities are to be developed in rural areas, there is an urgent need to provide quality education similar to that provided in Ulaanbaatar. Quality of universities is measured by the rate of the university graduates who have found a job. A decision has been made to establish schools of the National University of Mongolia, the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and the Mongolian University of Agriculture in Erdenet, Darkhan and Umnugovi aimags as academic, research and industrial complexes. It should be noted that they will be established not as branches. Moreover, no new buildings will be built, but the complexes will be established using existing buildings, dormitories and school buildings in the aimags" he added. ^ 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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