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
  26-30.8.2013, No. 490  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

PLA stresses goal of stronger military (Xinhua)
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China on Sunday called for better implementation of the country's ambition for a strong military, according to a circular from the PLA's General Political Department. The circular, which was approved by Central Military Commission (CMC) President Xi Jinping, urged enhanced construction of the political environment within the military via mobilizing officers and soldiers' enthusiasm for building a strong military. China's ambition for a strong military works as a guideline for the country's defense and military modernization, the circular said, adding that troops should strictly follow the leadership of the Communist Party of China during the process. The circular further noted that the PLA should continue to increase combat capacities as the fundamental and only standard, and focus the attention of personnel on combat abilities and readiness. It also asked military officers and soldiers at all levels to strengthen research on major theoretical and practical problems and carefully fix new situations and problems in military political construction. ^ top ^

PLA Navy heads for routine drill in W.Pacific (China Daily)
A fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Monday morning left port in East China's Zhejiang province for the West Pacific region on a routine drill. The fleet is composed of two frigates, the Yiyang and Changzhou, both from the Donghai Fleet of PLA Navy. As part of annual routine training, the fleet will conduct combat readiness patrols; comprehensive attack and defense routines in open sea; helicopter drills; and non-combat military operations among others. Yan Zhengming, commander of the fleet, said drills in open sea are common practice to improve combat capability. The PLA Navy has organized several drills in open sea in the West Pacific this year. The Yiyang and Changzhou came into service in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The two frigates joined the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden from July 2012 to January 2013. ^ top ^

China rules out talks with Japan on disputed Diaoyus (SCMP)
China sees no reason to hold talks with Japan over their dispute about ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong said. Li said Japan's call for high-level talks was not genuine, but merely grandstanding. "A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems," Li said ahead of President Xi Jinping's attendance at the G20 summit next week. "If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve problems, they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show," Li said, when asked about the possibility of a meeting of Chinese and Japanese leaders at the G20. China's blunt rejection came as Japan yesterday voiced irritation over a remark by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called on Tokyo to face up to the past and improve ties with its neighbours. Speaking in Seoul on Monday, Ban called for "very deep introspection" by Japanese leaders, especially with regard to moves in Japan to revise its pacifist constitution. "I find it very regrettable that the tension [among the three northeast Asian countries] continues on due to issues of history and other political reasons," Ban said. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he doubted if Ban was fully aware of the efforts Japan was making towards dialogue with China and South Korea. "Prime Minister [Shinzo Abe] has called for dialogue with South Korea and China despite issues of concern," Suga said. "I feel a strong sense of doubt as to whether the remark was made with full understanding of our country's position." However, Professor Lian Degui, of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said it was unlikely that a Chinese state leader would meet Abe if Japan did not address Beijing's concerns over Tokyo's nationalising of the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan refers to as the Senkakus. "If Japan really wants to improve ties with China, then it should address our concern," he said. "It makes no sense for Tokyo to ask for a dialogue if Japan does not change its stance." Japan's coastguard said yesterday that three Chinese coastguard vessels had entered what Japan considered to be its territorial waters near the disputed islands. China said the trip was a routine patrol in its own waters. ^ top ^

China urges US to be open on monetary policy exit (SCMP)
China has called for greater consultation on the US Federal Reserve's plans to taper quantitative easing to avoid unnecessary risks to the global economy and disruption to currency markets. Deputy Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao made the remarks at a press briefing in Beijing yesterday ahead of a two-day Group of 20 Summit next week that will be attended by President Xi Jinping. Zhu added his voice to calls from International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, who has cautioned that countries should stay vigilant to risks from plans by developed nations to abandon ultra-loose monetary policy. As signs of global economic recovery emerge, discussions about the risks and the process of tapering the quantitative easing adopted since the global financial crisis in the US, Europe and Japan are likely to dominate the agenda of the G20 meeting, to be held from September 5 to 6 in St Petersburg, Russia. "As the world's main currency issuing country, the United States must consider the spillover impact of its monetary policy, particularly the timing and the rhythm of its exit from the unconventional monetary policy," Zhu said. "We hope developed economies could adopt responsible economic policies, whether it's loose monetary policy or an end of it. Even if it's just a plan or a thought, you must have more communication with other member states." He said the timing and pace of the US withdrawal of its quantitative easing policy would mean "extreme uncertainty" for the Chinese economy. The impact of the tapering plan had already been felt in emerging markets, Zhu said, citing capital outflows and the recent currency depreciation in India and Indonesia. Hurt by external headwinds, China's exports dropped earlier this year, causing it to experience its most sluggish quarter of growth since the global financial crisis. Lagarde also expressed concerns about the spillover impact of a quantitative easing exit and called for global co-ordination in a speech at an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday. "No country is an island," she said. "In today's interconnected world, the spillovers from domestic policies - UMP [unconventional monetary policy] included - may well feed back to where they began. Looking at the wider effect is in your self-interest. It is in all of our interests.". ^ top ^

China, Vietnam pledge to resolve dispute in South China Sea (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Beijing on Wednesday when they pledged to resolve the dispute between the two countries in the South China Sea. Reiterating China's stance, Wang said the two countries should push ahead with maritime cooperation and work together to control the dispute and turn challenges into opportunities. Pham said the Vietnamese side is ready to resolve the dispute and work with China for stability in the area. During the meeting, Wang and Pham agreed to maintain high-level contact, advance cooperation in trade and inter-connectivity, and increase cultural and youth-to-youth exchanges to lay a more solid social foundation for friendship. China and Vietnam share common strategic interests and immense room for cooperation, Wang said, calling for solidarity and cooperation to counter challenges and grasp opportunities for common development. Pham said Vietnam attaches great importance to ties with China and stands ready to enhance strategic cooperation between the two countries in a sustained way. Pham is in Beijing to attend a special China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of the formation of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. ^ top ^

China calls for restraint and calmness on Syria crisis (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday urged all sides concerned to keep calm and restrained on the ongoing crisis in Syria. Wang made the remarks as he replied to a question from Xinhua. "China keeps a close watch on the latest situation in Syria," Wang said, adding that the Chinese side is firmly opposed to any use of chemical weapons in Syria and supports the UN's independent, objective, impartial and professional investigation there. Wang said nobody should interfere with or prejudge the investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. The U.S. and its allies are considering launching strikes on Syria in response to deadly alleged chemical attacks last week in eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus, which claimed hundreds of lives. The Syrian government and opposition groups have traded accusations about the use of chemical weapons. Syria has allowed an access for UN inspectors to probe the use of chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta. "A political solution is always the only realistic means to resolve the Syria issue," said the Chinese foreign minister, adding that military interference from the outside will conflict with the UN Charter and exacerbate the turmoil in the Middle East. ^ top ^

China, US officials discuss defense ties (China Daily)
The defense chiefs of China and the United States had their second meeting within 10 days on Wednesday on the sidelines of a regional defense ministers meeting in Brunei, a gesture observers said shows a growing momentum of frank interaction. Beijing and Washington should maintain dialogue on multilateral occasions to "accumulate mutual trust and increase positive energy for ties between the two militaries", Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told his US counterpart Chuck Hagel. The two posed together for pictures before a gala dinner for the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus in Bandar Seri Begawan on Wednesday night. Chang traveled to the US in mid-August and talked with the US Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon on Aug 19. The two countries should "make tangible efforts to take care of each other's concerns", and strengthen positive interactions within the multilateral mechanisms of defense and security affairs, Chang said. Hagel echoed Chang's proposals and stressed the importance of enhancing communication between the defense authorities and their senior officials. Zhao Jingfang, a professor at the National Defense University PLA, said expanding the scope of dialogue and seeking more talks on multilateral occasions, such as the ASEAN defense minister's summit, are "beneficial for enhancing mutual trust". "In the past, Sino-US military communications focused on bilateral mechanisms and meetings," Zhao said. The importance of strengthening dialogue has also been underlined as the region has witnessed a growing number of US military joint drills in recent years as well as Washington rebalances its Asia strategy. While in Washington, Chang expressed his hope the US strategy does not target a specific country. "To a certain degree, these kinds of intensified military activities further complicate the situation in the region," he said. Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of the Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, said the meeting on Wednesday was the second step toward a new type of military-to-military relationship following the Pentagon talks on Aug 19. "This matches President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama's vision of a new type of relationship between the major powers. The frequent interactions between the two sides show the defense ties have entered a new era," Meng said. The Brunei talk between the two defense chiefs will contribute to regional peace and stability and it is also a platform for them to have deeper discussions and avoid misunderstanding, Meng added. During his first trip to the US after assuming office, Chang had a "candid and deep" talk with Hagel and exchanged views on a series of bilateral and international issues. Hagel hailed Chang's US trip as "very productive" and accepted Chang's invitation to visit China next year. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, also offered to host his Chinese counterpart, Fang Fenghui, next year. Meanwhile, Chang announced the Chinese navy would join the RIM of the Pacific joint maritime exercise for the first time next year at the invitation of the US. During the Pentagon meeting, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in non-traditional security fields, including humanitarian aid. The Chinese defense minister elaborated more on the non-traditional security issue during the talk in Brunei. China and the US should explore pragmatic cooperation in areas such as disaster relief, anti-terrorism and peacekeeping, and "they are expected to improve the region's capability of handling non-traditional security threats", Chang said. The two powers have a record of cooperation in this field. On Sunday, the navies of China and the United States conducted their second joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden. In September 2012, China and the US conducted their first joint anti-piracy drill, which lasted for five hours, also in the Gulf of Aden. ^ top ^

China issues white paper on co-op with Africa (Xinhua)
The Chinese government on Thursday issued a white paper on China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation, underlining latest achievements of the mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and African countries. The white paper, released by the Information Office of China's State Council, introduces facts of trade development, investment expansion, agricultural cooperation, infrastructure construction and other fields of cooperation between China and Africa since 2009. "China-Africa economic and trade development has improved people's livelihoods and diversified economic development in African countries, and provided strong support for China's socio-economic development," the white paper says. The cooperation between China and Africa also contributed to promoting South-South cooperation and balancing global economic development, according to the white paper. Through the joint efforts of China and Africa, economic and trade cooperation is enjoying a more consolidated foundation and better mechanisms than before, with new common interests and growth points constantly emerging, it says. In spite of sluggish global economic recovery in recent years, the trade between China and Africa has maintained the momentum of comparatively rapid growth. In 2009, China became Africa's largest trade partner. In the following two years, the scale of bilateral trade expanded rapidly. In 2012, the total volume of China-Africa trade reached $198.49 billion, a year-on-year growth of 19.3 percent, the paper says. The total bilateral trade volume, China's exports to Africa and China's imports from Africa all reached new highs last year. The white paper says that Sino-African bilateral trade enjoys great potential and is significant for the economic development of both sides. China will help African countries improve their customs and commodity inspection facilities, provide support for African countries to promote trade facilitation, and push forward trade growth within Africa, the white paper says. As poor economic foundation and insufficient construction funds have always been factors limiting the development of African countries, Chinese government encourages and supports enterprises and financial institutions to increase investment in Africa. China's direct investment in African countries increased from $1.44 billion in 2009 to $2.52 billion in 2012, representing an annual growth rate of 20.5 percent. At present, over 2,000 Chinese enterprises are investing in more than 50 African countries and regions. Their investment activities have expanded from the fields of agriculture, mining and construction to intensive processing of resource products, manufacturing, financing, logistics and real estate, the white paper says. African enterprises have also been active in making investment in China. By the end of 2012, investment from African countries in China totaled $14.24 billion, surging 44 percent from 2009. China-Africa investment and financing cooperation has solidified the foundation of Africa's economic development, increased Africa's capacity of independent development, improved Africa's competitiveness in the global economic sphere, and advanced Chinese enterprises' internationalized development, the white paper says. ^ top ^

Philippines says China asked Aquino to scrap visit (SCMP)
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has called off his planned visit to China next week at Beijing's request, Manila said on Thursday as the two nations wrangle over maritime disputes. Aquino had announced only on Wednesday that he would make a 12-hour trip to Nanning on September 3 to attend a trade fair and business conference called the China-Asean Expo. “The president has decided not to proceed... taking into consideration China's request for the president to visit China at a more conducive time,” foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement. Asked why China made such a request, Hernandez said: “Maybe you can ask China.” The Chinese embassy could not be contacted for comment. Edwin Lacierda, an Aquino spokesman, had previously stressed the importance of the event at which the Philippines was to be “the country of honour”. Hernandez reiterated on Thursday the Philippine position that “bilateral relations can advance despite differences”, an apparent reference to the festering dispute over the South China Sea. China claims virtually all of the sea, up to the coasts of its neighbours like the Philippines. The Philippines has said that China's claim infringes on its own maritime territory. Tensions between China and other claimants to the sea, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam, have escalated in recent years amid a series of Chinese political and military actions to assert its claims to the waters. The Philippines earlier this year said it had applied for its dispute with China to be arbitrated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a 1982 treaty signed by both countries. China has rejected the Philippines' call for UN arbitration, insisting on bilateral negotiations with its smaller neighbour. The annual Nanning exposition, which began in 2004, is intended to strengthen economic ties between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which the Philippines is a member. ^ top ^

China, ASEAN vow to consolidate strategic partnership (Xinhua)
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday agreed to consolidate and deepen their strategic partnership. The pledge came out of a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and foreign ministers of ten ASEAN members as well as ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, on the sidelines of the special China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting to mark the 10th anniversary of the formation of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Li lauded the development of China-ASEAN relations as promoting regional stability and prosperity. He said China steadily pursued the way of peaceful development, took the relationship with ASEAN as a priority in its regional diplomacy, and pursued the policy of good. Li said China will continue to consolidate the strategic partnership with ASEAN, support ASEAN's integration, and be glad to see ASEAN play a leading role in regional cooperation. He noted that through friendly consultation, China and ASEAN countries will respect each other, increase mutual trust and handle disputes with to promote long-term friendship and win-win situations. ^ top ^

China will not 'shy away' from South China Sea row (SCMP)
Beijing will “not shy away from problems” in disputed Asian waters, its foreign minister said on Thursday at a meeting between China and Southeast Asian countries. China claims nearly all the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries, several of them members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), and has been increasingly assertive in promoting its claims. The sea is strategically important, with several vital shipping routes passing through it, and is believed to be rich in resources. At a meeting with Asean foreign ministers in the Chinese capital, Wang Yi said: “We did not shy away from problems that exist. “Currently the South China Sea situation is stable and when we look at other places in world, we should dearly cherish it.” Asean has been trying for more than a decade to secure agreement from China on a legally binding code of conduct. China has refused to upgrade a 2002 “declaration of conduct” into a legally binding code, wary of giving any concessions that may weaken its claim and preferring instead to negotiate individually with each country. Further meetings on the issue are planned for next month and in December. Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Asean looked forward to “constructive and substantive” discussions with China. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Bo Xilai trial transcripts censored, say court sources (SCMP)
Sensitive testimony that might humanise Bo Xilai or cast Beijing in a bad light has been scrubbed from the public transcripts of the former Politburo member's corruption trial, according to people with direct knowledge of the proceedings. Since the politically charged trial began on Thursday, the Jinan Intermediate People's Court has provided detailed transcripts of testimony on its official microblog. While these have provided juicy details to captivate the millions watching around the world, some testimony has been left out of the public record, according to three people who have either attended the trial or been briefed on proceedings. Censored testimony included Bo's account of the five letters he wrote to the Communist Party's central leadership, pleading for his wife's pardon in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Also omitted were his descriptions of the less-than-subtle tactics by investigators from the party's anti-graft watchdog, who told him of the corruption trials of two officials - one who confessed and lived and the other who fought and was executed. The transcripts also left out some of Bo's more sympathetic remarks about his wife, Gu Kailai, who was convicted of murder last year and has testified against him. Similarly, the transcripts took some of Bo's more negative remarks about Gu out of context, including his description of her as "insane", according to a source briefed on the testimony. The source said Bo was merely quoting what the investigators had said about her to prove that her testimony was unreliable. "My life has already been a tragedy; so is Kailai's life," Bo told prosecutors on Saturday, according to the source. "I hope you guys can stop this investigation, and stop squeezing the last bit of warmth out of our family." Two of the sources said Bo also blamed strong-arm tactics by the Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection (CCDI) with pressuring him into making a confession - another detail not in the transcripts. The CCDI officials told him to study the fate of former Anhui vice-governor Wang Huaizhong and that of the former railways minister Liu Zhijun. Wang, who fought his charges, was executed in 2004 after being convicted of accepting five million yuan (HK$6.3 million) in bribes. In July, Liu was convicted of corruption after taking more than 60 million yuan in bribes, but he received only a suspended death sentence. His trial lasted less than four hours and he expressed his "gratefulness" to the party at the court. Bo said investigators told him his charges could lead to a harsh verdict or a lenient one. It depended on his attitude about a confession. "There are two lives that hinge upon me," Bo told the court, using a Chinese idiom, according to the court witness source. It was taken to mean that he thought his confession could save both himself and his wife from the death penalty. But the public account showed only that Bo simply denied his pretrial confessions. According to the transcripts, Bo said he was pressured by the anti-graft officials, who asked him "leading questions" to extract a confession against his will. Bo was quoted as saying: "I'm not a perfect man, am not a strong-willed person; I'm willing to take responsibility for that." Other omitted court details include a heated discussion about Gu's drug use and a verbal attack on the state media by Bo. Bo complained to the court that "some authoritative media had already given me a verdict" even before the trial ended, according to the sources. "This was not conforming to the spirit of rule of law, democracy, fairness and justice." On the second day of the trial, Bo uttered a few English words such as "funny" and "ridiculous" to describe the raw meat his son Guagua brought for him from Africa as a gift, and he was cut short by the presiding judge. "Only Chinese is allowed at this hearing," he said. ^ top ^

Bo Xilai insists he did not abuse power (China Daily)
Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai on Sunday denied the charge of abusing power to cover up a murder case involving his wife and to sack a police chief without proper procedures, as the high-profile trial entered its fourth day. Bo, 64, a former member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, was charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. The trial started on Thursday at Jinan Intermediate People's Court, and the court investigation and cross-examination were completed on Sunday morning. The trial is to resume on Monday. Prosecutors said on Sunday that Bo did not turn himself in, confess his crimes or inform against others. Such compliance can result in more lenient punishment. Prosecutors presented evidence on the charge of abuse of power against Bo on Sunday, showing that he ordered the investigation of officials in charge of handling his wife Bogu Kailai's intentional homicide case. She was sentenced to a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for murdering British citizen Neil Heywood on Nov 13, 2011. The prosecutors' evidence also showed that on Jan 28, 2012, then Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun reported the murder case to Bo, and Bo violated organizational procedures to remove Wang from his post five days later, which led to Wang fleeing to the US Consulate General in Chengdu on Feb 6, 2012. Wang, 53, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September 2012 for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and accepting bribes. Wang appeared in court on Saturday and testified that Bo hit him in the face and smashed a cup in front of two other local officials to threaten them into silence about the murder case. Bo said on Sunday that smashing the cup did not necessarily show his opposition to probing the murder case. It only reflected his lack of self-restraint. Bo insisted that Wang's testimony was falsified and that as a defector "with extremely bad character", Wang is not qualified to testify. But the chief judge reminded Bo that it was him as well as the prosecutors who applied for Wang's presence at the court. Bo said "thanks" to the judge afterward. Bo's defense lawyers questioned the objectivity and authenticity of Wang's testimony. "The moment that he (Wang) appeared in court, he showed grave hostility toward the defendant, saying that he was a victim of the defendant rather than a witness," a defense lawyer said. But prosecutors said Wang's testimony was consistent with his previous statements, which could also be verified by the testimony of other witnesses and documentary evidence. The prosecutors also said that Bo allowed his wife, who was not a civil servant, to take part in discussions about how to handle Wang's defection. Bo sanctioned his wife's suggestion to ask a hospital to fake a diagnosis that Wang had mental illness, and the false information was released to the public under Bo's instruction, the prosecutors said. The prosecutors presented the testimony of Huang Qifan, mayor of Chongqing, and three other officials, in which the four witnesses said that Bo talked with them in late January 2012 and suggested dismissing Wang without the approval of the Ministry of Public Security. According to regulations, dismissing a provincial-level police chief needs approval from the ministry. Bo admitted that he had made mistakes in handling the issues, including dismissing Wang from his post, but he insisted that he was not involved in any abuse of power and the responsibility lay entirely with his wife and an official surnamed Wu. During the four-day trial, prosecutors also accused Bo of taking bribes from businessmen Tang Xiaolin, general manager of Dalian International Development, and Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group, and embezzling 5 million yuan from a government project. Bo denied all the charges. Throughout Sunday's session of the trial, Bo was "emotionally stable and physically fine", said court spokesman Liu Yanjie, at a news briefing on Sunday. Bo said in court that the prosecutors have done a lot of work and that he respected this. "I think that the Jinan Intermediate People's Court is very humane, and the trial process is very civilized. I appreciate all of you," Bo said on Sunday. Chen Weidong, a procedural law professor at Renmin University of China, said a half-day break on Sunday from the prolonged hearing could let the prosecutors and the defense get refreshed and be prepared for the upcoming court debate. "The hearing has been going on for nearly four days. It may be difficult for the public to imagine the tension and pressure that the judges, prosecutors and defense face in court. I think they need a break," he said. Chen said court debate is usually fiercer than cross-examination and requires full dedication from all the parties. He suggested the prosecutors and the defense make use of the break to take down the key points proposed by the other side and list important arguments they would use in Monday's debate. ^ top ^

Gu Kailai likely to face fresh trial for economic crimes (SCMP)
The wife of Bo Xilai is almost certain to be prosecuted separately for economic crimes revealed in her testimony regarding corruption allegations against her husband, sources say. Concerns about the credibility of the legal system were raised throughout the five-day trial against Bo, in which the court heard that Gu Kailai attempted to cover up her family assets through complicated business dealings with tycoons. But Gu was only charged with murdering her business partner, Briton Neil Heywood, last year, for which she was handed a suspended death sentence. "It is almost certain that Gu will face a separate new trial for economic crimes," said a legal expert with close knowledge of the case who did not want to be named. The court presiding over Bo's case heard that property tycoon Xu Ming paid €2.3 million (HK$23.5 million) on Gu's behalf for a villa in France, set up several companies, and borrowed from a bank to evade taxes and conceal the couple's links to the property, but Gu retained firm control and de facto ownership of the villa. According to Gu's testimony, Xu also paid 3.2 million yuan for luxury travel for Gu's son, Bo Guagua, from 2004 to 2012. Guagua's trip to Africa in August 2011 cost Xu more than US$100,000. Only Gu, not Guagua, gave evidence, in an 11-minute video clip and written testimonies. Legal experts said both Gu and Guagua were culpable and that Gu should be prosecuted for economic crimes as well as murder. She should also appear in court to answer the charges. "Legally speaking, Gu should face additional charges other than murder given her involvement in those business dealings," said Si Weijiang, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. Another lawyer, Li Heping, said it was possible for authorities to introduce new charges against a convicted criminal if new evidence came to light. "It is legally sound to reopen the case or launch a separate trial even after a criminal has been convicted," he said. The court may impose a combined punishment for several offences after the new trial and in some cases the convicted person might receive a harsher sentence. However, it is unlikely that Gu will be given a tougher penalty as she is already serving a suspended death sentence. "It is theoretically possible for the court to impose a death sentence without suspension," Li said. "But it is very unlikely in Gu's case, unless the court is convinced that the economic crimes were more serious than murder." An indictment against Bo Xilai issued last month said Gu's case would be handled separately. ^ top ^

Chinese internet server jammed in largest ever mainland hacker attack (SCMP)
China's domain name service suffered the largest attack ever on a mainland internet address server at the weekend, the central government said yesterday. The attack started very early on Sunday and was continuing yesterday afternoon, it said. More than eight million websites are registered with China's top-level country domain,.cn Li Xiaodong, executive director of the China Internet Network Information Centre, (CNNIC), which maintains the servers, said such an attack was unprecedented. To jam the Chinese servers, the attackers summoned traffic flow "far greater" than anything seen before, he said, without providing a figure on the volume. The first wave of attacks began at about midnight and lasted around two hours, interrupting services, CNNIC said. The second wave, at about 4am, turned out to be the biggest denial-of-service attack on Chinese domain name servers in history, slowing or killing connections to certain Chinese websites. A staff member at CNNIC told the Post that the attack was still going on yesterday afternoon. "We feel sorry for websites affected," he said, speaking anonymously. "We strongly condemn those launching the attack." Access to most Chinese websites remained more or less normal yesterday, however, as the central government activated a contingency plan, including the use of backup servers. Li said the attack probably came from a large number of "zombie computers". Given the scale, it was more likely to involve an organisation than ordinary hackers, he told People's Daily. Tang Wei, senior network security engineer with Rising, a mainland anti-virus software firm, suspected the attack was launched overseas. "I doubt any individual or organisation in China has the resources or guts to challenge the government in such a way," he said. "This incident has created a seismic shock for the industry." Tang said the attacker obviously wanted to damage China's top-level domain, but their motive was anyone's guess. Liu Qing, an internet security expert in Shanghai, said the attack seemed vengeful and that foreign governments such as the US were unlikely to be behind such an operation. "Government hackers prefer sneaking in the back door, not slamming the front door," he said. He did not rule out the possibility that the attack was revenge for the recent government crackdown on some Weibo users. Though it was possible to track down the attacker, in practice the government might need to persuade many other countries to co-operate fully on the investigation, Liu said. "The attacker might have very likely faked their IP address and employed many overseas servers," he said. "Their real identity might remain a mystery forever.". ^ top ^

Top party meeting called as Bo Xilai trial ends (SCMP)
The Communist Party announced yesterday it will hold a keynote meeting in November to discuss deepening reforms, a day after wrapping up the trial against disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai. The decision to hold the third plenary session of the party's Central Committee in November was made at a Politburo meeting chaired by party general secretary Xi Jinping. During the meeting, party leaders vowed to further combat corruption and called for unity both inside and outside the party to push ahead with reforms. The third plenum is likely to indicate the new leadership's economic agenda for the next decade amid slowing growth. It will also give an indication of Xi's ability to make his mark on party policy. A statement issued after the Politburo meeting said deeper reforms were necessary to tackle the challenges facing the country and for sustainable economic development. It called for a thorough understanding of the difficulties of implementing reforms. Xi intends to end the heavy reliance on exports, credit and investment and move towards more consumer-driven growth. A statement released after the meeting said: "The reform and opening up can only be continued. It will never end." The third plenum of each party session has often been considered a major turning point in modern political history. The most famous such session was in 1978, when the second generation of leaders, led by Deng Xiaoping, turned against Maoist doctrine and made a commitment to market-oriented economic reform that eventually transformed the nation into the world's second largest economy. Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor with Study Times, a key publication run by the Central Party School, said: "With the conclusion of the trial against Bo, the party leaders believe they should move ahead and tackle other important issues." But Deng said the plenary session was usually held in October. Postponing it to November may indicate that party leaders had still not reached consensus on key issues. The Politburo meeting approved a five-year plan to stamp out corruption and vowed that the campaign was an important political mission of the party. "Corruption is still very common, and the soil for breeding corruption is still here," the post-meeting statement said, adding that all cadres - regardless of rank - would be targeted. The meeting also approved a document on the reform of local governments and was briefed on preparations for a pilot free-trade zone in Shanghai. Former Chongqing party secretary Bo was charged with corruption and abuse of power at his sensational trial, which ended on Monday. ^ top ^

Party's third plenum to focus on reform (China Daily)
Senior Party members will meet in November in Beijing to discuss deepening reforms, and experts said they expect the meeting to set China's economic agenda. The decision to hold the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee was made at a meeting of the Party's political bureau on Tuesday, which adopted plans for streamlining local government, and preventing and punishing corruption over the next four years. A statement released after the meeting underlined the significance of a comprehensive and deepening reform. "It will help resolve outstanding conflicts and challenges China faces in the course of its development, and will be conducive to achieving sustainable and healthy economic and social development," the statement said. "Reform and opening-up should be continuous and never stop. Standing still or going backward will lead to a dead end." Wu Hui, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the reform being proposed is likely to be gradual. Allowing society and enterprises to play a bigger role and restricting the government's unnecessary involvement in the market economy might be topics at the meeting, Wu said. "Less restriction from the government means more vitality from the market," he said. He further suggested the government retreat from its current role of driving local economic growth to provide more public services, in a transformation of the government function that has been urged for years. Wu also noted deepening reform should be conducted along with anti-graft efforts. "Without cracking down on corruption, the change of government function cannot be conducted smoothly," he said. The past three decades have shown that the third plenums are usually agenda-setting conferences at which the leadership maps out its vision for China, mostly in the economic sphere. Long Pingping, a researcher from the Party's Literature Research Office, said, "The third plenums are important, because many groundbreaking policies that shake China's economy were worked out during these meetings." He said the third plenum is usually convened at a time when the new leadership of the Party has learned more about the country after stepping into office. "The leadership's vision about deepening reform will become a national strategy after being endorsed at the plenum," he said. ^ top ^

Five-year work plan to fight graft unveiled (China Daily)
China aims to establish a system to punish corrupt officials by the end of 2017, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said. Supervision of how officials exercise power will be enhanced, and a punishment system, under which officials dare not take bribes, will be formed, according to a five-year work plan that the Political Bureau approved on Tuesday. The work plan — made by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, the country's top anti-graft agency — is the commission's second five-year plan targeting corruption. Given that corruption remains rampant, punishment for graft will be increased, the work plan said. Both "tigers" (senior corrupt officials) and "flies" (low-level corrupt officials) will be targeted to prevent the spread of corruption, the work plan said. In a speech at an anti-graft conference in January, President Xi Jinping vowed strict supervision, saying that authorities must tackle graft by targeting both "flies and tigers". The Party's disciplinary inspection system will be reformed, and supervision through the Party's anti-graft agencies, judicial authorities and news media will be enhanced, according to the plan. Anti-corruption officials should play a leading role in setting an example for other officials in clean governance. The work plan also promises to eliminate undesirable work habits of Party and government officials, including formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. Xi had said that the Party is going to initiate a yearlong campaign to "thoroughly clean up" undesirable work habits. Zhu Lijia, a professor on government administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said inspection teams will become routine in the anti-corruption campaign. Through the inspection teams, central authorities will pinpoint problems in local governments more effectively, he said. ^ top ^

40 percent of intra-Party rules abolished (Global Times)
The Communist Party of China's (CPC) first campaign to cut regulatory red tape has seen the abolition of nearly 40 percent of its intra-Party rules introduced since 1978. In the clearing-up move, 300 of the 767 regulations or normative documents have been abolished or nullified, read a Wednesday CPC Central Committee circular, adding that 42 of the remaining 467 still in effect will undergo revisions. Those abolished or nullified were deemed either inconsistent with the CPC Constitution and policies or the country's Constitution and laws due to changes in the Party or national conditions, or were judged to overlap each other. Under the plan, the Party's central authority and local Party committees have also been checking through more than 20,000 regulations and documents in their jurisdiction. Initiated in June 2012, the first stage of the campaign focused on rules introduced since 1978. The second stage, which is to begin in October this year, will target those introduced from 1949 to 1978. The campaign is expected to conclude by the end of 2014, according to the circular, which added that the CPC will carry out a similar clean-up every five years in future. ^ top ^

Zhou Yongkang, former security tsar linked to Bo Xilai, faces corruption probe (SCMP)
Top Communist Party leaders have agreed to open a corruption investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, one of China's most powerful politicians in the past decade.The move against Zhou - a retired member of the Politburo's all-powerful Standing Committee - could send even bigger political shockwaves through Beijing than the trial of Bo Xilai, who was widely considered a key Zhou ally. Current and retired top leaders endorsed the decision earlier this month during the secretive annual party meeting at the resort of Beidaihe in Hebei province. According to sources familiar with the leadership's thinking, President Xi Jinping and his administration are determined to use the case to galvanise the anti-graft campaign. No Politburo Standing Committee member - retired or sitting - has been investigated for economic crimes since the end of the Cultural Revolution nearly 40 years ago. Sources said top leaders made the decision in view of the rising anger inside the party at the scale of the corruption problem and the vast fortune that Zhou's family has amassed. Xi ordered officials in charge of the case to "get to the bottom of it". By investigating Zhou, who is one rank higher than Bo in the power structure, Xi would be seeking the biggest scalp in the party's campaign against graft. The investigation of Bo was launched last year under Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao. Speculation about a possible investigation into Zhou and his family began circulating on the internet even before he retired from his party position at the party's national congress in November. The speculation increased in December, when party graft investigators began detaining dozens of cadres and businessmen in energy-rich Sichuan province, where Zhou was party boss from 1999 to 2002. In June, former deputy Sichuan governor Guo Yongxiang - a former secretary to Zhou - was detained. Authorities also revealed this week a probe into China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which Zhou joined as a senior manager in the early 1990s. Four top managers at the company have been named as being under investigation in recent days. It is understood the new probe will centre on Zhou's time in Sichuan and at CNPC. In particular, investigators will examine whether Zhou and his family benefited through numerous questionable oilfield and property deals facilitated by his son, Zhou Bin, and other allies, sources said. They added it was too early to say whether Zhou - who controlled legal and law enforcement affairs for 10 years from 2002 - would face public prosecution or just an internal party probe. Corruption investigations involving senior officials must first be conducted by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The case may or may not then be transferred to the government for follow-up. Because of the scale and far-reaching implications of the Zhou case, the investigation may not be publicised before the keynote meeting of the party elites in November. The move against Zhou, however, was deemed unlikely to trigger a factional war within the party, sources said. Former president Jiang Zemin - a political patron of Zhou's - gave Xi's decision his full backing, sources said. Jiang similarly moved against the now-convicted Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu - another ally - when presented with concrete evidence against him. Zhou has been seen as an ally of former Chongqing party boss Bo, who is awaiting a verdict on corruption charges. Before Bo's fall from grace last year, Zhou reportedly worked behind the scenes to have him installed as his successor. [...]. ^ top ^



Shanghai FTZ to further promote China's reform (Xinhua)
The approval of the establishment of Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) was considered a significant step of further financial reform and opening up to adapt to the global economic and trade development, according to experts. China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced Thursday that the central government had approved the establishment of the pilot zone, following some guidelines released by the city. The guidelines detailed measures to allow more private capital in the banking sector and promote cross-border use of RMB. Covering 28.78 square kilometers, the FTZ will be built on the basis of the existing bonded zones -- Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Free Trade Logistics Park, Yangshan Free Trade Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone. According to the statement of Ministry of Commerce, the move will help explore a new path for China's opening up, speed up transformation of government functions and promote economic restructuring. "This move marked a new achievement of China's opening-up strategy, with the significance no less than the establishment of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area." said Bai Ming, a researcher with the Ministry of Commerce. "The FTZ is not a special zone or new area. Its significance lies not in striving for preferential policies but in establishing a new system in line with international standards and realizing highly efficient management in sectors like investment and trade," said Zhou Zhenhua, director of the Shanghai Municipal Government Development Research Center. Experts also predicted that the FTZ will give Shanghai the role as a "free port" of RMB's internationalization. The function of the FTZ will involve interest rate liberalization, currency free exchange, financial industry's opening-up, financial service innovation and some other offshore financial services, said Xu Quan, an official with the Shanghai government's financial office. In the meantime, many companies are already busy working to adapt to the coming dramatic moves of vital significance. For instance, the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank is one of them. The bank has set up a team to prepare for the establishment of the new zone, said Ge Yufei, vice-president of the bank's Shanghai branch. “Our initial plans include setting up an office within the area, and developing innovative products and services to meet various demands,” he said. ^ top ^

China's Congress discusses Shanghai FTZ (Xinhua)
China's top legislature on Monday discussed a draft proposal on establishing a pilot free trade zone in Shanghai. Approved by the executive meeting of the State Council, the China's cabinet, the draft proposal was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for authorization to suspend related laws. If the draft is approved, a "negative list" approach - a way of deciding what not to do, rather than what to do - will be employed in foreign investment management in the zone, to innovate opening up. Foreign-funded companies will be allowed to be engaged in antique auction, according to the draft proposal. The draft proposal concerns four laws, including Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises, Law on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, Law on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures, and Law on Protection of Cultural Relics. Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said at the session on Monday that 12 items of policy, including canceling some procedures concerning foreign capital enterprises, and allowing foreign businesses to engage in auctions of cultural relics, are not in line with existing laws. Gao suggested the NPC Standing Committee authorize the State Council to suspend related laws. The State Council approved the pilot free trade zone in Shanghai on July 3. In the trial zone, goods can be imported, processed and re-exported without the intervention of customs authorities. The Shanghai FTZ will be the first free trade zone on the Chinese mainland. It will take about three years to build the FTZ up to international standards. The zone is expected to help Shanghai to cut costs of trade, improve efficiency, and promote financial services. ^ top ^



New coal-fired power stations in Guangdong 'will kill thousands' (SCMP)
Emissions from new coal-fired power stations planned in Guangdong could cause as many as 16,000 deaths in the next 40 years, research by an air-pollution specialist indicates. The "shocking" findings have brought a call for the province to wind back plans for the 22 additional stations and return to a 2009 policy of no new coal-fired plants in the Pearl River Delta. The estimates were made by Dr Andrew Gray, an American private air quality consultant commissioned by Greenpeace to study the health impact of the new plants' emissions of fine particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometres. The extra deaths would add to an already heavy health toll - put at 3,600 deaths and 4,000 cases of child asthma in 2011 alone - from the 96 coal-fired plants already in operation in the province and Hong Kong. Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Zhou Rong said: "The cumulative impact of these new plants on human health is simply shocking. "The Pearl River Delta [PRD] region should strictly enforce the policy of no more new coal-fired power plants in the PRD published in 2009. Guangdong has ignored its earlier pledge to ban new coal-fired power plants in order to feed its hunger for energy." Some online comments on the mainland described Greenpeace's proposal to scale back the plants as partial and unrealistic. "So shall Guangdong build more large-scale nuke plants or shall it transport more electricity from the country's southwest?" Yu Yang, a student at Stanford University who researches on environment policy, wrote on his microblog. For his study, Gray used the CALPUFF computer model, endorsed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for trans-boundary air pollution, as well as emission data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and power companies. The health impact estimates were also based on a model developed by the World Health Organisation on mortality risks from human exposure to fine particles. Half of the additional power stations, with a total capacity of 26,000 megawatts, are under construction and the rest are in the planning stage. Of the predicted 16,000 premature deaths in the next four decades, two-thirds would be related to strokes, the report said. The rest would be from lung cancer and heart disease. It said the pollution would also lead to 15,000 new cases of child asthma and 19,000 of chronic bronchitis. Most new deaths and child asthma cases would be in the delta region, with 1,700 and 1,300 respectively in Hong Kong. Zhou said Guangdong, as the most economically powerful province, could have made a bold decision to cap coal use, and harness more renewable energy. The projection was released weeks after reports that Shenzhen had suspended a planned coal-fired power plant after public opposition, she said. The Environmental Protection Department said Hong Kong had banned new coal-fired plants since 1997 and imposed emission caps on power plants. A spokesman said the city had also agreed with Guangdong on goals to reduce emissions for 2015 and 2020. Simon Ng Ka-wing, an energy researcher with think tank Civic Exchange, said the method adopted by Gray was in common use but called for him to disclose more of the assumptions behind the study. Ng also said the choice of fuel mix was a complicated balance to strike. "Ideally, coal use should be capped given its footprint on air quality … but whether it could be enforced is a challenge," he said. Instead of coal, more expensive gas could be harnessed, but its supplies were more limited. Another option was nuclear, but this carried safety concerns. Greenpeace has been campaigning worldwide to eliminate nuclear power, citing environmental and safety concerns. Yu Yang added that hydroelectricity from China's southwest could be more polluting or damaging to local ecology. "When targeting a polluting industry, an environmental organisation should also consider the alternative solution and its corresponding environmental price,'' he wrote. ^ top ^



Deadly Xinjiang 'terrorist' shootout revealed after week-long silence (SCMP)
A minor Chinese newspaper has for the first time reported on a violent confrontation last week between security forces and "terrorists" in Xinjiang, in which at least 22 people were killed, according to exile sources. The Kashgar Daily reported on Wednesday on a memorial service earlier this week for Yan Xiaofei, a 32-two year old police officer who died during a security forces raid on a “gang of terrorists” in a building in Yecheng county, Kashgar prefecture, which borders on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The newspaper, run by the local Communist Party committee, said Yan was killed during the "disposing of a violent terrorist gang on August 20". "He charged ahead with the battle in front of him, courageously and fearlessly braving death," the report said. In addition to 22 killed in the raid, four others were arrested, said Radio Free Asia's Uygur service earlier this week, citing local sources. The report also mentioned that the building where the raid took place had been monitored by a security forces' helicopter for a week. On the day after the raid, a Kashgar court sentenced nine people to jail for inciting racial hatred and ethnic discrimination, according to a local media report. The clash and its resulting convictions point to growing ethnic unrest in the restive Western region. Earlier this month, a Kashgar court sentenced two men to death and jailed three more for participating in a clash in April in which 21 people were killed. A clash in Turpan prefecture on June 26 had left 35 people dead. Two days later, Chinese security forces fired into a crowd of hundreds of people demonstrating against the closure of a mosque in Hotan prefecture, exile groups reported. Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of the World Uyghur Congress, an exiled Uyghur rights advocacy group, condemned the extra-judicial killings in a statement. Kadeer said China had failed to address the long-standing issues underlying the ethnic tensions, adding that the label of terrorism “only serves to exacerbate increasing distrust in the authorities due to the pervasive impunity of their actions”. ^ top ^

Police officer among 16 killed in Kashgar 'anti-terror' raid (SCMP)
A police officer was among at least 16 people killed in a clash between law enforcement and "terrorists" in Kashgar last week, state media revealed yesterday - eight days after the incident. A report in the Kashgar Daily disclosed for the first time that tactical officer Yan Xiaofei, 32, was killed during a raid on August 20 in the restive area of southern Xinjiang. The report, which focused on a large memorial gathering for the fallen officer on Sunday, made no mention of other casualties. The article came a day after police in Kashgar's Shule county said on their official microblog account that officers had shot dead 15 people while confronting a group of 28 suspected terrorists in Kargilik county. The post was later deleted without explanation. Local community leaders estimated the number of suspects killed in the raid at 22, according to Radio Free Asia, which also reported that police suspected the group of making bombs. Nearly 1,000 people, including governmental officials, teachers and police officers from the Kashgar area, attended the memorial for Yan, who was in the middle of the firefight, the Kashgar Daily reported. Repeated calls to the Xinjiang government's press office went unanswered yesterday. Several deadly clashes have occurred in Xinjiang this year amid continued tensions between ethnic Han and the large Uygur population in the western autonomous region. A violent attack on April 15 in Maralbexi county, which is also under Kashgar, left 15 people dead, according to official data. Another 27 were killed in clashes in Shanshan county in Turpan prefecture in June. In response, the central government has stepped up its crack down on what it says are terrorist and separatist elements in the region. A new national-level anti-terrorism task force held its first full meeting on Tuesday in Beijing, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website. The ministry said the National Anti-terrorism Work Group, led by Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, includes senior leaders from the Central Politics and Law Commission, the army and the armed police. "All regions and departments should be fully aware of the serious situation currently and the … difficulty in fighting terrorism," Guo said. The ministry has also formed a new national-level group to co-ordinate anti-terrorism activities. Li Wei, director of the Centre for Counterterrorism Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the increased number of agencies in the group, indicated Beijing's determination to make its anti-terrorism efforts more professional. ^ top ^



Democracy must not escape us now: Martin Lee (SCMP)
The founding chairman of the Democratic Party yesterday warned that this was the final round in the fight for democracy and urged pan-democrats not to settle for anything less than genuine universal suffrage. Martin Lee Chu-ming said it would be completely unacceptable if the 2017 chief executive race fell short of international standards on universal suffrage - unless legislation had been passed giving a timetable for introducing full democracy. "This is already the very final round of our battle for democracy," he said. "There is no reason why we should accept any election method which is under Beijing's control and falls short of international standards, or else why should we bother to vote?" In April, the 75-year-old democracy stalwart surprised supporters when he suggested candidates for the 2017 chief executive election could be nominated via a screening process. There had to be at least five candidates and at least one pan-democrat, his proposal added. He retracted the proposal and went on to apologise for letting his supporters down. In his latest interview with the South China Morning Post, Lee said he was not putting forward any new election methods. Instead, he reiterated his tough stance on genuine universal suffrage for 2017. According to the Basic Law, election of the chief executive by universal suffrage would see candidates selected by a broadly representative nominating committee. "The most broadly representative committee in this case, is of course by civil nomination [the city's 3.5 million potential voters] - as advocated by student-led Scholarism - or a nominating committee elected by universal suffrage," said Lee. While Scholarism and radical pro-democracy parties stand firm on civil nomination, the moderate Democratic Party and Civic Party have suggested this is not their bottom line. But Lee urged his fellow party members not to filter out any of the more progressive proposals. "No one has the right to compromise on behalf of Hongkongers," said Lee. "If we compromise every five years, when would we finally realise a truly democratic election?" Lee accused Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung of working closely with the government to suppress political opposition. He said that, as a result, the once mutually respectful relationship between the police and the public had been lost, since "the boss of the force is someone allied with the Communist Party". The Independent Commission Against Corruption had also lost its credibility, said Lee, after dropping its investigation into allegedly false statements by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over unauthorised structures at his home, while going to court with the case of unauthorised structures at the home of his election rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen. "Leung intends to destroy the harmony of Hong Kong by polarisation. I have never seen any leader in the world doing what he has been doing," Lee said. Lee also urged the pan-democrats to get ready for the chief executive race by forming a shadow cabinet to convince the public they are qualified to take office. ^ top ^

Beijing warns US to stay out of Hong Kong politics (SCMP)
Beijing's top diplomat in Hong Kong has warned the American consul general to steer clear of the debate on the city's constitutional development. Song Zhe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' commissioner in Hong Kong, spoke out after the United States consul general Clifford Hart said he was looking forward to Hongkongers' move towards "genuine democratic suffrage". Hart made the remark just a day after he took up the post on July 30. A spokesman for the US consulate responded that the United States' long-standing policy towards Hong Kong was unchanged. Echoing Hart's words, he added: "[We] look forward to Hong Kong's continued progress toward genuine universal suffrage … in accordance with the Basic Law … and the aspirations of the Hong Kong people." Song's office reported that the commissioner met Hart on Tuesday and briefed him on "the successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' policy in Hong Kong and stated the central government's position on relevant issues". The report added: "Song emphasised that the development of Hong Kong's political system is its own internal affairs. Foreign governments and officials should not interfere. "The Chinese side is firmly against interference in Hong Kong's affairs by any outside forces in regard to the Basic Law and the relevant decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. "[Song] hoped that US representation and personnel in Hong Kong respect 'one country, two systems'." The report added that they should also "refuse to use any pretext to conduct undue activities and refuse to do anything that would hurt Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and the overall interests of China-US relations". It was the third such warning directed at US representatives in recent months. On May 16 and again on July 19, a spokesman for Song's office said that no foreign government or official should "make reckless comments about" constitutional development in Hong Kong. It followed remarks by outgoing US consul general Stephen Young that preparations to engage all parties in discussions on electoral reform should begin as early as possible. Hart is a Putonghua speaker with 30 years' experience, including five postings in China. In his arrival statement on July 31, he said he felt honoured to "be here for the next phase of Hong Kong's democratic development and progress towards genuine universal suffrage under the 'one country, two systems' framework". After a closed-door meeting with executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee on August 20, Hart was quoted by Ip as saying that "he hoped that different sectors in Hong Kong can reach consensus on universal suffrage and that people from different backgrounds can run for the election in 2017". One of Hart's top priorities is expected to be rebuilding trust with Hong Kong following the Edward Snowden saga. Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong despite a Washington request to arrest him on espionage charges. ^ top ^



Taiwan to spend US$100m on work at disputed Spratlys (SCMP)
Taiwan plans to spend more than US$100 million to build a dock big enough for warships in the disputed Spratly islands, a legislator said Thursday, as other claimants strengthen their regional military presence. The plan submitted to parliament on Thursday by the coastguard would cost NT$3.4 billion ($112.4 million). Sources said the spending is expected to be approved. The dock will be an upgrade on the existing pier at the Taiwan-controlled island of Taiping, the biggest island in the Spratlys. It is scheduled to become operational in 2016. “National security authorities have decided to expedite the project as the other countries in the region have been increasing their naval and air force deployment in the past few years, further complicating the issue,” legislator Lin Yu-fang said in a statement. Once it is completed, large supply ships and even naval frigates will be able to berth, said Lin, a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang party who sits on parliament's defence committee. The current pier caters only to small patrol boats. Once the dock work is completed the runway on Taiping will be extended, Lin said. Taiwan built a 1,150-metre runway on Taiping in mid-2006, despite protests from other countries with claims to the disputed island group. Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia and the Philippines claim all or part of the potentially oil-rich Spratlys. All claimants except Brunei have troops based on some part of the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which have a total land mass of less than five square kilometres. Overlapping claims in the South China Sea are seen as a potential military flashpoint, and there has been a series of disputes in recent years. The Philippines and Vietnam have been strengthening their military deployment in the sea after complaining that China is becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its own claims. ^ top ^



China economy showing clear signs of stabilisation (SCMP)
China's economy is showing clear signs of stabilisation, helped by policy support and some improvement in global demand, and is on track to meet the government's this year growth target of 7.5 per cent, the state statistics bureau said on Monday. The issue of local government debt also remained under control, the National Bureau of Statistics said at a briefing organised by the foreign ministry that may have been aimed at allaying global concern about China's slowdown. “We are confident that the economy is sustaining the positive momentum in the second half and confident of meeting the economic growth target,” said Sheng Laiyun, the NBS's spokesman. “The economy is showing some positive changes. Signs of growth stabilisation are becoming more obvious,” he said. A private factory survey last week reinforced signs of stabilising in the economy in the third quarter after the government took supportive measures, including scrapping taxes for small firms and accelerating investment in urban infrastructure and railways. That followed a raft of July data which saw factory output grew at its fastest pace since the start of the year, and surprisingly strong trade data. China's annual economic growth slowed to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter, down from 7.7 per cent in the three months ending March 31 - the ninth such deceleration in the past 10 quarters. Beijing has said it is willing tolerate slower growth as it pushes reforms designed to reduce pollution, social inequity and an economic growth model which has an over-reliance on debt-financed construction and exports. Sheng said it was very difficult for China to maintain a fast growth rate due to structural adjustments and declining surplus labour, but rising consumption, increasing urbanisation and catch-up growth in less developed regions will be long-term economic drivers. The government has launched a series of targeted measures recently to support the economy, including scrapping taxes for small firms, offering more help for ailing exporters and accelerating investment in urban infrastructure and railways. But rapidly slowing growth has also been putting pressure on China's heavily indebted companies and provincial governments, raising concerns that the country's explosion in credit since 2008 may be on the verge of a meltdown. Credit in China's economy almost doubled between 2008 and last year, pushing investment to 46 per cent of GDP, much of that into infrastructure and property. [...]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

US envoy to visit DPRK over jailed American (China Daily)
The United States will send its human rights envoy to Pyongyang this week to seek the release of an imprisoned US Christian missionary, the State Department said on Tuesday. Robert King, special envoy for Democratic People's Pepublic of Korea human rights issues, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday at the invitation of the government on a "humanitarian mission focused on securing the release of US citizen Kenneth Bae," the department said in a statement. King will ask DPRK to "pardon Mr. Bae and grant him special amnesty on humanitarian grounds so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical treatment," it added. Bae was sentenced in April to 15 years of hard labor after DPRK's Supreme Court convicted him of state subversion. The court said Bae, 45, used his tourism business to form groups to overthrow the government. Bae was detained in November as he led a tour group through the northern region of the country. His sentencing came amid acrimonious relations between Pyongyang and Washington over the reclusive state's nuclear program. Bae's sister, Terri Chung, told Reuters on August 10 that her brother had been held at a prison for foreigners and put to work plowing and planting fields. He was transferred to a state hospital because he suffered from a range of health problems, including an enlarged heart, chronic diabetes as well as back and leg pain, she said. ^ top ^



Mongolian authorities will visit London next week to resolve the Oyu Tolgoi disputes, said Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag (Info Mongolia)
Mongolian authorities to conduct a working visit to London next week to resolve the Oyu Tolgoi disputes, said Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag Every Thursday, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag meets with reporters to answer their questions. At the beginning of yesterday's meeting, Premier N.Altankhuyag gave brief information about ongoing events and reported the social and economic indicators of the first half of 2013. In his statement the Premier reported that as of the first half of 2013, the economic growth was at 11.3 percent, where it was at 12.4 percent last year. At the end of 2012, the annual result of price increase was estimated at 14 percent. This time, inflation is 8.3 percent. This shows the successful implementation of the Government policy to stop increase in product prices. Compared to the previous years, price increase is twice as low. There were also a decrease in foreign investment and change in currency rates. He stated, the Government is focusing on these matters. Estimated investments in the Oyu Tolgoi project are finished. Now, discussions are being held on the new stage investments, in other words, the underground expansions. In the frameworks of the implementation process of the legislation with "long titles" (Prohibiting mining exploration and exploitation in protected areas of river stream source basins and forests), that caused a stop to foreign investments in some gold companies, have impacted to decrease the foreign investments. Every year, there are changes in currency rates during this period. The Government has no policy to increase taxes in relations to these changes. Also, gas prices will not increase due these currency changes. The Prime Minister emphasized that the 8% mortgage loans would continue normally. ^ top ^

Mongolia wants to augment foreign investments (Montsame)
At its meeting on Friday, the cabinet discussed a draft law on investments. This bill reflects several important clauses such as stabilizing the legal environment for investments, determining common legal guarantees for both domestic and foreign investors, augmenting benefits of some investments, stabilizing the tax environment for beneficial for Mongolia projects, and improving business environment by abolishing bureaucracy. In 1990s-mid of 2012, 12 thousand 118 entities of 112 countries were registered here. They made investments of some USD 14 billion, most of them (74%) went to the mining sphere, thus creating a biased structure of economy. From the year 2012, the investments have declined, for example, by 42 percent in a first half of this year against the previous. Researchers consider that it has been mainly affected by the global economic situation, new legal regulations, some amendments to laws, a completion of the first stage of investment for the Oyu Tolgoi project. All these and other factors say that Mongolia needs to attract foreign investments in a regular way and to refine upon/ease nowadays legal regulations. ^ top ^

M.Urantsetseg crowned judo world champion (
A Mongolian judoka won gold at the IJF World Judo Championship for Senior Individuals and Teams in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday August 26th. All international judo associates gathered together in Rio de Janeiro for the most important moment of the season: the World Judo Championships, Senior Individuals and Teams from August 26th to September 1st, 2013. According to schedule the winners of the women`s -48 kg and men`s 60 kg were released on Monday. In the women`s 48 kg category M.Urantsetseg won the gold and D.Amartuvshin won silver in the lightweight category. G.Boldbaatar placed fifth by competing in the weight category for the bronze. Paris Grand Slam bronze medalist Munkhbat Urantsetseg produced the performance of her career by defeating former world champion Asami Haruna (JPN) in the -48kg final. Munkhbat Urantsetseg sealed the win by juji-gatame to claim the gold medal. M.Urantsetseg is the first female judoka to be crowned the judo world champion in the sports history of Mongolia. She won the second gold for Mongolia. In 2009, Mongolian judoka Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar brought the title of judo world champion from the Judo World Championship held in Holland. ^ top ^

Mongolia-China midterm program on trade cooperation to be renewed (UB Post)
The Director of the Department of Neighboring Countries at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Mongolia, T.Tugsbilguun, met with Sun Yaoming, one of the deputy heads of the Asian Department of China's Ministry of Commerce, from August 19 to 21 in Erlian, China. During the meeting, both sides shared their views on the implementation of the protocol established at the 13th meeting of the intergovernmental commission and discussed the issue of renewing once more the midterm program on developing their bilateral economic and trade cooperation, as well as other concerns related to cooperation. The two sides agreed on appointing a working group in the nearest future to renew the midterm program on developing their bilateral economic and trade cooperation, as well as hold a meeting in Ulaanbaatar to exchange related draft projects this year. ^ top ^


Nicola Yuste
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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