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
  31.5-6.6.2014, No. 527  
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Foreign Policy

China, Malaysia target $160b trade volume (China Daily)
Employing subtle wordplay about Vice-Premier Wang Yang's name - "Wang" means money and "Yang" means love in Malaysian - the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the relationship between China and Malaysia will continue to thrive through economic success and true friendship. The remarks, which Najib made at the opening ceremony of China-Malaysia Economic Summit, not only concluded his trip to China, but also further cemented the four-decade relationship between the two countries. On Saturday, the sides signed a joint communique to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties. The two sides pledged to carry forward their links to achieve a targeted trade volume of $160 billion in 2017. They also agreed to upgrade economic and financial cooperation, especially in the production of halal food, water processing and railway construction. The signing ceremony took place in the West Lobby of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the same place where Najib's father - the then-Prime Minister Adbul Razak - led an ice-breaking trip to Beijing to establish diplomatic relations in 1974. "Sino-Malaysian relations have grown into a towering tree over the four decades, and will blossom and bear fruit in the future," Premier Li Keqiang said upon signing the communique. "Like all friendships, ours is testing sometimes," Najib said, acknowledging that the search for the missing flight MH370 has been a frustrating time. However, he said he believed the two nations will become even closer through the tragedy, because "true friendship becomes a supporting force for each other in times of difficulties". Najib promised to continue the search for the flight, which went missing on March 8 with 154 Chinese passengers on broad, until the aircraft is found. Malaysia also agreed that China should take part in future search efforts using side-scan sonar equipment. China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for five consecutive years, with the volume of bilateral trade reaching more than $106 billion in 2013. Malaysia is China's biggest trading partner among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the third country in Asia to have an annual trade volume with China of $100 billion, after Japan and South Korea. ^ top ^

Abe, Hagel's accusations rejected (China Daily)
Wang Guanzhong, the highest ranking military official in the Chinese delegation at an Asia-Pacific security forum, started his speech on Sunday by highlighting the common aspiration for a utopia with the same name as the event: Shangri-La. However, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army did not continue with his mild-toned comments as planned on the last day of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. The lieutenant general diverted from the script about midway through the speech, saying he felt forced to respond to Tokyo and Washington's finger-pointing at China. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the forum on Friday night with a high-profile speech full of thinly veiled comments targeting China. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went further on Saturday by directly accusing China of "destabilizing" the South China Sea and by backing Tokyo's pursuit of a more muscular military role as a counterweight to Beijing. "The speeches made by Mr Abe and Mr Hagel gave me the impression that they were coordinated with each other, they supported each other, they encouraged each other and they took the advantage of speaking first at the Shangri-La Dialogue and staged provocations and challenges against China," Wang told defense and military representatives and scholars from 27 countries. Calling such rhetoric "unacceptable" and "unimaginable", Wang said: "China has never taken the first step to provoke trouble. China has only been forced to respond to the provocative actions by other parties." When responding to the "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea, one of the many questions he received after the speech, Wang questioned the US motive for criticizing China, saying Washington should first abide by international laws by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a document Beijing has ratified. "When will the US ratify the UNCLOS?" Wang asked. Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Wang sent a message that a growing China is not a threat to the world. On the contrary, it firmly safeguards regional stability. Issues involving China, the US and Japan took center stage at the three-day meeting in Singapore. Zhou Qi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Washington is using the territorial rows between China and the Philippines and Vietnam to challenge China and seek regional support for its Asian rebalancing policy. Geoffrey Till, emeritus professor of maritime studies at King's College London, said the US is pursing "a very delicate balance" as it supports its allies obliged by treaties, but it also avoids to see conflicts in the region. Despite the unusually strong language directed toward each other, Wang and Hagel dedicated part of their speeches to calling for improved military ties. Lori Forman, a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in the US, said open conversation is the key to managing differences and maintaining stability. Wang also said he preferred Hagel's frankness by directly naming China, compared with Abe who did not mention any country, but obviously targeted Beijing. "If I am to compare the attitude of the two leaders, I would prefer the attitude of Mr Hagel. It is better to be more direct," he said during the speech, drawing some laughter from the reporters. ^ top ^

‘We were surrounded': Vietnamese coastguard captain recounts escape after collision with Chinese ship (SCMP)
Chinese ships were locked in two separate confrontations with Vietnamese vessels near a controversial South China Sea oil rig on Sunday. The first incident happened at around 12.30pm, according to a report on China National Radio's military channel, when a Chinese coastguard ship blasted water at a Vietnamese fishing inspection vessel. Five minutes later, the Vietnamese boat, with decal 635, fled, the radio report said. Two other Chinese vessels blocked support units deployed by Vietnam's coastguard to help the distressed ship, it said. Later that day, at around 5pm, a Vietnamese coastguard vessel collided with a Chinese counterpart, leaving the Vietnamese boat damaged. The report identified the Vietnamese boat as CS B-2016 and the Chinese boat as 46015. The Vietnamese boat had four leaks on the right side of the gunwale and was tilting, according to the China National Radio report, while equipment including two air pipes and a pump hose were destroyed. The captain of the damaged ship told a Vietnamese television station that, after the collision, they had to escape a fleet of Chinese boats that surrounded them. When they were in the clear, they were able to make repairs. “With these kinds of holes, if we were to meet a [strong] wave after the machine stopped working, water will fill the boat if it moves,” he said. “Therefore, after escaping the Chinese vessels wisely – they were chasing and surrounding us – [we] immediately started to fix damage on the 2016 coastguard vessel.” A photo reportedly of the damaged ship showed it was almost submerged, with only the prow and tophouse above the surface. This marks the second time since May 26 that a Vietnamese boat has reported damage sustained from advancing Chinese vessels. Previously, a Chinese fishing vessel was accused of ramming and sinking a small Vietnamese fishing boat, carrying 10 fishermen, some 17 nautical miles off the oil rig. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei today accused the Vietnamese side of interfering with drilling operations and "ramming against" the Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig "on many occasions". "[We urged them to] stop intruding China's sovereignty and jurisdiction, and immediately pull out its vessels... and personnel," Hong said. "However, so far, the Vietnamese side ignore our representations and continue with their disruptive actions and ramming into the oil rig." Hong accused Vietnam of "creating tensions [and] violating the international laws and norms". Vietnam, in response, is considering legal action over the rig which it says is operating in its economic zone and territorial waters. The platform is located 240km off Vietnam's east coast and some 370km from the southern mainland tip of Hainan. The oil rig sparked bloody industrial protests in Vietnam last month, leaving at least six Chinese workers dead. The June 1 confrontations occurred on the last day of a Shanghai security forum Shangri-La Dialogue, which highlighted tensions over China's maritime sovereignty disputes with its neighbours. ^ top ^

Foreign tech firms pose threat on Internet (China Daily)
Foreign technology services providers such as Google and Apple can become cybersecurity threats to Chinese users, security analysts said, one week after China announced that it will put in place a security review on imported technology equipment. Other major tech companies, such as Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft and Facebook, were required by the US National Security Agency to transfer their users' information, according to Wan Tao, founder of Intelligence Defense Friends Laboratory, an independent institution focusing on cybersecurity in China. Wan said that online services have become a major way for the US to steal information globally. Ning Jiajun, a senior researcher at the Advisory Committee for State Informatization, said, "Previously, the US asked companies to install wiretapping software on their technological products, but if users found and shut down related functions, its 'plan' would fail," he said. For instance, information on a Chinese organization can be stolen when it places an order on an international shopping website, he said. With technologies such as cloud computing and big data getting popular, information can be collected and analyzed immediately, which means the damage can be much greater and more difficult to prevent, analysts said. "It can be said that those who master online services can get more information in cyberspace," said Du Yuejin, director at the National Engineering Laboratory for Cyber Security Emergency Response Technology. Last month, China's Internet Media Research Center issued a report saying the NSA makes use of large technology companies for its wiretapping plans, including Prism, which was unmasked by former NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, asking them to collect information on their users and urging them to hand in the data regularly. The report also said that the NSA has taken iOS and Android, two leading mobile operating systems applied to iPhone and Samsung, as the "gold mine" of data. The NSA grabbed users' information and stored most of it for analysis by invading database and communication networks of Yahoo and Google, while it has also controlled applications on smartphones with Britain, said the report released at the end of May. "The US, in fact, could get these users' information or conduct the wiretapping by attacking the network instead of 'cooperating' with the enterprises, but it might take more time and money," said Wan. The actions of the NSA have put huge pressure on US technology companies, as customers from Paris to Sao Paulo and from Beijing to Berlin worry about their privacy being invaded. US President Barack Obama held two discussions with CEOs of major US technology companies in the past six months about the NSA snooping, which led to a "reform" of the NSA to focus on protecting US citizens' privacy, but with little improvement on foreign organizations and citizens. In May, John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, wrote a letter to Obama urging Washington to stop using the company for surveillance of its customers, according to an Al Jazeera report. ^ top ^

Xi meets Kuwait Prime Minister (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping said here on Wednesday that China pays great attention to the situation in West Asia and North Africa, during a meeting with visiting Kuwait Prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Xi said that China supports Kuwait to play a positive role in regional affairs, and stands ready to work with countries in the region to promote political solutions of regional issues and safeguard local peace and stability. "China stands for maintaining the international nuclear non-proliferation system and establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East," he said, adding that China opposes any development of nuclear weapons and interference with the internal affairs of countries with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Jaber conveyed a letter from Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah to Xi, in which the Kuwaiti Emir extended greetings to the Chinese president and spoke highly of their bilateral relationship. Kuwait attaches importance to the relations, and backs China to protect national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, as well as to crack down on the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism, Jaber said. He voiced Kuwait's appreciation for China consistently upholding an objective and fair stance on issues concerning the Middle East and Gulf Region, and expectation that China will maintain its constructive role in the drive aimed at realizing peace and stability in the region. The two sides agreed to cooperate in building the economic belt along the Silk Road and the 21st-century maritime Silk Road, push forward negotiation on a free trade zone between China and the GCC, and further cooperation in such areas as infrastructure construction and logistics. Xi cited a proverb that is popular in both countries which says that "a friend in need is a friend indeed," and said the saying is a true reflection of China-Kuwait relations. The Chinese president called for a strategic partnership to be forged in the energy field, featuring cooperation covering the upstream and downstream of the energy industry. And he also called for cooperation in new energy. China would like to work with Kuwait to lift their friendship to a new high, he added. Later on Wednesday, China's top legislator, Zhang Dejiang, also met with Jaber, pledging to boost parliamentary exchanges between both countries. Calling Kuwait an important partner in the Middle East and the Gulf region, Zhang, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said the two countries had reached broad consensus in boosting bilateral cooperation during Jaber's ongoing China trip. As Kuwait currently holds the GCC rotating presidency, Zhang said he expects the country to play a positive role in boosting China-GCC cooperation. The NPC hopes to cement exchanges and cooperation with the National Assembly of Kuwait, to promote healthy and stable growth of bilateral ties, and benefit the two peoples with the achievements of bilateral cooperation, according to the legislator. Describing his China visit as very fruitful, Jaber said Kuwait is committed to strengthening Kuwait-China, Arab-China and GCC-China relations. ^ top ^

Vietnam, Philippines 'hijacking' ASEAN to press South China Sea claims (SCMP)
The Philippines and Vietnam are "hijacking" the regional bloc Asean to enlist support for their rival claims in the South China Sea, stirring up trouble for China with its neighbours, according to a book published by a government think tank in Beijing. The series of reports by the China Institute of International Studies also said countries outside the region such as the United States were making it easier for Hanoi and Manila to exploit Asean and create division and uncertainty. The book examining China's relations with its neighbours comes as Beijing has become increasingly embroiled in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. A Vietnamese ship was severely damaged in a collision with a Chinese boat in the South China Sea on Sunday, the latest in a series of clashes since China set up an oil rig off the disputed Paracel Islands last month. Tensions over the oil rig caused anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month. Several countries in the region have territorial claims in the South China Sea, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. The think tank studies said some claimants wanted disputes to be dealt with by Asean, forcing the regional bloc to take sides. Huang Guifang, a former Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, said Vietnam and the government in Manila were trying to isolate China in Asean, but Beijing could counter their influence. "After all, Asean nations will have to consider their national interests rather than just following those two nations," he said. The involvement of the US in the South China Sea dispute only complicates the situation and will also make it easier for nations such as Vietnam and the Philippines to hijack the regional bloc and create divisions, another report in the book said. "At the same time, external forces are stepping up efforts to lure Asean to contain fast-developing China, creating uncertainties in China-Asean relations," it said. The United States has strongly criticised China's actions in the South China Sea. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said at a security forum that Beijing was destabilising the region by aggressively pushing its territorial claims. The Philippines is pressing its claims in the South China Sea at an international tribunal. On relations with Japan, the reports said the "provocation" by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine that honours war criminals last December had damaged Sino-Japanese ties. China has been stepping up its engagement with its neighbouring countries since last year, upgrading its ties with Malaysia to a comprehensive strategic partnership. ^ top ^

Beijing rejects arbitration tribunal South China Sea ruling (Global Times)
China on Wednesday rejected a Hague-based arbitration tribunal's ruling giving it six months to respond to a legal claim by the Philippines over disputed waters in the South China Sea. China's stance of not accepting or participating in the arbitration proceedings filed by the Philippines has not changed, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a regular briefing on Wednesday. The response came after the tribunal of The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, issued a statement on Tuesday, which requires China to submit evidence to defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea before December 15. The tribunal cited an obligation to assure "each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case," according to a Tuesday statement. The Philippines in March filed a memorandum to the international arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), questioning the validity of China's "nine-dash" territorial claim. However, experts said that without a bilateral agreement, the UNCLOS has no jurisdiction to interfere in sovereignty issues, which made China's stance reasonable and lawful. "The international arbitration procedure must be agreed by both parties. If China rejects participating, the arbitration will not work," Ji Qiufeng, a professor of international relations with Nanjing University, told the Global Times. Ji noted that the international tribunal is most likely to withdraw the Philippines' case. "It will be a wise decision for the international tribunal as it lacks power to enforce. Even if the tribunal makes a judgment by default, China will not accept its verdict," Ji said. "The tribunal may lose its credibility." The United States has said it supports the Philippines' arbitration case, which is closely watched by other claimant countries including Vietnam, which said last month it was considering legal action against China after a Chinese oil rig started to operate in waters near the Xisha Islands that Hanoi claims as it territory. Ji pointed out that Vietnam's legal threat is very likely to depend on the result of the Philippines' case. "As China stands firm against the Manila plea, Hanoi should be aware that the threats would prove in vain." ^ top ^

CASCF ministerial meeting concludes with development plan (Xinhua)
The sixth ministerial conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) concluded in Beijing on Thursday, with a 10-year development plan adopted. The Beijing Declaration, an action plan for 2014 to 2016 and a development plan for 2014 to 2024 was passed at the meeting, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry, without disclosing their contents. Chinese President Xi Jinping's address to the opening ceremony pointed out priority areas for China-Arab states cooperation in the coming 10 years, which is a guide of action for the future development of the bilateral ties, said Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the concluding ceremony. Wang added that China was ready to work with Arab countries to implement the consensus reached in the meeting and benefit peoples from the two sides. Representatives from Arab states spoke highly of the achievements scored by the CASCF since its establishment 10 years ago, and voiced their support for President Xi's initiative of jointly building the "One Belt and One Road". The "One Belt and One Road" refers to the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", concepts put forward by Xi during his visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia respectively in 2013 to promote overall cooperation among countries all along. The next ministerial meeting will be held in Qatar in 2016. ^ top ^

China, Russia hold security meeting (Xinhua)
China and Russia held their first meeting of institutionalized cooperation in law enforcement and security in Beijing on Thursday morning. The meeting was attended by Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. The cooperation mechanism on law enforcement and security is "an important step" to implement the consensus between the two heads of state, said Meng, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Law enforcement, security and judicial departments in both countries should have more efficient and practical cooperation, work together to address threats and challenges, and enrich the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, he said. Russia is willing to work with China to implement the leaders' consensus and contribute more to the security and development of the two countries, Patrushev said. ^ top ^

China urges Vietnam to stop disruptions in oil drilling operation (Xinhua)
China on Thursday urged Vietnam to stop all disruptions to drilling near the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, and withdraw all vessels from the scene. "Up to now, the Vietnamese side has rammed Chinese vessels on the scene for over 1,200 times, and has set up large floating objects and obstacles," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press briefing. This action has grossly infringed upon China's sovereignty rights and jurisdiction; jeopardized the security of Chinese people and facilities; violated international law and basic norms governing international relations; and undermined navigation freedom and safety in these waters, he said. The spokesman's comments came in response to a question regarding the operation of China's 981 drilling platform which was claimed by the Vietnamese side as being within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Hong said the site of rig 981 is southeast of Zhongjian Island, one of the Xisha Islands, 17 nautical miles from the baseline of the territorial sea of the Xisha Islands and 160 nautical miles away from Vietnam. China earlier confirmed completion of the first phase of drilling and exploration. The ongoing second phase work is expected to be completed by mid-August. "After conducting forceful disruptions of the first phase, the Vietnamese side has kept deploying large numbers of vessels, including armed vessels, to disrupt the second phase since May 27," said the spokesman. The location of both of the two phases of operation falls indisputably within the contiguous zone of China's Xisha Islands, and also within China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, Hong said. The exploration work including the 2D and 3D seismetic research and well exploration by Chinese companies has been ongoing for 10 years, according to the spokesman. The current drilling is routine continuation of exploration work and fully legal, he said. China has shown maximum restraint in response to Vietnam's provocation, he said, adding that China has sent government and civilian vessels to safeguard the order of normal operation and security of Chinese people and facilities. "However, the Vietnamese side takes advantage of China's exercise of restraint to complicate the situation and escalate the tension," he added. The spokesman stressed China has firm and unflinching resolve in safeguarding national sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, international laws and the basic norms governing international relations. "We will continue to resolutely contain Vietnam's dangerous actions against China's drilling platform," he said, adding any action taken by Vietnam to magnify and complicate the situation can only harm its own interests. He urged the Vietnamese side to give up its illusions, immediately stop all provocation and withdraw all vessels from the scene so as to restore tranquility to the sea as soon as possible. Regarding the violence against foreign companies that took place in Vietnam last month, Hong said up to now, the Vietnamese side has not made any compensation to the Chinese people and companies who were hurt in the incident. "We urge the Vietnamese side to take concrete and effective measures to safeguard the security of life and property as well as the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese people and institutions in Vietnam," he said. China also urged Vietnam to severely punish the perpetrators and compensate for China's losses, he added. ^ top ^

China to join Pacific drill (Global Times)
China will for the first time join the US navy-sponsored Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or RIMPAC, which will run from June 26 to August 1. But no drills are being planned in which Japanese and Chinese maritime forces will both take part, the Kyodo News Agency reported. Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff of Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, welcomed China's first-ever participation in RIMPAC, which is a multinational framework. Japan will dispatch two destroyers and three surveillance aircraft to biennial US-led multinational naval exercises off Hawaii also involving about 740 of its personnel. ^ top ^

Beijing tells G7 nations to stay out of disputes (SCMP)
China vowed to resolutely respond to provocations against its territorial sovereignty yesterday after the Group of Seven leaders expressed deep concerns over maritime tensions between Beijing and its Asian neighbours. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the territorial disputes should be resolved by negotiations between the nations directly affected, and the involvement of external forces would only complicate matters. "External countries should respect objective facts and bear a fair attitude in the dispute rather than stirring up tensions and creating divisions, and making complications to the regional situation," he said. "China will make a resolute response to any provocative attempts by a few nations to intentionally infringe upon China's territorial sovereignty and rights and jeopardise maritime peace and stability." Leaders of the G7 nations, including the US and Japan but not China, said in a statement after their talks in Brussels that parties involved in disputes over the East China Sea and South China Sea should clarify their claims in accordance with international law. "We are deeply concerned by tensions in the East and South China Sea," the statement said. "We oppose any unilateral attempt by any party to assert its territorial or maritime claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force." China and Japan have been locked in tense exchanges since 2012 over the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus, in the East China Sea. Beijing also claims large parts of the South China Sea, against competing claims of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Ships from Vietnam and China have clashed since last month when China established an oil rig in the disputed Paracel Islands, leading to deadly anti-Chinese protests across Vietnam. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on the sidelines of the Brussels talks that navigational freedom of the disputed waters should be protected and intimidation should not be allowed, Kyodo News reported. Jia Xiudong, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said both the US and Japan wanted to exert pressure on China through a multilateral platform. "But the impact of G7 is diminishing and overridden by G20," he said. Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said: "If Beijing cared so much about international pressure it would not have set up the oil rig." ^ top ^

Vice-minister calls US cybersecurity gripes hypocritical (China Daily)
China has criticized the United States for being hypocritical and hegemonic in cybersecurity and urged it to stop eavesdropping on other countries and individuals, said a senior Chinese diplomat, following a series of spats between the two countries involving cyberspace. Li Baodong, vice-foreign minister, accused the US of having a double standard on the cyber issue, drawing lines out of its selfish interests, and concocting "regulations" only applicable to other countries, "instead of reflecting on its own behavior that undermines the sovereignty of other countries and the privacy of citizens". Li made the remarks at an International Workshop on Information and Cyber Security on Thursday in Beijing, the first such discussion that China and the United Nations held together. It is also the first international dialogue that China held with other countries and international organizations since the US Justice Department charged five Chinese military officers with cybertheft of commercial information from US corporations. Li stressed that cyberspace development should follow principles including sovereignty, peace and universal benefit, and advocated "bilateral, regional and international development cooperation". "Humankind does not need another war field in cyberspace", he said, emphasizing that efforts should be made to enable everyone to benefit from the opportunities brought about by the Internet and share in its achievements. His opinion was echoed by Jarmo Sareva, deputy secretary general of the Conference on Disarmament and director of the UN Office for the Disarmament Affairs Geneva Branch. Sareva said that cyberspace is concerned with every aspect of modern life. "We have to ensure cyberspace is available for villages as well as for cities," he said in a speech. To that end, Li said, it is necessary to formulate fair international norms accepted by more countries, an essential step toward keeping cyberspace in order. Sareva also said he expected China and the US to better coordinate for the building of an international norm. "China and the US as two leading powers need to cooperate not only in terms of the economy, but also in terms of security, especially cybersecurity," he told China Daily. Ning Jiajun, a senior researcher at the Advisory Committee for State Informatization, said some developed countries, such as the US, have refused to discuss cyberspace issues on international stages. On Wednesday, Harald Range, the German attorney general, said he decided to launch a criminal investigation into the US National Security Agency's alleged hacking of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. The incident has had some negative effects on German-US relations and the two nations are holding intense discussions in order to rebuild confidence, said Martin Fleischer, head of the International Cyber Policy Coordination Staff at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. In the push for a new international norm on cyberspace, "China is playing a constructive role", Fleischer told China Daily, adding that Germany, like many Western countries, has many interests in common with China and it is important for them to cooperate, despite differences on many issues. Thomas Duke, deputy director of cyberissues for the US Department of State, said he was not optimistic about the push for international cybernorms because "disagreements exist not only between China and the US, but also among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, among the G7, and among the G20". ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China indicts 8 over last year Tiananmen Gate attack (SCMP)
China has indicted eight people on terrorism charges in connection with an attack on Beijing's iconic Tiananmen Gate last year that killed two tourists and three assailants, the government said Saturday. The eight were arrested within days of the October 28 attack, in which a man drove an SUV through a crowd of tourists before stopping in front of the gate and setting the vehicle on fire. A Chinese visitor and a tourist from the Philippines were killed, along with the vehicle's driver, his wife and mother-in-law, according to Chinese authorities. The attack was the first to strike Beijing in recent memory. It pointed to a new level of violence and lethal intent in the long simmering insurgency against Chinese rule in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang waged by radicals among the native Turkic Uighur Muslim population. A notice about the indictments posted on the regional prosecutor's website said the eight would stand trial at the intermediate court in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi. They were accused of organising, leading and participating in a terrorist organisation, as well as endangering public security. The charges are punishable by a maximum penalty of death. The Tiananmen Gate attack has been followed by similar incidents in Xinjiang, including one on May 22 in which men driving off-road vehicles and throwing explosives ploughed through a crowded market in Urumqi, killing 39 people. Police said four suspects were killed at the scene and a fifth was caught that evening in an area about 250 kilometres south of Urumqi. Meanwhile, authorities on Tuesday said police in southwestern Xinjiang foiled a bomb plot and arrested five people. The government says more than 200 people have been detained this month in Xinjiang and 23 extremist groups broken up, though it has released no details about them. Beijing says unrest among Uighurs is caused by extremist groups with ties to Islamic terror groups abroad, but has shown little direct evidence. Uighur activists say public resentment against Beijing is fueled by an influx of settlers from China's Han ethnic majority, economic disenfranchisement and onerous restrictions on Uighur religious and cultural practices. Also Saturday, Xinjiang police announced they would offer rewards for the handing in of guns, bullets and explosives and for tips on the location of large weapons caches. Rewards will range from 550 yuan (HK$691) for a military rifle to five yuan per bullet, and as much as 10,000 yuan for information leading to the discovery of weaponry being prepared for major violent acts. ^ top ^

Chinese-Australian artist detained 'over interview about his Tiananmen artwork' (SCMP)
A Chinese-Australian artist has been detained in Beijing just ahead of the Tiananmen Square anniversary, a report said today, with Canberra informing Beijing of its “strong interest” in the case. Guo Jian, a former Tiananmen Square protester, was taken away last night from his home in Songzhuang, an art colony on the eastern fringe of Beijing, the Sydney Morning Herald said. The 52-year-old Chinese-born Australian managed to send two short text messages to friends, saying he had been taken by police, the report said. It cited a friend, artist Melanie Wang, as saying she was able to reach Guo on the phone briefly and he said police told him he would be released in 15 days. Australia¡'s Department of Foreign Affairs said it was troubled by the report. “The Australian embassy in Beijing has contacted Chinese authorities to seek further information on the reported detention of Mr Guo Jian and to underline our strong interest in the matter,” a spokesman told AFP. “The Australian government stands ready to extend all possible consular assistance to Mr Guo.” Guo's detention came just days before the 25th anniversary of the June 4 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, during which hundreds of people were killed – by some estimates, more than 1,000. China censors any mention of the crackdown and has ramped up already strict controls ahead of the anniversary. Police have detained some 20 prominent liberal academics, lawyers and activists in recent weeks, according to the US-based group Human Rights in China. Friends of Guo believe he was taken in by authorities because of a recent interview with the Financial Times, the Herald reported. During the interview, he revealed he had created an artwork to privately commemorate the anniversary, covering a large diorama of Tiananmen Square with 160kg of minced meat. Guo reportedly immigrated to Australia in 1992 and returned to China in 2005. ^ top ^

China may ease green card rules to attract foreign workers (SCMP)
China may make it easier for foreigners to apply for permanent residency in an attempt to attract more talented workers to the country, the authorities said yesterday.The government is considering revising the regulations to apply for permanent residency with "more flexible and pragmatic application standards", the Organisation Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party said. The green card system was introduced in China in 2004. Foreigners who meet a set of criteria can stay in the country for an unlimited period and enter without a visa. The announcement to revamp the system comes after President Xi Jinping called for a more open policy to attract foreign talent. Xi said at a meeting with 50 foreign experts from 22 countries in Shanghai last month that government departments should improve the mechanism for bringing in talented foreign workers. The government has rolled out a number of initiatives to attract overseas talent. One scheme called the "1,000 talent plan" has recruited about 4,100 overseas scientists since it was launched five years ago. A report by China News Service, citing figures from the Ministry of Public Security, said only 4,700 foreigners were granted a green card between 2004 and the end of 2011. Criteria for a successful application can include making an investment of at least US$500,000 and producing a good return on that investment for at least three years afterwards. Foreigners working in China for at least four years as assistant general manager, factory director, associate professor or assistant researcher can also apply. Those in higher positions are also eligible. Spouses of foreigners with permanent residency can also apply for a green card, provided they have been married for more than five years and live in China for more than nine months each year. Liu Guofu, a Beijing-based immigration law scholar, said the green card assessment gave more weight to job titles rather than applicants' abilities. The assessment standard also varied among government agencies involved in the process. "Not all foreign experts hold management or directorate positions in their workplace," Liu said. "Such an assessment pattern has severely narrowed the scope of foreigners who are eligible for permanent residency in China, affecting the attractiveness of the green card system." ^ top ^

Xi hailed as one of China's greatest communist leaders — by party magazine (SCMP)
President Xi Jinping has been hailed as one of China's greatest communist leaders by the party's political theory magazine - as observes say the move marks an attempt to elevate him to the same level as Mao Zedong. An editorial in the June issue of Qiushi – or “Seek Truth” – said Xi had put forward “new thinking, new views and new conclusions” in a series of important speeches since the 18th National Party Congress in November 2012 addressing the development of the party and the state. A Hong Kong-based analyst said the editorial may suggest an indoctrination campaign is underway. The magazine praised Xi's speeches as the “latest theoretical achievement in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics as well as the development of Marxism and Leninism, and Mao Zedong thought”. His thoughts are now considered to be guidelines for the party and nation, the magazine went on. The speeches were “great guidelines and action codes” for the nation on its way to achieving its “two centennial goals”, including the building of a moderately prosperous society by the time the party celebrated its centenary in 2021. The second aim is to turn China into a modern socialist country that was prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the People's Republic marked its centennial in 2049. Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political affairs analyst, said the campaign was the latest attempt to promote Xi's status to being on a par with Mao Zedong. “To suggest that his speeches are the theoretical guidelines for the whole party and country is to promote his status to the same level as Mao's in party history,” said Zhang, a party historian formerly with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Li Xigen, an associate professor at the department of media and communication at the City University of Hong Kong, said the editorial might suggest that a new round of an indoctrination campaign was under way to promote socialist values among cadres. Li said it was also an effort aimed at “promoting Xi's image and influence”. Last week, a collection of 274 quotes from Xi since 2012, compiled by the Party Literature Office, was published. Analysts said the publication was aimed at officials. Qiushi confirmed the party was about to start a new round of an ideological indoctrination campaign to study Xi's thinking. “The Party Central has attached great importance to the campaign and taken a series of forceful measures to promote it,” it said, adding that it was a significant political task facing the whole party. Chinese leaders in the past have often made use of catch phrases and rhetoric to reinforce communist ideology and their own position. Former president Jiang Zemin advocated “three represents” and his successor Hu Jintao promulgated his “scientific concept of development”. Xi has called for the realisation of the “Chinese dream” to rejuvenate the nation. ^ top ^

25 years on, society firmer about its path (Global Times)
A group of the US Congress members recently proposed renaming the street outside China's Embassy in Washington in honor of the jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for participating in drafting Charter 08 and launching the signature campaign. At the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen incident in 1989, mainstream media outlets from the US and Europe have ramped up reports on China's crackdown on illegal activities in the public sphere. Chinese dissidents exiled in the US and Europe have organized a series of activities to manifest their presence. These reports and activities attempt to create an impression that Chinese society, surrounded by "universal" political appeals, is sitting atop of dangerous incidents and that the Chinese government is very scared. The mendacious impression is made by anti-China forces in the West and Chinese exiles who have been marginalized there. They hope it will deal a heavy blow to the stability of Chinese society but they will end up failing. China has shielded relevant information in a bid to wield a positive influence on the smooth development of reform and opening-up. The generation that experienced the incident has developed a deeper understanding of it through China's growth and such tragedies as the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Arab Spring. The younger generation has avoided being misled by forces antagonistic to China's current political system. Chinese society has never forgotten the incident 25 years ago but not talking about it indicates the attitude of society. Anti-China forces and Chinese exiles in the West have spared no efforts recently but they will be disappointed again. Chinese people are busy with various reforms and different groups are pursuing their own interests. The majority of people are confident in China's progress and willing to change the country through comprehensive reform. They are uninterested in revolutionary calls from abroad. Chinese society still remembers how poor we were 25 years ago. But the country has grown into the world's second largest economy today. Disintegration of the Soviet Union, civil war in Yugoslavia, and what is happening in Ukraine and Thailand have disturbed us more than preaching and appeals from the West. We have witnessed that almost all Chinese recipients of Western awards are dissidents. The West has also granted activity space and open support to Xinjiang and Tibetan separatists. These are powerful lessons for Chinese people. We will not follow the steps of the West. Even those who are captivated by Western ideology are alert to the possibility of the country sinking into turbulence. Only a small number of Chinese are willing to dance to the Western tune, the majority of whom have also calculated their personal interests. They aren't necessarily the idealists acclaimed by themselves and the West. China has found an effective growth path. An increasingly diversified Chinese society is treasuring this path generally. What happened 25 years ago and many incidents of turbulence in the world have taught us to be wiser. ^ top ^

1989 student leaders, intellectuals still divided over China's path to democracy (SCMP)
After a quarter of a century, figures that once took the centre stage of Tiananmen Square in 1989's student movement have their own reflection on democracy they dreamt for China. Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi, then student leaders at Tiananmen Square and now living in Taiwan, showed up this March at the island's legislature chamber occupied by students. The students were protesting Taipei's handling of a service trade pact with Beijing. Wang, now teaching humanities and social and political sciences at two of Taiwan's universities, said Taipei's protest reflects the growing desire for a so-called fifth right – the civic right of every individual – to prevent democracy from being damaged if the four pillars of democracy – political parties, the parliament, elections and the media – fail to uphold their roles. “Development of individual civic rights is thus highly important to oversee if any areas of those systems have gone wrong,” he noted. For Zhou Duo, one of the four intellectuals who launched a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square on the eve of the crackdown, and later negotiated with the troops to allow students leaving the square on June 4, said street movements will not help promote democracy on the mainland – for fear that it could easily lead to populist figures coming into power. Zhou, who remains living on the mainland, said democracy should develop gradually there. The rule of law and the power of the constitution should be strengthened first to ensure basic individual freedoms, and restrict the power of the ruling authority. “Civil society in China is not fully developed, and under such conditions, mass movements will easily result in an uncontrollable and radical situation that no one can stop,” he said. “It will become a tyranny by the majority of people and dangerous.” Efforts should be taken to consolidate the “middle-wing” political camp, making radical thoughts and believes sidelined. Despite recent arrests of dissidents on the mainland, including veteran journalist Gao Yu and rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, Wuer Kaixi said he still believes that democracy can flourish on the mainland. “This is what we call the darkest moment before the dawn – a popular phrase used by the Chinese Communist Party,” Wuer Kaixi said. But political reform was more difficult now than in the past decade, Zhou said. Corruption is more rampant, and elites who are capable of reform are deviating themselves from the authority. “There is also no consensus on reform. Not many people support reform, there is more suspicion of it and opposition to it.” Still, Zhou believes the current leadership is determined to carry out reform, as shown by the massive anti-corruption campaign. ^ top ^

SPC says new law on way to fight dissemination of terrorist audio, video (Global Times)
The Supreme People's Court on Tuesday announced that there will soon be laws and regulations on spreading video and audio involving terrorism and violence. The five suspects in the May 22 bomb attack at a market in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, were influenced by terrorist video and audio spread via phones and over the Internet, police said previously. Such video and audio files encouraged people to sacrifice their lives for the "Holy War" and spread extreme religious teachings. They mainly targeted young and uneducated people. Many terror suspects caught in recent years were inspired by such video and audio to carry out these activities, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The top court's announcement came after President Xi Jinping held a conference on May 28 on Xinjiang, which pushed for anti-terrorism campaign as well as regional development. The court announced it will urge lower-level courts to strengthen criminal justice, be devoted to the anti-terrorism campaign and try terrorism cases in a fast and effective manner. Courts should justly try civil and business cases and protect the rights of enterprises and people in Xinjiang. In 2013, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, listed by the United Nations Security Council as a terrorist group, produced 107 terrorist video and audio files, some of which were spread to China, according to Xinhua. The court will also see to the training of "bilingual" judges in Xinjiang, as well as strengthen publicity on law and order, as part of the anti-terrorism campaign. ^ top ^

Thousands of Beijing students to sit gaokao under heavy police guard (SCMP)
For the first time in the exam's more than 30-year history, the gaokao tests in Beijing will be conducted under heavy guard this weekend, with gun-toting anti-terror police on patrol and the exam papers to be delivered by armoured cars. The extra security for some 70,000 students sitting the exams in Beijing is part of the central government's counter-terrorism operations, launched in the wake of bombing attacks elsewhere on the mainland. They will sit the two-day exams, which last from morning to afternoon, at more than 100 testing centres, according to The Beijing News. China's university entrance test has been administered since 1955, but was interrupted during the Cultural Revolution. The test was relaunched in its current form in 1977. In Beijing's Xicheng district, police will station an armoured vehicle, carrying guns and anti-riot equipment, to each of 19 testing centres. Seven “armed police vehicles” will be responsible for delivering the test papers in Fengtai district. Afterwards, the cars will be on patrol. But security is not the only concern for Fengtai officials. One of the local officials' headaches is preventing elderly retirees from holding noisy public dances during exam season. The Beijing Youth Daily reported that high-school students there had complained about loud music and noise from the dancers between 7pm to 10pm – interrupting their hours for self-study. In Haidian district, which has the most number of examinees this year, students are required to present their ID cards apart from just their admission papers. Police in Dongcheng district have prepared contingency plans and conducted emergency drills. In the southern district of Daxing, which spans the suburbs, more than 100 police will be assigned to patrol five testing centres – double the officers deployed last year. Chaoyang and Shijingshan district police have also been working with related authorities to conduct safety checks and “clean-ups” of surrounding areas – including asking the dancing retirees to hold off on their public dances. When chengguan, or city police, approached 300 retirees in Fengtai, they refused to leave but promised to turn down the music. More than 9.39 million students nationwide have registered for the exam this year, according Ministry of Education statistics. ^ top ^

Age shall not weary the Tiananmen Mothers in their search for answers (SCMP)
Before a field of lit candles, Hong Kong last night honoured the Tiananmen Mothers and the children they lost 25 years ago. One of the founders of the support and democracy group, Ding Zilin, said in a taped video message to the crowd gathered in Victoria Park: "It has been a painful journey of life." For the first two years after the death of her son, Jiang Jielian, she said, life became unbearable. Now, 25 years later, the mothers of Tiananmen Square's dead persist in their singular goal: for China's government to exonerate their children and disclose what happened when troops fired on protesters in June 1989. "The crackdown didn't only kill and injure thousands of young people. It ruined their families," Zhang Xianling, one of the founders of the Tiananmen Mothers, said. "The same misfortune has brought us together, as we all lost our loved ones in the 1989 bloody crackdown." They face a government that has vilified the protesters and justified the army's violent response. The group has tried to enlist support. You Weijie, 61, widow of Yang Minghu, a civil servant, said that to prevent victims' families being silenced, she and four other group members began travelling beyond Beijing to other provinces and municipalities in October. She said the group recorded the testimony of more than 20 families in nine provinces and municipalities. "I'm still unwilling to accept the fact that my son was shot dead," Jin Yaxi, who is 86 and lives in a remote village in Tongshan county, Xianning, Hubei, is quoted as saying on the group's website. The parents of Wu Guofeng, a Renmin University student, speak of the difficulties they faced long after their 21-year-old son died in the protests. "The authorities so far have still failed to give me a reason why my son was killed," Wu's father, Wu Dingfu, is quoted as saying. "In addition, local police have never stopped harassing me... Every year, local officials prohibit us from openly burning offerings to my boy on the anniversary of his death." Families kept mementoes of their loved ones, including oaths showing the students' passion for democratic reform, elegies by teachers and classmates, and writings and pictures produced by the students during the June 4 movement, You said. Some families had bloodstained clothing, studded with bullet holes. The interviews and relics would be sent to the new Tiananmen memorial museum in Hong Kong to prod the Beijing authorities to divulge the truth about the crackdown, You said. Zhang said they had had to halt the travelling campaign because authorities had increased surveillance of core group members since February. She said that police last month summoned You and the four others in the campaign to give statements. "But what they have done will not scare us off," she said. ^ top ^

Govt makes further cuts to boost efficiency (China Daily)
In an effort to improve government efficiency, the State Council's executive meeting decided on Wednesday to abolish or delegate 52 items of administrative procedures previously subject to the State Council's review. These administrative procedures, as part of the 200 items that Premier Li Keqiang proposed cutting this year in his annual work report, will streamline the administration for investors and business startups, create job opportunities and ensure that favorable policies make full use of innovation in the market, according to a statement released after the meeting. For example, the application for preferential tax rates of small- and microsized companies and businesses offering job opportunities to laid-off workers will be streamlined to simplify tax reduction procedures. The government will continue to reduce the number of items subject to government approval before starting a business and release details about those items to the public for supervision, the statement said. "We must prevent reform dividends from being intercepted," it said. The central government has pledged to streamline business procedures by cutting bureaucratic inefficiency since last year. It abolished or delegated to lower-level governments 416 items previously subject to State Council review and approval in 2013. It revised the list of investment projects requiring government review and streamlined the business registration system. A total of 348 administrative fees were either canceled or exempted, thus reducing the burden on businesses by more than 150 billion yuan ($24 billion), according to the government's 2013 work report. As a result, the number of newly registered businesses increased by 27.6 percent nationwide, and private investment accounted for 63 percent of the country's total investment last year. Wednesday's meeting also discussed the geographic layout for petrochemical industry development, a plan currently being drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission. Cai Ronghua, an official from the NDRC, told Xinhua News Agency that the plan aims to "scientifically adjust the distribution of the petrochemical industry" to maintain sustainable development of the industry. Although the State Council's meeting did not release details of the plan, it stressed that the plan must be followed strictly once being settled. As for the increasing number of protests against petrochemical projects, such as PX (paraxylene) plants, in recent years, the meeting also urged local governments to respond to concerns from the public. ^ top ^

Govt apologizes for shutting out reporters (Xinhua)
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) has apologized for shutting out environmental law enforcers and reporters tasked with investigating the administration's cafeteria ventilation. Law enforcers from Beijing's Dongcheng district environmental authorities, accompanied by several reporters, on Wednesday swooped on the SACH's cafeteria for a surprise examination of its smoke filtering equipment, according to a statement issued by the SACH on Wednesday. According to media reports, the task-force were denied entry into the administration, and agitated SACH staff even hurled insults at the reporters. The SACH issued a statement on Thursday, admitting that its staff shut out law enforcers and reporters, and that the incident has revealed improper work styles and poor law awareness. The SACH added that it will punish its staff, while the administration accepted the environmental probe on Wednesday afternoon. According to its Wednesday statement, the environmental examiners confirmed that the cafeteria had installed smoke filtering facilities. Previously, people living near the SACH compound had lodged complaints about the noise made by the air-conditioning system for its computer rooms. ^ top ^



Beijing mobilizes 100,000-strong citizen army in the capital's latest anti-terror drive (SCMP)
Beijing has mobilised a 100,000-strong citizen army to gather intelligence in the capital as the national anti-terrorism campaign gathers pace, according to local media.Even newspaper vendors and street cobblers have been ordered to raise the alarm if they notice anything suspicious. But the move has been attacked both by a military expert and on social media. Critics hit out after the Beijing Youth Daily and Beijing News reported yesterday that community leaders and volunteers across the capital would collect anti-terror intelligence and report to the city's public security agency. Each piece of valid information would net a citizen agent a reward of two yuan (HK$2.50), while those who report three pieces of intelligence a day would be offered 200 yuan a month, Beijing Youth Daily quoted the citizen intelligence team from Xicheng district as saying. The mobilisation came as two police officers were killed during anti-terror raids in Xinjiang. One died on Wednesday in Aksu and the other on Thursday in Kashgar, sources confirmed. Citizen volunteers on patrol are nothing new to the capital; 850,000 volunteers - mostly pensioners in their 60s and 70s - were already patrolling the capital with police, the Mirror newspaper reported. But the recent mass mobilisations have been the largest of their kind. Some 290,000 citizens joined police to patrol the streets during the 2008 Olympics, while 700,000 volunteers were mobilised during the annual parliamentary sessions in March. The mobilisations are the latest in a series of anti-terror measures adopted by the capital after three deadly attacks on civilians rocked the western provinces of Yunnan and Xinjiang. Internet users complained they were being watched, not protected. "Police and military are ruling the country. The city will be filled with secret agents," Beijing-based author Xia Yu wrote on Weibo. Prominent writer Zhang Yihe posted, "It's a sea of people's war", a term that late leader Mao Zedong used during the second world war to describe his strategy against the Japanese. Shanghai-based military commentator Zhao Chu wrote in his blog that the Beijing mobilisations were reminiscent of the Great Leap Forward half a century ago and showed ignorance of modern counterterrorism theories and effective emergency response plans. "The country has long been mobilising ordinary citizens … The policies and anti-terror strategies adopted in the past have already been proved to be ineffective by the latest bombing. Without a thorough review of the policies, the high-profile anti-terror crackdown will do nothing but win the attackers some more time," Zhao said. Beijing organised five anti-terror drills this month, the latest of which included more than 2,800 police and commandos from the elite Snow Leopard unit. After introducing security scans at nine Beijing subway stations last Saturday, officials planned to expand the scheme to cover 15 bus routes that pass through the central district by the middle of June, according to the Beijing Youth Daily. Other mainland cities have also stepped up anti-terror measures after the country announced its year-long battle against terrorism on Sunday. The crackdown follows a string of attacks. Last week, attackers killed 39 people when they drove two off-road vehicles into crowds and threw explosives into a street market in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Earlier last month, a bomb and knife attack at the city's main train station left three people dead and 79 injured. Knife-wielding attackers killed 29 people in Kunming in March. ^ top ^



Seven arrested for illegally demolishing 200-year-old Guangdong bridge (SCMP)
Seven men accused of illegally demolishing a 200-year-old bridge to make way for a real estate project have been detained by the Guangdong police. One suspect remains at large. Among those held were executives from the companies that planned and carried out the demolition in late April at Longchuan county in Heyuan city. The rest were construction workers and one contractor, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. The developer Guangdong Changhong wanted to make space for a riverside plaza as part of a commercial property estate that went on sale in February. Demolition operations were prepared in April and contracted to a Longchuan company for 160,000 yuan (HK$201,000). By the early morning of May 1, residents were shocked to find that workers had bulldozed the Yangxi Bridge and dumped the debris into the river before hastily leaving the scene, leaving some of the work unfinished. The 50-metre-long, 4.5-metre-wide stone arch bridge – which stood 7.3 metres high, above the water – was declared a protected relic by the county government in 2010. It was built diring the Jiaqing period of the Qing dynasty. The police arrested the suspects in succession between May 7 and last Thursday, May 29 including the 52-year-old deputy general manager of the Guangdong Changhong development company and a 40-year-old Longchuan company branch manager who lives in Heyuan. After public indignation over the loss of the relic, Longchuan county authorities rushed to salvage the broken pieces of the bridge and clear the river of debris. The daily said local authorities were planning to keep what was left of the bridge in storage while they draft a restoration proposal by mid-August. They are hoping to fix the bridge by the end of November. ^ top ^



Dalai Lama set to renew efforts to revive Tibetan autonomy in China (SCMP)
The Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetan leaders will on Thursday launch a renewed push for autonomy within China as they seek to end a wave of gruesome self-immolations against perceived oppression in their homeland by Beijing. The leaders will meet in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala to kick off a media campaign promoting the “Middle Way” for peaceful autonomy for Tibetans, in a bid to pile global pressure on Beijing to revisit the issue. The prime minister of Tibet's government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, is expected to host a press conference, after taking over the job of pushing for autonomy from the spiritual leader. But the Dalai Lama, who stepped down from political duties in 2011, stole the spotlight on the eve of the launch by urging China to embrace democracy in comments marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The Nobel Peace Prize winner offered prayers for the hundreds of people – by some estimates, more than 1,000 – who died in Beijing on June 3-4, 1989 when Communist authorities sent in troops to crush their peaceful pro-democracy protests. “I offer prayers for those who died for freedom, democracy and human rights,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement posted on his website. “These values are the foundation of a free and dynamic society.” The Buddhist leader said Beijing should embrace mainstream democracy which “will help China to gain the trust and respect of the rest of the world”. Thursday's launch of a website and social media pages comes after a series of self-immolations in recent years, a sign of the increasing sense of desperation among Tibetans. Some 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with most dying of their injuries, in demonstrations against what they see as Chinese oppression in their homeland. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting the protests. Beijing says its rule has brought economic development to Tibet. US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have called on Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys on autonomy that broke down in 2010 after making no headway. But there are few signs of a return to the table and Beijing dismissed Thursday's renewed push for the “Middle Way” approach, which would include handing Tibetans decision-making positions in the region. “We advise these people to give up their attempts to separate Tibet from China,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday. Robbie Barnett, a professor of modern Tibetan studies at Columbia University, said the “Middle Way” has made no major progress since the Dalai Lama retired from his political position, despite its backing from the US and other Western governments. Tibetan leaders have failed to appease vocal critics within the exile community who call for Tibetans to push for total independence and who argue that Beijing will never agree to any concessions on autonomy or the return of exiles, Barnett said. “Talks are always possible, but any positive outcome would require exceptional skill and patience on the Tibetan side, and a shift in policy direction by the Chinese side,” he said.. ^ top ^



China's Xinjiang offers rewards for turning in guns, explosives (Xinhua)
Police in China's far-western Xinjiang region have offered rewards for citizens who turn over guns, explosives or provide tips on these items. Residents will be rewarded 500 yuan for each military rifle, 300 yuan for each gun for civilian use, and five yuan for each bullet they hand over, said a document issued by the Public Security Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. As for explosives, individuals will be given 100 yuan for turning over a grenade, landmine or source bomb, 30 yuan for a detonator, 20 yuan for each kg of dynamite and 10 yuan for each kg of gunpowder, said the reward document, which took effect on Tuesday. Those who hand in long knives not for food preparation or personal use and imitation guns will be rewarded according to their market value, it added. Citizens who provide tips on specific large amounts of explosives, guns and knives will also be given rewards of up to 10,000 yuan. Those whose tips play an especially important role in preventing or breaking up an explosives-related terrorist case will be rewarded between 5,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan. Xinjiang launched a special campaign on May 23 to crack down on violent terrorist crimes after an open market attack in the capital Urumqi left 39 innocent people dead and more than 90 injured in the deadliest terrorist attack in the region in recent years. ^ top ^

Xinjiang sentences nine to death (Global Times)
Courts in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Thursday handed out death sentences to nine terrorists in open trials, in a bid to deter terrorist acts in the region. The nine were among a total of 81 convicts linked to 23 cases due to their involvement in terrorism groups, intentional homicide and arson across Xinjiang including Urumqi, Tacheng, Kashi, Hotan, Aksu, and Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture. Three others were given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. The open trials were a part of China's year-long nationwide anti-terrorism operation launched following a deadly terrorist attack in Urumqi in late May, which has made Xinjiang a major battleground. According to local news portal, Xinjiang High People's Court Thursday revealed details of several cases from the open trials. It said Abdu Eziz Mexmut and 17 others made explosive devices multiple times and planned terrorist attacks against a village government and police station, which led to the severe injury of a police officer. They received punishments ranging from suspended death to life imprisonment and fixed-term imprisonment. In another case, Nurmemet Abdukerim, who joined an overseas terrorist group and spread religious extremism in Xinjiang, was sentenced to life imprisonment for teaching techniques on building explosives, recruiting terrorists and plotting terrorist acts. Two others face imprisonment of five and 10 years for spreading terrorism and ethnic discrimination as well as instigating ethnic hatred via the Internet and social networking applications. Hong Liu, an official with the regional court, told the Xinjiang Daily that for those who have committed extremely severe crimes, the court wouldn't shy from handing out death sentences. Representatives from different social sectors and ethnicities were invited to attend the open trials. The accused were also entitled to the right to defense and the right of appeal using their ethnic languages, the regional court noted at a press conference on Thursday. Another 29 terror-related suspects have been arrested in Urumqi over charges including inciting separatism, assembling to disturb social order, illegal business activities, and inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination. The authorities expect to complete the investigation within 48 hours, Urumqi People's Procuratorate announced Wednesday. Xinjiang has vowed to use ultra-tough and unconventional approach during the campaign. In an interview with the Xinjiang Daily, Chen Tong, dean of the Law School at Xinjiang Normal University, explained that the authorities will impose the strongest possible punishment and keep rolling out new and more advanced measures in combating extremists, but all these will be carried out within the legal framework. Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the procuratorate's 48-hour deadline for investigation would guarantee swift action in curbing terrorism. "The authorities have to speed up their investigation before terrorists could escape justice and continue terrorist acts upon their release from detention." According to the law, the maximum duration for criminal detention is three days, but could extend to seven days under special circumstances. Li expects an anti-terrorism law will soon be enacted so as to allow longer detention for more thorough investigation. However, Turgunjan Tursun, a research fellow at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, is a bit skeptical about the actual impact of the recent arrests and trials in eliminating terrorism. "These may serve as a warning sign to junior and entry-level newcomers, but they still can't stop the leaders and major figures in these groups," Tursun said. Tursun also doubted the effects of the periodic, one-off type of anti-terror campaign and suggested the government should carry out a long-term and regular enforcement. ^ top ^



HK gov't vows to enhance city's competitiveness (Xinhua)
The government is committed to enhancing Hong Kong's competitiveness, and will continue to explore new markets, support the development of pillar industries, and seek to diversify the economy, HK's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So says. So said the city's pillar industries of trading and logistics, financial services, tourism, and business and professional services have been driving forces of Hong Kong's economic development, adding that there is still room for growth as they move up the value chain. He said the government will also continue to invest in education to nurture talent and promote social mobility, while examining population policy to address the impact of the aging population on the labor market in the long run. The government is also committed to upholding the principles of fairness and neutrality regarding taxation, he added, as Hong Kong's simple tax regime and low tax rates are among the essential factors underpinning the city's success.^ top ^

Sea of lights as ‘record crowd' marks 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown (SCMP)
Victoria Park became a galaxy of candlelight last night with what was claimed to be a record crowd marking the 25th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown. Conflict within the ranks of the democracy movement led to radicals holding an alternative rally in Tsim Sha Tsui. But the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China put the number in Victoria Park at more than 180,000, well up from the 150,000 reported last year. Police put the turnout at 99,500, compared with 54,000 last year. The previous biggest turnout reported by the alliance was 180,000 in 2012. Even as the commemoration started at 8pm, thousands of people were waiting to get into the park, with the queue stretching all the way to the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay. Many travelled from the mainland to join the vigil, with Hong Kong - and its neighbouring Macau - the only places on Chinese soil where people can observe the anniversary in public and on such a large scale. "Let's show our sea of lights to [President] Xi Jinping ! Fight until the end!" said alliance chairman Lee Cheuk-yan. In contrast, Beijing was eerily quiet. Tiananmen Square and other key locations were heavily guarded by police. Only a few family members of four of the victims killed in the 1989 crackdown were allowed to visit the Wanan Cemetery where their loved ones were buried. They were closely watched by security officers. Zhang Xianling, a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers group, said she alone was watched by at least 20 plain-clothes officers. "This shows the authorities still lack the courage to face the grievous mistake they made 25 years ago," she said. In Hong Kong, video messages from eight exiled dissidents, including Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, Yan Jiaqi and Wang Juntao, were broadcast. Wang Dan said the desire for democracy lived on. "We will certainly see the dawn of the victory if we continue to persevere," he said. Teng Biao, a mainland civil rights lawyer, said: "I hope one day Chinese citizens will have the freedom of protest, which is a right protected by the Chinese constitution, as well as a basic human right. "However, many human rights activists … have sacrificed their freedom trying to pursue this right. Some have even lost their lives for it." At the close of the gathering, the alliance called on participants to join the annual July 1 pro-democracy march. The Federation of Students protested outside the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong after the vigil. Radical pan-democratic lawmaker Wong Yuk-man's Proletariat Political Institute and online media platform Passion Times jointly held an alternative vigil in Tsim Sha Tsui. Organisers put the turnout at about 7,000 - much higher than they had expected - but police said the figure was nearer 3,000. Pro-Beijing group Voice of Loving Hong Kong staged its own rally - attended by about 20 people - right next to the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. It screened a video purportedly showing that "nobody died at Tiananmen Square". Police stepped in to keep the group and some members of the huge crowd apart, although there were scuffles. Earlier in the day, government-friendly lawmakers walked out of the Legislative Council as pan-democrats observed a minute's silence, after Lee Cheuk-yan's request for formal mourning was rejected by Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Yesterday in Macau, over 2,000 people gathered at Senado Square to commemorate those who lost their lives in the crackdown, the Macau Daily Times reported.^ top ^



Factory sector raises hopes for economic stabilization (Global Times)
Activity in China's factory sector rose to a five-month high in May, official data showed on Sunday, raising hopes of stabilization in the economy despite worries about a cooling property sector. The official Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), mainly capturing larger and State-owned enterprises, increased by 0.4 percentage points from the previous month to 50.8 in May. This third successive pickup in a row was pulled up by a rebound in both new orders and new export orders, the proxies for domestic demand and foreign demand respectively, according to a statement posted on the website of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sunday. A reading above the 50-point mark points to expansion in manufacturing, while an index below tells of contraction. The continued rebound seen in the forward-looking PMI provides more evidence of a stabilizing economy, Zhang Lei, a macroeconomic analyst with Minsheng Securities, told the Global Times on Monday. A breakdown of the official survey results also showed a broad-based stabilization in the economy during May. Of the 11 sub-indices of the PMI reading, all but the components measuring stocks of raw materials, employment and stocks of finished goods rose in May compared to a month earlier. A preliminary survey by HSBC which focuses on smaller and private enterprises also buttressed a pickup in factory activity. The HSBC Flash China PMI announced on May 22 a recovery to 49.7 in May from the previous month's final reading of 48.1. The final reading for May is scheduled to be published on Tuesday. The strong PMI reading for May is "a welcome sign that the targeted approach to stimulus, adopted by the current government, appears to be bearing fruit," Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics said in a research note sent to the Global Times on Monday. In the latest of a series of targeted, mini stimulus measures aimed to put a floor under growth of the Chinese economy that slowed to an 18-month low of 7.4 percent in the first quarter, Premier Li Keqiang announced last week that the country will cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for those banks meeting certain ratios of lending to the rural sector and small- and micro-sized enterprises in an expansion of targeted RRR cuts. The central government is expected to step up targeted measures to prop up economic growth, as "there are still strong headwinds due to the downturn of the property sector and the anti-corruption campaign," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists led by Lu Ting, said in a research report sent to the Global Times. But universal measures such as cutting benchmark rates and cutting RRR for all banks will not be considered, the economists believe. By pledging to allow the market to play a decisive role in the economy, the government will not continue to massively intervene in the economy, Zhang remarked, brushing aside possibilities of any universal stimulus. He told the Global Times that China's service sector has shown strong growth momentum in recent years and is on course to become a new growth engine to offset the drag on the overall economy from the property sector. "The apparent stabilization in the manufacturing sector should give policymakers more leeway to work toward their goal of rebalancing growth by allowing other sectors, such as real estate, to cool further," Evans-Pritchard said. ^ top ^

Time for Asia to tighten monetary policy (SCMP)
Asian central banks delaying a normalisation of interest rates risk either having to play catch-up when the US Federal Reserve starts to increase - or worse, a financial bust. It's more than five years since super-easy monetary policies were adopted by the Fed, the Bank of England and others in response to the economic downturn triggered by the global financial crisis, and the world economy is largely humming again. But no Asian central bank - aside from those in India and Indonesia which have acted in response to specific bouts of investor unease - has yet begun to normalise rates. There are plenty of excuses as to why: fears that the "first mover" would attract disproportionate capital inflows; an insurance against the risks of a hard landing for China's economy; a failure of Abenomics to revive Japan; or the still generally below-trend inflation rates across the region. Given an absence of capital controls, the core choice facing the region's central banks can be summed up as this: tighten and be swamped by even more capital inflows fuelling the financial upcycle; or stay loose, intervene to limit exchange-rate appreciation and fuel the (domestic credit-led) financial upcycle. Asia seems to have chosen the latter. The result is that Asia has created its own financial upcycle. Credit and property market booms have been building for some time. Policymakers have tried to handle them by using macroprudential measures, such as controls on real estate transactions and special stamp duties on investments, with gusto. Macroprudential tools, however, are not silver bullets. And over time they lose their impact. The best chances of mitigating financial upcycles will materialise when monetary and macroprudential tools work together and reinforce each other. This has not yet happened in Asia. Meanwhile, lower-than-usual interest rates allow Asian companies and governments to avoid making the tough, long-term and urgently needed supply-side reforms that are essential to boosting productivity and competitiveness. As a result, potential growth has slowed in all Asian economies bar the Philippines over the past five years. Asian central banks may have fallen into the same trap as their advanced economy counterparts of focusing on the wrong thing - low CPI inflation - while policymakers in countries with a strong balance of payments may be getting lulled into a false sense of security. Price stability on its own does not guarantee financial stability when powerful financial cycles have become more prominent. To be sure, Asian central bankers have a very tough job to do. Responding to the financial upcycle needs to be weighed against risks which would hurt Asia disproportionately more than other regions. The dilemma is that these shocks may never materialise. A Chinese hard landing is the region's biggest fear. Certainly the mainland's financial and business cycles look the most out of sync in Asia. There have been severe excesses of debt and property investment, in spite of which economic growth this year will likely be the lowest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crisis. The question for China's property market is no longer "if" or "when" it corrects, but rather "by how much"? There is an added risk that the correction snowballs, given the pervasive influence of the property market on the broader economy. The second big risk hanging over the region is the potential failure of Abenomics. If the policy's so-called "three arrows" miss their mark, Japan could slump back into deflation, with public debt rising on an unsustainable path. In the worst case it would stoke fears of a fiscal crisis if the Bank of Japan is forced to monetise government debt to avoid a sovereign bond collapse. This could lead to a contraction in Japanese demand, massive yen depreciation and decreased Japanese capital outflows. The spillover effects on Asia would be substantial. Third, geopolitical tensions brewing between China and several countries in the region could disrupt trade, especially given Asia's elaborate vertical supply chain. The base case is that none of these things happen and instead China avoids a hard landing, Abenomics regains momentum and geopolitical tensions simmer down. But even if that sanguine assessment prevails, Asian central banks must convince markets that they are ahead of the curve of potential risks. They must dampen the financial cycle before it gets too hot, by even greater and more innovative use of macroprudential tools, along with starting to normalise what are clearly very low policy interest rates. To do this, central banks must take on a broader policy mandate that focuses on the financial cycle as well as inflation. That will compel policymakers to become longer-sighted as financial cycles typically run to 16 to 20 years, versus business cycles at eight to 10 years. That will also lead to greater emphasis being placed on financial stability risks and the supply side. Inevitably it will require some Asian central banks to be given clearer mandates and to engage in more coordination with government. Whatever else, delays in normalising rates is a dangerous game for Asian central banks to play. The regional backdrop clearly indicates that they should raise policy rates in India, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan over the next 12 months. Waiting for the Fed to make the move could be a big mistake. ^ top ^

Targeted RRR cut to stabilize growth: analysts (Global Times)
A "targeted" reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut will help shore up China's economic growth and prevent a debt crisis, analysts said Tuesday. The State Council said in a statement on Friday that the country will lower the RRR for banks whose loans to the agriculture sector or micro and small-sized enterprises have reached a certain proportion, but without specifying details of when and how much the cuts will be. On April 25, the central bank cut the RRR for county-level rural commercial banks by 2 percentage points and that of rural credit cooperative unions by 0.5 percentage point. "The policy aims to optimize the credit structure, as agricultural and small firms have great difficulties in financing, while big State-owned enterprises do not face such a problem," Xu Hongcai, director of the Department of Information under the China Center for International Economic Exchange, told the Global Times on Tuesday. The April cut had injected about 200 billion yuan ($31.8 billion) into the real economy, according to Xu's estimate. Though China's economy is running smoothly, it is facing relatively big downward pressure, the statement said, noting that China will continue with a prudent monetary policy and make timely and moderate fine-tuning moves to better serve the real economy. "As long as the economic growth stays in a reasonable range, authorities are unlikely to change their prudent monetary policy stance," Xu said. The targeted measure has diminished market speculation for a full-fledged RRR reduction for banks. "The market was expecting a general RRR cut, but the targeted RRR cuts could be similarly effective in boosting liquidity," Liu Dongliang, a senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, said in a research note sent to the Global Times Tuesday. Besides the targeted RRR cut, other financial measures mentioned in the State Council statement include increasing loans through the re-lending facility and issuing financial bonds for specific projects to support micro and small-sized firms. "The move will help relieve debt pressure faced by many small firms," Liu said. Xu Gao, chief economist of China Everbright Securities Co, still believes there is possibility of an RRR cut for all banks. "The statement has indicated authorities' determination to loosen the monetary policy… if such measures could not solve financing problems for the real economy, the central bank is likely to roll out a full-fledged RRR cut," he said in a research note sent to the Global Times Tuesday. But the recovering Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data will make Chinese policymakers cautious about any further adjustment in the monetary policy, he also noted. China's official PMI rose to 50.8 in May from 50.4 in April, marking a third successive pickup in a row and raising hopes of stabilization of the economy. With a batch of pro-growth policies gradually taking effect, China's economy is likely to stabilize in the second and third quarter of this year, said Liu from China Merchants Bank. Previous mini-stimulus measures mainly aimed at boosting employment, but the targeted RRR cuts indicate that China has diverted its policy focus to prevent a debt crisis through relieving the funding pressure for local governments and enterprises, Liu said. ^ top ^

Beijing suspends free-trade zone applications after nationwide frenzy (SCMP)
The central government has suspended applications for new free-trade zones (FTZs) in an attempt to cool the nationwide frenzy to compete for the special status given to Shanghai last year, a Communist Party magazine reports.Xinhua's Outlook Weekly magazine on Monday quoted an anonymous source close to the central authorities as saying that "all application processes for new FTZs have been suspended". State officials were "not satisfied" with the proposals submitted by the regional governments, and had sent them back for revision, the source said. He Manqing, director of the Institute of Foreign Investment under the Ministry of Commerce, told the South China Morning Post: "Some regional governments just wanted to catch the bus [of FTZ development] first. They had not figured out what exactly a free-trade zone is and if it would work in their region before they submitted their proposals." More than 20 local governments listed FTZ proposals in their annual work reports this year, with local officials lobbying various central authorities, the magazine reported. Guangdong, among many other provinces, proposed a pilot zone to foster economic ties with neighbouring regions. Its proposed FTZ encompassing Hong Kong, Macau and parts of the province already had the backing of Beijing, Governor Zhu Xiaodan said in April. Zhu's comments came after Premier Li Keqiang mentioned in his first work report that China would launch a number of new trials after giving Shanghai the go-ahead to launch the country's first free-trade zone. The central government "was looking for innovative proposals … But local governments read FTZ as a preferential policy, and wanted to secure funds and land by applying for an FTZ regardless of the region's own characteristics," He said. He added that the central government had also suspended the approval of new economic and technology development zones. "Many problems surfaced after various regions rushed to set up across the country," He said. Zhang Yansheng, a top policy adviser to the National Development and Reform Commission, said Beijing had not departed from a wider opening up of the mainland market. "I don't think the central government has any restrictions on policy innovation. But the regional governments need to figure out what sort of policies currently adopted in the Shanghai pilot free-trade zone they are competing for: pre-establishment national treatment [meaning foreign and domestic investors receive the same treatment], a complete opening up of the service industries or a relaxation of the administrative approval process," Zhang said. Commentators from Guangdong said the reported FTZ freeze had called a halt for now to the province's plans. It had repeatedly called for approval of a Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau free-trade zone, they said. The zone would build on the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement signed between Hong Kong and the mainland in 2003. "I dare say this [article] reflects the thoughts of [President] Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang and is embarrassing for Guangdong," said Ding Li, regional planning expert with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences. "Guangdong must rethink the difference between 'real reform' and 'fake reform'." ^ top ^

Xi urges joint efforts in building Silk Road Economic Belt (Xinhua)
Xi made the remarks in his address at the opening ceremony of the sixth ministerial conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) held in Beijing, which called on the two sides to carry forward the Silk Road spirit and deepen their cooperation. The "One Belt and One Road" refers to the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", concepts put forward by Xi during his visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia respectively in 2013. Xi noted that in negotiations, China and Arab states need to pool wisdom and share good ideas with each other to achieve desirable results in their joint endeavor, so that the development of the "One Belt and One Road" will accommodate the interests and concerns and reflect the wisdom and creativity of both sides. In implementation, Xi said, China and Arab states need to do their best to bring into play their respective advantages, tap the potential and register major achievements from accumulated efforts in a persevering way. He added that sharing means China and Arab states need to make more development achievements benefit people of the two sides in a fairer way and build a community of shared interests and common destinies for China and Arab states. Around 200 guests from China and Arab states, including Secretary-general of the League of Arab States Nabil Elaraby, and foreign ministers or representatives attended the forum. ^ top ^

IMF lowers China's 2015 growth to 7pc (SCMP)
The International Monetary Fund cut its economic growth forecast for China to about 7 per cent for next year, but urged the authorities to avoid further stimulus measures and concentrate on curtailing financial risks instead. In remarks that projected confidence about the health of the world's second-biggest economy, the IMF said Beijing must keep its word on implementing reforms that would correct imbalances, including a "moderately undervalued" yuan. Specifically, it said conditions were right for China to take the next step in freeing its interest rates market, challenging the view among some senior Chinese officials that the country is not yet ready for such a move. "We are not counselling stimulus at this point," the IMF's first deputy managing director David Lipton told reporters, when asked if he thought the government should do more to shore up flagging economic growth. "We don't think there are sufficient signs that would warrant that." Rather, he said the bigger threat to China was its persistent reliance on debt and investment in areas such as real estate to power its economy, weaknesses that are still growing today. So unless the economy was at risk of missing the government's growth target of about 7.5 per cent this year by a substantial margin, Lipton said more stimulus was unwarranted. "Vulnerabilities have risen to the point that containing them should be a priority," he said, noting that the IMF believed China could hit its economic growth target for this year. For next year, the IMF lowered its economic growth projection from 7.3 per cent to about 7 per cent - a level that Lipton said was realistic if China were to carry out extensive financial reforms, as it promised to. Two policy steps in the past week significantly broadened the support to the economy without breaching vows to avoid major stimulus, through a quickening of government spending and a second targeted cut in reserve requirements for some banks. The moves look intended to keep growth near 7.2 per cent, which Premier Li Keqiang has said is needed to support jobs growth. "There is no need for such a move as long as we could maintain quarterly GDP growth rates of 7.2-7.3 per cent, which could be a tipping point for policy change," said Wang Jun, a senior economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a well-connected think tank. Beijing has announced a series of modest stimulus measures in recent months after the economy got off to a weak start this year. Business surveys in the past week signal activity may be starting to stabilise but a slight pickup in parts of the economy does not mean a solid, broader recovery is under way. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

ROK urges DPRK to release missionary (Xinhua)
Republic of Korea urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Sunday to release a ROK's Christian missionary who was sentenced to hard labor for life two days ago. The Unification Ministry in charge of ROK's DPRK policy said in a statement that it was very regrettable for Pyongyang to sentence the missionary, Kim Jong-wook, to a hard labor for life through a cursory trial, urging the country to release and return him home as early as possible. The ministry said the ROK's government made it clear that the DPRK violated international rules and spirit of humanity, urging Pyongyang to guarantee Kim's safety and arrange a meeting between Kim, his family and the government-appointed lawyer. ROK repeatedly called for the DPRK to release and return him home, but Pyongyang has never responded to it, the ministry said. The statement came a day after the DPRK's official KCNA news agency reported that Kim, who has been detained in the DPRK since October 2013, was sentenced to a life hard labor for allegedly committing various "anti-state" crimes. During the trial, where a large crowd attended, Kim was convicted of plotting to establish underground churches, subvert the government, illegally entering into the country and conducting spy activities at the behest of the ROK's spy agency. Prosecutors in Pyongyang called for a life sentence, but lawyers demanded leniency as Kim repented of his crimes and apologized for it. Kim appeared at the DPRK-arranged news conference in February, apologizing for his "anti-state" crimes. He said he was arrested on Oct 8, one day after crossing into Pyongyang from Dandong, China. The missionary also said that he sought to turn the DPRK into a religious nation and destroy its government and political system, while arranging spy activities of the DPRK people after receiving thousands of dollars and orders from the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the ROK's spy agency. The severe punishment of Kim was believed to put pressures on the ROK's government under President Park Geun-hye, who opened a dialogue in the humanitarian issue but took a hard-line stance on the defense issue. The two Koreas exchanged artillery fires on May 22 when two shells from the DPRK landed near a ROK's naval ship sailing around the disputed western sea border. ^ top ^

ROK to return one DPRK sailor home among three (Xinhua)
Republic of Korea (ROK)'s Unification Ministry said Monday that it will return one saved sailor from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Pyongyang among three as the two asked for remaining in Seoul. Three DPRK sailors adrift in waters near Ulleung Island, some 120 km east of the Korean Peninsula, were saved by the ROK naval ship on May 31, the ROK ministry said in a statement. After an inquiry based on internal processes, two sailors of the three expressed their intention to defect to ROK, and the remaining one hoped to return back home, the ministry said. The fishing boat, which the three DPRK people were sailing, decided to be scrapped after consultations with ship experts. The DPRK sailor, who wants to come back home, will be sent to the North side at 11 am on Tuesday through the border village of Panmunjeom. ^ top ^

Commander calls for new missile defense against NK (Global Times)
The commander of US troops stationed in South Korea said on Tuesday he had proposed deploying an advanced missile-defense system to the country, to counter the growing threat of North Korea's weapons capabilities. In March, the North test fired a mid-range Rodong missile with a range of more than 1,000 kilometers, prompting condemnation from the UN Security Council, and being seen as preparing to conduct a fourth nuclear test. "I recommended the deployment of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles to South Korea," Yonhap News Agency quoted General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of US forces in South Korea, as saying. The top US military official also acts as the head of the combined command leading South Korea and US forces defending the South, which remains technically at war with North Korea under a truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. The United States has carried out a site survey in South Korea for possible locations for the THAAD battery, but no final decisions have been made to deploy the system, media have reported. Scaparrotti said the United States had yet to start official discussions with South Korean officials over the deployment. South Korea's defense ministry said the country would review cooperation with the United States on the deployment once Washington formally made the proposal. "I understand the US defense department was internally studying (the defense system's deployment). When a formal request for cooperation comes in from the American side, the defense ministry will consider it," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a news briefing. ^ top ^

Japan premier may visit North Korea in new kidnap probe (Global Times)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may make a rare visit to North Korea, his foreign minister said Tuesday, days after announcing a deal to reopen the probe into Japanese citizens kidnapped by spies in the Cold War years. Any such visit would be controversial, especially in Seoul and Washington, which have led the charge to further isolate Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Only Junichiro Koizumi has ever visited the secretive state as a Japanese prime minister, in 2002 and 2004, in a futile effort to normalize bilateral ties. Tokyo and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic ties, partially because of what Japan says is the North's unwillingness to come clean over the abductions in the 1970s and 1980s. But in a breakthrough last week, they said an investigation into the fate of missing Japanese would be re-opened. In exchange, Japan would ease some of the unilateral sanctions it has imposed on the isolated state. "We must think constantly what would be the most effective response and method in order to bring results," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary committee. "In doing so, we will consider (Abe) making a visit to North Korea," he said. Kishida noted the government needed to act swiftly as families of kidnap victims are increasingly elderly, but said that nothing had been decided about a possible prime ministerial visit yet. Prime Minister Abe himself stopped short of confirming if he would visit Pyongyang when the negotiations reach a decisive stage. "It is premature at the moment to prejudge how the matter will develop hereafter," he told reporters when asked if he had such a visit in mind. But he said, "We'd like to do our utmost to have the North Korean side deliver on their promise." Abe's right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, said at the weekend that the government would send officials to North Korea to monitor the probe. North Korea admitted in 2002 to having abducted 13 Japanese people as part of a scheme to train its spies. ^ top ^

North Korea says US, South smear it to hide own rights violations (Global Times)
South Korea and the US are waging a smear campaign against North Korea to distract from their own records of human rights abuses, Pyongyang has complained to the United Nations, warning that "curses, like chickens, come home to roost." In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - dated May 7 and released on Tuesday - North Korea's UN Ambassador Ja Song-nam included analyses by the Asian state of the human rights records of the US and South Korea. "It is none other than the US that should be brought to the dock for the human rights violations it committed," according to the North Korean Memorandum on United States crimes against human rights. "It's time for the US to behave rationally and realize why our nation condemns the US as sworn enemy with great fury and why our army prepares for the final nuclear confrontation with the US, holding the slogan of 'Destroy the US imperialist aggressors, sworn enemy of the Korean people!'" it said. The complaint comes after a UN inquiry concluded that North Korean security chiefs and possibly even its leader Kim Jong-un should face justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities. "There exist no human rights issues in the DPRK (North Korea) where the sovereign rights and dignity of the popular masses are firmly guaranteed and people-loving policy is applied in all areas," Pyongyang wrote in a white paper on the human rights record in South Korea. "Instead, human rights issues raise serious concerns in fully corrupted south Korea and US where the jungle law is applied and rich gets richer while poor gets poorer," it wrote in the document attached to the letter to Ban. Pyongyang demanded an end to what it called a smear campaign by South Korea and the US, which it described as a last ditch effort in the face of "the promising future and soaring spirit" of North Korea. ^ top ^

American, Japanese envoys to meet over denuclearization on Korean Peninsula (Xinhua)
Special US envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will meet with his Japanese counterpart next week over an array of issues, the State Department said Thursday. Glyn Davies, US special representative for the DPRK, will exchange views with Junichi Ihara on June 10 on "a wide range of issues" related to Pyongyang, the department said in a statement. The visit reflects US-Japan focus on "pursuing the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner," according to the statement. Davies met with his Republic of Korea counterpart Hwang Joon- kook at the State Department Monday. ^ top ^

Russia cancels debt, targets North Korea mineral resources (Global Times)
Russia hopes to develop North Korea's mineral resources after canceling its debts, the minister for development of Far Eastern Russia, Alexander Galushka, said on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin in May signed a law canceling 90 percent of North Korea's $10.94 billion debt to Russia from Soviet-era loans. The remaining 10 percent must be paid back over 20 years. "This became a stimulus for our future relations with North Korea. This debt was hanging over us. Now this factor is gone," Galushka said after talks in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok with North Korean officials, cited by the Interfax news agency. Galushka said the two sides "discussed concrete projects in the area of mineral resources, developing sites with mineral resources and geological exploration."The two sides raised "the possibility of the Korean side paying either for goods supplied or as part of investment cooperation on the basis of giving Russian companies' access to North Korea's sites with mineral resources," he said. North Korea in turn agreed to offer Russian investors Internet and cell phone access as well as simpler visa rules, Galushka said. "They are giving Russian investors and staff access to modern communications methods - that is the Internet and mobile access," he said. Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element holding has agreed to look into reconstructing a power station in Pyongyang and is set to decide by the end of this year whether to mine copper and anthracite in North Korea, Galushka said. Trade between Russia and North Korea in 2013 amounted to just $112 million, Galushka said. North Korea had warm ties with the Soviet Union based. Russia retains relatively close ties with its neighbor but has backed Western powers in dealing with Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. ^ top ^



Mongolia is invited to join the Eurasian Economic Union (Info Mongolia)
On June 02, 2014, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Mongolia Kalybek Ibragimovich Koblandin and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Mongolia Iskander Kubarovich Azizov have called a press conference at “Mongol News” press center in Ulaanbaatar regarding the Eurasian Economic Commission. The regular Session of the Supreme Eurasian Council was held in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014, where the three founding members of the Customs Union - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia - have signed a Treaty on Creation of Eurasian Economic Union, which is effective from January 01, 2015. The Treaty was inked by the Presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia - Alexander Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin. By establishing the Eurasian Economic Union, the three countries assume commitments to guarantee free movement of goods, services, capitals and manpower and pursue a well-orchestrated policy in such key industries as energy, production industries, agriculture and transport sector. Moreover, creating together a powerful and attractive centre of economic development, a major regional market which brings together more than 170 million people, notes Ambassador K.I.Koblandin. Ambassador of Kazakhstan also added that any country is enabled to join the Eurasian Economic Union and even for Mongolia is open. Currently, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have submitted their requests to join the Union, besides over 40 states such as China, India, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey and Vietnam have forwarded its interests to become a member-state. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) is a permanent supranational regulatory body of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space functioning since February 02, 2012. ^ top ^

President of Mongolia rejects Prime Minister's candidacy for Minister of Industry and Agriculture (Info Mongolia)
It was previously reported that the Minister for Industry and Agriculture of Mongolia, MP Khaltmaa BATTULGA was resigned from his post and Minister of Mining, MP Davaajav GANKHUYAG concurrently holds as an Acting Minister of Industry and Agriculture since May 16, 2014. Afterwards, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag promoted his candidacy for Minister of Industry and Agriculture as MP Sharavdorj TUVDENDORJ and sent a letter of compromise to the President of Mongolia. Today on June 02, 2014, President Ts.Elbegdorj gave an official respond to the letter that reads an appointment of an authority should provide a clear separation between the legislative and executive bodies and it is a time to start the implementation of this procedure. In other words, a Minister's post should not double-hold along with membership of the State Great Khural (Parliament). Thereof, I, President of Mongolia, reject the Prime Minister's proposal within this respond to promote a member of the Parliament as a member of the Cabinet and please re-consider the promotion issue to appoint a new candidature. MP Sh.Tuvdendorj, who is a Chairman of Legal Standing Committee, was promoted by Democratic Party Executive Council meeting held on May 29, 2014. Former Minister Kh.Battulga had requested to resign on his own will on the grounds not to hold a double-post. ^ top ^

The 5-year prohibition period of mineral exploration in the territory of Sayan Mountains of Khuvsgul Aimag, Mongolia is extended for 25 years (Info Mongolia)
On May 29, 2014, the irregular 7th meeting of Khuvsgul Aimag Citizens' Representative Khural (Aimag Council) was held in Murun city and following the meeting an important decision to protect its natural resources was issued. In detail, the Aimag Council Resolution No.01 dated from June 01, 2009 that reads as a part of the Sayan Mountains ranges on the 50th latitude north to the Aimag's territory was included as the Khuvsgul Aimag Land For Special Needs and within the 7th meeting, the expiration of the 5-year period from Resolution No.01 due on June 01, 2014 was extended another 25 years from now. In the scope of the extension period, natural resources utilization except for common findings are prohibited as well as exploration and exploitation of gold and mineral resources are also prohibited to conduct in this territory. The Altai Mountains in the East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the Irtysh and Ob Rivers have their headwaters, are being determined as an important contributor to the global eco system stabilizations. Moreover, Byaran jade stone deposit in Tsagaannuur Sum and Mangush coal deposit in Ulaan-Uul Sum territories will not be utilized anymore and the 45.8% or 2,657,847.4 ha of total territory of Khuvshul Aimag are included as special protected area, according to the Resolution. With unique landscapes and wildlife, the Sayan Mountains extensions pass through 14 sums of Khuvsgul Aimag and being tourism destinations of the Aimag. ^ top ^

The Landlocked Developing Countries gather in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Info Mongolia)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia in cooperation with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) hosted the High-Level International Workshop on “WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation: Implications for LLDCs” in Ulaanbaatar on June 02-03, 2014. Being the first major meeting on trade facilitation following the Ninth WTO Ministerial Meeting that took place in Bali in December 2013, the meeting was aimed to review progress made in improving trade facilitation and capacity-building in the field of trade facilitation and trade negotiations in LLDCs, examine the major achievements and constraints experienced and identify the opportunities presented, with a view to further advance the goal of fully integrating the LLDCs into the multilateral trading system. At the meeting attended by over 100 delegates representing the Government of Mongolia, landlocked developing countries, partners, transit countries and international organizations, opening remarks were delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Gyan Chandra Acharya, UNDP Resident Representative Sezin Sinanoglu and Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Zambia and Chair of the global coordination bureau of the Group of LLDCs Robert Sichinga. In his opening statement, Minister L.Bold stressed that the LLDCs should grow from being land-locked into being land-linked. The main objective of the meeting was to provide LLDCs with better understanding of the provisions in the Trade Facilitation Agreement and its consequences for LLDCs, and equip them with the necessary knowledge for designing LLDC country or group positions on trade facilitation and action plans for implementation; implementing the commitments resulting from the trade facilitation agreement, including financing, capacity-building and technical assistance provisions and how to effectively take advantage of the trade facilitation provisions available to them. The event was also important for introducing International Think Tank for LLDCs, the first international organization to be setup in Mongolia, and its research papers and compiling background documents for the next research through identifying challenges and barriers the LLDCS face in trade and transit transport and listening to positions of LLDCs. Closing the two-day meeting, Minister L.Bold thanked all participants from LLDCs, development partners, transit countries and United Nations and other international organizations for their effective and constructive discussions on the study “WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: Implications on the LLDCs” and contribution to the success of the workshop. Highlighting that the LLDCs need to strengthen our common voice to have a broader visibility for the sake of LLDCs sustainable development and economic growth for next decade, Minister L.Bold expressed hope that the issues on trade facilitation, transit transportation, infrastructure, environment, climate change, international and regional integration and other key issues will be the focus areas during the Second UN Conference on LLDCs and reflect in the post 2015 Development agenda. While his stay in Mongolia, Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag and met with Foreign Minister L.Bold as well as visited International Think Tank for LLDCs. Meanwhile, Robert Sichinga held meetings with Minister L.Bold and Deputy Minister of Industry and Agriculture Ts.Tuvaan, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia. ^ top ^


Mrs. Lauranne Peman
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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