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
  7-11.12.2015, No. 600  
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Foreign Policy

Negotiators try to thrash out draft climate change agreement with 'dirty trade-offs' between rich and poor countries in Paris talks (SCMP)
Negotiators at the Paris climate change summit scrambled to boil down the text of a 43-page draft agreement to 29 pages on Wednesday afternoon, but key differences remain. Observers and pressure groups say potential “dirty trade-offs” between countries and key negotiating groups during the remaining days of the summit this week could endanger an ambitious post-2020 climate deal and instead lead to a weak “minimalist” agreement. The most contentious issues are defining the differing responsibilities of richer and poorer countries, finding the cash to help the most vulnerable nations and beefing up emission reductions targets, according to France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who chairs the negotiations. Su Wei, China's chief climate negotiator,said: “This is still an intermediate text, all countries' stances are included. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” He and the Chinese delegation office at Le Bourget were later due to meet their counterparts from the other three BASIC developing nations - India, Brazil and South Africa. The four major emerging economies have found themselves under pressure as more than 90 countries have joined what they term a “high ambition coalition” at the climate talks. They include smaller developing nations, the European Union, the United States and some countries most at risk from the effects of climate change. US special climate envoy Todd Stern was joined by representatives from the EU and island nations at a press briefing on Wednesday, pushing for provisions such as limiting temperature rises to under 1.5 degrees Celsius, a transparency system on emission reductions for all countries and a review mechanism to ratchet up national targets to tackle climate change every five years. Emerging economies have said such demands failed to recognise rich nations' historical responsibility of emitting greenhouse gases and warming the planet. The coalition said the countries were not negotiating together, but trying to add momentum for a strong deal and any country sharing a similar stance could join. Yet the formation of the coalition - with rich, poor, big and small countries- casts a shadow over the negotiating group known as G77 and China, consisting of 133 developing countries. “Though it is not aimed at shaking up G77 and China, the coalition could put pressures on bigger emerging economies,” said Jan Kowalzig, a climate policy advisor with the charity Oxfam. Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, said on Wednesday differences in stances among all developing countries would make it harder for them as a whole to negotiate a better deal, according to an observer who was briefed on his comments. Xie said on Wednesday the cleaned draft remained an “open” text and relatively balanced. “This should be the starting point of further negotiation. We BASIC countries are willing to find the landing point [for our differences] with other countries,” said Xie. With different positions deeply entrenched, Kowalzig and other observers from environmental pressure groups warned that countries may have to trade for a much weaker agreement. ^ top ^

China's top military officers told to lead from the front with 300,000 lay-offs (SCMP)
The People's Liberation Army has launched a campaign to encourage high-ranking officers to take the lead in an upcoming military restructuring that will cut 300,000 personnel. By the end of this month, the seven military commands of the PLA will be replaced by five new strategic zones, as President Xi Jinping (習近平) makes the biggest reform of the military in decades. More than 60,000 officers will be laid off at the Jinan (濟南) and Chengdu (成都) commands, which are to be dismantled. The five new strategic zones would keep no more than 3,000 staff each, a source close to the Jinan military command told the South China Morning Post. The changes are thought to have caused widespread discontent. “The Central Departments and the big units, which are the objects of the reform this time...have to be responsible and obedient,” the PLA Daily, the military's official newspaper, said yesterday. The paper has published more than 20 articles regarding the reform since Xi announced the plan in late November. Eight of these have called on top officers to set good examples. “Whether they have a sense of the overall situation and obey the order…determines whether the reform is a success,” it said. The commentary cited a case in the last round of cuts in 1984 when a then deputy chief of the General Staff Department fired his own children. It said those officials who would be redeployed or forced to retire should think less about their own interests and more about the wellbeing of the PLA and the nation as a whole. Earlier this week, the General Political Department of the PLA, which will be affected by the overhaul, said the example set by top brass was key. “We must not allow irresponsible remarks, must not allow taking liberties or double-faced behaviour and we must not allow alternative approaches,” said another article published by both the PLA Daily and the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily on Monday. Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing, said that despite the media focus, senior officers were more likely to accept the overhaul. “Quite opposite to many people's assumptions, it is the higher-ranked officers who are easier to settle than the soldiers,” he said. “There are fewer of them, and they have better packages – they can either move on to get a comfortable civilian job or retire with generous pension if they [are the right age],” said Xu, himself a retired general. As the redundancies filtered down to lower ranked officers the pressure would increase, he said, though he did not think the reform would cause mass unemployment or instability. ^ top ^

China, Azerbaijan sign deals on Silk Road cooperation (Xinhua)
China and Azerbaijan on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. "The signing of the MOU shows that the substantial cooperation between the two countries has entered into a new stage," Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in talks. The two presidents also signed a joint statement on developing friendly relations of cooperation, and witnessed the signing of a series of deals in areas including trade, the judiciary, civil aviation, education, transportation and energy. Speaking highly of Azerbaijan's support to China's Belt and Road initiative, Xi said China is ready to strengthen communication on policies with Azerbaijan and integrate both sides' development strategies. The Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Xi said the two countries could seek cooperation on big projects on energy, communication and infrastructure. China is willing to enhance the bilateral financial and transportation cooperation, and expand exchanges between the two countries' parliaments, social organizations, youth groups and media so as to promote mutual understanding, he said. He also called on the two countries to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement and security. Hailing the friendship between Azerbaijan and China and the rapid development of bilateral ties in recent years, Aliyev said the signing of the agreements will promote the in-depth development of bilateral relations. Calling China's development "positive impetus" to the world, Aliyev said Azerbaijan is pleased to see China realize its development strategy. Azerbaijan supports China's Belt and Road initiative and would like to participate, he said. Also on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Aliyev. Li said both China and Azerbaijan have entered into a key stage of social and economic development. China would like to better integrate development strategy with Azerbaijan, further explore cooperation on areas including the economy, trade and energy, he said. […]China is ready to strengthen communication with Azerbaijan and their coordination within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia to promote a more fair and rational development of the international order, he said. Aliyev spoke highly of the role played by China in global affairs and vowed to strengthen cooperation with China within international organizations. China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with Aliyev on Thursday, pledging to strengthen parliamentary exchanges with Azerbaijan and create a sound legal environment for bilateral cooperation and people's exchanges. Aliyev arrived in Xi'an, capital of northwestern China's Shaanxi Province Tuesday night, starting a four-day visit to China at the invitation of Xi. During his stay in China, Aliyev visited a heavy-duty special vehicle company in Xi'an, and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei's Beijing center. He will deliver a speech in China Renmin University on Friday and receive a honorary doctorate degree in history there before wrapping up his visit. ^ top ^

Chinese FM meets with Afghan president, Pakistani PM on Afghan peace process (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated here Wednesday the determination of the threeir countries to work for Afghanistan's peace process. At his meeting with President Ghani, Wang said China, as a reliable friend and close neighbor, will continue to support Afghanistan's peace process and the restart of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban at an early date. "China is willing to participate in the reconstruction in Afghanistan and earnestly carry out its assistance to Afghanistan to help improve the people's livelihood" while helping the Central Asian country in human resources training, drawing plans for infrastructure development and promoting interconnectivity, Wang said. China welcomes Afghanistan to join the effort to implement the Belt and Road initiative, attaches importance to Afghanistan's desire to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and support Chinese companies to cooperate with Afghanistan in big projects, he added. Ghani thanked China for respecting his country's independence and sovereignty and supporting Afghanistan's efforts for peace, reconciliation and reconstruction. He said that Afghanistan, as a major country along the ancient Silk Road, has an urgent desire to join China's efforts to carry out the Belt and Road initiative. Afghanistan is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of infrastructure construction, water conservancy and energy, Ghani said, adding that his country hopes to join the AIIB at an early date. In a separate meeting, both Wang and Prime Minister Sharif agreed that Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan in April this year lifted the China-Pakistan relationship to an all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation that makes clear the development orientation of bilateral relations. […] ^ top ^

World Bank hails China for integrating climate change strategies with national development (Xinhua)
World Bank's vice president and special envoy for climate change Rachel Kyte said Wednesday that China has set a "good example" in the integration of climate change control and national economic and social development. Kyte said at the ongoing Paris Climate Conference that China's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) includes a package of "hard" targets, such as emission peaking around 2030 and achieving non-fossil fuel share of 20 percent in the primary energy mix of by the same year. "But more importantly, China's INDC covers in detail national and sectoral polices and outlines ways in which climate-change-related objectives can be integrated into the national economic and social development plans," Kyte noted in a side event organized in China Pavilion during the Paris climate change talks. "We commend China's efforts to fit low carbon development plans into the overall strategy of restructuring and rebalancing its economy and to find a new development model," she said. According to Kyte, tackling climate change is about effectively managing a country's economy and INDCs should be seen as the important drivers for innovation and low-carbon development, though the integration in particular and a transition toward low-carbon economy in general are very challenging for many developing countries. She pointed out that in practice, an effective management of the economy with respect to climate change implies, among others, sending strong policy signals, clarifying the long term goals and putting a price on carbon. Kyte noted that despite all these challenges and uncertainties, the implementation of China's INDC offers tremendous economic opportunities and environmental benefits such as numerous health benefits, as well as likely positive impacts on employment and technology improvements in many sectors of the economy. Around 180 countries have made their submissions and outlined their mitigation targets for the post-2020 world. ^ top ^

China, Japan agreed to continue discussion on early start of air, marine contact mechanism (Xinhua)
China and Japan agreed to continue discussions on an early start of an air and maritime contact mechanism in their fourth round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs. Defense departments of the two countries discussed the issue and agreed to continue their discussion. The defense departments also exchanged views on exchanges, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday evening. Officials from the two countries' ministries on foreign affairs, defense, transportation, security, agriculture, environment, energy and aquatic product attended the talks, held in Xiamen of southeast China's Fujian Province from Monday to Tuesday. Four working teams on politics and laws, maritime defense, maritime law enforcement and security, as well as maritime economy held separate meetings and a plenary meeting. The two sides also discussed the East China Sea and specific ways to conduct maritime cooperation, the press release said. China's Public Security Ministry and Japan's maritime security department agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation on fight against transnational crimes including smuggling, human smuggling and drug trafficking. China's coast guard department and Japan's maritime security department agreed to strengthen their communication and mutual trust through information and people-to-people exchanges. The two countries will continue to discuss their sea-related policies and laws and increase dialogue and communication in this regard, and enhance cooperation on the protection of diversity of marine life and management of marine rubbish. They also exchanged views on resource development. The two sides agreed to continue to discuss an early signing of a bilateral maritime search and rescue agreement, and hold their fifth round of maritime talks in the first half of next year, the press release said. The China-Japan high-level consultations on maritime affairs were set up in January of 2012 with the first round of talks held in May of the same year in Hangzhou, capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province. The third round of talks was held in Japan in January. ^ top ^

China slams US aircraft deployment in Singapore (Global Times)
China said on Tuesday that US military deployment and regional militarization goes against the common and long-term interests of countries in the region, after the Pentagon said they would base a naval patrol aircraft in Singapore starting this week. China hopes that all relevant parties will do more to genuinely enhance mutual trust among countries in the region and safeguard the peace and development in the region, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily briefing. She said the overall situation in the South China Sea is peaceful and stable, adding that an overwhelming majority of countries hope for peace, stability, development and prosperity in East Asia. The US Department of Defense said on Monday that the US had agreed with Singapore on the first deployment of the US P-8 Poseidon spy plane in Singapore this month, Reuters reported on Tuesday. In a joint statement after a meeting in Washington on Monday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen welcomed the inaugural deployment of the aircraft in Singapore from Monday to December 14. The statement said the aircraft's deployment in Singapore would "promote greater interoperability with regional militaries through its participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises." A US defense official said further deployments in Singapore could be expected. The US already operates P-8s from Japan and the Philippines. ^ top ^

China, Russia to expand energy cooperation (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli met with Russian natural gas company Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller here on Tuesday, calling for closer strategic energy cooperation between the two neighbors. Hailing the progress of bilateral energy cooperation under the guidance of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Zhang called on both sides to implement consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. Zhang urged the two countries to facilitate the construction of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline and speed up negotiations on the western route. China and Russia must cooperate on oil and gas projects and manufacture of advanced equipment, as well as on integrated downstream and upstream projects based on the principles of sharing gains and risks and win-win cooperation, Zhang said. The two countries should explore new cooperation fields and projects to consolidate China-Russia all-round partnership of strategic coordination, he said. Miller, in his turn, said Russia regards China as a long-term, stable and reliable energy cooperation partner, and hopes to expand comprehensive bilateral energy cooperation including natural gas. ^ top ^

China, US law experts discuss human rights issues (Xinhua)
Experts from China and the United States held talks on various human rights topics during the Sixth Sino-American Dialogue on Rule of Law and Human Rights in Beijing. The two-day event, which started on Monday, brought together 40 experts, scholars, judges and lawyers from the two countries to discuss protecting the interests of people involved in legal cases, human rights protection in judicial reform and guiding lawyers to contribute to the judicial system. At Monday's opening ceremony, Cui Yuying, deputy director of the State Council Information Office, urged the two countries to view each other's human rights progress objectively and reasonably, and fully understand the differences resulting from history, culture, political systems and the stages of economic and social development. According to a statement released Tuesday during the meeting, American attendees expressed confidence in the rule of law in China, praising the country's progress in the realm of human rights and the role of legal reform in solving historical problems. The event is jointly organized by the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, China Society for Human Rights Research and National Committee on US-China Relations of the United States. First held in 2009, the dialogue serves as a crucial platform for Chinese and American non-governmental organizations to boost exchanges and mutual understanding in rule of law and human rights protection. ^ top ^

PLA reform: China's top brass set New Year deadline for military command restructure (SCMP)
A dramatic overhaul of the PLA's military command system is expected to be completed by the end of the month, according to sources close to the armed forces. The present seven military commands of the People's Liberation Army would soon be dismantled and replaced by five new strategic zones as part of a wide-ranging restructure of the system, the sources said. A source close to the Jinan military command – one of seven throughout the country – told the South China Morning Post that the command was “finishing its historical mission”, and would be dismantled along with the other military commands on December 20. “The candidates for the leadership of the new five combat zones have not yet been finalised, but the list of names will be announced very soon,” the source said. Another source close to the army said the top brass of the powerful Central Military Commission, which oversees the armed forces and is chaired by President Xi Jinping, had demanded the five combat zone system be up and running as early as January 1. The restructure is part of Xi's massive military overhaul, which aims to shift the PLA from an army-centric system towards a Western-style joint command, in which the army, navy and air force are equally represented. The PLA's mouthpiece last week published a commentary saying the existing system of seven military commands and four headquarters was outdated, too centralised and challenged the Communist Party's absolute leadership over the army. The overhaul, it said, aimed to consolidate the CMC's power and the party's control over the gun. […] General Cai Yingting, head of the Nanjing military command, is tipped to lead the Joint General Staff Department, while General Liu Yuan, political commissar of the General Logistics Department who helped bring down former CMC vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, is likely to be the secretary of the new military discipline inspection commission. General Li Zuocheng, the chief of the Chengdu military command, is expected to be the new head of land forces. “The three new commissions and six departments are directly under the CMC, and the restructure aims to reduce the political influence of leaders of the existing four headquarters and seven military commands,” one of the three sources said. “For example, the General Political Department was seen as a hotbed of corruption because it controlled personnel, discipline and audits. But under the new structure, those jobs will be separated to create a better system of checks and balances.” Earlier reports said four military regions – North, South, East and West – would emerge from the dismantled seven-command system. But the latest blueprint followed a decision to add a strategic zone in central China, according to two sources. “The head office of the central combat zone is likely to be in Beijing, because the capital is also China's administrative and military nerve centre,” one of the sources said. Another source said the administrations of the Jinan and Chengdu military commands would be completely scrapped, while the five other military areas were likely to be reorganised. Hong Kong-based military commentator Liang Guoliang said it made sense to scrap the Jinan command in the general restructure. “The dissolution of the Jinan military command is inevitable because under the outdated army-centric system, it was seen [only] as support for other major military zones,” Liang said. Liang said part of the Chengdu military area would be merged into the new West, South or Central strategic zones. “The new five-strategic-zone system is sufficient to help the PLA deal with challenges today and in the near future,” Liang said. Two PLA officials at the mainland's top military academy earlier warned Beijing that it could destabilise the armed services and society if it went ahead with plans to restructure and slash the size of the country's military without addressing salaries and pensions. ^ top ^

IS releases song in Chinese (Global Times)
An extremist call to arms sung in Putonghua calling on followers of Islam in China to sacrifice themselves on the battlefield will bring added pressure to China's anti-terrorist efforts, analysts said Monday. Analysts said that the song, released Sunday by the Islamic State (IS) propaganda website Jihadology, attempts to strengthen IS penetration in China, especially after the recent killings of Chinese nationals overseas. The four-minute song, titled We are Mujahid, contains lyrics such as "It's our dream to die fighting on the battlefield," "No power could stop us from moving forward," "Pick up your weapons to revolt," and "The shameless enemy would panic." Jihadology describes itself as an "academic website that curates new primary source material from global jihadis" on its Twitter account. "This is the first time that the IS has released a Chinese song to recruit members or inspire its followers," Zhu Yongbiao, assistant director of the Institute of Central Asia Studies at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Monday. It also means that China, a country which has direct experience of terrorist attacks, is facing escalating pressure to fight terrorism, Wu Shaozhong, an intelligence expert from the People's Public Security University of China, told the Global Times. Most domestic acts of terrorism were planned and perpetrated by East Turkestan Islamic Movement forces together with domestic terrorists, Wu said. "Some terrorists in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region traveled via Turkey to Syria and Iraq to join the IS and some of them will return to launch terrorist activities in China," an expert from the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times. Zhu said that the IS regards China as one of its major enemies considering China's increasing efforts in cracking down on terrorism, not only in Xinjiang but also in seeking cooperation with neighboring countries. "Another reason for claiming China as one of its main enemies is that as a self-claimed spokesperson of its religion, the IS always includes China's Xinjiang region as part of its ambitious plan to built a global caliphate, which the Chinese government's policies make it hard to realize," Zhu said. Analysts said that the IS is adept at utilizing various social media outlets to spread its ideals, recruit members globally, inspire potential followers and increase its influence. Wang Guoxiang, a Beijing-based expert on Middle East issues, told the Global Times that the songs are deliberately sung in Chinese to attract other Muslim groups in China that speak the same language as Han people. Some people who sympathise with religious extremism could be inspired by such a song and become jihadist followers, he said. In earlier reports, authorities had revealed that people who participated in terror attacks in China were mainly Uyghurs from Xinjiang who barely spoke much Putonghua. It is an alarm call for China to pay greater attention to the IS, as it makes great use of social media to exert its influence into China, said Zhu. Considering the growing terrorism threat, both the government and Chinese enterprises operating overseas should improve their contingency plans to deal with terrorism. The IS announced that it killed two men on November 18, with one being identified as Chinese national Fan Jinghui from Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping "strongly condemned" the IS for the killing of the Chinese hostage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government would hold the perpetrators accountable. Three men working for the State-owned China Railway Construction Corporation were killed when gunmen attacked a hotel in the capital of the West African nation of Mali on November 20. The IS claimed responsibility for the attack. "A Chinese-language propaganda song will remind the rest of the world that China is also a victim of terrorism. Some countries need to abandon their double-standards on anti-terrorism issues in China," said Wu. ^ top ^

Beijing turns to stable Djibouti for logistical toehold in volatile region (SCMP)
Sitting on the Horn of Africa and free of political turmoil for nearly 20 years, Djibouti has become the top choice for world powers wanting a base to project security across the continent's east. Although near piracy hotspots in Somalia and Islamist extremism in the Middle East, the country itself has been largely peaceful since civil war ended at the close of the 1990s. “Security is good in the country, which made it stand out in Africa,” said Xu Weizhong, an expert on Africa at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. “It is also a perfect outpost choice because of the presence of military bases by numerous countries. The country is very experienced in providing logistics supplies for military bases. It will be very convenient for China.” Beijing last week confirmed for the first time it was in talks with Djibouti to build military logistics facilities at the Djibouti port to support Chinese peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions. China has repeatedly said it does not want military bases abroad, and Xu said any deal Beijing was pursuing was likely aimed at establishing a point of operations to evacuate Chinese citizens living in the region, estimated at about one million people. The PLA Navy evacuated 613 Chinese citizens and 279 foreign ones from Yemen to Djibouti in four operations in March and April. The capital, Djibouti city, is home to the United States' Camp Lemonnier, its military headquarters on the continent, and it secured a 10-year lease in 2014. France uses Djibouti to guard the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, while other European navies and Japan have stationed themselves there in their fight against piracy in neighbouring Somalia. “China's navy escort mission in the Gulf of Aden has been going on for a long time and has met with many difficulties. Practically, the large-scale operation requires stable logistics supply in Africa, and Djibouti is the obvious best choice,” Xu said. ^ top ^

Joint steps to curb illegal emigration (China Daily)
China intends to enhance law enforcement cooperation with Russia and some South American countries to curb the illegal emigration of migrant workers seeking better-paying jobs. Authorities will create a database of illegal Chinese emigrants and share that information with counterparts in other countries, "who then will take measures to tighten border management to prevent them from entering", said a senior official at the Ministry of Public Security, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to China Daily about the plan. For those Chinese citizens who succeed in crossing the border, police will request assistance in locating and repatriating them, "especially those who are involved in criminal activity and pose risks to local public security", the official said. The move follows a recent announcement by police that they had crushed a major illegal emigration ring that operated from the Pearl River Delta city of Jiangmen, Guangdong province, detaining 22 suspected gang members and confiscating more than 35,000 fake foreign visa documents. According to Guangdong police, the gang had arranged for more than 3,200 people, mostly men in their 20s and 30s from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, to travel illegally for employment. In recent years, Chinese have tended to illegally emigrate to Russia and some North and South American countries, including the United States and Argentina, due to "their desire to be employed for higher salaries and those countries' huge demand for cheap labor", said Zhang Jie, a professor specializing in immigration research at the People's Public Security University of China. Someone working a minimum wage job in the United States, which can range from $7.25 an hour to $10.50, may still make significantly more than they would in China. Some emigrants see Russia and South America as more favorable to less-skilled workers and as less risky to enter illegally, compared with European destinations, Zhang said. The ministry also said it would seek to stem illegal emigration by doing a better job of information sharing, border control management and case investigation. It intends to enhance cooperation with Interpol to help repatriate illegal emigrants. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China's Cultural Revolution could happen again, warns ex-Shenzhen mayor and former rising political star (SCMP)
Once a reform-minded political rising star, Yu Youjun surprised many with his miraculous comeback after a corruption probe. Months after his retirement this year, Yu returned to the limelight as a scholar addressing the thorny issues of the Cultural Revolution. Yu, 62, retired as deputy director of the South-North Water Transfer Project on January 3, three years shy of the retirement age for his level, and returned as a professor to his home institute, Sun Yat-sen University, in October. In his first lecture, on Wednesday, Yu went directly to heart of the Cultural Revolution. “The soil for the Cultural Revolution is still fertile, especially when the people have no reasonable and profound knowledge of it. It may partially recur, under certain historical conditions,” he told students, mainland news outlet Caijing reported. He chose the controversial topic because next year is the 50th anniversary of its outbreak. His goal is for the public to “voluntarily refute the Cultural Revolution”, he added. Yu rose to prominence in Guangdong province in the 1990s. At age 41, he rose to vice-ministry level to head the provincial propaganda department. Yu became Shenzhen's mayor in 2000. In 2003, he met the author of a lengthy article that blamed Shenzhen's lack of market economic policies for the city's sidelined role during the country's boom. Yu said the government of Shenzhen should be receptive to voices and criticism of the people. Yu was promoted to governor of the coal-rich Shanxi (山西) province in 2005 where he tried to transform occupational safety in the disaster-plagued industrial province. But in 2007 a scandal broke involving slavery at brick kilns. Yu survived the scandal, and was appointed party boss of the Cultural Ministry in 2007. A year later, Beijing expelled him from the powerful Central Committee for alleged graft, but stopped short of expelling him from the party. Again Yu survived, and in 2010 took up the job of overseeing the country's largest hydro project, until his retirement this January. Yu is also known as a liberal. In one of his books, Yu concludes that Chinese democracy should be realised through universal suffrage and separation of powers. Since retiring, Yu has been writing the forth volume of Five Hundred Years of Socialism, which begins in 1966, the year the Cultural Revolution started. ^ top ^

Reform meeting tables healthcare, environmental, hukou proposals (Xinhua)
Senior Chinese officials tabled proposals ranging from healthcare reform to central management of national parks at a major government meeting on Wednesday. Chairing the meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, President Xi Jinping said China had "gained good momentum in reform this year, and in 2016, the beginning of the 13th Five-Year Plan, efforts need to be focused on the target of building a moderately prosperous society." The officials approved plans to merge China's two medical insurance schemes for urban and rural residents in a bid to guarantee equal access to basic healthcare. According to a statement issued after the meeting, they called for the creation of a "multi-layered medical security net" integrating basic medical insurance, insurance for major diseases, medical assistance, commercial medical insurance and charity funds. Unregistered citizens were also promised household registration permits, also known as "hukou," a crucial document entitling them to social welfare, during the meeting. "It is a basic legal right for Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. It's also a premise for citizens to participate in social affairs, enjoy rights and fulfill duties," the statement said. The leading group stressed that hukou registration should be coordinated with family planning, adoption, aid for the homeless and nationality management. It also proposed running a pilot project in Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve, a region considered the cradle of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers in northwest China's Qinghai Province, with a view to creating centrally-controlled national parks. "The pilot is significant because it will ensure natural resources in the region can be shared by people nationwide," the statement said. […] ^ top ^

Death sentence for student charged with poisoning college roommate (Global Times)
China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Wednesday approved the death sentence for a postgraduate student charged with poisoning his roommate after reexamining the victim's cause of death. Lin Senhao, a student at Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University, used N-Nitrosodimethylamine, a chemical compound taken from a university lab, to contaminate a water dispenser in his dormitory on March 31, 2013. Prosecutors argued that Huang Yang, his roommate, drunk the tainted water and this caused him to die of organ failure on April 16. Huang's father told Beijing-based The Mirror newspaper that "I support the court's decision and I'm glad my son has gotten justice." Lin Zunyao, Lin's father, told the West China City Daily on Wednesday that "after I received notice (of the death sentence), I did not slept for the whole night." "There are lots of questions about the case," he added. In June, Lin's lawyer Xie Tongxiang claimed that Huang might have died from an allergic reaction to a drug. Xie submitted seven application letters to the SPC, requesting a reexamination of the victim's cause of death. Xie argued earlier test reports were incomplete. "If Huang died of poison, why were no metabolic substances related to the chemical compound found in his system? Several liver disease and forensic experts have said that Huang's symptoms did not correspond with the poison, but were consistent with drug-induced hepatic disease, drug allergies or acute viral hepatitis B," Xie claimed in a letter. The Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People's Court convicted Lin of intentional homicide in the first trial and sentenced him to death in February 2014. ^ top ^

China's long-awaited C02 market to cover 10,000 firms (SCMP)
China's long-awaited nationwide carbon market will cover as many as 10,000 firms and regulate nearly half of the country's total emissions once launched in 2017, a senior official said on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks yesterday. Jiang Zhaoli, vice-head of the climate office of the state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, said China's carbon market would become the world's biggest, and its targets would be higher than those set by the state “in order to guarantee it had sufficient effect”. “When the market begins in 2017 it will already have almost 10,000 firms,” Jiang said. “After 2020, the size will be bigger and will involve more enterprises.” The market would cover 31 provinces, six industrial sectors and 15 sub-industries, and would involve 4 billion tonnes of annual carbon emissions at its launch, amounting to almost half of the country's total, he said. President Xi Jinping pledged during his visit to the United States in September that China would roll out a nationwide carbon trading scheme by 2017, building on the seven regional pilot markets first introduced in 2013. Jiang's comments suggest the market will begin more ambitiously than expected. Previous estimates from market designers suggested it would regulate 3-4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by the end of its first phase in 2020. While China has included the promotion of “market mechanisms” in its pledges to combat climate change, they remain controversial and were unlikely to be included in a final agreement in Paris, said Su Wei, China's top climate negotiator, at a briefing in Paris on Saturday. “As far as market mechanisms are concerned, we think the market could play a very important role in achieving actions to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change,” he said. “But as to whether there is going to be inclusion in the text of the Paris agreement, we think that that is not the priority,” Su said. “There are a lot of different views about whether we should rely more on non-market mechanisms … and I don't think that sort of difference should stand in the way of having a successful outcome in the Paris [climate] negotiations.” China's central government pledged last year to peak carbon output by around 2030, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and offer help to poor countries adapting to the impact of global warming. ^ top ^

Chinese prosecutors drop some 'evidence' against detained human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (SCMP)
Detained human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who faces eight years in jail, attended a pre-trial meeting at a Beijing court on Tuesday where some of the evidence previously held against him had been dismissed, his lawyer said. Lawyer Mo Shaoping said a date for the trial had still not been set. Prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers were also at the pre-trial session at the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court. Mo declined to disclose what Pu said at the meeting. Pre-trial meetings can take place anytime from days to months before the actual trial. Pu, who suffers chronic illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, has been detained for a year and a half without trial. His other lawyer, Shang Baojun, said on Monday his client was suffering from high blood sugar level and they would again apply for bail, even though a previous application was turned down in September. Pu was charged with “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, and has been accused of posting remarks online critical of the government's handling of an ethnic conflict in Kunming, Yunnan province, last year as well as sarcastic comments about two officials. Pu's indictment in May centred on 30 “incriminating” microblog postings, but Mo said the list had been cut to 12, some of which had the same content. In effect, the evidence against him consisted of seven microblog texts, Mo said. Lawyers said earlier that Pu's microblog messages from 12 Weibo accounts between 2011 and last year were used to indict him. Those commentaries were mostly sarcastic criticisms of the Communist Party and its policies towards ethnic minorities and neighbouring countries. Pu told Shang on Monday that his online remarks were “emotionally charged, sarcastic and even rude sometimes” but he had done nothing to warrant the charges against him. The indictment linked the “inciting ethnic hatred” charge to comments on several Sina Weibo accounts on the knife attack at a Kunming railway station in March last year. In relation to the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, the indictment said Pu used “abusive language” in online messages to insult two individuals who were later identified as Shen Jilan, an elderly legislator who claimed to have never voted “no”, and Tian Zhenhui, an official at a state company blamed for a flawed signalling system that caused a high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, in July 2011. A high-profile lawyer with a charismatic personality, Pu, 50, has taken on many causes, including defending artist Ai Weiwei and other prominent rights activists, advocating the scrapping of the country's labour camp system, and helping party members who have been tortured during detention in corruption investigations. Pu was detained by the police in May last year, initially on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, after attending an event marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. ^ top ^

China releases blueprint on fighting poverty (Xinhua)
The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council released a poverty alleviation instruction on Monday. The document followed a high-profile conference on the issue in Beijing late in November, during which the leadership pledged measures to help lift the country's remaining 70 million poor out of poverty by 2020. That goal will be "the most arduous task" on China's path toward the building of a moderately prosperous society, according to the document. Poverty alleviation will also encourage domestic demand and boost economic growth, said the document. It called for creative ideas and methods to address poverty as the country had hit "the home stretch." The document reiterated that there should be more targeted and precise measures, as well as ways to ensure poor people in rural areas have access to food, clothes, basic education, medical care, and a safe home by 2020. Per-capita disposable income of farmers in poor areas should grow faster than the national average, and basic public services should almost match the national average criteria. "Extraordinary measures should be taken, solid solutions applied, and the Party and society should be mobilized to win the tough battle against poverty," the document said. The government should develop industries, help migrant workers find jobs, and relocate people that live in hostile conditions and fragile environments, it said. Poor regions should benefit from government funds for environmental protection, education support and medical assistance. Infrastructure construction should also be stepped up, the document said. Apart from building more railways, roads, water facilities and power projects, Internet access and logistics should be enhanced to encourage e-commerce. Fiscal spending should be increased and banks should be encouraged to lend more to support poverty relief measures. Meanwhile, ecological protection should be given priority in poverty alleviation and development, according to the document. More than 600 million Chinese have escaped poverty in the past three decades, about 70 percent of the total global achievement. At the end of last year, 70.17 million people in the countryside lived below China's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (376 U.S. dollars) in annual income by 2010 price standards. ^ top ^

Jailed Chinese tycoon and ally of disgraced princeling Bo Xilai dies of heart attack (SCMP)
A former high-flying Dalian tycoon associated with disgraced princeling Bo Xilai reportedly died of a heart attack in a Hubei prison on Friday, roughly nine months before he was due to be released, mainland media reported yesterday. Xu Ming, 44, founded Dalian Shide – a conglomerate that ranged from construction materials to insurance, real estate and soccer – in 1992 and was one of the mainland's youngest billionaires. He was jailed for four years in late 2012 for offering Bo and his family 20.6 million yuan (HK$24.9 million) in bribes. Xu's trial was closed to the public but he testified at Bo's trial in August 2013 as the main briber of the former Chongqing party chief. It was his last appearance in public. Senior Shide management and members of Xu's family arrived in Wuhan on Saturday, business news outlet Caixin reported. Prism, an investigative website operated by Tencent, said Xu's ashes were handed over to his family in Dalian yesterday. A short memorial service was held before the ashes were interred. The Prism report cited a senior Shide manager and sources close to Xu's family as saying that his death was a shock. The manager said he had never heard of Xu having a heart problem. Xu's ties to Bo came under the spotlight a few years ago when graft-busters began investigating the Chongqing boss. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power. He had been ousted as the party chief of Chongqing and from the Communist Party's elite Politburo in 2012 after his police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the US consulate in Chengdu. Xu was reportedly close to Wang as well. Xu was also well known as the owner of the Dalian Shide soccer team. The South China Morning Post has reported in 2012 that Xu had admitted that he wasn't interested in soccer, but the investment in a local team and the squad's five national league championships burnished Xu's relationship with soccer fan Bo, who was then mayor of Dalian. Xu was granted some freedoms behind bars, including being able to make calls to his brother and Shide chairman Xu Bin, according to Prism. ^ top ^



ADB approves 300-mln-USD loan to support air pollution control in Beijing (Xinhua)
The Asian Development bank has approved its first policy-based loan of 300 million U.S. dollars to China to help address air pollution problem in Beijing. Part of the loan will also go to air pollution control programs in Tianjin municipality and Hebei province, both neighboring Beijing, said the bank on Thursday. The loan accompanies expected cofinancing from KfW development bank of 150 million euros in support of the estimated expenditure of the Hebei Clean Air Action Plan 2015-2016 of 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in Hebei Province. Based on the bank's estimates, the policy actions will help reduce Hebei's annual coal consumption by about 12.4 million tons, representing about 4 percent of the province's total coal consumption in 2012. They will also help cut air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions substantially, with carbon dioxide emissions alone reduced by 18 million tons a year against 2012 levels. ^ top ^

Beijing mulls relaxing residency rules for migrants (Global Times)
Beijing has issued a draft regulation to allow migrants to claim permanent resident permits or "hukou" based on a points system, local authorities said Thursday. According to the draft, applicants should be under 45 years old, have a Beijing temporary residence permit and have paid social security premiums in Beijing for at least seven consecutive years. Under the points system, employment, accommodation, educational background, skill level, tax payments, credit records, etc. will be converted into points. Migrants can transform their household registration status to local residence after reaching a specified amount of points. Beijing will publish the specified number every year based on the population changes of the city. The draft regulation, which is out for public opinion now, will be reviewed by authorities before it takes into effect. In July 2014, the State Council, China's cabinet, decided to accelerate reform of the hukou system, which has divided the nation into rural and urban populations since the 1950s. The circular said megacities with more than five million residents should control the influx of new citizens and adopt a points system. Similar systems are already in place in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin. Beijing's permanent population exceeded 20 million, about two and half times that of London and New York. The city has been challenged by a string of "urban diseases", such as air pollution and congestion. People with Beijing "hukou" enjoy better educational opportunities, employment support, care for senior citizens and social welfare. The new system will allow migrants to have the chance to become a real part of the city. ^ top ^

Railway workers demonstrate for wage raises outside SOE's Beijing HQ (Global Times)
About 40 Chinese railroad workers knelt down outside the Beijing headquarters of State-owned China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on Wednesday morning to ask for wage raises, despite fearing that they might be fired. According to a report by news outlet on Wednesday, the demonstrators from CRCC-affiliated railway administration in Xi'an, the capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, have been working for CRCC as temporary employees for over 20 years. Their salaries are the same as those they received a decade ago and are lower than those of permanent employees. This is not the first time that railroad workers have rallied to ask for higher payment. Employers from the cities of Beijing, Shenyang in Liaoning Province, Harbin in Heilongjiang Province and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have also petitioned against payment reduction. A notice issued by CRCC to increase salaries in early 2015 has not been implemented, several railway officials told Many CRCC employees said their monthly salaries were reduced by a maximum of 1,500 yuan ($233) this year, according to the report. Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, told the Global Times that the salary reductions were due to CRCC's continuing deficit, which he mainly attributed to shrinking freight volume. CRCC's revenue in the first three quarters of 2015 was 9 percent lower than that of the same period in 2014, and revenue derived from freight was down 17.5 billion yuan, according to […] ^ top ^

Beijing's choking smog hits red-alert level for first time ever as schools and factories are forced to close (SCMP)
Beijing issued its first red alert for smog on Monday night as the capital was hit by hazardous levels of pollution for the second time within a week. The alert – the highest in a four-level system – will be in place from 7am on Tuesday until noon on Thursday. Beijing has ordered primary and secondary schools to close and recommended government departments, public institutions and companies to implement flexible working hours. It means traffic will be heavily controlled. Car usage will be limited based on the last number of the vehicle's licence plate – odd and even numbers will be allowed on the roads on alternate days. Government departments will be required to reduce car usage by 30 per cent. Public transport will run on extended timetables, while heavy construction trucks will be banned from the road. All outdoor construction will be suspended and factories will be required to close for two days or face operating restrictions. Firework displays and barbecues are also prohibited. The smog is expected to reach its highest level on Wednesday. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre said the smog would last until Thursday evening, when a cold front and strong wind would bring back clear skies. Beijing's real time air pollution index yesterday recorded an average of between 200 and 260, a level classified as “very unhealthy”. President Xi Jinping arrived in the capital on Sunday afternoon after a week-long trip during which he attended a climate change conference in Paris and visited Zimbabwe and South Africa. Xi vowed in his speech in Paris to combat global warming and agreed to cooperate with other countries to reduce greenhouse gases. Beijing, as well as nine surrounding cities in Tianjin and Hebei, had been under an orange alert – the second highest level – since Saturday. Schools and kindergartens have already suspended all outdoor activities while municipal government departments encouraged employees to use public transport. Some schools in Beijing, mainly primary schools, on Sunday night announced class suspension for three days starting from Monday due to the heavy smog, reported the Beijing Youth Daily. Beijing's environmental protection authority has come under fire for not issuing the highest-level red alert when the city experienced hazardous pollution for five consecutive days from November 27. Many parents complained that children should have been told to stay at home. Meteorologists expected the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area to have another round of smog next week from December 14. ^ top ^



Tibet marks 20th anniversary of Panchen Lama enthronement (Xinhua)
Tibet on Tuesday commemorated the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the Panchen Lama's residence in the city of Xigaze, basked in glory Tuesday morning as more than 1,500 Tibetan Buddhists and local people attended a ceremony that went on for more than three hours. The Panchen Lama arrived in the monastery, 270 kilometers from the regional capital Lhasa, at 10 a.m. with attendant monks holding a yellow parasol over for him and blowing trumpets. The Panchen Lama is the highest-ranking lama after the Dalai Lama in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, the most influential school among the four main schools. The Panchen Lama recalled some of his experiences and thanked the government and senior monks for their help and care. He called for Tibetan Buddhists to act with compassion and promote Buddhism that adapts to the times. Gifts were presented by representatives from lamaseries, ranging from symbolic items like Buddha figurines, sutras and the holy pagoda to silk and satin. The ceremony featured a heated debate between two high monks, a traditional royal dance by 7 young monks and a sutra chanting praying for peace and prosperity. "The ceremony is not only a celebration of the Gelug school and the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, but also for the whole of Tibetan Buddhism," said Palden Donyo, a senior monk of the Sakya school. Officials from the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Tibet regional government took part in the ceremony. Sita, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, praised the Panchen Lama's achievements and hoped he would carry on the legacy of his predecessors and actively engage in incorporating Tibetan Buddhism into socialist society under the Buddhist principles of equality and compassion among all beings. Gyaincain Norbu, born on February 13, 1990 in Lhari county, Nagqu prefecture in northern Tibet, was enthroned as the 11th Panchen Lama on Dec. 8, 1995 after a traditional lot drawing ceremony in Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. The Panchen Lama currently serves as vice president of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body. ^ top ^

Database set up to combat fake Living Buddhas (China Daily)
Authorities are setting up a database of legitimate Living Buddhas in China and will publish the information online, according to an official at the country's top political advisory body. This will enable followers of Tibetan Buddhism to distinguish between real Living Buddhas and fake ones, the official said. Some fake Living Buddhas have posed threats to national security, as they use money they collect to sponsor illegal or even separatist activities in Tibet. This was disclosed by Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee to China Central Television during the weekend. There have been reports of fake Living Buddhas cheating people out of their savings or luring them into sexual activities using religious practice as an excuse. Zhu's comments follow video footage of Baima Aose, a self-proclaimed Living Buddha, "ordaining" actor Zhang Tielin as a Living Buddha at a ceremony in Hong Kong in October. The footage has gone viral on the Internet. Baima Aose said he became a Living Buddha after a Living Buddha at Katuo Monastery in Sichuan province's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture ordained him in Hong Kong in 2012. On Sunday, the monastery denied his claim. It also said Baima Aose altered the contents of a letter in the Tibetan language addressed to him from another Living Buddha at the monastery to make people believe the letter certified his status as a Living Buddha. He deceived Han Chinese followers who don't understand Tibetan and twisted the facts, damaging the monastery's reputation, according to a statement issued by the monastery. Baima Aose, 39, is from Quanzhou, Fujian province. His original name was Wu Darong and he moved to Hong Kong when he was 8 years old. He is now chairman of the World Trade United Foundation, registered in Hong Kong, and Zhang, the actor, is the first vice-chairman. ^ top ^

Fake Buddhas back separatists: official (Global Times)
Some people have pretended to be Living Buddhas to trick Buddhist followers in order to illegally raise funds and sponsor separatist groups, a senior official of religious and ethnic affairs in China revealed Saturday. "Some have taken advantage of closer ties between Tibet and other Chinese cities to collect money by pretending to be Living Buddhas, and some even use the money to sponsor separatist activities," Zhu Weiqun - chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV). Such a practice has gone on for a long time, and it has become more frequent as many Chinese people have gained better living conditions and as spiritual needs have increased, Penpa Lhamo, an expert at the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. Lhamo added that separatists have also taken advantage of the trend and have collected money by fooling believers in developed cities into financing their activities, since the money they get from US and European foundations is limited. According to Lhamo and Wang Xiaobin, a scholar with the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center, a monk officially becomes a Living Buddha after going through a confirmation process involving historical conventions, traditional religious rituals and government approval. Some Living Buddhas bypass the official approach by being identified by prestigious monks or temples without applying for permission from the country's department of religious affairs, Phoenix Weekly reported, adding that some followers' recognition of a person as a Living Buddha does not depend on official certification. The Tibet Autonomous Region now has 358 Living Buddhas, more than 60 of which were officially granted their status, according to a national white paper on Tibet issued at the 50th anniversary of the region's establishment in September. The Chinese government has been working on a list of officially recognized Living Buddhas and might make the list accessible to the public, Zhu added. In order to be a reincarnation of a Living Buddha, a person must go through the traditional and official procedures, a requirement which was blurred by the 14th Dalai Lama to feed his political intentions, Wang told the Global Times. Wang said official and traditional methods to find and train a "soul-boy" - a person with the reincarnated soul of a Living Buddha - take about 20 years before he is fully capable of presiding over temple affairs. ^ top ^



Xinjiang's Aksu expands bilingual schools (Global Times)
Southern Xinjiang's Aksu prefecture plans to set up a Putonghua-Uyghur bilingual kindergarten in each and every village, an ambitious approach to the region's latest effort to promote ethnic unity through education. The Aksu prefectural government has also vowed to recruit more teachers and encourage professionals in education, technology, culture and healthcare to take part in voluntary services in poor areas, according to a report from Aksu's Internet information office. No data is immediately available on how many bilingual kindergartens currently exist in Aksu or what percentage of the population already has access to bilingual education. But Liu Gang, an official in charge of bilingual education in Aksu's Awat county, told the Global Times in a phone interview on Tuesday that roughly half of the county's population currently has access to bilingual schools and that the county plans to build 66 more kindergartens between 2016 and 2021 to achieve full coverage. "The bilingual program is extremely popular among local parents, who believe language skills are crucial for their children's future education and career paths," Liu said. He noted that the region faces a shortage of bilingual teachers and that the government has raised salaries to make the positions more attractive. "Entry-level teachers are now paid around 4,000 yuan ($642) per month after tax, which is pretty competitive at the local level," Liu said. According to data from the Aksu education bureau's website, the prefecture was short of 262 bilingual teachers in 2015, an improvement from 328 vacancies in 2014. Overall, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has a shortage of more than 30,000 bilingual teachers, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The region currently employs some 70,000 teachers with bilingual proficiency, and some 450,000 children have received bilingual education from kindergartens since 2010. The Xinjiang government launched a program in 2009 in which would-be teachers receive free college education upon signing an agreement with the government. This year alone, 134 students have graduated from the program and have started working in local schools in Aksu. Zhang Chunxian, the Party chief of Xinjiang, said at a conference in Kashgar last month that the government aims to solve the problem of southern Xinjiang's shortage of bilingual teachers in the next five years. He said that bilingual education should enhance the concept of "five recognitions" among students from various ethnic groups. The term "five recognitions" - coined by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Sixth Tibet Work Forum in August this year - refers to recognition of the country, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics. ^ top ^

Four 'terrorists' possibly from Xinjiang arrested in China's northern Shanxi province (SCMP)
Mainland police have arrested four “terrorists” in Shanxi province for planning attacks, state media said yesterday, carrying pictures of some of the suspects who appeared to be from Xinjiang. China Youth Daily said posters had appeared around the provincial capital of Taiyuan, warning people to be on their guard against attacks by the four. One of the posters, shown on the newspaper's website, had pictures of three people with names that appeared to be Uygur, a mainly Muslim minority group that calls Xinjiang home. The four had all been arrested, the newspaper reported, citing Shanxi police. The report said the suspects belong to a Hijra – or transgender – group. Calls to police in Shanxi seeking comment went unanswered. It is not clear why Shanxi would have been the target of attacks. The majority of violent incidents blamed by mainland authorities on Islamist militants happen in Xinjiang itself. Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in Xinjiang in the past few years. The government blames the unrest on Islamist militants who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan. Many Uygurs chafe at pressure to take on Han Chinese customs and language, which has often been coupled with curbs on their religious and cultural practices. Beijing denies having any repressive policies. Exiles and many rights groups say the real cause of the unrest is heavy-handed policies, including curbs on Uygur culture, and a dearth of economic opportunity. Beijing says Uygurs have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with militants there. Last month, the Islamic State group said it had killed a Chinese captive, prompting outrage in Beijing. In July, the government in Liaoning  province said police in Shenyang shot dead three suspected terrorists from Xinjiang, when searching for suspects related to what the authorities are calling the “June 12 Hijra case”. ^ top ^



Hong Kong legislature forced to push back copyright bill debate over lack of lawmakers (SCMP)
Pan-democrats managed to delay scrutiny of the controversial Copyright Amendment Bill for another week yesterday when the Legislative Council meeting was adjourned because too few lawmakers were in attendance. Only 29 legislators - below the requisite 35 - were present in the chamber in the 15-minutes' grace time after the Civic Party's Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok called for a quorum count. The session was then adjourned at 1.15pm, well before the second reading of the bill was due to be resumed. Pan-democrats, who called a quorum count four times before succeeding, said it was part of their strategy to buy time to block the bill. They urged the government to make good use of the extra time to allow concessions to the bill or stall it for further consultation. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung held firm in his opposition to the pan-democrats' bid. "This final product that we have on the table is actually a balancing act," So said. "Let's take stock of what we have, this gain, this balance." People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said he hoped that filibustering over the bill would drag on to February. The pro-establishment camp was angered by the adjournment, which they said was a waste of Legco resources and the man hours of officials. Ip Kwok-him, another absent DAB lawmaker, said there was no strong motivation for pro-government lawmakers to be present. Ip would usually arrange "rosters" for allies at Legco meetings in the event of important legislation, but not yesterday. "If the pan-democrats must cut short the meeting, we would let them do so," he said His party colleague, Ann Chiang Lai-wan, said the stance of the Democratic Party and the Civic Party, which had both remained lukewarm to calls by internet users to join in the filibustering, had lowered the pro-Beijing camp's guard. Wong Kwok-kin, a lawmaker from the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, believed pan-democrats were under pressure from foreign business chambers to pass the bill but were opposing it under the assumption it would eventually be passed. "The majority of pro-establishment lawmakers should refrain from voting when the bill is put to vote so as to force pan-democrats to oppose it. I may discuss the idea with my FTU colleagues later," he said. Thousands of protesters had been expected to show up outside the Legco complex last night to voice their opposition to the bill, referred to by some as the "Article 23 of the cyberworld" - a reference to the section of the Basic Law calling for national security legislation which many fear would curb their freedoms and rights. The rally was postponed following the drama, but police were investigating a blast involving a butane gas canister in a rubbish bin at the Legco demonstration zone last night. The government argues the law has not been updated since 2006 and that film, TV and music industries have lost billions to piracy. It has dismissed fears that adaptations of videos, songs or pictures will be a crime. Earlier in the day, three quorum bells had already been called over a two-hour period by three lawmakers who had vowed to stage a filibuster against the bill: The NeoDemocrats' Gary Fan Kwok-wai, League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, and People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen. This had effectively delayed the start of debate. Some 21 pro-establishment lawmakers were absent, including the bill's committee chairman, Chan Kam-lam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. ^ top ^

HK protesters gathering to block copyright law changes (China Daily)
Protests are expected to build outside Hong Kong's Legislative Council on Wednesday as groups that fear curbs on freedom of expression seek to block passage of the latest version of a proposed amendment to the city's copyright law. It would clarify the use of online material. The Hong Kong government began working on an update of the copyright law in 2006. Opposition lawmakers had voiced few reservations to the latest version - Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 - until pressure groups launched a campaign last Saturday calling for lawmakers to reject it. The bill has been under consideration since June 2014. The council's president, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, said the vote on the bill would likely not take place before next week. The first draft of the bill was introduced in Council in 2011, but it was voided when opponents in the body filibustered the final reading, which aimed to provide clearer protections for copyrighted material published on the Internet. Netizens said it went too far and worried about their ability to use materials such as online videos and memes for parodies and satires. Officials have assured opponents that the new proposal, in combination with existing clauses in the law, would give general Internet users better safeguards for nonprofit use of copyrighted materials. The new bill would introduce statutory exemptions for the purposes of parody, satire, caricature, pastiche, comments on current events and quotations. A rally was set to start at 7 pm on Wednesday outside the council complex to demand that lawmakers use the filibuster tactic again. One of the local activist group called on supporters to wear black and prepare for "danger". Although pro-establishment lawmakers are crucial for the vote, the protesters seemed to target opposition lawmakers who have refused to deploy the stalling tactic. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said the netizens' campaign largely misrepresented the bill. He told media on Monday that an open letter penned by a lawmaker failed to point out that infringement of copyright has always been subject to criminal penalties under current law. Former lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah lamented that the viral campaign by opponents wrongly said the new bill curbed free expression, as he found the outdated law a bigger threat. He attributed the eruption of fear to a lack of trust in the local government to uphold civil rights. Police told media on Tuesday that they will deploy adequate manpower to uphold social order. ^ top ^



Macao holds parade to mark 16th anniv. of return to motherland (Xinhua)
Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) kicked off a carnival parade Sunday in celebration of the 16th anniversary of its return to motherland and the 10th anniversary of the historical sites listed as World Heritage. With the theme of "treasure hunt adventure of mascot VIVA," the "Parade through Macao, Latin City" gathered more than 1,500 performers from over 10 countries and regions, including Portugal, France, Peru, Brazil, among others, as well as Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. Three local illustrators were invited to create three-dimensional sculptures and interesting characters along the parade route, and a "Face Painting Workshop" was set up where professionals offer participants colorful face painting, through which they can fully immerse themselves in the carnival joy. Organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao SAR, the carnival this year featured dancing, mime, magic, opera and martial arts, helping build a cultural exchange platform and an incentive for artistic creativity. The event attracted tens of thousands of residents and tourists, digging deeply into the diverse cultural atmosphere of Macao. Macao Lights Festival also opened Sunday night, with 11 culture heritage sites being illuminated to increase tourism attraction and enhance the festive atmosphere. ^ top ^



China Focus: China still faces deflationary pressures (Xinhua)
Although China's consumer inflation picked up in November, flagging producer prices still put high deflationary pressure on the economy, new data showed Wednesday. China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, grew 1.5 percent year on year in November, up from a rise of 1.3 percent in October, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. The reading was slightly higher than a 1.4-percent average increase in the first 11 months. The NBS attributed the rise mainly to rising food prices, as vegetable prices surged 9.4 percent year on year last month, while prices for meat and poultry products rose 6.2 percent. Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in China's CPI, rose 2.3 percent from a month earlier and contributed more than half of the headline CPI inflation. HSBC analyst Qu Hongbin said the November inflation was slightly higher than previous market forecasts, as snow in north China pushed up transportation costs for fruit and vegetables. Non-food inflation also edged up due to higher prices of medical care, transportation and communication products. […] Producer prices continued to fall broadly, with oil-related sectors and heavy industry such as ferrous metal processing seeing the sharpest price declines, data showed. PPI deflation has stayed at 5.9 percent for four months in a row, indicating that deflationary pressure in the economy has not relented and monetary easing policies are still necessary in the next two years, Qu said. Falling commodity prices aside, sluggish domestic demand is the main factor weighing on PPI inflation, HSBC said in a research note. […] Dragged down by sluggish demand, weak exports, a property downturn, China's economy expanded by 6.9 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2015, the lowest quarterly growth in six years. To combat the economic slowdown, the central bank has cut the benchmark interest rates and the reserve requirement ratio of banks several times since the beginning of the year. HSBC said more aggressive policy easing is still key to stabilizing growth in the coming months. […] ^ top ^

China's imports and exports fall again in November, posing challenge for leaders (SCMP)
China's imports and exports lost more steam in November as the government continues to test ways to combat the moribund economy. The release of the data comes ahead of a key economic meeting in which President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders will set the tone for next year's policies, which could include moves to cut obsolete capacity. The country's exports dropped for the fifth consecutive month last month, down 6.8 per cent year on year, the General Administration of Customs said on Tuesday. Imports fell 8.7 per cent over the previous year, the 13th straight month of decline. The imports figure was better than the drop of 18.8 per cent recorded in October, but the improvement was largely due to a lower base of comparison and did not suggest any improvement in domestic demand, said Xie Yaxuan,an economist with China Merchants Securities. The markets responded negatively to the poor trade data, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index extending losses to close down 1.89 per cent, at 3,470.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.34 per cent to end at 21,905.13. Combined exports and imports fell 8.5 per cent in the January-November period, and were unlikely to meet expected trade growth of 6 per cent for the year. Customs added that export pressure would remain significant into the new year. The trade data offers a snapshot of the transition that China's economy is undergoing as the central government refrains from quantitative easing-style stimulus while trying to revamp its fundamentals through deep 8reforms. China Business News reported on Tuesday that Xi vowed at a meeting with party elite last month to launch four major economic policy goals. The objectives could be raised again at the Central Economic Work Conference, which is expected to be held in the coming weeks. Xi asked the government to address overcapacity, lower business costs, digest unsold housing units and prevent financial risks, the report said, citing unidentified sources. The same issues have been highlighted before by leaders and senior officials, but significant progress has yet to be seen. Economists expect the retirement of “zombie companies” – found mainly in sectors plagued by overcapacity and systemic losses – will be accelerated next year and more details on implementing reform of state-owned enterprises to be announced. Economists and observers in the West have expressed concern that Beijing's enthusiasm for reforms seems to have faded. The escalating anti-corruption campaign had made local leaders reluctant to push ahead with economic policy changes, one observer said, adding that bold steps were not expected until after 2017. The data also showed the trade surplus remained at a resilient US$54.1 billion in November, down from October's surplus of US$61.6 billion. But the excess would not give any firm support to the yuan's exchange rate amid large capital outflow pressures, said China Merchants Securities' Xie. The country's foreign exchange reserves fell US$87.2 billion in November, to US$3.44 trillion. ^ top ^

China urges EU to end trade measures against Chinese solar exports (Global Times)
China urged the European Union (EU) to stop anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties over Chinese photovoltaic (PV) exports as the latter is considering an extension of those trade measures. China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday that it would harm interests of both sides to extend the measures, and it hoped the EU terminates the policies as soon as possible to improve China-EU economic ties. Solar panels and related components are significant to the development of clean energy and will help countries to achieve their emission-cut goals to tackle climate change, the ministry said. The EU's executive body, the European Commission, on Saturday decided to launch expiry review of its PV trade measures. The ministry said the growth pace of clean energy has been dragged down in Europe after European countries slashed subsidies on solar panels and set minimum import price. The region's PV installed capacity dropped to 7 GW in 2014, compared with 24 GW in 2012, and with its shares falling to 14.5 percent from 74 percent of the world's total. The two sides went through major disputes on trade measures on solar panels imported from China before reaching deals on a minimum import price and quota set for Chinese imports in 2013. ^ top ^


DPRK troupes arrive in China for performance (Xinhua)
Two traveling theater companies from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) arrived in northeast China's Liaoning Province on Wednesday to begin a visit to China. The two troupes -- the State Merited Chorus and the Moranbong Band -- will perform in the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing from Dec. 12 to 14. The visit will contribute to "deepening friendship" and cultural exchanges between the two countries, DPRK Korean Central News Agency reported. The State Merited Chorus is well-known for its revolutionary songs. The Moranbong Band, established in 2012 by DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, is a popular band among the ordinary people of the DPRK. ^ top ^



Mongolian delegation at Bali Democratic Forum (Montsame)
A delegation is taking part in the 8th Bali Democratic Forum “Democracy and effective public governance” which kicked off Thursday in Indonesia. This forum has attracted Foreign Ministers, Vice FMs of 65 countries. Mongolia is being represented Sh.Battsetseg, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Indonesia, and D.Gerelmaa, a deputy director of the Multilateral Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her speech at the forum's general debate, Battsetseg emphasized that Mongolia has been running actions to strengthen the democracy and to ensure human rights for 25 years since its democratic revolution, and then underlined Mongolia's successful chairing the Community of Democracies (CoD) in 2011-2013. She also pointed out that Mongolia has created an international cooperation fund with an aim to share its experiences with other countries in democracy, human rights and the market economy's path. Moreover, the Ambassador reported on measures planned by Mongolia in conjunction with its presidency over the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance's (International IDEA) Council in 2016, such as introducing technologies for E-elections and enhancing the transparency, civil role and responsibilities. The forum's participants applauded the parliamentary election of Myanmar held under democratic principles and a creation of E-system of boosting the good governance and combating corruption in accordance with South Korea's Developmental Programme until 2030. ^ top ^

Speaker meets delegation of China's National People's Congress (Montsame)
The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Wednesday received a delegation led by Shen Chunyao, a member of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and Deputy Secretary-General of the NPC Standing Committee. Mr Shen thanked the Speaker for the audience and conveyed to him greetings of Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, and Yan Junqi, the vice chairwoman of the Standing committee of the NPC. He noted that high level mutual visits took place in 2014 and 2015 and said his delegation is here to introduce the 13th five-year plan of China and to correlate it with the bilateral cooperation within the united understanding. He expressed a satisfaction with an official start of the permanent talks for the cooperation between the two legislative bodies. In response, Mr Enkhbold said he is satisfied with intensifying Mongolia-China relations and cooperation and appreciated China's initiative on presenting the plan of development and cooperation issues. He noted a successful launch of a mechanism of the permanent talks between the legislative bodies. Then, the sides discussed ways of correlating their developmental policies in frames of Mongolia's “Steppe Road” and China's “Region and Road” initiatives, of boosting the collaboration in industry, energy, renewable energy, politics, trade, economy, culture, humanity, health, environment, education, sciences and technology spheres. Present at the meeting were R.Amarjargal MP and other officials. ^ top ^

Mongolia to abolish death penalty (Montsame)
Mongolia is to abolish the death penalty next year, Amnesty International reports. Lawmakers on Thursday voted in favour of a new Criminal code that abolishes this type of penalty for all crimes and will take effect from September of 2016. This would bring the total number of countries to have completely abandoned capital punishment to 102. Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International, described Mongolia's decision as “a great victory for human rights” and added: “Mongolia has set an example which we hope will quickly ripple across Asia. […] Worldwide, there are 37 countries which retain the death penalty in both law and practice, including the United States, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. […] The last execution in Mongolia was in 2008 and the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Since then, the country has taken a series of steps towards abolition culminating in last week's parliamentary vote. In 2010, the President Ts.Elbegdorj commuted all death sentences and announced a moratorium on all executions. In 2012, Mongolia ratified an international treaty committing the country to the abolition of the death penalty. Elbegdorj has repeatedly said Mongolia must turn its back on the death penalty in order to fully respect the right to life. He argued that the threat of executions does not have a deterrent effect and the risk of a miscarriage of justice is inherent in any system of justice. Amnesty International says the death penalty is contrary to international law and standards. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948 in response to state brutality and terror witnessed during World War II, recognises each person's right to life and states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Amnesty International argues that the death penalty violates these rights. ^ top ^

China lifts ban on meat export from Mongolia (Infomongolia)
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China put a ban on meat export to China from five western Aimags of Mongolia in 2013. On December 07, 2015, AQSIQ informed through its official web site that it lifts its ban on meat export from Mongolian provinces that were under the export ban since 2013. The decision was made after the investigation of AQSIQ experts conducted in five Aimags in October 2015. Therefore, Uvs, Zavkhan, Govi-Altai, Khuvsgul and Bayankhongor are no longer under the ban. Mongolia will start to export beef and mutton to China after approving joint protocol and sanitation license between relevant Mongolian and Chinese government bodies. ^ top ^

Speaker meets Ambassadors of EU countries to Mongolia (Montsame)
The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Tuesday received Ambassadors and Concurrent Non-Resident Ambassadors of the European Union's (EU) members. Expressing a satisfaction with this meeting, the Speaker said this kind of event will be organized annually, which means that Mongolia attaches a great importance to the relations with the EU countries. He expressed a satisfaction with developments of this meeting into a part of the permanent mechanism of the bilateral cooperation. The Speaker noted that one of the priorities of Mongolia's foreign policy is to intensify relations and cooperation with the EU countries in all possible sectors, and underlined the EU is described in the foreign policy concept as the "Third Neighbor" of Mongolia. “The relations and cooperation have been boosting between Mongolia and the EU, and our parties have a desire and possibility to enrich the ties and cooperation with economic contents. Opening the EU's Representative in Mongolia has a vital importance in enhancing the political ties, widen the cooperation in other spheres, and in active economic collaboration,” Enkhbold underlined. Mentioning about hosting of the Autumn Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Ulaanbaatar last September, he emphasized a vital role of the EU Ambassadors in a preparation for the upcoming 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP9) Meeting as well as the 11th ASEM Summit to be held next year in Ulaanbaatar. The Speaker spoke about activities of Mongolian parliament, adopted laws and resolutions, some bills and resolutions. Present at the meeting were B.Garamgaibaatar, a head of the Democratic Party's faction; S.Byambatsogt, a head of the Mongolian People's Party's faction; D.Terbishdagva, a head of the “Justice” coalition's faction; J.Enkhbayar, a head of the Standing committee on security and foreign policy; and others. ^ top ^

Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren holds bilateral meetings in Belgrade (Infomongolia)
On the sidelines of the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN had a number of bilateral meetings in the Serbian capital Belgrade. Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Ivica Dacic and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation. Serbian Minister indicated Serbia's keen interest to intensify bilateral cooperation in the economic and education sectors. Minister L.Purevsuren praised Serbia's Chairmanship of the OSCE and congratulated the OSCE Chairman on successful organization of the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council. During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister L.Purevsuren expressed his satisfaction with the development of traditionally friendly relations between Mongolia and Hungary, which has been intensified in recent years. He emphasized the importance of the Mongolian President's visit to Hungary which took place in 2014 and the Hungarian President's visit to Mongolia conducted in 2015, which resulted the expansion of the bilateral cooperation. Minister Peter Szijjarto expressed his will to intensify bilateral cooperation not only in traditional fields such as trade and investment, but also in the education and environmental sectors. He informed that the Hungarian Prime Minister is willing to pay an official visit to Mongolia in early 2016. The main theme of the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Makei, was the development of bilateral friendly relations and cooperation. For instance, both sides discussed the issues of the Mongolia-Belarus Intergovernmental Commission and expressed their interests to maintain high-level exchanges to guide the development and increase the potential of bilateral relations. Minister L.Purevsuren also met with the OSCE Secretary General, Mr. Lamberto Zannier on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial Council. During the meeting, Mr. Lamberto Zannier noted that 2015 was a successful year for Mongolia's active role in the OSCE and expressed his confidence that Mongolia will strengthen its engagement in the OSCE. Minister L.Purevsuren noted that Mongolia attaches great importance to its relations with the OSCE Participating States and indicated Mongolia's willingness to further contribute to the OSCE's various activities, reports the Press and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ^ top ^

Minister addresses South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum (Montsame)
The Mongolian Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism N.Battsereg has participated in the South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum, which ran last weekend in Paris within the 21st UN Climate Change Conference. The Minister said results of the forum would significantly contribute to a realization of the Paris Talks on combating climate change, and emphasized that the global climate change and warming severely affect the developing nations, "their difficulties and challenges are almost the same". Mongolia is one of the prone to the global climate change countries, "so for us it is vital to join the world's efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emission,” Mr Battsereg said. Mongolia is always ready to get involved in the anti-climate change South-South Cooperation and to contribute to a realization of international policy and programmes, he added. The South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum is co-sponsored by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC), WWF-China, UNEP-Tongji-IESD, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ^ top ^

FM addresses OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting (Montsame)
Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren delivered a speech at the 22nd meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council that kicked off Thursday in Belgrade, Serbia. Highlighting Mongolia's position, Mr Purevsuren said Mongolia has been backing the worldwide efforts to combat the terrorism, and that some necessary measures have been taken to ensure a security within a preparation for the 11th ASEM Summit, which will run in Ulaanbaatar next year. He also talked about results of Mongolia's presidency over the OSCE Security Cooperation Forum in a first half of this year and hosting of the Autumn Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in September of 2015. He said that a strengthening of the diplomatic talks and trust plays a vital role in ensuring the peace and stability, and hoped that the permanent neutrality status of Mongolia will contribute to the global peace. International terrorism, especially the terrorist actions and massacre by the ISIS, is causing severe problems not only to the OSCE region, but also across the world, a crisis of refugees and immigration, caused by the problem, is harming the stability in Europe, the participants stressed. The OSCE members urged to unite their power against the terrorism. ^ top ^

ADB to finance projects and programmes in our energy sector (Montsame)
This matter was sounded during a meeting of the Minister of Energy D.Zorigt with a delegation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday. The delegation consisted of Diwakar Gupta, Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Vice-President for Private Sector and Co-financing Operations; Jacob Wienberg Sorensen, a Principal Advisor to the Vice President, Private Sector Investments and Co-financing at ADB; Hisaka Kimura, Head of the ADB Private Sector Infrastructure Finance; and Robert Schoellhammer, the ADB Country Director for Mongolia. Mr Gupta said the ADB is focusing on finishing some clauses in a draft contract on energy purchase of the 5th thermal power station and financing of an infrastructure project to be implemented with an ADB loan, "these matters will be resolved in near future". Mr Schoellhammer said the ADB has set up three working groups to provide related state bodies with advice in conjunction with the 5th power plant's project. Having started its activities in the energy sector of Mongolia in 1993, the ADB has financed a total of 18 projects and measures with non-refundable aid of USD 13.6 million and soft-loans of USD 66.15 million so far. These projects and programmes aimed to promote a policy and planning of the energy sector, to develop renewable energy, to enhance profits of the sector, and to improve the energy provision for low-income people. Some works have been done for working out master programmes on the sector, formulating a feasibility study for the 5th power plant, and providing advice. Technical and technological renovation has been performed at the 3rd and 4th power plants as well. The ADB leaders said a cooperation memorandum has been signed to realize some projects on maximizing profits of energy transmission lines, developing human resources, implementing international initiatives of the Gobitech and Asian energy super network, and providing local families with electricity from combined energy sources. ^ top ^

President returns after attending UNCCC (Montsame)
Leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj returned to Ulaanbaatar on December 3, after taking part in the United Nations Climate Change Conference. As known, the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) and the 11th session of the Conference of Kyoto Protocol Parties were held in Paris of France November 30-December 11. For the first time in history, heads of states and governments of more than 150 countries have assembled to seal a historic deal for protecting the Mother earth. The President of Mongolia delivered a speech at the COP 21, and appealed all countries to tackle the most pressing problems facing the world–terrorism and global warming. During the Paris Climate Change Conference, the Director-general of the UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova handed in the certificate to the President on inscribing of the Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and surrounding it sacred places to the World Heritage List. ^ top ^


Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
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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