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
  23-27.5.2016, No. 624  
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Foreign Policy

Obama to visit Vietnam with China in mind (Global Times)
US President Barack Obama's first visit to Vietnam will not affect ties between Beijing and Hanoi, but the timing of his visit ahead of a South China Sea ruling can be seen as a gesture of support for Hanoi in the sea disputes, analysts said. During his three-day visit which started Monday, Obama is scheduled to meet Vietnam's three highest-ranking officials, and hold talks with Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Xinhua News Agency reported. They will discuss a wide range of issues including politics, security, investment, trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and human rights, Xinhua reported. Though Obama's Vietnam trip shows the US is positioning Vietnam as a security partner instead of an enemy after the Vietnam War as they need each other to contain China on several issues, including the South China Sea, Sino-Vietnamese ties will not be affected by the visit, said experts. Closer ties with the US only means Vietnam lifts the position of the US for practical needs, but it will never play down the irreplaceable bond with China, said Zhu Zhenming, a research fellow on Southeast Asia studies with the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences. Obama is the third serving President to visit Vietnam, following Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2006, since the two countries established bilateral diplomatic relations in July 1995. Tricky timing While 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of normalized diplomatic ties between Washington and Hanoi and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, Obama has picked a time to visit when the South China Sea issue is under intense global scrutiny with the expected release of the ruling in the sea arbitration case filed by the Philippines. "Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country that could truly cause some trouble for China and Obama's visit is meant to assure that it is the strongest backup for Vietnam in the dispute," Zhuang Guotu, head of the Center of Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University, told the Global Times. The US has already successfully wooed its ally Japan to become involved in the disputed South China Sea, and if Vietnam could publicly oppose China on this issue, the US will have more chance to interfere in the region, Zhuang added. Counterbalance China Apart from Obama's visit, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Myanmar on Sunday to meet with key leaders in Nay Pyi Taw, which was perceived by some observers as a move to further expand US influence in the Asia-Pacific region and to counterbalance China. In addition, support to fully remove or further ease the US ban on weapons sales to Vietnam within the US administration and on Capitol Hill has grown, in efforts to bolster US-Vietnam ties to counter a rising China, Reuters said. Though the US still has concerns, including over human rights, before it may consider fully removing the weapons ban after it was partially lifted in 2014, there is a strong possibility it could be removed, Zhu Feng, director of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies at Nanjing University, told the Global Times. Hanoi released Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest and one of Vietnam's longest-serving prisoners, on Friday, which Zhu noted was a signal from the Vietnam side ahead of Obama's visit. As part of the payoff for the lifting, Vietnam might allow the US to access its strategic Cam Ranh Bay in the South China Sea, The New York Times reported Thursday. However, the US will be very cautious over lifting the ban as there will be strong opposition from over 3 million Vietnamese-Americans in the US, who try to subvert the rule of the Communist Party of Vietnam, said Zhuang. Separately, Obama and Vietnam's leaders will also discuss a wide range of issues including the TPP, in which Vietnam could be the biggest winner among the 12 signatories, as it heavily relies on exports, Bloomberg reported in October 2015. Vietnam's economy could be boosted by 11 percent, or $36 billion over a decade by the slashing of tariffs on thousands of products, the report said. However, the agreement will shrink Sino-Vietnam economic ties and put more pressure on China's sliding economy after it was ratified by all the 12 signatories that comprises 40 percent of global GDP, said Zhuang. ^ top ^

China to boost relations, cooperation with Kyrgyzstan: FM (Xinhua)
China is willing to work with Kyrgyzstan to boost bilateral relations and cooperation in all fields, visiting Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi said here on Sunday. During a meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Wang said bilateral relations have registered new and important development since the establishment of the two countries' strategic partnership by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Atambayev. China is willing to take the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road ("Belt and Road") as an opportunity to push forward the two countries' cooperation in production capacity, infrastructure, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said. He added that China is also ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Kyrgyzstan within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). For his part, Atambayev said China's long-term assistance has advanced Kyrgyzstan's social and economic development and enhanced the Central Asian nation's capability for self-development. Describing China as a trustworthy and reliable friend, he said Kyrgyzstan is willing to actively take part in building the Silk Road Economic Belt, jointly combat with China the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and keep advancing the two countries' strategic partnership. Kyrgyzstan will firmly stick to the one-China policy, Atambayev noted. ^ top ^

China, India hope to quickly resolve border dispute issue (Global Times)
China on Monday said it will work with India to speed up negotiations on the boundary issue prior to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee's state visit. Mukherjee begins his visit on Tuesday at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview with Chinese media, Mukherjee said he is willing to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution to the issue. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday that China and India are committed to solving the disputes through negotiations. Both countries have engaged in negotiations, managed their disputes and preserved peace in the area under dispute for three decades, said Hua at a daily press briefing. The two countries have a number of boundary-related mechanisms including special representatives to deal with the issue. "China is willing to continue working with India to accelerate negotiations and resolve the issue at an early date," said Hua. The 19th Special Representatives' Meeting on the China-India Boundary Question was held in Beijing on April 20 led by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China's special representative, and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. During Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar's first visit to China in April, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said China is optimistic over establishing a hotline between the Chinese and Indian military headquarters, and hopes to enhance border exchanges and make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability. ^ top ^

Azerbaijani president meets with Chinese President Xi's special envoy on cooperation (Xinhua)
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met here Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy Meng Jianzhu, and the two sides agreed to further deepen bilateral ties and strengthen anti-terrorism and security cooperation. China and Azerbaijan shared common interests and concerns in anti-terrorism, said Meng, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. He expressed hope that the two countries' security departments will continue to deepen mutual trust and conduct cooperation, including information-sharing, in the fight against religious extremists, terrorists and separatists so as to maintain stability and security in the two countries and the whole region. For his part, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan regards China as a friendly and brotherly country. The high-level of political relations between the two countries and their pragmatic cooperation in various fields contribute to maintaining regional stability, he said. Azerbaijan supports China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and condemns any attempts to split China, said Aliyev. The president said his country is ready to boost cooperation with Chinese security and law enforcement departments in information-sharing and verification. Azerbaijan is also willing to collectively fight terrorism, extremism, separatism, cyber attacks and other transnational crimes with China in order to safeguard security and development in both countries, he added. Aliyev visited China last year and reached important consensus on strategic development of bilateral relations with Xi. Meng's visit is to implement the consensus reached by the two leaders last year, promote bilateral cooperation in anti-terrorism, security and law enforcement, so as to further bilateral relations. ^ top ^

China, Uzbekistan vow to boost relations, cooperation (Xinhua)
China is willing to work with Uzbekistan to boost their strategic partnership and open up new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Monday. During a meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Wang said bilateral relations have made significant progress since the establishment of the strategic partnership between the two countries. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), he said, adding that China will fully support Uzbekistan in hosting an upcoming SCO summit in its capital city of Tashkent and push forward security and economic cooperation for new achievements. For his part, Karimov said he is looking forward to the Chinese president's attendance at the Tashkent summit. Uzbekistan is ready to work with China to further promote the two countries' strategic partnership, strengthen all-round mutually beneficial cooperation, and advance the SCO's new development, he said. ^ top ^

US and Japanese warships keep close watch on Chinese navy combat drill (SCMP)
A Chinese naval strike group conducted a 48-hour non-stop combat drill in the western part of the Pacific Ocean under the close surveillance of US and Japanese warships, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday. The drill, conducted on Sunday and Monday, involved some of the People's Liberation Army Navy's most advanced warships. A US destroyer, a Japanese destroyer along with two anti-submarine helicopters followed and monitored the drill from a visible distance, the website of the PLA Daily reported. The warships were also involvedin an exercise in the South China Sea earlier in the month, marking a rise in regional military tensions between China and the United States. The vessels were from the PLA Navy's South Sea Fleet and had left a naval base in Sanya, Hainan province, earlier this month. The strike group conducted an attack and defence exercise off Subi Reef, and the ships also patrolled Chinese-controlled Johnson South Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Mischief Reef, the Gaven Reefs and Hughes Reef in the Spratly Islands on May 8 to 9. The next day, the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence travelled within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef in a freedom of navigation operation. “The types of exercises show the PLA has prepared for the worst,” Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based expert on naval strategies, said. In the most recent drill, the Chinese destroyers Lanzhou and Hefei, frigate Sanya and a team of bombers practised strikes against the destroyer Guangzhou and the frigate Yulin. A submarine acted as a third-party threat to both sides. Supply ships and early warning aircraft were also involved in the exercise, according to reports. Both sides opened fire to test their artillery, an earlier PLA Daily report said. The presence of US and Japanese warships complicated this week's exercise as both sides had to stay alert for foreign vessels and aircraft while conducting the exercise, the Hefei's captain, Zhao Yanquan was quoted as saying. As part of the South Sea Fleet's annual comprehensive open sea drills, the strike group will move on to do exercises in the Eastern Indian Ocean, where the Chinese navy has not been very active. Ni said the PLA had to demonstrate its maritime power to other countries as part of China's broader “One Belt, One Road” ­initiative. “Military presence is in itself economically valuable,” Ni said. “It does not necessarily have to be a war. The confirmed military advantage could translate into money, into business projects, and into support in international disputes.” The report of the drill comes amid rising tensions between China and the US over the disputed South China Sea. Despite this, the Chinese navy will take part in the US-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the worl's largest naval drill, off Hawaii in June and July. Last week, two Chinese J-11 fighter jets intercepted a US EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft. The Pentagon said the interception was unsafe, but Beijing rejected the claim, saying the Chinese operation was professional and in line with the law. ^ top ^

Xi makes landmark visit to Sino-Russian border (Global Times)
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday visited Heixiazi Island on the Sino-Russian border, a move analysts said shows Beijing's willingness to strengthen Sino-Russian economic ties and resolve border disputes through peaceful negotiation. Xi visited the island and inspected the overall planning for environmental protection as well as opening-up and development during an inspection tour to Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province that started on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday. The trip marks the first time a Chinese president has visited Heixiazi Island since it was divided between China and Russia in 2008. The island is sited at the confluence of the Heilong and Wusuli Rivers (known as the Amur and Ussuri in Russian) in Heilongjiang Province. Beijing hopes to make the island a symbol to further deepen cooperation between the two countries, as the border issues along a shared boundary of over 4,300 kilometers was resolved since the 2008 demarcation, Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday. On October 14, 2008, the two countries ended the century-long territorial dispute and held a border redrawing ceremony, declaring each side owned half of the 335-square-kilometer island. "It has been proved here on the island that border disputes can be settled through peaceful dialogue," Gao Fei, a research fellow on Russian studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. "Considering the complexity and intensity of the border disputes between China and Russia, its successful resolution shows that China is a country that is willing to adopt such a solution," Gao noted. According to a government statement in the People's Daily on May 25, 1969, there were 4,189 border clashes between China and the Soviet Union from October 1964 to March 15, 1969. The clashes later escalated into battles on Zhenbao Island in the middle of the Wusuli River, causing heavy casualties on both sides. The two countries agreed in 1991 that Zhenbao was Chinese territory. One of the biggest achievements China and Russia has made to the international community is that "we managed to transfer a border of conflicts to a link of peace and cooperation," Gao said. Unfulfilled potential Analysts noted that current economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia is not reaching its full potential. "The Chinese government is taking a more pragmatic approach in linking the two countries' economic policies in this region," Gao said, citing the interconnection of road networks and energy networks as examples. Factoring in the geographical relationship and current bilateral relations between China and Russia, "China's policy to revitalize its northeastern region should connect with Russia's policies to develop its far eastern region, such as its Priority Development Areas strategy," Da said. Xi's visit also delivered a message that China hopes both countries will step up efforts to push forward existing cooperation projects, Da added, citing the Tongjiang bridge project as an example. Chinese authorities announced that construction of the main body of the Chinese side of a railway bridge linking Tongjiang in Heilongjiang with Nizhneleninskoye in Russia has been completed, Xinhua reported on May 17. Da suggested that more "pragmatic cooperation" should be promoted so as to "truly underpin the mutual trust between leaders and the current good political and diplomatic relations between the two countries." The expert noted that the goal of increasing bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015 has not been realized amid Western sanctions and depreciation of the ruble, as he expressed concern that the $200 billion trade goal by 2020 was slipping further out of reach. According to China's General Administration of Customs, trade volume between the two countries in 2015 reached $68 billion, a drop of 28.6 percent year-on-year, Xinhua reported in January. Commenting on the $200 billion goal by 2020, Zhang Di, economic and commercial minister counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Moscow, said earlier this year that it is not impossible to reach that goal amid changes in international affairs as well as internal and external conditions affecting both countries. Russia prioritizes relations with China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Xinhua reported. Lavrov expressed Russia's willingness to carry out in-depth connections between the Eurasian Economic Community and China's Belt and Road initiative to propel forward common development in the Eurasian region. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China in June, according to a Sputnik News Agency April 29 report. ^ top ^

China rejects U.S. aircraft surveillance over South China Sea (Xinhua)
China's military rejected U.S. claims on China's "unsafe" intercept of an American Navy reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea, and demanded the U.S. ends such action. Yang Yujun, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, told a press conference that China's aircraft acted professionally and in line with a China-U.S. encounter safety code agreed by both sides. Yang said America's frequent reconnaissance over Chinese waters is a real source of danger for China-U.S. military safety. Yang said the agreement only provides a technical regulation, and the best solution was for the U.S. to stop such action. The Pentagon claimed two Chinese J-11 fighters unsafely intercepted a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft on May 17 which was conducting routine operations in international airspace. ^ top ^

China, India pledge to boost partnership (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday, pledging to boost the strategic and cooperative partnership between the two nations. Hailing the development of the bilateral ties in recent years, Xi said the two sides should stick to the theme of neighborly friendship and reciprocal cooperation to cement the China-Indian relationship and benefit the people of the two countries. Xi proposed the two sides consolidate political trust by maintaining strategic communication between state leaders and making use of various bilateral dialogue mechanisms, and tap the potential for practical cooperation on railways, industrial park, smart city, new energy, environmental protection, information technology, human resources, industrial capacity, investment, tourism and services. The Chinese president looked forward to closer cultural and people-to-people exchanges as well as law-enforcement and security cooperation between the two countries. "The two sides should appropriately address our differences," Xi said, adding that the Chinese side is appreciative of India's adherence to the one-China policy. Xi suggested China and India support each other in regional and international affairs and work together to make successes of this year's Group of Twenty summit and BRICS summit. The Chinese president called for joint efforts to join their development strategies, advance the construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor, make the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a professional and efficient financing platform and conclude the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at an early date. Mukherjee, who is making a state visit to China at Xi's invitation, said that all political parties in India support developing relations with China. Mukherjee said the cooperation between India and China, both as growing economies and major powers, can benefit the people of the two countries and the entire humanity. Echoing Xi, Mukherjee said the Indian side stands ready to expand trade and investment cooperation, increase people-to-people exchanges and enhance communication in international affairs with China. He also voiced the gratitude to the Chinese side for supporting India and Pakistan's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. On Thursday, Mukherjee also met with China's premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang. During his meeting with the Indian president, Li said the two countries' development constituted opportunities for each other. Li suggested the two sides align China's "Made in China 2025" campaign and "Internet Plus" initiative with India's "Make in India" initiative and "Digital India" campaign. The cooperation and development of China and India will not only benefit one-third of the global population, but also help global economic recovery and growth, said the premier. Hailing China's high speed of economic growth over the past years, Mukherjee said the two neighbors should expand common ground and reduce differences, and foster a closer development partnership. During their meeting, Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), said the NPC stands ready to boost friendly relations with the parliament of India and Mukherjee pledged his support for exchange and cooperation between the legislatures of the two countries. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Premier urges less red tape, improved regulation, better services (Global Times)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has demanded less red tape, improved regulation and better services to promote sustained and healthy development of the economy. Li made the remarks in a national teleconference on May 9. Although China has made progress in streamlining administration, overhauling market regulation and optimizing government services, there is still much work to be done, said the premier in a speech released on Sunday. According to him, some power delegation measures were not fully implemented. Unfair law enforcement, arbitrary inspections and inadequate supervision revealed loopholes in market regulation. "Although the economy operated steadily in the first quarter, with improvements in structure and quality and better-than-expected indicators, downward pressure remains considerable and the foundation for economic stabilization and improvements has yet to be consolidated," said Li. In addition, China's traditional international competitiveness has been weakened, featuring decline in the growth rate of foreign trade and utilization of foreign capital, said the premier. "This is associated with changes in our resources, sluggish external demand and business environment," said Li, citing the relocation of some foreign-funded manufacturers from China to other countries. "We should guide some of them to move from eastern coastal areas to the central, western and northeastern regions," said Li, adding that labor-intensive manufacturing enterprises could create jobs and help address China's "great employment pressure". To that end, Li said China will explore ways to implement pre-establishment national treatment and negative list management system for foreign investors. The government will create a level playing field for all investors, said Li, adding that the State Council is mulling detailed measures to promote private investment. On the basis of trial programs, the government will make a market entry negative list and eliminate unreasonable restrictions and invisible barriers in sectors, including electricity, telecom, transport, oil and gas, utilities, elderly care, medical treatment and education. Meanwhile, the premier pledged to further slash administrative examinations and approvals, cut the process of establishing businesses and give colleges and scientific research institutes greater decision-making power in runing schools and scientific research. Over the past three years, State Council departments have canceled or delegated to lower authorities the administrative examination and approval power over 618 items, totaling 36 percent of the items subject to approval. China has given green light to 76 percent of investment projects that previously required central government approval. More than 95 percent of foreign investment projects and more than 98 percent of overseas investment projects now could register online to put on record. Since last year, an average of 40,000 businesses are set up every day, due to lowered business threshold and improved business environment. ^ top ^

Sichuan won't promote local Party, govt heads until they complete anti-poverty work (Global Times)
Authorities in Southwest China's Sichuan Province recently announced that heads of Party committees in poverty-stricken counties and townships will not be replaced or removed from office unless they successfully complete poverty alleviation work. The general office of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee released a guideline outlining plans to dispatch more principled officials with strong abilities to the "frontline of poverty alleviation," Sichuan Daily reported Sunday. The guideline stated that heads and deputy heads of Party committees and local governments in poverty-stricken areas who are specifically tasked with poverty alleviation will not receive position changes before accomplishing their anti-poverty goals, and they must serve for at least two years. China aims to lift over 10 million rural people out of poverty in 2016 to advance the eradication of poverty by 2020, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that 2016 activities would integrate both central and local efforts to tackle poverty more accurately. The Sichuan committee's guideline mentioned that the province would launch a 5-year plan for the selection and cultivation of talented students and professionals for poverty alleviation and development work. Each village will be matched with at least one university or research institute, one medical institution and one company for assistance. "Grass-roots Party organizations should play their roles as the exemplary vanguard in the fight against poverty … and offer personnel, finances and material supplies to support poor regions," read the guideline. Secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee Wang Dongmin was quoted by Sichuan Daily in March as saying that Sichuan's task is tough, since most poor villages in the province are in mountainous areas and lack financial and technical support systems. China has lifted around 100 million rural people out of poverty since 2010, leaving 60 million more to help by the end of 2020, according to Xinhua. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier urges poverty relief via industrial development (Xinhua)
Vice Premier Wang Yang said Monday that China aims to lift more than 30 million rural residents out of poverty from 2016 to 2020 through industrial development. In a national poverty reduction teleconference, Wang asked officials to develop industries according to local conditions and engage the poor people in these industries so that they can share the benefits. Local governments should spend more on poverty relief-related industrial development, improve financial support, and create an enabling market environment for these industries. At the end of 2014, China had 70 million people living below the nation's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 354 U.S. dollars) in annual income, almost all of whom live in the countryside. China aims to eliminate poverty by 2020 when its 13th Five-Year Plan is completed. ^ top ^

China opposes politicization of humanitarian issues (Xinhua)
A Chinese official, while addressing the first World Humanitarian Summit here on Tuesday, called for a full respect of conditions and needs of the recipient countries in the process of delivering humanitarian assistance, voicing opposition to politicizing humanitarian issues. Qian Keming, China's vice minister of commerce, appealed for more funding and technological support to developing countries while respecting their basic rights. He called for principles to be upheld for international cooperation, including abiding by the tenets of the UN Charter, respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of the countries concerned, preventing "the politicization of humanitarian issues" and sticking to "non-militarization of humanitarian assistance," and ensuring the recipient countries play a "leading role" in the process. Other principles are tackling causes as well as symptoms with a view to addressing problems at the root of humanitarian crises, and increasing input into the capacity and resilience-building of developing countries. Qian referred to the fact that the world is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, with natural disasters and conflicts hitting more frequently and the international and regional situations getting increasingly complicated. "We must make use of this opportunity to reaffirm the principles and forge consensus, while implementing the follow-ups on the summit's deliverables based on negotiated agreement among member governments," said Qian. The two-day summit, which kicked off on Monday, is aiming at improving the current humanitarian system that has been running for decades, with focus on conflict prevention and resolution, strengthening the protection of civilians, leaving no one behind, ending humanitarian need and ensuring funding for humanitarian actions. Stating that China advocates peaceful solutions to conflicts, Qian spoke of his country's active involvement in the political process in war-torn Syria. "It has proposed a China option for stopping violence, ceasefire and political reconciliation and offered humanitarian aid worth RMB 685 million (105 million U.S. dollars) to the Middle East," he said. The vice minister noted that China highly values international cooperation in the humanitarian field, and has always been actively assuming its international humanitarian responsibilities and obligations. "Since 2004, China has provided a huge amount of humanitarian assistance with no political conditions attached, and helped 102 countries and their peoples overcome humanitarian crises," he added. ^ top ^

Nuclear rescuers readied for 2018 (China Daily)
China plans to have completed the assembly of a national nuclear emergency response team by the end of 2018, an official overseeing the nation's nuclear power industry said. The team will have 320 professionals in six squads and will be designated to handle serious nuclear accidents and take part in overseas operations, Wang Yiren, deputy director of China Atomic Energy Authority, told reporters on the sidelines of a plenary conference of the National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Commission that was held in Beijing on Tuesday. "The work to establish the team has begun, and the government plans to invest around 600 million yuan ($91.6 million) in it," Wang said, adding that the six squads will be responsible for command and technical support, handling emergencies, engineering work, monitoring, and radiation prevention and decontamination. Currently there are 25 nuclear emergency teams with more than 1,300 personnel that are managed by several government departments and State-owned nuclear power companies, he said, adding that it is necessary to form a national team to respond to severe accidents. "We have appointed the team's commanders and the six squad heads, while their subordinates will be selected from existing nuclear emergency forces," Wang said. China has 30 reactors in operation with a total installed capacity of 28.3 gigawatts, and 24 more under construction, according to the authority. It said that last year eight reactors became operational, and work started on six new ones. At present, nuclear power contributes about 2 percent of China's electricity, statistics from the China Electricity Council show. In addition to the manpower buildup, the government will improve communication and coordination mechanisms among nuclear-related authorities and enterprises, and will speed up legislation on nuclear energy and nuclear security, Wang said. "We also plan to develop specific equipment such as remotely controlled robots and emergency power supplies for the task forces," he said. The central government released a white paper called China's Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, the first of its kind, in January. ^ top ^

Xi stresses importance of cooperative farming (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for developing more specialized farm cooperatives while visiting a rice cooperative in northeast China. Farmers' cooperatives are "an effective form of organization that helps increase the income of farming households and promotes the development of modern agriculture," Xi said in the city of Fuyuan in Heilongjiang Province. The president visited several cities in Heilongjiang from Monday to Wednesday. Saying that food safety is an important foundation of national security, Xi stressed innovation in food production, optimizing production technology, implementing all supportive policies, protecting farmers' enthusiasm for their work, and improving the income from food production. As an agricultural province and major food producer, Heilongjiang should scale up farming operations to make them more competitive and profitable. He also asked for protection and better utilization of fertile land. Amid complex domestic and international economic conditions, Xi said it is crucial to protect and improve people's quality of life through more public funding to address concerns such as employment, education, healthcare, housing, pensions and poverty. Xi also stressed that public policies and measures should have a stronger basis in research and reflect public opinion. The public, Xi said, must be kept fully informed of policy. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier demands poverty relief for ethnic minorities (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang called for intensified efforts to lift the country's ethnic minorities out of poverty. Poverty reduction for ethnic minorities is a difficult and prioritized task and the government should make more efforts to help the impoverished people, said Wang during a visit to Yi ethnic group in southwest China's Sichuan Province. He asked officials to take precisely targeted and tailored actions to improve the living and working conditions for ethnic minorities. At the end of 2014, China had 70 million people living below the nation's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 354 U.S. dollars) in annual income, almost all of whom live in the countryside. China aims to eliminate poverty by 2020 when its 13th Five-Year Plan is completed. ^ top ^

'Political mistakes', more than graft, led to downfall of Chinese military chiefs Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou (SCMP)
The downfalls of the two former Central Military Commission vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou were more about their political mistakes than their notorious corruption, according to the People's Liberation Army's mouthpiece newspaper. The assertion was made in an article by the PLA Daily yesterday which stressed that securing the Communist Party's absolute leadership over the army was of ultimate importance. “The key point in the downfall of both Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou was their violation of the bottom line of the party's political discipline, rather than the corruption they committed, though the latter is notorious and appalling,” article said. The article was the third in a series of stories presenting President Xi Jinping's vision for the military. Guo was last month transferred to prosecutors on charges of taking huge amounts of bribes. Xu died in March last year before he could be formally prosecuted. “In an attempt to secure the party's absolute leadership over the army”, the top priority was to ensure the quality of senior military cadres, the military mouthpiece said. “If the army gets into trouble, there must be something wrong among senior cadres within our party.” Senior cadres enjoyed enormous power along with their high rankings, but this meant any mistakes they made could be serious, it said. And when they made political mistakes, the damage could be even more severe. “Over a period of time, the credibility and prestige of pushing forward political work within the army was sabotaged for numerous reasons,” the article said. The imminent task was to re-establish the credibility and prestige of political work with the armed forces, to encourage virtues among senior cadres such as matching words with deeds and setting good examples through conduct. On Tuesday, the PLA Daily said China's defence budget could not maintain a “normal growth” rate because of the economic downturn. ^ top ^

Beijing to push for G20 code on investment (SCMP)
Beijing aims to come up with a set of guiding principles for global investment when it hosts the G20 summit in Hangzhou in September. Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the goal on Thursday as he laid out the agenda for the summit. Analysts said the goal was part of Beijing's efforts to position itself as a major international player reshaping rules in global trade and investment despite being excluded from deals such as the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. With 100 days to go until the summit, Wang said Beijing's other goals for the gathering included stepping up joint efforts against corruption and deepening reform of the International Monetary Fund. He said China would promote a three-pronged approach to tackling corruption: establishing guidelines for pursuing high-level fugitives, setting up a research centre on fugitives and stolen assets, and drawing up a 2017-2018 anti-corruption “action plan”. Wang also said China aimed to help transform the “G20 from a crisis-handling mechanism to one that lead the worl's economic growth and international economic cooperation in the long term”. Wang said there were roughly 3,200 bilateral agreements on international investment and China would push for the G20 to define guiding principles for a global investment policy of its own. “This would be the worl's first multilateral investment framework,” Wang said. He did not say what the principles would be, but Xiong Aizong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said they would compliment the existing order and be a consensus. Chu Yin, an associate professor with the University of International Relations, said the announcement reflected China's desire to play a bigger role on the world stage. “The US has formulated the TPP for Asia and is also in discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. China needs to express its own voice and reinforce the role of the World Trade Organisation on the platform of the G20,” Chu said. But he said he was not optimistic of realising the goal anytime soon. “It's China's position, but in the short-term it will remain an idea,” Chu said. Wang said it was important to get the ball rolling on the process. “Multilateral investment rules will not be realised at a stroke, but starting the process is significant in its own right,” he said. ^ top ^



Beijing police expand 24-hr video program (Global Times)
Beijing police on Monday announced a plan to build more case-handling centers with 24-hour video surveillance in order to advance the protection of suspects' rights. The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau is promoting the model developed at a pilot center at its sub-bureau in Haidian district, which applies standardized procedures and comprehensive monitoring to the investigation of all criminal cases, according to a news release that the bureau sent to the Global Times on Monday. The Haidian district's 5,000 square meter case-handling center provides a total of 31 rooms for the detention and questioning of suspects. The rooms where suspects wait for interrogation are also specially furnished to prevent suspects from injuring themselves, according to the release. Suspects who are brought to the case-handling center will receive black wristbands with a unique code allowing suspects to be tracked inside the center. They also help police officers ensure that areas around suspects are monitored with surveillance video. Zhang Jiabin, the director of the case-handling center, said that the entire interrogation process is monitored by the center, and any police officers who violate regulations during interrogation will be rapidly spotted and corrected, according to the release. Previous practices only required police officers to make video records of interactions with suspects after approval was given for their detention, whereas the whole process of a suspect's interaction with police will now be under supervision, including the first 24 hours before a suspect's detention, Zhang said. The director stressed that the new measures will ensure the legitimacy of police investigations. A professor surnamed Liu from the People's Public Security University of China told the Global Times on Monday that the promotion of such centers in Beijing aims to standardize law enforcement processing practices and enhance their transparency. "This is a good way to protect suspects' rights and dispel public doubts about police brutality," said Liu, adding that news about law enforcement violence tarnishes the image of the police and hinders their efforts to fight crime. Zhang Chengjun - a resident of Neijiang, Southwest China's Sichuan Province who was suspected of theft - died during interrogation in December 2015. The police claimed he suffered a sudden bout of illness that caused him to act erratically, reported mobile news app Shangyou. Though police have investigated 3,670 suspects at the center since the program was put into operation in October, no accidents or complaints have been reported, according to the release. While chairing a meeting on May 21, Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun asked police at all levels to rectify and eliminate any unregulated, unjust and uncivilized conduct by meting out serious punishment to any police officer who violates the law or regulations. ^ top ^

UNEP report praises Beijing's air pollution control efforts (Global Times)
A UN report lauded Beijing's efforts to battle air pollution but said it needs to do more to meet particulate matter standards. "A Review of Air Pollution Control in Beijing: 1998-2013" was published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, the bureau said Wednesday. Beijing's population grew by 70 percent in the past 15 years, while the number of registered vehicles increased by 303 percent and energy consumption rose by 76 percent, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner remarked in the foreword to the report. "Remarkably, concentrations of key pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and inhalable particulate matter, decreased by 78 percent, 24 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Notwithstanding significant challenges, the city improved air quality even as it maintained fast-paced growth," he wrote. "As the capital of the world's most populous country, Beijing's experience in controlling air pollution against a backdrop of rapid expansion is a story that should be shared with other emerging economies and burgeoning cities," he said. Beijing's solution was a combination of energy structure optimization, control of coal-fired plant emissions, vehicle emissions control and enhanced air quality monitoring, said He Kebin, director of Tsinghua University's School of Environment and one of the authors of the report. "The report recognized Beijing's continual efforts to improve air quality. The monitoring data showed that the integrated approaches of legislative, administrative, economic and technical measures have taken effect. In the future, technical measures will be an important measure," He said. The report also offered some suggestions, including improving city planning, optimizing the layout of city functions, promoting clean energy, intensifying control of coal-fired emissions, advancing the development of the transit system and promoting a regional development plan for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. ^ top ^

Hands across the strait: what happened when health chiefs from Beijing and Taipei met (SCMP)
Taiwan's health minister said he shook hands with his mainland counterpart at the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva after stumbling across her in a corridor. In what he described as a “quite successful” mission in the Swiss city, Lin Tzou-yien said he saw National Health and Family Planning Commission chief Li Bin in a passage and introduced himself, with Li replying, “I know.” “I felt the encounter was an extension of the goodwill from the Chinese delegation,” Taipei-based Central News Agency quoted Lin as saying on Tuesday. Lin, who became the first Taiwanese official from the islan's new government to greet a senior mainland official, described Li as a “nice person” and suggested the two could meet to discuss cross-strait cooperation on health. But the meeting never took place because Li returned to the mainland, Lin told Taiwanese media in a news conference on Wednesday in Geneva. He confirmed that he delivered a letter to the World Health Organisation's legal counsel on Monday, protesting against the inclusion of the “one China” principle in the WHA invitation for Taiwan. The invitation arrived about a month later than usual and included a statement that the island was invited to attend as an observer under the “one China” principle. That inclusion was considered a message from Beijing, which has repeatedly asked Taiwan's new President Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, to accept the principle and the 1992 consensus as a basis for cross-strait exchanges. Lin said he did not sense any pressure from the mainland or other countries during the assembly and held bilateral talks on health with representatives of more than 45 countries on the sidelines of the meeting. Lin referred to Taiwan as “Chinese-Taipei” during his speech at the WHA, a designation some pro-independence legislators said was “highly improper”, but Premier Lin Chuan said was acceptable, given Taiwan had used it at a number of international events. ^ top ^



Shanghai to get upmarket Starbucks' Roastery, Tasting Room (Xinhua)
Starbucks is planning to bring an outlet combining a roastery and more premium version of its high-street coffee shops to Shanghai in late 2017, the company announced on Thursday. The first Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room outside of the United States will target China's increasingly discerning coffee junkies. Starbucks opened its first such roastery in Seattle in December 2014. The concept lets customers see first-hand how coffee is roasted, ground and brewed and sells coffee made from small-batch, single varietal beans. The Shanghai store will occupy 2,700 square meters in the city's bustling Nanjing Road shopping center. Increasing thirst for coffee among the traditionally tea-loving Chinese has prompted global coffee chains to expand aggressively in the country. Despite an economic slowdown, there was a net increase of 2,000 in the number of chain coffee shops in China between 2009 and 2014, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz said the Shanghai store will be made "unique and relevant to the Chinese customer" in addition to replicating the immersive experience from its Seattle counterpart. China is Starbucks' second-largest and fastest-growing market. The U.S. coffee chain has over 2,100 stores in more than 100 Chinese cities. It has previously announced plan to have around 3,400 coffee shops in China by 2019. Part of its expansion is to open more high-end coffee shops to retain its market dominance increasingly challenged by rivals ranging from Costa and McDonald's McCafe in the West to Pacific Coffee and Caffe Bene in Asia. It now operates 55 Starbucks Reserve stores, smaller versions of the Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room without the roastery, in China. Specialist coffee shops will experience the biggest sales increase in the Asia Pacific region in the next five years, with China alone contributing nearly 60 percent of that sales increase, according to Euromonitor. ^ top ^



Floods threaten southern areas (China Daily)
China's flood control authority said on Tuesday that there is "a large chance of flooding" along the Yangtze River, Songhua River and Huaihe River this year as a result of increased precipitation during flood season. Zhang Jiatuan, a spokesman for the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said the authority would not exclude the possibility of other rivers flooding because water levels in South China are higher than previous years, with the storage of water in lakes and reservoirs also significantly higher than usual. "The soil water content is also saturated in many areas, and the possibility of a regional flood, flash flooding and landslides has also increased," he told a news conference on Tuesday. Zhang said the water levels in major rivers in South China are even higher than levels in 1998, when the country's major rivers last experienced massive flooding. River basins of the Yangtze, Songhua and Nenjiang rivers experienced more than 70 days of torrential rainfall in the summer of 1998, and at least 1,800 people died in the resulting floods, with more than 100 million people affected. As of Monday, 480 counties in 14 provincial areas in South, Southwest and East China have been hit with floods. The floods and secondary disasters were responsible for the deaths of 74 people this year. They also forced the relocation of 323,400 people and affected 7.48 million residents across China, according to the headquarters. In one of the most recent cases of flooding, days of heavy rain have affected about 500,000 people in 25 counties in Hunan province, with about 18,000 evacuated and 4,000 in need of emergency supplies, the provincial flood and drought relief headquarters said on Monday. In the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, two people died and 240,000 others have been affected as rainstorms battered the region's north and east, forcing more than 11,000 people to evacuate, according to the regional department of civil affairs. Wang Jinxing, an official at the Hydrology Intelligence and Forecasting Center of the Ministry of Water Resources, said the authority predicted that East China could be battered with a prolonged rainy season in June and July. He added that the amount of precipitation during the East Asian rainy season will also be higher than usual this year, which increases the chances of flooding. Zhang, the spokesman, said a priority for the country's flood prevention efforts is to protect people from flash floods and secondary disasters such as landslides. Every year, flooded streams and medium-sized rivers account for 70 to 80 percent of flood-related casualties nationwide, according to the flood control headquarters. ^ top ^

Police in Guangdong shutter P2P site and detain 13 executives (SCMP)
A large Chinese online lending platform accused of illegal operations has suspended operations, one of hundreds that have been shut this year by the government, as China cleans up a sector ridden with stories of Ponzi schemes. Police in Huizhou, Guangdong province, said on Wednesday it had detained 13 executives from Guangdong Huirong Investment's peer-to-peer lending platform The detainees included its legal representative and chairman Jian Huixing. China's government approved a plan, following a mid-April meeting, to clean up the country's online financial sector, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, including rules to limit the activities of P2P lending firms. The plan outlines stricter rules for peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, where lending quadrupled last year to 440 billion yuan (HK$520 billion), according to Citigroup, forbidding them from holding clients' capital in-house. Esudai, which roughly translates to “quick loans”, is accused by the local police of illegally collecting deposits, while executives are accused of taking hundreds of millions of yuan in investor money for their own use. Esudai has raised more than 7 billion yuan from 330,000 investors since it was founded in 2010, according to its website. Huizhou government officials visited Esudai's offices on May 20 for inspections, the company said on its website, adding that it was cooperating in the investigation and has operated legally and transparently for six years. It said customer deposits and withdrawals have been suspended. A top executive at a Shanghai investment firm, Zhongjin Capital Management, or Wealthroll, last week confessed on state television to operating a Ponzi scheme. Police accused Zhongjin last month of “illegal fundraising” – a loosely defined term applied to irregular behaviour in China's energetic but opaque shadow-banking sector. Some people in the industry say the heightened scrutiny will eventually weed out bad players, giving the stronger companies opportunity for growth. Wang Zhijian, FuYin P2P platform “Good platforms welcome government regulation for a simple reason: without good rules, bad players push out good players,” Wang Zhijian, CEO of FuYin, a Shanghai-based P2P platform, said at a financial forum last week, adding a lack of regulation forced all platforms into unfair competition. A customer of, one of China's most high profile P2P players that has raised more than US$200 million from investors including Standard Chartered Private Equity and Tiger Global, said the recent crackdown and scandals did not deter him from putting money into the site. “The government does not want to kill the sector,” he said. ^ top ^

Regulation for development of Guangdong pilot free trade zone (Global Times)
Authorities in Guangdong have passed a regulation on development of a pilot free trade zone (FTZ) in the southern province. The regulation, effective on July 1, stipulates principles about investment, trade, high-end industry development, finance and rule of law in the pilot FTZ. It sets specific items regarding cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, encouraging talent flows, entrepreneurship and information exchanges among the three. The regulation also introduced a third-party evaluation mechanism of government work. China established its first pilot free trade zone in Shanghai in 2013 and announced three more in 2015 in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, Fujian Province in the east and Guangdong Province. ^ top ^



Development path will lead Tibet to brighter future (Global Times)
Monday marks the 65th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The past 65 years have seen unremitting efforts by the Chinese government to render Tibet prosperous with ethnic unity and democracy. The period also has been fraught with ceaseless sabotage by Tibetan separatist forces, with Western support, to try to split the region from China. Peaceful liberation and the subsequent reform lifted Tibet out of backward serfdom. The systems of people's congress and regional ethnic autonomy were established to allow local people to master regional development and their own fate. Over six decades of development in Tibet shows the region, led by the CPC, has followed a path that has benefited the Tibetan people most. This could neither have been achieved in a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule, nor will be brought about by the so-called "Tibetan independence." Regrettably, the West refuses to admit Tibet's progress. Disregarding Tibetans' improving livelihoods and ethnic unity, they are stuck in their bias and prejudices. They criticized China's efforts to combat separatists of being violations of human rights and persecution of Tibetans. The West cares little about the interests of the Tibetan people. For instance, they have no objection to railway construction in other regions. But when it comes to Tibet, new rail lines, which are designed to enhance connectivity within the region and with the outside world, as well as to stimulate regional economic growth, are criticized for their alleged negative impacts on the environment. In the face of Western stereotyped accusations against China over the Tibet issue, we just need to give them a cold shoulder. Despite China's economic growth rate target having been set below 7 percent, Tibet, which has maintained double-digit economic growth for 23 years, has set the ambitious target of achieving GDP growth exceeding 10 percent in 2016. It also aims to raise the incomes of its urban and rural residents by 10 percent and 13 percent. Besides, as it is in an important position for the Belt and Road initiative, Tibet's economy will see more opportunities for growth in future. According to the 13th Five-Year Plan, Tibet is targeted to maintain its double-digit economic growth, lifting 690,000 people out of poverty and keeping the unemployment rate below 3 percent by 2020. Regardless of Western criticisms against China over Tibet, the plateau region's future now looks more certain than ever now. Its residents are bound to enjoy a brighter, more modern, prosperous and open life. ^ top ^

Peaceful liberation created modern Tibet (Global Times)
This year marks the 65th anniversary of Tibet's peaceful liberation. On May 23, 1951, an agreement signed between the Chinese central government and representatives of the Kasha, the former local Tibetan government, said that the Tibetan people should unite and drive out imperialist forces and return to the People's Republic of China, and that the Tibetan local government would assist the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defense, and pledged regional autonomy and religious freedom in Tibet. Tibet, the previous underdeveloped southwestern region, has seen dramatic changes in economy, politics, social welfare, culture and environment after being liberated from the oppression of imperialism and feudalism. Since the democratic reform was carried out in 1959 and regional ethnic autonomy came into practice in 1965, Tibet has established the new socialist system, which opened a new chapter in Tibet's history. The improvement in people's livelihood is one of the most outstanding achievements of Tibet's 65 years of development. The average life expectancy of Tibetans was 68.2 years in 2013, up from 35.5 years before the peaceful liberation. The region's GDP surged from 100 million yuan ($15 million) in the 1950s to 102.6 billion yuan in 2015. With the popularization of 12-year free education for all children, the region's education level has seen a sharp rise as well. In the past 65 years, Tibet has been enjoying preferential policies in many fields including basic healthcare, social welfare and infrastructure projects. As a landmark event in Tibet's history, peaceful liberation has laid solid foundation for the region to develop from a society oppressed by imperialism and feudalism to a modern civilization. The liberation also means that Tibetans, as a member of the great family of the Chinese nation, are forging ahead together with other Chinese ethnic groups. However, the Western countries are always hyping human rights conditions in Tibet. Their accusations are groundless. In fact, the development in Tibet represents the trend of historical evolution. The abolishment of the feudal serf system in Tibet was a huge step forward. Serfs and slaves accounted for 95 percent of the overall population in Tibet in 1951, and were discriminated against, tortured or even killed by their lords. The peaceful liberation saved millions of serfs from their misery, and granted them with citizenship. Many serfs even became government officials. The liberation put an end to the theocratic rule in Tibet as well. The West also colludes with some Tibetan radicals to instigate Tibet independence. In fact, the so-called Tibet independence movement is an outcome of the imperialist aggression against China. Specifically, the UK attempted to construct a buffer zone to protect its geopolitical interests in India, which was colonized by the UK at that time. To this end, the UK invaded Tibet in the 1860s and at the beginning of the 20th century. India, after its independence, attempted to inherit the UK's strategic legacies in the region, and thus followed the UK to intervene in the interior affairs of Tibet. The US is also an active provoker of Tibet independence. Given its huge ideological disparity from China, the White House has been attempting to sabotage the integrity of China for a long time. In recent years, China has been developing rapidly. Concerned about China's rise, the Western countries are colluding with the 14th Dalai Lama, who went into exile in India in 1959, and other radicals to instigate Tibet independence. However, the Tibetan separatists are merely chess pieces used by the West to counter China. One of the most significant tasks for China at the current stage is to safeguard its national unity. To this end, the central government is advised to improve Tibetans' material and cultural life to a higher level. Communications and exchanges between Tibetans and people from the rest of the country are also needed to foster the mutual understanding between the two sides and the well-being of the whole nation. ^ top ^

Lhasa seeks preservation, balanced growth (China Daily)
Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, has rolled out a series of measures to protect the city's historic villages, local officials said on Tuesday. In recent years, the regional government has vowed to turn Lhasa into one of China's special cultural heritage sites, and it's becoming a world tourism destination. The city has two districts, six counties, 57 townships and 1,123 villages. More than half the villages are said to have historical value. "Protection work of cultural sites in the region started in the 1980s, and it has leapt forward from a single site at the beginning to a wide range now," said Zhang Hui, deputy director of the city's people's congress standing committee. Zhang said the renovation of 1,300-year-old Barkhor Street is a good example of success. More than 1.5 billion yuan ($229 million) was invested in the project in 2013. "To reverse the current condition of insufficient protection, the city government is planning further studies, aiming to protect the old villages through legislation," Zhang said. According to local officials, the protection of ancient villages is urgent, considering the fast speed of urbanization and the increasing conflicts between construction and protection interests. "Some ancient villages need renovation, but because of some people's insufficient awareness about protection, there's variation in the level of damage to some historical architecture," said Yangjen Drolkar, another deputy director of the Lhasa people's congress standing committee. "The protection procedures will help preserve the history and culture of the age-old villages, and it will prevent exploitation," said Yangjen Drolkar. The city's cultural bureau will carry out the plan. "We will increase spending on the protection of ancient villages and intangible cultural sites," said Gesang Dondrub, deputy head of the Lhasa Cultural Bureau. "Another measure is to establish a professional monitoring institute to make sure the work can be done professionally and in a scientific way." He added that his bureau will block any construction that could damage cultural sites. Karma Dzondru, a resident of Lhasa's Barkor Ancient Street, said he was pleased to see the government renovating the ancient street without losing its original appearance. "I feel lucky to live on Barkor Street, and I'm pleased to see the buildings around our houses are all Tibetan styles," Karma Dzondru said. ^ top ^



Faster "New Silk Route" train leaves Urumqi (China Daily)
The first "New Silk Route" Central Asia train departed from Urumqi West Station in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, for Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan, on May 26, filled with appliances, costumes, general merchandise, and building materials. The 57-container train will arrive at its destination in 39.5 hours, 20 hours sooner than former westbound international trains. In addition, as the Urumqi Railway Bureau has teamed up with the customs and China Inspection and Quarantine offices to supply one-stop logistics, clearance and inspection services, clients are now able to handle distribution, loading and declaration of bulk cargo at the railway yard and are kept informed of the freight status via an e-commerce platform. The simplified process saves more than 1,000 yuan ($152.6) for each container of goods. "We had 10 containers of general merchandise on the train. It reduced travel time and more than 10,000 yuan of cost for us," said Lan Shujuan, general manger of Urumqi Tongyada International Logistics Co. According to Wang Zhongcai, international cooperation chief of the bureau, the station dispatches one "New Silk Route" train (Urumqi to foreign countries) per week, and the shifts will increase, as requirements go up, to three per week in July. As China's "Belt and Road" strategy proceeds, Xinjiang's advantageous location as a core in the Silk Road Economic Belt is increasingly highlighted. Since the first westbound international train was launched on March 8, 2014 by the Urumqi Railway Bureau, Xinjiang has opened 135 different train routes to foreign destinations including major cities in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Poland. In addition, Xinjiang has sent off "New Silk Route" national trains (Chinese cities to Urumqi) to attract domestic cargo for export. ^ top ^



Daughter of missing Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai to testify before United States committee (SCMP)
The daughter of detained publisher Gui Minhai has flown to Washington to testify in a hearing on Tuesday to examine the Chinese government's reach beyond its border, taking the bookseller saga to the international stage again. In a statement, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said Angela Gui would be speaking as a witness in a hearing with the theme “The Long Arm of China: Global Efforts to Silence Critics from Tiananmen to Today”. She will be joined by other witnesses including exiled human rights lawyer Teng Biao. “This hearing will examine the Chinese government's reach beyond its borders to stifle critical discussion of its human rights record and repressive policies,” the commission said in a statement. The commission was created by Congress in 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China. It submits annual report to the Congress and the president. As the news emerged, a long-time friend of Gui Minhai told the Post that Angela received a message recently that the publisher was considering giving up his Swedish citizenship. “The Swedish government has told Angela that they received a message one or two months ago that Gui is considering giving up his Swedish citizenship,” dissident poet Bei Ling said, recalling what Angela had told him. Bei, who has known Gui since the 1980s, said he did not know how the message came to the Swedish authorities. But he doubted if Gui said so out of his own free will. Gui's plan to give up his Swedish citizenship, if true, came after his associate, Lee Po, told Chinese state media soon after he disappeared that he wanted to give up his British citizenship, raising suspicions about whether he said so out of his own free will. Since October last year, five people associated with the Mighty Current publishing house and Causeway Bay Books disappeared one after the other. Gui vanished from Pattaya, Thailand, in October. Lam Wing-kee, Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por went missing on the mainland in the same month. Lee disappeared from Hong Kong in late December. Their disappearances led to fears that they had been kidnapped by mainland agents, as their companies specialised in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Author Woo Chih-wai, who worked at Causeway Bay Books for two months before Lee disappeared, said Angela's testimony in the US would be as a positive move against a regime that yielded to pressure. “It is a regime that succumbs to pressure more than to a pat on the back, so Angela's move will produce positive results,” he said. However, Bei, who is close to Angela, doubted if her action would be effective in helping to secure Gui's release, although he backed her desire to testify in Washington. Woo believed the Chinese government had wanted to settle the saga for good and there had been a plan to close the file as early as this month. “That's what Lee Po told me during his four-day stay in Hong Kong earlier this month, but apparently the plan didn't work out,” Woo said. Gui has been accused of ordering his associates to deliver about 4,000 banned books across the border since October 2014. He remains in detention. ^ top ^

New direction: Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority set to renovate instead of tear down old buildings (SCMP)
A pilot project to enable the elderly to stay in their communities in improved living conditions by renovating old buildings instead of tearing them down will probably be launched this year. Outgoing Urban Renewal Authority managing director Daniel Lam Chun said on Thursday the authority planned to identify one or two buildings for the scheme within the year. “Some of our colleagues noticed volunteers carrying the elderly living on high floors in old buildings when they were sick,” he said, explaining the idea. Lifts would be installed and public spaces revamped as part of the scheme, he said. The Post earlier reported the authority was studying ideas to ease disruption caused to the lives of elderly residents by its urban renewal projects and lessen the cost burden on the authority, which already has a large deficit, according to a source. But the suggestion to renovate instead of rip down buildings could stir public debate as it would involve acquiring old properties at market prices for refurbishment instead of paying an amount equivalent to the value of a seven-year-old flat in line with current compensation rules for redevelopment projects. That means affected owners would receive less cash compensation. The idea also might not go down well with elderly residents who hope to pass on their property to the next generation, as an owner would become a tenant under the new concept. The source told the Post that under the preliminary proposal, the authority would acquire buildings constructed in the 1960s and 70s which are in poor condition and undertake major renovation work, including making space to install lifts. Meanwhile, Lam said the authority would leave decisions on relics discovered at the city's last walled village in Wong Tai Sin to the Antiquities and Monuments Office as the URA was not the relevant authority on the matter. “We will listen to them,” he said. ^ top ^



Macao media support mainland's response to Tsai's speech on cross-Straits ties (Xinhua)
Media in Hong Kong and Macao said on Saturday that the Chinese mainland's Taiwan Affairs authorities' response to the inaugural speech made by the new leader of the Taiwan authorities has expressed firm stance while revealing flexibility and enough goodwill. The media comments said the failure by Tsai Ing-wen in her inaugural speech on Friday to explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus would make it difficult to maintain the common political foundation of the growth of the cross-Straits relations. On Friday, the Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs authorities issued a statement, describing Tsai's remarks on the cross-Straits relations as an "incomplete test answer." Wen Wei Po, a major Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong, said in its editorial that the new leader of the Taiwan authorities was deliberately evasive and ambiguous about the 1992 Consensus the Mainland has repeatedly reiterated, which states that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. The editorial said what the new Taiwan leader did obviously makes it hard to maintain the common political foundation of the cross-Straits relations and even more difficult to continue advancing the peaceful and stable growth of the cross-Straits relations. The editorial urged Taiwan's new leader to take responsibility for history and the basic wellbeing of the Taiwan compatriots, explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus and its core implications, and return to the foundation of the one China principle embodied by the 1992 Consensus. It highlighted that only in this way can the cross-Straits relations keep moving forward on the right direction of peaceful development and the Taiwan compatriots enjoy the real prosperity and stability. Hong Kong Commercial Daily said in a commentary that new Taiwan leader's failure to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which said both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China, has added uncertainties to the cross-Straits relations, and the consequences as well as the accountability should be taken by the Taiwan's authorities led by the Democratic Progressive Party. In response, the mainland's calling the speech an "incomplete test answer" reflects its firm stand and flexibility, which has demonstrated enough goodwill from the mainland side, the commentary said. Sing Pao Daily News, one of the oldest Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong, said in its editorial that despite Tsai's ambiguous attitude toward the 1992 Consensus, the mainland vowed to further expand exchanges between compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, advance cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and deepen the integrated economic and social development of the two sides as "the Taiwan compatriots share blood ties with us and there is no force that can separate us." If the new Taiwan leader could not accept the one China principle, her plan to participate in regional economic communities will be unrealistic, it said. Headline Daily said in a commentary that the cross-Straits relations will witness an observation period in the near future, and it will be difficult for both sides to have positive interaction if Taiwan's new leader does not recognize the one China principle. Macao Daily News said in its editorial on Saturday that the expressions by Tsai on the cross-Straits relations have been changing constantly and are even becoming more ambiguous for a period of time. The 1992 Consensus is the wisdom of both sides of the Taiwan Straits in seeking common ground while reserving differences and constitutes the unshakable cornerstone of the peaceful growth of the cross-Straits relations, the editorial said. Now the cross-Straits relations are at a crucial juncture, facing a choice of the direction and the path. As for how to finish the "incomplete test answer," it depends on the future actions of the new leader of the Taiwan authorities. ^ top ^



Taiwan's ex-president Ma Ying-jeou faces lawsuits as immunity ends (SCMP)
Dozens of lawsuits brought against former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou reopened on Saturday as his presidential immunity lapsed after the island swore in its new leader. Ma left the presidential office on Friday as Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took the reins as the islan's first female leader, after winning a landslide victory in January. Four key reasons Kuomintang lost the Taiwan election Ma came to power in 2008 partly due to his “Mr Clean” image, favoured by a public fed up with the scandals of former DPP leader Chen Shui-bian, who was jailed for corruption. However, Ma now faces his own court battles as political rivals hurl suits at him on a range of allegations, including leaking political secrets and failing to declare assets. His departure from office means he now faces 24 cases, according to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office. Taiwan Cabinet members formally resign to pave way for incoming government “The office has been actively taking inventory of cases relating to president Ma that were suspended due to immunity to criminal prosecution,” prosecutors said in an earlier statement. “The investigations will restart according to law after the president steps down,” it said. Local media reported on Thursday that the High Court had ordered a re-hearing on a request brought by a DPP lawmaker that Ma be prevented from leaving the country due to the cases he faces. That request had previously been denied at district level. Taiwan has benefited from Ma Ying-jeou's leadership. Seemingly undeterred, a relaxed Ma was pictured going for a morning jog and doing push-ups in his old neighbourhood in Taipei on Saturday, after moving back there from the presidential residence. Ma took the leadership in 2008 by the biggest landslide in Taiwan's democratic history, but saw his popularity plummet during his eight-year run, with the public unnerved by policies seen as linking the island too closely with rival China. Even though Taiwan is self-governed after splitting with the mainland in 1949 following a civil war, Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory to be reunified. ^ top ^

Tsai's new tack: Taiwan moves to mend maritime ties with Japan (SCMP)
Taiwan's new government kicked off its first day of work by declaring it would set up a channel for dialogue with Japan to settle maritime disputes and promote the islan's presence in the region. The announcement on Monday came after Premier Lin Chuan issued an order to withdraw criminal charges against 126 protesters, who broke into the cabinet's headquarters in Taipei in 2014 to protest against a trade pact with Beijing. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen vowed in her inaugural address on Friday to seek regional cooperation, increase the islan's international profile and clear people wronged in the past. To settle fishery and other disputes with Japan, Taipei and ­Tokyo had decided to establish a mechanism for maritime cooperation at the end of July, cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan said. “The new government has decided to resort to negotiation rather than a legal approach in resolving the latest dispute,” Tung said, referring to Japan's seizure of a Taiwanese fishing boat when it sailed near the Japanese reef of Okinotori last month. Japan said the boat had violated its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Tung said the dialogue channel was important to maintain friendly ties with Japan and ease tension in the region. It is a major departure from the stance taken by Tsai's predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, of the mainland-friendly Kuomintang. Ma had vowed to send coastguard and military vessels to safeguard fishermen operating near Okinotori. He said Taiwan did not recognise Japan's self-declared exclusive economic zone around the reef, arguing it was a collection of rocks that was not entitled to an EEZ under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Tsai's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, which has traditionally been friendly with Japan, has called for talks and joint development of resources with Tokyo. Earlier, Lin said it was necessary for the government to withdraw charges against the student protesters, given that the movement was a “political event” rather than a simple legal case. “Therefore, their intrusion should be dealt with in the principle of more harmony and less conflict,” Tung quoted him as saying. The premier felt the students' cause had become a “common consensus of society” and the legislature was prepared to introduce a bill to monitor cross-strait agreements in the future. In what became know as the “sunflower” movement, more than 200 students occupied the legislative chamber for more than three weeks to protest against the Ma government's signing of a service trade pact with the mainland that they said would hurt local ­interests. Other students later broke into cabinet headquarters and were arrested and charged. KMT legislators said the decision not to prosecute would only encourage others to take similar action in the future. Tsai also led a group of officials in paying tribute to Sun Yat-sen, the founder of modern China, at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine. In the past, new presidents would also pay “remote” homage in the direction of Sun's mausoleum in Nanjing. ^ top ^

Taiwan's attitude toward cross-Strait ties must be clarified (Global Times)
The Chinese mainland said Wednesday Taiwan's new leader Tsai Ing-wen must, without any equivocation, clarify her stance on cross-Straits ties. Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a regular press conference that Taiwan must clarify this issue with practical action and allow the examination of the people and history. In her inaugural address Friday, the new Taiwan leader chose to be ambiguous, despite cross-Straits relations being of utmost concern to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Ma said. Tsai did not explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus and offered no concrete proposal to ensure the peaceful and stable growth of cross-Straits relations, he said. "The issue is a question that must be answered - it cannot be avoided," said Ma. Ma said the mainland opposes all separatist activities advocating "Taiwan independence" in the name of "law amendments." "No one shall test our resolution and capacity to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. Ma praised the years after 2008 as being the "best setting" for cross-Straits relations since 1949. With the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus, cross-Straits affairs authorities from both sides have signed 23 agreements since 2008, when a regular communication mechanism was established, which have facilitated cross-Straits cooperation in all areas and benefited people from both sides. But Ma warned that only the affirmation of the political foundation that embodies the one-China principle can ensure continued and institutionalized exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. He went on to stress that the one-China principle should also be safeguarded with regard to Taiwan's participation in regional economic cooperation. "[Without the one-China principle,] there would be no political trust and adverse consequences are sure to follow," Ma told reporters. "Attempts to engage in separatist activities for 'Taiwan independence', or pursue 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan' will without doubt reach a dead end." Also on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying expressed firm opposition to separatist propositions of "Taiwan independence." According to media reports, Tsai referred to the island's new representative to the US as "ambassador" on Monday. In both diplomatic practice and international law, only sovereign entities, which Taiwan is not, send "ambassadors" to foreign countries. Taiwan can only have unofficial relations with the United States, so the status of its agencies in the United States and those in charge is very clear, Hua said. ^ top ^

Development will convince Taiwanese of reunification's virtues (Global Times)
The cross-Straits relationship has become a topical issue after Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came into power. The new Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, in her inaugural speech, obscured the 1992 Consensus, an agreement incorporated a set of key principles for the cross-Straits ties. Tsai's ascent and the DPP's rule have clouded the prospects of peaceful reunification. The DPP's return to power has heightened the possibility of Taiwan seeking independence. As the biggest advocate of this cause, the DPP has a notorious history of promoting Taiwan independence. From 2000 to 2008, the Chen Shui-bian government employed a progressive approach to independence, trying to pursue Taiwan's jurisprudential independence, which pushed the cross-Straits relationship to the brink of war for several times. After Ma Ying-jeou's eight years in power, the pro-independence party staged a comeback. It is anticipated that no matter how Tsai packages her policies, Taiwan's independence will continue to be the focal point. The pro-independence atmosphere in Taiwan's politics will grow. The past eight years have seen little solid progress in peaceful reunification, but great achievements in bilateral economic and cultural development. The mainland and Taiwan have resumed negotiations between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation. The mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has established new communication mechanisms with Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council. The leaders of the mainland and Taiwan, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, also had a landmark meeting in Singapore last year. The cross-Straits trade volume has reached about $200 billion, with Taiwan enjoying an over $100 billion surplus. More than 10 million trips occur between the mainland and Taiwan every year. Despite these achievements and the mainland's favorable treatment of Taiwan, the core political issue has not been touched. So far, there have been no political negotiations between the mainland and Taiwan over ending the state of hostility and signing a peace accord. Nor are any talks about the future of the mainland and Taiwan. Thus, the process of peaceful reunification has not moved forward. The Taiwanese, especially the young generations, have shown significant misunderstandings about the "one China" policy. The mainland lays its hopes to the Taiwanese to generate consensus on reunification, but under the instigation of the pro-independence groups, fewer people in Taiwan agree with the "one China" policy and having faith in reunification. More importantly, the younger generations of the Taiwanese share fewer common views about their "Chinese" identity and reunification. The trajectory of peaceful reunification has been set and can hardly be reversed, but it doesn't mean there are no drawbacks and twists. Historically speaking, the mainland and Taiwan are shifting from antagonism, misunderstanding and isolation to reconciliation, understanding and integration. The mainland's Taiwan policy is effective and correct in the big picture. Peaceful reunification depends on the mainland's strength. The precondition should lie in the mainland having an overwhelming advantage over Taiwan, and being even more powerful in every aspect than the US and Japan, which keep driving a wedge between the mainland and Taiwan. The crux of the Taiwan question is China's backwardness and poverty as a whole. Currently, the mainland government cannot remove the intervention of the US and Japan. So it cannot persuade the Taiwan government to start political negotiations, or win support from the Taiwanese. Therefore, the key to solving the Taiwan question is the mainland putting more efforts in development. It is only a matter of time that the mainland can develop a dominant advantage in the complicated geopolitical situation. ^ top ^



ICBC issues renminbi product in United States (China Daily)
China's State-owned commercial lenders have made strong progress in promoting renminbi internationalization, with the currency falling 5.6 percent against the US dollar in the past year. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd has issued its first renminbi-denominated certificate of deposit, allowing institutions to issue and clear financial products denominated in the Chinese currency in the US. The CD, valued at 500 million yuan ($76.3 million), has a 31-day maturity and allows US borrowers to issue renminbi-denominated securities for trading and settlement purposes. "The launch presents a significant milestone in meeting the growing demands of investors in the US and around the world to have access to the renminbi," said Jiang Jianqing, ICBC's chairman, in a statement. "The renminbi is an increasingly important part of the global payments system, as payments in this currency are growing faster than overall global payments in all currencies." Between February and March, renminbi payments increased 18.5 percent in value compared with a 10.7 percent increase in payments of other currencies, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which said the renminbi is now the fifth-most active currency used for global payments. ICBC and BNY Mellon Corporate Trust, the issuer and paying agent of the new CD, are members of the Working Group on US Renminbi Trading and Clearing, which promotes trading, clearing and settlement of the Chinese currency in the US. The group is chaired by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said at the launch ceremony that it is important that US firms can easily use Chinese currency. "Being able to clear renminbi here will lower costs for firms that want to do business, make our financial centers more competitive globally, and strengthen US-China relationships. "All of that will help growth on both sides of the Pacific," Bloomberg said. Large Chinese commercial lenders have been accelerating the internationalization of the renminbi, in tandem with ongoing business expansion abroad by Chinese companies and banks. ICBC registered 4.34 trillion yuan in cross-border renminbi business volume in 2015, up 18.61 percent from the previous year. Bank of China Ltd, another leading player in renminbi internationalization, recorded 5.39 trillion yuan in cross-border renminbi settlement last year. Its cross-border renminbi clearing business volume rose 37 percent year-on-year to 330.96 trillion yuan. ^ top ^

Premier encourages foreign investment in central, western China (Xinhua)
Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that he welcomed foreign investment in China, particularly in central and western regions. Li was talking with business leaders on the sidelines of the China Big Data Industry Summit & China E-commerce Innovation and Development Summit in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province. Li told them that there is a development disparity between eastern and inland regions, where there is great growth potential and plenty of investment opportunities. "China attaches great importance to the protection of intellectual property rights and trade secrets. The country will step up cybersecurity and work to create an equal business environment for domestic and foreign-funded firms, " said the premier. Rapid development of big data, cloud computing and the sharing economy is conducive to new economic drivers, Li said. China will integrate big data and the Internet with manufacturing to upgrade traditional industries, said Li. He also said the country will continue to push ahead with mass innovation and entrepreneurship and create a level playing field for growth companies. ^ top ^

China, Uzbekistan seek cooperation on Silk Road Economic Belt (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Tuesday the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt should become the core of China-Uzbek cooperation. It is agreed that China and Uzbekistan would further coordinate development strategies to make the Silk Road Economic Belt, first put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September of 2013, a project that could benefit people of the two countries and promote regional development. Wang said tangible results have been made during the early stage of bilateral cooperation on infrastructure construction and industrial parks. According to Wang, China-Uzbek relations have reached a new level since the establishment of the strategic partnership between the two countries. The leaders of China and Uzbekistan would make a timely decision on raising the level of bilateral ties and directing the future of cooperation, Wang said. He added that the two countries would also enhance the cooperation under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Wang recalled that Monday's meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov was fruitful and both sides reached broad consensus on the development of bilateral relations. ^ top ^

G20 Hangzhou Summit to help find new path for world economic growth (China Daily)
The 2016 G20 Summit will be held in Hangzhou in September under the theme of "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected, and Inclusive World Economy". An integral part of the theme is inclusive and interconnected development. China holds the Presidency of the G20 this year and under its initiative, for the first time, the G20 is highlighting development issues in the framework of global macro-policy and working on a systematic plan of action for the implementation of the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China is doing this for a number of important reasons. Promoting G20 cooperation is needed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which commenced this year. Adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit last September, the Agenda is a future-oriented blueprint and a powerful written commitment. But setting the goals is only the first step. It must be followed through with the hard work and cooperation of all countries. The G20 is a major platform for international economic cooperation, and the international community expects it to play a leading role in this respect. Development cooperation Promoting G20 development cooperation is crucial for tapping new potential for world economic growth. As global economic growth, trade and investment remain sluggish, and the macro-policies of major economies diverge, new inequalities and imbalances in development may emerge. There is tremendous potential for the development of developing countries, which is like a blue sea yet to be navigated. Tapping this potential could unleash immeasurable power for growth and promote a global economic recovery. Promoting development cooperation is China's unique contribution to the G20. China, the world's largest developing country, has been on a unique journey of development and maintains close connections with other developing countries. As it holds the G20 Presidency in 2016, China is playing the leading role in pushing the G20 to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, find a new path for world economic growth, and make its due contribution to the international cause of development. Inclusive and interconnected development deals directly with development issues, facilitates coordinated progress among various economies, promotes interconnected and win-win development of all industries and enables people in all social strata to share in prosperity. It will be a major highlight of the summit. This year, the G20 will formulate an action plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a concrete step to contribute to the work led by the UN in this regard, collective and national actions will be taken to push for implementation among the G20 members and to support other developing countries in their implementation efforts. This year, the G20 will advance cooperation initiatives on supporting industrialization in African countries and the Least Developed Countries to help speed up industrialization in these countries and attain the poverty reduction and sustainable development goals. The G20 will also place high importance on climate change this year. It has already released its first ever Presidency Statement on Climate Change, committing members to sign the Paris Agreement, which opened for signature on April 22 and remains open for signature one year thereafter, and bringing it into force as soon as possible. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded with a special statement, in which he welcomed the responsible position of the G20 and extended his thanks to China for its leadership. In addition, the G20 will discuss agriculture, employment, inclusive business and other wide-ranging issues; shed light on issues related to women, youth, and small farmers; promote agricultural innovation and sustainable development; explore the relationship between macro-policy regulation and job creation; and encourage employment through entrepreneurship and innovation. It should be made clear that the G20 stresses a broader concept of development. While making feasible action plans to tackle development issues based on member's own comparative advantages and added value, it also calls for an economic perspective and explores the relationship between growth and development in multiple dimensions. The Hangzhou Summit will not only focus on development itself, but also embrace development as a source of economic growth, and this is a main thread running through the G20 agenda. A development perspective is taken in all the key agenda items of the G20 this year, including macro-economic policy, international trade and investment, innovation in growth models and global economic governance. Under the agenda item of "breaking a new path for growth", the G20 will focus discussions on innovation, the new industrial revolution, the digital economy and structural reform. This aims to break the current model of sole reliance on fiscal stimulus and easy monetary policy through innovation-driven growth strategies and structural reform, and boost the potential for mid- to long-term growth. China is working with fellow members to draw a blueprint for innovation-driven growth that highlights the concept of inclusive innovation, does more to help developing countries raise their R&D capacity, narrows the gap and bridges the digital divide between developed and developing countries in terms of industrialization, and lowers the threshold for developing countries to integrate into the new economy and helps them share the benefits. ^ top ^

China looks for clues to US Fe's intentions as punters eye rate rise in June (SCMP)
When senior officials from Washington and Beijing meet next month to discuss a series of thorny issues, China might also try to seek clearer clues on the US Federal Reserve's next move, ­analysts said. The prospects of a rate increase in June have risen in recent days, and talk of higher borrowing costs in the US has driven down the yuan. China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Fed chairwoman ­Janet Yellen are ­expected at the Beijing meeting, which will come a week ahead of the Fe's decision on interest rates. A rate rise – or just the antici­pation of such a move – could undermine China's fragile ­economic recovery, undo its yuan exchange-rate stability and revive a worrying trend of capital outflow from the worl's second-largest economy.China was eager to know beforehand whether the Fed was on the move, and was trying to get the ­message across that a rate rise in July was preferable to one in June, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources. The ­People's Bank of China quickly denied the report.“Well, if China asks Yellen when the Fed will raise rates, ­Yellen possibly will say, 'I don't know, either',” Li Liuyang, a Shanghai-based chief financial market analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (China), said. “But it's possible that both sides can talk about each other's decision-making processes and concerns.” Hawkish comments from Fed officials in recent days have ­already had an effect on the yuan – pulling it down more than 1 per cent against the US dollar this month. Communication and even ­coordination between the worl's two largest economies are particularly needed at a time when the global economy is plagued by weak demand, according to He Maochun, an international ­relations professor at Tsinghua University. “Despite all the China-bashing talk during the US presidential election, China still sees the need to enhance policy coordination with the US,” He said. Changes to the yuan exchange rate, under tight control of the central bank, can send ripples across the world economy, as happened in August last year, when China suddenly devalued the currency by 2 per cent, and early this year, when Beijing kept muted its monetary intentions. “The situation is much better now as the central bank can use the currency basket to explain modest yuan depreciations against the dollar,” Ding Shuang, chief China economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, said. China could handle a rate ­increase in June or July – the real risk was a change in market ­expectations, Ding said. “If the market believes again that the Fed will raise rates once a quarter or if the yuan weakens more than 5 per cent against the dollar in a year period, then the situation will be different.” Going into the summer, it's uncertain if slowdown pressure on the Chinese economy will ­intensify, given recent comments in state media attributed to a mysterious “authoritative” figure that were critical of the credit-fuelled rebound in the first quarter. Since the economy got off to a turbulent start this year, Chinese officials have used high-profile forums to soothe outside concerns about China's economic and yuan exchange rate prospects. The move helped the fragile economic recovery, and an easing of capital outflows. Foreign exchange reserves increased in both March and April. But the risks of a reverse are never far away. Capital flight remained an issue, Alan Wheatley, an associate fellow of international economics at the British think tank Chatham House, said. “It's unlikely there will be capital flight on the same scale as we saw last winter if the renminbi does decline,” Wheatley said. “But it's obviously a risk – as is the possibility that global markets might panic at the thought that China's economic problems are out of control.” The psychological impact from a quarter of a ­percentage point increase in US dollar borrowing costs would be much greater than the actual ­impact on China's economy, Stephen Li Jen, a managing partner with SLJ Macro Partners, a London-based fund and research firm, said. “It is very difficult to make the Fed pre-commit to not raising rates, in order to preserve the de facto peg [between the yuan and the dollar],” he said. “While ­Yellen's behaviour and rhetoric have been consistent with there being an implicit understanding between the Fed and the PBOC, it is a promise the Fed cannot keep.” ^ top ^



President Ts.Elbegdorj receives Chairman of National Assembly of Korea (Montsame)
In the scope of an official visit to the Republic of Korea, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj met Friday Chung Ui-hwa, the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea, the website published. President Elbegdorj said that he is happy to meet with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and highlighted that the official talks with President Park Geun-hye was successful and expressed his belief that his visit will contribute to the development of bilateral relations between the two countries. Elbegdorj emphasized that the inter-parliamentary relations, especially, the mutual exchange of high-level visits of the Speakers of Parliaments of the both countries have been played important role in the bilateral relationship. He said that he is giving high importance to the cooperation between Members of Parliaments, Parliamentary Friendship Groups, Offices of Parliaments, Standing Committees and mutual exchange of high-level visit in the development of inter-parliamentary relations. The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Chung Ui-hwa said: “Mongolia and the Republic of Korea share many similarities in traditions and culture. I think we are of the same origin. I believe that the bilateral relations and partnership between our two countries will further expand”. ^ top ^

Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren to visit Japan (Montsame)
Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Purevsuren will pay a working visit to Japan on May 30-31 to take part in the Future of Asia conference and discuss issues of the Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). It was informed during the “Media Hour” weekly meeting held Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Besides his forthcoming visit, the Foreign Minister reported about results of the official visit of the President Ts.Elbegdorj paid to the Republic of Korea and a decision of the International IDEA to found a regional training center for electoral observers in Mongolia. Information was sounded regarding the participation of the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry D.Gankhuyag in the 72nd session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific held May 17-18 in Bangkok city as well as the Mongolia-Thailand consultative meeting of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. L.Purevsuren briefed about the visit of Russian journalists continued until May 21 in frames of the program on promoting Mongolia abroad and an international workshop themed “State role and participation in mining mega-projects” which took place on May 15 in Ulaanbaatar. ^ top ^

Cabinet meeting in brief (Montsame)
Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren presented at the cabinet meeting on Monday results of the 14th meeting of the Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission for trade, economy, science and technological cooperation which was held on May 5-6 in Ulaanbaatar.
- The cabinet decided to submit a bill on auto-road to the State Great Khural.
- The cabinet backed a concept of the law on green zones of urban areas, and obliged Z.Bayanselenge, the Minister of Construction and Urban Development; N.Battsereg, the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism; and D.Dorligjav, the Minister of Justice, to approve the concept and present the bill at the cabinet.
- Orders were given to authorities of the government institutions of all levels to adopt general procedure of filing official documents online and to ensure preparations related to human resources, software, technical and other organizational works.
- The cabinet resolved to issue a governmental resolution on joining the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT PGRFA).
- The cabinet backed a draft concept of the law on protecting pasture lands, and obliged the related Ministers to approve the concept and to formulate the bill. The cabinet also reviewed a draft contract on establishment of the organization of international sustainable tourism and poverty reduction. This matter will be consulted with the relevant Standing committee of parliament.
- The Minister of Labor G.Bayarsaikhan presented to the cabinet members an implementation course for the “Employed and paid Mongolian” national program.  ^ top ^


Mrs. Lara Nadine Fritschi
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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