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
  1-5.10.2018, No. 736  
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Foreign Policy

US Vice-President Mike Pence increases jabs at China, says it wants to sabotage Donald Trump in elections (SCMP)
US Vice-President Mike Pence accused Beijing of using every tool at its disposal to undermine the US political system and warned American companies, including tech giant Alphabet, which owns Google, to disengage from China until the country stops actions aimed at undermining the US's "most cherished ideals". In a wide-ranging speech delivered on Thursday at the Washington-based Hudson Institute, Pence renewed claims by US President Donald Trump that China was seeking to interfere in the upcoming US midterm elections. "As President Trump said just last week, we have found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 elections," he said. "Our intelligence community says that China is targeting US state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy." "What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country," he added. "As we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States," Pence said. He used as an example of this interference a four-page advertisement that the state-owned China Daily newspaper placed in the Des Moines Register, criticising Trump's trade policies. Pence also used the speech to ramp up criticism of Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea; the tightening of religious freedoms for the country's Muslims, Christians and Buddhists; and practices such as forced technology transfer that have fuelled the spiralling trade war initiated by the US. "For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for human rights," said Pence, who began his speech recounting a list of positive historical milestones in the US-China relationship. "But in recent years, it has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression." The speech was a "a declaration of a comprehensively adversarial relationship with China", said Robert Daly, Director of the Kissinger Institute on the United States and China at the Wilson Centre. "I know of no historical precedent for declaring a strategic disposition in quite this way," said Daly, adding that Pence's remarks had "immediate and potentially major consequences for every sphere of US-China interaction: corporate, academic, strategic." Hours after Pence delivered his speech, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement published to the ministry's website that China "resolutely rejected" Pence's accusations of Chinese interference in US elections, calling them "groundless speculation". "No-one can stop the Chinese people as they walk unwaveringly along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, on their way to even greater achievements," Hua said. She also rejected Pence's claim that the US had "rebuilt China" over the last 25 years through its large trade deficit, stating that China's development "was not at all thanks to the charity and gifts of others". "We are committed to working hard alongside the US to accomplish win-win cooperation that is non-confrontational and mutually respectful," Hua said. "We encourage the US to correct its mistakes, cease its groundless criticism and slander of China, and cease damaging China's interests and US-China relations." The vice-president's remarks came almost three months into his administration's trade war with Beijing, opening up the rift further on more fronts. Pence singled out Alphabet's Google division for its controversial re-entry into the Chinese market with a search engine specially designed for the country, calling into question the pursuit of profits by US companies in the world's second-largest economy. Code-named "Dragonfly", the modified search app will blacklist sites on human rights, democracy, religion and other issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government and is now awaiting Beijing's approval, according to news site The Intercept. "More business leaders … are thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression, but more must follow suit," the US vice-president said. "For example, Google should immediately end development of the Dragonfly app that will strengthen the Communist Party's censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers." The issue of Chinese buyers importing US technology to use it in surveillance and other security applications has come under further scrutiny recently, amid increasing attention on the Chinese government's crackdown on Muslims living in the far west region of Xinjiang. Between hundreds of thousands and one million Uygurs and other largely Muslim ethnic groups are reported to be detained in mass internment camps and subjected to enforced reeducation. "Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uygur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith," said Pence on Thursday, becoming the highest-ranking US official to speak out publicly on the crackdown in Xinjiang, a sign the matter is garnering more attention within the Trump administration. Sam Brownback, the administration's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said on Wednesday the crackdown on Uygurs in Xinjiang was "the most concerning religious situation in the world today". Brownback said at an event at Westminster Institute that he hoped his administration would take "aggressive action" that other countries would support. "We'll keep working and pushing for it," he said. Pence also used his speech to train the spotlight on the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Major issues in the trade dispute are the US government's complaint that China forces US firms to share proprietary technology with joint venture partners in exchange for market access, and the administration's concern about the US's trade deficit with China. Washington has imposed multiple rounds of tariffs on US$250 billion of the more than US$500 billion of all Chinese goods entering the US; Beijing has responded in kind with tariffs of its own on goods coming into China. In a statement on Twitter, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross applauded Pence for his "powerful speech" about China's aggressive trade practices, and said he was proud to be part of the Trump administration's effort "to provide a level playing field for [American workers] and businesses". Not everyone agreed that Pence's speech was constructive. Pence identified "a number of actual problems that the United States confronts in its relationship with China, but his dramatic rhetoric and some weakly supported assertions threaten to undermine his message," said Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "China putting an insert in a Midwest newspaper is not 'meddling' in the US election.... Suggesting that what Russia has done to undermine our political process pales in comparison to what China is doing demands evidence, which he does not provide." Multiple attempts to resolve the dispute through negotiations have failed, with the US side accusing Beijing of refusing to bring any substantive concessions to the table. The Chinese side has complained that a lack of clarity on Washington's stance has foiled attempts at progress. "The US position keeps changing all the time, so we don't know exactly what the US would want as priorities," China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, recently told NPR. Accusing the Trump administration of pursuing a deal that would have only two possible outcomes, where "the US will get 100 per cent and China will get zero", Cui said, "We are ready to make a deal." "We are ready to make some compromise," the ambassador said, "but it needs the goodwill from both sides." The most recent attempt to achieve compromise came in late September when the US proposed high-level talks between Vice-Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, an invitation that Beijing welcomed. The plan fell through at the eleventh hour, however, when the US slapped 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to pull out. Trump, who said on Monday that now was not the right time to talk to China, has threatened multiple times to take the unprecedented step of putting tariffs on all Chinese imports. There has been no sign that the office of the US Trade Representative is considering such action, despite Trump's unequivocal vow to make good on his threat if Beijing retaliated against his administration's most recent round of tariffs. Beijing did retaliate, with duties of its own on US$60 billion of American goods. Beyond tariffs, trade war tensions have begun to surface on multiple, non-trade fronts. Military tensions spiked recently when the US imposed unprecedented sanctions on a Chinese state military firm after it procured arms, including fighter jets, from a US-blacklisted Russian defence entity. Beijing responded by cancelling a US navy ship's requested port call to Hong Kong. And the tensions could get worse next month if the US goes through with plans to carry out a week of intensive naval drills near Chinese-claimed waters in the South China Sea as a show of force to Beijing. First reported by CNN, the plans, still under consideration, would involve aeroplanes and ships passing close to Chinese forces – a scenario certain to provoke a stiff reaction from the Chinese government. Referring to a close encounter earlier this week when a Chinese destroyer nearly collided with a US Navy ship near the China-claimed Gaven Reef, Pence said: "The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. "We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down." Pence's remarks on Thursday came a week after China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, issued a strongly-worded warning to the US. Speaking at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, State Councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi said suspicions surrounding China's global ambitions would end up hurting the US's own interests. Warning that the US-China relationship was precariously close to suffering irreparable damage because of sentiment in Washington that China was seeking global domination, Wang said it was natural that tensions would arise between two countries with such different cultures and histories. "What is important is how [those differences] are viewed, evaluated and handled," said Wang. The Wilson Centre's Daly said that substantive proposals for resolving such differences were missing from Pence's Thursday speech. "It was a good list of our grievances to date, but it was not a road map for US-China policy going forward," said Daly. "That remains to be done." ^ top ^

China calls US 'irresponsible' for suggesting Beijing cancelled security talks (SCMP)
China's foreign ministry criticised the United States for suggesting that Beijing was behind the cancellation of sensitive security talks planned for this month, underscoring the severity of trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement late on Wednesday suggestions made by a US official that China had delayed the talks "completely distorted the facts, had a hidden motive and were extremely irresponsible". A senior US official told Reuters on Sunday that China had cancelled a security meeting with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis that had been planned for October. "China is extremely dissatisfied with this. The facts are that the United States a few days ago told China it hoped to postpone the second round of the China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue," Hua said. "We request related parties stop this sort of behaviour of making something out of nothing and spreading rumours," she said. Beijing and Washington are locked in a spiralling trade war, with frictions between them threatening to move beyond trade. The meeting of the US China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, which first took place in Washington last year, was due to be held with Mattis and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. China on Tuesday said it had postponed the talks with the United States at the request of Washington. Reuters reported last week, citing sources briefed on the matter, that the key diplomatic and security meeting may not take place due to tensions in relations. ^ top ^

When Putin's Russia arms India, China and the US keep one eye open (SCMP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin will begin his two-day visit to India today, with agreements on defence, trade, and space technology on the agenda, along with discussions over the military transition in Afghanistan. But the most significant outcome of the summit is expected to be India's purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile system from Russia. In 2016, the countries signed an agreement allowing India to purchase five S-400 systems for US$5.8 billion. The deal has raised eyebrows in the United States, which has urged India not to make the purchase. America believes the S-400 could access sensitive military technology. Last July, the US Congress passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which empowers the president to impose sanctions on countries that procure defence equipment from certain companies in Russia, Iran and North Korea. Among them is the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Corporation – the Russian manufacturer of the S-400. However, a later amendment to the act allows the president to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. India argued for a waiver in July and again in September on three planks: that it would not use weapons against the US, that the absence of the S-400 would adversely affect its military abilities, and that it was significantly reducing its dependence on Russian military hardware, according to a report in The Hindu newspaper. "The S-400 missile deal is a message from India to the United States that the COMCASA and other military agreements do not mean it will abandon Russia – one of its oldest allies," said Suhasini Haidar, The Hindu's diplomatic affairs editor, referring to the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement the US and India signed last month, which allows the transfer of sensitive encrypted defence technology between them. Putin's visit to India will be watched closely not just by Washington, but probably also by Beijing. His trip comes at a time when Russia and China are strengthening ties with each other. In September, Russia conducted Vostok 18, its largest military exercise since the end of the cold war, on its eastern border. It also invited China and Mongolia to participate in the war games. In the first quarter of 2018, trade volume between India and China increased by 30 per cent. The relationship between the two countries rests on a common agenda – to reduce America's influence as a global power. The US recognises this and, to cement its position in the global arena, is boosting ties with India. "India then becomes a bit of collateral damage because one of the main planks of the Indo-Russian relationship was a mutual distrust of China," said Nandan Unnikrishnan, a distinguished fellow at The Observer Research Foundation, a New-Delhi based think tank. "There will be an impact on the Indo-Russian relationship not only because of the growing closeness between Russia and China but also because of the Indo-US relationship." In March, the US formally changed the name of its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command, with defence secretary James Mattis stressing that this was in keeping with the country's strategic focus spanning both the Pacific and Indian Oceans – "from Hollywood to Bollywood". "China isn't particularly excited at the change of nomenclature because it gives greater prominence to India," said Ashok Sajjanhar, president of the Institute of Global Studies and a former Indian diplomat. Russia too has favoured the use of the term Asia-Pacific over a moniker that Unnikrishnan calls a "young concept" and "an attempt to manage China's rise in the Indo-Pacific seas" at the geopolitical level. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statements on the Indo-Pacific region, however, seem to indicate India would not like to be seen as strategically aligned with a particular group or country. "The 10 countries of Southeast Asia connect the two great oceans in both the geographical and civilisational sense," he said at the Shangri-La Dialogue defence summit in June this year. "Inclusiveness, openness and Asean centrality and unity, therefore, lie at the heart of the new Indo-Pacific." This policy of equidistance isn't just limited to China and Russia. "In West Asia, we have good relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran," Sajjanhar added. "So in a multipolar world, we have to follow a policy of multi-alignment rather than a policy of non-alignment." Modi's meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, with Putin in Sochi, India's participation in the 2+2 dialogue with the US, and its S-400 defence systems deal with Russia are emblematic of this multipolarity. India, however, is relying on the depth of its relationship with Russia to give it the strategic space to negotiate with other world powers in the long run. Military ties between the two countries date back to the mid-1960s, when the erstwhile Soviet Union supplied MiG 21 helicopters to India, soon after the 1962 Sino-Indian war. "India is in favour of a multipolar world and does not want a hegemon. Russia is also on the same page. So if both countries can build on that, they'll be able to help each other better," added The Observer Research Foundation's Unnikrishnan. ^ top ^

Chinese premier to visit Tajikistan, Netherlands, Belgium, attend SCO meeting, ASEM summit (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Tajik city of Dushanbe, pay official visits to Tajikistan and the Netherlands, and attend the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Belgian capital Brussels during his working visit to Belgium, from Oct. 11 to 19. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the announcement on Thursday, saying the tour is being made at the invitation of Tajik Prime Minister Kohir Rasulzoda, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy asks for efforts to tackle imbalanced development (Xinhua)
A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called for international efforts to tackle imbalanced development through multilateralism and inclusive social development. "Development is vital in today's world. We must, on the one hand, solve the problem of under-development and the problem of imbalanced development on the other," Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), told the Third Committee of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. All countries should be committed to the goal of cooperation for win-win results, and based on the rules and order, jointly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, and promote economic globalization toward openness, inclusiveness, shared benefits and balanced development, said Wu. "We should respect the development path chosen by each country and the right of all countries to pursue a better life and development space," he said. The Chinese envoy also urged the international community to enhance inclusive social development. All countries should pursue people-centered development by building a universal and sustainable social security system, promoting full employment and decent work to foster socially inclusive development, he said. Public financial input should be increased to protect the legitimate rights and interests of vulnerable groups to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, so that these groups can share in the development results, he said. Wu also called for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced way. Countries should integrate the 2030 Agenda into their national development strategies taking their individual conditions into consideration, so that together they can embark on the path toward an innovative, coordinated, green and open development that benefits all, he said. ^ top ^

The Catholic Church in China: a complex history of controversies, conflicts and unwavering conviction (SCMP)
As part of last month's landmark deal between China and the Vatican, Pope Francis admitted Communist Party-appointed bishops, hither­to excommunicated, into the papal fold while Beijing agreed to recognise some of the underground bishops in China who had been ordained by the Vatican. With an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide, tensions with some sovereign states are inevitable. Historically, the papacy's political entanglements with European monarchies has been well documented, but in Asia there was an additional cultural dimension. Catholicism in China was dogged by the Chinese Rites controversy for almost 400 years before it was finally resolved in the early 20th century. At the centre of the debate was the compatibility of traditional Chinese practices with Christian doctrine. As with most disputes, the actual issues were coloured by politics, in particular between rival factions within the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits, for example, saw no problem with certain Chinese rituals, which they believed were secular, while the Dominicans and Franciscans thought otherwise. While the main issue was the Chinese tradition of ancestor worship, where descendants make ritual offerings to the dead and sometimes request their succour for blessings both spiritual and material, there were other points of debate. These included Christian participation in the seasonal Confucian rites, inscribing the names of dead Christians on spiritual tablets that were placed in clan temples, and even the proper Chinese nomenclature for the Christian god (Catholics use tianzhu, or "lord of heaven", while most Protestants use shangdi, an ancient Chinese reference to the supreme deity in the pantheon of Chinese gods, or simply shen, which means "god"). When Jesuit missionaries first became active in China, in the 17th century, the court was impressed by their scientific and technical know-how and allowed them to conduct their evangelist activities. In a 1692 edict, Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty (1654-1722) wrote: "The Europeans are very quiet … let no one henceforth offer them any opposition." On the other side of the world, however, Rome decided to condemn the Chinese rites and traditions in the early 18th century, deeming them incompatible with Christian teachings and forbidding Chinese Catholics to take part in them. The wording of the papal decree angered Emperor Kangxi so much that in 1721, he banned Christian missions in China. In his announcement, he wrote: "Reading this proclamation, I have concluded that the Westerners are petty indeed. It is impossible to reason with them because they do not understand larger issues as we understand them in China. There is not a single Westerner versed in Chinese works, and their remarks are often incredible and ridiculous. To judge from this proclamation, their religion is no different from other small, bigoted sects of Buddhism or Taoism. I have never seen a document which contains so much nonsense. From now on, Westerners should not be allowed to preach in China, to avoid further trouble." Anti-Christian policies were continued, in varying levels of intensity, by successive emperors. It was only in 1939 that the church, compelled perhaps by changing times, relaxed the proscription of Chinese rites, deeming them cultural and secular, rather than religious or superstitious, and thus permissible for Chinese Catholics. After the founding of the People's Republic, in 1949, relations between China and the Holy See went south. Two years later, Beijing and the Vatican severed diplomatic ties. Last month's agreement may well be the beginning of a breakthrough. ^ top ^

Analysts in Rome call for EU unified response to Belt and Road Initiative (Xinhua)
The opportunities and challenges of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could be more easily addressed if the European Union (EU) forges a common position on the development plan, experts highlighted here on Monday in a seminar. "It is an initiative nobody can ignore, and it is interesting for any single country beyond the possible historical and geographical links to the ancient Silk Road," former Italian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said. He urged the participants to "discuss the initiative's opportunities, advantages and conditions, without any ideological hostility," saying that the BRI represents "the largest investment plan and the largest investment opportunity now in the world." "We need common investments and fair and free trade. This is our commitment, and I am convinced such commitment would be made easier by a common EU attitude to the BRI," he added. Gathering at Rome-based Institute of International Affairs for the seminar "China's Belt and Road Initiative, 500 days after the 2017 Beijing summit," Chinese officials and analysts from Italy, France, Britian, Greece and Poland discussed the initiative's current state and prospects. In May 2017, Beijing hosted the first-ever Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by state and government leaders from nearly 30 countries. "That Forum produced 279 projects at the time. Now, some 265 of those projects have entered the operational stage, with an implementation of over 96 percent," Chinese Ambassador to Italy Li Ruiyu said in his opening remarks. Reporting on his country's experience with the BRI, Greek former Finance Minister and economist Giorgos Papakonstantinou agreed that a common EU approach would help its member states to address more comprehensively both opportunities and concerns related to the initiative. "China came to Greece when nobody else would," Papakonstantinou stressed, referring to the large flow of Chinese investments to the country at the height of Greece's economic crisis. The official mentioned the Piraeus Port, Greece's largest harbor, as one major example of these investments and a potential component of the BRI. A part of the Piraeus port has in fact been under the management of Chinese shipping company China COSCO Shipping since 2009, thanks to a deal for a 35-year concession signed with Greek authorities. Finally, the need for EU countries to develop a common framework to approach the Chinese initiative was highlighted by Francoise Nicolas, senior research fellow and director of the Center for Asian Studies with the French Institute of International Relations. "The Belt and Road Initiative is a comprehensive project, and requires a comprehensive response," Nicolas said.  ^ top ^

China's Red Cross offers $200,000 for disaster relief (Global Times)
China's Red Cross Society has decided to offer Indonesia $200,000 emergency relief in cash, the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta said Sunday, after the country was hit by an earthquake and tsunami which killed at least 832. As of Sunday, there were no report of Chinese nationals injured or killed, the embassy noted. The Indonesian government on Monday called for international help to deal with the aftermath of the disasters. President Joko Widodo "authorized us to accept international help for urgent disaster-response and relief," said Tom Lembong, chairman of Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board, on his Twitter account on Monday. The 7.5-magnitude quake hit Indonesia on Friday, followed by waves of tsunami hitting Indonesian's Sulawesi island. Indonesia's disaster agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday the death toll is expected to rise. Many victims are believed buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Indonesia has been hit by a string of quakes, including the devastating 9.1-magnitude quake in 2004 that struck off the Sulawesi coast. The December 2004 quake triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 in the region.  ^ top ^

Ghanian leader denies China 'recolonizing' Africa (Global Times)
Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the situation where Ghana, like many countries in Africa, is forging relations with China is "not a uniquely Ghanaian or African phenomenon." In a speech at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, Akufo-Addo noted that "rich and well-established countries have been paying regular visits to China, and seeking to open new economic ties and improve upon existing ones." With a lot of anxiety being expressed about the possibility of a recolonization of the African continent by a new power, Akufo-Addo admonished all to learn from history. "It was at the turn of the 20th century that China's first railways were built by Western companies, financed by Western loans to a nearly bankrupt Qing Dynasty, and it was under those circumstances that a certain strategic port called Hong Kong was leased for 99 years, and the rest as the saying goes, is history," the president said. He continued, "Today, the former victim of Western railways imperialism is lending billions to countries throughout Asia, Africa and Europe to construct not only railroads, but also highways, ports, power plants and other infrastructure, and many businesses." The historical echoes, Akufo-Addo noted, are worrisome, but was confident that "we must and can learn from history." While acknowledging that Ghana is getting her population educated and trained, the president noted that, at the same time, "We must address our infrastructure deficit." The traditional methods of tackling these problems, he noted, will not provide the answer, as Ghana is looking for new ways to resolve them. "We in Ghana must build roads, bridges, railways, ports, schools, hospitals, and must create jobs to keep our young people engaged. It is obvious to us that the mode of development trajectory we had been on for many decades is not working. We are trying a different one, and we would appreciate the support and goodwill of the world, especially in helping to stem the huge flow of illicit funds from the continent," he noted. Akufo-Addo stressed that it was in everybody's interest that countries counted among the poor of the world make a rapid transformation from poverty to prosperity. "We are determined in Ghana, and, increasingly, in more parts of Africa, to chart our own paths to prosperity, and pay our own way in the world. We are no longer interested in being a burden on others." "We will shoulder our own responsibilities and build societies and nations that will be attractive to our youth. We have the necessary sense of enterprise, creativity, innovation and hard work to engineer this transition. Hence, our vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, indeed, of an Africa Beyond Aid," he said. ^ top ^

Russia seeks new industrial cooperation with China: minister (Xinhua)
Russia wants to work with China to seek new areas of industrial cooperation as protectionism in the West is on the rise, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said. "China continues to be Russia's key strategic partner in the region. In my opinion, our relations are growing at a good pace, which cannot but make one happy," he told Xinhua in a recent interview. According to Russian data, Russia-China trade grew steadily this year, reaching nearly 60 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months, up almost 30 percent from the same period last year. "Russia's trade with China this year and last year demonstrates the best performance in comparison with that between China and its other major trading partners, including the European Union, the United States, ASEAN, Japan and South Korea," he said. The dynamics of Russia-China trade is also higher than the growth rate of China's foreign trade, the minister said. "According to our estimates, there are all prerequisites for reaching 100 billion U.S. dollars in bilateral trade (this year). The regions of our countries can seriously contribute to attaining this target," Manturov said. He mentioned Russia's Far East, where 40 projects with a total investment of over 3 billion U.S. dollars are already being implemented with the participation of Chinese investors. Russia-China industrial cooperation extends to aircraft building, shipbuilding, transport engineering, radio electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, metallurgy and others. In the aviation industry, one of the main areas of cooperation is the joint program to create a wide-body long-haul aircraft, as well as the development of a civilian heavy helicopter, he said. Manturov suggested expanding ties between Russian and Chinese enterprises in the aluminum sphere, including setting up joint ventures to manufacture cable products. According to Manturov, the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund created in June 2012 has so far invested over 1.1 billion dollars in more than 25 projects. "Only the consolidated position of our countries against the rapid growth in protectionist sentiments will help minimize economic risks," Manturov said. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China's film industry grinds to a halt because of Fan Bingbing tax scandal (SCMP)
The scandal over Fan Bingbing's tax affairs coupled with the Communist Party's tighter controls on China's entertainment industry will have a significant impact on the number of locally produced films and television shows in the next one or two years, insiders said. Tenky Tin Kai-man, the head of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, said the slowdown started about three months ago soon after Fan first disappeared from public view. "Most of the production work on both movies and television series was put on hold," he said. The tax-dodging superstar "reappeared" on Wednesday with a grovelling apology and a bill for 884 million yuan (US$129 million) covering fines and unpaid dues. More importantly for the industry, China's State Taxation Administration said that in the wake of the scandal it was rolling out a campaign to tighten its tax policies and collection methods within the television and film business. "In the face of the uncertainty, everybody is choosing to wait and see, rather than start shooting," Tin said, adding that it was inevitable there would be a severe supply shortage in the months and possibly years ahead. The slump in production activity had also had a major impact on Hong Kong's filmmakers, large numbers of whom work on the mainland, Tin said. Alfred Cheung Kin-ting, a veteran film director based in Hong Kong, said he expected there to be two years of "cold winters" in China's film and television industry as investors avoided uncertainty and put their productions on hold. But he said he was not surprised by the recent revelations about Fan, as tax evasion was commonplace in the industry. "Before the Fan incident, most production houses on the mainland would use one way or another to dodge tax payments, like offering lump sums off the books to their actors," he said. But since then, neither producers nor stars had gone near such deals, he said. Fan was found guilty of using split, or "yin-yang" contracts to disguise her true earnings from the tax authorities. Tin said the spurious agreements had been ubiquitous, but now nobody was sure how the mainland authorities would deal with them. In the meantime, the tax administration has set a December 31 deadline for companies and individuals in the entertainment industry to voluntarily declare and pay any previously evaded taxes. Those that come clean will not face administrative punishment or fines, it said. Aside from the tax scandal, the entertainment industry has been facing growing pressure as a result of the Communist Party's efforts to tighten its ideological controls. Under President Xi Jinping's restructuring and fusion of party and state organs in March, the government's film censor was merged into the party's Central Publicity Department. While Xi laid out the focus and direction of propaganda works at a summer work conference, both Tin and Cheung said many in the industry had no idea how the new regulatory guidelines would affect film and television production. It was another factor likely to deter investors from committing to new productions, they said. Last month, the newly restructured State Radio and Television Administration issued a draft regulation for public consultation, which set out more restrictions on the number of overseas producers, leading actors and hosts – including those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – that can be used in mainland television and online video programmes. Before the events of recent months, China's film business had been booming. Box office takings last year rose more than 13 per cent from 2016 to 55.9 billion yuan, with domestic productions accounting for more than 53 per cent of the total, according to the now defunct State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. But now the market is facing a slowdown, and Hong Kong filmmakers will among those who feel the chill. According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the city's film industry is heavily reliant on overseas revenue, especially from China's mainland. The two sides have a trade pact which means films co-produced by Hong Kong and mainland companies do not count as imports, on which Beijing imposes a strict quota. According to the latest figures available from the council, the number of co-production permits issued by mainland authorities in 2016 rose 11 per cent from the previous year to 89. Of the 60 movies China co-produced with overseas partners last year, most involved Hong Kong, including Andrew Lau Wai-keung's The Founding of an Army, Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain and Dante Lam Chiu-yin's Operation Mekong. And according to the HKTDC, mainland-Hong Kong co-productions are "always" in the box office top 10. Despite the expected downturn, a source familiar with the Hong Kong and mainland film industries said that a number of major collaborations were still in the pipeline for release early next year. "One of them scheduled for the Chinese Lunar New Year is directed by Wong Cho-lam, with a cast that includes Eric Tsang Chi-wai and Teresa Mo Shun-kwan," the person said. Director Cheung sad that despite the fallout from the tax scandal involving Fan, whom he directed in Contract Lover in 2007, the incident might provide a catalyst to introduce a curb on stars' salaries, which had become a huge drain on production budgets. "Over the years, the payments to superstars have become so high that the quality of the movie is compromised as the rest of the filmmakers, such as scriptwriters and producers, are all underpaid." Director Teddy Chan Tak-sum said the incident might also help to drive out speculative short-term investors who had flooded the market in recent years. He said he hoped filmmakers would now be freer to focus on producing quality films. ^ top ^

New rule to allow public security officers to gather threatening info to cyber security (Global Times)
Public security officers in China who carry out cyber security inspections will be authorized to check facilities, examine technologies and require internet service providers and users to explain information that they consider a threat to cyber security, according to a regulation to be implemented in November. The regulation, which outlines the public security department's duties and responsibilities in cyber security inspections, will take effect in November, the Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday. The officers will also be allowed to check and make copies of information considered relevant to their inspections, and the information they access cannot be used for other purposes other than safeguarding China's cyber security, the regulation says. Public security officers should keep personal information, trade secrets and national secrets they access during the inspection confidential, and are banned from leaking, selling or illegally offering the information to others, the regulation says. The inspection requires at least two public security officers and should be carried out by local cyber security officers from public security departments, it says. ^ top ^

Tasks set out for advancing law-based governance in China (Xinhua)
A total of 98 tasks in advancing law-based governance in China have been assigned to respective units, according to a statement made public recently. The statement came after a meeting on facilitating the tasks set by the Commission for Law-based Governance of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. In legislative affairs, tasks include promoting legislation with a holistic approach to national security, protection of intellectual property rights and key reform areas. In law enforcement, improvements are expected in key sectors including food and drug, work safety, environment protection and public security. The tasks also include reforming civil litigation systems and building a public legal service system. Each task has been allocated to a responsible unit and given specific requirements on its monthly work plan and time table, according to the statement. The tasks were also assigned to the office of the commission and four coordination teams, which will be responsible for follow-up inspections and supervision of respective areas.  ^ top ^

China's national observatory renews blue alert for Typhoon Kong-rey (Xinhua)
China's national observatory on Thursday morning renewed a blue alert for Typhoon Kong-rey, which is expected to unleash gales in parts of southeastern regions of China. The eye of Kong-rey, this year's 25th typhoon, was located in the Pacific Ocean about 380 km south of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, as of 5 am Thursday, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said. It will continue to move northwest at a speed of 20 km per hour and likely dwindle as it approaches the East China Sea, the NMC said. Regions including Fujian, Zhejiang and Taiwan will be hit by gales on Thursday and Friday under the influence of Kong-rey and cold air. China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue. ^ top ^

China's slick new game show aims to get millennials studying Xi Jinping (SCMP)
When young Chinese workers and students returned home on the eve of the week-long National Day holiday, an unlikely prime-time entertainment was waiting for them on one of their favourite television channels: a quiz show dedicated to the political doctrine of President Xi Jinping. The show, titled Studying Xi in the New Era, is part of the ruling Communist Party's latest – and sometimes clunky – effort to shape the minds of the country's millennials, who have grown up with more influence from foreign pop culture than orthodox socialist teachings. The five-episode show has, since Sunday, taken the evening prime-time slot on Hunan TV, the country's second most watched channel, which is wildly popular among the younger generation for its entertainment shows and idol dramas. In what could have been a scene out of a science-fiction animation, its first episode opened with a sleek spaceship named Studying Xi gliding past the moon and thrusting into outer space. From its command room, a beaming host in futuristic-style dress welcomed a live audience of 100 applauding young 20-somethings, drawn from the country's companies, universities, rural villages, urban communities, the government, the military and the online sphere. "General Secretary Xi Jinping has called for the whole party to launch a great study campaign," said the host, referring to Xi's title at the helm of the party. The show, she claimed, was the country's first such quiz programme to promote the study of Xi Jinping Thought – and was aired just before the one-year anniversary of the party's 19th congress. The key meeting last October kick-started Xi's second term in power and enshrined his eponymous theory in the party's constitution – a symbolic laurel that no previous leader was able to achieve while in office other than the late Chairman Mao Zedong. Five months later, the theory was added to the state constitution – an amendment that also threw out the presidential term limits which would have required Xi to step down as president in 2023. In the meantime, a wave of campaigns to study Xi's ideology has been rolled out across the country, with party members frequently summoned to attend group study sessions and exchange their reflections. In schools and universities, where the party under Xi has significantly tightened its grip on ideology, the thought is required to "go into textbooks, into classes, and into the minds of students". At least a dozen universities across China have set up research institutes to study and teach Xi's thinking. But to the party leadership, this is not enough. At a high-level conference on propaganda and ideology work in August, Xi demanded party officials explore creative ways to not only promote, but also to let the general public truly understand, his ideology so that it could "fly into the homes of ordinary families." Studying Xi in the New Era appears to be an answer to that call. In the first round of the quiz, contestants were required to answer questions ranging from basic facts about Marxism and party theories to things Xi has done and said. This was followed by a second round featuring sound bites from Xi's speeches over the years. Finally, the candidates were asked to give a 100-second speech on their understanding of Xi's thought. The dry and dense content was accompanied by flashing 3D visual effects created by the backdrop of a large LED screen, and cheerful music. All the questions were asked by a floating robot numbered "2050" which said it had travelled in time from a "rejuvenated China" of the future. Apart from all the theories and ideologies, Studying Xi in the New Era spent much time burnishing Xi's personal image – an element of the propaganda drive which has been so ubiquitous that some critics have warned against the building up of a personality cult around Xi. A section of the first episode, for instance, centred on Xi's journey from his youth in an impoverished village during the Cultural Revolution to his time in the more prosperous coastal provinces. "General Secretary Xi said he went from Beijing to Liangjiahe in northern Shaanxi to become a farmer when he was barely 16. During those days, the young Xi was so hungry for knowledge that he would carry a book with him when herding the sheep on the hills," read the host off a script. "He was even willing to walk 30 Chinese miles [15 kilometres] of mountain roads just to borrow a book," she continued, before asking the robot to reveal the question: which was the book that Xi borrowed? It did not take the contestant – a student from a Hunan university – a second to press the button and give the correct answer: Faust, the tragic play by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The quiz show is the second season of Hunan TV's ideological education programme, Socialism is Kind of Trendy. Season one, a talk show, was aired in October last year, a week before the party congress. Another slickly produced talk show, Marx Got It Right, aired on state broadcaster CCTV in May this year, ahead of the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth. The party has doubled down on propaganda efforts due to concerns about a loss of faith and morale among the young. It hopes to rally the apathetic, indifferent and motivation-lacking millennials around Xi's call for a "China dream" of national rejuvenation. At the same time, authorities have cracked down hard on what they perceive as "vulgar" content that runs counter to the orthodox socialist values they are struggling to instil in the younger generation, while promoting "positive energy" on the online sphere. ^ top ^

Commentary: At 69, PRC marches steadily towards brighter future (Xinhua)
Festive mood is in the air as the Chinese people celebrate the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). On Monday, a huge crowd of people -- numbering over 145,000 -- turned up at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing to watch the raising of the national flag at daybreak. It was 69 years ago when the founding of the PRC sent the message that "the Chinese people have stood up." Today, the nation has grown rich -- thanks to the reform and opening up which began four decades ago -- and is on the track to becoming strong under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The world is changing, with seemingly more uncertainties and challenges. But China is determined to keep striding ahead. And it is capable of doing so. The Chinese economy, the second largest in the world, is stable with good growth momentum. In 2017, China's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.9 percent to 82.7 trillion yuan (12.8 trillion U.S. dollars), around 15 percent of the world total. In the first eight months this year, profits of major Chinese industrial firms grew 16.2 percent, manufacturing investment went up 3 percentage points and the consumer market kept expanding. New growth drivers and business models have emerged. Farmers have good harvests and employees receive bigger paychecks. According to an income tax overhaul going into effect in October, people will see the minimum threshold for personal income tax exemption raised from 3,500 yuan (about 513 U.S. dollars) to 5,000 yuan per month. Retirees can be assured that their pension payments will be on time and in full, partly thanks to a reform to balance pension distribution across different regions. Parents can breathe a sigh of relief as authorities have moved to regulate extracurricular classes that put too much stress on children. Key infrastructure projects are on schedule. The country's massive high-speed rail network was extended to Hong Kong in September, cutting land travel between Hong Kong and Beijing to around nine hours. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest bridge-and-tunnel sea crossing in the world, is ready to open. Planes coming to Beijing's crowded skies will be able to land at a new international airport next year. The airport, located in Beijing's southern suburbs, is set to become the Chinese capital's next architectural icon. Of course, tough challenges lie ahead. These include issues of environmental protection, unbalanced development and poverty alleviation, to name just a few. China will take on these challenges with deeper and broader reforms and is confident of surmounting them one after another. Between 1978 and 2014, over 700 million people in China, with a population of 1.3 billion, were lifted out of poverty, known as "Poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics." From 2012 to 2017, China lifted nearly 70 million rural people out of poverty, and the poverty rate fell from 10.2 percent to 3.1 percent. The nation is r than ever to reaching national rejuvenation -- the Chinese Dream. This can be achieved as China marches on under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core. Three landmark years are in sight. In 2019, the PRC will celebrate its 70th anniversary. In 2020, a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be established. In 2021, the CPC will celebrate its centenary. To translate the blueprint into a reality, the Chinese people have to avoid any distraction, take one step at a time and approach their work with a firm footing. ^ top ^

'Overwhelming victory' seen in fight against corruption (China Daily)
China's fight against corruption has won an "overwhelming victory", and multiple reforms are helping to control and prevent graft starting from the source, according to a blue book released on Friday. The latest version of Blue Book of Combating Corruption and Upholding Integrity, compiled by the China Anti-Corruption Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, concluded that while corruption has been decreasing and effectively curbed across the country, the crackdown's momentum and strength have remained unchanged. China's anti-graft bodies investigated 302,000 corruption-related cases and punished 240,000 people in the first half of this year. The total number of cases probed is expected to surpass that of 2017-527,000-and achieve growth for the sixth year in a row, the book said. "The overall trend of the anti-corruption campaign is getting better and better," said Jiang Laiyong, the book's executive editor. "Our survey showed that 80 percent of urban and rural residents believed corruption has been reduced over the past year." The book pointed out that the number of officials who were investigated for suspected graft has decreased since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October. Sixteen officials directly under the management of the CPC Central Committee's organization department, most at or above ministerial level, were investigated between November and August, compared with an average of 88 such people each year between the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012 and October last year, according to the book. It also said the deepening reforms have helped control and prevent corruption and other unhealthy trends at the source, and official power has been more constrained this year. "Reforms of financial management, the audit system and the oversight system have been carried out steadily. We've seen a more transparent budget system, and the number of inspections and efficiency of anti-corruption work have also increased," said Jiang, who is also the secretary-general of the research center. He said the anti-corruption efforts have also been a feature in protecting people's interests and alleviating poverty, which has won people's favor. Apart from detailing the progress of China's anti-corruption campaign, the book also called for making the building of an honest and upright country a national strategy, and made such recommendations as incorporating corruption crimes into the country's credit system. Wang Jingqing, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the book objectively documents the development of Party discipline. "Purity is the essential attribute of the Party, and a clean government is the philosophy and the goal of the Party's governance of the country," he said. "We must actively take steps to make new achievements in building up an honest and upright China." ^ top ^

China's top political advisor stresses ethnic solidarity (Xinhua)
China's top political advisor Wang Yang Friday met with a delegation from ethnic minority groups in Beijing, urging them to contribute to boosting ethnic unity and prosperity. Wang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), applauded the tradition of ethnic minority delegations visiting some areas of the motherland. The visits allow people from ethnic minority groups to better understand the development and reform of the country, said Wang, adding that the visits also help enhance their connection with the country, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and socialism with Chinese characteristics. Wang called on members of the delegation to continue supporting the CPC, safeguarding ethnic unity and prosperity, promoting poverty reduction and development of ethnic regions and contributing to reform and opening up. The delegation was made up of 214 outstanding members of ethnic minority groups from across the country who have been recognized for their contributions to national solidarity. They visited Sichuan, Shaanxi and Hebei before arriving in Beijing. ^ top ^



More sections of Forbidden City's wall opened to public (Xinhua)
More sections of the wall surrounding the Forbidden City have been opened during the week-long National Day holiday, allowing more of the public to visit, the Beijing Daily reported Thursday. The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City has opened the southern, eastern and northern sections of the wall, most of which was previously closed to the public, including the section from the Wumen Gate (Meridian Gate) at the southern end to the southwest corner tower. Visitors can walk on the wall and overlook three-quarters of the palace. Built in the 1400s, the Forbidden City's wall is the largest and best preserved royal palace wall in China, with a length of 3,437.6 meters. It is 9.3 meters high and 8.55 metes wide at the base, tapering to 6.63 meters at the top. The wall has a gate on each side. At the four corners of the wall sit towers, which are the most visible parts of the palace to people outside. Their elaborate roof structure and shadows in the water surrounding the palace always draw crowds to photograph the spectacular scenery. According to Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum, the move was mainly to avoid overcrowding and offer visitors more choices to see the cultural relics. In recent years, the Palace Museum has taken many measures to control the number of visitors, while unveiling more areas to the public. In 2015, to celebrate its 90th anniversary, the museum made 65 percent of the complex, including a small section of the wall, accessible to the public. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, tickets to the museum are sold out through Friday. ^ top ^



Wild horses returned to nature (China Daily)
Fifteen Przewalski's horses, the world's only surviving subspecies of wild horse, were released into a nature reserve in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Sept 27, as part of efforts to protect the rare subspecies from extinction. The group includes six stallions and nine mares, and for the first time researchers released five horses over 20 years old, equivalent to a person aged 70 to 80, according to Zhang Hefan, chief engineer of the Wild Horse Breeding Center based in Xinjiang. "In the past, we selected only among the young and strong horses, usually between 0 and 13 years old, because old animals were more likely to die in the wild," she said. But the center's researchers believed that it is time to try again, since a stable natural population has formed in the wild thanks to years of preservation efforts. "We have 221 horses in the wild now, accounting for half the population of the center. We believe the environment has become more supportive to help the old ones survive," she said. Protection of Przewalski's horses dates back to the 1980s. The wild horse is believed to be even rarer than the giant panda, since its current population worldwide is estimated at about 2,000. Native to China, the animal was on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature from the 1960s to 1996. Then it was reassessed as critically endangered due to successful reintroductions. China imported 18 wild horses in 1985 from a number of countries and built a wild horse breeding center for their preservation. The center now has 411 wild horses. Since 2001, the center has started to release wild horses into the Kalamaili Nature Reserve in Xinjiang, which spans more than 1.7 million hectares. The horses are first put into a 200-hectare enclosure so they can adapt before beginning to live in the wilderness. "Living in natural habitats will help enlarge the gene pool and improve its ability to survive," Zhang said. At first, the animals could not survive very well. "In the captive-breeding base, we help them cool down in summer by watering them on the road and feeding them watermelons, and in winter we provide them with delicate food. However, in the wild, the climate is usually harsh. It can reach as high as 40C in summer and in winter it is hard for them to hunt for food. Wolves are also a big threat," she said. But as their numbers in the wild have risen and adaptability improved, their survival rate during the last three years has increased, she said, adding that among the 37 foals born this year, 20 were born in the wild. "Though these captive-breeding horses have never lived in the wild, they showed their rebellious and wild side when we tried to get them into the cargo. After all, they bear the original genes of ancient horses and the wild should be the only and final habitat for them," she said. Sun Quanhui, scientist with World Animal Protection, said that the best way to protect wildlife from extinction is to let them live in the wild while protecting their habitat at the same time. "However, releasing old captive horses into the wild may pose concerns because they are more vulnerable. My suggestion is to strengthen surveillance and management for the old ones in the wild," he said. "In the long run, more effort should be taken to enlarge the gene pool, such as reintroducing horses from abroad to achieve a more viable population." ^ top ^

Xinjiang rural areas benefit from power grid upgrades (Xinhua)
About 220,000 residents in 261 impoverished villages in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have benefited from a power grid upgrading program. The program has invested about 618 million yuan ($90 million) on power grid construction and upgrades in rural areas this year. The 261 impoverished villages are located in the most poverty-stricken counties in southern Xinjiang, facing low voltage, insufficient electricity supplies and severe safety hazards from the power grid. As part of a grand poverty alleviation program, a total of 105 electric power projects have been launched, involving power station and power supply circuitry construction, according to the Xinjiang branch of State Grid Corp of China. The state-owned company plans to invest about 3.8 billion yuan from 2018 to 2020 in completing the upgrades in Xinjiang's rural areas. In 2016, China started electricity power grid upgrades in rural areas to ensure stable nationwide coverage by 2020. By the end of 2017, China had upgraded power grids in 78,533 villages, according to the National Energy Administration. ^ top ^

China tries to spin positive message to counter criticism of Xinjiang policies (SCMP)
China is mounting an increasingly sophisticated counter-attack to criticism of its policies in the restive, heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, courting foreign media and running opinion pieces abroad as it seeks to spin a more positive message. Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and UN rights experts over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uygur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home. The United States is even looking at sanctions on senior Chinese officials and companies linked to allegations of human rights abuses there, which would further ratchet up tension amid their blistering trade war. China says Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists and has rejected all accusations of mistreatment in an area where hundreds have been killed in recent years in unrest between Uygurs and members of the ethnic Han majority. Officials say they are putting some people through "vocational" style courses to rein in extremism, and have denounced hostile foreign forces for sowing misinformation. In an opinion piece last week in The Jakarta Post entitled "Xinjiang, what a wonderful place", China's ambassador to Indonesia, Xiao Qian, wrote that religious rights were respected and protected there and attacks were "anti-religion in nature". He added, "But regrettably, a few institutions and people from the West pursue double standards, deliberately distorting the facts, speculating on the so-called re-education camps and misrepresenting [the] Chinese government's efforts to prevent religious extremism and promote deradicalisation." China's ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, has also written to the Financial Times and The Economist to defend its policy on Xinjiang. Privately, however, China has not been so willing to discuss Xinjiang with foreign diplomats, say two diplomats who have attended meetings with Chinese officials. "They just shut you down," said one of the diplomats. Last month, the Chinese government invited a small group of foreign reporters to a briefing on the sidelines of a UN human rights meeting in Geneva, to put its side of the story in unusually strong and outspoken terms. Li Xiaojun, publicity director at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office, which is the office of the Chinese cabinet's spokesman, denied mistreating Muslims in Xinjiang, and said China was trying to avoid the problems of radicalisation Europe had experienced. "Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries," Li said, referring to recent terror attacks in these locations blamed on Islamic extremists. "You have failed." Government officials at the Geneva event were accompanied by five Chinese academic experts, who all remained silent when asked if they had any criticism of China's human rights record. The five said they had not been to Xinjiang recently. Asked how they knew about conditions there, Wang Xiaolin, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, said there were a lot of information channels, such as television broadcasts, social media, and information shared by businesspeople, tourists and academics and friends who travelled there. It is hard to quantify whether anyone is paying attention to what China has been saying on Xinjiang. Ambassador Xiao's piece for The Jakarta Post was roasted by followers of the paper's Facebook and Twitter pages as Chinese "propaganda". Asked about China's efforts to put its side of the story and whether its messaging had been effective, the foreign ministry said the region was stable and prosperous, with no attacks for more than a year. "On Xinjiang matters, the Chinese people have the most right to speak," it said in a short statement sent to Reuters. Foreign human rights groups and exiles have been unimpressed with China's defence, and held their own panel in Geneva. "What we are seeing now in East Turkestan is more than just repression: it is an intentional campaign of assimilation by the Chinese government targeting the Uygur identity," said Dolkun Isa, president of the exiled World Uygur Congress, using the term the community employs to refer to Xinjiang. China has sought to cast its security crackdown in resource-rich Xinjiang – strategically located on the borders of Afghanistan, central Asia, India and Pakistan – as part of the wider global "war on terror". All countries have a responsibility to protect their security and that of their citizens, Le Yucheng, vice-minister for foreign affairs, told the Financial Times in an interview published last week, whose transcript was released by the foreign ministry. "The Chinese government will not permit Xinjiang to become a second Syria, Libya or Iraq," said Le, an increasingly influential voice in China's diplomacy, whom diplomatic sources in Beijing say is tipped as a possible future foreign minister. "If upheaval in Xinjiang spreads outside the borders, it will affect the stability of central Asia and the Middle East, and maybe spread to Europe." ^ top ^

US urged to use sanctions and block surveillance tech sales to squeeze China over Xinjiang (SCMP)
US lawmakers should adopt a multi-pronged approach to pressure the Chinese government about its aggressive crackdown on Uygurs in the country's far west, researchers and an advocacy group have told a congressional committee. Speaking at a US House of Representatives hearing this week, witnesses from academia and human rights advocacy said the Trump administration should pursue economic sanctions against Chinese officials, expose American companies providing Chinese authorities with surveillance technology and dispatch a congressional fact-finding mission to the region, among other measures. In response, China's foreign ministry accused the US of "interfering with China's internal affairs" and urged it to "stop stirring up" the issue. The appeals came amid reports that between several hundred thousand and 1 million ethnic Uygurs and other Muslims are being detained in extrajudicial internment camps and subjected to enforced political re-education in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Chinese officials have denied the existence of arbitrary detention and enforced political re-education, instead saying that some citizens are being sent to vocational centres for minor criminal misdemeanours, and that all counterterrorism measures have been carried out in accordance with the law. "What's happening there should be confined to science fiction, but unfortunately it's not," Representative Ted Yoho, a Republican from Florida, said at the beginning of Wednesday's hearing, convened by the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Adrian Zenz, a researcher credited as being one of the first to produce a detailed picture of the existence and scope of mass internment camps in Xinjiang, called on the US government to investigate whether American companies were involved in supplying cutting-edge technology that could be used by Chinese authorities for surveillance and other security-related systems in Xinjiang. "If so, the export of such products should be stopped," said Zenz, whose research into the crackdown in Xinjiang is based largely on Chinese government documents. Kenneth Jarrett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said that the issue of American firms' potential involvement in supplying surveillance technology deployed in Xinjiang had not yet become a "topic of conversation" for the association's roughly 1,500 member companies, but that business leaders were generally following events in Xinjiang closely. Speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday, Jarrett said action by the chamber would depend on "what comes from Washington", but emphasised it would always make sure that members were "attuned to the politics that are developing". "Some companies may not fully realise what is going on or what it means to sell equipment to Xinjiang," Zenz said. All witnesses who spoke at Wednesday's hearing said US President Donald Trump's administration should implement the Global Magnitsky Act, a form of economic sanctions that would freeze the assets of Chinese officials deemed crucial to their government's Xinjiang operations. That measure was initially proposed by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an influential body chaired by Senator Marco Rubio that issued the appeal in the form of a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in late August. "The main effect of such sanctions may not necessarily be the sanctions themselves but the symbolic force they exert and the resulting increase in public awareness," Zenz said. The proposed sanctions identified one prominent potential target as Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo, who took office two years ago, several months before the mass internment camps are believed to have been established in spring 2017. His tenure had heralded the "dehumanisation of the Uygur people", Nury Turkel, chairman of the Washington-based Uygur Human Rights Project, said on Wednesday, accusing local authorities of enacting policies that discriminated against Uygurs by criminalising religious expression. A spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was the common wish for people of all ethnicity in Xinjiang to pursue long-lasting stability, order and peace, adding that people in Xinjiang are "living in harmony, feeling safer and more satisfied about social stability". "China has always resolutely opposed the US using the Xinjiang issue to interfere with China's internal affairs," the spokesman said in response to a Post inquiry. "We urge the US to respect the facts, setting aside bias and stop stirring up relevant issues and make more contributions to improve mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries." As well as calling on the subcommittee to guide binding legislation through Congress to commit the US government to a policy response to the situation in Xinjiang, Turkel appealed to the administration to follow the examples of Sweden and Germany, both of which recently announced moratoriums on the deportation of Uygurs to China. He also suggested that members of congress vocally support appeals for education subsidies by US-based Uygur students whose parents were in detention. After hearing the oral testimonies on Wednesday, the subcommittee will receive written statements on the matter over five days. Yoho, the congressman from Florida, said the information gathered from testimonies "would go into resolutions, letters to different companies [and] different entities that are involved in this". He said similar committee hearings had led to substantive legislative landmarks such as the Cambodia Democracy Act, currently awaiting Senate approval, and the Taiwan Travel Act, which became law earlier this year. While the Chinese government has shown no signs of altering its policies in Xinjiang, increased scrutiny from international governments, the United Nations and human rights advocacy groups has contributed to a shift in the way that government officials and state media have framed the issue. There has been "a clear shift from denial to justification", Zenz previously told the Post. "State media outlets are clearly moving from trying to ignore the issue, or sidelining it by focusing on purported successes in economic development, to justifying Xinjiang's tougher measures, arguing that Xinjiang's stringent de-extremification measures work," Zenz said. "This strategy compares Xinjiang's extremism problem to that of Europe," he said, "arguing that Europe's softer approach has essentially been less effective." Echoing that narrative, Li Wei, a counterterrorism specialist at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, argued that Chinese efforts to weed out extremism had used the methods employed by other countries as a reference. Those countries "included Saudi Arabia, some European countries and the United States", he said. "The US was the first to bring up de-extremification." Speaking on Wednesday, Zenz acknowledged that China faced a "credible terrorist threat" from Uygur resistance groups. "However, China's extralegal internment of large numbers of Xinjiang's Muslim minority is tearing apart the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, who have no splittist or extremist intentions and pursue harmless and appropriate cultural and religious practices," he said. ^ top ^



Top Beijing official delays retirement to help rein in pro-independence calls in Hong Kong (SCMP)
Despite reaching retirement age last year, a top Beijing official has been asked to stay on at the central government agency overseeing Hong Kong affairs to handle legal issues relating to pro-independence calls in the city. Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office deputy director Feng Wei was originally expected to step down late last year when he turned 60, the usual age for vice-ministerial officials to leave officialdom. A source in Hong Kong who is familiar with the situation said Feng, who has been handling the city's affairs for two decades and is well versed in its laws, was told to remain in his current position until further notice to handle legal issues relating to Hong Kong, particularly on how to rein in the mounting calls for the city to break free from China. "All personnel changes concerning vice-ministerial officials at central government agencies dealing with Hong Kong and Macau affairs are approved by President Xi Jinping. Feng Wei's staying on is an indication of the top echelon of the mainland leadership in Beijing taking the growing calls for Hong Kong independence seriously," the source said. Feng, who turned 61 last month, is seen as a moderate among the central government corps. He is perceived to favour dialogue with moderate pan-democrats. A mainland source familiar with Beijing's handling of Hong Kong affairs said there was no sign Feng would retire soon. "As a general principle, vice-ministerial officials retire when they turn 60, but some may stay on for some months or even more than a year for special reasons," the mainland source said. Executive councillor Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who has known Feng for more than a decade, said it was reasonable for the Beijing official to stay beyond retirement age because he was familiar with Hong Kong affairs and the city's laws. "It's good for Feng to stay on his job for a while because he is moderate and is acquainted with key figures in Hong Kong's political arena," Tong said. He said Feng told him in April last year that he was about to retire. "But I know he remains active at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and some of my friends met him recently," Tong said. A graduate of Peking University's law school, Feng studied English law at the London School of Economics in the early 1990s, and at the law schools of the University of Hong Kong and City University in the mid-1990s. In 1997, he became the first legal affairs department spokesman of the People's Liberation Army's Hong Kong garrison. The senior colonel later joined the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong and was promoted to director of legal affairs. In April 2010, Feng held a meeting with Democratic Party leaders. It paved the way for the historic talk between the Democrats and liaison office deputy director Li Gang a month later, which led to an agreement allowing 3.2 million people without a vote in a functional constituency to elect five super-seat lawmakers. Feng, who was present at the closed-door meeting, became deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in July 2014. In August 2015, he met Democratic Party leaders to discuss Hong Kong's governance and constitutional reform. The meeting was seen as an olive branch from Beijing after the reform plan was voted down in June 2015. In an exclusive interview with the Post in March 2016, Feng said advocates of separatism and Hong Kong independence were a minority who did not represent the mainstream, but their views had been "magnified". He said the central government was looking into the reasons behind the growth of radicalism and the tendency of activists to resort to violent protest methods. Feng attributed the trend to sluggish economic growth in Hong Kong, noting that Hongkongers' median income had barely increased in the past two decades while property prices had surged. ^ top ^



Macao civil aviation authority publishes preliminary report of August incident (Xinhua)
The Civil Aviation Authority of China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Friday issued the preliminary report of an incident involving a Beijing Capital Airlines flight which took place on Aug. 28 at Macao International Airport (MIA). The report stated the factual information about the incident including the sequence of events, the damage to the aircraft, the weather and environment data. It also set out the direction for further investigation. The report said a Beijing Capital Airlines flight destined to Macao from Beijing encountered a hard landing at MIA on Aug. 28, when the aircraft touched down heavily on the runway. The flight captain conducted miss approach procedures and decided to divert to Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, where the aircraft landed safely. There were a total of 157 passengers, three flight crew members and six cabin crew members on the plane. Five of the passengers encountered minor injuries during evacuation at the Shenzhen airport. The report added that the aircraft type is Airbus A320-214. The incident has caused damages to the nose landing gear, the forward fuselage and the two engines of the aircraft. As the aircraft is registered with the Chinese mainland, the investigation is jointly carried out by the civil aviation authorities of both sides. Macao's civil aviation authority has also invited the aircraft manufacturer Airbus as well as the civil aviation authorities of France where it is manufactured to take part in the investigation. Macao's civil aviation authority pointed out that the comprehensive investigation is still underway and the continuing investigation will focus on the wheel debris, the flight data, the flight performance, the crew training and qualifications, the weather and environment influences, the aircraft maintenance history, and the air traffic control procedures. ^ top ^



Taiwan's bid to tackle 'fake news' raises fears over freedom of speech (SCMP)
Taiwan is considering revising its National Security Act, saying it wants to stop "fake news" it claims comes mostly from mainland China and is aimed at disrupting social order on the self-ruled island and smearing its independence-leaning authorities. But critics and analysts urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to think twice before bringing back the "thought police" who were notoriously active trying to silence dissenting voices in Taiwan from 1949 to 1987 under Kuomintang rule. The proposal to amend the act would attempt to tackle the spread of fake news reports, especially those from outside Taiwan that could pose a security risk to the island, according to the government. Lo Shih-hung, founder of the Campaign for Media Reform, said any proposal to amend either the National Security Act or the Criminal Procedures Law to curb false news was worrying because the revised statutes could be used to tighten control of the media and freedom of speech.Taiwan spent a long period under the authoritarian rule of the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, after they fled to the island and set up an interim government following the civil war in 1949, when they were defeated by the Communists on the mainland. Martial law was imposed, freedom of speech was restricted and political dissidents were arrested for decades, until the order was eventually lifted in 1987. Deputy cabinet spokesman Ting Yun-kung said DPP lawmaker Yeh Yi-jin had moved a motion to revise the security act to place internet speech under the scrutiny of the authorities. "Fake news and disinformation are everywhere on the internet, and much of it is deliberately created by an overseas hostile power [Beijing] that might threaten our national security and must not be overlooked," Ting said, adding that this was why the government needed to tackle the issue, and the revision would be one of the options to be discussed. The move comes after Su Chii-cherng, 61, head of the Osaka branch of Taiwan's de facto embassy in Japan, was found dead in an apparent suicide on September 14. His office had been criticised for its handling of requests for help from Taiwanese people in the Japanese city when it was hit by Typhoon Jebi the previous week. Mainland media reported that 32 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Osaka because of the closure of Kansai International Airport were asked to say whether they considered themselves Chinese before being allowed to board buses provided by Beijing's consular office in the city. That prompted many Taiwanese to lash out at the government for failing to help its citizens when they were in need, as the mainland Chinese authorities had done. It was later clarified that no request had been made for any of the Taiwanese passengers to identify themselves as Chinese before they could board the buses. The authorities, including President Tsai Ing-wen, blamed Su's death on fake news from the mainland circulating on social media. Two days after the Taiwanese diplomat was found dead, Beijing accused the island of blackmailing visiting mainland university students into gathering intelligence for Taipei, claiming to have uncovered more than 100 espionage cases involving Taiwan. The Tsai government immediately fired back, calling it more "imaginative fake news" from Beijing that was aimed at suppressing the island. Beijing considers Taiwan a wayward province that must be brought back to the Chinese fold, by force if necessary. It suspended official talks and exchanges with the island after Tsai took office in 2016 and refused to accept the "one China" principle. It has ramped up pressure on the island over the past two years, including poaching five of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, demanding that international airlines refer to it as "Taiwan, China" or "Taiwan province, China", and increasing military patrols and drills around the island. Tsai said that as well as sabotaging Taiwan's stability and creating conflict and political confrontation on the island, "some of these false reports may affect the end-of-year local government elections". The government earlier this year set up a special centre under its cabinet to respond to and clarify information that it deems untrue or erroneous. Since May 10, more than 500 reports have been found to be bogus – or an average of 125 a month, according to the centre. Most of those reports target Tsai and her government, including allegations of indecent behaviour involving senior officials. While many Taiwanese agree there is a need to tackle the problem of fake news, they are also concerned that the government is clear about defining exactly what constitutes a false report, who would oversee the task, and how the perpetrators would be punished. "It is very important to define what a false report actually is, because it may be used by the government to block reports that are critical of the government otherwise," said Hsu Yung-ming, a lawmaker with the pro-independence New Power Party. Journalism professor Su Herng, at National Chengchi University in Taipei, was also concerned about who would be monitoring the media. "It should not be for the government to determine whether a report is real or not – otherwise, the government could use this as a tool to put a stop to dissenting voices," Su said. ^ top ^



China's future of finance is green: experts (People's Daily)
Many green finance experts from government departments, academic research and financial institutions attended a meeting focusing on the practical experience and future blueprint of green financial development in Beijing on Sept. 29. The meeting was held by the International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF) at China's Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE). Innovative results were shared in terms of local green finance, green finance cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao greater bay area, green bonds, ESG, green trade financing and soil restoration, providing professional opinions and forward-facing research for the development of green finance. During his speech, Shi Jianping, vice president of the CUFE and director of the IIGF, stressed the importance of green finance and praised the work carried out by the institute over the past two years. Shi continued that he expects more distinctive achievements in various aspects, and a constantly enriched discipline and theoretical system of green finance. He hopes the institute will make a deeper impression going forward. Wang Linjing, CEO of TF Securities Co., Ltd and director of the Green Securities Committee at the Securities Association of China, introduced the close cooperation between the TF Security and the IIGF. He added that in the future, the committee will continue to integrate the whole securities industry, improve the implementation of green finance, and promote the practical development of green finance. Ma Jun, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of China's central bank, expressed that China has included green finance in the 2016 G20 summit to promote it further. The EU has launched the Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Development on March this year, which also shows significant global headway. "The People's Bank of China has a strong will to promote green finance," Ma stressed in his keynote speech. Ma said that by the end of 2017, eight central banks including The People's Bank of China, the French Central Bank, and the German Central Bank have established a Central Banks and Supervisors Network on Greening the Financial System. To date, 18 countries are involved. Reducing the risk weights of green assets could significantly cut the financing cost of green credit and foster banks to increase their efforts, which is in line with the requirements of regulatory policies to ensure the robustness of banks, as well as the general direction of developing green finance, supporting the real economy and promoting its green transformation, Ma noted. Jiao Xiaoping, director of the China Public-Private Partnerships Center (PPP) at the Ministry of Finance, pointed out that during green development, the government and the market should both play an active role. The decisive role of the market in resource allocation should be emphasized, especially in the process of ecological industrialization and industrial ecologicalization. Over the past year, with researching as its core, IIGF has published many works, said Wang Yao, dean of the IIGF, adding that they have carried out considerable cooperation with many international organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Finance Corporation, European Investment Bank, and more.^ top ^



An end to the Korean war in return for Pyongyang's denuclearisation? That's the suggestion from Seoul (SCMP)
An end to the Korean war in return for the verified dismantling of its major North Korean nuclear facility: South Korea's foreign minister on Wednesday proposed this trade-off to unblock stalled negotiations between the United States and North Korea. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore in June, where they reached a vague agreement to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, but there has been little movement since. The North, which is under United Nations sanctions, has carried out six nuclear tests and says it has missiles that can hit the United States. "What North Korea has indicated is they will permanently dismantle their nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, which is a very big part of their nuclear programme," Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in an interview with The Washington Post. Her comments came ahead of a visit on Sunday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea, where he will meet strongman Kim Jong-un in an effort to further the denuclearisation effort. During a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September, Kim expressed his readiness to close the Yongbyon facility, which is capable of uranium enrichment, if Washington took "corresponding measures". We will have to see an inventory at some point, but that some point can be reached more expeditiously Kang Kyung-wha, South Korean Foreign Minister "If they do that in return for America's corresponding measures, such as the end-of-war declaration, I think that's a huge step forward for denuclearisation," Kang told the Post. Trump, who has sounded optimistic about holding a second summit with Kim, has not ruled out declaring an end to the 1950-1953 war, which concluded only with an armistice. Pompeo has refused to comment on the declaration option. Referring to a previous verification effort in 2008, Kang said that demanding an inventory of North Korea's nuclear assets risks, at this stage, derailing the process. "I think the last time things broke down precisely as we were working out a detailed protocol on verification after we had gotten the list," she said. "We want to take a different approach. We will have to see an inventory at some point, but that some point can be reached more expeditiously by action and corresponding measures that give the two sides sufficient trust." At the same time, she dismissed fears of those who think that a formal end to the war will open the door to US disengagement from South Korea, where it bases around 30,000 troops. Kang told the Post that a declaration would be a purely "political" document and "not a legally binding treaty." ^ top ^

Pompeo to travel to DPRK, meeting with Kim for talks (People's Daily)
U.S. State Department said Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for further talks concerning the country's denuclearization. In a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Pompeo will talk with DPRK's top leader, Kim Jong Un, on Sunday. Pompeo would also travel to Japan, South Korea and China on Oct. 6-8 to brief them about his visit, she added. Noting that Pompeo is making his fourth trip to the DPRK in less than a year, Nauert said, "we have quite a ways to go but we look forward to the next steps in this conversation." Refusing to say that talks with the DPRK has been stalled, she said "the secretary and the president said we're not going to set arbitrary deadlines in the interim. We're hopeful." She added that "among the things that the secretary discussed were security assurances," referring to Pompeo's agenda in the DPRK. Nauert also said that "obviously these conversations are going in the right direction." The DPRK on Saturday demanded the United States take steps to secure Pyongyang's trust before its denuclearization. "Without any trust in the U.S. there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first," DPRK's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the UN General Assembly. The key to consolidating peace and security on the Korean Peninsula is to thoroughly implement the joint statement adopted at the historic summit between DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, said Ri. Speaking before a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in New York recently, Trump announced that himself and Kim will hold a second summit "in the not too distant future." After a meeting between Pompeo and Ri on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, the State Department announced that Pompeo will travel to the DPRK to discuss the second Trump-Kim summit. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Trump thanked Kim "for his courage and for the steps he has taken." But he added that much work remains to be done and that the sanctions against the DPRK will stay in place "until denuclearization occurs." ^ top ^



Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges to be observed for Tavan Tolgoi stock trading (Montsame)
During the Cabinet's regular meeting on October 3, selection of the stock exchange on which the Tavan Tolgoi shares to be traded was discussed. Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry D.Sumiyabazar gave briefing on that matter. "The Cabinet instructed the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry and the relevant agencies to study the trade opportunities of the Tavan Tolgoi shares on the Hong Kong (SEHK) and New York Stock Exchanges (NYSE). The SEHK is in the same time zone with our country and its main emptor is China. As for the NYSE, it is the world financial center. We are planning to meet with the authorities of the two stock exchanges, the regional banks and investors next week. Moreover, the draft bills on defining boundaries of mineral deposits of strategic importance, approving coordinates of the common mineral prospecting areas and measures on oil products will be discussed and submitted to the Parliament," he said. After the report, Minister answered to the questions of the journalists. - Have you studied stock exchanges other than the above mentioned? - We have also studied the London, Toronto and Tokyo stock exchanges and chose the most optimal two. - When will the Independent Board Members of the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC be chosen? Did the shareholders' meeting take place? - The Shareholders' Meeting was planned on September 26, however due to lack of attendance it was delayed until October 8. Selection process of the Independent Board Members is continuing since September 12. More than 20 people are currently competing. - Has a new study on Tavan Tolgoi reserves conducted? - According to a study, the 8 billion tons of reserve of Tavan Tolgoi can be increased. Therefore further researches are planned. - The oil price is increasing in the world market. As a result, fuel prices are increasing in Mongolia. What policy does the Ministry hold on this? - The Ministry makes a number of decisions regarding the oil products. However, the excise tax and price matters are under control of the Ministry of Finance. In general, the oil prices tend to increase in the world market due to trade war between the US and China, sanctions against Russia. According to the agreement signed with the Rosneft company, Mongolia purchases oil at the price of the Singapore Exchange. The authorities of the Rosneft worked in Mongolia and we had meetings. We expressed our interest mainly on issues of cooperating in establishment of oil refinery, oil exploration and aircraft fuel supply, rather than oil prices. ^ top ^

President receives members of the House of Councillors of Japan (Montsame)
At the beginning of the meeting, Vice Speaker of the House of Councillors Akira Gunji thanked President Battulga for the audience. The Vice Speaker also thanked the Government and people of Mongolia for the humanitarian aid sent during the natural disaster that occurred in Japan on behalf of the House of Councillors. Mr. Akira Gunji noted the size of the visiting delegation of the House of Councillors to Mongolia, saying that it is an indication of the broadening scope and frequency of bilateral visits and furthermore, the high level of bilateral economic and political cooperation. President Battulga touched upon the generous assistance Japan has been providing to Mongolia, including the construction works of Gobi Cashmere Factory and Darkhan Metallurgical Plant which became well-managed major plants that manufacture export products today. President Battulga emphasized that the new international airport of Mongolia, which was built with Japanese loan and will be commissioned soon, is the most recent large-scale joint project the two countries implemented. The President also mentioned that Japan will take charge of the management of the airport after its commissioning and discussed further into the topic. The members of the House of Councillors highlighted the economic and social significance of the new airport to Mongolia and voiced their hope that the number of flights between Japan and Mongolia will increase and people-to-people ties will deepen. The sides exchanged views on matters related to tourism, society, and economy. At the end of the meeting, President Battulga wished the members of the House of Councillors success in their works, while expressing his confidence that their working visit to Mongolia will be productive. Present at the meeting were, Vice Speaker Akira Gunji and Members of the House Makoto Nishida, Tadayoshi Ichida, Naoki Okada, Kazuya Shimba, and Renhō Murata. ^ top ^


LEW Mei Yi
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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