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
  21-25.9.2020, No. 835  
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Foreign Policy

China, South Sudan ink deal to construct key bridge (Xinhua)
South Sudan on Thursday signed a deal with the Chinese government that will lead to construction of the Jur River bridge linking Juba to the Bahr El Ghazal region and its northern neighbor Sudan. Simon Mijok Mijak, Minister of Roads and Bridges said the project will be funded through a grant from the Chinese government. "This is a great day for the people of South Sudan and Greater Bahr El Ghazal and Western Bahr El Ghazal in particular, today we have signed a supplementary agreement on the implementation of Jur River bridge in Wau. This was one of the pledges of President Salva Kiir during his visit in October 2013 to Western Bahr El Ghazal," Mijak told journalists in Juba during the signing ceremony. He disclosed that during President Salva Kiir's visit to Beijing, the Chinese government agreed to support the construction of the Jur River Bridge, in an effort to develop the youngest nation. The initial agreement was signed in August 2019, and this latest is necessary to speed implementation of the work, according to Mijak. "The signing of today is a cornerstone of our strong and unshakeable relationship between South Sudan and China. This is another tremendous achievement of the government for the people of South Sudan," said Mijak. Hua Ning, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, said the support from China demonstrates Beijing's commitment toward the future development of South Sudan. "Today, I am very pleased to join the signing ceremony of the Jur River Bridge Project, which demonstrates the Chinese government's firm commitment to the future development of our cooperation, friendship and our support for the long-term development of South Sudan," said Hua. He disclosed that the project is already underway with the first shipment of construction materials arriving from China. Hua added that the project will play a key role in connecting people in Bahr El Ghazal region, promoting local trade, business and transportation. He noted that China will continue to support South Sudan's economic recovery and development besides offering humanitarian aid. "We are glad to see the South Sudanese government has established an economic crisis management committee, and China is happy to extend her helping hand for the economic recovery and we are also mobilizing necessary resources for the future development of South Sudan's economy," said Hua. He said that bridges and highways are essential for stimulating economic growth and attracting foreign direct investments to South Sudan. "China is now boasting the largest highway network and we have built a lot of great bridges. We very much wish to share our knowledge and expertise with our South Sudanese counterparts. We hope that the roads and bridges will bring more benefits to the local people while we continue to advance the peace process," said Hua. ^ top ^

China-Vatican deal could further 'ease ties' (Global Times)
The renewal of an agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops will contribute to the development of Chinese Catholic churches, and signal to the world that China's Catholic churches could continue healthy development under the agreement, according to religious practitioners and experts. They believe that US interference can hardly sway the Vatican on the deal, although Washington has tried to weigh in the bilateral agreement and loudly criticized China's Catholic churches. A source from the Vatican confirmed to the Global Times previously that China and the Vatican have been seeking to renew the deal, which was signed on September 22, 2018 and expires next month. No official information about the renewal has been released. AFP reported on Tuesday that Pope Francis has given the go-ahead for the renewal of the agreement, which is still in a trial mode, for two years. The Holy See Press Office did not respond to the Global Times' inquiry as of press time. Vatican watchers and China's Catholic bishops are confident about the signing. "The agreement should be basically a simple extension of the old one," Vatican affairs expert Francesco Sisci told the Global Times on Thursday, noting that the issue is whether it will be renewed for one year or two. Asked whether China and the Vatican had extended the agreement on the appointment of bishops, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday that there is good communication between the two sides. China holds a sincere and positive attitude toward advancing relations with the Vatican. With renewal of the deal as yet unannounced, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo entered the picture by writing an article in the US religious magazine First Things, slamming the "horrific treatment" of believers of all faiths in China. "The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal," he added on Twitter. The Vatican did not publicly respond to Pompeo's tweet or article. "If the Holy See made such a comment about US relations with a state, I can't imagine Secretary Pompeo would be happy," a former Vatican official, not authorized to speak on the record, told Catholic News Service on Monday. Pompeo's accusation was then condemned by Chinese bishops. Chinese Catholic churches have been strictly following the terms of the agreement in the past two years. For example, the churches have been devoted to choosing bishops for places where the position was vacant. People in Catholic churches are very satisfied, said Zhan Silu, vice chairman of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China and bishop of the diocese of Mindong, East China's Fujian Province. If the deal is renewed, it will serve as another proof that the bilateral relations between China and the Vatican are heading down a positive road, and it will send a positive signal that people in China's Catholic churches are seeking the healthy development of the church, said Zhan. Zhan said that any wise person would think independently, and would not put some Western politicians' preference above the Church's interest. On a positive note, Pompeo's interest in the China-Vatican agreement proves to the world that the agreement has global paramount importance. It is not just about the lives of a few million Catholics in China, said Sisci, noting that the Vatican proves to be de facto the crossroads of international politics and of global dialogue on China and with China. Despite growing controversies between China and the US, the Vatican has carried on its important dialogue with China. This is evidence that the Holy See could be a reliable partner and of importance for China, he said. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy calls for efforts to boost political, economic progress in Lebanon (Global Times)
A Chinese envoy on Wednesday asked for international efforts to help Lebanon advance in political, economic and security fields. The Aug. 4 massive blast in the port of Beirut has brought about tremendous pain to the Lebanese people. The aftermath of the blast, COVID-19 and regional instability are posing severe challenges to Lebanon's socio-economic development, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations. In his remarks to a virtual ministerial meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon, Zhang called for efforts to create favorable conditions for Lebanon's political process. The international community should create a good atmosphere for inclusive dialogue, and respect Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. The International Support Group should be postured in an impartial and balanced manner and play a constructive role, he said. Zhang asked for efforts to boost Lebanon's economic development and improve livelihood. The international community should honor its commitments to provide assistance to Lebanon in its endeavors to reconstruct and to fight COVID-19. He also called for support for Lebanon's efforts to maintain national security and stability. Lasting peace and stability in Lebanon needs a stable environment, he said, adding that China asks relevant parties to respect Security Council resolutions and Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and refrain from acts that will escalate the situation. Zhang said China has always supported Lebanon in its efforts to safeguard sovereignty and security and promote social and economic development. China is willing to work with the International Support Group to contribute to Lebanon's reconstruction, peace and stability, and development. Wednesday's meeting was co-chaired by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The International Support Group for Lebanon brings together Britain, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States, together with the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League. ^ top ^

Xi: China supports UN system (China Daily)
China never seeks ideological confrontations or decoupling with other countries, nor does it pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday in a videoconference with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He pointed out that "what we care about the most is to help the 1.4 billion Chinese people lead a better life and make greater contributions to mankind". However, he added, China also will not tolerate harm to its national sovereignty, national dignity or development, and the country will take a firm stance to safeguard its legitimate interests and safeguard the justice of the world. All countries should go beyond the limitations of nationality, ethnicity, culture and ideology and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, he said. The outbreak of COVID-19 has amplified problems in the global governance system, and all countries should make efforts to improve the system rather than try to destroy it to create another one, Xi said. There is only one system in the world, that is, the international system with the UN at the core, and the set of UN Charter-based norms on international relations is the only set in the world, he said. Noting that COVID-19 is still spreading around the globe, Xi said China would like to share its experience with all countries without any reservation, and will continue to offer support and help to countries that are in need. China firmly supports the UN system, especially the World Health Organization, to play the leading role in strengthening global cooperation and joint prevention, Xi said. Xi reaffirmed his commitment that after the development of a vaccine is completed and it is put into use, China will make it a public good and contribute to its accessibility and affordability in developing countries. The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the emergence of many new problems, but the fundamental problems are in regard to peace and development issues, Xi said, adding that unilateralism and hegemony will lose the support of the people. All countries should make efforts to minimize the pandemic's impact on the economy and people's lives, mobilize the resources and strength of the whole world, help all nations take practical measures in cutting debt and increasing aid, assist developing countries with development and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Guterres said that facing the challenges of COVID-19 and climate change, all countries should uphold multilateralism, strengthen international cooperation and build a stronger UN. He thanked China for the country's firm support for multilateralism and the UN. The UN will fulfill its duty better with China's support, he said, adding that China has played an important role in maintaining global peace and promoting common development. Guterres said he greatly appreciated the measures and proposals announced by Xi at the UN General Assembly to promote multilateralism, deal with climate change and promote sustainable development. The UN supports China in jointly building the Green Silk Road and supports China in deepening cooperation with Africa and developing nations, he said. The UN hopes to enhance cooperation with China and expects China to play a leading role, he said, adding that China has the capacity to achieve its development and make greater contributions to the world. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as Xi's special envoy, will attend on Thursday a UN Security Council conference on safeguarding international peace and security and global governance in the post-COVID-19 era. Wang will attend the meeting via video link, according to the Foreign Ministry. ^ top ^

China and India agree not to send more troops to border, says Chinese defence ministry (SCMP)
China and India have agreed to stop sending more troops to a Himalayan flashpoint along their contested border and to avoid any actions that might complicate the tense situation there, the two countries said on Tuesday. Senior military officials from both countries met on Monday and exchanged ideas on their contested border, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said. A joint press release issued by the Indian government in New Delhi said that both sides had agreed to "avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments", and "refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground". "The two sides also agreed to hold the 7th round of Military Commander-Level Meeting as soon as possible," the release said. Thousands of Indian and Chinese troops are currently amassed along a disputed stretch of border in the Ladakh region, bordering Tibet. After weeks of tensions, a stand-off in the remote western Himalayan region erupted into a bloody hand-to-hand clash in June in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and China suffered an unspecified number of casualties. Both countries have since said they are attempting to resolve the situation through diplomatic and military channels but talks appeared to have made little headway so far. Tensions remains high, with Indian and Chinese troops separated by only a few hundred metres in some areas and both sides bringing up reinforcements and supplies. China and India said on September 11 that they had agreed to de-escalate the situation and restore "peace and tranquillity" following a high-level diplomatic meeting in Moscow. Both sides agreed at the time that troops from both sides should quickly disengage and ease tensions. The nuclear-armed neighbours have not been able to agree on their 3,488-km-long border, despite several rounds of talks over the years. The two countries fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962 and distrust has occasionally led to flare-ups ever since. ^ top ^

China mulls thorough plan to balance vaccine supply before joining COVAX: analysts (Global Times)
A total of 156 economies have joined the COVID-19 vaccine attribution platform COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO), with China, which had pledged support for the mechanism, not on the initial list released on Monday. Chinese analysts said the absence is a cautious move, as China is probably still negotiating a thorough plan to ensure a balanced vaccine supply for Chinese citizens and China's neighbors that were given priority by China when Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines are available. COVAX is a mechanism created by the Vaccine Allian (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world. A WHO news release on Monday said 156 economies - including 64 higher income economies, such as those from the European Commission plus Norway and Iceland, as well as 92 lower income economies - representing roughly 64 percent of the global population in total, are now either committed to or eligible for the COVAX Facility, with more to follow. Thirty-eight other economies are expected to sign in the coming days, WHO said. China is not on the list, but had pledged support for the mechanism. Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Tuesday the absence from the initial list is possibly out of caution. China has already promised to prioritize some partners and neighbors on other platforms like the Belt and Road Initiative, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China probably wants to make a thorough plan to make sure that it is able to guarantee supply on all these platforms, not to mention for its residents, before joining the COVAX, Zeng said. Zeng said he thinks China would eventually join. "It is only a matter of time." WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said at a Tuesday press conference that WHO had very constructive conversations with China, which are ongoing. She noted that WHO is closely following China's vaccine development, and some of China's vaccine candidates have proven effective in clinical trials. Seth Berkley, chief executive of the Gavi vaccines alliance, also said at the same press conference that they would continue to have discussion with China. China supports COVAX and has been in communication with the WHO and other sponsors of the plan. China will remain in consultations with those organizations, Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said at a routine press conference on Friday. China noted the expectations placed by some countries on it with regard to vaccine R&D, manufacturing and distribution. Our cooperation with some countries has already begun. China always honors its commitments. We will continue conducting international cooperation in vaccine R&D, manufacturing and distribution, Wang noted. CEPI is supporting nine vaccine candidates, including two from China, and evaluating them for inclusion in the COVAX Facility. ^ top ^

China urges Canada to release Meng Wanzhou immediately (Xinhua)
China on Monday urged Canada to immediately release Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and let her return to China safely to bring bilateral relations back to the right track, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. According to media reports, about 100 former Canadian diplomats recently sent a joint letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in which they called for the swap of Meng for two detained Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They claimed that the dispute had not only harmed bilateral ties but also hurt Canada's ability to handle international affairs. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing that China's position on the Meng Wanzhou case is clear and firm. "Under the pretext of 'at the request of the United States,' Canada arbitrarily took compulsory measures on a Chinese citizen, which severely violated her legitimate rights and interests." The nature of the Meng Wanzhou case is entirely different from that of the cases of the two Canadians, Wang said, noting that the Meng case is a serious political incident, while Kovrig and Spavor were suspected of conducting activities endangering China's national security. "The Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently and the lawful rights of the two Canadians are guaranteed," he said. Wang pointed out that it was precisely what Canada has done on the Meng case that caused the current difficulties in China-Canada relations. "We urge Canada to earnestly respect China's solemn position and concerns, release Meng at once and ensure her safe return to China, so as to create conditions for the bilateral relationship to get back on the right track." ^ top ^

In speech to UN, Xi Jinping calls for mutual respect and cooperation between nations (SCMP)
The world's great powers should respect international law and avoid double standards, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told a United Nations meeting on Monday. "Cold War mentality, ideological lines or zero-sum game are no solution to a country's own problem, still less an answer to mankind's common challenges," said Xi, who spoke via video to a meeting commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. "Unilateralism is a dead end," he said. His speech – which called for mutual respect and cooperation between nations – comes amid plummeting US-China relations over the coronavirus, trade and human rights; a growing list of disputes between Beijing and its many neighbours over territorial claims; and soaring tensions with countries as far away as Canada and the Czech Republic. "Relations among countries and coordination of their interests must only be based on rules and institutions; they must not be lorded over by those who wave a strong fist at others," Xi said. Xi did not mention the US by name, but his remarks echoed similar recent comments from Beijing criticising the Trump administration's policies toward China, which some Chinese officials have described as veering dangerously close to a new cold war. In particular, the Trump administration has urged countries around the world to stay away from Chinese technology companies selling products like 5G networks, arguing that Beijing can use the technology to spy on citizens. US President Donald Trump has also wavered in recent days on whether to ban WeChat and TikTok – arguably the two most successful mobile phone apps to emerge from China – over concerns about the Chinese government's access to American users' data. "No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others or keep advantages in development all to itself," said Xi. Experts say that given the Chinese leader's increasingly hardline policies both within China and around the world, Xi's rhetoric at the UN about multilateralism and international law were unlikely to sway any American politicians who are already alarmed by Beijing's actions. But Xi may have bigger concerns anyway, said Andrew Mertha, director of the China studies programme at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. "For China's leaders, it is always far preferable to burn some cross-national bridges than to appear weak internationally in front of one's own domestic constituency," Mertha said. Trump was scheduled to speak but did not appear. The acting US deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, did so instead. Xi and Trump are both expected to address the annual UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday. ^ top ^

Syria backs China's global initiative on data security (Xinhua)
The Syrian government on Saturday expressed support for the China-proposed Global Initiative on Data Security that aims to tackle issues emerging in the field of data security. In a statement carried by state news agency SANA, the Syrian foreign ministry said that in light of the information revolution, digital economy, and within the framework of keenness on data security, the Syrian government strongly backs the Chinese initiative on data security. The initiative, it said, will work on maintaining an open, secure, and stable supply chain, as well as oppose destroying essential infrastructure and misusing information technology for other countries. The ministry's statement further hailed the initiative as "an additional step taken by China towards a world dominated by equality in opportunities, justice, freedom and respect and protection of nations and ideas." The initiative deserves the support of all countries keen on the security of global data and the development of the digital economy, it added. On Sept. 8, China proposed its global initiative on data security to respond to new issues and challenges emerging in the field of data security and contribute to global digital governance. The proposal was made when Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the International Seminar on Global Digital Governance via video link. Wang said as the digital economy is thriving in China, the country has played a constructive role in multilateral discussions on data security including at the United Nations, the Group of 20, BRICS, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. "We look forward to the active participation of all parties," he said. According to Wang, the initiative is comprised of eight key points. He suggested that states should handle data security in a comprehensive, objective, and evidence-based manner, and maintain an open, secure, and stable supply chain of global information and communications technology products and services. ^ top ^

China issues white paper on its armed forces' participation in UN peacekeeping operations (China Daily)
China released a white paper on the participation of the country's armed forces in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations on Friday. The white paper, titled "China's Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations," was released by the State Council Information Office. Here are the highlights: - China's armed forces have sent over 40,000 peacekeepers to 25 United Nations peacekeeping missions over the past 30 years. The peacekeepers have faithfully performed their duties and made a positive contribution to world peace and common development. Since China first dispatched personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs) in 1990, the Chinese peacekeepers have become a key force in UN peacekeeping over the past 30 years. Chinese military peacekeepers have left their footprints in over 20 countries and regions including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.China's armed forces participate in the UNPKOs for the following reasons: the pursuit of peace is in the genes of the Chinese nation; the Chinese people care about the well-being of humanity; serving the people is the fundamental purpose of the people's armed forces; China honors its responsibilities as a major country. - Policy stances of China's participation in UN peacekeeping: uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; follow the basic principles of the UN peacekeeping operations; champion the vision of global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits; pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security; stay committed to peaceful means in settling disputes; build stronger peacekeeping partnerships. - China has faithfully implemented the pledges it announced at a UN Summit to support UN peacekeeping. China has become the country with the largest number of standby peacekeeping troops of the most diversified profile. China has sent 25 rotations of peacekeeping engineer and medical units in 5 years. Over the past five years, China has provided 20 training programs to over 1,500 peacekeepers from more than 60 countries. China's peacekeeping helicopter unit has fulfilled multiple overseas high-risk tasks. China has established a China-UN Peace and Development Fund to support the UN efforts for peace and advance multilateral cooperation. China's armed forces have cooperated on peacekeeping with over 90 countries and 10 international and regional organizations. - China will continue to fulfill its responsibilities as a major country, scale up support for and involvement in the UNPKOs, and join forces with other countries to promote a sound and reasonable UN peacekeeping reform. China supports improving peacekeeping system to address root causes of conflict. China will continue to build the 8,000-troop peacekeeping standby force and maintain a high level of preparedness. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Chinese vice premier urges breakthroughs in Yangtze River Delta integration (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng has urged efforts to make continued breakthroughs in advancing the integration of the Yangtze River Delta. Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks on Thursday during a meeting on promoting the integration of the delta. Covering an area of 358,000 square km, the Yangtze River Delta is one of the most populated and urbanized city clusters in China, contributing a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Han said that the Yangtze River Delta region should give full play to the advantages of having a solid economic base, great market size, complete industrial and supply chains, and a high level of opening-up, and take the lead in forming the new development pattern in which domestic and foreign markets boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay. Efforts should be made to expand high-level opening-up, support Shanghai's Pudong in acting as a forerunner in actively exploring and acquiring experience, and promote the high-quality development of pilot free trade zones, he said. The vice premier called on the region to make increased efforts to tackle hard-nut problems in science and technology and achieve breakthroughs in key fields such as integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence. Work related to a model area in the Yangtze River Delta on ecologically friendly development should be accelerated, he said. The region should rule out using the real-estate market as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy, and further improve its emergency-response system for major emergencies, such as public health issues, Han said. ^ top ^

Top political advisor stresses reform, innovation in driving growth (Global Times)
China's top political advisor Wang Yang on Wednesday stressed the role of reform and innovation in cultivating new drivers of economic growth. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in Beijing at a symposium with heads of the central committees of non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), as well as individuals without party affiliation. The symposium was held to discuss the results of research and studies carried out by the relevant parties and groups on promoting reform and innovation and cultivating new economic driving forces. Wang said that driving economic growth with reform and innovation is an inevitable requirement to cope with the severe and complex external environment, withstand the downward pressure on the economy, and achieve high-quality development. It is also an important way to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. He called on relevant parties and groups to improve their research results and asked the departments involved to further strengthen consultation work in terms of research and studies. At the symposium, the heads of the central committees of non-Communist parties and the ACFIC, as well as one person representing those without party affiliation, offered suggestions of their own, including modernizing industry chains, upgrading big-data and blockchain technologies, and urging state-owned enterprises to invest more in research and development. ^ top ^

China Will Be Carbon Neutral By 2060, President Xi Says (Caixin)
China has said it will achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2060, in a bold pledge by the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter to tackle global heating and climate change. In a virtual address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, President Xi Jinping said China aimed to reach peak emissions before 2030 and become "carbon-neutral" within the three ensuing decades, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic was a reminder of the need for humankind to "launch a green revolution." "The human race cannot ignore the warnings of nature over and over again," he said, adding that the 2015 Paris climate accord was the "minimum" required to protect the environment. The audacious commitment to pivot the world's second-largest economy onto a low-carbon footing is an important marker in the fight against climate change. China produced 28% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions last year, according to a report by the Global Carbon Project. Slashing emissions of the heat-trapping gas is crucial to slowing down global heating. China's pledges came as U.S. President Donald Trump assaulted the country's environmental record in his own speech to the assembly, saying that "those who attack America's exceptional environmental record while ignoring China's rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it." China appears to be mulling more ambitious decarbonization targets as part of its next five-year plan, which will shape state policy through 2025. The country previously said its emissions would peak around 2030, but had refused to set a specific date due to its status as a developing nation. Public discussion about carbon neutrality had been scarce. On Tuesday, Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate change advisor, said the country would "do more" to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in updated pledges to be submitted to the U.N. later this year. "China is definitely going to launch a very powerful low-carbon development target," Xie, who served as China's chief negotiator at the U.N. climate talks between 2007 and 2018, said in an online discussion with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Although the announcement of the 2060 target was a "massive pledge" that will require a dramatic overhaul of how people in China live, work and produce food, the realities of climate change mean that China must achieve carbon neutrality "as close to 2050 as possible," said Li Shuo, a climate campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia. Beijing needs to give more details about how it will implement the pledges, he added. "How much earlier can China peak its emissions? How will it reconcile carbon neutrality with its ongoing coal expansion? These are hard questions that demand a better response from Beijing." Still, Xi's speech sent a strong signal that China is willing to be bold in the fight against climate change, Li said. "Think about the massive investment needed to fulfill this vision and the daunting planning to manage the transition. Chinese politicians are known for their pragmatism, but last night showed us the audacity they are willing to embrace. Others should take note." ^ top ^

Ministry of Education draws talent cultivation plan to break foreign tech 'strangleholds' (Global Times)
In the face of certain countries' technology crackdowns on China, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has rolled out a talent cultivation campaign, which focuses on key technologies as well as plans to nurture urgently needed talent in "unusual ways," in order to solve the country's pressing technological problems and push forward innovation. The campaign was launched during a conference held by the MOE on Tuesday, at which a document on a revolution in postgraduate education was released. The MOE said it will mobilize top-notch universities, institutions and teachers to achieve this goal. The decision is a response to recent reckless technological crackdowns led by the US. Nurturing urgently needed talent is key to help China escape a technology "stranglehold," Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times. Xiong said "unusual ways" of cultivating this talent may refer to establishing unique channels of promotion and growth for such people, such as reducing the number of research papers they have to publish. Papers are crucial for Chinese scientists to get promotions. "Those key technologies are already mature, so there's limited scope for publishing academic papers on those issues. Such people can devote more time to experiments and research," said Xiong. Science and Technology Daily, a newspaper affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Technology, listed 35 "stranglehold" technologies in 2019, which included chips, lithography machines and operating systems. Apart from the MOE, Chinese authorities have taken many measures to show the government attaches great importance to key technology development. Vice Premier Liu He recently visited one of the country's most important national defense military and scientific research bases and top engineering physics academies in Mianyang, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. This was just one move that Chinese top leaders made in the past two weeks to push for innovation and call for breakthroughs in key technologies amid an escalating tech war between China and the US. Experts said it is obvious that Chinese society, from the top leaders to the grassroots, has reached a consensus to fight against the US' "technology hegemony," as the US is moving to strangle Chinese tech giants, notably Huawei, through its administrative weapons. Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also suggested turning technologies mentioned in the US Entity List into China's scientific research targets - for example, development of key raw materials and mask aligners for making chipsets. ^ top ^

Chinese premier stresses reform and opening-up, jobs during inspection tour (People's Daily)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has stressed efforts to advance reform and opening-up, promote innovation-driven development, and stabilize employment to consolidate the basis for China's restorative growth. Li, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks during his inspection tour in Shanghai from Monday to Tuesday. Li visited the Shanghai pilot free trade zone (FTZ), Shanghai Jiaotong University, several companies, and the shopping street of Nanjing Road. At the company of Ximalaya, which operates a popular audio sharing platform, the premier encouraged its content creators to come up with diverse audio products by using modern technology, so as to expand the market and enlarge employment. During his trip to the Shanghai FTZ, Li said Shanghai should continue to act as a forerunner in reform and opening-up and set an even higher benchmark. While talking with Chinese and foreign engineers of SAP Labs China, a foreign-owned enterprise operating in the Shanghai FTZ, he stressed efforts to develop services for manufacturing by leveraging the industrial internet, deepen opening-up and cooperation, promote the upgrading of "Made in China," strengthen the industrial and supply chains, and foster new growth drivers. At, the country's leading human resource service provider, Li enquired about the current situation of the job market, salary levels, and the employment of college graduates. He urged its employees to further improve their services, as employment has a vital bearing on people's livelihoods and should be prioritized in China's efforts to stabilize the overall economy. Li chaired a symposium at the Bank of Communications on financial support for the real economy. Proper strength of policies regarding financial support for the real economy should be maintained, and innovation in services should be enhanced while inclusive finance should be expanded, he said. After listening to business owners in Nanjing Road who said the market has been recovering from the COVID-19 disruption, the premier said it would take time to see normal growth in consumption again, and called for continued efforts in balancing regular epidemic control with consumption recovery. At Shanghai Jiaotong University, Li conducted in-depth exchanges with professors and scientists. He underscored the importance of stimulating the creativity of scientific research personnel, accelerating the industrialization and commercialization of scientific research findings, and turning them into real productivity. The premier fully affirmed the achievements made by Shanghai in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic as well as its economic and social development. […] ^ top ^

Village projects and medical insurance on government agenda (China Daily)
Project approvals will be simplified in small villages to improve efficiency, cut costs and accelerate implementation in order to build beautiful rural areas and realize the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, a guideline published on Sept 15 said. The guideline, jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said there are many such projects-usually related to villagers' living environment, rural water supply, village roads and cultural and sports facilities-but the scale of investment they require is usually quite small. The approval process will be simplified for projects with relatively simple technical and construction requirements, it said, but not for relatively complicated projects involving large investments or house building and energy projects that affect people's lives and property. In an effort to expand health insurance coverage, information about people with basic medical insurance will, from next year, be shared nationwide, updated dynamically and be able to answer real-time inquiries, according to a guideline published on Sept 11. The guideline, jointly issued by the National Healthcare Security Administration, the Ministry of Finance and the State Taxation Administration, called for efforts to ensure that basic medical insurance coverage rises steadily in the next four years and that public satisfaction with it continues to increase. A mechanism that enables data sharing between healthcare departments at all levels and other departments in areas such as public security, civil affairs and human resources, should be further improved to precisely identify those not insured, it said. The guideline also required the adoption of targeted insurance policies for different groups, including registered poverty-stricken households, students, newborn babies and those who temporarily stop making insurance payments. ^ top ^

Chinese top leaders visit key national defense, high-tech hubs in latest move to push for homegrown innovation (Global Times)
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He recently visited a southwestern city in China known for its expertise in the national defense military and scientific research as well as a top engineering physics academy in the city, the latest of several visits by Chinese top leaders in the past two weeks that are aimed at pushing for homegrown innovation and calling for breakthroughs in key technologies amid an escalating tech war between China and the US. Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Saturday visited the city of Mianyang in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, which is the only designated science and technology city in China and the second largest economy in Sichuan Province. Mianyang is home to an important national defense and military industry and scientific research base in China. Eighteen national-level scientific research institutes, including the China Academy of Engineering Physics, 14 higher education institutions and a number of academicians and technical talents, have made the city their base. According to the Xinhua News Agency, Liu emphasized that the city should focus on strengthening independent innovation capabilities, intensify research on key core technologies and make every effort to ensure the construction of major national projects. He also urged the city to build industrial clusters with core competitiveness that could support the development of high technologies such as satellite navigation, information security, and intelligent equipment manufacturing. During the visit, Liu visited the China Academy of Engineering Physics, whose missions and aims are to promote the continuous development of cutting-edge defense weapons and to ensure the country's strategic deterrent force is always safe, reliable and effective. According to the academy's website, research is being conducted in the fields of physics, mechanics and mathematics, chemistry and materials, information science and electronic engineering, and other areas. Research projects have studied shock wave physics, plasma physics, nuclear physics, detonation physics, computational physics and arms control physics. The academy is the only nuclear weapons development and production department listed in China's national scientific research plan. Many scientists, including Yu Min and Deng Jiaxian, who were awarded the "Two Bombs and One Satellite Merit Award" in 1999, had held important duties at the academy. The "Two Bombs and One Satellite" spirit was also mentioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping at a symposium attended by scientists in Beijing on September 11. At the symposium, President Xi stressed advancing the development of science and technology to a deeper and broader level. Following the symposium, Xi also made remarks while visiting Sunward, an advanced machinery manufacturer, in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province on Thursday afternoon, saying "Key and core technologies must be firmly held in our hands." On September 14 and 15, while visiting some chipmakers and other high-tech firms in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei, Vice Premier Han Zheng also pushed for the commercialization of new technologies, and called for enhanced policy support for technological advancement. Experts said it's obvious Chinese society, from the top leaders to the grassroots, have reached a consensus to fight against "technology hegemony" of the US, which is moving to strangle Chinese tech giants, notably Huawei, using administrative weapons. Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also suggested turning technologies mentioned in US' technological containment list into China's mission for future scientific and technological development, for example, the development of key raw materials and mask aligner for making chipsets. China will make a new plan of technology innovations, in the areas of supercomputers, key materials and other core technology products which currently rely on imports, said the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Wednesday in a press release. ^ top ^

China launches new satellite to monitor ocean environment (People's Daily)
China on Monday sent a new ocean-monitoring satellite into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. A Long March-4B rocket carrying the Haiyang-2C (HY-2C) satellite took off at 1:40 pm (Beijing Time), according to the launch centre. The HY-2C, the country's third ocean dynamic environment satellite, can provide all-weather and round-the-clock observation of wave height, sea surface height, wind and temperature. Onboard equipment enables the new satellite to provide information on the identification of vessels, and to receive, store and transmit buoy measurement data in China's offshore and other marine areas. Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the HY-2C will form a network with the previous HY-2B and subsequent HY-2D, scheduled for launch next year, to carry out high-precision maritime environment monitoring. The planned satellite network will be capable of carrying out 80 percent of the world's sea surface wind monitoring within six hours, said sources with the China National Space Administration. Unlike the previous satellites HY-2A and HY-2B -- the HY-2C will be placed in an orbit with a 66-degree inclination, which will enhance its capability to revisit wind fields rapidly, according to the administration. As of August, China has independently developed and launched seven Haiyang satellites, named after the Chinese word for "ocean" and given the "HY" designation for short. The country launched its first ocean monitoring satellite, the HY-1A, on May 15, 2002. In 2019, China's gross marine products accounted for 9 percent of its GDP. The follow-up network of HY-2 satellites will provide data support for marine disaster relief, meteorology, transportation and scientific applications, and help further enhance the country's marine monitoring capabilities, generating more sustainable, predictable benefits, the satellite developer said. Monday's launch was the 347th by the Long March rocket series. ^ top ^



Beijing 2022 test events to be held through closed-loop management (Xinhua)
Fresh from celebrating the 500-day countdown, the Beijing 2022 organizers decided to host tests events through closed-loop management for public health concerns. The decision was announced in a meeting on Tuesday, hosted by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games president Cai Qi, who emphasized COVID-19 pandemic control and prevention in the next phase of preparation for the Games. According to the meeting, tests events for Beijing 2022 will be held behind closed-doors with athletes, media, organizers, service staff and other involving personnel through closed-loop management. Pandemic prevention measures will be carried out inside the venues and in surrounding areas with routine venue disinfection, temperature checks and nucleic acid tests in place. The organizers also highlighted that reviews will take place after each test event, which would help formulate better working and contingency plans amid the pandemic. The meeting also reiterated that all Games venues should be completed by the end of this year, safely and up to high standards. Close cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and International Federations (IFs) is also indispensable to confirm schedule for test events, the numbers of participating athletes and related issues at the earliest possible date. The organizers will also establish working teams for each test event and for venue operation, with detailed plans for accomodation, catering, medical service, transportation and volunteers. The Short Track Speed Skating World Cup, to be held in December, will be the first test event for Beijing 2022. ^ top ^



2020 China Int'l Industry Fair concludes in Shanghai (Xinhua)
The 22nd China International Industry Fair (CIIF) concluded Saturday in Shanghai, with nearly 500 new technologies and products making their debut at the five-day event. With the theme of "Intelligence & Interconnection, Empowering New Industrial Development," this year's CIIF has seen 4.3 percent more professional visitors, and attracted 2,238 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions, about 20 percent of which were from overseas or foreign-funded enterprises in China. Pang Xingjian, senior vice president of Schneider Electric, said the global economy is full of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and when facing uncertainties, the company hopes to launch its new applications in China first. First held in 1999, the CIIF has become one of the most influential platforms for international trade, exchanges, and cooperation on industrial scope. ^ top ^



Guangdong sets pace for 'dual circulation' (China Daily)
Known for SEZs, province plays role of bridge connecting nation, rest of world South China's Guangdong province has been formulating policy measures to promote the country's new "dual circulation" development pattern, its top officials said in Beijing on Thursday. The "dual circulation" pattern-it treats the domestic market as the mainstay while allowing domestic and foreign markets to boost each other-gives fresh impetus to the province's efforts over the past 40 years, they said. The last four decades saw Guangdong turbocharge China's economy through continuous high-quality development without losing sight of socioeconomic progress. This was made possible by the establishment of China's first special economic zone, or SEZ, in Shenzhen city, they said. "We have been fully implementing the dual circulation development strategy announced by President Xi Jinping. It is a strategic decision in response to the country's new phase of domestic development as well as changes in the external environment," Ma Xingrui, governor of Guangdong, told the news media. Guangdong's new "dual circulation" policy arrangement will focus on three aspects: First, the province will ensure the security of industrial supply chain to boost industrial development. Second, it will perfect its logistics infrastructure to improve market development. Third, it will develop clusters of cities to continue enhancing its socioeconomic development. Ma said the province, especially its SEZs in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou, will play a more important role in the era of dual circulation development pattern. Guangdong, he said, is a two-way "gateway" to the Chinese mainland as well as the rest of the world, especially the Belt and Road economies. Its three SEZs serve as regional economic centers. "Dual circulation" underlines the need to give full play to the country's hyper-sized domestic market, in order to inject new impetus into the Chinese economy through enhanced domestic circulation. But, it also requires unwavering opening-up to make better use of resources and domestic and overseas markets, Ma said. "The province has a solid economic foundation, complete industrial chains, and a huge consumer market, given its 115 million people and 13 million market entities. It's likely to prove a pioneer, in terms of implementing the 'dual circulation' development pattern," he said. Official data showed the province's GDP rose 6.9 percent year-on-year to 10.77 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) last year, while the GDP of its three SEZs totaled 3.31 trillion yuan, accounting for nearly 31 percent of the provincial total. In 1980, the GDP of the three SEZs was only 1.61 billion yuan, or 6.4 percent of the province's GDP. Ma said Guangdong will continue to promote the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Shenzhen demonstration pilot zone. It will also pursue higher-level opening-up and reforms, and foster strong development impetus through accelerated construction of SEZs. The province will stay committed to innovation-driven development, and vigorously promote the optimization of industrial structure upgrading, he said. Chen Rugui, mayor of Shenzhen, said the city is a hub of innovation, and one person in 10 is a founder of a startup. He said the city will consolidate its market-oriented innovation system that centers on market entities and combines scientific research with industrial development. New economy contributes to more than 60 percent of the city's GDP, while strategic emerging industries account for about 40 percent of its GDP, Chen said. ^ top ^



Tibet live-fire drills part of annual training: defense ministry (Global Times)
China's National Defense Ministry said Thursday the recent combat trainings conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command were part of the annual regular training program, and not targeted at any particular country. The PLA Tibet Military Command recently held live ammunition exercises day and night to test its adaptability and firepower of the troops in ultra-high altitudes, a ministry spokesperson said. In a video on China Central Television's (CCTV) military program on Wednesday, a combined arms brigade attached to the PLA 77th Group Army practiced firing in a 4,500 meter-high snow-covered plateau. In the morning, under the cover of darkness and bad weather, the artillery and fire commandos maneuvered toward an unknown combat area dozens of kilometers away. After three rounds of firing, 47 targets were destroyed, the video showed. The live-fire drill tested the capability of firing with different ammunition. On Monday, another CCTV military program showed the PLA Tibet Military Command conducting joint land and air exercises at night in a 4,500 meter-high plateau. Each reconnaissance unit carried out multi-dimensional reconnaissance on the target area using electromagnetic reconnaissance, close-in reconnaissance and others, which allowed the commander to adjust combat plans and allocated firepower at the target. In the video, infantry squads used 120mm anti-tank rockets, individual rockets, and flamethrowers to destroy armored targets and fortified bunkers. The PLA Tibet Military Command also conducted battlefield clearance, medical aid and logistical support exercises. Last week, at a training site at an altitude of 4,500 meters, the command mobilized air defense and long-range artillery fire for nighttime integrated strike drills. The drills took place amid ongoing China-India border tensions. The two sides have been working to deescalate the conflicts but occasional provocations by Indian frontline troops and growing nationalism among some in India calling for tough actions against China have complicated the situation. On Tuesday, China and India agreed to stop sending more troops to the border frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any action that may complicate the situation, at the latest round of the Military Commander-Level Meeting, Chinese National Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said. Chinese observers said they remained cautiously optimistic about the latest development on border issues between China and India, as they believe the latest military talks have sent a positive signal. But the two sides remain divided on many concrete issues, and continue to prepare for possible military conflicts with logistical and troop build-ups. ^ top ^

Track laying work carried out on grand bridge of Lhasa-Nyingchi railway (China Daily)
Engineering technicians lay railway tracks on a grand bridge over the Yarlung Zangbo River in Gyaca county, Shannan city, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Sept 20, 2020. Track laying work was carried out here Sunday on a grand bridge of the railway linking regional capital Lhasa and Nyingchi. The 435-km Lhasa-Nyingchi railway, 75 percent of which is bridges and tunnels, has a designed speed of 160 km/h, and is expected to be completed and put into operation in 2021. ^ top ^



West unqualified to judge China's governance of Xinjiang, Tibet (Global Times)
In a report titled "Xinjiang's System of Militarized Vocational Training Comes to Tibet" released by Jamestown Foundation on Tuesday, the US think tank claimed that China is pushing Tibetan rural laborers off the land and into "military-style" training centers, where they are turned into factory workers. The report was written by Adrian Zenz, a so-called scholar who took the lead in accusing China of "detaining" Uygurs. Zenz said turning Tibetan rural laborers into factory workers is the "most clear and targeted attack on traditional Tibetan livelihoods." Reuters corroborated Zenz's report on Tuesday by trying to further verify China's "mass labor program in Tibet." Zenz, the so-called leading Western expert on Xinjiang who fishes for personal gain with baseless reports, is now smearing the China's Tibet Autonomous Region after he failed to achieve his goal of blackening Xinjiang. Some Western media and think tanks are now targeting Tibet, trying to smear China and sabotage China's national image in the international community. Under the guise of justice, the West fears China overcoming hardships in the process of poverty alleviation. By releasing fabricated reports, Zenz, who was once a theology scholar, turned himself into an expert on Xinjiang and Tibet hailed by Western media. His reports are full of false information based on bias and stereotypes. He has turned himself into an academic swindler and a tool of Washington's anti-China forces. Rural areas are the poorest in Tibet, and about 68.5 percent of ethnic Tibetan people live in rural, agricultural and pastoral land. With continuous efforts, these areas have mostly achieved road and traffic connections, bringing prosperity to industries in Tibet. According to data from Tibet's Human Resources and Social Security Department in July, some 571,000 Tibetan achieved employment transfer from agricultural rural laborer to non-agricultural rural laborer in 2019, generating 3.48 billion yuan in income. This has become a main driving force to increase Tibetan rural laborers' income. Tibet's GDP growth in the first quarter in 2020 ranked first in China. Among the 31 provincial regions in the Chinese mainland, Tibet was the only one that achieved a positive GDP growth in the first quarter. Zenz and some Westerners must understand this: China's improvement of the ethnic Tibetan people's living standards does not conflict with respecting Tibetan traditional cultural and spiritual heritage. Just on the opposite, the best way to protect Tibet is to develop its economy and achieve poverty alleviation. The situation is the same in Xinjiang - the vocational education and training centers have resulted in knowledge and employment skills, and helped maintain peace. Under such circumstances, some Westerners' accusations are unreasonable and immoral. Their malice is obvious. China has explored a new path in the governance of Xinjiang, which will bring stability and prosperity to the region, while ensuring religious freedom. However, the West is generally falling into religious and ethnic conflicts. For example, the death of George Floyd triggered protests demanding racial justice in the US, and the Trump administration has failed to resolve the crisis. The West is not qualified to accuse China of its governance in ethnic minority autonomous regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet. On the contrary, the West should learn from China's governance methods. China's poverty alleviation campaign is a miracle, and we are confident to win the battle. Western criticism will never change China's governance in Tibet and Xinjiang, because such governance is the right and only choice. It can also be an example for other countries and regions worldwide. History will make its objective evaluation, and the standard will never be determined by Western opinion. ^ top ^



HK police revise rules to counter fake journalists, a move overdue (Global Times)
Hong Kong police said they will redefine the criteria for "media representatives," who are allowed to cover incidents with police, and recognize only news media registered with the Hong Kong SAR government, or internationally recognized foreign media, in a bid to allow frontline law enforcers to identify real journalists during their operations and provide assistance efficiently. Kenneth Kwok, chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch, said on Tuesday that only local reporters and photographers who have registered with the Hong Kong SAR government's news system or well-known international media outlets shall be recognized as media representatives, according to a statement sent by the Hong Kong Police Force to the Global Times. Under the new rules, certificates issued by the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association will be no longer acceptable credentials. The change will come into effect as soon as Wednesday, according to local media. Hong Kong police said that since the social unrest and violence started in June last year, they have found people claiming to be journalists mingling with crowds, obstructing police's law enforcement operations and even attacking police. In May, the Hong Kong police media communication team was expanded to more than 300 members in order to provide adequate on-site support to the media at major public events, media reported. "Apparently, during the social unrest last year, there were many rioters and protesters who pretended to be journalists and intruded law enforcement, or held a biased attitude toward the HKPF," Joe Chan Cho-kwong, former chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday. In Hong Kong, authorities have a lax criterion for verifying journalists, and whoever launches an online blog could claim to be a journalist, and the new rules will help find a balance between law enforcement and protecting freedom of speech, Chan said. The police said that the revised definition of "media representatives" would be made much clearer to enable frontline police officers to identify valid reporters more effectively and quickly, so as to facilitate and assist media representatives as much as possible without compromising the efficiency of police's law enforcement operations. Amid the social unrest in 2019, some Hong Kong reporters, "fake journalists" and foreign reporters became accomplices as they hindered police operations in the process of law enforcement, verbally attacked police and government officers, and sent police-related information to rioters. For instance, in August 2019, after clashes between police and protesters in Tsuen Wan, some protesters chased police officers and attacked them with batons, sticks and umbrellas. However, some so-called journalists with a biased attitude reported it was the police who targeted journalists first and distorted the narratives. The Global Times reporters also saw several times during the anti-government protests that some black-clad rioters suddenly put on yellow vests pretending to be journalists to escape from the HKPF. Some analysts say that journalists are not supposed to obstruct law enforcement or abuse their power through spreading fake news, let alone assaulting police. "The overdue rules would help weed out fake journalists and regain people's trust in media outlets," a local resident said. ^ top ^

Hong Kong gov't says security law does not affect judicial independence after Australian judge resigns from top court (HKFP)
Hong Kong's government has said the national security law does not affect the city's judicial independence after an Australian judge resigned from the local top court earlier this month, citing unspecified reasons related to the Beijing-imposed legislation. On Friday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam revoked of the appointment of Justice James Spigelman as a judge from another common law jurisdiction in the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), with effect from September 2. The distinguished judge told Australia's national broadcaster that his resignation was linked to reasons "related to the content of the national security legislation," but did not explain further. The controversial law enacted by Beijing on June 30 outlaws secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and interruption to transport and other infrastructure. In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the government said Spigelman, who has served as an overseas non-permanent judge in the city since 2013, did not give any reason for his departure. They said a non-permanent judge may resign at any time by written notice to the city's leader, with no consultation or approval process needed. The spokesman said Hong Kong currently has 13 overseas non-permanent judges, whom they described as proof of the city's judicial independence. The government hailed common law and judicial independence as the "bedrocks" of Hong Kong's success, saying nobody should doubt the HKSAR's commitment to upholding the rule of law and an independent judiciary. "The chief executive has on many occasions appreciated the valuable contribution of these eminent jurists on the CFA to jurisprudence in Hong Kong. The appointment of judges from other common law jurisdictions has served us well and will continue," the spokesman said. The government added there was "no question" that Hong Kong's independent judiciary, as well as the smooth operation of the judicial system, including the appeal court, would remain intact: "Important principles of the rule of law are embodied in the national security law." Pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok of the Civic Party said on Friday that he was worried more overseas judges might quit or refuse appointments if Spigelman's decision to leave the Hong Kong top court was linked to the national security law. "Maybe many people may be unwilling to be appointed [as a non-permanent judge], this will harm Hong Kong's rule of law," the legal sector representative said. Executive Council member and barrister Ronny Tong, on the other hand, told NowTV that he was disappointed with the resignation of a justice: "I believe those who come to Hong Kong as non-permanent judges would hope to contribute to the One Country, Two Systems." ^ top ^



Macao restaurants, retailers business performance subdued in July (Xinhua)
The business performance of restaurants and retailers in Macao was subdued in July 2020, but both sectors were expected to slightly improve their performance in August, the special administrative region's statistic service said here on Tuesday. The latest report from the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) indicated that there were 83 percent of the interviewed restaurants and similar establishments recording a year-on-year decline in revenue in July, a four percentage point increase from June. Meanwhile, 12 percent of the interviewed restaurants reported a year-on-year rise in revenue, the same level as in June. The DSEC report added that there were 84 percent of the interviewed retailers registering a year-on-year sales decrease in July, a rise of 4 percentage points from June. On the other hand, 12 percent of the interviewed retailers recorded a year-on-year sales rise in July, a decrease of 4 percentage points from June. The business of both industries was expected to improve slightly in August. There were 22 percent of the interviewed restaurants anticipating a year-on-year rise in revenue or steady performance, up by 3 percentage points from July. As for retail trade, 23 percent of the retailers predicted that their sales would increase year-on-year or remain stable in August, a growth of one percentage point from July. ^ top ^



China vows countermeasures after US Undersecretary of State visited Taiwan (Global Times)
The Chinese foreign ministry said China will take legitimate countermeasures, including targeting relative individuals, after US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach completed his visit to the island of Taiwan on Sunday, adding that the US must bear full responsibility for the outcome. In a press briefing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin strongly condemned the US for sending senior officials to the island of Taiwan in recent months, which is regarded as a political provocation against China and encouragement to Taiwan secessionists. Wang said such actions will further damage China-US coordination and cooperation on major international issues. Krach started his high-profile visit to Taiwan on Thursday, after US Secretary of Health and Human Resources Alex Azar visited the island in August. China has always been firmly opposed to any official exchanges between the US and Taiwan. The US actions seriously violated the one-China principle and the Three Joint Communiqués, undermining China-US ties and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, Wang said. "Taiwan secessionism" is a dead end. Connivance and support for that aim are doomed to failure. Any act that undermines China's core interests and interferes in China's internal affairs will be vigorously countered by China, said Wang, adding that no force can hold back the historical tide of China's reunification. "We urge the US to correct its mistakes, stop all official and military contacts with Taiwan, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs and stop words and deeds that undermine China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits," Wang said.  ^ top ^



China's economy undergoing 'two very different recoveries', study that counters official data says (SCMP)
China has been heralded as the first major economy to recover from the impact of the coronavirus, but that resurgence has been patchy and overhyped, according to the authors of a new study. A survey of Chinese firms conducted by China Beige Book, an independent analysis firm, showed that for "the corporate elite" – large firms in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong – the economy is accelerating, but that "most firms in most regions are seeing a far more muted recovery". Official data showed that the economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, having slumped by a record 6.8 per cent in the first three months of the year. Some analysts are forecasting year-on-year growth of more than 5 per cent for the third quarter, but the study suggested a more uneven picture on the ground. Growth in output and corporate revenues are expected to be weaker between July and September for firms in most regions than they were a year earlier, even if conditions have improved since the second quarter. "There are two very different Chinese economic recoveries right now," the firm's researchers wrote. "Beijing is lying about at least one of them." The firm used a diffusion index – a similar model used to calculate purchasing managers' indices that are seen as an advanced snapshot of the economy ahead of the release of official data. In the case of China Beige Book, zero is the dividing line between expansion and contraction, on a scale that runs between plus 100 and minus 100. The firm subtracted the number of negative respondents from positive respondents to calculate an aggregate figure for eight bespoke regions in China, made up of between two and six provinces. In output terms, the eastern industrial hub including Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu went from a score of 60 in the third quarter of 2019 to 49 in the third quarter of 2020, although this was much improved from a reading of 8 in the second quarter. The southern industrial hub encompassing Guangdong and Fujian dropped 5 points year on year to 47 in the third quarter, but the reading was significantly up from minus 4 in the second quarter. Further up the coast in the region combining Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong and Hebei, the output index stood at 48, down 28 points from 67 a year earlier, but again, the index looked significantly better compared to the second quarter. However, some regions did not even report improvement in output from the second to the third quarter, mostly the inland and remote areas to the north and west. For firms in Tibet, Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang, output was 30 points worse in the third quarter of 2020 than in the second three months of the year. The authors pointed to discrepancies between the survey data and the official numbers, which they said were "the public face of Beijing's recovery narrative". "For the corporate elite – large firms and those based in the big three coastal regions – the economy is accelerating. This is the rebound Beijing wants to highlight and most foreign observers can see," said Derek Scissors, chief economist at China Beige Book, and a self-described China hawk. "But the rest of China – most firms in most regions – are seeing a far more muted recovery." China Beige Book quizzed 3,300 firms across 34 sectors in all of China's provinces and regions, interviewing a combination of state-owned and private sector firms. The survey found that across the eight bespoke regions, sales revenue growth was reported to be softer in the third quarter than a year earlier, even if it had improved in all but two regions since the second quarter. In a trend that corresponded with official data, the manufacturing sector was better off than any other, pointing to the two-speed recovery in China's economy. Demand has lagged behind supply all year, with retail sales and imports trending much lower than industrial production and exports. The firm also polled 160 bankers, and found that while borrowing was flat in many inland regions, it soared in the "big three" coastal regions – at a rate "double or triple" that seen in other parts of China. While China Beige Book's research may jar with official data, the imbalances in China's economic recovery have been apparent since the early part of the year, when factories were quick to open and exports got back on track, even as many restaurants, cinemas and other service sector vendors were forced to stay closed. In February and March, large manufacturers were quicker to return to near full capacity, while smaller factories struggled to man production lines due to travel restrictions placed on migrant workers. Patchiness persists across other data points, too. Even as the economy is forecast to be larger in the third quarter than a year earlier, subway passenger trips across major cities remained significantly lower than a year earlier, according to Nomura. In the week to September 20, trips were down 11.1 per cent in Shanghai, 18.2 per cent in Beijing and 10.9 per cent in Guangzhou from a year earlier. Catering industry research cited by Nomura showed that over the same week, restaurant revenues were down 28.6 per cent from the start of January, before coronavirus lockdowns were in place, even if the number of restaurants that were open had increased. Box office revenues, meanwhile, were down 48.6 per cent in the week to September 19 from a year earlier. Nonetheless, the investment firm raised China's growth forecast for the third quarter to 5.3 per cent, up from a previous estimate of 4.2 per cent. "China's recovery is undoubtedly impressive, especially when compared to other major economies that remain mired in the pandemic. Still, we should not downplay many of these headwinds and roadblocks," wrote researchers led by the bank's chief China economist Lu Ting.  ^ top ^

Update: China issues master plan for 3 new pilot FTZs (Xinhua)
The State Council, China's cabinet, has issued a master plan for three new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in Beijing, Hunan and Anhui amid efforts to elevate the country's opening-up to a higher level. The plan outlines the priorities for each zone and pledges to give them greater reform space so as to carry out in-depth exploration and expand opening-up. The Beijing pilot FTZ will focus on supporting the construction of an innovation center with global influence. It will accelerate the construction of a leading area for the expansion of trade in services and a pilot area for the digital economy. The Beijing zone will also strive to build a high-level opening-up platform for the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The plan also details measures for creating a first-class international environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing innovation in services trade management, and exploring the construction of an international port for the information industry and digital trade in the Beijing zone. The new pilot FTZ in central China's Hunan Province will focus on building a world-class advanced manufacturing cluster, an international investment and trade corridor linking the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and a leading area for in-depth economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa. The plan puts forward specific measures for the Hunan zone, such as the construction of a high-end equipment manufacturing base and the promotion of coordinated development of services industries in Hunan, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Expected to set the standard for opening-up in the inland region, the pilot FTZ in east China's Anhui Province will focus on promoting the in-depth integration of scientific and technological innovation and the development of the real economy. It will accelerate the pace of its pioneering role in scientific and technological innovation and the cluster development of advanced manufacturing and strategic emerging industries, and promote the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. The plan introduces measures including promoting commercialization of technological research results to support the Anhui pilot FTZ. The State Council has also adopted a plan to expand the area of the pilot FTZ in the coastal province of Zhejiang. The added section will focus on building a new type of international trade center, an international shipping and logistics hub, and the construction of a commodity resource allocation base centered on oil and gas. The section will also see the construction of a digital economy development demonstration zone and a cluster area for advanced manufacturing industries. China had earlier established 18 pilot FTZs in areas including Shanghai, Guangdong, Liaoning, Hainan and Shandong. Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said at a press briefing on Monday that further expansion of the pilot FTZs aims to accelerate the formation of a new development pattern through a higher level of opening-up. The plan outlined distinctive tasks for different pilot FTZs centred on new fields and formats such as services trade, advanced manufacturing industries, scientific and technological innovation and digital economy, Wang said. ^ top ^

China injects 210 bln yuan liquidity into market (Xinhua)
China's central bank pumped a net amount of 210 billion yuan (about 31.1 billion U.S. dollars) into the country's banking system via open market operations during the last week to maintain liquidity at a reasonable level. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) injected 480 billion yuan into the markets via reverse repo operations from Sept. 14 to 18, and drained 620 billion yuan from the markets as the same amount of reserve repo agreements matured. A reverse repo is a process in which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future. During the same period, a total of 600 billion yuan was injected into the market via medium-term lending facility (MLF) while 200 billion yuan of MLF matured. The MLF tool was introduced in 2014 to help commercial and policy banks maintain liquidity by allowing them to borrow from the central bank using securities as collateral. Meanwhile, 50 billion yuan of the time deposits of commercial banks for central treasury cash management matured on Friday. China has vowed to pursue a prudent monetary policy in a more flexible and appropriate way. The central bank said in its second-quarter monetary policy report that it will make monetary policy more flexible and targeted to achieve a long-term balance between stabilizing growth and preventing risks. ^ top ^



Prime Minister meets Ambassador of Canada (Montsame)
The PM said, "Canada is an important third neighbor to Mongolia. We appreciate that the country has been implementing projects to improve mining management, strengthen public service capacity, empower girls and women, and promote gender equality in Mongolia as part of its international development program. They have made substantial contributions to the country's social and economic development. Therefore, we seek to further expand the cooperation" It was also noted at the meeting that the two countries can closely cooperate and share experience and technologies in agriculture as both countries have similar climate and Canada is a major food producer. Voicing her pleasure with bilateral cooperation, Ambassador Catherine Ivkoff underlined that the Government of Mongolia has been successfully keeping Covid-19 from spreading and that Mongolia has become one of the few countries preventing Covid-19 spread and pledged support to proposals by the PM to advance cooperation between the two countries. The USD 1.9 billion investment from Canada in Mongolia in 2019 makes up around 65 percent of the overall foreign investments made in the year. As part of the country's international development program, six projects totaling around CAD 40 million are being carried out in Mongolia from 2016 to 2023. ^ top ^

Cooperation between Mongolia, United Nations discussed (Montsame)
At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed the solid support of the United Nations to Mongolia for its combat and prevention against the COVID-19 pandemic and asked to continue working together for economic recovery and repatriation of Mongolian nationals abroad. The UN Mongolia Resident Coordinator conveyed to the Prime Minister that COVID-19 revealed that government of Mongolia could strongly benefit from a comprehensive and coherent program to maintain and deepen the relationship between the country and its citizens abroad. Moreover, he highlighted that the Mongolian government's decision to increase monthly allowance for children to MNT 100,000 was an adequate solution as strict restrictions had been imposed in the country in the wake of the pandemic. After introducing about the UN measures being taken to overcome the economic and social difficulties caused by COVID-19, the UN delegates also pledged to give wide-ranging assistance to Mongolia in the future. The sides also agreed to cooperate on establishing a multilateral partnership platform for a complex financial solution to ensure nationwide implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. ^ top ^

Foreign Minister Enkhtaivan meets State Duma Deputy Chairman Alexey Gordeyev (Montsame)
At the outset of the meeting, Minister Enkhtaivan conveyed the greetings sent from the officials of the Mongolian parliament – State Great Khural and stressed that Mongolia holds in high regard the contribution made by Deputy Speaker Alexey Gordeyev for the development of Mongolian-Russian bilateral partnership. The Minister of Foreign Affairs then expressed Mongolia's eagerness to continue the active collaboration with Russian government organizations to promote comprehensive strategic partnership in every possible field, on the basis of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Mongolia and the Russian Federation, which entered into force on September 21. Noting his confidence that delegates from Russia's Federation Council and State Duma will be visiting Mongolia in 2021 within the framework of the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia, Minister Enkhtaivan put forward a request to the State Duma for supporting activities to expand bilateral trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations. For his part, Deputy Chairman of State Duma Alexey Gordeyev highlighted that the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Mongolia and the Russian Federation is of high historic significance to open opportunities to elevate bilateral cooperation to the next level, and pledged to provide all-round assistance to upgrade bilateral ties in all areas as well as bilateral cooperation between Mongolia and Eurasian Economic Union, and trilateral economic cooperation of Mongolia-Russia-China. Furthermore, he put forth a proposal to establish a new cooperation mechanism involving parliamentary friendship groups, government organizations and business entities with an aim of deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of Mongolia and Russia.  ^ top ^


Karin Andrea Hess
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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