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SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

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
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  14-18.6.2021, No. 870  
    Archiv / Archives
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Table of contents

DPRK

Mongolia

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Switzerland

Dominant Italy win 3-0 against Switzerland to book place in Euro 2020 last 16 (China Daily)
2021-06-17
Italy became the first side to assure their place in the knock-out stages of the European Championships on Wednesday thanks to a 3-0 win against Switzerland in Rome. The result means they will now dispute top spot in Group A in their final group game against Wales, who beat Turkey earlier in the day. Manuel Locatelli was Italy's hero with two goals as Roberto Mancini's side produced another assured and aggressive display of attacking football. Italy began where they left off in their 3-0 win against Turkey in the opening game of the tournament, with the midfield and defense completely dominating the Swiss and snuffing key players such as Xhedran Shaquiri, Granit Shaka and Breel Embolo out of the game. With their rivals more or less neutralized, the Italians were able to use their dominance to launch a series of attacks against the Swiss area with Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Domenico Berardi swift and mobile in attack, while Manuel Locatelli and Nicolo Barella with license to range forward as Jorginho played the anchor role. Central defender Giorgio Chiellini thought he had put Italy ahead when he poked home following a corner in the 20th minute, but the goal was ruled out for an accidental handball and the defender's day got worse four minutes later when he had to go off injured. Locatelli opened the scoring in the 26th minute after putting the finishing touch to a move he started with a raking pass to Berardi, who got to the byline before pulling back for the onrushing midfielder to score from close range. Immobile also went close, but a heavy touch allowed Sommer to make a block and Spinazzola and Berardi also threatened before the break as Italy were in total control. Locatelli doubled Italy's lead six minutes into the second half after another move started by Berardi saw the ball come to him in space outside of the Swiss area. He had time to line up a left-foot shot which left Sonner completely stranded. Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose move to Paris Saint Germain has been confirmed, made a fine double save to deny Steven Zuber from a narrow angle, before the impressive Berardi fired over at the other end, shortly before being replaced. Immobile showed the attacking personality of this Italian side when he twice went close after the break before finally getting his reward with Italy's third of the game in the last minute of the game to cap a dominant performance. ^ top ^

Biden, Putin meet at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland (Xinhua)
2021-06-16
U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.  ^ top ^

Swiss unions to protest discrimination (China Daily)
2021-06-14
Hundreds of thousands of members of Switzerland's Trade Unions Federation will go on strike next week to protest what they say are continuing inequalities faced by women in the workplace. The action on Monday will come ahead of a planned debate in the Swiss Parliament on reforms to the state pension system that seeks to raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65, according to a report by Euronews. The federation, an umbrella organization that represents 20 trade unions with a membership of 370,000, said in a statement on Monday, that the proposed increase to women's retirement age would be "met with bitter resistance at the ballot box and on the streets". The Guardian noted that the first national women's strike in 1991 was "the biggest industrial action in Swiss history", with more than 500,000 women walking out of their jobs to protest against discrimination "a decade after sexual equality became law". Two years ago, hundreds of thousands again took to the streets of Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, and Geneva, to demand higher pay, greater equality and more respect, protesting that one of the world's wealthiest countries continued to treat half its population unfairly. Switzerland has lagged behind many of its European neighbors in gender equality, according to The Guardian. It said Swiss women only got the vote in federal elections in 1971, "decades after most of the Western world, and until 1985 needed their husbands' approval to work or open a bank account". Euronews reported that Swiss unions have repeatedly raised the alarm about workplace discrimination in recent years, particularly on low pay for women. The federation has stated that if nothing is done to change the situation, the gender pay gap will not be closed for "another 80 years". "The lower wages, part-time work and unpaid work lead to today's scandalously poor pension situation for women - with no end in sight," it said. The Swiss government says raising the retirement age for women by one year would save around 10 billion francs ($11.1 billion) between 2022 and 2031. Critics say that the average pension for women who retired in 2019 was 1,160(Swiss) francs ($1,276) per month, while for men it was 2,144 francs ($2,360). Roles performed more commonly by women are not being remunerated fairly, according to former Green Party member of Parliament Katharina Prelicz-Huber, president of the Swiss Union of Public Service Personnel. Quoted by Euronews, she said: "A childcare specialist earns 4,000-4,200 francs a month when starting in a career and, after 10 years of experience, 4,500-4,700 francs per month. "The only reason for the low wages is that the work is done by women. A credit and risk manager, meanwhile, starts on 8,750 francs a month. "If the caregiver still has their own children and only works part-time, they can expect a miserable pension in old age (compared to) a princely pension for the manager: an untenable situation." ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

White House considering talks between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping (SCMP)
2021-06-18
The White House has signalled that direct talks between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping may be on the way, a potential first meeting between the two heads of state as Washington's relationship with Beijing continues to spiral downward. "The notion that President Biden will engage in the coming month with President Xi in some way to take stock of where we are in the relationship, and to ensure that we have that kind of direct communication that we found valuable with President Putin yesterday, we're very much committed to that," US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday. "It's now just a question of when and how," he said. The comments come as the world's two largest economies continue to feud over a long list of grievances. Since taking office, Biden has tried to corral US allies to condemn and punish Beijing for its suspected human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, its crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong, and its sabre-rattling in the South China Sea. Chinese officials have lashed out at the US in response, accusing Washington of meddling in China's internal affairs. Shortly after Sullivan made his statement, though, the US State Department told reporters that the suggestion of a meeting was not a sign of any breakthrough but was merely the reflection of Biden's commitment to diplomacy. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Sullivan "was speaking to the proposition that the president has put forward, that there's no substitute for personal diplomacy". "He was making the point that that is not unique to … the meeting between President Biden and President Putin. That applies across the board when it comes to our principled diplomacy," Price said. Price added that there was "nothing to preview at this time but it's something that we would remain open to, if the conditions are right and the circumstances are warranted". On Wednesday, Biden met in Geneva with Vladimir Putin, at a time when the US-Russia relationship has plummeted amid Russia's crackdown on protesters, and Washington's accusations of cyberattacks and election interference. After that meeting, a reporter asked Biden if he had plans to talk "old friend to old friend" with Xi, about China's cooperation in an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. "Let's get something straight," Biden snapped. "We know each other well; we're not old friends. It's just pure business." Biden and Xi have met numerous times throughout their careers. Both men served as vice-presidents at the same time, before Xi rose to become China's paramount leader. They spoke on the phone in February after Biden took office, and Xi participated remotely in Biden's White House summit on climate change in April, but they have not yet met face-to-face in their current roles. Biden called Xi a "thug" dictator during his presidential campaign, and said in March that the Chinese leader doesn't have a "democratic bone in his body". Sullivan, the national security adviser, said on Thursday that Biden "will look for opportunities to engage with President Xi going forward". "Soon enough we will sit down to work out the right modality for the two presidents to engage," he said. "It could be a phone call, it could be a meeting on the margins of another international summit, it could be something else." In October, Biden and Xi are both expected to attend the G20 summit in Italy, a potential site for a summit between the two leaders, Sullivan said, though he added that "we don't have any particular plans at the moment". Such a meeting would be Xi's first direct contact with an American president since he met with Donald Trump nearly two years ago on the margins of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush also held such meetings with their Chinese counterparts at the annual gathering. ^ top ^

Xiplomacy: China-Africa solidarity, cooperation raise hope of overcoming COVID-19 globally (Xinhua)
2021-06-18
Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, which has delivered an important message to the world that countries must stand together to rein in the devastating pandemic before it causes further harm. Chinese President Xi Jinping, when addressing the summit on June 17, 2020, said that in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have enhanced solidarity and strengthened friendship and mutual trust, reaffirming China's commitment to its longstanding friendship with Africa. As the war against the coronavirus continues, especially when new waves of COVID-19 infections hit some parts of the world, the China-Africa solidarity throws light on the right way to fight a common enemy of mankind. RUSH TO WHERE NEEDED During the extraordinary summit last year, Xi said people and their lives must be put front and center, and that China and Africa should do whatever it takes to protect people's lives and health. As the developing world is still facing a huge vaccination gap due to a dire shortage of vaccines, China has been trying its best to supply vaccines to where they are most urgently needed, having donated vaccines to more than 80 developing countries. China has pledged to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. Currently, more than 30 African countries have received or will receive Chinese vaccines. In Cameroon, Antoinette Fatimatu, a 38-year-old nurse who conducts COVID-19 tests at the Yaounde General Hospital, said the most difficult part of her job is to tell people they are positive for COVID-19. "I have seen people die within days after I test them positive. I need protection and can't wait to be vaccinated," her colleague Judith Maya told Xinhua. In April, Cameroon received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines when 200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccines arrived. In Zimbabwe, 65-year-old Deborah Birch, who has an underlying condition, took her first jab of a Chinese vaccine in March. "I am confident that I have taken the Chinese vaccine," she said. China also supports its own vaccine manufacturers in transferring technologies to other developing countries and carrying out joint production with them. Last month, Egypt received from China the first batch of raw materials to locally manufacture the Sinovac vaccine with the target of producing 40 million doses within a year. STANDING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER China and Africa have stayed committed to fighting COVID-19 together. After the Chinese city of Wuhan reported its first infections, leaders of more than 50 African countries offered sympathies and provided support to China's anti-virus fight. The goodwill and kind gesture by African countries have been returned with China's ensuing support. In February, Equatorial Guinea became the first African country to receive Chinese vaccine aid. In March, China agreed to expand and modernize the Juba Teaching Hospital so as to offer better medical services in South Sudan, a country that has suffered from years of conflict. Members of the Chinese medical expert team communicate with local frontline health workers at a COVID-19 testing facility in Juba, South Sudan, Aug. 21, 2020. (Chinese Embassy in South Sudan/Handout via Xinhua) At the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital of Cameroon, Chinese medical team members have been helping with medical training for local staff. "From the start of the pandemic until now, we feel the presence of the Chinese medical team alongside the Cameroonian team to effectively contain this pandemic," Nsom Mba Charles, deputy director-general of the hospital, told Xinhua. Data showed that 46 Chinese medical teams in Africa have been mobilized for Africa's response efforts. China also sent 15 ad hoc medical expert teams to Africa and swiftly set up a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 43 African hospitals. In December 2020, construction of the Chinese-aided headquarters project for the Africa CDC commenced. Fantahun Hailemichael, project coordinator at the African Union, said the landmark project, presently progressing smoothly, is a generous gift to the 1.3 billion people in Africa. "The Africa-China partnership is very strong and we hope it will last for a very long period of time. This will continue because it's based on trust and mutual interest. It can not be shaken by events or circumstances," Hailemichael said. COMMUNITY OF HEALTH FOR ALL During last year's summit, Xi called for building a China-Africa community of health for all and pledged that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit. Last month, at the Global Health Summit, Xi said that confronted by a pandemic like COVID-19, we must champion the vision of building a global community of health for all and tide over this trying time through solidarity and cooperation. To Cavince Adhere, a Kenya-based international relations scholar, China has demonstrated its tangible commitments to assist Africa, as China has really been offering the continent therapeutics, epidemic control information and vaccines. "China has walked its talk with African countries and other developing countries around the world in an effort to manage this pandemic," Adhere said, noting that China is also the first country to assist Africa with local production of vaccines. "I think the spirit of shared humanity that is being fronted by China is something that is very progressive and has seen a lot of valued acceptance and resonance around the world," Adhere said, adding, "Countries cannot act in compartments. They must be willing to shed off the tag of nationalism and begin to speak in a language that resonates with the cross-border challenges that we're facing today." ^ top ^

US escalates containment of China by targeting China's influence on UN: analyst (Global Times)
2021-06-18
By hyping China's growing influence on the United Nations as "malign," the US is escalating its overall policy of containing China - from ideology to trade, and from high technology to rallying allies - further into international organizations, a move that will split the UN, bring no good to global multilateral mechanisms and undermine global cooperation, analysts said. The US will use its leverage in the UN to counter China's "enormous" and "malign" influence in the body, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The ambassador said that China promotes "an authoritarian approach to multilateralism," and the US will build an alliance to investigate the source of COVID-19 and address human rights issues related to China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Chinese analysts said that the US ambassador's remarks fully exposed the US' hypocrisy, since it is the US and not China that has been breaking the rules and acting irresponsibly in moving away from multilateral engagement. "The US has extended the containment of China further into international organizations, especially the UN, and it will ramp up efforts in oppressing China, as the Biden administration is working hard to 're-engage' the UN and international multilateral mechanisms to show 'America is back,'" Li Kaisheng, research fellow and deputy director at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. The US is enriching its "strategic competition" with China - from trade to high technologies and now to international organizations - and it is forging a wider-ranging front through alliances, Li said. Li said that the US attempt to hype the investigation into the source of COVID-19 and so-called human rights issues in China's Xinjiang, which aim to sow discord between China and other countries as well as hurt China's reputation, will get no support from the UN, and few member states will follow it. Under former president Donald Trump, who turned his slogan of "America first" into action, the US withdrew from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in October 2017 and June 2018, respectively. However, the Biden administration returned to the UNHRC in February as an observer and will seek election for the 2022-2024 term. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is seeking reforms of the "flawed" UN body and its previous withdrawal "created a vacuum" of US leadership, Reuters reported. China's contribution to the UN and international multilateral mechanisms has been witnessed by the global community and will not be wiped out even with the US' claims of "malign" influence, Li Dongyan, a research fellow from the Institute of World Economics and Politics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who studies the UN and international organizations, told the Global Times on Thursday. Li noted that China's growing influence is in accordance with its consistent contributions to safeguarding the multilateral mechanism of the UN. The US hyping of China's influence on international organizations as well as the US' efforts to form "small circles" within the UN will split the body and undermine international cooperation, he said. ^ top ^

Scientists in Wuhan should be awarded Nobel Prize, rather than being blamed: FM (Global Times)
2021-06-18
Scientists working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine, rather than being blamed for being the first to discover the gene sequence of the novel coronavirus, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, after China's "bat woman" Shi Zhengli, a virologist at WIV, refuted the slander from the US in a recent interview with the New York Times. In a New York Times article published on Monday, Shi, who is at the center of "lab-leak" conspiracy, said, "How on earth can I offer evidence for something where there is no evidence?" "I don't know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist," she wrote in a text message that she sent to the US newspaper. Commenting on Shi's response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang said Chinese scientists in Wuhan were the earliest to discover the gene sequence of novel coronavirus but it does not mean that Wuhan was the source of coronavirus, nor can it be inferred that the virus was manufactured by Chinese scientists. "If the first publication of a high quality virus sequence is blamed for the source of the novel coronavirus, then Professor Luc Antoine Montagnier, who first who discovered HIV, should be the cause of the global AIDS pandemic, not the winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine," Zhao said. In March, the World Health Organization released the research report of the China-WHO joint expert group, which confirmed that the virus is extremely unlikely to be leaked from the laboratory. "The report was jointly written by more than 30 top experts in various fields around the world, which is widely representative and highly professional," Zhao stressed. Sadly, some people in the US ignored the report, clamoring for the "lab-leak" theory and politicizing tracing of the origins, which offends the joint study led by the WHO and also violates the scientific spirit, said the spokesman. If the US is truly transparent and responsible, it should show an open attitude like China and immediately invite international experts to Fort Detrick and other places to conduct detailed investigations, Zhao said. ^ top ^

G7 takes aim at China on coronavirus and human rights (SCMP)
2021-06-14
Leaders of the Group of 7 industrialised countries wrapped up their weekend meeting in Cornwall with China firmly in its sights. In a statement to be released on Sunday night, the leaders call for a fresh investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and criticise China's human rights record. The statement echoes calls from the United States, the European Union and Britain for further examination of the source of Covid-19, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Along with the EU, the group – comprising Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – also home in on China's human rights record, referring to the alleged persecution of Uygurs in Xinjiang and a crackdown on political opponents in Hong Kong. It is a contrast to last year's online summit when China did not feature in the communique at all. "The G7 ends today. We spent three days trying to align the positions of the world's biggest democracies," EU Council president Charles Michel said on the sidelines of the summit. "We see that liberal democracies and open societies face pressure from authoritarian regimes. This challenge has prompted us to join forces during the G7, not only to be able to respond under pressure or attack but also to spread our values of freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights," Michel said without referring to China. In a statement the White House said: "The United States and our G7 partners remain deeply concerned by the use of all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor of vulnerable groups and minorities and supply chains of the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors– the main supply chains of concern in Xinjiang." But Beijing appeared to stand firm as Washington used the summit to rally its allies to take on China. "We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries," the Chinese embassy in London said after the talks on Saturday. "The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone. "There is only one set of rules for the world, that is, the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, not the so-called rules formulated by a small number of countries." Observers said Beijing's defiant response was aimed at countries that were sceptical of the Biden administration's China-focused strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic. At their first face-to-face summit since 2019, leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union supported a US-led global infrastructure plan called Build Back Better World (B3W). According to the White House, the plan would "collectively catalyse" hundreds of billions of infrastructure investment needed by developing nations, in a bid to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy and overseas investment scheme. Shi Yinhong, a US relations specialist at Beijing's Renmin University, said the US plan was "not good news for China". "All of the stated goals of the B3W, described as a values-driven, transparent and sustainable infrastructure partnership, are obviously targeting China," Shi said. The plan's unveiling comes as the administration of US President Joe Biden reviews its China policy and steps up its alliance-based strategy to push back against China's diplomatic and military assertiveness and alleged abuses over Xinjiang and Hong Kong. It also comes as the US economy bounces back from recession, with the United States and Britain making big gains in controlling the pandemic. Shi said the infrastructure plan and Biden's efforts to unite allies to confront China were the basis of the emerging Biden doctrine, which was essentially about winning the competition with China and showcasing the superiority of the democratic system. "It could easily be turned into a key part of the US-led ideological struggle with China. It could be defined as a rather belated offensive to push back against China's belt and road project, which has shown signs of retreat especially after the coronavirus crisis," he said. It was not immediately clear how the plan would work or how much capital it would ultimately allocate. Underlining unease and tensions among US allies, especially those in Europe, about Biden's desire to call out Beijing over human rights in the final summit communique, a senior US administration official sought to tone down the anti-China rhetoric. "This is not just about confronting or taking on China. But until now we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business," Reuters reported the official as saying. Britain, Japan, Canada have joined the US in calling for a unified approach on China and pressing for specific language to criticise China's alleged forced labour in Xinjiang. But European leaders, particularly French President Emmanuel Macron and the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are wary of further antagonising China, considering their close trade ties with Beijing and China's importance to the global climate fight. Zhu Feng, an expert on US affairs at Nanjing University, said it was clear that many countries did not see eye to eye on Biden's confrontational approach to China. "Most countries have yet to find a solution to the still ravaging pandemic and they don't necessarily agree to place China at the front and centre of the first G7 summit since Covid-19 broke out. It remains uncertain if Biden's tough stance on China could garner sweeping support from its allies," he said. Pang Zhongying, an international affairs expert at the Ocean University of China, said the divisions between Washington and its allies should not be overstated. "This year's G7 summit is of particular importance to Western democracies because it is happening at a critical time when they have to work together to address the China challenge in the middle of an arduous campaign to seek economic recovery and overcome the coronavirus crisis," he said. Pang said Beijing should refrain from jumping to hasty conclusions that everything at the summit was about containing China. "It is true that the US-led efforts will pose challenges to China, but it is equally important for Beijing to continue its efforts to improve ties with some of the US allies to avoid slipping into a new cold war," Pang said. Shi agreed, noting there was little sign of fundamental differences among Western countries over the need to deal with challenges from China. He said remarks by Yang Jiechi, China's most senior foreign policy official, during a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, set the tone for Beijing's approach on the Biden doctrine. "His message is clear that the country has no intention to adjust or alter its course of development chosen by the party, no matter what the US administration may do," Shi said. ^ top ^

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi stressed China's stern position on Xinjiang, HK related issues in phone conversation with Blinken (Global Times)
2021-06-14
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, reiterated China's stern position on issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, urging the US to not interfere with China's domestic affairs under any excuse. Yang made the remarks in a telephone conversation on Friday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the request of the US side. Noting that the issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong concern China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and involve China's core interests, Yang urged in the phone conversation that the US side to respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, not to interfere in China's internal affairs under any pretext, and not to damage China's core interests in any way. The issues related to Xinjiang are not so-called human rights or religion issues, Yang stressed. Seeing violent and terrorist incidents on the rise in Xinjiang, the Chinese government took resolute actions to safeguard public safety, Yang said, adding that the Chinese moves are totally justified. The US side has fabricated various lies about Xinjiang in an attempt to sabotage the stability and unity in Xinjiang, which confuse right and wrong and are extremely absurd. China is firmly opposed to such actions, Yang said. Yang said Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. The aim of improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is to safeguard the constitutional order of the HKSAR as defined in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, and ensure that "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" with patriots as the mainstay, he said. It is a common practice in the world to make strict requirements on the patriotic stance and political qualifications of those who govern, Yang said, adding that those clamoring for "Hong Kong independence" are not eligible to participate in the administration of Hong Kong and must be punished by the national security law in Hong Kong. For his part, Blinken said the recent series of contacts between the US and China are beneficial to bilateral relations, and the US side looks forward to increasing contacts and exchanges with China at all levels. The United States adheres to the one-China policy and abides by the three China-US joint communiques, Blinken said, adding that the United States hopes to maintain communication and coordination with China on important international and regional issues. On the same day, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) strongly condemned remarks made by US Consul-General Hanscom Smith, who said the imposition of the national security law had created an "atmosphere of coercion" that threatens both the city's freedoms and its position as an international business hub. The national security law has closed the loopholes in safeguarding national security in Hong Kong, brought an end to "Hong Kong independence", and reversed the violence and social unrest so that Hong Kong can return to stability from chaos, a spokesperson of the office said. The spokesperson said the US, which has enacted the world's most complete national security law system on its territory, has repeatedly slandered China's efforts to implement the national security law in the HKSAR, which exposes its double standards, prejudice and hegemonic behavior. The Chinese central government has stuck to the implementation of "one country, two systems" strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the spokesperson said. Hong Kong has maintained higher international rankings in freedom, judiciary and the rule of law than the United States and the Hong Kong residents have started to enjoy much wider rights and freedoms unseen during the colonial period, the spokesperson said. In contrast, the US has a poor human rights record, with serious racism, police brutality and gun violence and is seen as the biggest threat to global democracy in a recent survey of people from 53 countries and regions, the spokesperson said, stressing the US is not qualified to interfere in Hong Kong affairs under the banners of "human rights" and "democracy." As the national security law in the HKSAR has come into force for a year, the financial hub has been put back on track and foreign companies are more confident in Hong Kong's future, the spokesperson said, citing a report of the IMF that reaffirmed Hong Kong's status as a global financial center. Foreign consulates in Hong Kong must comply with both local and international laws, the spokesperson said, stressing any interference in China's internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs, and any activities endangering China's national security and Hong Kong's stability and prosperity will not be allowed. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's space station core module receives first group of residents (Global Times)
2021-06-18
As the three astronauts of the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft crew successfully moved into the Tianhe space core module at 6:48 pm Thursday, following the epic rendezvous and docking with the orbiting destination in a rapid and automated fashion, Chinese people have entered its own space station for the first time in history. It was a much shorter and more enjoyable ride for Chinese veteran astronaut Nie Haisheng when he embarked on his third space trip on Thursday morning. The Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft, in which Nie and his two fellow crew members were traveling, pulled off the country's first-ever automated rapid rendezvous and docking for a manned spacecraft with the orbiting Tianhe space station core module at 3:54 pm on Thursday, just 6.5 hours after the former was launched Thursday morning on the Long March-2F Y12 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province, the Global Times learned from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Thursday. As some may wonder why it took a few hours to enter the space station's core cabin after docking, Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based senior space expert, told the Global Times that after Shenzhou-12's docking with the core cabin, a series of tests were conducted by the astronauts, including sealing and locking tests, leak detection, pressure balance, and air purification. "The process takes about one to two hours each time, sometimes longer," Pang explained. Based on the mission plan, the three new residents would conduct brief checks of their new home and rest after a long day of travel. On Friday, they are projected to open the door of Tianzhou-2 cargo craft and unbox their supplies that had arrived ahead. The crew's smooth arrival marks yet another significant milestone in China's progress in the field of manned space travel, with the first linear complex, comprised of the Tianhe core cabin in the middle, and Shenzhou-12 manned ship and Tianzhou-2 cargo ship each at one end, now completed. The mission's launch was broadcast live on CCTV, the country's state broadcaster, and also livestreamed on China's social media platforms on Thursday morning, drawing hundreds of millions of views and soon topping the trending list on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Thrilled netizens, after five years of waiting since the last batch of astronauts visited space in 2016, brought the online community into a state of frenzy as they watched the three astronauts boarding the Shenzhou-12 spaceship. Footage from the surveillance camera installed in the craft's cabin showed that the crew looked calm and relaxed, as Nie Haisheng, sitting in the middle with his legs crossed, waved at the camera with a big smile on his face. Tang Hongbo, who had never traveled to space before, seemed more curious and playful. He played with a pen to test the weightless environment in space, and occasionally looked outside the window for his first glimpse of the vast universe. Liu Boming, who had traveled with Shenzhou-7 into the space, was seen reading on paper materials most of the ride and he also gestured OK to the camera with ease. Emphasis on speed, safety Compared with the previous Shenzhou series, the new model has greatly shortened the time of its space travel from launch to docking, reducing the duration from over 40 hours in the Shenzhou-11 mission in 2016 to the current 6.5 hours. It took the US' SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which carried four astronauts to the International Space Station in late April, 23 hours to deliver humans to the orbiting lab after the launcher liftoff, which is nearly four times longer than that of China's Shenzhou-12. The newly adopted autonomous rendezvous and docking capability, first used in the Tianzhou-2 mission in late May, helped the craft to realize a docking with the space station's core module in eight hour. Originally it took two days. The success also shows that China has developed a highly advanced automation technology application in space and space tracking and monitoring capabilities, Wang Ya'nan, editor-in-chief of the Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Thursday. One of the key technological advances lies in the Guidance, Navigation & Control (GNC) subsystem of the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft, the core subsystem in charge of a series of operations from emergency rescue upon launch and altitude control during space flight, to the rendezvous and docking with the space station, the Global Times learned from state-owned space giant China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) on Wednesday. The GNC system was first adopted onboard China's manned spaceship in 1999, and has been fully updated based on Shenzhou-11's technical status. It uses units that had been verified from previous launches, including those from the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft, the new-generation manned spacecraft, and the Chang'e-5 spacecraft, while updating system functions to adapt to more complex situations in the space station construction phase, and greatly improving the Shenzhou-12 performance which shows fast, autonomous docking capability. Developers have also prepared a backup plan that allows manual operations in case an error occurs during the spacecraft's autonomous docking with the core module. If the measurement or control functions for positioning the craft fails, the three astronauts aboard can observe their position through camera images and perform manual docking with the core module's cross target. Making the safety of astronauts a priority, the Shenzhou-12 mission's research team has also developed a new emergency response system to ensure that the astronauts can be rescued both in space and at the launch site. According to CAST, two Shenzhou vessels were transported to the launch site, which means that Shenzhou-12 has a backup that will stand by in the event of an emergency. The latter has the capability of being launched in eight and a half days to carry out space rescue work after the launch of the former. A backup launch vehicle had also been transported to the launch site together with the Long March-2F Y12 carrier rocket, state rocket contractor China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said, ensuring immediate rollouts of launchers in case crew members at the space station require immediate pickups. Following docking, the Shenzhou-12 will berth and fly with the Tianhe core module for three months, marking another first in China's space history. Unlike China's previous Shenzhou craft, which returned to Earth from an orbit of fixed altitude, Shenzhou-12 will be able to return from a range of orbital locations, a design that is aimed to enhance the craft's adaptability and reliability for its journey back to the Earth, and it would also mark a first in China's space industry. Largest space population As observers pointed out, starting Thursday, there will be at least three Chinese astronauts working for a long period in space for the construction of China's space station and future operations after 2022, and this number of space personnel is no less than that from the US and Russia, both major players in the International Space Station, or from any other countries. The International Space Station's crew is now made up of seven astronauts, three of whom are from the US, and two from Russia. As for the last two, one is from Japan and the other the Europe Space Agency. The three Chinese astronauts have brought the total space population to 10, bringing the number of human beings in space to double digits for the first time. The Thursday mission has brought China to a world-leading position in terms of in-orbit astronaut population, as the country plans to rotate its astronaut candidates on a routine basis that ensures long-term human stays with no less than three people onboard the space station, which is at the same level as the US and Russia. The fact that Chinese astronauts are excluded from ISS cooperation has motivated China's manned space industry to pursue independent development, observers noted. "China has obviously developed a highly mature training mechanism for professional astronauts, and has also built up a pool of spacemen and spacewomen who are available to execute space flight mission when their names are called… China could compete with space powers like the US in those domains," said Wang, the magazine editor. "It is an easy mathematical question. China plans to have three astronauts in orbit working and living for at least three months in its own space station and also to have another three as backup crew, and there will be rotations every few months… It will be difficult for even the US to keep up," Wang explained. China's progress in the manned space field should sound the alarm for the US, and prompt the latter to think twice about its current China policy, which is increasingly seeking the goal of containing and suppressing China's technological development and even of decoupling from China in the sector, Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday. China has the capability and economic scale to build a relatively independent development system. US efforts to contain China could only slow but would never stop China's development, Wu noted. "China is becoming the world's largest consumer market, which in return will provide an even stronger drive for technological development," he said. The US could find a win-win situation not only in the space sector, but also in other domains if it works with China, or it will lose the vast Chinese market and also the opportunity for cooperation, Wu warned. Once completed, China's space station will be able to operate in orbit for at least 10 years, a period that could be extended to 15 years under proper maintenance, making it the only operational space station when the ISS retires in 2024. Also, many netizens recalled upon June 17, 1967, when China announced a successful H-bomb test and on the same date, hailing that China has and will always create its own path to development, regardless whatever exterior obstacles. ^ top ^

China to ensure production safety, ward off accidents (Xinhua)
2021-06-18
China will spare no effort to ensure production safety, firmly ward off accidents of various kinds, and create a safe and stable atmosphere for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, according to a national video and telephone conference on production safety held on Thursday. Efforts should be made to resolutely prevent serious and major accidents, carry out in-depth safety rectification in the fields of the chemical industry and mines, gas pipelines, industrial parks, transportation of hazardous chemicals, road traffic safety, among others, and comprehensively investigate and defuse major risks and hidden dangers of all kinds, the conference said. The conference stressed cracking down on violations of laws and regulations regarding production safety, resolutely preventing the occurrence of extreme violence, and enhancing the emergency response capacity. Vice Premier Liu He, also head of the Work Safety Committee of the State Council, as well as Wang Yong and Zhao Kezhi, both state councilors and vice heads of the committee, were present at Thursday's conference. ^ top ^

China to improve medical rehabilitation services capacity (Xinhua)
2021-06-18
Chinese authorities have issued a circular to improve the capacity of medical rehabilitation services, to provide comprehensive services for its people at all stages of life. The document, jointly issued by the National Health Commission and seven other departments, sets the goal of establishing a professional medical rehabilitation team by 2022. It also urges efforts to ensure eight rehabilitation physicians and 12 rehabilitation therapists for every 100,000 people by 2025. The document also calls for strengthening the construction of rehabilitation hospitals and the departments of rehabilitation medicine at general hospitals, requiring at least one rehabilitation hospital at or above Grade II in every provincial capital and every prefecture-level city with a permanent population of more than 3 million. ^ top ^

China's top political advisor stresses strategic strength in science, technology (Xinhua)
2021-06-16
China's top political advisor Wang Yang Wednesday called on non-Communist parties and people's organizations to continue conducting consultations and building consensus and make contributions to building China into a leader in science and technology. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks while attending a symposium with heads of the central committees of non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC). The symposium was convened by the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee to discuss research results on strengthening national strategic capacity in science and technology. The research was conducted by relevant non-Communist parties and organizations. Wang called on the non-Communist parties and organizations to give full play to their advantages in talent and intelligence and take an active part in implementing major national scientific projects. The heads of the central committees of the participant non-Communist parties and the ACFIC pointed out the problems and obstacles in enhancing China's strategic scientific and technological strengths. They also raised suggestions on improving related legislation, accelerating public health system reforms, and supporting enterprises in leading scientific innovation, among others. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Officials, envoys hail role of Shanghai in opening-up (China Daily)
2021-06-18
Zheng Haiao, deputy director of the Policy Research Bureau at the Management Committee of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, described his job as something like a "woodpecker". By working out measures for reform and innovation, Zheng said he and his colleagues manage to "peck off" the institutional barriers that might affect international market players in the pilot FTZ, in order to make their business development more "simplified, efficient and free". Speaking at a dialogue in Shanghai on Wednesday evening on the city's achievements in practicing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, he discussed the development of the FTZ since it was founded in 2013. Zheng spoke of the work to reduce the number of items on the zone's "negative list". Industries not on the list are open for investment to all businesses and do not require prior approval by the authorities. Over the past eight years, the number of the items on the negative list was reduced from more than 190 to only 30 in order to keep widening market access for foreign businesses, and more than 12,000 foreign companies had set up operations in the FTZ, he added. He said that China will continue to open wider through consistent reforms, and Shanghai will definitely become a magnet for international investors. Shanghai has been the frontier and barometer of China's reform and opening-up since the country's opening-up policy was launched in 1978. In August 2019, the Chinese government announced the establishment of the Lingang Special Area of the Shanghai FTZ, a major strategic move to further opening-up, facilitate overseas investment and capital flows and realize the free flow of goods. President Xi Jinping has said on many occasions that China is committed to all-around opening-up to the world. During an inspection tour of Shanghai in November 2019, he called for bolder moves to conduct a higher-level opening-up in broader fields in the Lingang area of the FTZ. Addressing Wednesday's meeting, which was organized by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, Li Qiang, Shanghai's Party secretary, said it is through deepening reform and opening-up that Shanghai has become what it is today and created many miracles. Going forward, Li said the city will further develop itself with bolder moves, keep deepening reforms, think outside the box and take innovative steps for new achievements in promoting all-around opening-up. The event took place ahead of the celebration of the centenary of the founding of the CPC on July 1. More than 740 representatives from 126 political parties and organizations in nearly 100 countries participated in the event online, and ambassadors of more than 40 countries to China also took part in the meeting in Shanghai. Song Tao, director of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at the meeting that it has been the CPC's strategic choice to stick to opening-up, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation in order to promote common development between China and the rest of the world. The country, led by the CPC, will embrace the world with increasing openness in order to have better interactions with the world and contribute more to the building of an open world economy, Song said. Foreign participants at the meeting also commended the CPC's open and inclusive nature. Ndong Ella Baudelaire, Gabonese ambassador to China, said that, led by the CPC, China has made huge achievements through reform and opening-up and also contributes to world peace, development and progress. "I think it is an inspiration for countries like us," the ambassador said. ^ top ^

Over 40 foreign diplomats experience CPC origins in Shanghai (Global Times)
2021-06-16
Over 40 foreign diplomats explored and experienced the memorial site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Shanghai on Wednesday, where they saw over 600 valuable relics in the 3,700-square-meter exhibition hall to better understand the history of the CPC. At the site of the first National Congress of the Party, the diplomats watched a group of new Party members, with an average age of 32, take their oaths to express their willingness to become members of the Party. Upon finishing their visit at the site, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, Ambassador of Gabon to China said the starting location is important for the CPC, and China is always improving because the CPC members "never forget why they met here. They never forget why they created the CPC." "Since the Party was created, you can see the evolution of China," Ambassador Ndong Ella said, noting that their country is inspired by the CPC, because the "CPC still focuses on Chinese people, the well-being of Chinese people, to create a good condition of life." On July 23, 1921, 13 early members of the CPC gathered in the two-story building at 76 Xingye Road in Shanghai, triggering overwhelming changes in China. The congress then moved to a boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang Province. In the memorial hall, Gafar Karar Ahmed, Ambassador of Sudan to China was observing the revolution relics carefully. He told the Global Times that he understood the history and also studied some of the documents of the first national congress. Ambassador Gafar Karar Ahmed said that the CPC has already "fulfilled its commitment to the people," adding that "now we see a strong nation, free and happy people." Selim Belortaja, Ambassador of Albania to China also shared his excitement with the Global Times after visiting the memorial site. He told the Global Times that it was his second time visiting Shanghai and he would like to come again in the future. The event was organized by the International Department of Central Committee of the CPC and Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC. It is part of the events of Shanghai's Achievements in Practicing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era: A Special Thematic Dialogue. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangzhou's fight against Delta variant sounds alarm for other cities in preventing variant strains: experts (Global Times)
2021-06-18
Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province has basically brought the latest outbreak under control as it recorded less than five new COVID-19 cases daily for five consecutive days since Sunday, with zero cases reported on Tuesday. Experts said that Guangzhou's fight against the Delta variant should sound the alarm for other cities in China in preventing variant strains. This is the first time that the Delta variant strain has caused an outbreak in China. "Guangzhou has performed well this time against the mutation," Zeng Guang, a former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told Global Times on Thursday. The mutation is highly infectious with strong pathogenicity, wreaking havoc in many other countries and regions, including some Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, which have performed well in preventing other mutations, Zeng noted. "The easing epidemic situation in Guangzhou demonstrates that the virus management strategy has survived the test of a severe mutation," Zeng said. At the same time, there are also lessons that can be learned from the latest outbreak in Guangzhou, such as the prevention work at quarantine facilities, the screening of close contacts, and the work preventing staff from becoming infected. All work should be conducted with a great deal of care, experts noted. Experts said that the outbreak in Guangzhou has rung the alarm for cities across China as many of them have most likely relaxed their vigilance due to the controlled state of the pandemic in China. Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, suggested conducting more nucleic acid tests during the quarantine period. Currently, international arrivals need to accept four nucleic acid tests separately on the first, the seventh, the 14th and the 21st day of quarantine after entering Guangzhou. But as the incubation period of the mutation discovered in India is only 2-3 days. It is better to make international arrivals accept testing every three days in order to track down cases in time, Yang told the Global Times on Thursday. Yang noted that although Guangzhou is witnessing an easing epidemic situation, the city should remain vigilant and implement strict anti-virus management to ensure a safe environment for an array of upcoming major events in the second half of the year, including the senior high school entrance exam delayed until July and celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, in addition to the fall semester that will begin in September. This round of the virus surge in the city has seen 151 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported as of Wednesday starting from May 21, including 144 confirmed cases and seven asymptomatic infections. All people infected by this round of the outbreak are currently receiving treatment at the Eighth People's Hospital of Guangzhou. Some areas which have been under lockdown were reopened with the easing of the outbreak. As part of scientific epidemic prevention and control measures amid the latest surge, six areas from three districts were approved to exit lockdown status on Wednesday. Eleven other areas in the city left lockdown status on Monday. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Chinese cotton industry launches program to counter Western crackdown on Xinjiang exports (China Daily)
2021-06-18
The China Cotton Association (CCA), along with other industry organizations, officially launched the Cotton China Sustainable Development Program on Thursday, aiming to build a homegrown independent sustainable standard and certification system to counter the West's dominance that has posed serious threat on China's cotton industry. The move marks a milestone in overhauling the global cotton rule-making system, which is currently monopolized by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a West-led industry body that has apparently been manipulated by some anti-China forces in their slandering against China and its policies in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. BCI suspended cotton licenses for Xinjiang companies several months ago, which led to a sharp plunge in the region's cotton exports after boycotts by several global fashion brands. Industry insiders said that the establishment of the new program will make China - the world's largest cotton consumer market - hold a significant saying in international pricing and standard-setting, and more importantly, lend it a tool to reasonably defend itself and protect its legitimate interests against Western political crackdowns. The program is designed to promote the high-quality and sustainable development of China's cotton industry based on the core concept of "environmental friendly, excellent quality, respect for labor and fully traceable." It will facilitate the consumption of homegrown cotton and expand the global market share of Chinese cotton. Preparation for the program had begun for a while before it was launched on Thursday at the 2021 China International Cotton Conference in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. So far, it has finished formulating standards for the management of cotton production and signed contracts with six Chinese cotton producers. Looking ahead, it will further cooperate with the textile supply chain and brands to build a sustainable cotton industrial chain from production, textile and clothes manufacturing, to brand sales. Gao Fang, chairman of the CCA, said at the opening ceremony that under the program, the CCA will also commence evaluation work on cotton producers, and push forward the mutual recognition between Chinese standards and international standards. Also, a traceable system will be set up to supervise the whole supply chain. "We had already begun the work, but the BCI's [license suspension in April] further raised the urgency and sped up the process. All industry bodies have been uniting to help promote Chinese cotton, to make us less constrained by [other nations]," Wang Jiandong, vice chairman and secretary general of the CCA, told the Global Times on the sideline of the conference on Thursday. "Why does the BCI's license have such a global influence? And why China - as the world's largest cotton consumption country and the world's second-largest cotton producer - has a limited saying in trade practices in international sphere? We should reverse this situation," Wang said. Industry insiders noted that the ultimate goal of the program is to challenge the BCI's rules, reduce reliance on Western standards, and promote the China-developed sustainable cotton standard in the world, while also raising global brand awareness for China-made textile and clothing. The BCI is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. At the end of 2019, it had more than 1,840 members, spanning the entire global cotton supply chain. In 2019, BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced more than 1.5 million metric tons of Better Cotton, including brands such as H&M, Adidas, and Nike. When the BCI stopped issuing licenses for Xinjiang cotton based on the widely debunked claim of "forced labor," these multinational firms followed suit. An industry insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on the sideline of the conference on Thursday that the ban was equivalent to excluding 80 percent of Chinese cotton and 20 percent of global cotton from some of the world's supply chain. Xinjiang is China's largest cotton production base, with an annual output of around 5 million tons. "The BCI could also manipulate cotton price through inventory, purchase delivery time and financial leverage, which are common practices in bulk commodity trading. Such price fluctuations would also affect the revenue of domestic companies across the supply chain," the insider said. But on a positive side, Wang noted that while the US has long dominated the setting of global cotton prices, China is also gradually gaining global influence as cotton future market at home improves. At the conference, participants also brushed off some Western countries' slander against Xinjiang cotton over unsubstantiated human rights allegations, criticizing NGOs and Western economies for using political agenda to disrupt the global supply chain in the cotton industry and hurt the interests of Xinjiang cotton farmers and global consumers. "We strongly object politicizing economic issues. The world needs to join hands to maintain a free, open and non-discriminatory multilateral trade mechanism," Wang Wei, an official at the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, said at the opening ceremony of the conference on Thursday. ^ top ^

Canada's attempt to lead anti-China joint statement on Xinjiang doomed to fail: Chinese Mission Spokesperson (Global Times)
2021-06-18
Out of political purposes, a small group of Western countries, Canada included, attempt to spread disinformation and lies to frame China at the Human Rights Council, said Chinese Mission spokesperson Liu Yuyin, noting that China will fight back resolutely any injustice and trespasses done to it. It is learned that Canada will lead in making a Xinjiang-related joint statement at the interactive dialogue on the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council on June 21. In response, Liu said that the attempt of Canada is nothing but a repeat of their usual trick of using human rights as a political tool, which is bound to be rejected by the international community and doomed to failure. The spokesperson said that Xinjiang has made remarkable achievements in economic and social development and in the field of human rights. At present, Xinjiang enjoys social stability, peace and economic prosperity. People there are leading a safe and enjoyable life. However, certain countries are simply not happy to see prosperity, stability and development in Xinjiang. "These countries all have embassies in China. How come that their ambassadors and diplomats have no idea of the truth in Xinjiang? Or they simply choose to be the man pretending to fall asleep," Liu said. Liu noted that China has extended invitations on a number of occasions to these ambassadors to visit Xinjiang, but on each occasion, they declined with one excuse after another, and failed to make the trip to this date. "Why are they so scared to go? Obviously, what they really care is not facts and truth, but how to slander and frame China in every possible way under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issue. What they have done will not gain any support and won't go anywhere," said Liu. Despite grave and shocking human rights violations within their own borders, countries including Canada have never taken any substantive actions to address the violations. For them, human rights is nothing but lip service or a tool to attack others, said Liu. The recent discovery of the remains of over 200 indigenous children at a Canadian boarding school is yet another reminder of Canada's historical atrocities of killing the indigenous people and eradicating their culture. Over 150,000 indigenous children in Canada were forcibly taken away from their parents and sent to boarding schools, where at least 4,000 children died of unnatural causes. Until today, people of Asian and African descent in Canada are still suffering from systemic racial discrimination, and rights of migrants are wantonly offended. "We would like to once again warn these countries that Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong are inalienable parts of China, and the Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong related issues are purely China's internal affairs which brook no interference by any external forces," said Liu, noting that China is also a country that upholds principles and has its bottom line. "We stand firm and will never tolerate interference in China's internal affairs, vilification of China or infringement on China's interests. Canada and the countries concerned are advised to immediately halt their dangerous act, stop political manipulation of Xinjiang-related issues and stop provoking confrontation at the Human Rights Council. We will fight back resolutely any injustice and trespasses done to us," said Liu. ^ top ^

'Tribunal' on Xinjiang is new farce in the making (China Daily)
2021-06-16
Several hearings were held In London from June 4 to 7 by a self-appointed tribunal into alleged genocide and human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The tribunal plans to reconvene for further hearings between Sept 10 and 13 and issue its conclusions by year's end. However, these hearings are not being held under the auspices of either the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice, but are the work of a group of freelancers whose views on China are already well known. The tribunal is chaired by Geoffrey Nice, a British barrister, with Nick Vetch, a businessman, as his vice-chairman. It has also recruited Helena Kennedy, a human rights lawyer, to be its "external adviser". Nice and Vetch have previously worked closely together, and also in relation to China. In 2019, they both sat on the so-called China Tribunal, also chaired by Nice, and to which China strongly objected. Then, as now, the tribunal was devoid of official status, although this did not prevent it from producing a damning report that accused China of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience. China's London embassy denied the allegations. Once again, aping international nomenclature, those inquiring into the Xinjiang situation have grandly styled themselves the "Uyghur Tribunal". Although Nice says the tribunal plans to "review evidence "and then "reach a judgment", it has no legal standing and no enforcement powers. He says, nonetheless, that "what we hope to achieve is to provide facts that others may use". China denies that abuses have taken place. It says that, faced with a proliferation of terrorist atrocities by separatists that caused numerous deaths and destabilized the region, it was necessary to initiate a deradicalization program. The purpose of this was to reeducate people at risk of indoctrination, to provide them with rehabilitative training, and to reduce poverty. Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has said the tribunal is "neither legal nor credible". Whereas Nice says that the tribunal will seek "to reach an impartial and considered judgment on whether international crimes are proved to have been committed by the PRC", Vetch says it is "an independent endeavor and it will deal with the evidence and only the evidence". As they both presumably realize, their report, to have any credibility, must at least give the appearance of objectivity. Yet this is precisely where their problems lie. To objective observers, the close involvement of Nice and Vetch with the "China Tribunal" in 2019 is indicative of an anti-China mindset. As China sees it, there is a sustained campaign in the West to misrepresent the situation in Xinjiang, the purpose of which is to harm its international standing. Nice and Kennedy were among the nine individuals and four organizations sanctioned by China on March 26 for having "maliciously spread lies and disinformation "about the "so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang". The impression, therefore, that they have a grudge against the country they are investigating is inescapable, although this is by no means all. On June 4, Benedict Rogers, who runs Hong Kong Watch, the propaganda outfit that specializes in churning out fallacies about China, claimed that it was he who had introduced Nice to the Uygurs some two-and-a-half years earlier. He has, moreover, clearly taken a shine to Nice, as he recently appointed him as a Hong Kong Watch patron. Another of its patrons is David Alton, whose name will forever be linked with the now infamous report on the Hong Kong Police Force that the All-Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong, of which he is a vice-chair, produced in 2020. The All-Parliamentary Group, which was established in November 2019 and has no official standing, announced it would hold an inquiry into the police force's handling of medical workers during the Hong Kong protests. Once the inquiry was established, however, researchers discovered that the group was being covertly funded by Stand with Hong Kong, an anti-police body with close ties to both the protest movement and Hong Kong Watch. Indeed, the group's report, which maligned a brave and professional body of men and women, was by any yardstick a travesty of justice. That unsavory episode leads inexorably to the question of who is funding Nice's inquiry, and at this point foreign money again rears its ugly head. According to the tribunal's website, it was in June 2020 that Dolkun Isa, head of the "World Uyghur Congress", "formally requested that (Nice) establish an independent people's tribunal to investigate 'ongoing atrocities and possible genocide' against the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic Muslim populations". The "World Uyghur Congress", founded in 2004, is substantially funded by the US-backed National Endowment for Democracy, which promotes US policy interests abroad. In 2019, for example, it gave $380,000 to the "World Uyghur Congress", and at least some of this will have made its way into the tribunal's coffers. In addition, the tribunal admits that crowdfunding has raised nearly£250,000, while the "World Uyghur Congress" has donated an initial $115,000. In other words, the US has a direct interest in the outcome of Nice's inquiry into the Uygurs. The tribunal has also revealed that it was launched with assistance from the Coalition for Genocide Response, which was founded by Hong Kong Watch functionary Luke Pulford, who also has close links to Stand with Hong Kong. Hong Kong Watch, despite its name, is now operating on various fronts increasingly unrelated to Hong Kong, but all of which have China animosity at their core. Although the tribunal proclaims that its proceedings are conducted "in accordance with international law and international legal norms", anybody watching its proceedings would have been startled at its cavalier approach to evidentiary issues. Questioners, for example, repeatedly put the answers they wanted to hear into the mouths of witnesses, and the rule that inhibits the use of hearsay evidence was routinely flouted. The "Uyghur Tribunal" claims that it is run by an independent civil society body dedicated to impartiality, objectivity and a fair outcome. If this is true, it begs the question of why so many organizations hostile to China are so heavily involved behind the scenes. All the signs point to the tribunal simply dancing to the tune of others, in which case its report will not be worth the paper it is written on. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Commissioner's office of Chinese foreign ministry urges external forces to stop undermining Hong Kong's rule of law on pretext of press freedom (Xinhua)
2021-06-18
The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday urged external forces to stop undermining Hong Kong's rule of law on the pretext of press freedom. The statement was made in response to a few Western politicians and foreign media organizations who vilified the Hong Kong police's law enforcement actions against five executives of Apple Daily and related companies. A spokesperson of the office said the HKSAR government and the police have made it clear that those arrested are suspected of conspiring to endanger national security by colluding with foreign forces via publishing dozens of articles on Apple Daily and circulating them through media platforms, urging foreign countries to impose sanctions on or take other hostile activities against Hong Kong and China. The national security law in Hong Kong targets a small handful of anti-China troublemakers who pose grave threat to national security and protects the lawful rights and freedoms of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents, press freedom included, the spokesperson said. The facts are clear and the evidence solid, and the cases have nothing to do with press freedom, the spokesperson said. A few external forces, however, have exploited the cases and distorted the truth, smearing Hong Kong's press freedom and even spreading rumor about so-called "chilling effects" in an attempt to disrupt the rule of law in Hong Kong on the pretext of press freedom, obstruct the HKSAR government's law-based governance and undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, the spokesperson said. The spokesperson urged the external forces to respect the rule of law in Hong Kong and stop sabotaging Hong Kong's prosperity and stability or interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs as a whole in any form. ^ top ^

Hong Kong national security law: Apple Daily editor-in-chief, 4 directors arrested in early morning raid over alleged collusion with foreign forces (SCMP)
2021-06-17
Hong Kong's national security police arrested the editor-in-chief and four other directors of the Apple Daily tabloid early on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces in the latest operation under the Beijing-imposed legislation. Police said five directors, including four men and a woman aged between 47 and 63, were arrested for collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, contravening Article 29 of the law. Searches were conducted on their respective residences, with none charged yet. Sources told the Post the arrested were Cheung Kim-hung, group chief executive officer and executive director at Apple Daily parent Next Digital Limited; Apple Daily editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong; Next Digital chief financial officer Royston Chow Tat-kuen; Apple Daily associate publisher Chan Pui-man; and Apple Action News platform director Cheung Chi-wai. "Reports published in the paper allegedly constituted the offence under the national security law," one police source, who refused to elaborate, said. At about 7am, more than 200 officers entered the Tseung Kwan O premises of the news outlet to carry out a search with a court warrant. They then blocked the building's entrances and exits, while requesting all staff to register before entering the premises. All five of those arrested were to be escorted to the offices to assist in the investigation, according to a source. "This place is now a crime scene, and you should stop recording," a police officer told reporters outside. In a statement, police said the security law covers the power of search and seizure in regard to journalistic materials and that the operation was aimed at gathering evidence of suspected contravention of the security law. At about the same time the raid was taking place, Law, the editor-in-chief, was seen being taken away by the police from his residence in Quarry Bay's Kornhill housing estate. Cheung Kim-hung, meanwhile, was picked up from his flat at the Mei Foo Sun Chuen estate in Cheung Sha Wan; Chow was arrested at a South Horizon flat in Ap Lei Chau; Chan Pui-man was detained at her Ocean Shores unit in Tseung Kwan O; and Cheung Chi-wai was arrested at his home in Sai Kung. In the wake of the arrests, at 8.46am, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing posted a notice that trading in Next Digital would be halted for the day. The morning operation marks the second series of arrests involving senior executives at the newspaper. Last August, the force arrested the group's founder, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, and nine others, including his son, for suspected national security or fraud offences. Lai is currently behind bars for his role in three separate unauthorised assemblies in 2019 and last year. Since Lai was sentenced in April, speculation has grown that the days are numbered for Apple Daily, the tabloid he launched in 1995. In April, the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao newspaper published a commentary, saying the tabloid should be banned, considering its long-standing role in promoting "Hong Kong independence". Apple Daily was dealt a further blow last month after the authorities, making use of powers granted under the national security law, ordered Lai's shares in Next Digital to be frozen, along with assets in the local bank accounts of three companies he owned. The newspaper reported that Lai had signed four agreements with Next Digital allowing the company to borrow up to HK$756 million from him personally. As of last September, it had borrowed HK$500 million. Next Digital has maintained the company's operations would not be affected and Apple Daily would be published as usual. In late May, Next Digital said the group's unaudited bank and cash balances as of March 31 stood at HK$521.4 million (US$67.2 million), enough to last at least 18 months from April 1 this year, even without additional funding from Lai. It also said the asset freeze had no impact on the standing shareholder's loan Lai had provided to the company and its subsidiaries. According to Next Digital's 2019-20 annual report, Apple Daily sold about 88,700 copies a day, compared with 102,500 the previous year. The group reported a loss of HK$417.2 million in the 2019-20 annual report. It reportedly sold about 400,000 copies a day back in 1997. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao's decision to suspend office in Taipei following HK shows resolution to safeguard national solidarity with legal weapons: experts (Global Times)
2021-06-17
The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) announced on Wednesday that it will suspend the operations of the Macao Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan, following the ceasing of operations of a similar Hong Kong SAR office in the island in May. The move shows Macao's resolution to safeguard national solidarity using legal weapons, and is a warning to Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority, experts say. The Macao government said it will suspend the MECO's operations from June 19. During the period of suspension, a 24-hour telephone hotline will be set up to provide services and assistance requested by Macao residents in Taiwan. The specific reasons for the suspension of operations were not announced. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said on Wednesday that Taiwan is "very sorry for the unilateral decision of the Macao government," adding that its corresponding office in Macao will continue operating. This decision of the Macau government, like the previous one of the Hong Kong government, has a solid legal basis, Fan Peng, a research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Political Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "It is a manifestation of the two SAR governments' determination to use the weapon of legislation to resolutely defend unification and to show their determination to the Taiwan authorities," Fan said. This step further reflects the determination of the two SAR governments to downgrade their relations with the Taiwan authorities, which is in fact a correction of the previous situation, Fan noted. In May, the Hong Kong suspended its economic and cultural office in Taiwan. In a statement released by the HKSAR government, it slammed Taiwan's regional authority for grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs on repeated occasions. "Taiwan has launched the so-called Hong Kong Aid Project and unilaterally established the so-called Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC), offering assistance to violent protesters and people who tried to shatter Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. The provocative acts of Taiwan are inconsistent with the goal of THEC, which is to promote exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan," reads the statement. The Hong Kong economic and cultural office commenced operations in Taipei in December 2011 to promote economic, trade and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan, in accordance with the 1992 Consensus, reads the statement. Analysts viewed the two SARs' move as Hong Kong's becoming more mature under the framework of the "one country, two systems" principle in pushing national reunification. DPP policy makers have continued to show disrespect for the 1992 Consensus, while the Chinese mainland has been relatively restrained and tolerant, Fan said. "Now, the response from Hong Kong and Macau is tantamount to giving Taiwan a warning that reunification is unstoppable," Fan said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

US touts Taiwan 'porcupine' strategy to thwart Chinese threat (SCMP)
2021-06-18
The United States will use its global clout and alliances to strengthen Taiwan's defence, international presence and economy, including its vital semiconductor industry, against China, US administration officials told Congress on Thursday. Washington will also make clear that Taipei must avoid any provocative action that would compel Beijing to respond, even as it pressures Taiwan to increase its military spending, invest in more mobile coastal cruise missile systems and strengthen its military reserves, they said. "We are also taking steps to make sure that Taiwan is able to defend itself," said Jonathan Fritz, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for China, Mongolia and Taiwan coordination, citing a "porcupine" approach that makes prohibitive the potential cost of any Chinese invasion. The administration will also counter Chinese efforts to block Taiwan's participation in the United Nations and other international organisations and its "poaching" of diplomatic allies, officials said in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. Since Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan's president in 2016, seven countries have switched diplomatic sides, leaving Taipei with 15 official allies, mostly smaller Central American, Caribbean and Pacific nations. The administration said it aims to help Taiwan gain a seat at the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). "They deserve a voice in the room," said Erica Barks-Ruggles, senior bureau official at the State Department's bureau of international organizations affairs. "Shutting them out of last month's World Health Assembly under pressure from the People's Republic of China weakened us all," the career diplomat added. "There is clearly much more work to be done." But the self-governed island has also enjoyed some recent tailwinds, US officials said, including supportive statements by Japan, South Korea and the G7. "I will not deny that the [People's Republic of China] is employing a lot of pressure on folks around the world to isolate Taiwan," Fritz said. "But there are in fact some antibodies." One way for the US to counter China's growing clout at the UN, which fuels its Taiwan containment strategy, is to recruit and staff more American nationals throughout the UN system, "so that we can fight back against this bullying that has been happening", said Barks-Ruggles. But US officials were careful Thursday to reiterate Washington's long-standing commitment to the one-China policy. And while the administration has no interest in a comprehensive strategic dialogue with China – which critics say Beijing has used to frustrate meaningful reform – it is keen to engage in crisis management and avoid a misunderstanding that leads to "unfortunate consequences", officials said. That said, Chinese policies are doing little to convince the 24 million people living in Taiwan that they should embrace reunification, US officials added. "Clearly [People's Republic of China] promises of a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong, and maintenance of Hong Kong's civil liberties, have been completely and thoroughly discredited over the last year, particularly since the unilateral enactment of the national security law," Fritz said. "So it is no surprise that folks in Taiwan, who might at one point in the past contemplated a one nation, two systems formula now find that to be an altogether unappetising prospect," he added. "China is extremely aggressive." A poll released in June 2020 by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation found that 54 per cent of respondents supported official independence from China, up 8 percentage points from 2019 and the highest level polling started in 1991. Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah and former presidential candidate added that the crackdown on Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper and arrest of its top executive on Thursday further undercut Beijing's case. "This has got to underscore in the minds of the people of Taiwan that China has a very different intent than allowing them to operate on their own if they were somehow combined with China," he said. Senators urged the administration to accelerate its delivery of vaccine doses to Taiwan to help the Taiwanese people, avoid a slowdown in the island's semiconductor industry, which supplies half of the world's chips, and counter Chinese propaganda campaigns. Recent Chinese efforts have included "texts coming from the Chinese Communist Party saying that Americans have so much vaccine that we're vaccinating our pets, and that we think more of our dogs that we think of the people of Taiwan", said Romney. "I want to underscore something that others have raised which is the urgency of getting vaccinations and getting vaccines to the people of Taiwan," he added. "It has humanitarian implications but also strategic implications." ^ top ^

Brewing 'Taiwan Peace and Stability Act' an irresponsible political provocation, may worsen cross-Straits ties: experts (Global Times)
2021-06-18
While US lawmakers announced a hardline pro-Taiwan bill, Chinese experts view it as an irresponsible political provocation that would put the Biden administration under pressure. And if the bill passes, it would run contrary to its name. Dubbed "Taiwan Peace and Stability Act," the bill is expected to be introduced this week by Representatives Ami Bera and Steve Chabot, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Asia subcommittee, Reuters said. While details of the brewing bill have yet to be released, some US media reported that it would help Taiwan island in terms of expanding economic development, and urge the Biden administration to promote the island's "meaningful participation" in international organizations. Ironically, after introducing the legislation, Bera said that the US should not send a signal to the Chinese mainland that the US is supporting Taiwan secessionism, and the bill does not derail the US stance of "strategic ambiguity." Xin Qiang, a deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday that if US lawmakers were not playing dumb on China's red line, the bill reflects their misperception and ignorance of the Taiwan question. The bill would fuel the flame of separatists on the island of Taiwan, in which regional authorities will do more to rely on the US for secessionism, Xin said, noting that by assisting the island to expand international space and uphold its remaining "diplomatic relations," the US is supporting Taiwan regional authority to create "One China, One Taiwan" or "Two China" in the international arena. The external affairs authority of Taiwan on Thursday expressed thanks for the "pro-Taiwan move," and said it will pay attention to the bill's progress, Taiwan media reported. As for congressmen who felt that the Biden administration's support for Taiwan was less aggressive compared to that of the Trump era, there are almost no costs to supporting Taiwan, only benefits for themselves, observers said. "It's an irresponsible political provocation," Xin said. "They (the congressmen) are seemingly not concerned about whether the bill will worsen China-US relations or how China will react to the US, as they are not responsible for the consequences caused by the bill." If the legislation is passed, the US has no capacity to decide Taiwan's international participation through its policies, and the US' "Taiwan card" will lead to retaliation from the Chinese mainland and a further deterioration in China-US and cross-Straits relations, analysts said. The executive branch of the US is expected to weigh the pros and cons more carefully than the Congress, said Xin. In the recent G7 summit in the UK, G7 leaders underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits in their joint communiqué targeting the Chinese mainland. Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, reiterated on Tuesday that Xinjiang, Hong Kong affairs and the Taiwan question are China's internal affairs, which brook no interference from outside forces. On the same day, the Chinese People's Liberation Army dispatched a record-breaking fleet of warplanes to conduct an exercise surrounding the island of Taiwan, sending a strong signal to Taiwan secessionists and their Western supporters following recent provocations. ^ top ^

Post-AZ injection deaths in Taiwan shed light on true face of DPP: experts (Global Times)
2021-06-18
Deaths among those who had received the AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccine in Taiwan have increased hesitation among the public to get jabs, with some criticizing the politically driven policy made by the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority as a shame to the virus-hit island. Two days after Taiwan started inoculations with the AZ vaccine that was delivered from Japan, the island recorded at least 13 deaths, although local authorities were reluctant to classify those deaths as being related to the vaccine, local media said. Most of those who died were aged between 60 and 90, and some had a history of chronic diseases. The sudden deaths after vaccination made many elder people and their relatives worried, and they feared that it would be all right if they did not get vaccinated, but there would be a danger to life if they did. Kaohsiung on Thursday reduced the vaccination venues from the planned 34 to 27, and some sites had more medics than patients, local media reported. A Beijing-based immunologist told the Global Times on Thursday that some European nations such as Denmark had stopped using the AZ vaccine, although the European Medicines Agency listed the blood clots with low blood platelets that were strongly associated with the AZ vaccine, as a rare side effect. The immunologist suggested that Taiwan should suspend administering the AZ vaccine for the sake of public health, to allow more detailed investigations and evaluations of its safety. The deaths may not be directly related to the vaccine, but still some Taiwan netizens worried that Japan was just dumping the "questionable" vaccine on Taiwan. The AZ vaccine is not included in the inoculation plan in Japan. Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday that the deaths showed that Japan's offer of the AZ vaccine was more of a humiliation to the island. Japan is considering a second donation to the island after it sent 1.24 million AZ doses to Taiwan earlier this month, local media said. Chen I-hsin, a politician from the opposition camp Kuomintang, said on Facebook on Thursday that he had foreseen the incident last week and asked the DPP authority to take precaution before the AZ vaccine was dispatched. However, the DPP did not buy it, resulting in those deaths among the elderly. Some Taiwan residents blamed the DPP, which would rather take the risk of questionable vaccines than accept vaccines offered by the Chinese mainland. Some are seeking other solutions, including flying to the mainland for vaccinations, amid an infection surge and vaccine shortage. Wang said that the DPP's reluctance to take vaccines from the mainland was not only politically driven but also was probably economically driven, as accepting vaccines from the mainland would strike against its home-grown vaccine that is still waiting for approval. Some Taiwan internet users said they believed that the vaccine and inoculation fiasco had answered the question "Are the DPP's political interests more important than Taiwan residents' lives?" ^ top ^

Mainland's vaccination arrangement for Taiwan compatriots shows affection: spokesperson (Xinhua)
2021-06-16
The Chinese mainland's arrangements and efforts to help Taiwan compatriots get vaccinated against COVID-19 have demonstrated the blood bond of kinship and affection among people across the Strait, a mainland spokesperson said Wednesday. Such efforts are also lauded by Taiwan compatriots, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. Since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in Taiwan, the mainland has expressed willingness to help people on the island control the virus through multiple ways and by all means and facilitate their access to WHO-approved vaccines from the mainland, Ma said. A total of 62,000 Taiwan compatriots were vaccinated on the mainland on an informed consent basis from mid-April to May 31, according to the spokesperson. Many of them have expressed their appreciation of such arrangements online. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Central bank targets exchange rate stability (China Daily)
2021-06-18
The central bank is determined to keep the RMB exchange rate stable against a basket of major currencies amid China's post-pandemic recovery, according to economists. They voiced this view as the RMB's appreciation against the US dollar-a result of China's rapid economic recovery and impressive exports-loses steam, especially after the monetary authority curbed market speculation by withdrawing foreign reserves liquidity. On Thursday, the RMB fixing rate against the dollar stood at 6.4298, after a national foreign exchange market self-disciplinary mechanism suggested companies take a neutral stance on managing forex risks, as both appreciation and depreciation of the currency is possible. The RMB peaked at 6.3572 per dollar on June 1-the highest level since May, 2018. In April and last month, the RMB appreciated by more than 3 percent against the dollar and by nearly 1.4 percent against a basket of currencies tracked by the CFETS Index-a pace that fueled concern among monetary authorities. CFETS refers to the China Foreign Exchange Trading system. Market players said the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, has various tools it can use to maintain a stable exchange rate. On Tuesday, the bank decided to raise the required reserve ratio on foreign currency deposits in financial institutions-a rare move since the 2008 global financial crisis. This move is expected to reduce the supply of foreign exchange in the market. Zhang Ming, deputy head of the Institute of Finance and Banking at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, or CASS, said other measures are available to the PBOC if the RMB comes under persistent pressure either from appreciation or depreciation. The measures include open market operations using foreign reserves, and resetting the so-called counter-cyclical factor-the adjustment that contributing banks make to the daily trade-weighted reference rate the central bank uses to guide the RMB. On June 2, China's forex regulator, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, issued a new quota of $10.3 billion under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor, or QDII, program, allowing 17 Chinese institutional investors to buy more overseas financial instruments. Analysts said the watchdog took the decision to balance cross-border investment, thus allowing more capital outflows and easing RMB appreciation pressure. Guan Tao, global chief economist at BOC International and also a former SAFE official, said the QDII quota was the biggest one-off issue in a single month and showed that the authorities are determined to keep the RMB exchange rate at a "reasonable equilibrium". "We expect the central bank and SAFE to take a series of new measures to achieve balanced cross-border capital flows. These measures might focus on opening the capital account and financial market, especially the stock, bond and foreign exchange markets," Guan said. Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura Securities, said that if these measures were not so effective, the central bank might formulate its own policy actions in coming months. Analysts said that the monetary authority should avoid any measures to intervene in or manipulate the foreign exchange market, as this would be contrary to market principles and international practices. Global financial organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, have consistently confirmed that China is not manipulating the RMB exchange rate. Iris Pang, chief China economist at Dutch bank ING, said,"The PBOC is sticking to the idea of exchange rate liberalization." She said the central bank's actions, such as raising the required reserve ratio for foreign deposits, are a way to deter speculation, while guaranteeing the market operates normally. ^ top ^

Negative list to be shortened for investors (China Daily)
2021-06-18
China's unwavering efforts to deepen reform and opening-up are set to provide more business opportunities to foreign investors and contribute further to world economic recovery, according to experts and business leaders. Their comments came after the country's top economic planner announced on Thursday that China will further shorten the negative list for foreign investment this year, as part of ongoing efforts to continuously open its vast domestic market to global investors. Meng Wei, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country is speeding up the formulation of the negative list for 2021, which will promote opening-up in the service sector in a bid to foster high-quality economic development. A negative list refers to special administrative measures for the access of foreign investment in certain industries or areas. "We will open more sectors of the economy on a larger scale and at a deeper level, to develop a new system promoting a higher-standard open economy," Meng said at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday. The country will continuously support the implementation of major foreign investment projects, especially in sectors such as advanced manufacturing and high-tech, and will encourage foreign investors to participate in the country's high-quality development of manufacturing, new infrastructure construction and innovation-driven growth, she said. To provide foreign investors with a fairer, more transparent and sound business environment, China will improve post-establishment national treatment for all foreign investors, treating domestic and foreign enterprises equally in accordance with the law in areas such as government procedure, certification and the setting of standards. Against the backdrop of a sharp decline in global cross-border direct investment, there has been significant growth in foreign investment in China. The nation's actual use of foreign investment grew 35.4 percent year-on-year to reach 481 billion yuan ($74.78 billion) in the first five months of this year, and had increased by 30.3 percent from the same period in 2019, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The number of newly established foreign-funded enterprises surged 48.6 percent year-on-year to 18,497, up by 12.4 percent from the same period in 2019. The country's successful reining in of COVID-19 has made it a safe haven for foreign investment and a growth engine for global economic recovery, according to experts. Zhang Fei, associate director of the Institute of Foreign Investment of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, attributed the growth in foreign investment in China to factors such as expanding foreign investors' access to more sectors and regions, as reflected in the shortening negative list, and the growing number of pilot programs in pilot free-trade zones, free trade ports and comprehensive pilot zones for the service industry. With COVID-19 largely under control, efforts by governments at different levels in the nation to support major foreign investment projects and facilitate foreign investors, the implementation of the Foreign Investment Law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, and the pursuit of a new dual-circulation development pattern that offers increasing opportunities for foreign-funded enterprises in China, also helped to attract foreign investment, according to Zhang. Leading executives of multinational companies have also expressed their long-term confidence in China, while speaking highly of the nation's contribution to the global economy. "China is a major engine for world economic growth. As an important part of the global industry and supply chains, China's market is continuously opening up to the rest of the world," said Leon Wang, executive vice-president of UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and president of AstraZeneca China. "This plays a very big role in connecting global markets and sharing opportunities. It also makes China the No 1 destination for investment by many multinationals." Jiang Wei, president of Bayer Group's China branch, said as the world faces a huge public health crisis, open cooperation is particularly important to every country's success. "Bayer is very pleased to see how China continues to build a market-oriented and legitimate international business environment, and treats all types of companies equally," he said. ^ top ^

China to ensure accuracy of commodity price indexes to curb market speculation (Global Times)
2021-06-18
China's top economic planner introduced new rules on Thursday to ensure that price indexes of major commodities and services more accurately reflect actual market conditions, in a move to curb speculation in the volatile market. Under the new rules, national price indexes carrying the name of "China" and "nation" must fully indicate the coverage of its data collection, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planner, said on Thursday. The move is aimed at standardizing market prices for important goods and services, including bulk commodities, to ensure reasonable pricing mechanism and accurate data collection, the NDRC said. Also, to ensure the accuracy of the original price data, the measure imposes requirements on the location where the data is collected. The new rules will take effect on August 1. More effective regulation of data collection, compilation and release means that indexes can effectively reflect actual consumption and output, and restrain speculation, industry experts noted. "The improved price compilation system is expected to adjust and amend some indexes that are not scientific and distort market views, so that participants can better grasp actual market demand while conduct futures and spot operations," Wang Guoqing, research director at the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times on Thursday. The standardizing of the index compilation process is part of the government's efforts to manage volatility in market prices, and is expected to have a great impact in curbing speculation, Wu Chenhui, an independent industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday. "Stricter standards for index compilation can reflect the real demand and supply situation. The results will be more convincing and authoritative to market players, and therefore have a greater impact on the suppression of speculation," Wu said. The new rules came after surges in some bulk commodity prices over the past month that may not necessarily reflect the fundamentals of supply and demand, analysts noted. Through a series of measures, speculation had already begun to cool, with the prices of some bulk commodities such as iron ore, steel and copper retreating to various degrees, said Meng Wei, a spokesperson of the NDRC. The NDRC's move on Thursday followed a series of recent measures to stabilize the commodity market. The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration announced on Wednesday that it would release national reserves of copper, aluminum and zinc in an open-bidding process. Bids will be accepted from companies on the middle and lower reaches of the processing and manufacturing sectors, with policies favoring small and medium-sized enterprises, according to the agency. Officials would continue to increase market supply, ease pressures on enterprises and help prices return to a reasonable range, according to the NDRC. The NDRC will closely monitor price changes, strengthen supervision of the spot and futures markets, take measures to protect living standards, and ensure that market supplies and prices of daily goods and commodities are balanced, Meng said. ^ top ^

Chinese Brands Top Euro 2020 Sponsorship (Caixin)
2021-06-17
More Chinese companies than ever signed up to sponsor the UEFA European Football Championships, becoming the largest source of sponsorship for the tournament, which kicked off Friday in Rome. Four Chinese companies — Hisense, Alipay, Vivo and TikTok — are among the 12 sponsors of Euro 2020, the first top-notch sporting event launched since the pandemic after a one-year delay. Other sponsors include American brands FedEx, Booking.com and Coca-Cola; Germany's Volkswagen; Russian energy giant Gazprom; the Netherlands' brewer Heineken and food delivery service Takeaway.com; and Qatar Airways. Chinese companies are increasingly relying on high-visibility sporting events for global brand-building. In 2016, state-owned electronics maker Hisense became the first Chinese sponsor of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) soccer championship. Brand awareness of Hisense nearly doubled in Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain after Euro 2016, Hisense said, citing the market research firm Ipsos Group. Hisense was also a major sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Alibaba Group's payment unit Alipay reached an eight-year partnership deal with UEFA in November 2018, which includes Euro 2020 and 2024. The company is the Euro 2020 official global payment partner. The deal was reported to be worth 200 million euros ($230 million). Euro 2020 is the first time for Chinese smartphone maker Vivo and ByteDance's short-video platform TikTok to sponsor the games as both companies look to expand their business presence on the continent. Vivo agreed to a two-tournament deal including Euro 2024 and became the official smartphone provider for the games. In February, Vivo officially entered Romania and the Czech Republic as part of an ambitious plan launched in October 2020 to expand in Europe. Vivo said it plans to cover more than 12 markets in Europe by the end of the year. ByteDance said in March that its video sharing site TikTok became the first digital entertainment platform to sponsor the European soccer tournament. TikTok "is looking to cement its reputation as the home for football fans to share their passion for the game, as well as driving awareness with new audiences," according to a statement. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

DPRK leader says Pyongyang should prepare for dialogue, confrontation with US (China Daily)
2021-06-18
Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said here Thursday that his country should get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, especially for confrontation, to protect the DPRK's dignity and interests for independent development, the official Korean Central News Agency reported Friday. According to the report, at the third-day sitting of the third plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim reviewed and assessed major changes taking place recently on the international political arena and the external environment of the country, and made detailed analysis of the policy tendency of the US administration toward Pyongyang. Kim "clarified appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction and the direction of activities" to be maintained in the relations with the United States in the days ahead, and "stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development and to reliably guarantee the peaceful environment and the security of our state," the report said. He also stressed the need to further enhance the strategic position and active role of the country, and create favorable external climate on its own initiatives, "concentrating efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean Peninsula," it said. The plenary meeting also discussed issues of stabilizing and improving the people's living under the present situation, the report said. Kim said "all the officials should pay special attention to providing sufficient food to the children of nurseries and kindergartens with their real parents' affection," it said. The plenary meeting will continue on Friday, it added. ^ top ^

ROK calls for DPRK to respond to dialogue offer (China Daily)
2021-06-18
The unification ministry of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Monday called for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to respond to Seoul's dialogue offer ahead of the 21st anniversary of the June 15 joint declaration. Lee Jong-joo, unification ministry spokesperson, told a press briefing that the government urges the DPRK to return to the spirit of the June 15 joint declaration and positively respond to the call for dialogue and cooperation between the two Koreas. She said the government will make best efforts to move forward the Korean Peninsula peace process by continuing to implement the inter-Korean agreements, including the joint declaration. The declaration was announced during the summit in Pyongyang in June 2000 between late ROK President Kim Dae-jung and late DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, the father of the current DPRK leader. The ROK government will hold no official event on Tuesday to mark the 21st anniversary of the declaration, but several events would be reportedly hosted by civilians, municipal governments, and the parliament. The spokesperson noted that the declaration opened a new era for reconciliation, cooperation, peace and unification between the two Koreas and laid foundation for the peninsula peace process. The inter-Korean talks have been stalled since the second summit between top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and then US President Donald Trump ended without an agreement in February 2019 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. Tensions escalated between the two Koreas when Pyongyang destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong in June last year in protest against the anti-DPRK propaganda leaflets flown from the ROK side. ^ top ^

Kim Jong-un says Covid-19, typhoons made North Korea's food situation 'tense' (SCMP)
2021-06-16
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said the country's economy improved this year but called for measures to tackle the "tense" food situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year's typhoons, state media said on Wednesday. Kim chaired a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's central committee on Tuesday to review progress on major policies and craft measures to resolve economic issues, according to the official KCNA news agency. The committee set goals and tasks to achieve its new five-year economic plan outlined at its previous session in February, including increased food and metal production. Kim said the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with the total industrial output growing 25 per cent from a year before, KCNA said. But there was "a series of deviations" in the party's efforts to implement the plans due to several obstacles, he said, singling out tight food supplies. "The people's food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfil its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year," Kim said. The party vowed to direct all efforts to farming this year and discuss ways to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, KCNA said. Kim called for steps to minimise impacts of natural disasters as a lesson from last year and key to attain this year's goal. In January, Kim said his previous five-year economic plan had failed in almost every sector, amid chronic power and food shortages exacerbated by sanctions, the pandemic and floods. A South Korean think tank said Pyongyang could face food shortages of about 1.35 million tonnes this year. According to the Korea Development Institute, North Korea is believed to have produced about 4.4 million tonnes of grains in 2020, down 240,000 tonnes compared to a year earlier. KCNA said Kim also "set forth the tasks for the state to maintain perfect anti-epidemic state under the present condition." It said the meeting will continue but did not mention until when. North Korea has not officially confirmed any Covid-19 cases, a claim questioned by Seoul officials. But the reclusive country has imposed strict antivirus measures including border closures and domestic travel restrictions. Covax, a global initiative for sharing Covid-19 vaccines with poor countries, has said it will provide nearly 2 million doses to North Korea but the shipment has been delayed amid protracted consultations. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Cabinet news in brief (Montsame)
2021-06-17
The Cabinet made the following decisions at its regular meeting on June 16. It approved the composition of the working group formed to celebrate the 150th birthday of renowned political and military leader, Manlaibaatar M.Damdinsuren as well as its action plan. The Cabinet also decided to submit the draft law on Education Package to the Parliament and approved the appointment of Mongolian chairs of Intergovernmental Commissions on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation between the government of Mongolia and foreign governments, ordering Minister of Foreign Affairs B.Battsetseg to establish such commissions with Singapore, New Zealand, Estonia, Cuba, and some South African countries for expansion of economic cooperation. ^ top ^

U.Khurelsukh to take presidential oath on June 25 (Montsame)
2021-06-14
On June 11, the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia passed a resolution setting a date for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect U.Khurelsukh. In the presidential election that took place on June 9, 2021, candidate from the Mongolian People's Party U.Khurelsukh led the ballot with 823,326 votes or gained 67.8 percent of total votes, whereas candidate from the Right Person Electoral Coalition D.Enkhbat followed with 246,968 votes (20.3 percent) with candidate from the Democratic Party S.Erdene collecting 72,832 votes (6 percent). 77 percent of the MPs voted in favor of the resolution to have U.Khurelsukh sworn in as the sixth President of Mongolia at 11:40 AM on June 25. As stated in the Constitution of Mongolia, within 30 days after the election, the President-elect shall take the following oath before the National Parliament: "I swear that I will guard and defend the independence and sovereignty of Mongolia, freedom of the people and national unity, and that I will uphold and observe the Constitution and faithfully perform the duties of the President". ^ top ^

 

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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