MonitorsPublished on Dec 24, 2015
China accuses US of B-52 'provocation' over Spratly Islands
FOREIGN AFFAIRS China has accused the US of "serious provocation" after it flew B-52 bombers near one of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Chinese military personnel were put on "high alert" during the incident onDecember 10, and issued warnings to leave. The Pentagon said it was looking into the complaint. On December 19, a statement from China's defence ministry accused the US of deliberately raising tensions in the area with the B-52 over-flight of the disputed Spratly Islands, which it calls Nansha. A report in the Wall St Journal said there were two B-52s on the mission and that one unintentionally flew within two nautical miles of Cuarteron Reef on the Spratly Islands, possibly due to bad weather. China said the flights "constitute a serious military provocation and are rendering more complex and even militarising conditions in the South China Sea". It urged the US to take measures to prevent similar incidents. Source(s): BBC News, December 19. 2015 China, Pakistan sign financing agreement on coal power project China and Pakistan on December 21 signed a financing agreement on a coal power project located in the Thar Coalfield in Pakistan's Sindh province. The project will cost in excess of 2 billion U.S. dollars, including the exploitation of a 3.8-million-tonne coal mine and the construction of a 660,000-kilowatt power station near the mine. China will contribute 800 million U.S. dollars to the financing, while the Pakistani partners will provide 500 million U.S. dollars, mainly through China Development Bank and Habib Bank. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and it will be the first such project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The corridor will be a 3,000-km network of roads, railways and energy infrastructure, between the ports of Gwadar in Pakistan and Kashgar in Xinjiang. It was established to help lift Pakistan out of its economic slumber and boost growth for the Chinese border economy. Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, December 21, 2015 China to offer proposals on Syrian political settlement Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will offer proposals on a political settlement and anti-terrorism in Syria on December 19 in New York. "Wang will offer Chinese proposals on a ceasefire, political settlement, anti-terrorism and post-war construction at the third foreign minister meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG)," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. Expressing support for the meeting, Hong said China hopes the meeting can push forward a political settlement in Syria based on the two previous meetings. After the third ISSG meeting, the UN Security Council will hold a ministerial-level meeting on Syria the same day. Source(s): Global Times, December 19, 2015 POLITICS & SOCIETY China landslide: Many missing after buildings collapse in Shenzhen Dozens of people are missing after a landslide engulfed 22 buildings at an industrial park in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.About 900 people were evacuated, and four were pulled from rubble with minor or no injuries, the local government said. No fatalities have been reported.Shenzhen's fire brigade said it was working to free other trapped people - state media say 59 remain missing.Two workers' dormitories are among the affected buildings.The city is one of China's biggest and is a major industrial centre.Rescuers have pulled out the first body from the Shenzhen landslide in China, as signs emerge that several survivors are trapped alive in the rubble. Source(s): BBC, December 20, 2015; The New York Times, December 21, 2015 China rights lawyer gets suspended jail sentence Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer PuZhiqiang has been released from detention after receiving a suspended jail sentence. Mr Pu was found guilty by a Beijing court earlier on Tuesday for "inciting ethnic hatred" and "picking quarrels" in social media posts.He is the latest to be tried in a crackdown on dissidents in China.State news agency Xinhua reported on its microblog that during his sentencing Mr Pu had "acknowledged the reality of his crimes", apologised, and expressed acceptance of his sentence. Human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement that the suspended sentence was "a deliberate attempt by the Chinese authorities to shackle a champion of freedom of expression". Source(s): BBC, December 22, 2015 China's new draft law redefines "terrorism", regulates media coverage Chinese lawmakers began reviewing draft legislation on the nation's first counter-terrorism law.The draft, tabled for a third reading at the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, is China's latest attempt to address terrorism at home and help maintain world security.One notable change in Monday's text is an updated definition of the term "terrorism."According to the new draft, terrorism is defined as any proposition or activity -- that, by means of violence, sabotage or threat, generates social panic, undermines public security, infringes personal and property rights, and menaces government organs and international organizations -- with the aim to realize certain political and ideological purpose. Source(s): China Daily, December 21, 2015; Reuters, December 21, 2015 ECONOMY China stimulus hopes lift global markets Chinese government officials have cleared the way for fresh stimulus measures to halt the worsening economic slowdown in the World's second largest economy, sending stock markets around the world higher. At the close of a key meeting of China's Communist leadership yesterday, the government announced a series of reforms, including plans to make China's monetary policy more flexible and to expand the government's budget deficit next year. The raft of measures are expected to provide much needed to support to a painful slowdown in the house-building sector in China. Source(s): The Telegraph, December 22, 2015 China to tackle industrial overcapacity China will formulate policy to resolve overcapacity as the supply glut in some industries has presented a major challenge to growth, according to a statement issued Monday after an annual economic conference.China will create conditions for execution of bankruptcy procedures based on market rules, and speed up trials of bankruptcy liquidation cases, said the statement after the four-day Central Economic Work Conference.A string of policies concerning fiscal and tax support, the handling of non-performing assets and caring for those out of work should be put in place, the statement said, adding businesses should seek more mergers and acquisitions to solve the problem and the capital market needs to facilitate the process. Source(s): China Daily, December 22, 2015 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Apple Pay to launch in China from 2016 China's state-owned bankcard association, China UnionPay, has joined forces with Apple to bring the US giant's electronic payment system, Apple Pay, to the mainland. Apple Pay will roll out to China UnionPay cardholders as early as 2016, pending approvals, the firms said. Shoppers around the world are being encouraged to use smartphones instead of cards to pay for in-store purchases. Alibaba's Alipay currently dominates China's electronic payments market. By 2017 it is estimated the global mobile payments market will be worth some $1Trillion. UnionPay's alliance with Apple is an extension of its plans to make the most of that growing market. Source(s): BBC News, December 18, 2015 Beijing on highest pollution alert but smog not as bad as forecast China's capital Beijing was bracing for four days of choking smog starting on December 19, but residents said the haze was less severe than forecast, with some questioning why the government had issued its highest air pollution alert. China had warned residents across a large part of its north on Friday to prepare for severe smog arriving over the weekend, the worst of which would hit Beijing, prompting the capital to issue its second ever "red alert". A red alert is triggered when the government believes air quality will surpass a level of 200 on an index that measures various pollutants for at least three days. The U.S. government deems a level of more than 200 to be "very unhealthy". On that day, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center was showing an air quality reading of 104. Source(s): Reuters, December 19, 2015 BIBLIOGRAPHY Carrie Gracie, “China power audit: The hard and the soft”, BBC News, December 22, 2015 David Lague, Paul Mooney and Benjamin Kang Lim, “China co-opts a Buddhist sect in global effort to smear Dalai Lama”, Reuters, December 21, 2015 Celia Hatton, “Who will take care of China's elderly people?”, BBC, December 21, 2015 Josh Noble, “What shaped China’s equity boom and bust?”, The Financial Times, December 21, 2015 Zhuang Pinghui, “China to strive for greater clout on the internet through global governance system”, South China Morning Post, December 19, 2015 This edition of the China Weekly Report was complied by Pratnashree Basu and Swagata Saha of ORF Kolkata.
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