MonitorsPublished on Dec 30, 2015
China opposes Filipinos landing on South China Sea island


China opposes Filipinos landing on South China Sea island

China voiced strong dissatisfaction at the arrival of Filipino demonstrators on China's Zhongye Dao Island in the South China Sea on December 28. "China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, including the Zhongye Dao Island," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang in response to a question on the Filipino demonstrators, who landed on the island over the weekend. Lu said China urges the Philippines to withdraw its personnel and facilities from the illegally-occupied Chinese island, and never do anything that harms regional peace and stability as well as China-Philippines relations.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, December 28, 2015

China welcomes meeting between Pakistani, Indian Prime Ministers

China on December 26  welcomed the meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. "The Chinese side has noticed the report and welcomes the latest development in the Pakistan-India relationship," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in response to a question on the meeting. On December 25, Modi stopped in Pakistan on his way to New Delhi from a visit to Afghanistan. During Modi's surprise visit, the two prime ministers met at Sharif's residence in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Lu said Pakistan and India are important countries in south Asia, and the improvement of their relationship will be significant to regional peace, stability and development.

Source(s): The Global Times, December 26, 2015

Taiwan opposition leader says China to have 'rational attitude' toward DPP

Taiwan's opposition leader and presidential frontrunner on December 27 called on China to respect the island's democratic process and said she believes Beijing will have a "rational attitude" when dealing with her independence-leaning party. Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), made the comments in the first live, televised presidential debate with three weeks to go before Taiwan votes in a new president and parliament. Tsai, with a double-digit percentage lead in opinion polls, has tread carefully in discussing how she will engage China if the DPP returns to power as it is likely to next year. The DPP has traditionally favoured the island's formal independence and says it believes only Taiwan's people can decide its future. Beijing takes this to mean it wants independence. Tsai is one of three presidential contenders, which also include Eric Chu, chairman of the ruling Nationalist party, and James Soong, chairman of the People First Party.

Source(s): Reuters, December 27, 2015

Nepal seeks China's support to escape energy crisis

Nepal's foreign minister asked China on December 25 for help in dealing with an energy crisis that crippled the landlocked country over the past three months and China said it would look at the request favourably. The Himalayan nation, which serves as a natural buffer between China and India, adopted its first post-monarchy constitution in September hoping this would usher in peace and stability after years of conflict. But for the last three months, protesters have blocked trucks coming in from India, leading to acute shortages of fuel and medicine. Nepal has blamed New Delhi for siding with the protesters, a charge India denies. Speaking in Beijing after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Nepali Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa said he had asked China to consider the long-term trade in petroleum products. Wang, standing next to Thapa, said China was willing to look at ways with Nepal to help resolve its energy problems.

Source(s): Reuters, December 25, 2015


China orders SOEs to hire former soldiers

China's government is promising "jobs for the boys" after ordering state-owned enterprises to employ some of the 300,000 soldiers who are being laid off as part of an ambitious modernisation of the world's biggest army.As part of the recruitment push, Beijing will assess annually whether SOEs are meeting an existing requirement to reserve 5 per cent of their vacancies for those who have left the People's Liberation Army, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.The move comes after senior PLA officers raised concerns that the lay-offs, which were announced by President Xi Jinping during a high-profile military parade in September, could provoke social instability.

Source(s): The Financial Times, December29, 2015

China's Xi tells grumbling party cadres: 'Don't talk back'

Careless talk could cost you your job. Especially if you bad-mouth the boss.Chinese President Xi Jinping has carried out the most far-reaching anti-corruption campaign in Communist Party history — at the same time as the harshest crackdown on free speech in decades.Now he is tightening the screws further, outlawing internal dissent within the party through new disciplinary rules that have led to an academic, a newspaper editor and a senior police officer getting fired for "improper discussion" of government policy.The purge is an attempt to silence rising dissent within the party, experts say, and is a reflection of Xi's obsession with control, as well as the dramatic centralization of power he has engineered in the past two years.

Source(s): The Washington Post, December29, 2015

China passes controversial new anti-terror laws

China has passed controversial new anti-terrorism laws, saying they are needed to combat growing threats. The new laws, passed on Sunday by China's legislature, create a new anti-terror agency and security forces with significant powers.  Critics say the laws are too broad and can be used against dissidents and religious minorities. China has blamed Muslim Uighur separatists from Xinjiang for several public attacks in recent years. Last week several Western governments issued warnings for foreigners in Beijing's Sanlitun neighbourhood citing intelligence of a possible threat there.

Source(s): BBC, December28, 2015

An Official Implicated in the China Landslide Has Committed Suicide

A Chinese official who sanctioned a dump of construction debris that led to a deadly landslide in the southern city of Shenzhen has committed suicide, a report said on Monday. The report by China's state news agency Xinhua said that XuYuanan, director of the Shenzhen Guangming New District Urban Management Bureau, jumped to his death from a building in the city's Nanshan district. The death toll from the landslide stands at seven thus far, with more than 70 still missing in what is China's fourth man-made disaster this year.

Source(s): TIME, December28, 2015


China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank just months away from first loan

With a new English-only website launched and 23 job openings announced on the same day, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is gearing up for business. The US$100 billion lender, an institution widely seen as a means for Beijing to extend its regional influence, will make its first loan by the middle of 2016, the bank's president-designate, Jin Liqun said.  In the meantime, the bank will set up house rules and find people to fill its most important jobs. The AIIB would lend to projects involved in energy and power, transport and telecoms, rural infrastructure, water supply, environment protection and logistics, Jin told Xinhua. It was still pondering whether to finance coal-powered or nuclear plants.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, December 27, 2015

China's annual audit to cover all government funds, officials

China's top auditor Liu Jiayi on December 26 said auditors will seek to include all public funds, state-owned assets and resources as well as government officials in their annual budget, fiscal revenue and expenditure reports. Liu, head of the National Audit Office (NAO), was speaking at a joint inquiry session on a rectification report about problems found in an audit of the central government's 2014 budget, fiscal revenue and expenditure. His comments came in response to a question raised by lawmakers over how to expand the subjects of NAO's annual audits. The NAO submits the reports to China's top legislature in June every year, but it only covers 44 government departments. The Q&A-style inquiry on Saturday is part of a bimonthly meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature. This is the first time that a top legislature inquiry was held to discuss problems listed in the audit reports. In previous years, only written reports were submitted to lawmakers. The change this year, experts say, could signal the government's resolve to curb widespread malpractice.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, December 26, 2015


China's dark matter probe begins operation

China's Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) has returned its first data to ground stations. Initial assessments indicate everything is working correctly and the spacecraft is now ready to begin a three-year mission.DAMPE, which is also known as Wukong, after the monkey king in the Chinese fairytale Journey to the West, blasted off on  December 17 from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province. Carried on a Long March 2D booster, the spacecraft was placed in a 500km-altitude orbit.Signals and data received shortly afterwards show that the spacecraft is working as expected and that the data is good quality.

Source(s): The Guardian, December 28, 2015

Forecasting China's smog seen as business opportunity for IBM and Microsoft

Two of the world's largest technology firms, IBM and Microsoft, are vying to tap the fast-growing market for forecasting air quality in the world's top carbon emitters.Bouts of acrid smog enveloping Beijing prompted authorities in the Chinese capital to declare two unprecedented "red alerts" this month - a warning to the city's 22 million inhabitants that heavy pollution is expected for more than three days.Such alerts rely on advances in pollution forecasting, increasingly important for Communist party leaders as they seek improvements in monitoring and managing the country's notorious smog in response to growing public awareness.

Source(s): The Guardian, December29, 2015

Satellite launched to provide data, images from across Southeast Asia

China launched an observation satellite early on December 29 that will provide weather forecasting, and images and data from across Southeast Asia for forest monitoring, disaster prevention and other missions. A rocket lifted the Gaofen-4 Earth satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province just after midnight and placed the 5-metric ton spacecraft into orbit. The mission marked the 222nd flight of the Long March rocket family.After a six-month, in-orbit test, Gaofen-4 will provide images to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the State Forestry Administration, the China Earthquake Administration and the China Meteorological Administration, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which is in charge of China's space programs.

Source(s): China Daily, December29, 2015


Douglas Paal, "China, the U.S. and the Coming Taiwan Transition", The Diplomat, December 29, 2015

Carrie Gracie, "China's 'new normal' - a bit too much like the old normal", BBC News, December 29, 2015

Wendy Wu, "China seeks bigger voice in global finance issues"South China Morning Post, December 28, 2015

Gillian Wong and JuroOsawa, "Want to See Technology Taking Over Finance? Look at China", The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2015

Lyle J. Goldstein, "How China Sees the Risky Path Ahead With Taiwan", The National Interest, December 28, 2015

Tung Chee-Hwa, "How to look at China's latest achievements", China Daily, December 28, 2015

Zhang Tiankan, "Phasing out use of coal will lead to clean air", China Daily, December 26, 2015

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