MonitorsPublished on Jan 06, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 1


South China Sea tensions surge as China lands plane on artificial island

China's first landing of a plane on one of its new island runways in the South China Sea shows Beijing's facilities in the disputed region are being completed on schedule and military flights will inevitably follow, foreign officials and analysts said. China's increasing military presence in the disputed sea could effectively lead to a Beijing-controlled air defence zone, they said, ratcheting up tensions with other claimants and with the United States in one of the world's most volatile areas. China has confirmed that a test flight by a civilian plane landed on an artificial island built in the Spratlys, the first time Beijing has used a runway in the area.Vietnam said the plane landed on Jan 2 and launched a formal diplomatic protest, while Philippines Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose said Manila was planning to do the same. Both have claims to the area that overlap with China.

Source(s): Reuters, January 5, 2016

China-India cooperation to benefit world: Indian Ambassador

China and India are re-emerging in a mutually supportive manner, and their cooperation will benefit the world, said Ashok Kantha, the Indian ambassador to China.  In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Kantha, who will complete his tenure and leave China this week, said he has a "sense of deep satisfaction" as relations between the Asian neighbors have gained momentum since he took office in 2014, adding that "2016 will be another year of rich harvest."  According to Kantha, the last two years have been "the most productive phase" in the development of Sino-Indian ties, as shown by frequent high-level exchanges, especially the two "landmark" visits by leaders of the two countries. Kantha admitted there are problems, such us border disputes. "But we will not let them get in the way of the development of relations." "Any vision of a prosperous Asia or world will not be realized unless we have a prosperous India and China," concluded Kantha.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, January 5, 2016

Philippines set to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The Philippines is set to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, describing it as a “promising institution” that could help accelerate the country’s economic growth. The AIIB, which has become one of China’s biggest foreign policy successes, is expected to start operating early next year. Despite opposition from Washington, major US allies such as Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy and South Korea have joined the bank, which is seen as a rival to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. For the Philippines, the AIIB “will augment and complement existing multilateral institutions in accelerating economic growth,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said. Purisima said Manila foresaw market expansion for infrastructure-related industries as the AIIB did not restrict procurement of goods and services from any country. It also looked forward to deepening the country’s technical expertise in infrastructure.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, December 30, 2015

China tries to revive Taliban peace talks

Chinese officials will take parts in negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan next month in an effort to restart peace talks with the Taliban. The negotiations, which will also involve officials from the United States, were agreed upon on December 27, officials said, despite growing militant violence. The announcement came as Pakistan’s powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Kabul for a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Pakistan hosted a milestone first round of talks in July but the negotiations stalled when the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Source(s): South China Morning post, December 28, 2015


China scraps approvals for first, second children

China on January 6 stopped requiring couples to apply for official approval before having a first or second child, following the end of one-child policy.The move, which entered effect immediately, was announced by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.They said the approval system will be replaced by birth registrations for couples' first and second children.All Chinese couples have been allowed to have two children since Jan. 1, after the national legislature amended its family planning policy in late December.

Source(s): China Daily, January 6, 2016

Giant Mao statue appears in China's countryside

A 37m-high (120ft) gold-painted statue of Chairman Mao has been built in China's countryside.The giant homage to the late communist leader was paid for by local businessmen, who spent nearly 3 million yuan ($460,000; £313,000), reports say.Some villagers also contributed money to the project. The giant sits in farmland in Tongxucounty, Henan Province. The province was the centre of a famine in the 1950s resulting from Mao's policies.

Source(s): BBC, January 5, 2016

Suspect arrested as death toll in bus inferno rises to 17

Police arrested a suspected arsonist as the death toll from a bus fire in Northwest China on Tuesday rose to 17, with three more bodies found at the scene, an official said. Eight males and nine females lost their lives in the incident. All 32 injured, aged between 20 and 65, were being treated at Ningxia Medical University General Hospital in Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, according to MaKai, the deputy mayor of Yinchuan. Police arrested the suspect, Ma Yongping, in a building under construction in Helancounty, Yinchuan, at 4:30 pm. His trousers were burned. The authorities said the 40-year-old man was helping the police investigation.

Source(s): China Daily, January 6, 2016


China intervention back on traders' minds

Beijing has unveiled a string of measures to soothe sentiment following stock crash on January 5, reviving memories of last year's aggressive stabilization program but fueling doubts over China's commitment to market reforms.On January 6, state-controlled funds, known as China's National Team, were reportedly buying equities while the People's Bank of China (PBOC) injected $20 billion into money markets—the largest operation since September. Authorities are also rumored to be directly intervening in currency markets to halt the renminbi's rapid depreciation.

Source(s): CNBC, January 6, 2016

China’s economy starts 2016 at slowest pace in years

China, the world’s second-largest economy, looked set for a weak start to 2016 after activity in the manufacturing sector contracted for a fifth straight month in December, suggesting the government may have to step up policy support to avert a sharper slowdown. While China’s services sector ended 2015 on a strong note, the economy still appeared to be on track to grow at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index stood at 49.7 in December, up only fractionally from November.

Source(s): The New York Times, January 1, 2016


Five minor planets named after top Chinese scientists

Five minor planets have been named after top Chinese scientists, including the country's first Nobel laureate scientist Tu Youyou, at a ceremony held on December 4.  The naming was suggested by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center (MPC). Chinese vice premier Liu Yandong awarded scientists certificates at the ceremony.    The other four scientists, except Tu, previously won the State Top Scientific and Technological Award, the country's top science prize, for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.  The five minor planets were discovered between 1995 and 1999 by the Beijing Schmidt CCD Asteroid Program at the Xinglong observation station in north China.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, January 5, 2015

China identifies new dinosaur with bow-shaped hip bone

Paleontologists in east China's Shandong Province have named a new dinosaur species in the genus Leptoceratops after its unique hip bone. The partial skeleton of Ischioceratops zhuchengensis, which lived during the Cretaceous Period, the last dinosaur era, was found in the world's largest dinosaur fossil field at Zhucheng, according to the local dinosaur research center Leptoceratops are small, herbivorous dinosaurs that walked on four legs but could probably stand or walk on their hind legs alone. The new species features a recurve bow-shaped ischium (back and lower part of the hip bone), which has an obturator process in the middle part and an axehead-shaped expansion at the distal end. The discovery has been published in the U.S. journal PLOS ONE.

Source(s): The Global Times, January 1, 2015

13.2 percent of China's energy consumption to be non-fossil fuels in 2016

China will continue improving its energy consumption structure and efficiency in 2016, a senior energy official said on December 29.  China will lift the ratio of consumption of non-fossil fuels among total energy consumption to 13.2 percent next year, compared with about 12 percent in 2015, and reduce that of coal from 64.4 percent this year to below 62.6 percent in 2016, said Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration. The government aims to add over 20 million kilowatts of installed wind power and more than 15 million kilowatts of installed photovoltaic power in the next five years. A group of nuclear power projects in China's coastal regions will be given green-light over the next five years, according to Bekri.

Source(s): The Global Times, December 30, 2015


Debasish Roy Chowdhury, “China scores as Nepal plays hardball with India over border ‘blockade’ ”, South China Morning Post, January 5, 2015

RanaMitter, “One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong review – a harrowing examination of social control”, The Guardian, January 4, 2016

Steven Kopits, “Why China’s growth could be over”, CNBC, January 5, 2016

Jerry woods, “Outside the box - Inside the circle”, China Daily, January 5, 2016

Kiki Zhao, “Leveling Criticism at China’s Elite, Some Borrow Words From the Past”, The New York Times, January 4, 2016


  • Pratnashree Basu
  • Swagata Saha
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