MonitorsPublished on Mar 25, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 11

< style="color: #0180b3">FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China proposes Asian financial cooperation association

An Asian financial cooperation association to improve markets and prevent financial turmoil was proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on March 24. "Asia is home to the largest number of emerging economies and has kept up growth momentum," Li told the opening ceremony of the 2016 Boao Forum for Asia.  In Asia, developing countries alone recorded average growth of 6.5 percent in 2015, contributing about 44 percent of the world's total growth, he said. The Boao Forum, held in China's southernmost province of Hainan, is themed "Asia's New Future: New Dynamics and New Vision" this year. More than 2,000 participants from over 60 countries and regions attend the forum.

Source(s): Global Times, March 24, 2016

US, China cooperate on largest nuclear security centre in Asia-Pacific

As the largest nuclear security centre in the Asia-Pacific region, financed by China and the US, began operation in Beijing, reporters were offered a chance to get a glimpse of the center and peek at the equipment and facilities inside. Located in the Changyang Science and Technology Park in the southwestern outskirts of Beijing, the State Nuclear Security Technology Center is equipped with facilities for training, analytical experiments, environmental tests, emergency response simulations and the safe storage of nuclear material and equipment. The center, jointly constructed by the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the US Department of Energy, is capable of training about 2,000 nuclear security personnel from China and other Asia-Pacific nations each year, said CAEA chair Xu Dazhe, who is head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND).

Source(s): Global Times, March 24, 2016

Nepal looks to lessen dependence on India with China port deal

China will allow landlocked Nepal to use its ports for trading goods with third countries, a senior official in Kathmandu said on March 23, potentially ending India's decades-long monopoly over the impoverished country's trading routes. A prolonged blockade of its border crossings with India last year by protesters demanding changes to a new constitution left Nepal desperately short of fuel and goods, throwing into sharp relief its dependence on routes into its southern neighbour. Nepal's prime minister K. P. Oli signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang during a visit to Beijing this week to give Nepalese traders access to land routes and ports in China, commerce ministry official Rabi Shankar Sainju said. Nepal currently uses the eastern Indian port at Kolkata for trade but officials said this is has become congested. India has offered to allow Nepal use of a second port. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry said Nepal lacked the roads and railways to reach Chinese ports located more than 3,000 kilometers (1,875 miles) from its border.

Source(s): Reuters, March 23, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">POLITICS & SOCIETY

Scions of Hu Jintao, Deng Xiaoping climb the political ladder

Descendants of two former top leaders in China have risen in their political careers, with one of them praised for his “low-profile” working style, according to official Chinese media reports. Hu Haifeng, 44, son of former president Hu Jintao, was appointed vice-mayor of the city of Jiaxing in eastern Zhejiang province on Friday.The change in role came two years after he was named the secretary of the city’s legal and political affairs committee. Hu was also appointed the city’s acting mayor, as former mayor Lin Jiandong resigned

Source(s): South China Morning Post, March 21, 2016

China 'detains 17 over Xi resignation letter'

A total of 17 people have been detained in China following the publication of a letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign. The letter was posted earlier this month on a state-backed website Wujie News.In most countries the contents of the letter would be run-of-the-mill political polemic.But in China, of course, and in particular on a website with official links, this kind of thing is unheard of and there have already been signs of a stern response by the authorities.The letter focuses its anger on what it says is President Xi's "gathering of all power" in his own hands, and it accuses him of major economic and diplomatic miscalculations, as well as "stunning the country" by placing further restrictions on freedom of speech.

Source(s): BBC, March 25, 2016

Chinese official linked to companies in two vaccine scandals

A former executive of a Hebei pharmaceutical company caught up in the country’s vaccine scandal was a major stakeholder in another firm at the centre of a similar case six years ago in which about 100 children died or weredisabled, mainland media reported on March 24.The revelation came as the authorities said the number of people detained over the scandal had risen to more than 130, from 29 companies and 16 vaccination centres.HebeiWeifang Biological Products Supply Centre, a state-run firm linked to the provincial centre for disease control and prevention, was part of the network that distributed 570 million yuan (HK$679 million) worth of improperly stored or transported vaccines across 24 provinces.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, March 25, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">ECONOMY

More than 30 countries waiting to join AIIB

There are more than 30 countries waiting to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in addition to its 57 founding members, the bank's president said on March 25.  The AIIB is now working on accepting new members, Jin Liqun said at the Boao Forum for Asia on the Chinese island province of Hainan.  "I think the new member issue will be solved before the end of this year," he said.  A not-for-profit multilateral development bank initiated by China, the AIIB was officially established in December and it started operating in January. It is due to unveil its first projects in the first half of this year.  Existing financial institutions cannot fully meet every nation's infrastructure and other demands, so new ones like the AIIB will be a great help, Jin said.

Source(s): Reuters, March 25, 2016

China’s dramatic shift to a digital economy

Online shopping carts are transforming the face of China’s economy, changing supply chains and putting pricing power in the hands of its 1.37 billion consumers.China’s policymakers have promoted their policy of ‘internet-Plus’ to spearhead economic reform and foster the development of a consumption-led economy over the export-led growth of the past.For decades, mainland China’s economic expansion was powered by low-value-added manufacturing: cheap toys, shoes and textiles that were exported to the rest of the world. Those days are increasingly fading into the past and the focus now is on making the country’s giant economy more productive, innovative and market-oriented.Chinese consumers have adapted to the digital world with lightning speed.

Source(s): Business Spectator, March 24, 2016

China's Li sees economic stability though tough task ahead

China’s economy is showing signs of stabilizing even as it undergoes a major transformation that won’t be easy in the near term, Premier Li Keqiang said on March 24. The remarks by Li signal an increased openness among top officials about the nation’s growth challenges after the $10 trillion-plus economy expanded last year at its slowest pace in a quarter-century. Policy makers want economic growth to be driven more by consumers and services as part of a plan to ease off reliance on exports and debt-funded investment.Li said the economy had gotten off to a “good and stable” start in 2016 and flagged that the government’s low debt levels give policy makers the tools to ensure they can achieve growth in the range of 6.5 percent to 7 percent.

Source(s): Bloomberg, March 24, 2016

< style="color: #0180b3">SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

World Bank approves $500 million loan for Beijing clean-air projects

The World Bank has approved a $500 million loan to China to support financing of projects to help control air pollution in and around Beijing. The money is part of a broader program expected to reach $1.4 billion for "green financing" over the next six years that includes another half billion dollars from Hua Xia Bank Co Ltd and $400 million in equity contributions from sub-borrowers, the World Bank said. China suffers from severe air pollution and is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Some 70 percent of its electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, which are a major source of greenhouse gases. The country aims to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and cutting emissions of major pollutants in the power sector 60 percent by 2020.

Source(s): Reuters, March 23, 2016

Apple bets new 4-inch iPhone to draw big-screen converts in China, India

Apple Inc is betting a new 4-inch iPhone will spur smartphone users in key markets such as China and India to ditch their larger-screens in favor of the diminutive, yet feature-rich and lower-priced iPhone SE. The plan, if successful, will pose a challenge to its Asian competitors such as Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi which have been churning out big-screen phones to win market share in the crowded mid-range and near-premium segments. China, Apple's second-biggest market, and India, one of the fastest-growing major markets in the world, are both seen as key for Apple, which expects overall iPhone sales to contract.

Source(s): Reuters, March 23, 2016


1.   C Raja Mohan , “Bridge to China”, The Indian Express, March 22, 2016 2.   Ben Blanchars, “China launches charm offensive for first overseas naval base:, Reuters, March 23, 2016 3.   Geeta Anand, “Mudslinging Trumps the ‘Middle Way’ in Tibetan Exiles’ Election”, New York Times, March 23, 2016 4.   Stephen Vines, “Why is everybody so afraid of Chinese investment?”, South China Morning Post, March 23, 2016 5.   Euhwa Tran, “Taiwan’s 2016 Elections: It’s Not About China”, The Diplomat, March 25, 2016 6.   NathanVanderklippe, “Even at China’s periphery, economic confidence is dwindling”, The Globe and Mail, March 24, 2016 7.   Cary Huang, “Growth and reform in tug of war as Chinese leaders grapple with hard choices”, South China Morning Post, March 18, 2016


 - Pratnashree Basu  - Swagata Saha
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