MonitorsPublished on May 10, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 17

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

International freight train from Linyi to Gwadar port begins operation

 The international freight train "Linyi," which travels from Linyi in Shandong province to Gwadar port in Pakistan via Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was put into operation on April 30. The city of Linyi has over 130 specialised wholesale markets, with its total trading volume reaching 300 billion yuan in 2015. Kashgar is also an important trade port in western China. In recently years, the cargo trade volume between the two cities has continually increased. In 2015, over 400,000 tons of cargo from Liyin was transported to western Asia via Kashgar. The whole journey is over 8,000 kilometers and takes 10 days. Compared with sea transportation, the highway-railway combined transport can save both time and money. The Linyi freight train is expected to reach an annual freight volume of 400,000 tons and realise a trade value of 2 billion yuan.

Source(s): People’s Daily, May 10, 2016

Taiwan's new government accuses China of interference in its WHO status

The incoming Taiwanese government on May 8 accused China of "political interference" after a senior Chinese official cast doubt over the island keeping its observer status at the World Health Organisation if bilateral relations deteriorated further. China and self-ruled Taiwan underwent a rapprochement under the outgoing government which was run by China-friendly Nationalists, but ties have begun to strain with their successors, the independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). On May 6, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office said that Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly was an arrangement based on the "one China" principle, and that this could cease "should the political foundation of cross-Strait ties be destabilised in the future," according to Xinhua report. The WHO invited Taiwan, but the invitation also referenced a resolution under the U.N. that recognises China, according to the Taiwan government.

Source(s): Reuters, May 8, 2016

China opposes US report on religious freedom

China has lodged solemn representation to the United States after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom listed China as a "country of particular concern" in its annual report. "The US ignores this fact and releases reports repeatedly to distort and attack China's religious policies and status. China firmly opposes the US move and has lodged solemn representation to the US side," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a regular news briefing on May 5. He urged the United States to respect facts, discard bias, look at religious policies and status in China in a fair and objective way and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of religion.

Source(s): Global Times, May 5, 2016

China denies legitimacy of 'election' by so-called Tibetan 'government-in-exile'

China on May 3 reiterated that the so-called Tibetan "government-in-exile" has no legitimacy and its "election" is just "political slapstick." Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks in response to the "election" held by the separatist political group in India on April 27. He added that the so-called "government-in-exile" is not recognised by any country. As for the claim by the "government-in-exile" that fewer Tibetans-in -exile have gone to India because of hindrance by China's national security department, Hong said "this only reflects the unpopularity of the overseas Tibetan separatist groups."

Source(s): Global Times, May 3 , 2016

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

Chinese premier urges to streamline governance to spur economy

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on May 9 that efforts to streamline government administration, transform government functions and boost efficiency will be redoubled to spur economic vitality and attract overseas investment. The premier set out the goals at a national teleconference at the State Council in Beijing. "Basically, our economic structural reform is to establish a proper relationship between the government and the market, allowing the market to play an essential role in allocating resources," said Li, adding that the key of such a reform is to transform government functions. One of the government's key objectives through such efforts is to realise market potential and ensure sustainable economic development. Since 2013, 618 items of State Council agencies have been canceled, or delegated to lower approval levels, easily meeting, by more than a third, the target for cutting the number of items requiring administrative approval.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, May 9, 2016

Flooding paralyses rush hour traffic in southern Chinese cities amid huge downpour

A heavy downpour has seen Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two of China’s biggest cities, struggling to cope as rush hour traffic on My 10 morning was paralysed by flooding. Many areas in Guangzhou have seen roads, buses and subway stations flooded, the Yangcheng Evening News reported. Guangzhou has seen an average of 47.6 mm of rain, according to the People’s Daily. The city government has raised a grade two flooding emergency response. It is expected that heavy rain and thunderstorms will continue to hit southern areas of Guangzhou later on May 10.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, May 10, 2016

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

Drug firms face industry wide probe by price regulator

China's top price regulator will soon launch "large-scale and systematic" anti-trust investigations into drug companies, both foreign and domestic, after it recently summoned them to collect data and information, a source close to the regulator said on May 6. The National Development and Reform Commission may require more drug companies to provide information after Pfizer, a US pharmaceutical company, and a number of distribution companies and medical device manufacturers were summoned, according to the source, who requested anonymity due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter. The commission, which is in charge of China's anti-trust affairs, is collecting evidence to see whether these companies might have violated regulations regarding competition, according to the source. Early in January, the NDRC imposed total fines of 4 million yuan ($616,000) on five domestic pharmaceutical companies for acting in collusion to fix the prices of a common drug.

Source(s): China Daily, May 7, 2016

China's exports and imports slow more than expected

New fears about the health of China's economy have been sparked by figures showing that both exports and imports fell more than expected last month. Exports fell 1.8% compared with April last year, according to official figures, reversing a recovery in March. Imports sank by 10.9% compared with the same month in 2015. That marked the 18th consecutive monthly decline, suggesting that domestic demand remains weak despite a rise in infrastructure spending.

Source(s): BBC, May 8, 2016

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

Robot aims for first-class Chinese universities in 2017

A Chinese robot aims to get enrolled in first-class Chinese universities in 2017, and then try to get into prestigious and comparatively more difficult Peking or Tsinghua university in 2020 after beating 12th graders. The robot will sit three exams: math, Chinese, and a comprehensive test of liberal arts, which includes history, politics and geography, said Lin Hui, CEO of an artificial intelligence company in Chengdu. The company won the bid for the artificial intelligence program on the robot's math test held by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2015.

Source(s): China Daily, May 9, 2016

China's first home-grown Maglev in operation

The first Chinese middle-to-low speed magnetically levitated (Maglev) rail line began operating on May 6 in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province. The maglev shuttles between Changsha's south railway station and the airport, with one stop in between. It takes 19 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the 18.55-km journey, according to a statement from operator Hunan Maglev Transport Co. The train can carry 363 people at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour. The price of a one-way ticket is 20 yuan (about $3). Soon, airline passengers will be able to check in and deposit their bags at a new terminal in the railway station.

Source(s): China Daily, May 6, 2016

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

< style="color: #000000">Wang Yiwei, AIIB cooperates with ADB for joint development, People’s Daily, May 6, 2016

< style="color: #000000">Peng Yining, 1992 Consensus called key to cross-Straits ties, experts say, South China Morning Post, May 8, 2016

Jake Van  Der Kamp, China’s forex reserves rising? Dig deeper, and here’s what you see, South China Morning Post, May 9, 2016

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Game of Visas, The Indian Express, April 30, 2016

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

Pratnashree Basu

Swagata Saha

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