MonitorsPublished on Jul 08, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 23

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

< style="color: #163449;">Xi orders more troops to join flood control

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police will send more troops to support flood control and disaster relief on the direct orders of Chinese President Xi Jinping.  While praising the role of the military in recent disaster relief, Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), urged the CMC to immediately send troops to the affected areas. The Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Tuesday that five days of heavy rain along the Yangtze River and its tributaries had left 128 people dead and 42 others unaccounted for.  The rain has led to the collapse of 41,000 houses and forced the evacuation of more than 1.34 million people. Nearly 600,000 people are in urgent need of basic living assistance. Source: China Daily, July 7, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Xi promises foreign NGOs an improved working environment

China welcomes foreign NGOs to China and will offer them a better working environment, senior officials said. "The Chinese government supports the participation of Chinese social organisations in the economic and social development of the country. In the same vein, the Chinese government welcomes the conduct of friendly exchanges and cooperation in China by foreign NGOs," President Xi Jinping said in a congratulatory letter to the Civil Society 20 China 2016. "Efforts are being made to facilitate their operation in China and protect their legitimate rights and interests through creating an enabling legislative environment," Xi said. More than 200 NGO representatives and experts from 54 countries and regions attended the C20, themed "Poverty Eradication, Green Development, and Innovation: Role of Civil Society", which was held in Qingdao, Shandong province. Source: China Daily, July 7, 2016

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

< style="color: #163449;">South China Sea: Beijing to offer Philippines talks if court ruling ignored

China has said it will initiate talks with the Philippines only if the latter puts aside the upcoming international tribunal hearing on the South China Sea dispute. The ruling is expected on July 12 and China, which has stalled talks for several years, has also been saying it wants to solve the dispute bilaterally, and not via mediation. According to China Daily, Beijing will not accept any negotiation if the discussions are to be based on the arbitration ruling. The publication cited sources, who were not named but were "close to the issues between the two countries."

< style="color: #163449;">China, Russia laud bilateral people-to-people exchange, cooperation

Ever-deepening people-to-people exchange and cooperation between China and Russia will help enhance understanding between both countries, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong said on July 4. Liu made the remarks during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Seventh session of the China-Russia Committee on People-to-People Exchange and Cooperation. The vice premier spoke highly of the various tangible results of bilateral cooperation in education, culture, health, sports, media and other fields in recent years. The Russian Prime Minister also urged the two countries to maintain frequent high-level visits and enhance ties in trade, investment and innovation. Source: Global Times, July 6, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">China confirms military encounter with Japanese jets in East China Sea ADIZ

The Chinese defence ministry said that two Su-30 fighter jets encountered “provocative actions” by a pair of Japanese F-15 jets in the air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea last month, confirming an earlier claim by a retired Japanese officer. The Japanese jets beamed their fire-control radar to the Chinese ones, but the F-15Ss flew off after the Chinese side “took action” during the incident on June 17, the ministry said in a statement, without giving further details. “The provocative actions by the Japanese jets could easily trigger an air accident and harm the safety of both crews, and jeopardise regional peace and stability,” the statement said. The statement about the incident comes after Japan’s top military commander accused China of escalating military activity in the East China Sea, saying Japanese emergency scrambles to counter Chinese jets almost doubled for the past three months. Source: South China Morning Post, July 5, 2016

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

< style="color: #163449;">Yuan touches fresh 5-year low in Shanghai, down for a fifth straight week

The Chinese yuan touched a fresh five-year low in Shanghai trade on Monday morning, extending its losses to a fifth straight week, with traders saying that the People’s Bank of China could continue to let the yuan depreciate this year as Brexit heightens economic uncertainty. The onshore yuan traded at 6.6626 per US dollar at 11.35 am, weaker by 0.04 percent from the previous close, according to data from Bloomberg. Earlier, the currency touched 6.6639, its lowest level in five and a half years. The onshore yuan had declined against the greenback for four straight weeks as of Friday. The Caixin China manufacturing PMI, a separate private gauge of the country’s factory activity, dropped to 48.6 in June from 49.2 in the previous month, reflecting the biggest fall in four months. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Monday (4 July) set the yuan’s mid-point rate at 6.6472 against the US dollar, stronger by 24 pips or 0.04 percent from Friday’s (July 1) fixing. On July 1, the PBOC guided the yuan lower by 184 pips or 0.28 percent from the previous reference rate. Source: South China Morning Post, July 4, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">China to adopt new growth data

China may revise how it calculates the role of the robust "new economy" in boosting GDP growth, an official from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a forum in Beijing over the weekend. GDP growth has been declining since 2011, but the fast-growing "new economy" has played an important role in offsetting the downward pressure facing traditional sectors. The aggregate growth of added value in emerging industries like the environmental protection, information technology and bio-industry sectors was 10 percent in the first quarter, 4.2 percentage points higher than the overall performance of major industrial companies. The growth figure for manufacturing related to aeronautics and astronautics was 28 percent during the period. China's GDP growth slowed to 6.7 percent in the first quarter, the weakest in 28 quarters. Source: Global Times, July 3, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Chinese CEOs prioritise innovation to drive growth: Report

CEOs of China-headquartered companies are prioritising innovation to drive growth and have highlighted it as one of their top priorities, a recent report showed. Almost half of the China respondents placed "fostering innovation" as one of three strategic priorities for the next three years — compared to a just 21 percent worldwide, according to a report from global accounting firm KPMG, which gathered responses from 1268 CEOs worldwide, including 129 from China. In addition, 92 percent of China respondents believed it was important to include innovation in their business strategy, with 47 percent placing innovation at the top of their personal agendas — compared to 23 percent globally. The survey showed that about half of the China respondents viewed new products as the primary source of growth over the next three years. Source: Xinhua, July 1, 2016

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

< style="color: #163449;">China invests in the hunt for aliens with world’s largest radio telescope

The last of 4450 triangular panels was installed to complete the world’s largest single-aperture radio telescope, located in China’s Guizhou Province. A monument of China’s dedication to the field of astronomy, the telescope will be used to study pulsars and search for alien life in the universe. The 500 meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is a $185 million project that began in 2011 and is designed to listen for radio waves up to 1,000 light-years away and search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. FAST will overtake the 305-meter diameter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the largest telescope of its kind. According to CCTV, the FAST team plans for the telescope to be completed and ready for operational testing in September. Source: Techcrunch, July 6, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">China to launch 14 new meteorological satellites before 2025

China will put 14 more meteorological satellites into orbit over the next decade, according to a conference. By 2025, China plans to launch one Fengyun-II satellite, four Fengyun-IIIs, three Fengyun-IVs and another six for multiple meteorological purposes, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, said at a seminar on Fengyun satellite development.  Fengyun satellites are a series of remote-sensing meteorological satellites developed by China. The Fengyun series is an important part of the earth observation satellite system. China has launched 14 Fengyun satellites since 1988, with seven still in orbit as part of the World Meteorological Organization network. Source: Global Times, July 4, 2016

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

The young Chinese admiring China's ruling party, Xinhua News Agency, July 7, 2016 Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Defining China: A Rising, Fragile Global Power, Forbes, July 6, 2016 Brexit to reshape future Sino-EU relations, Global Times, July 6, 2016 Dingding Chen, Both China and the US Want to Control the Narrative on the South China Sea, The Diplomat, July 5, 2016 Our bulldozers, our rules, The Economist, July 2, 2016 Stephen Chen, Is China militarising space? Experts say new junk collector could be used as anti-satellite weapon, South China Morning Post, June 28, 2016 Joe Zhang, How a fear of inflation is driving bitcoin’s popularity in China, South China Morning Post, South China Morning Post, July 3, 2016 Philippe Le Houérou, How private finance can bridge Asia’s infrastructure gap, South China Morning Post, July 4, 2016

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

  • Pratnashree Basu
  • Ambalika Guha
  • Swagata Saha
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