MonitorsPublished on Jul 27, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 26

< style="color: #0069a6;">POLITICS AND SOCIETY

< style="color: #163449;">Communist Party of China to hold key plenum in October, focus on party management

The sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has been scheduled for October, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee announced after a meeting. The plenum in Beijing will include the delivery of a work report to the CPC Central Committee by the Political Bureau, review of key issues concerning the comprehensive and strict management of the Party, writing the norms of intra-Party political life under the new situation; and a revision to an intra-Party supervision regulation, according to a statement released after the meeting. The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Attendees agreed that self-management and strict governance "must all begin from the intra-Party political life." Over the years, the CPC has formulated basic norms of intra-Party political life, featuring principles such as "seeking truth from facts," linking theory with realities, maintaining close links to the masses, among others. Source: Xinhua News Agency, July 26, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Revival, resistance for national pension push

The State Council, China's cabinet, laid the groundwork for a unified, public pension system as part of an economic and social development strategy embedded in the 13th Five-Year Plan, which took effect this year. Beijing wants to put what are now dozens of regional funds run by provincial, city and even county governments under one roof by 2020.  As a first step, officials with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security are now drafting nationwide pension system regulations that should be completed by the end of the year, according to academics involved in the process who asked to remain anonymous. After the rulebook is written, analysts say, central government authorities will have to fight to get the plan off the ground. In 2011, a similar proposal included in the 12th Five-Year Plan stalled due to resistance from local governments on the rich side of the regional divide. Analysts say overcoming that still-intense resistance today will require firm resolve. Source: Caixin, July 27, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">FOREIGN AFFAIRS

< style="color: #163449;">China faces ‘diplomatic dilemma’ as Seoul deploys US anti-missile defence system

Plans by South Korea to deploy a powerful US anti-missile system in the Korean peninsula will create a diplomatic dilemma for China — especially when it is faced with an increasingly bellicose North Korea, experts say. Deploying missile defence system in South Korea harms ties with China, says Chinese foreign minister. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi — who spent a lot of time at the weekend’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign minister’s forum in Laos trying to limit the damage to Beijing over the international tribunal ruling on South China Sea — held bilateral meetings on the sidelines with his counterparts from both North Korea and South Korea. Source: South China Morning Post, July 27, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">India asks three Chinese journalists to leave country by July 31

India has asked three Chinese journalists working for official Xinhua News Agency to leave the country this month, refusing to extend their visas. The three journalists have been ordered to leave the country by July 31. An Indian official on July 24 declined to disclose reasons for refusal to renew the visas, but said Xinhua could send their replacements. The official said they had received several visa extensions and one of them has been in the country for the past seven years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters. According to The Hindu, the three journalists had travelled to Bangalore recently and met exiled Tibetan activists, which became an issue with the government. Though the Tibetan government in exile is headquartered in the northern town of Dharmsala, thousands of Tibetans live in Karnataka. Xinhua and China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment. Source:  The Indian Express, July 24, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">BRICS New Development Bank hopes to expand by drawing other nations as members

The New Development Bank, an infrastructure-focused lender initially set up to serve the five BRICS nations, is expected to add new members as early as next year, its vice president said on July 21 in Shanghai. “It is very likely that we will see new members joining us in 2017 or 2018,” said Zhu Xian, vice president and chief operating officer of the bank, on the sidelines of a NDB seminar. The NDB’s board of governors, who gathered in Shanghai for the bank’s first annual meeting that ended on Thursday, agreed that it was time for the bank to welcome new members for its future development, Zhu said. Expanding the membership from the five founding members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has been ticked as a key task for the bank to become a truly global player. Source: South China Morning Post, July 21, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">ECONOMY

< style="color: #163449;">China's SOE profits post milder decline

China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) posted a milder decline in profits in the first half of this year as the economy showed signs of stabilisation, official data revealed. Profits fell 8.5 percent year on year to 1.13 trillion yuan (169 billion US dollars) in the first six months, narrowing from a 9.6 percent slump in the January-May period, according to statistics from the Ministry of Finance (MOF). In the first half, profits of SOEs under central government control dropped 9 percent from a year earlier, while those of locally administered SOEs slipped 7.1 percent, both milder than the decreases in the first five months, the MOF said. Although downward pressure persists, data suggest stabilisation in the economy. China's gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent year on year in the second quarter, slightly fasterthan expected and stable from the first quarter. Source: Xinhua News Agency, July 25, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">China, UK likely to reach a free trade deal post-Brexit

China and the UK are likely to reach a free trade deal as the two countries are highly complementary in certain industries, experts noted on Monday. However, it may not become a reality until after Brexit takes effect, and challenges still remain. The comments were made following British Chancellor Philip Hammond's interview with the BBC during the two-day meeting of finance ministers from G20 countries held in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province. The new UK government has only just been appointed so it will take some time for the different parts to be set in motion toward negotiating a formal deal. The two countries are very complementary in terms of trade and have less competition in some fields, which serves as a common ground for reaching the trade agreement. In April, UK exports to China reached 1.8 billion pounds ($2.37 billion) while imports of Chinese goods reached 2.9 billion pounds, according to data released by the UK Office for National Statistics in June. China remains one of the UK's major G20 trading economies. Source: Global Times, July 25, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Minister says property tax is 'next task'

The government’s determination to launch the long awaited property tax would help cool down the real estate in the long term, industry analysts said. Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei pledged to go to great lengths to introduce the property tax. Promoting the reform of income tax and property tax will ensure fairer income distribution. However, effective policies for income redistribution will definitely meet obstacles, Lou said. ‘’This is a challenge, and this is our next task.We will be devoted to carrying it on.’’ Experts said the policy could help reduce demand and stabilise prices to some extent. But it may take some time before the long-awaited property tax can be implemented. Source: People’s Daily, July 26, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

< style="color: #163449;">World's largest amphibious aircraft made in China

2xx China has completed production of a massive amphibious aircraft that it plans to use to fight forest fires and perform marine rescue missions. The AG600 rolled off a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai on Saturday, in what aviation observers see as a milestone for the country. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes, a maximum cruising speed of 500 km per hour, a maximum flight range of 4500 km, and a maximum endurance of 12 hours, according to state aircraft maker the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The 37-meter-long AG600 with a wing of 38.8 meters is by far the world's largest amphibian aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, according to AVIC deputy general manager Geng Ruguang. According to the original design, it can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel. With excellent maneuverability and a relatively wide range of search scope, the AG600 is capable of rescuing up to 50 people far offshore. Source: Xinhua News Agency, July 23, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">DNA technique heralds future advances in disease detection

Scientists in Shanghai have come up with a way to obtain accurate test results from microscopic DNA samples, paving the way for breakthroughs in the detection of cancer and venereal disease. Their technique, called LcnPCR, developed during more than 10 years of research at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, a branch of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It has been included in Methods in Molecular Biology, a textbook "for everybody in the molecular biology field around the world", said Wang Xuecai, deputy director of the institute. The new procedure improves upon a previous method known as polymerase chain reaction, which is the current standard used in almost every hospital and life-science laboratory worldwide. Source: China Daily, July 25, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">China to launch first high-capacity broadband satellite

China is scheduled to launch its first high-capacity broadband satellite by the end of 2018, and to begin satellite communications services by 2019, according to the satellite system's blueprint. The blueprint was revealed as part of a contract signed between the Shenzhen government and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) on July 23, according to CASC's official WeChat platform. A new company, APT Mobile SatCom Limited (APSTAR), co-founded by the two bodies, was also unveiled. APSTAR will shoulder the responsibility for construction of the high-capacity broadband satellite system, the costs for which are estimated at 10 billion yuan. Cheng Guangren, president of APSTAR and also an expert on communications satellites, said the company will launch two more high-capacity broadband satellites to serve in the Americas, Europe and Africa, creating a global broadband satellite communications system by 2020. According to CASC, the system will have three to four satellites; each with a capacity dozens of times that of normal broadband satellites. Source: China Daily, July 26, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dan Steinbock, High time to reduce costs of floods, China Daily, July 27, 2016 Adam Briggs, Mike Rayner and Peter Scarborough, The hard questions soft drinks raise, China Daily, July 27, 2016 Andrew Soergel, Are Russia, China and the U.S. Headed Toward a New Cold War?, USA News, July 26, 2016 Kerry Brown, Why Xi Jinping Might Get on Well With Donald Trump, The Diplomat, July 25, 2016 Saša Petricic, The future of 'Made in China': Industrial robots replacing dwindling workforce, CBC News, July 26, 2016 How the Chinese Government Became the World’s Hacking Superpower, MotherBoard, July 26, 2016 China has a boom in ‘get rich quick’ schemes, instead of the economic reform it needs, South China Morning Post, July 24, 2016. 2,000-passage benchmark passed by China-Europe freighttrain service, People’s Daily, July 22, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Contributors:

  • Sreeparna Banerjee
  • Pratnashree Basu
  • Ambalika Guha
  • Swagata Saha
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