MonitorsPublished on Dec 19, 2016
Little-known Party commission ‘may expand role in China’s national security and other roundups from behind the great wall
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 42


Little-known Party commission ‘may expand role in China’s national security’

A little-known commission chaired by President Xi Jinping could be poised to take an even bigger role in state security with the leadership’s call for centralised oversight in the area, according to a mainland analyst. The push came amid uncertainties in Beijing’s ties with Washington and challenges to cross-strait affairs, an analyst said. It also reflected a lack of trust in the Ministry of State Security, ­another said. In a meeting, the Communist Party’s Politburo endorsed a directive for a “comprehensive approach to national security”, a phrase first aired by Xi at the Central National Security Commission’s initial – and only – meeting, in April 2014, more than a year after the body was founded. The commission’s main task was to protect the nation’s sovereignty, security and developing interests, the Politburo said. Apart from Xi, the other known commission members are two vice-chairmen – Premier Li Keqiang and National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang. Cai Qi was head of its general office until he became acting mayor of Beijing. Source: South China Morning Post

New Xinjiang party chief introduces fresh security, surveillance measures

Just three months after former Tibet party boss Chen Quanguo took up his new post in Xinjiang, the far western frontier is implementing new security and surveillance measures – policies its Tibetan neighbours to the south are only too familiar with. Since October, residents in many parts of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, both the predominantly Muslim Uygurs and the Han, have been told to hand over their passports to local police for safekeeping, according to police notices circulating online and residents’ complaints on social media. Those wishing to travel abroad had to first seek permission from the authorities before reclaiming their passports, the notices said. In addition, to strengthen everyday policing, a sprawling net of “convenience police stations” has been built across cities and rural areas, with government websites and official media boasting of their opening. Source: South China Morning Post


US demands immediate return of underwater drone ‘unlawfully’ seized by China

China “unlawfully” seized an unmanned US naval probe in international waters in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said on December 16, a move sure to heighten tensions around Beijing’s military presence in the disputed area. The underwater vehicle was taken around 50 nautical miles (90km) northwest off Subic Bay in the Philippines on December 15 in a non-violent incident, said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The event unfolded as the civilian-crewed USNS Bowditch was retrieving a pair of “naval gliders” that routinely collect information on water temperatures, salinity and sea clarity. Washington has issued a formal request through diplomatic channels to ask for the probe back.  “It is ours. It is clearly marked as ours. We would like it back, and we would like this not to happen again,” Davis said. Source: The Hindustan Times

China voices firm opposition to contact between India, Dalai Lama

China on December 16  voiced strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to contact between India and the Dalai Lama.  "The Indian side insisted on the arrangement despite China's solemn representations and strong opposition. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly against it," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a daily press briefing.  Geng's remarks came after the Dalai Lama participated in a meeting in India's New Delhi earlier this week with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.  He said the Dalai Lama is a political exile who attempts to split Tibet from Chinese territory under the cloak of religion. China firmly opposes any contact between the Dalai Lama and authorities of any country.  Geng urged the Indian side to recognize the separatist nature of the Dalai Lama clique, show respect for China's core interests and major concerns, and take effective measures to clear up the negative impact of the Dalai Lama's visit to avoid disrupting China-India relations. Source: Global  Times


China opens key economic meeting to plan for 2017

The Central Economic Work Conference opened on December 14, as Chinese leaders began to review the country's economic performance in 2016 and make plans for 2017. In a prelude to the conference, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee confirmed at a meeting on December 9 that supply-side structural reform will continue unabated into 2017. China has achieved steady growth this year with GDP expanding 6.7 percent year on year in the first three quarters. The government set a growth target range of 6.5 to 7 percent for this year. Economic structure and quality have improved, with strategic emerging sectors and high-tech industries growing over ten percent. There have been breakthroughs in reform and opening up, as well as improvement to standards of living and the environment. The country will promote supply-side structural reforms in the agriculture sector, boost the real economy and study and establish a long-term mechanism compatible with the national conditions and market laws, to ensure stable and healthy development of the real estate market, according to the meeting.  China will enhance the rule of law, improve its investment environment, open up wider and work to proactively attract foreign investment, according to the Political Bureau meeting. Source: Xinhua

Global development research consortium launched in Beijing

On December 14, China's leading university set up a consortium to promote research and practice on economic structural change to achieve better global development. The Global Research Consortium on Economic Structural Transformation (GReCEST) is initiated by the Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University and has 33 founding members from all over the world, mostly research institutions. The consortium focuses on structural problems of developing countries, aiming to provide advisory and policy recommendations on sustainable development, said Zhou Qiangwu, director of International Economics and Finance Institute, a think tank under China's Ministry of Finance. "It will also work to promote south-south cooperation and increase developing countries' participation in global economic governance," Zhou said at the inauguration conference. The consortium will further strengthen the construction of the south-south cooperation think tank network and help developing countries reduce poverty and realise transformation, said Agi Veres, country director of the United Nations Development Programme. Source: Xinhua

China to increase tourism investment by 20 percent per year

China will increase its tourism direct investment by 20 percent year on year on average, authorities announced on December 14. By 2020, the country's tourism investment will total 2 trillion yuan (290 billion U.S. dollars), according to a notice jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the China National Tourism Administration.At that time, tourism is expected to account for more than 10 percent of the national GDP and the industry will employ up to 50 million people, the notice said. Source: Xinhua


China launches new-generation weather satellite

China launched a weather satellite at 12:11 a.m. on December 11, marking an upgrade of China's meteorological satellites in geostationary orbit. The Fengyun-4 satellite, the first of China's second-generation weather satellites in geostationary orbit to have been launched, is also the country's first quantitative remote-sensing satellite in high orbit. The satellite, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, was taken into orbit by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. The launch marked the 242nd mission of China's Long March series of rockets. The satellite will make high time, spatial and spectral resolution observations of the atmosphere, clouds and space environment of China and surrounding regions, significantly improving capabilities of weather and climate forecasts, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. The China Meteorological Administration is the primary user of the satellite. Previously, China had successfully launched 14 weather satellites, seven of which are still in orbit. Source: Xinhua

China to end 180-day human space survival experiment

Four Chinese volunteers who have been living inside a sealed capsule in Shenzhen for close to the last 6-months are now just hours away from completing their 180-day survival experiment this December 14. The four scientists -- three men and one woman -- are taking part in this experiment designed to determine how well food, water, and oxygen can be used and recycled under controlled conditions. The test of the "controlled ecological life support system" has been inspired by technology currently used in China's Shenzhou spacecraft. Luo Jie is one of the volunteers. He says "The plants are mostly being harvested now. Many of the plants were sown earlier, and they're now in the harvesting phase. We're going to be out of our capsule soon. Not a lot has changed when it comes to the care of our plants. It's sort of the same thing every day. The plants need to be taken care of, so we take care of them every day." Source: China Daily

What caused ‘snowball Earth’ to melt? Researchers find evidence in China

Acid rain might have deluged the entire globe for hundreds of thousands of years after the melting of “snowball Earth” more than 600 million years ago, according to a new geological discovery in China. But the “hellish” event might also have spurred the emergence of complex life forms in the “Cambrian explosion”, researchers said. The discovery of ancient relics of massive glaciers in similar geological stratums around the world led scientists to suspect that ice has covered our planet almost entirely at least twice. Each episode lasted for millions of years, with ice sheets up to 2 km thick extending from the poles to the equator. The most recent “snowball” episode, known as the Marinoan glaciation, gripped the planet from 650 million years ago to 635 million years ago. The ice and snow reflected sunlight like a mirror, causing temperatures to plunge dramatically. Source: South China Morning Post  


No avoiding accountability for past mistake”, China Daily, December 16, 2016 Alex Lo, “Forget political reform, let’s focus on making people’s lives better”, South China Morning Post, December 16, 2016 Warren I Cohen, “China and the United States: a long history of disappointments”, The Washington Post, 16 December 2016 Ilaria Maria Sala, “When China bullies its neighbors, India gets more muscular”, The Quartz , 16 December 2016 Hu Weijia, ‘Chinese government should stabilise currency to restore confidence in economy’ Global Times, December 15, 2016 Colombe Ladreit, ‘Analysis: Fed is likely to hike interest rates in reaction to Trump presidency’ People’s Daily Online, December 14,2016 Yujia Zhu “How China’s mobile game developers can succeed in 2017”, South China Morning Post, December 11, 2016


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