MonitorsPublished on Jan 31, 2017
China Weekly Report | Volume VII; Issue 4 |


Xi urges continued efforts to build strong military

President Xi Jinping called on the military to improve its political awareness, push forward reform, and govern it according to law to aid the building of a strong military. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), underscored the importance of improving combat readiness through troop training. The president made the comments while visiting the 65th Army Group, which is stationed in northern China's Hebei Province, on January 23. While at the barracks, Xi extended Spring Festival greetings to the armed forces, armed police force, the militia and reserve forces. Xi visited a study room of a company of an infantry brigade under the 65th Army Group, where he saw servicemen using a smart phone app to compare their study results. He encouraged all soldiers to carry forward the country's excellent traditions and move with the times, while using the Party's new theories to arm their ideologies. Source: China Daily

China’s government admits birthrate too low after decades imposing one-child policy

China’s birthrate is too low and needs to rise as the nation faces serious challenges including a shrinking labour force and rapidly ageing population, the government said in blueprint outlining population policies up to 2030. The State Council proposed measures ranging from taxation incentives to introducing paternity leave to boost birth rate, but demographic experts said the cost would be huge. The proposals were raised in a population planning document released on late Wednesday. The document came after authorities relaxed the one-child policy over a year ago to allow couples to have two babies. The relaxation of the policy, which was described by critics as brutal, helped drive up the number of births to 18.46 million last year, the biggest annual increase since 2000, according to China’s family planning commission. But the number fell short of previous expectations of at least 20 million new babies under the two-child policy. Source: South China Morning Post

Lunar New Year fireworks spark a return to hazardous Beijing pollution

Beijing residents awoke on Saturday to dense, choking smog after many set off a barrage of fireworks overnight to ring in the Lunar New Year, despite limits and public admonitions against such displays in the congested city. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said harmful particulate matter in the air had hit the second highest level in five years by January 28, China News Service reported. Beijing launched a “war against pollution” in 2014 as part of a central government promise to reverse damage done by decades of breakneck growth and strengthen powers to shut down and punish polluters. In Beijing, efforts to ease smog included neighbourhood postings asking residents not to light fireworks, fewer approvals for firework stalls and officials being warned to lead by example and abstain from the pyrotechnics. Source: South China Morning Post


 Chinese ministries ban military-type exports to North Korea

China has released a list of goods that are banned for export to North Korea on January 25, including items and technologies that can be used to build weapons of mass destruction, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) website. Expert said that it shows China's resolution to comply with the UN sanctions and serves as a warning to North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test during the Chinese New Year as it did in 2016.The list contains detailed items and technologies with possible civilian and military use. The items include materials and equipment to develop nuclear missiles and chemical weapons, software related to rockets or drones, high-speed video cameras, submarines, sensors, telecommunications devices and lasers.The list was jointly released by the MOC, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the General Administration of Customers.The list was meant to comply with the requirements of UN sanctions imposed in November in response to North Korea's fifth and largest nuclear test in September. Source: Global Times

China once again urges Singapore to abide by one-China policy

China on January 24 again urged Singapore to strictly abide by the one-China policy, after Hong Kong authorities said they would return armoured vehicles to the city-state that were detained two months ago.  "We hope Singapore can cooperate with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to handle the follow-up issues and take warning from the incident," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a daily press briefing. Nine Singaporean armoured vehicles, reportedly used in military drills in Taiwan, were seized by Hong Kong customs on November 23, 2016 while in transit at a dock in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs and Excise Roy Tang said Tuesday that Hong Kong Customs had completed its investigation and would return the batch of military vehicles to Singapore. Hua said the Taiwan issue concerns China's core interest and the one-China policy is the prerequisite and political foundation to set up and develop relations between China and other countries. She said that China had lodged representations with Singapore over the issue and hoped the city-state could strictly abide by the one-China policy. Source: Global Times

China says it hopes Mongolia learned lesson after Dalai Lama visit

China said on January 24 it hoped Mongolia had learned a lesson and would keep a promise not to invite the Dalai Lama again after his visit in November led to a chill in relations. The Dalai Lama is upheld as a spiritual leader in predominantly Buddhist Mongolia, but China regards him as a dangerous separatist and warned Mongolia before the visit that it could damage ties. “The Dalai Lama’s furtive visit to Mongolia brought a negative impact to China-Mongolia relations,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told Mongolia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsend Munkh-Orgil by telephone. The Mongolian minister was not available for comment but the Chinese ministry said he expressed regret at the negative impact caused by the visit and reaffirmed his government’s position that the Dalai Lama would not be invited again, first stated in December. Source: South China Morning Post


China encourages graduates to work in poor rural areas

The Chinese government has released guidelines to encourage college graduates to seek work in rural areas in central, western and north-eastern China which are suffering from various economic difficulties. The guidelines, jointly issued by the General Office of the State Council and the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, demanded more job creation at local levels, the Xinhua News Agency reported. More jobs for graduates should be created in areas like public education, social aid and healthcare at the community level, said the guidelines. Graduates will be encouraged to work in central, western and north-eastern China and other remote areas with relatively hard conditions. Economic and social development in remote and poor areas in China's interior have been the weakest link in China's modernisation process, while Northeast China, once the cradle of the country's manufacturing sector, is suffering from labour losses and increasing work costs. Source: Global Times

UBS expects no change in China's benchmark interest rates in 2017

UBS expects no change in China's benchmark interest rates in 2017 based on the anticipated moderation of raw material prices and inflation levels. Although China's producer price index (PPI), a measure of inflation at wholesale level, turned positive for the first time since February 2012 and its momentum remained strong, "we think raw material prices will moderate and the weakness of PPI-to-CPI transmission should help keep CPI growth at an average 2.3 percent in 2017," below the government's likely full-year target of 3 percent, UBS economist Wang Tao said in a report January 26. Wang said, as a result, the likelihood that China's central bank would raise the benchmark interest rates was low, especially given the country's still high debt servicing burden. To stabilise the debt level and contain financial risks, Wang said the government will try to gradually lower both its M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, and credit growth this year. Source: Xinhua


Rocket designers set crosshairs on new air purifiers

Chinese carrier rocket designers are using their knowledge and expertise to tap into the public's demand for fresh and clean air. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing, a major developer of the nation's carrier rockets and ballistic missiles, will soon put on the market an air purifier that developers say incorporates a host of cutting-edge technologies used on rockets. Beijing Ares Technology Co, a subsidiary of the academy responsible for the development and marketing of air purifiers, has sold 10,000 Alpha-blue air purifiers, developed by rocket designers, to space industry workers and will launch 5,000 sets on the open market after the coming Chinese New Year. Wang Libo, chairman of Beijing Ares Technology, said on January 25 that he expects the product to be popular because it has better capabilities compared with other air purifiers of its kind on the Chinese market, while being reasonably priced. Source: China Daily

China's SAR imaging satellite put into use

China's first high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite has passed all its in-orbit tests and is now operational, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on January 23. The Gaofen-3 satellite, which is accurate to one meter in distance, was launched in August 2016. Tong Xudong, a senior engineer with the administration, said the satellite covers the globe with an all-weather, 24-hour observation service and will be used for disaster prevention and reduction, ocean monitoring, and the protection of maritime rights. Gaofen-3 is China's first low orbit remote sensing satellite to have a long life. With 12 imaging modes, Gaofen-3 has the most imaging modes in the SAR imaging satellite family. The high-definition observation satellite is capable of switching freely between various imaging modes, taking wide pictures of both earth and bodies of water, and detailed photographs of specific areas. Gaofen-3's spatial resolution ranges from one meter to 500 meters and its largest viewing swath is 650 kilometers. According to the administration, Gaofen-5 hyerspectrual satellite is planned to be launched in September 2017. Source: Xinhua

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to acquire MoneyGram in US$880 million deal

Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, has agreed to buy US-based money-transfer provider MoneyGram International in a deal valued at US$880 million. “The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world,” Ant Financial chief executive Eric Jing said in a statement on January 26. The transaction marks the second and biggest acquisition made by Ant Financial in the US, following its purchase of biometric security technology company EyeVerify for more than US$100 million last year. Under their agreement, stockholders of Nasdaq-listed MoneyGram will be offered US$13.25 per share in cash by Ant Financial. The two companies said their merger will provide consumers in more than 200 countries and territories with convenient and accessible financial services. That will connect MoneyGram’s money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts, and 350,000 physical locations with Ant Financial’s users. Source: South China Morning Post


Lam Woon-Kwong, “With limited policy options, character counts in race for Hong Kong’s top job”, South China Morning Post, January 26, 2017 Better enforcement of the law can ensure workers get paid”, China Daily, January 26, 2017 Tom Fawthrop, “China's Myanmar Dam Hypocrisy”, The Diplomat, January 28, 2017 Bobby Ghosh, “Don’t bet on China to lead the new world order”, Livemint, January 24, 2017 Yi Xianrong, “Stronger dollar will impact yuan movement next year” Global Times, January 24, 2017 Trump’s TPP withdrawal no relief to China’’ Global Times, January 24, 2017


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