MonitorsPublished on Oct 15, 2016
China Weekly Report | Volume VI; Issue 34 | China’s new Xinjiang rules ban parents from encouraging children into religion

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

< style="color: #163449;">China’s new Xinjiang rules ban parents from encouraging children into religion

Parents and guardians in China’s heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang who encourage or force their children into religious activities will be reported to police, the government said on Wednesday while unveiling new education rules. Hundreds of people have died in recent years in Xinjiang, the far western home to the Muslim Uygur people, in unrest blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants and separatists, though rights groups say the violence is more a reaction to repressive Chinese policies. The government strongly denies committing any abuses in Xinjiang and insists the legal, cultural and religious rights of the Uygur people are fully protected. While China officially guarantees freedom of religion, minors are not supposed to participate in religious activity and authorities have cracked down on underground Muslim religious schools, or madrasas, in Xinjiang in recent years. Source: South China Morning Post

< style="color: #163449;">Taiwan’s President continues to refuse to accept ‘one China’ principle

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is likely to have upset Beijing on October 10 after she repeated her often-expressed hopes of holding talks with the mainland while refusing to accept the “one China” principle in her first National Day speech as the island’s president. Observers noted that Tsai respected the historical facts concerning the meeting between the two sides in 1992, which had led to more than 20 years of cross-strait interactions. However, she avoided referring by name to the “1992 consensus” – something that Beijing has repeatedly stated is the sole political foundation warranting continued talks and exchanges. “We respect the historical fact that in 1992 the two institutions representing each side across the strait held a meeting,” Tsai said in her first address marking Taiwan’s national day. But she declined to refer to the “1992 consensus” – the key words that refer to the one-China principle, which are considered unacceptable by DPP members. Source: South China Morning Post

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

< style="color: #163449;">Boycotting our goods will damage ties, China’s state media warns India

Protectionism against Chinese companies and boycotting goods from the East Asian country on the pretext of political issues will not help bridge the yawning Sino-India trade deficit, instead only damage bilateral ties, state media said on October 14. Besides allowing free flow of Chinese goods into its huge market, India should focus on expanding and improving industrial infrastructure to address the issue of imbalance in trade, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said in two separate write-ups on bilateral economic ties between the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping cannot be expected to talk in detail about the trade deficit when they meet in Goa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. Quoting Chinese government figures, one GT article said: “Data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed Thursday that India in September exported goods worth $922 million to China, while importing goods worth $5.4 billion from China.” Source: Hindustan Times

< style="color: #163449;">Tibet gives upper hand to China over India: Chinese media

Superior infrastructure in Tibet will provide China an "upper hand" over India by being a "gateway" to Nepal and Bangladesh for greater trade and investments, an article in the state-run Global Times said on October 13. "The competition of China and India over building railways in Nepal will influence the future development of Nepal and Bangladesh. It will also bring more challenges to Tibet," added the article. "In the next decade, if India continues on its high growth track and speeds up the development of infrastructure and manufacturing, this will impose multi-dimensional pressure on China, of which Tibet will bear the brunt," it said. How to further open up Tibet exploit its advantages over India to deal with challenges and exercise an influence over the region while maintaining Tibet's stability needs policy support, it said. Source: Business Standard

< style="color: #163449;">China rejects British concerns over 'legal interference' in Hong Kong

China expressed anger on October 13 after Britain's foreign minister said he continued to have concerns about legal interference by Beijing in Hong Kong despite pledges to the contrary. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a report on its former colony that he had specific concerns about the "integrity of Hong Kong's law enforcement" which is separate from mainland China under the "one country, two systems" arrangement under which Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. Johnson said the case of Lee Bo and four other Hong Kong booksellers who went missing and were subsequently found to have been detained by China was a serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration on Hong Kong that undermined "one country, two systems". Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was "resolutely opposed" to Britain's report, and that it could not accept its "unfounded criticism" of China. Source: Reuters

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

< style="color: #163449;">China unveils measures to promote private investment

China's top economic planner said October 12 it has unveiled a raft of policies to promote the healthy growth of private investment. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released the policy document, which contains 26 measures aimed at promoting investment growth, improving financial services, reducing corporate costs and updating administrative services. In the first eight months of this year, private fixed-asset investment rose only 2.1 percent year on year in real terms, much lower than the 8.1-percent growth for national overall fixed-asset investment during the same period, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The government will further relax market access to private capital and encourage investment in civil airports, telecommunications, oil and gas exploration, electricity, as well as national defence technology, the document showed. China will also facilitate private capital's participation in the social service sector, expand the public-private partnership (PPP) model and build an online investment project approval and supervision platform, according the document. The government will create a plan for local governments to repay their debts, including debts to companies for construction projects and government procurement. Source: Xinhua

< style="color: #163449;">Brazil, China sign agreement to create 20bn USD cooperation fund

The Brazilian government announced on October 12 that it has signed an agreement with China to create a 20 billion US dollar cooperation fund to expand ties in energy, agriculture and digital services, among others. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on the sidelines of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, which took place on Monday. Brazilian dailies, including Correio do Povo and Monitor Mercantil, celebrated the agreement as the first to be signed between Brazil's new government and China. "Brazil and China are two important countries on the international stage. The MOU responds to a demand by the private sector to strengthen ties in the tertiary (services) sector, taking advantage of the focus China has been giving to the expansion of the sector" Brazil's Minister of Industry and Trade Marcos Pereira, who is attending the forum, told Correio de Povo. The agreement is the result of bilateral negotiations that followed Brazilian President Michel Temer’s visit to China in early September. Among the sectors in Brazil slated to receive funding are "energy and mineral resources, advanced technology, agriculture, agro-industry and agricultural warehousing, manufacturing and digital services ... for the mutual benefit of both sides," the government added. Source: Xinhua

< style="color: #163449;">China's consumption could offset cooling housing market: report

A revival in Chinese consumption could make up for the cooling effect in the property sector to provide economic growth momentum, while China may witness slower mortgage growth, a leading Chinese investment bank said on October 12. While the net impact on economic growth from a slower property market may be negative, as housing-related services and investment activities may cool in the near future, "the negative contribution from slower real estate service growth could be partially compensated by a moderate recovery in discretionary consumption growth," China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC) said in its latest report. The report came on the heels of a string of measures to rein in speculative housing purchases, contain risks of asset bubbles and stabilise the market, with more than 20 Chinese cities modifying market rules, including higher down payments and stricter purchase restrictions. Source: Xinhua

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

< style="color: #163449;">Mind-controlled tech to aid astronauts

Chinese space scientists are developing technologies that will allow astronauts to use their thoughts to control equipment in spacecraft, according to the China Manned Space Agency. The China Astronaut Research and Training Center's National Key Laboratory of Human Factors Engineering has been working with Tianjin University on the development of a human brain-to-computer test system, information about which is on display at the 2016 International Simulation Expo, which opened in Beijing on October 9. The system will translate astronauts' brain impulses into words to communicate with ground control and operate instruments in spacecraft. The goal is to improve the efficiency of astronauts' interaction and coordination with machines. The system will be tested by astronauts during a real spaceflight, making it the first such experiment in the world, and the process uses astronauts' thoughts and does not require manual movements. Source: China Daily

< style="color: #163449;">Chinese smart phone makers tipped to fill gap left by Note 7

With production of the Galaxy Note 7 halted over safety concerns, new business for some of Asia’s major electronics component suppliers could be driven by increased demand from leading Chinese smart phone brands. Analysts said the decision by Samsung Electronics to scrap its premium model may enable Chinese rivals such as Huawei Technologies, Oppo Electronics, Vivo, and Xiaomi to ratchet up manufacturing of their own high-end smart phones. The supply chain may also see a wider availability of advanced smart phone parts, such as displays based on active-matrix organic light emitting diode (Amoled) technology. Beleaguered Samsung on October 11 permanently halted all production of its Note 7 amid increased concerns about the device catching fire while charging. The episode has severely tarnished the Korean company’s global brand and potentially jeopardised its smart phone business. Source: South China Morning Post

< style="color: #163449;"> China moves to become an Internet power

Cyberspace security, the Internet and information technology have been key in China's development, and the country has been striving to build itself into a major Internet power. At a study session attended by China's top leaders, President Xi Jinping has asked for more independent innovation in the Internet and information technology, as well as enhanced cyberspace security, to secure China's future as an Internet power. China, although a latecomer to the Internet, has made remarkable achievements in the development of Internet networks and services in the past two decades. In 2015, the total value of the electronic information manufacturing industry in China reached 11.1 trillion yuan (around 1.66 trillion U.S. dollars). The country is now the world's largest e-commerce market, with online retail sales totalling 3.9 trillion yuan. In the meantime, 700 million Chinese citizens use the Internet to study, work, and access public services, making China home to the world's largest online population. However, the country clearly knows that it lags behind leading Internet powers in the world. Source: Xinhua

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

Zhou Mindan, “Relocation remedy must be handled carefully”, China Daily, October 12, 2016 Alex Lo, “So half of our youth want to leave Hong Kong? We need to make sure they have reasons to stay”, South China Morning Post, October 12, 2016 Douglas Bulloch, “Protectionism May Be Rising Around The World, But In China It Never Went Away”, Forbes, October 12, 2016 Srinivasa Prasad, “Brics summit in Goa: Forget Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai and get tough with China”, Firstpost, October 14, 2016 Zhongsheng,Commentary: Xi's Asia visit to boost 'Belt and Road'construction and promote  BRICS cooperation, People’s Daily, October 11, 2016 John Ross, US economists developing more objective understanding of China, Global Times, October 12, 2016 Xinhua Insight: Webcasting catches eyes, draws criticism in China’, Xinhua, October 11, 2016 Safety takes back seat in the rush to roll out ever newer gadgets’, South China Morning Post, October 13, 2016

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

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