Archive for ‘Politics’

19/12/2014

Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post

The former deputy chief of China’s Beijing Zoo – who claimed his 8 million yuan (about HK$10 million) fortune was earned from part-time jobs, including working as a taxi driver – was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Beijing court this morning.

Xiao Shaoxiang was jailed for life today after being found guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”. Photo: Xinhua

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Xiao Shaoxiang guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”.

All his personal property would be confiscated, the Beijing-based newspaper, Mirror, reported on its official mainland microblogging Weibo website.

Prosecutors said six million yuan in cash, paintings and gold bullion from unknown sources were found in Xiao’s apartment – a cache worth a total of 8 million yuan, the court said during his trial in August.

He was charged with accepting bribes totalling more than 140 million yuan.

Xiao, 59, had denied all the charges during the trial.

He had defended himself by claiming that he had earned the money from moonlighting as an unlicensed cab driver after work at the zoo from 1991 to 1994.

via Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post.

19/12/2014

Xi Jinping Wins the Popularity Contest – Businessweek

A recent survey on the popularity of global leaders is providing rich fodder for the Communist Party of China’s propaganda machine. The study, which canvassed some 26,000 people in 30 countries on their attitudes toward 10 world leaders, shows President Xi Jinping was rated higher by the people of China than any other leader in the survey was rated by the people of his or her respective country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the highest-rated world leader in many fields,” China Daily reported on Wednesday, commenting on the study (PDF), which was published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School and carried out by Japanese research firm GMO. “Chinese respondents showed the highest confidence in regards to how their leader handled domestic and international affairs.”

Among the national rankings, where people rate their own leader, Xi averaged 9 out of 10, higher than any other head of state, with 94.8 percent of Chinese expressing confidence about how he handles domestic affairs and 93.8 percent saying the same about international affairs.

Xi was followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin (8.7), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (8.6), South African President Jacob Zuma (7), and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (6.7). U.S. President Barack Obama came in seventh place, with only a 6.2 ranking. Just 51.7 percent of Americans were confident about Obama’s handling of domestic affairs, while 49.1 percent said the same regarding international affairs.

But while Xi’s high popularity is getting lots of attention in China’s party-controlled press, the possible reasons behind it are not. Leaders in countries that hold a high degree of state control over the media would naturally rate higher, the Harvard study says, a conclusion ignored by China Daily and other Chinese publications.

via Xi Jinping Wins the Popularity Conest – Businessweek.

16/12/2014

China jails businesswoman in railway graft case for 20 years | Reuters

A court in China sentenced a well-known businesswoman to 20 years in jail for corruption on Tuesday, saying the woman with ties to a disgraced former railways minister was guilty of bribery and illegally running a business.

Ding Yuxin, also known as Ding Shumiao, helped 23 businesses win railway construction contracts and funnelled 49 million yuan (£5 million) worth of kickbacks to former railways minister Liu Zhijun, state media has previously reported.

She also “offered sexual favours to Liu by arranging an unidentified number of women for him”, the official China Daily reported last year.

In a brief statement on its microblog, a Beijing court said the evidence in the case against her was clear, ordering she also pay a fine of 2.5 billion yuan and have assets worth 20 million yuan confiscated.

It gave no other details.

via China jails businesswoman in railway graft case for 20 years | Reuters.

15/12/2014

China Breaks India Monopoly on Nepal Economy as Investment Grows – Businessweek

In the dusty outskirts of Kathmandu, south of the Himalayan mountain range that holds the world’s highest peaks, Chinese engineers in orange hard hats oversee construction of Nepal’s first eight-lane highway.

Highway Construction

The $45 million upgrade of a road circling the Nepalese capital is one of dozens of projects helping China challenge India’s dominance in a country that is sandwiched between them. Until recently, the Himalayas served as a natural barrier that prompted Nepal to trade more across its flat border with India.

“China is growing in importance,” Ram Sharan Mahat, Nepal’s Finance Minister, said in a Dec. 4 interview in Kathmandu. “Because of new trade horizons and the cheap pricing of Chinese goods, Chinese trade vis-a-vis Nepal is growing.”

via China Breaks India Monopoly on Nepal Economy as Investment Grows – Businessweek.

15/12/2014

About 300 Chinese said fighting alongside Islamic State in Middle East | Reuters

About 300 Chinese people are fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Monday, a rare tally that is likely to fuel worry in China that militants pose a threat to security.

China has expressed concern about the rise of Islamic State in the Middle East, nervous about the effect it could have on its Xinjiang region. But it has also shown no sign of wanting to join U.S. efforts to use military force against the group.

Chinese members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) are traveling to Syria via Turkey to join the Islamic State, also known as IS, the Global Times, a tabloid run by China’s ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, said.

“According to information from various sources, including security officers from Iraq’s Kurdish region, Syria and Lebanon, around 300 Chinese extremists are fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria,” the Global Times reported.

via About 300 Chinese said fighting alongside Islamic State in Middle East | Reuters.

14/12/2014

China to place permanent anti-graft teams in major departments | Reuters

The corruption watchdog of China’s ruling Communist Party will establish permanent offices in some of the country’s most important party and government departments, state media said on Friday, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft.

Teams will be based in the cabinet office and parliament, as well as the party’s powerful organization department, which oversees personnel decisions, propaganda department and United Front Work Department, which deals with non-Communists, the official Xinhua news agency said.

While numerous corruption inspection teams have fanned out across the country in recent months, this is the first time such offices have been placed in crucial arms of the government, and paves the way for similar permanent offices.

via China to place permanent anti-graft teams in major departments | Reuters.

14/12/2014

Set aside hate, China’s Xi says on Nanjing Massacre anniversary | Reuters

China and Japan should set aside hatred and not allow the minority who led Japan to war to affect relations now, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday, as the country marked its first national memorial day for the Nanjing Massacre.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and other leaders attend a memorial ceremony at the Nanjing Massacre Museum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province December 13, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

China and Japan have long sparred over their painful history. China consistently reminds its people of the 1937 massacre in which it says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in its then capital.

A postwar Allied tribunal put the death toll at 142,000, but some conservative Japanese politicians and scholars deny a massacre took place at all.

Ties had deteriorated sharply over the past year following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring war criminals among Japan’s war dead. The two are also involved in a spat over islets in the East China Sea.

But both countries, mindful of the economic stakes, reached agreement last month to try to reset ties during an ice-breaking meeting between Xi and Abe in Beijing.

Speaking at a memorial in the eastern city of Nanjing, a somber Xi said that while history must never be forgotten, the future was just as important.

“The reason we are having a memorial for the Nanjing Massacre victims is to recall that all good-hearted people yearn for and hold fast to peace, not to prolong hatred,” Xi said, in comments carried live on state television.

“The people of China and Japan should pass on friendship from generation to generation,” he added.

“Forgetting history is a betrayal, and denying a crime is to repeat a crime. We should not hate a people just because a small minority of militarists set off an invasion and war.

“… but nobody at any time should forget the severe crimes of the invaders.”

Doves to signify peace flew overhead once Xi, wearing a white flower on his lapel to signify mourning, finished speaking.

Next year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, and China has already promised memorials, offering the potential for further Sino-Japanese friction.

In recent days, China has released heart-rending accounts of the violence from its archives.

“With the issue of history having become an unavoidable hurdle in Japan’s relations with neighbors, the best way for the island nation to proceed is sincere acknowledgement and repentance of its war-time past, rather than futile attempts to reject it,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.

via Set aside hate, China’s Xi says on Nanjing Massacre anniversary | Reuters.

12/12/2014

The Nanjing massacre: Lest they forget | The Economist

IN THE city of Nanjing in eastern China, polluting factories have been shut temporarily, streets cleaned and a third of government cars kept off roads in readiness for a new “national memorial day” that will be observed on December 13th. Chinese leaders, probably including President Xi Jinping, will gather in Nanjing to mourn victims of the worst atrocity committed by Japanese troops during their occupation of the country in the 1930s and 1940s: the Nanjing massacre of 1937 that China says left more than 300,000 dead. The bloodshed in what until shortly beforehand had been China’s capital still generates widespread bitterness in China. But why the need now to mobilise the country to commemorate the event?

The decision to establish an annual memorial day for the massacre was made in March by China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress. It also designated September 3rd as “victory day” to mark Japan’s defeat in 1945. In August a new “martyrs’ day” was added to the list. It would be observed annually on September 30th in honour of China’s war dead, including those who died fighting the Japanese. These moves were a sign of a severe strain in ties between China and Japan that began in 2012 when Japan nationalised three of the uninhabited Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. China claims the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu. Relations were further soured by a visit paid a year ago by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where Japanese war criminals are among those honoured.

In November, during a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing, President Xi Jinping shook hands with Mr Abe for the first time since the Japanese leader took office two years ago. But a restoration of normal high-level contacts will not be swift. The war will loom large in the coming months as China prepares next year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the conflict’s end. The party continues to whip up nationalist sentiment with anti-Japanese television shows, the publication of war memoirs, and, in the last few days, the issuing of school textbooks with anti-Japanese themes. One, for use at primary schools in Jiangsu province, of which Nanjing is the capital, is titled “Memory of Blood and Fire”. The main ceremony on December 13th will be held at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (pictured above) and will be broadcast live across the country. What has been described by Chinese media as the world’s largest and loudest air-raid siren, made for the occasion, will be sounded just after 10am local time.

The memorial days also serve a political purpose at home. Mr Xi has been trying to cast himself as a nationalist who has the courage to assert China’s territorial claims, even at the cost of offending America and its friends in the region. This, he apparently hopes, will boost his prestige and the Communist Party’s legitimacy. In a speech on “victory day”, Mr Xi said the party had played a “decisive role” in defeating Japan and was “leading the Chinese nation on its quest for great revival”. But there was also a hint of conciliation. It was, he said, in the interests of Chinese and Japanese “to maintain a healthy and steady long-term relationship”. Wartime memories will continue to frustrate that goal.

via The Nanjing massacre: Lest they forget | The Economist.

12/12/2014

China’s Development of Xinjiang Spurs Resentment from Uighurs – Businessweek

Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in China, is a cold and forbidding place to visit in late November. The red and blue flashing lights of police vehicles are everywhere. Soldiers wearing black masks and carrying automatic weapons are spread across the city, often standing next to squat black and white armored vehicles. Every commercial building, hotel, and government office has a metal detector manned by a police officer at its entrance. Fliers scattered around the city explain why women should not wear veils.

Xinjiang’s first high-speed railway, which will be 1,776 kilometers long

Perched on the edge of Central Asia, the region of Xinjiang (“new frontier” in Mandarin) has long presented a dilemma for China’s leaders. It’s home to some of the country’s largest oil, gas, and coal reserves. But its ethnically Turkic, Uighur Muslim inhabitants have long chafed under Chinese rule: Many pro-independence fighters over the decades have attacked Chinese targets, and the violence—what some credit to a shadowy group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement—continues to this day. Beijing labels the ETIM’s members as terrorists.

This year growing anger with Uighurs over what they say is economic discrimination and religious oppression sparked attacks, usually against Chinese residents, that have killed 200 people and undermined Beijing’s control over the region. On Dec. 8, authorities sentenced eight Uighurs to death for their role in two attacks killing 42 at a train station and an Urumqi market in the spring.

via China’s Development of Xinjiang Spurs Resentment from Uighurs – Businessweek.

12/12/2014

Modi Gets International Yoga Day – India Real Time – WSJ

It’s probably not a stretch to say that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just scored a win at the United Nations.

The international body Thursday declared June 21 the International Day of Yoga, something Mr. Modi called for in September in his maiden address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

”By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change,” he told the group of nations at the time. ”Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”  On Thursday, 177 countries co-sponsored the resolution to establish an international day of yoga, Pakistan, India’s neighbor and long-time rival did not join in doing so. Malaysia is also not sponsoring the event. Islamic clerics sparked controversy in 2008 after issuing a fatwa against yoga, because of its association with Hinduism.

via Modi Gets International Yoga Day – India Real Time – WSJ.

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