Archive for ‘Politics’

30/10/2014

180 economic fugitives back in China to face trial[1]|chinadaily.com.cn

Authorities in China have succeeded in getting extradited or persuading 180 economic fugitives to return to China and face trial since launching a campaign called “Fox Hunt” in July.

180 economic fugitives back in China to face trial

US, Canada, Australia top spots for fugitive Chinese officials

Australia to help in returning fugitives

The number of the fugitives being repatriated during the first 100 days of the “Fox Hunt” is more than that of the whole year of 2013. The returned suspects include many alleged corrupt officials who fled to more than 40 countries and regions, including the US, Canada, Australia and Southeast Asian nations.

Among the fugitives, 104 were hunted down by the police and 76 were persuaded to return. Forty four are suspected to be involved with ill-gotten assets over 10 million yuan ($1.6 million).

China’s Public Security Ministry initiated a six-month operation called “Fox Hunt” to target economic fugitives, especially corrupt officials, who fled abroad with their illicit assets. A special unit was set up by the ministry to oversee the operation. It comprises experienced police officers from the Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau and local public security departments.

According to the ministry, some corrupt Chinese officials have fled to the US, Canada, Australia and Southeast Asian countries in recent years, transferring assets worth many billions of dollars overseas through money laundering and underground sources.

Police in Australia and China recently pledged to cooperate on the extradition of Chinese economic fugitives, including many corrupt officials, in an effort to tackle the difficulties over the return of suspects due to a lack of bilateral extradition treaties.

Four of China’s top governmental departments released a statement this month urging fugitive economic criminals to surrender themselves to justice.

The announcement is another move to reinforce the “Fox Hunt 2014″ campaign.

via 180 economic fugitives back in China to face trial[1]|chinadaily.com.cn.

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30/10/2014

United States praises China’s growing role in Afghanistan | Reuters

The United States welcomed China’s growing role in trying to ensure Afghanistan’s stability on Thursday, saying a Beijing conference of foreign ministers on Afghan reconstruction this week shows its commitment to the region as Western troops pull out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

The comments, made by a senior State Department official, are rare U.S. praise for Beijing, which this week hosts Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on his first visit abroad since assuming office in September.

Washington and Beijing, which have typically contentious relations on geopolitical issues from Iran to the South China Sea, have both said they see Afghanistan as a point where their security interests converge.

On Tuesday, China pledged to give Afghanistan $327 million in aid through 2017, more than the $250 million contribution it has so far offered since the fall of the hardline Islamist Taliban regime in 2001.

“China’s view of engaging in Afghanistan over the course of these past few years has really changed significantly, and in our view, in a very positive direction,” the official told reporters during a telephone briefing.

On Friday, foreign ministers from Asian and Central Asian countries will gather in Beijing for a fourth round “Istanbul Process” conference on Afghanistan, which China hopes will help boost development and security there. White House counsellor John Podesta will attend the meeting.

“It’s a real demonstration of China’s commitment to Afghanistan, to its role in the region and one that we greatly welcome,” the official said.

via United States praises China’s growing role in Afghanistan | Reuters.

29/10/2014

China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad – Businessweek

China’s government estimates that the number of corrupt officials who have moved abroad to sidestep the law and safeguard personal fortunes ranges from 4,000 to 18,000 people. The government charged with corruption nearly 7,000 officials whom it suspected were plotting to flee the country from 2008 to 2013,  according to Cao Jianming, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court.

Cao, the People's Republic of China's top prosecutor and investigator

Government data in an online report from the People’s Daily names the U.S. and Canada as the top destinations–dubbed “corrupt paradises”–for emigrating officials. Records from authorities in Toronto and Vancouver show that Canadian customs officials seized $13 million in undeclared cash from arriving Chinese emigrants and tourists from April 2011 to June 2012.

In July, meanwhile, China launched “Operation Fox Hunt” in an effort to locate and prosecute corrupt officials who have moved abroad. Beijing does not have an extradition treaty with Washington. “We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the U.S. back to face trial, due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures,” Liao Jinrong, an official at China’s Ministry of Public Security, earlier told China Daily.

via China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad – Businessweek.

28/10/2014

Banyan: The enablers | The Economist

NOT since Indira Gandhi has a prime minister of India been as dominant as Narendra Modi. His clout comes from the big electoral victory in May of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a remarkably personalised campaign; from a hyperactive prime minister’s office that makes Mr Modi look presidential; and from an opposition Congress party in tatters. But even the mightiest cannot rule alone, and Mr Modi relies on two old allies, both crucial. One, Amit Shah, engineers the electoral victories that give Mr Modi his authority. The other, Arun Jaitley, must take that authority and out of it craft policies and decisions that will launch the economic recovery which Mr Modi has promised and by which he will be judged. These two men are Mr Modi’s enablers.

Now the BJP’s president, Mr Shah is a master of the dark political arts—indeed, his hooded eyes give him the air of a pantomime villain. He has served Mr Modi for nearly three decades. The pair collaborated in the state of Gujarat, where Mr Modi won three elections and ruled for a dozen years. Mr Shah had charge of ten state ministries, including home affairs.

Long an outsider in the urbane circles of Delhi’s national-level politics, Mr Shah is uncomfortable in English and rarely gives interviews. When he makes an exception, as he did after state-assembly elections this month in which the BJP seized control of Maharashtra and Haryana, he mostly uses the time to extol his boss. Of himself, he says merely: “Sometimes you get more credit than you deserve.” Mr Shah is too modest. He ran both state campaigns, just as he crafted the BJP general-election success in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP). That victory was at the heart of Mr Modi’s national triumph in May.

Mr Modi stirs voters, but the alchemy of Mr Shah, who turned 50 this week, is to convert popularity into power. In UP the BJP’s share of the vote was 42%, compared with Congress’s 7.5%. That translated into 71 out of 80 of the national seats from the vast state, a golden return. Imbalances between vote share and seats are normal in first-past-the-post electoral systems, but achieving victory in India takes more skill and stamina than elsewhere. Mr Shah makes minute analyses of millions-strong constituencies, imposing candidates and recruiting volunteers early, often from the Hindu-nationalist RSS organisation, where he and Mr Modi were once leaders. He tailors messages according to the audience. He has, variously, presented Mr Modi as a bringer of good economic times, a Hindu strongman and a figure of humble caste. Mr Shah has turned Hindus against Muslims (notoriously, he told Hindu Jats in UP to take electoral “revenge” following communal riots in late 2013). But he has also taken advantage of Shia Muslim antipathy towards Sunnis (in Lucknow, UP’s capital). Mr Modi’s campaigning certainly helps. He led 38 rallies in the recent state elections. Congress’s Rahul Gandhi showed up for only ten.

via Banyan: The enablers | The Economist.

28/10/2014

Putin Turns to China as Russia’s Economy Is Weakened by Sanctions – Businessweek

Defying the U.S. and Europe is forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin to aid his biggest rival to the east. To avert a recession, Russia is turning to China for investment, granting it once restricted access to raw materials and advanced weapons, say two people involved in planning Kremlin policy who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. Russia’s growing dependence on China, with which it spent decades battling for control over global communism, may end up strengthening its neighbor’s position in the Pacific. With the ruble near a record low and foreign investment disappearing, luring Chinese cash also may deepen Russia’s reliance on natural resources and derail efforts to diversify the economy.

“Now that Putin has turned away from the West and toward the East, China is drawing maximum profit from Russian necessity,” says Masha Lipman, an independent political analyst in Moscow who co-authored a study on Putin with former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul. China is wasting no time filling the void created by the closing of U.S. and European debt markets to Russia’s largest borrowers. A delegation led by Premier Li Keqiang signed a package of deals on Oct. 13 in Moscow. Among them were an agreement to swap $25 billion in Chinese yuan for Russian rubles over three years, a treaty to protect companies operating in Russia and China from having their profits taxed twice, and cooperation on satellite-navigation systems and high-speed rail. To promote trade, Export-Import Bank of China agreed to provide credit lines to state-owned VTB Group and Vnesheconombank, Russia’s development bank, as well as a trade finance deal with Russian Agricultural Bank.

Russia’s economy is more vulnerable than it’s been since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Unlike then, Russians are united in support of their leader, and with $455 billion in foreign currency and gold reserves, the country isn’t broke, according to Lipman. “The economy was much worse then, but Russia was in a much better position geopolitically because it had the support of the U.S. and Europe,” she says. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t respond to requests for comment.

via Putin Turns to China as Russia’s Economy Is Weakened by Sanctions – Businessweek.

28/10/2014

Britain’s PM David Cameron Unveils Encyclopedia of Hinduism – India Real Time – WSJ

British Prime Minister David Cameron held a Diwali party in London to launch the new Encyclopedia of Hinduism, as his Conservative Party attempts to strengthen relations with the country’s large Indian community ahead of national elections next year.

The encyclopedia, which took 25 years to compile, contains 11 volumes and is published by the India Heritage Research Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, head of the largest ashram in Rishikesh, a town in northern India.

More than 1,000 guests attended the unveiling of book in Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament. The event was organized by the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party and the Conservative Party Friends of India among others.

Mr. Cameron and his wife Samantha lit a diya, or lamp, at the Diwali party that coincided with the book launch.

Andrew Feldman, chairman of the Conservative Party, said that the book, a product of research by 1,000 scholars, was a “phenomenal achievement.”

“The party wants to deepen and broaden our links with the British Indian community and with India and this event is one important step on our journey,” Lord Feldman said, according to a statement released after the event.

via Britain’s PM David Cameron Unveils Encyclopedia of Hinduism – India Real Time – WSJ.

28/10/2014

Top Chinese prosecutor guarantees protection for whistleblowers | Reuters

China’s top prosecuting body said on Tuesday that whistleblowers who expose corruption and other wrongdoing would receive legal protection against reprisals.

President Xi Jinping has made fighting graft a central theme of his administration, warning that the problem was so severe it could threaten the survival of the ruling Communist Party.

The party is keen to harness the power of the Internet in the fight, although it has been hampered by public suspicion that complaints will be ignored, and also by arrests of and even attacks on online whistleblowers.

A statement on the website of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said it was clarifying the rights of whistleblowers for the first time through new regulations.

“The ‘regulations governing the work of whistleblowers’ require that when the prosecutor’s office receives a whistleblowing report from someone giving their real name, it has to assess the risks from the whistleblowing and develop whistleblower protection plans when necessary to prevent and end acts of retaliation against the whistleblowers,” the statement said.

The prosecutor also promised to respond quickly to such reports.

Last year, the party’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, set up a new website for whistleblowers.

The government had previously set up a website in 2009 specifically for the reporting of corruption. Authorities have investigated some online accusations and jailed several low-level officials.

It is unclear how many tips the site has received in recent months. From 2008 to 2012 the commission said it received 301,000 whistleblowing reports online.

via Top Chinese prosecutor guarantees protection for whistleblowers | Reuters.

28/10/2014

Talks gather pace on sale of Indian patrol vessels to Vietnam | Reuters

Talks are gathering pace on the sale of Indian naval patrol vessels to Vietnam, an Indian official said, the first significant military transfer to Hanoi as it improves its defences in the South China Sea where it is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (C) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (R) as Dung's wife Tran Thanh Kien looks on during Dung's ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi October 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The four patrol ships will be provided to Vietnam under a $100 million defence credit line and represent a push by the nationalist government in New Delhi to counter Beijing’s influence in South Asia by deepening ties with old ally Vietnam.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung held talks with counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday, the first meeting since the Indian leader took office in May, promising to turn the country into an economic and military power.

An Indian government official said negotiations for the patrol craft had gathered pace since the credit line was announced last month during the visit of India’s president to Vietnam.

“We expect to see progress on this fairly early as negotiations are continuing between the Vietnamese and our defence suppliers,” the government official involved in discussions said.

Vietnam wants the craft for surveillance off its coast and around its military bases in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea where it is building a credible naval deterrent to China with Kilo-class submarines from Russia.

Claims by an increasingly assertive China over most of the energy-rich sea have set it directly against U.S. allies Vietnam and the Philippines. Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also claim parts of the waters.

Beijing’s placement of an oil rig in disputed waters earlier this year infuriated Vietnam but the coastguard vessels it dispatched to the platform were each time chased off by larger Chinese boats.

Since then, the two sides have sought to repair ties and on Monday, top officials agreed to use an existing border dispute mechanism to find a solution to the territorial dispute.

Dung said Vietnamese defence cooperation with India was the pillar of their strategic partnership.

via Talks gather pace on sale of Indian patrol vessels to Vietnam | Reuters.

27/10/2014

China considers abolishing death penalty for nine crimes | Reuters

China is considering trimming nine crimes from the list of offences punishable by death, state media said on Monday, as the ruling Communist Party considers broader reforms to the country’s legal system.

Rights groups say China uses capital punishment more than any other country, raising public concern of irreversible miscarriages of justice.

A draft amendment to China’s criminal law, which includes the use of the death penalty, was submitted for initial review to the country’s National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Crimes that would be exempt from capital punishment under the amendment include “smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currencies; counterfeiting currencies; raising funds by means of fraud; and arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution”, Xinhua said.

The crimes of “obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties” and “fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime”, are also under review, the news agency said.

Officials had previously said that China would review the application of the death penalty, which applies to 55 offences, including fraud and illegal money-lending.

China guards the number of people executed every year as state secrets.

The San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, which seeks the release of political prisoners in China, estimated that 2,400 people were executed in 2013. By comparison, 39 people were executed in 2013 in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The reduction in death penalty crimes, however, is not expected to greatly reduce the number of executions per year, scholars have said.

The Communist Party, worried about rising social unrest and anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution unveiled legal reforms aimed at improving judicial independence at a key meeting last week.

The Party has stressed that it will remain in overall control of the judiciary, and despite the move to implement legal reforms, few analysts expect significant political change any time soon.

via China considers abolishing death penalty for nine crimes | Reuters.

21/10/2014

India’s Narendra Modi to Star at Sydney’s Allphones Arena – India Real Time – WSJ

Since becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi has performed in New York’s storied Madison Square Garden  and played drums on stage in Japan.

His next big-ticket venue: Sydney’s Allphones Arena this November.

Mr. Modi will address what is expected to be a sell-out crowd at the 21,000-seat venue in Australia’s financial and commercial capital on Nov. 17 during his four-day trip to the country for the G20 summit in Brisbane.

Organizers say it will eclipse the prime minister’s biggest gig so far, when he spoke to a crowd of 18,000 people, mostly Indian-Americans, at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 28.

“This will be bigger and better,” said Balesh Singh Dhankhar one of the organizers of the reception for Mr. Modi. The Allphones Arena, built for the 2000 Olympics,  “has more grandeur” than Madison Square Garden, he added.

The stadium in Manhattan is famous for hosting some of the biggest names in entertainment, like the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and “The Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

The Allphone Arena also hosts musical acts and boxing matches. In the same month as Mr. Modi’s visit, The Rolling Stones and Katy Perry will play the arena and an Ultimate Fighting Championship event will take place there.

Australia is home to around 350,000 people who were born in India, according to the latest census data from 2011. That was a 90% increase on the number recorded in the census in 2006, but a tenth the size of the Indian-American community in the United States.

After Mr. Modi’s speech in New York, people in Australia began asking when he would come here, said Mr. Dhankhar, a spokesman for the Indian Australian Community Foundation that is helping put on the event that was conceived only three weeks ago.

Some 14,000 people have registered in the first two and a half days of registration, according to the organizers. It will be broadcast live on Indian television channels.

“We invited Mr. Modi and said the Indian diaspora in Australia is very eager to see him,” Mr. Dhankhar added.

Tickets for the Sydney event are free and the show will start around 5.30p.m., but further details of the spectacle are under wraps right now, Mr. Dhankhar said. “There are a number of cultural and exciting events before the speech that would be a surprise for the audience in India and Australia. These will be wider and more surprising that at Madison Square Gardens.”

via India’s Narendra Modi to Star at Sydney’s Allphones Arena – India Real Time – WSJ.

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