Archive for ‘China alert’

20/05/2019

China to mark 70th anniversary of PRC founding with mass activities

BEIJING, May 19 (Xinhua) — China will launch mass activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The activities will take multiple forms across the country with patriotism at the core, according to a circular jointly issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council.

The activities will include touring urban and rural areas to fathom changes in the country, story-telling by citizens about endeavors to realize their dreams, thematic book reading, cherishing the memory of revolutionary martyrs, and national defense education activities, according to the circular.

The slogans of the 70th anniversary celebration were also unveiled in the circular.

Source: Xinhua

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20/05/2019

U.S. ambassador to China to make first visit to Tibet since 2013 – report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was due to begin visiting Tibet on Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural sites, according to a news report on Sunday.

Branstad was scheduled to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from Sunday to Saturday, Radio Free Asia said in a report.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the story.

Radio Free Asia said it would be the first visit to Tibet by a U.S. official since the U.S. Congress approved a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners. The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

In December, China denounced the United States for passing the law, saying it was “resolutely opposed” to the U.S. legislation on what China considers an internal affair, and it risked causing “serious harm” to their relations.

Since then, tensions have been running high between the two countries over trade. China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

On Saturday, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. words and actions had harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint.

While the Trump administration has taken a tough stance towards China on trade and highlighted security rivalry with Beijing, the administration has so far not acted on congressional calls for it to impose sanctions on China’s former Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, for the treatment of minority Muslims in Xinjiang province, where he is currently party chief. 

A State Department report in March said Chen had replicated in Xinjiang, policies similar to those credited with reducing opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

Source: Reuters

19/05/2019

China narrows urban-rural gap in healthcare services

BEIJING, May 19 (Xinhua) — China has allocated 47 billion yuan (6.8 billion U.S. dollars) for building 1,390 county-level hospitals since 2016, in a bid to ensure that every county and urban district has at least one county-level hospital, Health News reported.

This is part of the country’s efforts to narrow the gap in health services between urban and rural areas.

Traditional Chinese service centers have been set up in more than 30,000 health centers in towns, townships and communities, according to the newspaper.

The standard for the per capita basic public health service subsidy has raised from 25 yuan in 2011 to 55 yuan in 2018, and the number of free services provided by the national basic public health service program has been increasing over the period.

The health inequality index rated by urban and rural residents dropped by 32.5 percent from 2006 to 2016, according to the newspaper.

“The achievement is attributed to the national reforms in the medical and health care system aiming to ensure every citizen has the access to basic health services,” Miao Yanqing, a researcher with the health development research center under the National Health Commission, was quoted as saying.

Source: Xinhua

19/05/2019

Cooperation only right choice for China, U.S.: Chinese envoy

UN-US-CHINA TRADE RELATIONS-CHINESE ENVOY-BRIEFING

Ma Zhaoxu (C, front), China’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), hosts a briefing on the U.S.-China trade relations at the UN headquarters in New York, May 17, 2019. Cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States, said Ma Zhaoxu on Friday. (Xinhua/Ma Jianguo)

UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (Xinhua) — Cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States, said China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Ma Zhaoxu on Friday.

The economic and trade relations between China and the United States are the “ballast” and “propeller” of this important bilateral relationship, said the Chinese envoy when hosting a briefing on the U.S.-China trade relations at the UN headquarters in New York, adding that it is not only about U.S.-China bilateral relations but also world peace and prosperity.

Representatives from more than 100 UN member states and international agencies attended the meeting.

Referring to the consultations between the two countries since the United States unilaterally provoked the frictions in March 2018, Ma said that China will resolutely defend its core interests and will never give in on major issues of principle.

China strongly opposes the U.S. practice of imposing additional tariffs, said the Chinese envoy, while expressing the hope that the United States and China could work together, meet each other in the halfway, address each other’s concern based on mutual respect and equality, and strive for a mutually beneficial agreement.

“The agreement between the two sides must be equal-footed and mutually beneficial,” he said, noting that China’s three core concerns — remove all the additional tariffs, work out a realistic amount of purchases, and improve the balance of the wording of the text — must be addressed.

The Chinese economy has maintained steady growth and has shown positive momentum, Ma told the audience. “The trade protectionist measures of the United States will have an impact on the Chinese economy, but it can be overcome.”

“The Chinese economy is a sea, not a small pond,” he added. “We will continue to promote reform and opening up according to our own pace, and promote high-quality development of the economy according to our own timetable and road map, to realize the long-term stability and growth of the Chinese economy.”

According to Ma, paying mutual respect to each other’s core concerns, and making mutual concessions on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit are the premises of expanding cooperation, and only in such a way, the trade issues between the two sides could be resolved.

Source: Xinhua

19/05/2019

Brazil’s vice-president Hamilton Mourao heads to China to mend relations

  • General will spend five days meeting top Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping
  • Mission seeks to patch up wounds caused by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-China rhetoric
Hamilton Mourao favours maximising engagement with China. Photo: EPA-EFE
Hamilton Mourao favours maximising engagement with China. Photo: EPA-EFE
Brazil’s vice-president is expected to land in Beijing on Sunday on a mission to patch up wounds caused by President Jair Bolsonaro’s lacerating anti-China rhetoric.
General Hamilton Mourao will spend five days in China rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s most powerful leaders, culminating in an audience with President Xi Jinping, in an effort to shore up the relationship between the two emerging market giants. Bolsonaro himself is due to visit later this year, while Xi is due to visit Brasilia in November for the BRICS summit.
China – Brazil’s most important trading partner for the past decade – remains a sensitive subject in the Bolsonaro administration. While Mourao and the other business-oriented members of government favour maximising engagement with the Asian giant, Bolsonaro and his more radical appointees view China with a high degree of suspicion, as a predatory economy that wishes not merely to invest in Brazil, but to own it.

“The Chinese can buy in Brazil, but they can’t buy Brazil,” the president said at a breakfast with journalists last month.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said last month that the “Chinese can buy in Brazil, but they can’t buy Brazil”. Photo: AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said last month that the “Chinese can buy in Brazil, but they can’t buy Brazil”. Photo: AFP

Still, in comparison with his pre-election criticism of China as “heartless”, Bolsonaro in office has dialled down his anti-Beijing sentiment. Mourao’s visit is part of an effort to reset that relationship.

“The Chinese understand that Mourao plays a central role in toning down Bolsonaro’s rhetoric,” said Oliver Stuenkel, a specialist on BRICS – an association of five major emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – at the FGV business school. “They know that the Mourao-China relationship will be fundamental.”

Should China be worried about Bolsonaro’s bromance with Trump?

Speaking to reporters recently, Mourao recognised the need to balance the Bolsonaro administration’s desire to pivot towards the United States with practical considerations of China’s economic significance.

“The US are the champions of democracy and freedom and our government has left it very clear what this represents,” the vice-president said. “But on the other side we have to be sufficiently pragmatic to understand the importance of China for Brazil’s economic development.”

Chinese investment in Brazil reached almost US$134 billion between 2003 and 2018, Brazilian government figures showed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet the visiting Brazilain vice-president. Photo: AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet the visiting Brazilain vice-president. Photo: AP

While the trade war between the US and China may offer Brazil some short-term gains, particularly for its agricultural sector, the downsides outweigh the benefits, according to Renata Amaral, a foreign trade analyst at Barral MJorge consultancy.

“In truth this war is no good for anyone,” she said.

Mourao said that Brazil was monitoring the situation “critically and cautiously”.

Why US-China trade war could be good for Brazil
From the Chinese perspective, Beijing is looking for Brazil’s formal support for its “Belt and Road Initiative” – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure megaproject. Asked whether Brazil might sign up to the programme, Mourao said that any agreement would have to be approved by Bolsonaro in the second half of the year.
After trips to the Great Wall of China and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Mourao will meet Xi, in a clear sign of Brazil’s importance to China. “The visit of vice-president Mourao will reinforce mutual political confidence, deepen our friendly cooperation and add new dimensions to our strategic partnership,” according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
With Beijing both uncertain about the direction of Brazilian foreign policy under Bolsonaro and eager to strike deals on infrastructure and food security, it makes sense for the Chinese to roll out the red-carpet for Mourao, according to Hussein Kalout, a specialist in foreign policy and a researcher at Harvard.
China trade vs economic growth: the dilemma for Brazil’s president
While the federal government remains ambivalent about its relationship with China, some of Brazil’s powerful state governors are seeking to develop their own relationship with the Asian country. One of them is Carlos Massa Ratinho Junior, the governor of the southern state of Parana, who travelled to China recently to discuss agriculture and railroad projects.
“We’re open to talk with any country that wants to and understands that the state of Parana is the best to place to invest in Brazil,” the governor said in an interview, adding that his actions did not conflict with the federal government’s stance towards Beijing.

But in a sign of the domestic pressure Bolsonaro is under not to abandon entirely his sceptical attitude to China, Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Braganca, the vice-president of the lower house’s foreign affairs committee and a lawmaker from Bolsonaro’s own party, said the government should set limits to the partnership.

“It’s good to talk to China, but it depends what is being discussed,” he said. “For example, the 5G network set up by China is dangerous because it will give the Chinese more information about Brazilian citizens than the Brazilian government.”

Source: SCMP

19/05/2019

Four more Chinese cities warned over pace of home price growth

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s housing regulator has urged four more cities to prevent their residential property markets from overheating in the latest sign that authorities are not about to relax their grip on the real estate business in order to spur the economy.

The cities of Suzhou, Foshan, Dalian and Nanning have been told by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to stabilize land and housing prices as well as market expectations, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Saturday.

Six other cities were warned by the ministry last month to monitor the growth of home prices in their markets, after some cities, including, Foshan quietly started to relax some curbs since December to spur demand.

China’s home property market is a key plank of the economy, influencing tens of related sectors such as construction and financial services.

The sector has held up well despite a slowdown in growth in the world’s second-biggest economy, with policymakers walking a fine line between preserving stability and hurting market sentiment.

Renewed tensions between China and the United States over trade have also added pressure on Chinese policymakers to keep the domestic economy on a stable footing, while continuing to fend off risks such as housing bubbles.

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 0.6% in April, unchanged from the pace of growth in March, according to a monthly official survey.

Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the National Bureau of Statistics still reported monthly price gains for new homes. The number increased to 67 in April from 65 in March, signaling a slight strengthening in the market.

The housing ministry reiterated that “houses are for living in, not for speculation”, according to the Xinhua news agency on Saturday.

Even before the ministry’s latest warning, the prosperous city of Suzhou, just northwest of Shanghai, had already rolled out new property curbs.

On May 11, Suzhou said it would restrict buyers of new homes in some districts from selling their property within three years.

Source: Reuters

18/05/2019

China’s 2nd Import Expo starts enrollment of supporting activities

SHANGHAI, May 17 (Xinhua) — The enrollment of supporting activities for the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) was launched Friday, the CIIE bureau said.

Activities related to policy interpretations, matchmaking sessions and new products displays as well as research report releases will make up at least 80 percent of the supporting activities.

The second CIIE, to be held in November in Shanghai, will also set up a special area for the debut of new products, technologies and services, according to the bureau.

More than 250 Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders have signed up for the event so far.

A total of 172 countries, regions and international organizations and more than 3,600 enterprises participated in the first CIIE, held Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai, with more than 370 supporting activities organized.

Source: Xinhua

18/05/2019

China hopes Iran nuclear deal “fully implemented”: FM

CHINA-BEIJING-WANG YI-IRAN-MEETING (CN)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Beijing, capital of China, May 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) — China hopes to work with the Iranian side to eliminate complicated disturbing factors and make efforts for the full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remarks when meeting with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions and the so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed by the United States on Iran,” Wang said, pledging to maintain the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, and safeguard the authority of the United Nations and basic norms governing international relations.

China welcomes Iran to actively take part in the joint building of the Belt and Road and hopes to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, Wang said.

Zarif praised China for its important role in defending the Iran nuclear deal and vowed to strengthen bilateral and multilateral coordination so as to safeguard multilateralism and common interests of the two countries.

Source: Xinhua

18/05/2019

Kevin Mallory: Ex-CIA agent jailed for spying for China

Kevin MalloryImage copyright ALEXANDRIA SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Image caption Kevin Mallory, 62, was convicted under the Espionage Act

A former CIA officer has been jailed for 20 years for disclosing military secrets to a Chinese agent, the US justice department says.

Kevin Mallory, 62, was found guilty of several spying offences following a two-week trial last June.

The fluent Mandarin speaker from Leesburg, Virginia, held top-level security clearance and had access to sensitive documents.

He was convicted of selling secrets to China for $25,000 (£19,600).

Evidence at his trial included a surveillance video which showed him scanning classified documents onto a digital memory card at a post office.

He also travelled to Shanghai to meet with a Chinese agent in March and April 2017, the justice department said.

“Mallory not only put our country at great risk, but he endangered the lives of [people] who put their own safety at risk for our national defence,” US attorney Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement.

“This case should send a message to anyone considering violating the public’s trust and compromising our national security,” he added. “We will remain steadfast and dogged in pursuit of these challenging but critical national security cases.”

The Justice Department said Mallory held a number of sensitive jobs with government agencies.

He had worked as a covert case officer for the CIA and as an intelligence officer for the Defense intelligence Agency (DIA).

“This case is one in an alarming trend of former US intelligence officers being targeted by China and betraying their country and colleagues,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said following the sentencing.

Earlier this month, ex-CIA agent Jerry Chun Shing Lee pleaded guilty to spying for China. Prosecutors said the naturalised US citizen was paid to divulge information on US covert assets.

And last June, former US intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hansen was also charged with attempting to spy for China.

He attempted to pass on information and received at least $800,000 (£600,000) for acting as a Chinese agent, the justice department said at the time.


CIA spy operation in China: Key dates

Three armed Chinese policemen guarding the US embassy in BeijingImage copyright AFP
Image caption Chinese police guard the US embassy in the capital, Beijing
  • 2010: Information gathered by the US from sources deep inside the Chinese government bureaucracy start to dry up
  • 2011: Informants begin to disappear. It is not clear whether the CIA has been hacked or whether a mole has helped the Chinese to identify agents
  • 2012: FBI begins investigation
  • May 2014: Five Chinese army officers are charged with stealing trade secrets and internal documents from US companies. Later that same month, China says it has been a main target for US spies
  • 2015: CIA withdraws staff from the US embassy in Beijing, fearing data stolen from government computers could expose its agents
  • April 2017: Beijing offers hefty cash rewards for information on foreign spies
  • May 2017: Four former CIA officials tell the New York Times that up to 20 CIA informants were killed or imprisoned by the Chinese between 2010 and 2012
  • June 2017: Ex-CIA officer Kevin Mallory is arrested and charged with giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent
  • January 2018: Former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee is arrested
  • June 2018: Former US intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hansen is charged with attempting to spy for China
  • Source: The BBC
18/05/2019

IMF’s Lagarde says U.S.-China trade war could be risk for world economic outlook

TASHKENT (Reuters) – The trade war between the United States and China could be a risk to the world economic outlook if it is not resolved, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told Reuters on Friday during a visit to Uzbekistan.

“Obviously, the downside risk that we have is continued trade tensions between the United States and China,” Lagarde said, referring to the IMF’s world economic outlook.

“And if these tensions are not resolved, that clearly is a risk going forward.”

The IMF last month cut its growth forecast for 2019 to 3.3%, down from the 3.5% it had previously predicted.

It warned at the time that growth could slow further due to trade tensions and a potentially disorderly British exit from the European Union.

“But we expect that at the end of 2019 and in 2020 it will bounce back,” Lagarde said of the world economic outlook on Friday.

The United States infuriated China this week when it announced it was putting Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, on a blacklist that could make it hard to do business with U.S. companies.

On Friday Beijing suggested a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changes course.

Source: Reuters

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