Archive for ‘Dalian’

21/05/2019

North Korean women ‘forced into sex slavery’ in China – report

Prostitute in a Shanghai back alley (credit: Lei Han)Image copyright KOREA FUTURE INITIATIVE
Image caption The trade of North Korean women in China is said to be worth $100m a year for criminal organisations

Thousands of North Korean women and girls are being forced to work in the sex trade in China, according to a new report by a London-based rights group.

They are often abducted and sold as prostitutes, or compelled to marry Chinese men, says the Korea Future Initiative.

The trade is worth $100m (£79m) a year for criminal organisations, it says.

The women are often trapped because China repatriates North Koreans, who then face torture at home, it says.

“Victims are prostituted for as little as 30 Chinese yuan ($4.30; £3.40), sold as wives for just 1,000 yuan, and trafficked into cybersex dens for exploitation by a global online audience,” the report’s author Yoon Hee-soon said.

The girls and women in question are usually aged between 12 and 29, but can sometimes be younger, the report said.

They are coerced, sold, or abducted in China or trafficked directly from North Korea. Many are sold more than once and are forced into at least one form of sexual slavery within a year of leaving their homeland, it adds.

Many are enslaved in brothels in districts in north-east China with large migrant worker populations.

The girls – some as young as nine – and women working in the cybersex industry are forced to perform sex acts and are sexually assaulted in front of webcams. Many of the subscribers are thought to be South Korean.

Women forced into marriage were mostly sold in rural areas for 1,000 to 50,000 yuan, and were raped and abused by their husbands.

Media caption North Korean defectors who had to escape twice

The group collected its information from victims in China and exiled survivors in South Korea.

One woman, named as Ms Pyon from Chongjin City, North Korea, is quoted as saying in the report:

“I was sold [to a brothel] with six other North Korean women at a hotel. We were not given much food and were treated badly…After eight months, half of us were sold again. The broker did bad things to me.”

“When I arrived [at the new brothel] I had bruises on my body. [The broker] was beaten then stabbed in the legs by some members of the gang.”

Another, Ms Kim, said: “There are many South Koreans [in Dalian, China]…We put advertising cards under their doors [in hotels]…The cards are in the Korean-language and advertise what we offer…We are mostly taken to bars [by the pimp].

“South Korean companies want [North Korean prostitutes] for their businessmen…Prostitution was my first experience of meeting a South Korean person.”

Source: The BBC

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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

30/04/2019

Boxed in: $1 billion of Iranian crude sits at China’s Dalian port

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Some 20 million barrels of Iranian oil sitting on China’s shores in the northeast port of Dalian for the past six months now appears stranded as the United States hardens its stance on importing crude from Tehran.

Iran sent the oil to China, its biggest customer, ahead of the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions last November, as it looked for alternative storage for a backlog of crude at home.

The oil is being held in so-called bonded storage tanks at the port, which means it has yet to clear Chinese customs. Despite a six-month waiver to the start of May that allowed China to continue some Iranian imports, shipping data shows little of this oil has been moved.

Traders and refinery sources pointed to uncertainty over the terms of the waiver and said independent refiners had been unable to secure payment or insurance channels, while state refiners struggled to find vessels.

The future of the crude, worth well over $1 billion at current prices, has become even more unclear after Washington last week increased its pressure on Iran, saying it would end all sanction exemptions at the start of May.

“No responsible Chinese company with any international exposure will have anything to do with Iran oil unless they are specifically told by the Chinese government to do so,” said Tilak Doshi of oil and gas consultancy Muse, Stancil & Co in Singapore.

Iran previously stored oil in 2014 at Dalian during the last round of sanctions that was later sold to buyers in South Korea and India. reut.rs/2yo9Se6

China last week formally complained to the United States over the unilateral Iran sanctions, but U.S. officials have said Washington is not considering a further short-term waiver or a wind-down period.

The 20 million barrels is equal to about a month’s worth of China’s imports from Iran over the past six months, or about two days of the country’s total imports.

Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

A senior official with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “We will continue to sell our oil.”

“Iran is now desperate and will deal with anyone with steep discounts as long as they get paid somehow,” said Doshi.

SOME OIL TAKEN

Some Iranian oil sent to Dalian has moved, according to a ship tracking analyst at Refinitiv.

Dan, a supertanker owned by NITC moved 2 million barrels of oil from Dalian more than 1,000 km (620 miles) to the south to the Ningbo Shi Hua crude oil terminal in March, according to Refinitiv data.

Ningbo is home to Sinopec’s Zhenhai refinery, one of the country’s largest oil plants with a capacity of 500,000 barrels a day and a top processor of Iranian oil.

Sinopec declined to comment.

The Iranian tanker was chartered by state-run Chinese trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, according to Refinitiv analyst Emma Li. The NITC official confirmed the oil was taken by Zhuhai Zhenrong.

Zhenrong was started in the 1990s and brokered the first oil supply deals between Iran and China. At that time, Iran was supplying oil to China to pay for arms supplied by Beijing during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Zhuhai Zhenrong still specializes mainly in buying Iranian oil.(reut.rs/2IHlvEx)

An official at the general manager’s office with Zhuhai Zhenrong’s office in Beijing said he could not immediately comment. The company did not reply to a fax seeking comment.

For now, more Iranian oil is heading to China, with the supertankers Stream and Dream II due to arrive in eastern China from Iran on May 5 and May 7, respectively, Refinitiv data showed.

Some of this crude may be from Chinese investments into Iranian oilfields, a sanctions grey area.

Whether China will keep buying oil from Iran remains unclear, but analysts at Fitch Solutions said in a note “there may be scope for imports via barter or non-compliance from … China.”

Muse, Stancil & Co’s Doshi said the only way to get the Iranian oil out of Dalian now was by cheating.

“Only rogue parties might try to cheat the system and try to pass the Iranian oil at Dalian as something else via fraudulent docs. But I doubt this is easy or can amount to much in terms of volume.”

(MAP: Iranian supertanker frees some oil from China storage in March, tmsnrt.rs/2W1FJvK)

Source: Reuters

27/04/2019

(BRF) Feature: In Schwab’s eyes, BRI growing into mature initiative

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) — The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is growing up and gaining global traction, said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), here on Friday.

In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), he said that when he attended the first BRF in 2017, the BRI “was still a child growing up and you don’t know what the end of it will be.”

“Now the BRI has become an adult, which means that it has become an important factor in the global economy. It has grown up,” he told Xinhua.

Illustrating his understanding of the BRI in a speech at the ongoing second BRF, the professor said that through the BRI and institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China can demonstrate to the world that “the philosophy and concept of the Belt and Road is more than an important initiative.”

The WEF founder, an advocate of “Globalization 4.0,” said that if people want globalization to continue as a positive force, a higher level of globalization is needed to respond to the needs and realities of a transforming world.

The BRI, he added, can be “a building block and a role model of” an advanced pattern of global cooperation that should be more sustainable, more inclusive and more collaborative.

Over the years, Schwab has articulated on many occasions his views of the BRI. At the 2015 Summer Davos Forum in northeast China’s port city of Dalian, he said he was happy to see that China proposed the BRI.

There was a huge infrastructure demand in Asia and Europe, and it was a good thing for China to play a leading role in building infrastructure in the region, he noted.

Partly thanks to the fact that it met the development needs of many countries, the BRI continued with rapid progress, promoting common development in participating countries and bringing Asia and Europe ever closer.

On May 13, 2017, the 1,000th China-Europe freight train that year departed from China’s eastern city of Yiwu to Europe, fully loaded with commodities like smallware and clothes.

The next day, Schwab reaffirmed his full support for the BRI in an address at the first BRF. Not hiding his enthusiasm about the BRI, he said the initiative “takes a long-term and holistic view, and makes a unique contribution to international cooperation and economic development.”

He pointed out that connectivity, a primary focus of the BRI, “is the new meta-pattern of our era and a key driver of our future economy.”

Citing a Chinese saying that “if you want to get rich, build a road,” he said, “I would update this to say: ‘If you seek prosperity, build connectivity.'”

One month later, in an interview with Xinhua ahead of the 2017 Summer Davos Forum, also held in Dalian, Schwab pointed to the BRI’s paradigm-shifting significance.

“The Belt and Road Initiative has great significance because it is a new approach to reach a new and open cooperation … and everybody can participate in a win-win situation as an equal partner,” he said.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the initiative six years ago, 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. The initiative has become the world’s largest platform for international cooperation and the most welcomed global public good.

The BRI “is now growing up into a mature initiative that can have even more impact,” Schwab told Xinhua.

Source: Xinhua

26/02/2019

‘No-go zone’ in Yellow Sea for Chinese aircraft carrier sea trials

  • Liaoning has just undergone a nine-month revamp
  • Flight system of new warship the Type 001A expected to be put to test

‘No-go zone’ in Yellow Sea for Chinese aircraft carrier sea trials

26 Feb 2019

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, will undergo major tests as it enters the final phase of preparations before it is commissioned. Photo: Reuters
China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, will undergo major tests as it enters the final phase of preparations before it is commissioned. Photo: Reuters

China has announced a “no-go zone” in the Yellow Sea while sea trials are carried out for two of its aircraft carriers – the Liaoning, which has just been upgraded, and its first domestically built carrier.

The Liaoning Maritime Administration said there would be no entry to the area off China’s northeast coast from Sunday to March 6, and it would be used for “military purposes”.

State media reported that the Liaoning, which was commissioned in 2012, left the Dalian shipyard on Sunday after nine months of maintenance and modifications. Photos showed a banner where the warship was docked reading “Congratulations to the Liaoning on its new mission”.

China’s first aircraft carrier may become test bed for top flight electromagnetic warplane launcher.
Meanwhile, the Type 001A aircraft carrier, which was built at the same shipyard, is expected to undergo major tests at sea as it enters the final phase of preparations before it is commissioned.
Naval expert Li Jie said the Liaoning would probably also undergo testing, but he expected the no-go zone would mainly be for the Type 001A, especially to put its flight system to the test.

“This vessel will soon enter service and in preparation for that it has to go through a number of manoeuvres, take-offs and landings with the ship-based aircraft,” Li said.

China will build 4 nuclear aircraft carriers in drive to catch US Navy, experts say

The warship appears to be ready for operations involving those aircraft, according to a report on news website Guancha.cn. Photos showed three blast deflectors – which protect the deck and crew from jet engines – on the Type 001A flight deck, along with trucks to tow planes and fire engines, the report said.

The vessel has undergone four sea trials since it was launched in April 2017.

China’s first and only active aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was likely to carry out exercises involving J-15 fighter jets to get it combat-ready after its revamp, according to Li.
He expected both aircraft carriers to take part in the PLA Navy’s fleet review to be held off Qingdao, in Shandong province, on April 23 to mark the anniversary of the navy – part of a series of activities to commemorate the 70th year since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“They will both be at the event if the tests of the Type 001A go well. If not, the Liaoning will be there at least,” Li said.
After a fourth sea trial, China’s Type 001A aircraft carrier may go into service within month.
The Liaoning went back to the Dalian shipyard in May and has had its bridge and air traffic control centre rebuilt and radar system upgraded. The flight deck was also modified.
China bought the vessel from Ukraine in 1998 as an unfinished Soviet Kuznetsov-class carrier, the Varyag. It was retrofitted between 2006 and 2011. China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, was based on the 50,000-tonne vessel.
Source: SCMP
23/02/2019

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import ‘block’

Ships and containers at a port in Dalian, ChinaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionOne of China’s biggest ports is reported to have halted Australian coal imports

The Australian government says it is seeking an “urgent” clarification from Beijing over reports that a major Chinese port has halted imports of Australian coal.

Australia is a top supplier of coal to China, its biggest export market.

Beijing has not confirmed the reported halt in the port of Dalian, but called changes in such arrangements “normal”.

Canberra sought to play down speculation on Friday that the matter may be linked to bilateral tensions.

Australian officials said there was “confusion” over the situation, and they were consulting their Chinese counterparts.

“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. The Australia-China trading relationship is exceptionally strong,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Fears about the issue have prompted a fall in the Australian dollar.

What has happened?

On Thursday, Reuters reported that China’s Dalian port region would not allow Australian coal to pass through customs.

The news agency quoted officials as saying that only Australian coal had been affected, with no limits placed on Indonesian and Russian shipments.

It said other Chinese ports had delayed Australian coal shipments in recent months.

A machine places coal in stockpiles at a coal port in Newcastle, AustraliaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionCoal is Australia’s biggest export commodity

Australian trade officials said they had been notified of recent industry concerns about market access.

When asked about the reported halt, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang offered general comments that authorities sought “to safeguard the rights and interests of Chinese importers and protect the environment”.

What else is being debated?

Some security analysts in Australia have suggested it could be a tit-for-tat move by China, after Australia blocked tech giant Huawei from providing 5G technology.

“The banning of those coal shipments is a form of coercion against Australia. It’s punishment against states that resist China’s pressure,” said Dr Malcolm Davis, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Other recent tensions have emerged over allegations – denied by Beijing – of Chinese interference in Australian politics and society.

However others, including the head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, have suggested that China’s concerns about its own coal industry may be behind any such halts.

Blocking “a couple of months of coal exports” would not hurt the Australian economy, said Philip Lowe.

“If it were to be the sign of a deterioration in the underlying political relationship between Australia and China then that would be more concerning,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg said: “We can see these occasional interruptions to the smooth flow but that doesn’t necessarily translate to some of the consequences that aspects of the media might seek to leap to.”

Source: The BBC

22/02/2019

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import ‘block’

Ships and containers at a port in Dalian, ChinaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionOne of China’s biggest ports is reported to have halted Australian coal imports

The Australian government says it is seeking an “urgent” clarification from Beijing over reports that a major Chinese port has halted imports of Australian coal.

Australia is a top supplier of coal to China, its biggest export market.

Beijing has not confirmed the reported halt in the port of Dalian, but called changes in such arrangements “normal”.

Canberra sought to play down speculation on Friday that the matter may be linked to bilateral tensions.

Australian officials said there was “confusion” over the situation, and they were consulting their Chinese counterparts.

“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. The Australia-China trading relationship is exceptionally strong,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Fears about the issue have prompted a fall in the Australian dollar.

What has happened?

On Thursday, Reuters reported that China’s Dalian port region would not allow Australian coal to pass through customs.

The news agency quoted officials as saying that only Australian coal had been affected, with no limits placed on Indonesian and Russian shipments.

It said other Chinese ports had delayed Australian coal shipments in recent months.

A machine places coal in stockpiles at a coal port in Newcastle, AustraliaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionCoal is Australia’s biggest export commodity

Australian trade officials said they had been notified of recent industry concerns about market access.

When asked about the reported halt, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang offered general comments that authorities sought “to safeguard the rights and interests of Chinese importers and protect the environment”.

What else is being debated?

Some security analysts in Australia have suggested it could be a tit-for-tat move by China, after Australia blocked tech giant Huawei from providing 5G technology.

“The banning of those coal shipments is a form of coercion against Australia. It’s punishment against states that resist China’s pressure,” said Dr Malcolm Davis, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Other recent tensions have emerged over allegations – denied by Beijing – of Chinese interference in Australian politics and society.

However others, including the head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, have suggested that China’s concerns about its own coal industry may be behind any such halts.

Blocking “a couple of months of coal exports” would not hurt the Australian economy, said Philip Lowe.

“If it were to be the sign of a deterioration in the underlying political relationship between Australia and China then that would be more concerning,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg said: “We can see these occasional interruptions to the smooth flow but that doesn’t necessarily translate to some of the consequences that aspects of the media might seek to leap to.”

Source: The BBC

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