Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

21/04/2019

Beijing Int’l Horticultural Exhibition to kick off on April 29

CHINA-BEIJING-HORTICULTURAL EXPO-VENUES (CN)

Aerial photo taken on April 19, 2019 shows the China Pavilion of the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition (Expo 2019 Beijing) in Yanqing District of Beijing, capital of China. The 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition is slated to kick off on April 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Hou Dongtao)

Source: Xinhua

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21/04/2019

How much of Europe does China own?

Shipping containers at PiraeusImage copyrightAFP
Image caption China now has a majority stake in the Greek port of Piraeus

The European Union has introduced a new mechanism for screening foreign investment.

It’s widely believed to have been prompted by concerns over China’s economic ambitions in Europe.

It will allow the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – to give an opinion when an investment “threatens the security or public order” of more than one member state or undermines an EU-wide project such as the Galileo satellite project.

In March, the European Commission called China a “systemic rival” and a “strategic competitor”.

The Chinese Ambassador to the EU urged the bloc to remain “open and welcome” to Chinese investment, and not to “discriminate”.

How much foreign investment is in the EU?

China’s ownership of EU businesses is relatively small, but has grown quickly over the past decade.

A third of the bloc’s total assets are now in the hands of foreign-owned, non-EU companies, according to a report from the European Commission in March.

Of these, 9.5% of companies had their ownership based in China, Hong Kong or Macau – up from 2.5% in 2007.

That compares with 29% controlled by US and Canadian interests by the end of 2016 – down from nearly 42% in 2007.

So, it’s a significant increase, but the total amount is not huge, comparatively speaking.

China in the EU

Foreign direct investment into the 28 member stAlthough the levels of Chinese foreign direct investment in the EU have been increasing rapidly, it peaked at €37.2bn in 2016 amidst a slowdown in Chinese investment globally, according to the Rhodium Group and the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

In European countries outside the EU, investment also dropped in 2018.

What and where is China investing?

A large proportion of Chinese direct investment, both state and private, is concentrated in the major economies, such as the UK, France and Germany combined, according to the Rhodium Group and Mercator Institute.

Chinese investment by top EU countries

Analysis by Bloomberg last year said that China now owned, or had a stake in, four airports, six maritime ports and 13 professional soccer teams in Europe.

It estimated there had been 45% more investment activity in 30 European countries from China than from the US, since 2008.

And it said this was underestimating the true extent of Chinese activity.

What about infrastructure?

In March, Italy was the first major European economy to sign up to China’s new Silk Road programme – known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

It involves huge infrastructure building to increase trade between China and markets in Asia and Europe.

Officially more than 20 countries in Europe (including Russia) are part of the initiative.

For example, China is financing the expansion of the port of Piraeus in Greece and is building roads and railways in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia.

This could prove attractive to poorer Balkan and southern European countries, especially as demands for transparency and good governance can make EU funding appear less attractive.

However, analysts point out that Chinese loans come with conditions – such as the involvement of Chinese companies – and also risk burdening these countries with large amounts of debt.

Will Chinese investment grow?

Globally, China’s outward direct investment has slowed over the last year or two, after more than a decade of expansion.

“This is mainly the result of stricter controls on capital outflows from China, but also of a changing political environment globally concerning Chinese investment,” says Agatha Kratz of the Rhodium Group.

China’s global investment slows

The Trump administration is taking a tougher line towards China’s economic activities.

Governments elsewhere are more cautious – particularly when it comes to investment in sensitive areas of the economy, such as telecommunications and defence.

But there’s little doubt China is now a significant player in Europe, whether through direct investments or via the new Silk Road project.

Source: The BBC

21/04/2019

Indian, Australian warships arrive in China for naval parade

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) – Warships from India, Australia and several other nations arrived in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao on Sunday to attend a naval parade, part of a goodwill visit as China extends the hand of friendship despite regional tensions and suspicions.

China on Tuesday will mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, where it will show off new warships including nuclear submarines and destroyers at a major review in the waters off Qingdao.

China says warships from about a dozen nations are also taking part – one diplomatic source with direct knowledge said it was 13 countries in total – and the PLA is putting its best foot forward to welcome them.

India, which has been at odds with China over their disputed land border and Beijing’s support for India’s regional rival Pakistan, has sent stealth guided-missile destroyer the “INS Kolkata” to take part, along with a supply ship.

“We bring to you one of the best ships that we have made. It is the pride of the nation and the navy, and we are very happy to be here,” Captain Aditya Hara told reporters on the dockside after disembarking from the ship in Qingdao.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters the “Kolkata” had sailed through the Taiwan Strait to get to Qingdao, a sensitive waterway that separates China from self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as sacred Chinese territory.

“We headed on a direct route and we are very happy that we were facilitated by the PLA Navy and they ensured that we had a safe passage to Qingdao,” Hara said, when asked if they had sailed via the Taiwan Strait.

Australia, a close U.S. ally, has sent the “HMAS Melbourne” guided-missile frigate to Qingdao, though officials declined to make the captain available for interview.

China and Australia have sparred over Australian suspicions of Chinese interference in the country’s politics and Australia’s banning of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for its planned 5G broadband network.

Japan has also sent a destroyer to Qingdao, in the first visit of a Japanese navy ship to China since 2011, according to Japanese media.

Ties between China and Japan, the world’s second and third-largest economies, have been plagued by a long-running territorial dispute over a cluster of East China Sea islets and suspicion in China about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution.

But they have sought to improve relations more recently, with Abe visiting Beijing in October, when both countries pledged to forge closer ties and signed a broad range of agreements including a $30 billion currency swap pact.

The other countries taking part include China’s close friend Russia, and three countries which have sparred with China over competing claims in the disputed South China Sea: Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Pakistan, a very close Chinese ally, is not on the list of countries officials have provided which are sending ships to the parade.
Source: Reuters
20/04/2019

Commentary: China proves socialism best way to eradicate poverty

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) — In the countdown to China’s deadline to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020, the socialist system is playing a crucial role.

“Socialism means development. Development must serve the common prosperity for everyone,” President Xi Jinping called for greater efforts to win the battle against poverty on time during a recent inspection tour to southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.

China’s socialist system has made it possible to pool resources for its aims and stick to its targets from start to finish, especially when it comes to tasks concerning people’s livelihoods.

Thanks to consistent hard work, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty in the past four decades, with poverty rate in rural areas lowered from 97.5 percent in 1978 to 1.7 percent in 2018.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2017 pledged to eliminate poverty in all poor counties and regions by 2020, waging a final war on poverty to realize its goal.

Under the leadership of the CPC, poverty alleviation has become a strategic task for the country. Governments at every level have taken steps to ensure the task is completed on time.

Party members have been dispatched to impoverished villages across the country to assist poverty reduction work, including government officials, ex-servicemen and college graduates, all working to fully implement the central government policy.

China has made it crucial to adopt customized measures based on local conditions to ensure resources are used in the right place at the right time.

With only two years until the deadline, the country is at a critical juncture in finishing off the final, and most difficult tasks, in its poverty reduction campaign. The socialist system will continue to show its strength in the final battle.

Source: Xinhua

20/04/2019

Chile, Mongolia, Nepal, Portugal, Switzerland presidents, Austria Chancellor to visit China

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) — The presidents of Chile, Mongolia, Nepal, Portugal, and Switzerland will pay state visits to China and attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) next week, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced Friday.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga will visit China from April 24 to 28; Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will visit from April 24 to May 2; Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will visit from April 28 to May 2, and Ueli Maurer, president of the Swiss Confederation, will visit from April 23 to 30, Lu said.

Bhandari will also attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, according to Lu.

Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz will pay an official visit to China from April 25 to 29 and attend the second BRF, at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Lu announced.

Source: Xinhua

20/04/2019

China-Kenya ties growing stronger amid positive outcomes: envoy

NAIROBI, April 19 (Xinhua) — The bilateral cooperation between China and Kenya has grown stronger in the recent past, unleashing mutual benefits across economic and social spheres, a Chinese envoy has said.

Li Xuhang, the outgoing minister counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, said at his farewell reception on Thursday night that the last two years had witnessed significant milestones in bilateral ties between Nairobi and Beijing.

“The 27 months has witnessed tangible achievements on China-Kenya cooperation,” said Li, adding that the China-funded Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway that was launched on May 31, 2017 has come to symbolize fruitful cooperation between the two countries.

According to Li, about 2.7 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo have already been ferried between Mombasa and Nairobi since the launch of SGR trains.

He said that Kenyan President Kenyatta’s scheduled visit to China next week to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is expected to inject vitality into bilateral relations between Nairobi and Beijing.

He said that over 400 Chinese firms have established a presence in Kenya thanks to favorable policy environment while the number of Chinese tourists who visited Kenya increased from 56,000 in 2016 to some 81,000 in 2018.

“The leapfrogging development of bilateral relations over the past two years is the result of joint efforts of Chinese and Kenyan people from all walks of life,” said Li.

Source: Xinhua

20/04/2019

Xi to address Belt and Road forum next week: FM

CHINA-BEIJING-BRF-PRESS BRIEFING (CN)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) speaks during a press briefing for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing, capital of China, April 19, 2019. The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing, Wang Yi announced Friday. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) to be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced Friday.

Leaders including heads of state and government from 37 countries will attend the forum’s roundtable summit, Wang told a press briefing.

Wang said 12 thematic forums and a CEO conference would be held on April 25, the opening ceremony and a high-level meeting on April 26, and the leaders’ roundtable on April 27.

Xi will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a keynote speech. He will also chair the leaders’ roundtable and brief media from home and abroad about the outcomes after the roundtable, Wang said, adding that Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan will also hold a welcoming banquet for the leaders and representatives.

According to Wang, the 37 countries are Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

The secretary-general of the United Nations and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund will attend the forum, Wang said, adding that senior representatives of France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union will also participate.

Noting that the BRF is the top-level platform for international cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Wang said the conference next week would be of landmark significance.

The theme of the second BRF is “Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.” Wang said the main purpose is to promote the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation, which is the common aspiration of countries participating in the initiative.

Speaking highly of the fruitful results yielded since the initiative was launched in 2013, Wang said the second BRF was greatly welcomed worldwide with some 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations having confirmed their attendance, covering areas from five continents and different walks of life such as government, civil society, business and academia.

According to Wang, this year’s forum will have 12 thematic forums, twice of that during the first forum in 2017, and the CEO conference will be held for the first time. A joint communique will be released after the leaders’ roundtable and other consensus reached during the forum will be issued in a report.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, aims at enhancing all-around connectivity through infrastructure construction, exploring new driving force for the world economic growth, and building a new platform for world economic cooperation, according to Wang.

Stressing that Xi and leaders from other countries blueprinted the initiative in 2017, Wang said the progress in the past two years shows that the initiative conforms to the trend of the times featuring peace, development, cooperation and win-win and accords with the common aspiration of openness and joint development of all countries.

“As the host country, we will maintain close communication and coordination with all parties to prepare for the forum with openness, inclusiveness and transparency, upholding the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits,” Wang said.

He said the forum would voice the firm support for multilateralism and an open world economy, enrich the principles of cooperation of the Belt and Road Initiative, build a network of partnership, and establish more mechanisms for high-quality development.

Bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation has been reinforcing each other under the initiative, laying a solid foundation for a closer and more wide-ranging partnership, he said.

Wang said China will showcase the outcomes and introduce the measures of its reform and opening-up to the world, adding that this will allow China to share the dividends of its economic growth, promote the Belt and Road Initiative, and bring more opportunities to the development of all countries as well as the building of the Belt and Road.

“I believe that the forum will inject stronger impetus into the world economy, open even broader horizon for the development of the countries, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, ” said Wang.

Source: Xinhua

20/04/2019

China forest reserves jump to over 13 bln cubic meters

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) — China has made great strides in protecting forests over the past 20 years, a forestry official said Friday.

China’s natural forest reserves amount to 13.67 billion cubic meters, up from 9.07 billion cubic meters 20 years ago, Wen Haizhong, an official with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at a press conference.

China implemented a forest conservation program in several pilot areas in 1998. The first phase of the program was from 2000 to 2010, and the second phase runs from 2011 to 2020.

“The program plays a fundamental role in safeguarding ecological security and biodiversity,” Wen said.

During the first phase, the country’s forest area increased 150 million mu (10 million hectares) and forest reserves added 725 million cubic meters. From 2011 to 2020, China has been stopping the commercial harvesting of natural forest resources step by step, with timber production down about 34 million cubic meters annually.

Source: Xinhua

20/04/2019

Indian foreign secretary heads to China for talks amid tense relations

  • Vijay Keshav Gokhale is expected to meet Chinese deputy foreign minister Kong Xuanyou and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during two-day visit
  • Beijing’s refusal to sanction a Pakistani militant leader and its belt and road push in the disputed Kashmir region have strained ties
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale will visit China as part of “regular exchanges” between the two countries. Photo: AFP
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale will visit China as part of “regular exchanges” between the two countries. Photo: AFP
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale will travel to Beijing on Sunday amid tensions between India and China over Beijing’s refusal to sanction a Pakistani militant leader and its infrastructure push in the disputed Kashmir region.
Gokhale’s two-day visit is part of “regular exchanges” between the two nations, the Indian embassy in Beijing said on Saturday.
During his stay, Gokhale is expected to meet Chinese deputy foreign minister Kong Xuanyou and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

He will return to India on Monday, three days before the second Belt and Road Forum begins in the Chinese capital. Forty foreign leaders will attend the summit on Beijing’s global trade and infrastructure scheme, the “Belt and Road Initiative”, but India is not taking part.

Wang on Friday called on India, and other countries sceptical of the initiative, to join up, dismissing claims that it is a geopolitical tool. He also said China was ready to hold a leaders’ summit with India like the informal meeting held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan, Hubei province last year.

A summit between Xi Jinping (left) and Narendra Modi in Wuhan last year was seen as a breakthrough in China-India relations after the Doklam border dispute. Photo: AFP
A summit between Xi Jinping (left) and Narendra Modi in Wuhan last year was seen as a breakthrough in China-India relations after the Doklam border dispute. Photo: AFP

Gokhale visited Beijing in February last year, and the Wuhan summit happened two months later. That meeting was seen as a breakthrough in the

China-India relationship

after a 73-day military stand-off over the Doklam plateau.

But the progress was overshadowed in February after a terror strike on Indian security forces in the Jammu and Kashmir province, which killed 40 Indian soldiers. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group claimed responsibility for the attack. India has long wanted to designate its leader, Masood Azhar, as a terrorist under international law, but China has opposed the move.

During a visit to Pakistan in March, Kong said Beijing and Islamabad were all-weather strategic partners and would support each other on issues to do with their core interests.

What ‘Wuhan spirit’? Kashmir suicide attack reopens Modi’s China wound

Wang Dehua, head of the Institute for South and Central Asia Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, said China and India were looking to prevent their bilateral relations from deteriorating further.

“Both nations will elaborate on their stance on this matter, and China will probably deliver a message that the China-India relationship should not be affected by the dispute over Masood Azhar,” he said. “The positive sentiment out of Wuhan has been affected, and the two sides are seeking ways to continue the spirit of that informal summit.”

Du Youkang, director of Fudan University’s Pakistan Study Centre in Shanghai, said preparations for another informal summit of the nations’ leaders would only begin after India’s general election was over. Polling is being held in seven phases ending on May 19.

Gokhale’s trip would mainly be a chance to see how the two nations can push forward bilateral ties amid their disputes, Du said.

In addition to Azhar, India is also dismayed that some of China’s belt and road projects pass through the Pakistan-administered section of the disputed Kashmir region.

But Wang told reporters on Friday that the initiative did not target any third country, and that relations between China and India had improved after the Wuhan summit.

Source: SCMP

20/04/2019

Leica China video sparks backlash over Tiananmen Square image

A man stands in front of three tanksImage copyrightREUTERS
Image caption This year marks the 30th anniversary of the pro-democracy protests

A promotional video for camera company Leica has sparked backlash in China for featuring a famous Tiananmen Square image.

The video depicts photographers working in conflicts around the world, including a photographer covering the 1989 protests.

People on Chinese social media site Weibo have called for a boycott of the camera brand.

Leica has distanced itself from the video.

“Tank Man” was a lone protester who brought a column of tanks to a standstill during a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989.

He refused to move out of the way and climbed onto the leading tank to speak to the driver. He was later pulled away from the scene by two men. What happened to him remains unknown.

Beginning with the caption “Beijing 1989”, the Leica video features a photographer taking the famous image. The “Tank Man” can be seen in the camera’s lens.

Users on Chinese social media site Weibo have been forbidden from commenting on recent official posts by Leica. However some people are managing to post carefully worded comments on earlier official Leica posts, BBC Monitoring has found.

A search of the hashtag Leica shows that 42,000 users have left posts on Weibo but only 10 are available to view.

Some comments urge users to “boycott the camera” and joke about the company being linked to “patriotic Huawei”.

Chinese technology giant Huawei has been restricted by the US and other countries over security concerns in telecommunications networks. Consumers in China have rallied around the company, which uses Leica technology in its latest mobile phones.

A spokeswoman for Leica told the South China Morning Post that the film was not an officially sanctioned marketing film commissioned by the company. However it features Leica cameras and the company’s logo at the end of the footage.

They added that the company “must therefore distance itself from the content shown in the video and regrets any misunderstandings of false conclusions that may have been drawn”.

The BBC has contacted Leica for additional comment.


How China keeps Tiananmen off the internet

By Kerry Allen, BBC Monitoring China analyst

China has banned all activists’ commemorations of the 1989 Tiananmen incident for years and has strictly regulated online discussion of it.

If users search for “Tiananmen” on domestic search engines like Baidu or social media platforms like Sina Weibo, they only see sunny pictures of the Forbidden City in Beijing. If any pictures of tanks running along Chang’an Avenue are visible in image searches, they are only from Victory Day parades.

Hundreds of references to 4 June 1989 are banned all-year round by thousands of cyber police, and Weibo steps up censorship of even seemingly innocuous references to the incident on its anniversary.

Simple candle emojis, and number sequences that reference the date, such as “46” and “64” (4 June) and “1989” (the year of the protests), are instantly deleted. Small businesses also struggle to market items on 4 June every year, if their sale price is 46 or 64 yuan. Such advertising posts are swiftly removed by nervous censors.

But creative users always find ways of circumventing the censors. For example in 2014, when Taylor Swift released her 1989 album, the album cover featuring the words “T.S.” and “1989” was seen as an effective metaphor by users to talk about the incident – as T.S. could be taken to mean “Tiananmen Square”.


More than one million Chinese students and workers occupied Tiananmen Square in 1989, beginning the largest political protest in communist China’s history. Six weeks of protests ended with the bloody crackdown on protesters of 3-4 June.

Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to more than 1,000.

China’s statement at the end of June 1989 said that 200 civilians and several dozen security personnel had died in Beijing following the suppression of “counter-revolutionary riots” on 4 June 1989.

Source: The BBC

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