Posts tagged ‘State visit’

18/10/2015

China’s Xi lauds Britain for ‘visionary’ openness, prods others to emulate | Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping heaped praise on Britain for what he called a “visionary and strategic choice” to strengthen commercial ties with China, as he prepared for a state visit to the United Kingdom that’s expected to be richer in pomp and considerably warmer in tone than his recent trip to the United States.

The trip comes at a time of global anxiety about China’s slowing growth. Xi himself acknowledged “concerns about the Chinese economy”, but sought to allay them in a written interview with Reuters.

China itself is worried about the slowing of the broader global economy, Xi said, even while he expressed confidence that China would weather the current downturn as it reshapes its economy to be more resilient in the future.

That confidence will be on display when Xi arrives in London on Monday evening to kick off a four-day visit that is expected to cement ties between Britain and China, including through a host of business deals.

“The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China. This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain’s own long-term interest,” Xi said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

“China looks forward to engaging with the UK in a wider range, at a higher level and in greater depth.”

WARMER WELCOME

Xi’s visit comes amid debate in Britain and many other Western countries over what is the best way to engage with a Communist-ruled China that has grown more influential economically and diplomatically, but which maintains stances in areas from human rights to the South China Sea that are often at odds with those widely held in the West.

Such tensions were on display when Xi visited the United States last month, with friction over issues from cyber theft to China’s maritime disputes with its neighbors at the center of discussions.

Xi’s visit to Britain, during which he and his wife Peng Liyuan will stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of Queen Elizabeth II, is expected to be much warmer, with Xi saying it could be the start of a “golden time” in bilateral relations.

Britain was the first Western nation to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) earlier this year, leading to a stampede of other countries signing up and marking an embarrassment for Washington, which had been pressing its allies not to join.

At the time, Britain said joining the AIIB at the founding stage would “create an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together”.

British finance minister George Osborne set the tone with a preparatory visit to China last month, when he courted Chinese investment into Britain and won praise from Chinese state media for having the “etiquette” not to press human rights issues.

Still, Xi’s visit, the first state visit by a Chinese president since 2005, will not be without potentially awkward moments. Newly installed opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn intends to bring up the issue of human rights when he meets Xi, his official spokesman has said.

Source: Exclusive – China’s Xi lauds Britain for ‘visionary’ openness, prods others to emulate | Reuters

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15/10/2015

China slaps one-year ban on imports of African ivory hunting trophies | Reuters

China slapped a one-year ban on African ivory hunting trophy imports, the state forestry authority said on Thursday ahead of a trip by President Xi Jinping to Britain, where members of the royal family have urged China to crack down on the ivory trade.

A government official picks up an ivory tusk to crush it at a confiscated ivory destruction ceremony in Beijing, China, May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonConservationists say China’s growing appetite for contraband ivory imports, which are turned into jewels and ornaments, has fueled a surge in poaching in Africa.

In March, Britain’s Prince William urged an end to the trade during a visit to a Chinese elephant sanctuary in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

Xi is scheduled to travel to Britain between Oct. 19-23, where he will stay at Buckingham Palace, home to the royal family.

China’s State Forestry Administration said in a statement posted on its website that it would “temporarily prohibit” trophy imports until Oct. 15, 2016 and “suspend the acceptance of relevant administrative permits”.

It did not give further details, though the official Xinhua news agency said a government review is under way on whether to extend a separate one-year ban made in February on imports of African ivory carvings.

The policy also follows a deal to enact nearly complete bans on ivory imports and exports made during Xi’s September state visit to the United States.

Within China, the trade and sale of ivory carvings are legal if the items were imported before the country joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1981, or come from a stock of 62 tonnes of raw-ivory bought from four African countries in 2008 as a one-time exemption.

The government releases a portion of that stockpile each year to ivory carving factories.

China crushed 6.2 metric tonnes (6.83 tons) of confiscated ivory early last year in its first such public destruction of any part of its stockpile. However, the country still ranks as the world’s biggest end-market for poached ivory, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

In June, a Tanzanian government minister described elephant poaching as a national disaster, and urged China to curb its appetite for ivory.

Source: China slaps one-year ban on imports of African ivory hunting trophies | Reuters

01/06/2015

Pranab in Sweden, key pacts to be signed – The Hindu

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday arrived here on the first leg of his five-day state visit to Sweden and Belarus, the first ever by any Indian head of State, during which a number of key agreements on sustainable development, scientific research are likely to be signed.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel receive President Pranab Mukherjee at Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm.

On his arrival, Mr. Mukherjee was received by Crown Princess Victoria at the Arland airport. Later, he was received at the Royal Mews by the King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia from where he was taken on a horse-drawn cortege to the Royal Palace, where the traditional welcoming ceremony took place.

Earlier in New Delhi, he was given a ceremonial send-off at Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the three Service Chiefs.

During his three-day State visit in Sweden, the President will meet Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and the Leader of Opposition, Anna Kinberg Batra besides number of meetings with the King and the Queen. The visit will focus on innovation, sustainable development, urban development and scientific research with both countries exploring ways to enhance mutual exchange in the areas of trade and science.

via Pranab in Sweden, key pacts to be signed – The Hindu.

27/04/2015

China plans to cut number of big state firms to 40: state media | Reuters

China will likely cut the number of its central government-owned conglomerates to 40 through massive mergers, as Beijing pushes forward a sweeping plan to overhaul the country’s underperforming state sector, state media reported on Monday.

The consolidation will first take place in commercial sectors, especially in competitive industries, said the official newspaper Economic Information Daily, quoting an anonymous authority.

“Resources will be increasingly concentrated on large enterprises to avoid cut-throat competition, like what CSR Corp Ltd and China CNR Corp Ltd did when competing against each other for projects overseas,” the newspaper said.

The restructuring plan is critical to President Xi Jinping‘s broader push to raise the performance of China’s lumbering state sector, at a time when Beijing struggles to find the right policy mix to support the world’s second-largest economy that grew in the first quarter at its slowest pace in six years.

The policy-directed merger of state-owned CNR and CSR, China’s top two train makers, created a $26 billion company able to win global rail deals from rivals such as Germany’s Siemens AG and Canada’s Bombardier Inc.

SOEs‘ non-core businesses, particularly in tertiary industry, will be sold publicly on the capital market,” the newspaper quoted the authority as saying.

Avoiding the loss of state assets will be “the most important and core requirement” when mergers that involve sensitive assets take place, the newspaper said.

Earlier this month, Beijing committed to stepping up public scrutiny of state firms’ financial and performance information as well as changes of enterprise leadership, to increase transparency and fight corruption.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the ruling Communist Party’s top graft-buster, is also intensifying its two-year inspections of state firms in strategic sectors.

In recent weeks, China FAW Group Corp Chairman Xu Jianyi, Baosteel Group Vice President Cui Jian, and a general manager at China National Petroleum Corp were put under investigation for corruption.

Currently, the central government owns 112 conglomerates, including 277 public firms listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges with a market capitalization of more than 10 trillion yuan ($1.61 trillion), according to the newspaper.

via China plans to cut number of big state firms to 40: state media | Reuters.

26/02/2015

China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters

China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.

Zhou Qiang, President of China's Supreme People's Court, attends National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.

It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.

Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.

China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.

He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court‘s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.

“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.

The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.

via China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters.

14/02/2015

Military corruption: Rank and vile | The Economist

SO EXTENSIVE was the stash of jade, gold and cash found in the basement of General Xu Caihou’s mansion in Beijing that at least ten lorries were needed to haul it away, according to the Chinese press last October. Given General Xu’s recent retirement as the highest ranking uniformed officer in the armed forces, this was astonishing news. General Xu, the media said, had accepted “extremely large” bribes, for which he now faces trial. It will be the first of such an exalted military figure since the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—as the Chinese army, navy and air force are collectively known—has not fought a war for 35 years. But the world’s largest fighting force is now engaged in a fierce battle at home against corrosion within its ranks.

Xi Jinping, China’s president (pictured, pointing), has taken his sweeping anti-corruption campaign into the heart of the PLA, seemingly unafraid to show that a hallowed institution is also deeply flawed. In January the PLA took the unprecedented step of revealing that 15 generals and another senior officer were under investigation or awaiting trial. It said it would launch a stringent review of recruitment, promotions, procurements and all of its financial dealings in order to root out corruption.

One reason Mr Xi is keen to clean up the army is to ensure that it remains a bulwark of party rule. The PLA is the party’s armed wing—its soldiers swear allegiance to it rather than the people or the country. All officers are party members and each company is commanded jointly by an officer in charge of military affairs and another whose job it is to ensure troops toe the party line. Mr Xi has repeatedly stressed the party’s “absolute leadership” over the PLA. His definition of a “strong army” puts “obedience to the party’s commands” before “capability of winning wars”.

via Military corruption: Rank and vile | The Economist.

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