National China News

European business leader Joerg Wuttke believes leadership is becoming less curious and eager to learn from the West

South China Morning Post
Date: 12 June, 2017
By: Wendy Wu

China has become less curious and keen to learn from and open up to the West despite its growing importance on the world stage, according to a European business leader and veteran China watcher.

Joerg Wuttke, former president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, has seen first-hand the dramatic change in mainland society over the past three decades.

“China is now very different from decades ago. When I first came here in the early 1980s, I noticed huge curiosity and eagerness to learn and to open up. But now China is far more globally engaged but far more closed up,” he told the South China Morning Post.

Wuttke added that today’s leadership was more insecure about opening up to foreign ideas despite increasing wealth on the mainland.

Xi Jinping is biding his time on market reforms, China watcher says

“China’s current leaders are quite different from their predecessors. Even if they look far more secure in office, more powerful and the country is much wealthier, it seems they have a stronger sense of insecurity – lashing out at criticism, cutting off ideas and challenging foreign non-government organisations,” Wuttke said.   [FULL  STORY]
Date: May `10, 2017
By: Sophia Yan

China has rapidly climbed the ranks to become the world’s second-largest economy. Now, the most populous nation on the planet wants to increase its influence by digging further into its pockets — flush with cash after decades of rapid growth — to splash out with its “One Belt, One Road” policy.

The initiative is meant to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa to bolster trade and development. This weekend, hordes of foreign diplomats and business leaders are expected to descend on Beijing for a two-day meeting about the policy.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is “One Belt, One Road?”

President Xi Jinping first announced the policy in 2013; it was later named one of China’s three major national strategies, and morphed into an entire chapter in the current five-year plan, to run through 2020.

The plan aims to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a vast logistics and transport network, using roads, ports, railway tracks, pipelines, airports, transnational electric grids and even fiber optic lines. The scheme involves 65 countries, which together account for one-third of global GDP and 60 percent of the world’s population, or 4.5 billion people, according to Oxford Economics.
Why does China want to do this?

This is part of China’s push to increase global clout — building modern infrastructure can attract more investment and trade along the “One Belt, One Road” route. It could be beneficial for western China, which is less developed, as it links up with neighboring countries. And in the long run, it will help China shore up access to energy resources.

China is right to worry about the dangers of Islamic extremism in its western provinces, but it must also recognize that this threat is a result of Beijing’s own policies.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/03/07
By: The Japan Times

China has long had an uneasy relationship with the Uighurs, Muslims who constitute a majority

Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

of the population in the western province of Xinjiang. The Chinese Communist Party has worried about the threat of terrorism emanating from the region and has adopted increasingly repressive policies to counter that danger. The result, predictably enough, has been growing unrest. Beijing is now stepping up activities in the region and beyond its borders to check this threat; an indiscriminate heavy hand will do more harm than good.

China’s Xinjiang province is 45 percent Uighur, a Turkik-speaking Muslim group. While they are one of the 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities in China, Uighurs have complained that they have been discriminated against and their native culture denied as an influx of Han Chinese — who now constitute 40 percent of the population — have been brought into the region as part of a stabilization and pacification program. As in Tibet, the authorities claim that they are modernizing a backward part of their country and combating local groups that are terrorists or have terrorist inclinations.    [FULL  STORY]

Corruption and lack of oversight allow illegally logged timber to be traded from Africa’s heartland to the coast of China.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/01/25

By: Shi Yi

Muyeji Freddy and his team have scoured the bush for hours, but they haven’t found what f779xix4bovej5rr1qub3siz2lwibkthey’re looking for. Freddy would rather not return to camp so early in the day, with the sun still high, but the fruitless search leaves him no choice.

“Next week, we’ll move on and camp in another place,” he tells his group of loggers, some 40 young men from nearby villages.

Their home and hunting grounds are the vast highlands of the Katanga Plateau, in the deep south of the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. Their prey: mukula trees, or bloodwood.

For the past two years, Freddy and his fellow loggers have followed the same routine; carrying just the bare necessities, such as tents and big cooking pots, they move through the forest to look for mukula trees, log them, and sell the wood to Chinese buyers in the provincial capital.

The News Lens
Date: 2016/11/11
By: Hunter Marston

The election of Donald Trump to the White House now paves the way for Beijing to exert

Photo Credit: Jason Lee / Reuters / 達志影像
Photo Credit: Jason Lee / Reuters / 達志影像

more influence and control in the region. It will also leave long-time allies nervous, and puts the U.S. at economic and strategic risk, writes Hunter Marston.
With the election of Donald Trump, American voters voiced support for “America-first” isolationism, rejecting the likely continuation of Barack Obama’s liberal internationalism. Southeast Asia will almost certainly shift to the backburner and lose the high level of attention it received during the Obama years. The implications for regional trade and security are grave, and mostly negative.

Trump has openly questioned the value of U.S. alliances in Asia and even suggested that South Korea and Japan should acquire nuclear weapons to fend for themselves. This cool indifference to the security of our Asian allies belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the benefits the United States derives from overseas alliances and basing agreements, and it opens the possibility of catastrophic conflict sparked by nuclear brinkmanship.

In Southeast Asia, risk of nuclear conflict may be absent, but the withdrawal, or weakening, of the U.S. security commitment enhances China’s influence to its south and will leave the U.S. outside the regional trade architecture.

The Philippines, which under populist President Rodrigo Duterte has tilted away from the United States and sought closer relations with China, will likely continue in this direction – though Trump and Duterte, who has been dubbed “the Trump of the East,” may find something in common with each other, which could in turn warm the frosty U.S.-Philippines relationship.     [FULL  STORY]

‘DEVASTATING BLOW’:The court said China had interfered with Philippine fishing rights at the Scarborough Shoal and had breached Manila’s sovereign rights near the Reed Bank

Taipei Times
Date: Jul 13, 2016

An arbitration court ruled yesterday that China has no historic title over the waters of the

Protesters throw flowers while chanting anti-Chinese slogans during a rally over the South China Sea dispute in Metro Manila, the Philippines, yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Protesters throw flowers while chanting anti-Chinese slogans during a rally over the South China Sea dispute in Metro Manila, the Philippines, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

South China Sea and has breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights with its actions, infuriating Beijing, which dismissed the case as a farce.

A defiant China, which boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, vowed again to ignore the ruling, and said its armed forces would defend its sovereignty and maritime interests.

Xinhua news agency said shortly before the ruling was announced that a Chinese civilian aircraft had successfully tested two new airports in the disputed Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) and the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said a new guided-missile destroyer was formally commissioned at a naval base on Hainan, which has responsibility for the South China Sea.

“This award represents a devastating legal blow to China’s jurisdictional claims in the South China Sea,” Ian Storey of Singapore’s ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute said. “China will respond with fury, certainly in terms of rhetoric and possibly through more aggressive actions at sea.”     [FULL  STORY]

China intends to ‘foster a healthy, positive Internet culture’ by purging comments by its nearly 700 million Internet users.

The News Lens
Date: 2016/06/22
By: Bing-sheng Lee

China is tightening censorship of online comments to eliminate what it calls “unhealthy information” nt4uov5yc41ili7kmztmand promote “helpful and well-intentioned” messages.

On June 22, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a statement saying the strengthened measures would address “outstanding problems.”

Ren Xianliang (任賢良), deputy head of the administration, said the government intends to increase the rate of purges in comments sections and to provide easier access for people to report “inappropriate remarks.”

We must “proactively foster a healthy, positive Internet culture, and let cultured comment, rational posts and well-intentioned responses become the order of the day online,” Ren said.

Ren issued the orders to government-controlled commercial Internet companies and news websites during a nationwide video conference.
China has been actively supervising and regulating online speech for nearly two decades. In addition to filtering information circulated online, the government produces fake comments in a bid to influence and control Internet discussions.     [FULL  STORY]

The News Lens
Date: 2016/06/16
By: Yuan-ling Liang

Despite ‘guarantees’ in a recent white paper that religious freedoms will be respected, Chinese

Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

authorities are cracking down on Uighurs during Ramadan.

The Chinese government is preventing Uighurs in Xinjiang from practicing religion regardless of the white paper issued ahead of Ramadan, which promised to guarantee their freedom of belief.

To restrict religious activities, the Chinese government has been tightening its policy in Xinjiang, where 60% of people are Muslim and started fasting earlier this month. Besides the detention of residents of the region who encourage religious practices, Muslims have also been forced to eat during Ramadan, a traditional period of fasting for them.

Approximately 20 million people practice Islam across China; half of them live in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

On June 2, before the beginning of Ramadan, Chinese officials issued a white paper praising religious freedoms and promised to cause “no stress” on Muslims’ religious practices.

“All citizens’ freedom of belief and religious activities are guaranteed,” the paper said, adding that “No citizens should be discriminated for believing in a certain religion or be forced not to believe in one.”

The paper not only allowed all restaurants to decide their opening hours during Ramadan, but also barred anyone from intervening in the matter.     [FULL  STORY]

Animal rights campaigners in China have handed in a petition with 11 million signatures calling for an end to anannual dog-eating festival in the south-west of the country.

BBC News
Date: 10 June 2016

Activists want to stop the consumption of dog meat at the festival in the southern city of Yulin which is due to

The animal rights lobby in China appears to be growing in strength-AP
The animal rights lobby in China appears to be growing in strength-AP

begin later this month.

Correspondents say animal rights is a growing concern in China.  There have been frequent calls to treat animals more humanely.

About 24 activists accompanied by their dogs handed in the petition at the representative office of Yulin city in the Chinese capital, Beijing. They unfurled banners with pictures of their pets alongside the message: “I’m not your dinner.”

The annual festival – due to begin on 21 June – involves the slaughter of thousands of dogs for human consumption.

Figures cited by The Washington Post say about 30 million dogs are killed across Asia every year for their meat, with more than a third of that number killed in China.       [FULL  STORY]

Council On Foreign Relations
Date: May 30, 2016

A CFR InfoGuide Presentation
The East and South China Seas are the scene of escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The tensions, shaped by China’s growing assertiveness, have fueled concerns over armed conflict and raised questions about Washington’s security commitments in its strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.

We are strongly committed to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and security, and defending our territorial integrity.



Mapping the Claims

Six countries lay overlapping claims to the East and South China Seas, an area that is rich in hydrocarbons and natural gas and through which trillions of dollars of global trade flow. As it seeks to expand its maritime presence, China has been met by growing assertiveness from regional claimants like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The increasingly frequent standoffs span from the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on China’s eastern flank, to the long stretch of archipelagos in the South China Sea that comprise hundreds of islets. The U.S. pivot to Asia, involving renewed diplomatic activity and military redeployment, could signal Washington’s heightened role in the disputes, which, if not managed wisely, could turn part of Asia’s maritime regions from thriving trade channels into arenas of conflict.

Provocations against Japan’s sovereign sea and land are continuing, but they must not be tolerated.


Historical Context

China’s maritime disputes span centuries. The tug-of-war over sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkakus in the East China Sea can be traced to the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, while Japan’s defeat in World War II and Cold War geopolitics added complexity to claims over the islands. The fight over overlapping exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea has an equally complex chronology of events steeped in the turmoil of Southeast Asian history. Globalization—including extensive free trade pacts between claimants—and recent developments like the U.S. “pivot” to Asia have further connected the two disputes. As China’s economic ascent facilitates growing military capabilities and assertiveness in both seas, other regional players are also experiencing their own rise in nationalism and military capability, and have exhibited greater willingness to stake territorial claims.    [FULL  STORY]

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