China Digest

Trust key to better Sino-Japan ties: Li

Premier Li Keqiang urged Japan on Nov 21 to get China-Japan relations back on the right track by continuing to improve bilateral ties and avoiding interference.

A healthy and stable relationship is in line with the common interests of both countries, Li said in a meeting with a Japanese business delegation. Mutual trust is the key to improving bilateral ties, and grassroots exchanges are fundamental to the process, he said.

Economic and trade cooperation are vital aspects of China-Japan relations, the premier said, and the Japanese economic community is expected to continue the tradition to help make peace, friendship and cooperation a consensus for all Japanese people.

Li said he hopes the two countries can work together to promote ties, based on the four political documents. These were signed between 1972 and 2008 and were confirmed as abiding principles by both countries in 2014.


President makes call to deepen overall reform

President Xi Jinping called for continuous and resolute efforts to deepen overall reform as the top reform agency convened on Nov 20 for the first time since the Party’s national congress established reform procedures in multiple areas.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, set down requirements while presiding over the first meeting of the 19th Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform. The group is headed by Xi.

During the meeting, Xi stressed that great achievements have been reached in deepening reform, and that there remains huge potential for further deepening of reform.

Members of the leading group, including Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Wang Yang and Wang Huning, attended the conference.


Long March 6 sends 3 satellites into orbit

China launched a Long March 6 carrier rocket on Nov 21 to send three small Earth-observation satellites into space.

The Long March 6 blasted off at 12:50 pm at Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China’s Shanxi province and put three Jilin 1-series satellites in orbit, according to a news release from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the major contractor of China’s space programs.

It was the second mission for the Long March 6, a new-generation liquid-propellant rocket, the release said. The three-stage rocket’s first launch was in September 2015, when it put 20 satellites into orbit, setting a record for the most satellites launched by a single Chinese rocket.

Development of the Long March 6, the first of China’s new generation of carrier rockets, began in 2009 at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.


Wang urges ROK to honor commitments

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has used the Chinese saying “commitments must be honored” in urging Seoul to make sustained efforts to tackle the issue of deployment of a US anti-missile system in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Wang made the comment when meeting with his ROK counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in Beijing on Nov 22 amid public focus on progress in handling the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which has X-band radar capable of covering part of China.

China attaches great importance to Seoul’s recent pledges, including that it will not join a US-led anti-missile network, it will allow no additional deployments of THAAD, and it has no intention to damage China’s security interests, according to Wang.

Kang was making her first China visit since taking office in June, and shortly after the two sides arrived at a consensus on some points in tackling THAAD according to a joint statement on Oct 31.


Key electronic parts now made in China

More than 85 percent of the key electronic parts in Chinese defense and high-tech equipment are now domestically made, meaning the country has the ability to be self-sufficient in advanced electronic components, officials said on Nov 20.

Over the past decade, the technological gap between China and traditional electronic powerhouses, like the United States, has shortened from 15 years to five years, said Diao Shijing, director of information technology at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

At the same time, the ratio of domestically made key electronic parts in defense and high-tech equipment rose from 30 percent to 85 percent. 


Merger creates world’s largest utility provider

China’s largest coal mining company and a major power generator said on Nov 20 their merger was completed, creating the world’s largest utility provider by capacity as the country continues to reform its colossal State sector.

Coal producer Shenhua Group and China Guodian Corp, one of the top five State power producers, announced the official merger into a new entity called China Energy Investment Corp. It comes as the country tries to cut industrial overcapacity and streamline State-owned enterprises (SOEs).

The merger will create an energy behemoth with combined assets estimated to exceed 1.8 trillion yuan ($273 billion) and the fourth-largest Chinese energy sector SOE — after China National Petroleum Corp, the country’s largest oil and gas supplier and producer; China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, the world’s biggest refiner; and State Grid Corp of China, the nation’s electric power giant.


Three-phase solution proposed to Myanmar

China proposed a three-phase solution on Nov 19 for Myanmar’s Rakhine state, starting with a cease-fire, which is basically in place.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China believed the issue can be addressed by finding a solution acceptable to both Myanmar and Bangladesh, where many from Rakhine state have fled, through consultations.

While the key is to prevent flare-ups, the second phase should be bilateral talks between the two countries to find a workable solution, Wang said.

“China is willing to make contributions in this regard and play its due role,” Wang said while meeting reporters jointly with Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar.

The Chinese foreign minister, who had just wrapped up a visit to Bangladesh on Nov 18, said the proposal has the support of Bangladesh.


Top regulatory body to execute fiscal policies

The newly established national financial regulatory body is designed to be the top-level executor and coordinator of the State Council’s macroeconomic policies rather than to only safeguard the inflated financial sector, according to experts directly involved in the committee’s preparatory work.

The priority task of the Financial Stability and Development Committee, which debuted earlier in November with Vice-Premier Ma Kai as the head, is to effectively implement and coordinate economic and financial policy decisions made by the State Council, Chen Daofu, deputy director of the Research Institute of Finance under the State Council’s Development Research Center, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Chen’s institute has submitted a report to the State Council suggesting a feasible plan for the committee’s specific responsibilities and organizational structure.


Pension fund to get State assets boost

China will transfer a chunk of State financial assets to its social security funds, a program experts believe will ease the pressure of pension payments as the aging population continues to grow.

Ten percent of State-owned equity, including shares of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and financial institutions, will be transferred to the National Council for Social Security Fund and smaller, local State-owned companies, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced in a document on Nov 18.

The pilot program will begin with three to five SOEs and two central financial institutions in several provinces this year. The program aims to make up for possible shortfalls in the nation’s pension provisions and will be expanded in 2018 to involve more State-owned companies, the document said.


Transgenders lacking medical services: Survey

A survey released on Nov 20 found that transgender people are in high need of medical services, with 62 percent having a demand for hormone therapies, and 51 percent having a demand for gender reassignment treatment.

Both demands are not fully satisfied, the report said. Only 6 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the current domestic situation for provision of and access to hormone therapy, and just 2 percent thought there were enough medical resources for sex reassignment surgeries.

The Chinese Transgender Population General Survey Report was compiled by the Beijing LGBT Center and Peking University’s Sociology Department, with help from the UN Development Programme and the Dutch embassy.

“The medical resources are now far from adequate,” said Kelly Kiseki, the transgender program manager at Beijing LGBT Center.


Record bridge project set for year-end finish

The world’s longest bridge-tunnel complex, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, is “95 percent complete”, according to the chief engineer for the bridge’s island and tunnel project.

Lin Ming, also the project’s general manager, said the bridge will be finished by year’s end. It is a key infrastructure project in the blueprint for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

With the bridge project nearing completion, delegations from different countries have visited and expressed their interest in inviting Lin’s team to build similar infrastructure.

A group from Spain, among the most recent visitors, approached Lin about the possibility of applying Chinese technology to a potential bridge-tunnel link across one of the world’s most famous channels, the Strait of Gibraltar, Lin said.


Vow to step up property rights protection

China will step up protection of property rights to provide sustained impetus for economic development, according to a decision made at the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Nov 22.

Businesses will have better protection for operational and property rights, and private businesses will have protection equal to their public sector counterparts. Protection of residents’ property rights will also be enhanced.

In his Government Work Report this year, Li said the government will work faster to improve its protection system and guard the rights of economic entities under all forms of ownership and the property rights of citizens.

China’s Property Rights Law was promulgated in 2007. In 2016, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued a guideline on improving the protection system and protecting property rights according to law.


Web giants in alliance to fight wildlife trade

Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have joined forces to combat online trading in wildlife parts, an illicit practice that continues on e-commerce and social media platforms.

The alliance also has eight other members, including websites for trading secondhand items such as Zhuanzhuan and, and sites for buying and discussing antiques, including auction sites like and Wenwantianxia.

A charter was signed by all alliance members on Nov 20. Under the charter, the member companies are committed to detecting and removing illegal wildlife trade advertisements on their sites and sending warnings to users and prohibiting them from releasing such information.


Law aims to curtail unfair app competition

Legal professionals have welcomed a revision to the law that aims to tackle the growing number of lawsuits related to smartphone apps.

The demand for smart mobile devices has soared in China in the past five years, creating a highly lucrative app market. Yet the rush to profit has resulted in rogue business tactics, such as copying well-known brands or creating apps that block users from downloading rival software.

A report last year from the Supreme People’s Court showed that courts nationwide filed 2,181 lawsuits over unfair competition in 2015, up by about 54 percent year-on-year. Those related to the Internet increased sharply, it said.


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