China Digest

Macao SAR pledges to maintain Party vision

Fernando Chui Sai-on, chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, vowed on Dec 20 that the SAR would forge ahead with the vision presented at October’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and actively push forward the implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy.

Chui made the remark at a reception celebrating the 18th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland.

“The report delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 19th CPC National Congress set the direction for Macao’s development,” he said, as the Party has made upholding “one country, two systems” part of the basic policy to carry out Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It has also given full support to Macao’s integration into the nation’s overall development.

Chui said the SAR will actively participate in the development of the trade and infrastructure-focused Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

President praises efforts of Hong Kong, Macao

President Xi Jinping fully acknowledged the work of Hong Kong and Macao authorities on Dec 15 and expressed support for the governments of the two special administrative regions to integrate their own development into the overall development of the country.

Xi made the comments while meeting separately with Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s chief executive, and Fernando Chui Sai-on, chief executive of the Macao SAR, at Yingtai, part of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing. 

Since the Hong Kong SAR’s new government took office on July 1, the administrative team, led by Lam, has ruled in line with the laws, focused on economic development and put forward a number of policies and measures, Xi said.

World Bank forecasts 6.8% growth in GDP

China’s GDP growth is projected to reach 6.8 percent this year, supported by rising household incomes and improving external demand, the World Bank said in its latest economic update released on Dec 19, raising its forecast from a 6.7 percent growth projection in October.

It is the latest forecast upgrade by a major international organization as the world’s second-largest economy is set to achieve its growth target of around 6.5 percent for 2017.

China’s year-on-year GDP growth averaged a higher-than-expected 6.9 percent in the first three quarters despite its financial regulatory tightening and economic restructuring measures, the report said.

“China has maintained its growth resilience and gained reform momentum,” John Litwack, World Bank lead economist for China, said in the report. 

Lancang-Mekong to strengthen cooperation

China and the other five countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism will widen areas of collaboration in an upcoming blueprint to further build the economic community along the Mekong River, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Dec 15.

Wang made the remark while attending the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Dali, Southwest China’s Yunnan province. 

The Dec 13-16 meeting was attended by the top diplomats of the six member countries of the LMC mechanism, including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhon, Wang said the LMC has progressed effectively since it started in March 2016, with coordination teams set up in all member countries and most financial support put in place.

Most of the 45 “early harvest” projects initiated by Premier Li Keqiang during the first LMC Leaders’ Meeting in 2016 have now been completed, Wang said.

ROK gunshots cause for concern: Beijing

China expressed grave concern on Dec 20 over the Republic of Korea (ROK) Coast Guard’s warning shots fired toward Chinese fishing boats, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

China called on the ROK to protect the legal interests of Chinese fishermen and not engage in dangerous measures in their law enforcement process that could harm the crew members, Hua Chunying said in a news conference.

She was asked to respond to a news report from the Yonhap News Agency. The ROK Coast Guard fired just under 200 rounds and chased off dozens of Chinese fishing boats it claimed were in an ROK exclusive economic zone earlier last week, the report said.

China takes fishery management very seriously and has taken measures to maintain order, she said, while calling on the ROK to properly handle the issue.

World’s largest carbon trading system opens 

China started the world’s largest carbon trading system on Dec 19, sending strong signals that it plans to use the market as a key policy tool to curb emissions and that it is also keeping its Paris Agreement commitments.

The nationwide carbon market, which is built upon seven pilot programs implemented since 2013, will open only to the power generation sector during its early phase, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Still, it is expected to exceed the European Union’s market, with more than 1,700 power generation enterprises producing 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon expected to be involved.

The power sector accounts for about one-third of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.

China pledged to peak carbon emissions by the end of 2030 in the Paris pact sealed in 2015.

Capital slams detention of reunification backers

The detention of four members of Taiwan’s pro-reunification New Party has triggered an uproar on the island and the mainland, and the island’s “ruling” Democratic Progressive Party has been accused of “political persecution”.

Prosecutors in Taiwan took four young officials from the New Party away and searched their homes on Dec 19 for alleged violations of the island’s security regulations. They were released on Dec 20.

Coincidently, three of them had visited the Chinese mainland two weeks ago in a delegation representing the New Party and met with top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng.

The Chinese mainland strongly condemned Taiwan authorities’ suppression and persecution of pro-reunification entities and individuals on Dec 19, said An Fengshan, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

Tech giant and online sleuths join forces

Chinese police have enhanced their capability to fight online crimes, especially those involving personal information, during the past year with the help of a national technology giant, a report said on Dec 20.

Starting this year, public security departments nationwide solved nearly 150 new types of online crime and detained about 3,500 suspects, due to cooperation from Tencent, according to the report jointly released by the Ministry of Public Security, the company and the Internet Society of China.

In 2016, police in the southern city of Shenzhen, with the company’s assistance, clamped down on 21 workshops using almost 150,000 pieces of personal information to send spam.

“In recent years, those illegally benefiting from purchasing others’ personal information, online telecom fraud and blackmail have been seen frequently, which prompted us to take more responsibility as the Internet operator,” said Cheng Cheng, a security specialist from Tencent.

Panda droppings to be made into toilet paper

The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, will provide the droppings and leftover food — mainly bamboo — of its pandas to a papermaking company to make toilet paper and other paper products.

Under an agreement signed on Dec 16, the center will provide droppings and excess bamboo free from its three bases — in the Wolong National Nature Reserve and two Sichuan cities, Dujiangyan and Ya’an — to Sichuan Qianwei Fengsheng Paper Co.

The center provides about 25 kilograms of bamboo to each adult panda every day. Of that, the bear will eat about 11 kg. The rest is chewed up during the process.

As a panda’s guts are not suited to digesting bamboo, about 10 kg will pass through the body to become droppings that consist mainly of undigested bamboo, according to Zhang Hemin, executive director of the center.

Beijing likens US policy to ‘Cold War’ mentality

Beijing urged Washington on Dec 19 to stop distorting China’s strategic intention and discard its “outdated Cold War mentality” after the US administration released its national security strategy calling China “competition” that threatens United States security.

Analysts said that the two countries should better manage their ties to prevent their deterioration, especially in economic and trade areas, which would harm both sides.

China would like the US to treat the bilateral ties in an objective and reasonable manner, abide by related promises and act in a way that maintains a healthy development of the relations, which is the correct choice to meet the interests of both sides and the whole world, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“As two big countries, it’s natural that China and the US have some disagreements,” she said in a news conference. 

S Korean boss jailed for not paying wages

A South Korean citizen has become the first foreigner in Shanghai to be punished by a court for failing to pay his employees.

The Qingpu District People’s Court said on Dec 20 that it had sentenced Hong Ki, 65, to five months in prison and fined him 40,000 yuan ($6,000).

Hong operates Mingxin Clothing (Shanghai) Co, which produces women’s apparel for the South Korean market, the court said.

On Feb 7, Chinese New Year’s Eve, Mingxin’s 158 employees lost contact with Hong, who had returned to South Korea. He owed the employees a total of 608,000 yuan in salaries for the previous month.

On Aug 18, police intercepted Hong when he returned to China in Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning province. He was “looking for new orders”, the court said.

Consensus maps out path for Japan ties

China and Japan should work together to enhance mutual trust and create conditions for their leaders to visit each other’s countries, attendees at an annual forum agreed in Beijing.

They voiced their agreement in the Beijing Consensus, which was issued at the closing session of the 13th Beijing-Tokyo Forum on Dec 17.

That the two countries’ leaders have met several times recently and multiple communication channels are recovering is vital to building mutual trust and solving differences, the statement said.

China and Japan should increase their strategic dialogue to further improve relations, take effective measures to avoid posing threats to each other and form a closer partnership, it said.

Bilateral ties, which plummeted in 2012, when Japan announced the “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands, saw signs of improvement this year.

Health authority stands by earlier statement

China’s top health authority is standing by its statement that more than 500 million people had been assigned family doctors as of the end of November, despite a barrage of questions raised by netizens.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said that the figure was based on data reported by local governments since May. It reiterated that the number of people who accessed family doctor services met the target for the year.

According to a circular from the commission in May last year, more than 30 percent of China’s population was supposed to be covered by family doctors by the end of this year.

The commission said residents in more than 95 percent of China’s cities can now access family doctors, with the total number exceeding 500 million people, more than 35 percent of the population.

ASIA WEEKLY is a publication by China Daily
Contact us at +852-25185111
Copyright by China Daily, All rights reserved