Category Archives: World News

37 Countries, Including Islamic States Support China’s Policies in Xinjiang

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, July 15(Greenpost) — 37 countries’ Ambassaders in Geneva signed a letter supporting China’s policies in Xinjiang.

Beijing says its policies in Xinjiang are a program to de-radicalize Uighurs and other minority Muslims, as part of a broader campaign against three ism– separatism, terrorism and extremism.

Among 37 countries, about one-third of the signatories of the letter praising China’s Xinjiang policies are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc customarily outspoken about actions it views as hostile towards Muslims. They include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Syria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, and Togo.

The other signatories are Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Angola, Belarus, Burma, North Korea, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe.

At least 11 of the signatories are currently members of the HRC.

The letter, essentially echoing Beijing’s talking points, says, “Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers.”

It says there has been no terror attack in Xinjiang for three years and that its inhabitants enjoy a happier and more secure existence. (True)

“We commend China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development,” it says.

Chinese Charge D’Affair Li Song, speaking at the HRC on Friday, said the Chinese government warmly welcomed the support of the signatories of the letter, which “highly spoke of China’s progress in the field of human rights in Xinjiang, and the success in the field of fighting terrorism and extremism.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Li listed the principles China expects the HRC to uphold in its work – “objectivity, transparency, non-selectivity, constructiveness, non-confrontation, and non-politicization.”

He complained that some Western delegations “driven by a political agenda,” had written an open letter of their own several days earlier, “in which they distorted reality on the ground in Xinjiang and made unfounded allegations.”

The 22 signatories of that letter included Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and European nations.

Li said those countries should “discard their prejudices” and “stop politicizing human rights issues.”

Li said the existence of those vocational training centers was supported by “all the people of Xinjiang and the rest of China.

“Under the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, all the ethnic groups in Xinjiang are moving proudly to the year 2020 when China will become a well-off society, and further towards a bright future.” said Li.

Chinese Ambassador Gui attends Swedish Almedalensweek in Gotland

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, July 3(Greenpost) — Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou attended the Swedish Almedalensweek or Politician Week in Visby, Gotland, the largest Island in Sweden.

Ambassador Gui attended the China Day organized by Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden on Wednesday and gave a keynote speech titled Improve Mutual Understanding, Promote Cooperation and Pursue shared development.

“With the develpment of China and  deepening exchanges between China and Sweden, the Swedish public is more interested to learn more about China. With a “China Day” event like this, the two sides can conduct dialogues and communication to increase objective mutual understanding. This is particularly important. To observe China, one cannot use binoculars or magnifying glasses, still less should one use colored glasses, rather one needs to see China with his or her own eyes and an open mind, and see a real, multifaceted and complete China. Today’s “China Day” event is to provide friends from all sectors in Sweden a window to know more about China, build greater common grounds and facilitate cooperation,” said Gui.

Gui further illustrated that China’s development is not just about economic growth, but an all-round social development of the country. The all-round development of China helped to lift nearly 800 million people out of poverty. The largest universal health care and social security systems in the world were built, and nine-year free education now covers every student. Per capita income grew at an average annual rate of 7.4%, creating the largest middle-income group in the world. We work to build socialist democracy, develop and improve consultative democracy, and fully protect the extensive and tangible rights and freedoms of the people.

Gui said that China’s development is not just about national strength, but about peaceful development. Expansion is not in China’s DNA. China has never started a war or conflict, and never invaded one inch of territory of other countries. China’s development will not pose any threat to any country.

China’s development is not just the development of itself, but development together with the world. China’s economic growth has been contributing over 30% to global growth for many years in a row, making itself an anchor and engine for global growth and a key contributor to the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN. China has been actively pursuing the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, with a central goal to strengthens interconnectivity, which mobilizes more resources, opens more market room and unleashed more dynamism for the development of countries along the route. The initiative is widely welcomed and supported by the international community.

The world is amid changes unseen in 100 years. Profound shifts are occurring in strengths of countries and economic development models, and another cycle of technological innovation gathers momentum. At the same time, surging unilateralism and protectionism erode the mutual trust and coordination among countries, and lead to greater risks and uncertainties in world economy. No one will win from a trade war. It severely damages the multilateral trading system, the confidence of global market and directly threatens world economic growth including that of Europe and Sweden. The Chinese side agreed to continue trade talks with the US side with sincerity, but such talks should be based on an equal footing and mutual respect, and with a purpose to address the legitimate concerns of each other. On issues concerning China’s sovereignty and dignity, China will resolutely safeguard its core interests. We are willing to follow the principle agreement reached by the two Presidents, work with the US to restart the trade consultations based on equality and mutual respect, manage differences and expand cooperation. We are ready to join hands with all countries that are committed to multilateral trade system and open development, to oppose protectionism, unilateralism and economic bullying, and stand up for fairness, justice and the fundamental interests of countries in the world, Ambassador Gui said.

What does a richer and stronger China mean for Sweden? The key words are opportunities and cooperation. China’s development will not pose any threat to Sweden, but will only bring bumper opportunities for cooperation. We are willing to develop friendly relations and cooperation with Sweden with good will, sincerity and friendship. The Chinese people often say that kindness needs to be returned tenfold, which means that when other countries treat China well, we will only treat them better.

Ambassador Gui said that China and Sweden enjoy traditional friendship. Without any historical baggage or conflicting interests, we have good conditions to develop our bilateral relations. China and Sweden share similar development philosophies. Our economies are highly complementary and there is great cooperation potential. China is working to implement the new development vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. Sweden, as the first country that proposed the concept of sustainable development, leads the world in green, innovative and sustainable development. We are each other’s largest trading partner in the Nordic region and in Asia. Last year, trade between China and Sweden reached USD 17.15 billion, hitting a new record. In the past two years, Sweden has maintained trade surplus with China, which we welcome. We are willing to further expand importation from Sweden, and we will not fight a trade war with Sweden. We need to continue to advance our traditional cooperation in trade. We also need to actively explore more common areas of ideas and interests, and explore new cooperation fields.

We welcome various sectors of Sweden to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen dialogue and communication, synergize our respective strengths, explore cooperation that is bilateral, trilateral or even among more parties, and inject new momentum into China-Sweden practical cooperation. In November this year, China will host the second International Import Expo, and we welcome the participation of Swedish friends in the event, concluded Gui.

Almedalen Week is a week that politicians voice their policies and debate about their opinions.

This was the second year that Ambassador Gui attended the week. Last year he was interviewed by several Swedish mainstream media.

Many people said this Chinese Ambassador is different from the previous ones. It is true. Maybe the biggest difference is that this Ambassador works much harder and is willing to go to the Swedish public and talk with people. He likes to communicate with the media, the public and the entrepreneurs, whoever is interested in China.

He said his job here was just to represent a real China and to those who got the wrong facts, he also dared to speak up and correct. He represents a new generation of Chinese diplomats who were born during the 1960s and optimistic about the future and the world.

Photos from the Chinese Embassy.

视频:一瑞典在华企业家认为中国新闻更靠谱

北欧绿色邮报网报道(记者陈雪霏)– Bonnie是一位两个孩子的母亲,但她一个人带着两个孩子到上海去闯天下。一个中文字不会,但居然成功地在上海开办了自己的企业。她的创意是孕妇口袋。就是一个为怀孕妇女提供知识服务的软件APP。 目前她在中国已经有两百万用户了。在全世界有上千万用户。

原来她自己也是一个记者,后来因为有了创新意识,就改行创业了。她说,她在中国呆了四年,感觉中国的国际新闻比较靠谱,一般都是有记者站的记者在那里专门研究新闻并报道,给更多背景和客观分析,因此,给人感觉可信度比较大。不像瑞典有时候就是随便用人,有些新闻太片面,没有上下文,很多时候就是二手货,或者光从网上转。以下是对她的视频采访。

Ambassador Gui Congyou attends the Second Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm and delivers a key not speech titled Jointly Build a High Quality Belt and Road for a Future of Sustainable Development

STOCKHOLM, May 31,(Greenpost) — Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou made a key note speech titled Jointly Build a High Quality Belt and Road for a Future of Sustainable Development. The whole text is as the following:

Excellences, experts, scholars and friends from the business community,

Good morning.

Last month, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, leading the joint efforts to build a high quality Belt and Road into a new stage. Today’s seminar hosted by the BRIX group is very timely and relevant, and will certainly promote China-Sweden “Belt and Road” cooperation.

Over the past six years since President Xi Jinping proposed the “Belt and Road Initiative”, our BRI circle of friends has grown ever bigger, quality of cooperation ever better and prospects for development ever brighter. Over 150 countries and international organizations signed cooperation agreements with China to build the BRI together. Nearly 40 heads of state and government and nearly 5000 foreign participants from over 150 countries and international organizations attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, achieving 283 cooperation outcomes and signing contracts worth over USD 64 billion. These numbers fully demonstrate that the BRI is consistent with the trend of times and meets the need of all parties involved.

The Belt and Road is a road of open cooperation. The BRI is not a geopolitical game, nor is it an exclusive club. Instead, the BRI is based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and is committed to multilateralism and open world economy. The Forum in Beijing saw the signing of over 100 bilateral cooperation documents in areas like transportation, trade, technology, culture and exchanges between think tanks, the establishment of a national standards information platform among the Belt and Road partner countries, and the signing of third party market cooperation documents. The BRI is a joint project that combines our respective strengths into a synergy for shared development.

The Belt and Road is a road of sustainable development. The BRI focuses on the fundamental issue of development, and helps countries along the route to break the bottleneck of development. A World Bank study shows that BRI cooperation helps reduce the cost of global trade and increases the global economic growth by at least 0.1%. The BRI pursues high standard cooperation to improve people’s lives and promotes sustainable development. It adopts widely accepted rules and standards, contributes to job creation and poverty reduction, and ensures commercial and fiscal sustainability. It is a major contribution to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN. The BRI is no “debt trap”, rather it helps many countries to get out of the “trap of underdevelopment”.

The Belt and Road is a road of green and clean cooperation. The BRI pursues open, green and clean cooperation and aims to promote green development. The BRI launches green infrastructure projects, makes green investment and provides green financing to improve the ecological environment, and supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In pursuing Belt and Road cooperation, everything should be done in a transparent way, and we must have zero tolerance for corruption and show strong commitment to clean governance. During the second BRI Forum in Beijing, the BRI International Green Development Coalition was established, the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development was issued and the Beijing Initiative for Clean Silk Road was launched.

The BRI pursues openness, interconnectivity and consensus through consultation. It values integrity and follows rules. This is especially important in a world of surging protectionism and unilateralism. I know people are closely watching the trade war started by the US. The US brandishes the baton of protectionism and uses administrative means to abuse tariffs, which severely damages the norms of international trade, harms the interests of other parties and increases the uncertainties of global economy. The US also abandoned market principles, in total disregard of international rules, used executive powers to suppress Chinese companies, which we firmly oppose. The US is a “rule breaker” and a “faith breaker”. The US bears full responsibility for the trade war, as it is unilaterally started by the US. China does not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one, and we will fight to the end. This is safeguarding our legitimate rights and interests, and also defending an open global economy and the multilateral trading system.

Dear friends,

China and Europe are at the two ends of the Belt and Road. Europe is a natural partner and direct beneficiary of building a high quality Belt and Road. China-Europe freight trains have conducted 14,000 trips, connecting China and 50 cities in 15 European countries. The Joint statement of the 21st EU-China Summit reiterated that the two sides will continue to forge synergies between the EU strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia as well as the EU Trans-European Transport Networks and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road cooperation between China and the EU has bright prospects. It is in our mutual interests and will deliver benefits to hundreds of millions of people.

Sweden has good conditions to participate in jointly building the Belt and Road. As a firm advocate for multilateralism and free trade, Sweden has a pioneering spirit and a long line of achievements in green, innovative, open and sustainable development, which is highly compatible to the joint contribution to Belt and Road. Trade between China and Sweden has been hitting new records year after year, reaching USD 17.15 billion in 2018. China is now the largest trading partner of Sweden outside of the EU, and Sweden continues to maintain a trade surplus with China. This March, the first Nordic-China Smart City Cooperation Conference was held in Stockholm, which established a new effective platform for deepening our cooperation. There are also great prospects for China and Sweden to work together to address climate change and to carry out cooperation in third party markets. Joint contribution to the Belt and Road will undoubtedly provide a broader platform for Sweden to play its strength, and open up greater room for its development. The opportunities for China-Sweden Belt and Road cooperation are here. We welcome all sectors of Sweden to join the Belt and Road circle of friends and build a brighter future of sustainable development.

My wishes for a full success of the seminar. Thank you!

Ambassador Gui was interviewed by Gunnar Vagerstam Vice Chairmen for TV for Civil Society and Xuefei Chen Axelsson, Editor and Reporter of Green Post(www.greenpost.se)

Video1: The Second Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm Attracts more People

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, May 28(Greenpost International) — The Second Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm was held in Stockholm Chinese Cultural Center on May 22.

Nearly 100 participants from over 30 embassies and international organisations attended the forum organized by BRIX.

Ulf Sandmark Chairman of BRIX

Ulf Sandmark, Chairman of Belt and Road Executive Group BRIX opened the Second Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm on May 22.

Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou illustrates BRI to the diplomats in Stockholm.

Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou made a key note speech illustrating what is Belt and Road Initiative and why Chinese President launched it. He said the Belt and Road Initiative only aims at helping developing countries that needs help to develop their economies and it is based on mutual negotiation and mutual benefit.

Pakistan Ambassador Hussain Dayo speaks at 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm on May 22, 2019.

Pakistan Ambassador Hussain Dayo said Pakistan was very proud to be partner with China because the BRI really benefits Pakistan a lot.

Dayo said leaders agree that BRI leads to connectivity and prosperity. They also vowed to fight corruption.

Henrique Silveira Borges talks about Portuguese stance on BRI.

2019 Stockholm Forum connects crisis response to peacebuilding

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm 14 May(Greenpost) Over 400 high-level policymakers, researchers and practitioners gather in Stockholm for the sixth annual Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development to be held between May 14 and 16th.

This year’s forum centres on the topic ‘From crisis response to peacebuilding: Achieving synergies’ and was opened by Ambassador Jan Eliasson, former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board. Ambassador Eliasson’s address touched on the broad range of actors and peacebuilders and emphasized the risks of actors working in silos.

The first day of discussion ended up with the closing remark by Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Walstrom. She said that the good example of peace building was Columbia and it was so good that their President even won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

She said it is important to involve women in the process and that is exactly the Swedish foreign policy and building strong institutions is also very important.

HE Peter Eriksson, Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden, provided introductory remarks and pointed out that the various efforts among the development community ‘do not always add up.’

Guest speaker for the opening session was Dr Sima Samar, Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Council and member of the UN Secretary-General High-Level Panel on Mediation. Dr Samar shared her knowledge of Afghanistan—a country that has endured over 40 years of conflict. From her experiences, ‘when people’s human rights are violated; when their freedom is restricted; when there is discrimination against people; where there is no equality; and there is no access to justice for people—then conflict starts.’ She underlined the need for the meaningful inclusion of women and minorities at all stages of the peace process and during post-conflict reconstruction.

Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross gave a keynote speech on peace and development. On the need for the stronger connections between humanitarian aid; development cooperation; and peacebuilding, Maurer stressed that ‘humanitarian actors are not peacebuilders. Neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action is distinct from political agendas and it must remain so. Yet, I would argue that while others make peace, humanitarian action helps make peace possible.’

The theme for the opening panel was ‘Crisis response and peacebuilding: How to create synergies’ and was moderated by Annika Ben David, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden.

Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, highlighted the World Bank’s ‘Pathways to Peace’ report and how the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have laid out a vital roadmap for the future, but also for managing the risks of today.

HE Raya Haffar El Hassan, Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Lebanon, talked about the different agendas between donors and how better synthesis between donors could lead to a more sustainable peace.

Hafez Ghanem, Vice President for Africa, World Bank outlined the new role of the World Bank in investing in peace. Pointing to a number of key initiatives and ways of analyzing the Sahel; the Lake Chad Basin; and the Horn of Africa regions, he stated the need to focus on the drivers of fragility such as climate change and exclusion. He also stressed to support the local government to keep peace and development.

HE Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia, emphasized the role of youth development—a theme echoed by other panellists—and stressed the demographic challenge in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

General Dennis Gyllensporre, Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), called for better conflict analysis in the early stage of crises and the need to share in a combined body of knowledge. General Gyllenspore stated ‘we all have different blind spots depending on what lens we use.’ Sharing knowledge, he said, ‘will give us a sense of a common understanding of the conflict dynamics.’

Karin Wallensteen, State Secretary for International Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, Sweden, spoke on collective outcomes. ‘I believe that if we have this nexus of humanitarian efforts; development efforts; and peace efforts we can give the relief and at the same time keep our focus on the SDGs.’

In the afternoon, Somalian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Isse Awad said his country is in a better position now with 80 percent of the people have mobile phones, good infrastructure, schools and other conditions. But the governance of the government is still a challenge for them, thus he called on the donors to support his government to strengthen good governance.

Fatima Shehu Imam, Director of Civil Society Organizations in Borno State, Nigeria said great challenge ahead because they have about 500 thousand orphans in northern part of Nigeria. These people need more care from government and social organizations because they are isolated or even resentful, no one care about them.

Mohammed Ali Al Hakim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq said Iraq is on the right track and he promised to pay greater attention to gender issues. Right now they have about 30 women diplomats and he plans to increase more women Ambassadors in the future.

Annika Soder Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden summarized Swedish efforts in promoting feminist foreign policies even in the UN Security Council. She blamed some super power of implementing unilateral actions and not cooperative for some good ideas. But she stressed the feminist policies in the long run is more sustainable in peace keeping and development.

Peter Mauer said in the afternoon high level panel that things change a lot. For example they prepared a lot of medicine in disaster or conflict humanitarian aid, but found out that people need more electricity and telecommunication.

The moderator was Dan Smith, Executive Director of SIPRI.

When asking a delegate from Nigeria about China’s role in Africa, he said China can do more, for example building more water conservancy projects to secure safe drinking water and keep water clean.

The forum was jointly held by SIPRI, SIDA and Foreign Ministry of Sweden.

Photo news:2019 NPC Session Concludes with various reports passed

Stockholm, May 7th (Greenpost)– The annual National People’s Congress 2019 concluded on March 15th with the votes for various reports concerning the government’s work for this year.

The National People’s Congress is the supreme legislative body and represents all walks of life and all ethnic groups in China which has 56 ethnic groups.

The following are the results of the votes for various reports including government work report, budget, judicial report and Supreme Court report as well as financial report and Foreign Investment Law.

The NPC session started on March 5 and concluded on March 15th. After this meeting, local leaders and legislators will go back to their province, counties and cities, villages to implement what they have discussed and passed during the congress.

China’s success lies on this disciplined congress every year and the setting and implementation of their five year plans, and every year action plan. Since the founding of the new China and the founding of the NPC and CPPCC, China has been carrying out what they well planned in improving people’s living standards. During the cultural revolution, it was somewhat disturbed.

But after 1978 reform and opening up, China has been strictly implementing its five year plans and long term and mid term goals and targets. With such discipline, China has seen rapid development with clear goal oriented and released great productivity and vitality in the construction of China.

Now in Beijing, you still can see a lit bit of old Beijing in the very inner part, but outside the third ring road, almost all the buildings were built in recent 20 years. Chinese have been working hard and creating great wealth for themselves and for the world such as inexpensive clothes and many other products. Thus contribute greatly to the world development.

Photo and Text by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

2019 Belt and Road Nordic Spring International Peace and Culture Festival Held in Sweden

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, April 29(Greenpost) –2019 Belt and Road Nordic Spring International Peace and Culture Festival and Kista Culture Day have been Held in Kista Folkhogskolan in Sweden.

The purpose of the festival is to promote cultural exchange between China and Sweden and different ethnic groups in Sweden as well as integration.

Host Fang Mingjie and Deyan
Chinese Cultural Counselor Chen Xiao

Xuefei Chen Axelsson President of China Europe Cultural Association
Sandra Pst Wordof Love speaks
Zhou Hong, Huang Xiaoyan, Xia Ping and others play Qipao show China’s Silk Road.
Huang Bingwang sings Moon in the Grassland
Mao Xinyue plays erhu Horse Racing.
Children choir led by Yang Xiaoyin.
Luan Dehan plays Why the flowers are so red?
Hao Jingxia plays Kunqu Opera Det eviga livets palats.
Xia Yiling plays Little Lucky.
Lu Xiangyu plays Chopin Fantasie Impromptu and Liu Yanghe River.
Xuefei Chen Axelsson sings I Pray with my heart.

Chen Keyi plays Mountains and Flowing Water. Qin.
Qipao Dance led by Zhou Hong, Xiaoyan and Xiaping.
Mao Xinyue plays Erhu sending public grain happily.
Lisa Chunying plays 64 style, Li Huimin plays 24 style and Xuefei plays 16 style Taiji.
Tan Jiayi plays modern dance.
Lili’s painting was displayed at the cultural festival.
collective photo.
People can taste Chinese tea from Fujian and watch the paintings from Hangzhou.
Meanwhile, you can appreciate Qin, an instrument which has 3000 years history in China.
Uganda choir performed African songs.
The audience can’t help dancing when they heard the lively African songs.
Piano students gave a performance.
Emilie and Amanda are the hosts for the children’s performance.
Paintings from Hangzhou Academy of Calligraphy and Paintings.
Xinjiang photos taken by Xuefei Chen Axelsson attracted a lot of students and teachers.

The festival was organized by China-Europe Cultural Association, Greenpost, Sverigekinesiska foreningen I kista Jinghua and cooperated with ABF, Kista Traff, Akademiska skola, kista folkhogskola, Ataljen 11, Chinese Teachers Association in Sweden, Shenyang Association in Sweden, Riksforbundet, sponsored by Qingtian Association in Sweden and Kinesiska Ambassaden, Stockholm Stad.

Photo by Wu Ming, Text by Xuefei Chen Axelsson.

ÄR KINAS NYA SIDENVÄG EN SKULDFÄLLA? Dags att skilja fakta från fantasi!

Av   Hussein Askary *

STOCKHOLM, Feb.9(Greenpost)–Under 2018 riktades en störtflod av kritik mot Kinas Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), den stora satsningen på ”nya sidenvägar” som ska underlätta förbindelserna inom och mellan Eurasien och Afrika med hjälp av modern infrastruktur, som järnvägar, motorvägar, hamnar, flygplatser, kraftverk, dammar, kanaler och telekommunikationsnätverk. BRI har redan omskapat de internationella ekonomiska förbindelserna i synnerhet i den s.k. utvecklingssektorn och sätter fart på den ekonomiska utvecklingen och fattigdomsbekämpningen i många länder runt om världen med en kraft som inte går att hejda.

Misstänksamhet och kritik mot Kina från nyhetsmedier och politiska krafter i väst är inget nytt, men nu kläs den i andra ord. BRI framställs som ett sätt att lura utvecklingsländer att skuldsätta sig genom stora infrastrukturprojekt för att Kina ska kunna dra politiska och strategiska fördelar, framför allt när dessa länder sedan inte kan betala tillbaka lånen de fått från Kina.

Detta låter ju inte alltför långsökt, med tanke på den skurkroll som kineser, ryssar och andra icke-europeiska regelmässigt tilldelas i väst, inte bara i James Bond-filmer. Vi förväntas inte heller granska ”fakta” som vi blir serverade av etablerade experter och nyhetsmedier, som inte sällan på ett eller annat sätt är kopplade till eller till och med avlönade av staten.

Och varifrån kommer kritiken? Den kommer oftast inte från experter på ekonomi i USA eller Europa, utan från säkerhetsexperter och geopolitiska analytiker som har liten eller ingen kunskap om ekonomi.

Debtbook Diplomacy, ”skuldfälla-diplomati”[1], lanserades som begrepp i en rapport beställd av USA:s utrikesdepartement, som kom ut i maj 2018. Den rapporten användes sedan av amerikanska UD för att ringa i alla varningsklockor i hela världen om vilka konsekvenser Kinas BRI kunde få. Etablerade nyhetsmedier rapporterade vad rapporten hade ”kommit fram till” som om det var fakta. Men rapportförfattaren, en ung akademiker vid namn Sam Parker, som samma år hade avlagt sin magisterexamen på Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs vid Harvard Kennedy School, saknade kända ekonomiska meriter och hade inte heller publicerat någonting om ekonomin vare sig i Kina eller något annat land. Han kom i stället till Harvard efter att ha tjänstgjort flera år på USA:s departement för inrikes säkerhet![2]

Sri Lanka: Inget ”paradexempel”

Experterna och medierna har aldrig presenterat några egentliga belägg för vad de påstår är Kinas strategiska ”avsikter”. Det som de beskyller Kina för är snarare en projektion på Kina av de europeiska ländernas eget koloniala förflutna, som egentligen inte har någonting med Kinas faktiska historia eller utrikespolitik att göra.

Det enda exemplet på vad man hävdar är den kinesiska modellen, som man hela tiden återkommer till, är hamnen i Hambantota i Sri Lanka. Parker menar att Kinas övertagande av hamnen i Hambantota ska lyftas fram i alla sammanhang som ett ”paradexempel” på hur Kina tänker behandla andra länder. Vilken betydelse denna hamn har för Sri Lankas nu aktuella och framtida utvecklingsplaner bryr man sig inte om. Det enda man säger är att chansen att hamnen skulle generera intäkter ända från början var lika med noll, och att Kina pumpade in pengar i hamnen med den enda avsikten att sedan kunna lägga beslag på den.

Projektet, till en kostnad av sammanlagt 1,1 miljarder dollar, var inte en kinesisk idé, utan en del av den lankesiska regeringens plan för att avlasta den enda större hamnen i landet, Colombo Harbor Port, genom att anlägga en ny hamn och bygga ett industriområde i dess närhet. Den planen gick tillbaka till 2002, långt innan BRI var påtänkt. Att bygga kraftverk och anlägga nya industriområden var ett led i satsningen ”Regaining Sri Lanka”, med tonvikt på att stimulera den ekonomiska aktiviteten i landets södra del.

Arbetet med att anlägga hamnen i Hambantota påbörjades 2008 av China Harbour Engineering Company och Sinohydro Corporation. Projektet finansierades till 85 procent genom ett lån från China Export-Import Bank. Hamnen öppnades formellt för kommersiell trafik 2010, men godshanteringen blev inte den förväntade. De låga intäkterna och betydande finansieringskostnaderna gjorde att hamnmyndigheten i Sri Lanka 2016 tecknade ett avtal med innebörden att det statliga kinesiska holdingbolaget China Merchants Port skulle få leasa 70 procent av hamnen i 99 år och få en 85-procentig ägarandel i hamnen och industriområdet, mot att man förband sig att fortsätta investera i en uppgradering av faciliteterna där. Det kinesiska bolaget skulle investera ytterligare 700-800 miljoner dollar i utvecklingen av hamnområdet. Syftet med avtalet var att lätta på skuldbördan för Sri Lanka.

Kritikerna utgår från att Sri Lanka alltid kommer att förbli ett fattigt land utan industri, modernt jordbruk eller annan modern ekonomisk verksamhet som skulle ställa krav på en modern infrastruktur, som denna hamn. Dessutom nämns det nästan aldrig att merparten av den kommersiella sjöfarten mellan Ostasien och Europa passerar förbi bara 6-9 sjömil söder om Sri Lankas sydkust, och att den lankesiska ekonomin uppenbarligen skulle kunna dra fördel på olika sätt av de enorma handelsvolymer som färdas genom dessa vatten. Hamnanläggningen i Hambantota har alla möjligheter att kunna erbjuda sjöfartsrelaterade tjänster såsom skeppsklarering, omlastning av gods med mera samt har ett utmärkt läge för industrier som kan dra fördel av den direkta tillgängligheten till världsmarknaden.

Ena stunden beskrivs Hambantota som ett meningslöst och dyrt projekt, andra stunden som en betydande strategisk tillgång för det expanderande Kina.

 

Sjöfartsvägar förbi Sri Lanka. När hamnen i Hambantota rycks ur sitt sammanhang får man intrycket att Kina har byggt en hamn på en öde strandremsa mitt ute i ingenstans. Men Hambantota ligger bara 6-9 sjömil från en av de livligast trafikerade kommersiella handelsrutterna i världen.

 

Gav Kina lån till Sri Lanka till ett projekt som var dömt att bli ett affärsmässigt fiasko, bara för att sedan kunna ta hamnen i beslag när lånet förföll till betalning? Absolut inte. Men det är det som Parker vill få oss att tro.

Finns det någon annan rimlig förklaring? I den mån som just detta specifika exempel skulle vara utslag av en allmän trend, så är det att det visar att de internationella finansinstitutionerna och deras allierade ställer sig helt kallsinniga till utvecklingsländers önskan om att ta sig ur fattigdom och ekonomisk underutveckling. Parker skriver själv att Sri Lanka, efter ett förödande, decennielångt inbördeskrig, ”vände sig till Japan, Indien, IMF, Världsbanken och Asiatiska utvecklingsbanken med en förfrågan om finansiering för att anlägga en betydande hamn i det outvecklade Hambantotaområdet, men nekades finansiering på grund av frågetecken kring mänskliga rättigheter och affärsmässig bärkraft.” Kina sa inte nej till Sri Lanka, utan hjälpte till att göra verklighet av ett mål som landet självt hade satt upp.

En viktig ekonomisk poäng som vår tids journalister och ”experter” inte tar hänsyn till, är att infrastrukturens värde inte främst ligger i dess förmåga att generera finansiell avkastning; den avgörande betydelse som infrastruktur har för varje lands utveckling till en modern ekonomi ligger i att den höjer produktiviteten i hela den nationella ekonomin. ”Avkastningen på investeringen” är inte avgifterna som kan tas ut från dem som brukar infrastrukturen ifråga, utan intäkterna som flyter in till de produktiva industri- och jordbruksföretag som drar nytta av denna infrastruktur. Vi ska återkomma till detta.

Fakta i målet

Afrika. Den ”bild” som målas upp i den anti-kinesiska rapporteringen motsägs av fakta. Till exempel framgår det av den väldokumenterade forskning som gjorts av China Africa Research Initiative vid Johns Hopkins-universitetets School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-CARI)[3], att merparten av de afrikanska skulderna inte är till Kina, utan till västländer och västligt dominerade institutioner som IMF och Världsbanken.

I sin vitbok om mötet i Peking i september 2018 med Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) skriver SAIS-CARI: ”Vi konstaterar att kinesiska lån för närvarande inte är en betydande orsak till skuldsvårigheter i Afrika. Många länder har ändå tagit stora lån från Kina och andra. Nya FOCAC-låneutfästelser kommer sannolikt att ta med Afrikas växande skuldbörda i beräkningen.” Kina lånade enligt vitboken ut 133 miljarder dollar till Afrika under perioden 2000-2016, med ett mycket stort belopp på 30 miljarder dollar 2016, efter FOCAC-mötet i Johannesburg 2015. Många afrikanska länder har fått lån från Kina, men i bara tre fall – Djibouti, Kongo-Kinshasa och Zambia – är Kina den största långivaren. I Kamerun, på fjärde plats vad gäller andelen kinesiska lån i förhållande till den totala utlandsskulden, är andelen kinesiska lån mindre än en tredjedel.

Pakistan. Pakistan är ett land som har suttit fast i en skuldfälla i många år, men det är inte Kina som är fordringsägare utan stater och finansinstitutioner i väst. Och, som vi ska visa nedan, om det är någonting som ska kunna hjälpa Pakistan att ta sig ur denna fälla, så är det samarbetet med Kina om att bygga den kinesisk-pakistanska ekonomiska korridoren, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

I sin Debtbook Diplomacy-rapport, under rubriken ”USA:s intressen på spel”, låter Sam Parker den imperialistiska undertonen i rapporten träda i dagen. Som ”punkt 1” slår Parker fast att ”Kinas expanderande regionala inflytande och tillgång till hamnar i Sydasien och Stilla havet på sikt kan ändra den regionala maktbalansen bort från USA:s effektiva dominans till sjöss”. Värre blir det i punkt 2: ”Kinas lån underminerar USA:s möjligheter att använda sitt eget ekonomiska bistånd till att gynna USA:s säkerhetspolitiska målsättningar. Detta bistånd har gett USA ett kraftfullt medel att främja sina intressen i Pakistan rörande kärnvapensäkerhet och terrorismbekämpning.”

Parker, liksom de flesta i väst med en kritisk inställning till Kina, beskyller Kina för att underminera västvärldens strategiska grepp över världen, genom att försvåra för västvärlden att använda ekonomiskt bistånd och lån för att kontrollera andra länder för strategiska syften. Ett märkligt argument!

Idag är det enskilda stater organiserade i den s.k. Parisklubben (nästan uteslutande västländer) och multilaterala långivare med IMF och internationella storbanker i spetsen som är Pakistans största långivare, inte Kina, enligt Pakistans officiella statistik[4]. 2018 uppgick Pakistans utlandsskuld till drygt 95 miljarder dollar, och skuldåterbetalningar (ränta och amorteringar) beräknas 2022-2023 belöpa sig till 31 miljarder dollar. Under innevarande budgetår kommer Pakistan att betala 4,2 miljarder dollar till dessa huvudsakligen västliga långivare. Skuldtjänsten på lånen till CPEC inleddes 2018, men utgörs av knappt 80 miljoner dollar i amorteringar, enligt uppgifter i den pakistanska dagstidningen The Dawn.

Mot den bakgrunden är det rätt ironiskt att den amerikanske utrikesministern Mike Pompeo, som basar över det departement som beställde Parkers rapport, i juli 2018 varnade IMF angående en förfrågan från den pakistanska regeringen om ett nödlån på 12 miljarder dollar. ”Förstå mig rätt. Vi håller ögonen på IMF”, sa Pompeo i en intervju på CNBC. ”Det finns ingen anledning att IMF-dollar, förknippade med de USA-dollar som är en del av IMF:s långivning, ska gå till att lösa ut kinesiska obligationsinnehavare eller Kina direkt”, sa Pompeo.

IMF, och därmed de västliga långivarna i Parisklubben, har aktivt blandat sig i Pakistans ekonomiska politik och suveränitet genom olika omförhandlingar av skulderna och de lånevillkor som alla IMF-lån är förenade med, med hjälp av mekanismer som Extended Fund Facility. Den senaste faciliteten i Pakistans fall var ett lån 2016 på 6,4 miljarder dollar. Ett villkor var att budgetunderskottet inte fick överstiga 4,2 procent, något som i princip omöjliggör statligt finansierade investeringar i infrastruktur. Ett annat var en nedskalning av Pakistans egna utvecklingsplaner med ca 1,6 miljarder dollar. Följden blir, som överallt annars där IMF och Världsbanken går in med sina s.k. räddningspaket, att skulden växer sig ännu större och ekonomin backar ännu mer, eftersom landet ifråga inte tillåts bygga upp en bas för framtida tillväxt. När nya lån går till att betala gamla skulder så spär det bara på den totala skuldsättningen.

Pakistans växande utlandsskuld är en direkt följd av landets enorma handelsunderskott. Varje år de senaste fem åren har underskottet varit minst 23 miljarder dollar, och det ökar dramatiskt. De viktigaste exportvarorna är textilier och livsmedel (huvudsakligen ris). Pakistan har också haft en fordonsindustri. Livsmedel är känsliga för prisfluktuationer, och textil- och fordonssektorerna är inte längre konkurrenskraftiga på grund av den dåliga energiförsörjningen i landet. Pakistans största importvaror (och orsaken till den negativa handelsbalansen och därav utlandsskulden) är olja, naturgas och raffinerade oljeprodukter (bränsle). Det är där Kinas insats genom CPEC kommer att spela den största rollen eftersom det förutom transportkorridorerna är just på energisidan som Kina koncentrerar sina investeringar, när man bygger den kinesisk-pakistanska ekonomiska korridoren[5].

 

Det står helt klart att om Pakistan, som varje år importerar olja och gas för 13-14 miljarder dollar, ska ha en chans att ta sig ur den ekonomiska krisen och skapa förutsättningar för en framtida blomstrande industrisektor, så är det absolut nödvändigt att man satsar stort på att öka den egna kraftproduktionen. Och det är det som Kina nu hjälper till med. Följande investeringar på energisidan är antingen färdigställda, under byggnad eller under förhandling: kolkraftverk (8.580 MW), vattenkraft (2.700 MW), andra värmekraftverk, däribland gaseldade (825 MW), solkraft (900 MW), vindkraftsparker (350 MW). Den förväntade nya kraftproduktionskapaciteten uppgår till sammanlagt 13.355 MW, att jämföra med Pakistans nuvarande installerade kapacitet på 25.000 MW.

Den sammanlagda kostnaden för denna nya kraftproduktion (inklusive kolutvinning och kraftnät) beräknas till 23-30 miljarder dollar, vilket motsvarar ungefär två års import av olja och gas, och mindre än hälften av det årliga handelsunderskottet.

Men i internationella medier fortsätter man att peka ut Kina som problemet, och det händer att rena falsarier kastas in i medieelden som om de var fakta.

Den pakistanska tidningen The News International basunerade till exempel ut i en rubrik den 29 september 2017, att ”Pakistan ska betala tillbaka 100 mdr dollar till Kina till 2024”.[6] Utan att ge någon förklaring till denna absurda siffra påstod man: ”Till 2024 måste Pakistan betala tillbaka 100 miljarder dollar till Kina, av en total investering på 18,5 miljarder dollar, som Kina i form av banklån har investerat i 19 snabbavkastande projekt huvudsakligen på energiområdet inom ramarna för China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). ”Artikeln återkommer aldrig till detta hårresande påstående och ger ingen förklaring till siffrorna.

I Dagens Industri den 20 augusti 2018 påstod Johan Nylander[7] att: ”Under de tre senaste åren har Pakistan lagt på sig skulder till Kina på runt 270 miljarder dollar.” Nylander hänvisar till ”analyshuset IHS Markit” som sin källa, men där hittar vi inga sådana siffror[8]. Siffran 270 miljarder dollar står heller ingenstans att finna eftersom Pakistans samlade skuld till hela världen är mindre än 100 miljarder dollar. Men läsaren av DI förväntas bara svälja dessa uppgifter eftersom de kommer från en av de etablerade nyhetsmedierna.

Produktiva krediter kontra skulder

Sambandet mellan satsningar på avancerad infrastruktur och höjd produktivitet i hela ekonomin har påvisats allra tydligast av studier som gjorts på USA:s egen ekonomi.

I alla frågor som rör långivning är den viktigaste frågan som måste ställas inte hur lånevillkoren ser ut (räntesatser, betalningsfria perioder eller löptider) utan vad lånet ska användas till. Det handlar om skillnaden mellan ”pengar” och ”krediter”. Skillnaden ligger i vad som är ändamålet med utgivningen av nya pengar resp. krediter. Man ser det tydligt i den nu rådande, katastrofala penning- och finanspolitiken i det trans-atlantiska området.

Centralbankerna i USA, EU och Japan, ”the big three”, har sedan slutet av 2008 skapat i runda slängar 13-14 biljoner dollar i nya pengar (genom det som kallas ”kvantitativa lättnader”), och har därutöver pumpat in likviditet i bankerna i form av tillfälliga lån motsvarande ytterligare många biljoner dollar. Men ingenting av dessa pengar – varken pengar i omlopp eller i elektronisk form – har getts ut för något ekonomiskt syfte, inte heller för handel. De har getts ut enkom för ett finansiellt syfte: att förse dessa länders storbanker med tillräckligt mycket kapital och likviditet för att de ska kunna hålla näsan ovanför vattenytan trots massiva förluster och osäkra fordringar.

Krediter däremot, som ges ut av stater, är en skuld som staten ifråga tar på sig, och som ”betalas tillbaka” med ”ränta” genom den generellt höjda produktivitet som den kommande generationen kommer att åtnjuta. Kort sagt, det är den höjda framtida produktiviteten som är säkerheten för den utgivna krediten.

Total faktorproduktivitet

Det finns ett starkt samband mellan kreditgivning till nya infrastrukturprojekt och den så kallade totala faktorproduktiviteten. Den senare parametern är ett försök att mäta den andel av den ekonomiska tillväxten som beror på tekniska framsteg. Den högsta årliga produktivitetstillväxten i USA inföll, med detta mått mätt, under de perioder då man gjorde de största investeringarna i infrastruktur som byggde på ny teknik – ny transportteknik för vägbyggen, kanaler, järnvägar och så småningom rymdfärder, kraftproduktionsteknik, vattenbyggnadsteknik, kommunikationsteknik. Allra snabbast ökade den totala faktorproduktiviteten under 1930-talet, med 3,3 procent årligen, tack vare president Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal och Four Corners-programmet, med sina stora infrastruktursatsningar. Detta enligt en rapport från U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research från 2013. Stapeldiagrammet visar total faktorproduktivitet i USA-ekonomin (årlig tillväxt per decennium)

Ett i tiden mera närliggande exempel på detta nära samband är Kinas makalösa ekonomiska tillväxt de senaste 20 åren. En utomordentligt hög investeringstakt i vattenregleringar, kärnkraftsutbyggnad och på andra tekniskt avancerade infrastrukturområden – att Kina efter en tioårig satsning plötsligt hade fler kilometer höghastighets- och magnetsvävarräls än resten av världens länder tillsammans är ett i mängden av hyllade exempel – har gett mycket höga tillväxttakter i total faktorproduktivitet och i ekonomisk tillväxt och framåtskridande över huvud taget. Sedan 2008 har Kinas största statliga banker också skapat krediter motsvarande ca 12-13 biljoner dollar, lika mycket som de ovan nämnda västerländska bankerna. Skillnaden är att Kina förvandlade dessa krediter till realekonomiska värden och en högre produktivitet och välfärd för sin befolkning.

Hur Kina har hanterat det egna landets ekonomiska utveckling smittar av sig på landets förbindelser med andra länder.

Bryter med västländernas koloniala attityd

Det är påfallande hur vanligt det är att politiker, akademiker och skribenter i Europa och USA talar till och om utvecklingsländerna och deras representanter i en nedlåtande ton, som om de var barn som inte kan tala för sig själva. Det skvallrar om hur djupt rotad den koloniala attityden, ”den vite mannens börda”, alltjämt är i västvärlden. Afrikaner framställs underförstått, och ibland helt ogenerat, som mindre vetande krakar, som de förslagna kineserna lätt kan lura skjortan av.

I en intervju nyligen på China-Africa Podcast[9] förklarade W. Gyude Moore, tidigare minister för offentliga arbeten i Liberia och andre stabschef åt det landets president, den afrikanska synen på kinesisk hjälp med finansiering, utifrån sin egen erfarenhet av att ha förhandlat med Kina om många infrastrukturprojekt. Han sa:

”När Kina framställs som den här stora, stygga aktören, som är bakslug och överhopar länder med skulder, så tänker man bort nästan all medverkan från ländernas egen sida. Det är nästan som om de afrikanska länderna är naiva och inte begriper vad som händer och Kina slår blå dunster i ögonen på dem. Man nästan infantiliserar afrikaner och afrikanska ledare. … På grund av den begränsade mängd pengar som kommer från internationella finansinstitutioner måste länder som Liberia söka sig åt ett annat håll. … Ett av de få länder som faktiskt är berett att tala med ett land som Liberia, som kanske inte har det bästa kreditryktet, efter att just ha fått lån för nästan 5 miljarder dollar uppsagda, är Kina. … För ett land som Liberia är det helt omöjligt att förlita sig enbart på Världsbanken eller Afrikanska utvecklingsbanken för finansiering av infrastruktur – det går bara inte.”

Som ett förtydligande av skillnaden mellan skuldsättning och investeringar i framtiden, tillade Moore: ”Om länderna ska kunna betala tillbaka sina skulder måste deras ekonomier ha kommit dithän att de faktiskt genererar intäkter, och utan infrastruktur går det inte. Det är som med hönan och ägget.”

Moore bemötte användningen av hamnen i Hambantota som exempel på kinesisk finansieringspolitik: ”Alla hänvisar till hamnen i Sri Lanka, men Kina har lånat ut miljardtals med dollar. Att hamnen i Sri Lanka är det enda exemplet som folk kan dra upp, det tycker jag visar att detta Sri Lanka-exempel, detta enstaka fall, inte kan tas för hela sanningen om hur Kina vinner sina partner.”

Industrialiseringstrappan: Vart går USA och Europa?

De farhågor som många känner inför BRI och det nya paradigm som det håller på att skapa i de internationella förbindelserna är obefogade. Det är felaktiga föreställningar om ekonomi och maktförhållanden mellan länder som driver USA och många länder i EU till att inta denna negativa hållning till BRI.

Man kan likna industrialiseringsprocessen vid en smal trappa. Kina och många utvecklingsländer klättrar uppåt i trappan, medan USA och EU är på väg nedåt, mot avindustrialisering. Båda parter kommer till en punkt där de möts öga mot öga mitt i trappan, och spärrar vägen för varandra. Det är här som spänningarna stiger. Det är här som den ena sidan måste bestämma sig för att gå samman med den andra och röra sig åt samma håll, vilket skulle underlätta för båda att röra sig fritt.

Dessutom skulle båda parter vinna på att bredda trappan så att alla får plats, eller, som president Xi säger när han beskriver Kinas utvecklingspolitik, ”göra kakan större”, så att alla kan få sin rättmätiga del, i stället för att kivas om en krympande kaka.

 

* Hussein Askary är styrelseledamot i Belt and Road Executive Group for Sweden (BRIX), www.brixsweden.com

Paul Gallagher och Jason Ross bidrog med material till denna artikel.

Översättning till svenska: Astrid Sandmark

[1] Debtbook Diplomacy, Sam Parker, Gabrielle Chefitz, maj, 2018 https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/debtbook-diplomacy

[2] Om Sam Parker: https://www.belfercenter.org/person/sam-parker

 

[3] China Africa Research Initiative, The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-CARI), Johns Hopkins University, augusti 2018: http://www.sais-cari.org/s/Briefing-Paper-1-August-2018-Final.pdf

[4] Den pakistanska centralbankens egen statistik för finansåret 2017-2018: http://www.sbp.org.pk/ecodata/pakdebt.pdf

 

[5] Budgetåret 2017-2018 uppgick Pakistans import till 60,86 miljarder dollar, vilket var 2,6 gånger mer än exporten, som inbringade 23,22 miljarder dollar, med ett rekordstort handelsunderskott på 37,64 miljarder dollar som följd. Importen dominerades återigen av energi (olja och gas), till ett belopp av 14,43 miljarder dollar. Pakistan har lånat från bland annat västerländska banker för att finansiera sina köp av petroleumprodukter på den internationella marknaden. Den 3 augusti 2018 uppgav den pakistanska tidningen Express Tribune att den brittiska Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) skulle ge ett affärslån till Pakistan på 200 miljoner dollar till 4,2 procents ränta för att finansiera import av flytande naturgas. SCB är en av Pakistans största långivare, som enbart 2016-2017 lånade 1,1 miljarder dollar till landet. För att förstå hur viktigt det är för Pakistan att utveckla en egen kraftproduktion, kan man se på följande siffror: Den totala installerade kapaciteten för produktion av elkraft är 25.000 MW (2017) med en genomsnittlig förbrukning på 19.000 MW. Energislagen är: 1. Olja och gas: 14.635 MW (64,2 procent). 2. Vattenkraft: 6.611 MW (29 procent). 3. Kärnkraft: 1.322 MW (5,8 procent).

[6] The News International, 29 september, 2017, “Pakistan to pay back $100 bn to China by 2024”  (https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/233333-Pakistan-to-pay-back-100-bn-to-China-by-2024 ).

[7] “Nya Sidenvägen hotar bli skuldfälla”, Johan Nylander, Dagens Industri, Aug 20, 2018. https://www.di.se/nyheter/nya-sidenvagen-hotar-bli-skuldfalla/

[8]  En av IHS Markits rapporter från 2018 finns här: https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/a-difficult-year-ahead-for-pakistan.html

[9] https://chinaafrica-podcast.com/an-insiders-view-of-the-china-africa-debt-trap-debate

EU urges Maduro to deal with new elections within 8 days

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Jan. 26(Greenpost) — On January 26th, various Member States urged Mr. Nicolás Maduro to take the necessary legal steps for democratic presidential elections to be announced within 8 days.

On that same day, the EU High Representative / Vice President issued a statement on behalf of the 28 EU Member States, also calling for the urgent holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections and indicating that, in the absence of an announcement on the organization of fresh elections with the necessary guarantees over the next days, the EU would take further actions, including on the issue of recognition of the country´s leadership, in line with article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution.

Finland along with Spain, Portugal, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Croatia takes note that Mr. Nicolás Maduro has chosen not to set in motion the electoral process. Subsequently, and in accordance with the provisions of the Venezuelan Constitution, they acknowledge and support Mr. Juan Guaidó, President of the democratically elected National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections.

Analysts hold that this was an ultimatum from EU to Venezuela and it is a good example of intervention of an independent country’s internal affairs by EU.

Prime Minister Löfven says Sweden enters new era

 By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM,  Jan. 22(Greenpost) — All around Europe, extreme right-wing movements are spreading. In several countries, forces with an antidemocratic agenda have made it all the way to government. But in Sweden we stand up for the equal value of all people. We are choosing a different path, said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to the Riksdagen, Swedish Parliament on Monday.

“We are now beginning a historic form of cooperation. Sweden will now have a Government made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party that will cooperate on the budget and the direction of policy in several areas with the Centre Party and the Liberal Party”.

Now we can finally make a fresh start. The problems in society cannot wait.
Jobs must increase and climate emissions must be reduced.
Welfare must improve and integration must become more efficient and effective.
Security must increase and crime must be combated.

Sweden is in need of major reforms. We can now address these, together, across the old political blocs.

This morning, hundreds of thousands of Swedes got out of bed, had a cup of coffee, made breakfast, reminded their children not to forget their gym bag.

There may have been a minor battle in the hallway about coats and gloves before everyone got out the door. Children off to preschool and school. Adults off to work. And most people are too busy to listen to today’s Statement of Government Policy. It’s the hard work of ordinary people that is building Sweden.

The Swedish economy is strong. The budget deficit has been turned into a surplus, employment levels are at their highest in more than 25 years, and the national debt is at its lowest since the 1970s.

We now have room for manoeuvre. We now have major opportunities. When things are going well for Sweden, this should benefit everyone.

In the last electoral period, historic investments were made in welfare. Over the next four years, these resources will be strengthened by an additional SEK 5 billion per year for welfare.

Pensions will increase for those who have worked their whole working life on low wages. They have fought hard for Sweden’s welfare. Now they should get the respect they deserve.

Employers’ social security contributions will be reduced. It will be cheaper for business owners to hire their first employee.

The first steps will be taken towards a family week. This country’s parents should have more time with their children.

Future generations must have access to clean air, healthy oceans and thriving natural environments. The climate transition will permeate policy.

Our society must be strong – and our development sustainable.

* * *

Everyone who can work should work. Our economy must be kept in good order. The agreement on the fiscal policy framework remains in place. There must be full preparedness for a downturn in the economy.

A major new tax reform will be implemented. This is how we will promote jobs and competitiveness, reduce disparities and increase equality. This is how we will secure welfare and contribute to achieving the climate and environmental targets.

The last vestiges of the tax on pensions will be abolished. The austerity tax and extra taxation on generation changes will be removed. Tax deductions for household work will be expanded. Swedish industry and Swedish businesses, both small and large, must have good conditions to grow and employ more people. The problem of skilled people being expelled from Sweden must be resolved.

Sweden is a leading research nation. We will defend this position. Independent research must be guaranteed, and at the same time research policy must respond to global and national challenges in society.

The work of the National Innovation Council will continue. An export initiative for more jobs throughout the country will be implemented. Green obligations will be trialled. Collaboration, innovation and the climate transition make Swedish companies world leaders.

Together we are equipping ourselves for the future.
Together we are building a strong Sweden.

* * *

The Government’s objective is not only for the whole country to live. The whole country must thrive.

The national plan to invest SEK 700 billion in roads and railways will be completed.

New main lines for high-speed trains will be laid and the railways in northern Sweden will be expanded. More long-haul freight transport will shift from lorries to trains and ships.

A national ticketing system will be introduced for all public transport throughout Sweden. The travel deduction will be based on distance and will be neutral in terms of mode of transport. Foreign travel by train will be made easier – more people should be able to take the train down to the continent.

Trains must be more punctual. Investments in railway maintenance will increase. Commuting by bike will be made easier. Road maintenance will improve.

Broadband and mobile services will be expanded throughout the country and more service points will be opened.

It must be possible to live and work all over the country. Sweden must hold together.

* * *

Rarely do people feel as free as when they put the key in the door to their first apartment.

Housing construction must be faster, cheaper and more sustainable. Mobility on the housing market must increase. The renting model will be reformed by allowing rents to be set freely for new builds. The quality and location of an apartment will have a greater influence on how the rent is set.

Investment support for the construction of rented housing will be concentrated, streamlined and targeted at rented housing throughout the country. Interest on the amount deferred when moving house will be abolished. Penalties for selling black market contracts will be tougher, and the purchase of such contracts will be criminalised.

The housing shortage will disappear, reform by reform.

* * *

The Swedish forest industry must be sustainable and it must grow. Private forest ownership rights must be guaranteed. Landowners must receive fair financial compensation for restrictions to their right of ownership and right of use.

It should be a great deal easier to build close to shorelines in unexploited rural areas. At the same time, shore protection and the right of common access will be guaranteed in exploited areas.

An effective farming package will be put together to strengthen Swedish food production. Agriculture’s dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced.

Consumer demand for organic food must be met and food waste must be tackled.

Mr Speaker,

Sweden will be the world’s first fossil-free welfare nation. There is no time for hesitation.

The transition required is considerable. A lot of work remains to be done. But we are at the forefront. With electric lorries and public transport. With increased construction using timber. With coal-free steel production and new textiles from recycled clothing.

The climate policy framework remains in place. All relevant legislation will be reviewed. The climate objectives must be achieved.

The energy agreement will be implemented. It should be easy and worthwhile to invest in your own production of renewable energy.

Sweden will push for a climate law at EU level. The reform efforts to implement the Paris Agreement will be intensified. The 1.5-degree target must be met.

A robust green tax shift will be implemented. Taxes will be raised on activities that are damaging to the environment and reduced for work and entrepreneurship.

The major climate impact of aviation must be reduced. Climate requirements for aviation will be tightened. It should be possible to charge and fuel fossil-free vehicles throughout the country. Climate bonuses and climate fees for cars will be strengthened and simplified. No new petrol- or diesel-driven cars will be sold after 2030. This is how we will reduce the major climate emissions from the transport sector.

Prospecting and new exploitation of coal, oil and fossil gas will be prohibited. A major drive will be initiated to sequester some previous emissions.

The climate investment programmes and the urban environment agreements promote local investments for global sustainability and they will be developed and made more efficient.

Children should be able to walk and cycle to school safely, and outdoor activities should be promoted.

Sweden must further develop a resource-efficient, circular and bio-based economy. Swedish consumers should be able to make sustainable and toxin-free choices.

More steps will be taken to make it easier to recycle and re-use. A minimum service level for household waste will be introduced. Deposit requirements will be introduced for more products and the spread of microplastics will be combated.

Biological diversity must be protected. Ecosystem services must be safeguarded. The appropriations for the protection of valuable natural environments will be increased.

Marine environments must be improved. Eutrophication, use of environmental toxins and emissions of pharmaceutical waste must be minimised. Fisheries must be sustainable. Controls will be tightened to stop illegal fishing, and bottom-trawling will be prohibited in protected areas.

Groundwater levels will be secured and access to drinking water protected.

Twenty years ago, the Riksdag took a crucial decision: we will pass on to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems have been solved. The environmental objectives system must now be developed and new interim targets set.

The magic of Sweden’s old forests. The trilling of the lark. The buzzing of honey bees. It is our duty to preserve Sweden’s natural environment for our children and grandchildren.

 

Mr Speaker,

Language and work are the way into society.

During the electoral period, comprehensive reforms for better integration will be implemented. The entry agreements negotiated by the social partners for newly arrived immigrants and long-term unemployed people will be launched. It should be possible for the model to be used by temporary work agencies and also companies without collective agreements. An entry deduction will be introduced whereby the employers’ social security contribution for young people without an upper secondary education and newly arrived immigrants is removed for the first two years.

An integration year – the Swedish New Start – will be introduced with intensive vocationally oriented Swedish language instruction, work experience, vocational education and training, obligatory civic orientation and a one-year mentorship programme.

Women and men must have equal opportunities to support themselves and control their own lives. There will be a special focus on women’s establishment in the labour market.

The provisions in the Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others Act on making one’s own living arrangements will be limited to reduce segregation.

Passing an examination in Swedish and basic civic studies will be a requirement for receiving citizenship. We are raising ambitions and efforts to ensure that everyone learns Swedish, through a language obligation, enhanced Swedish for Immigrants, language preschool and language training for people on parental leave. More career posts for teachers will be introduced in areas of social exclusion.

Setting high standards for people and giving them a lot of opportunities helps them to grow.

* * *

We live in a modern knowledge society. Everyone must be able to build on their knowledge and reshape their skills.

The Swedish labour market must be characterised by security and flexibility. Employment law must be adapted to the labour market of today, while a fundamental balance between the social partners is maintained. Companies will be given greater opportunities to adapt, and individual workers will be protected against arbitrary termination of employment.

If the social partners do not reach an agreement, a legislative amendment will be implemented to clearly expand the exemptions from the rules on order of selection. At the same time, an enhanced right to skills development will be introduced, and a better balance will be created in employment protection for staff with different terms of employment.

Arbetsförmedlingen, Sweden’s public employment service, will be fundamentally reformed. Independent actors will help to match people with employers and equip job seekers. Unemployment insurance will be developed so that more people qualify for compensation, and the incentives to apply for new jobs and retrain will increase.

At the same time, the study support system will be made more generous for older people wanting to further educate themselves or retrain. State support for short-time work will be developed. Professional development time will be introduced to enable skills development and entrepreneurship.

The Adult Education Initiative will be expanded and access to higher education and distance learning will increase throughout the country.

This way, everyone can be equipped for a rapidly changing labour market.

* * *

Thanks to major efforts from headteachers, teachers and pupils, school performance in Sweden is improving.

In Södertälje, a quality drive across political blocs has helped improve school performance for the eighth year in a row. At Hovsjöskolan, the number of pupils achieving the grades they need to qualify for upper secondary school has doubled.

Nonetheless, a major reform effort is still needed to reinstate our country as a leading knowledge nation.

All pupils must be given a fair chance, regardless of their background or where they live. The focus on knowledge will be strengthened and quality requirements increased in all schools. The School Commission’s proposals for increased equality in schools will be implemented. State support will be increased.

Material will be produced for a decision that will create the conditions for schools to be answerable to central government. There will be a moratorium on the establishment of independent compulsory and upper secondary schools with a confessional focus.

Teacher education will be reformed, standards will be raised and the admission requirements will be increased. It will be easier for academics to choose the teaching profession. Resources will be added to employ more teaching assistants.

Teachers must receive the support they need so that grading is fair and equitable throughout the country. Schools that want to should be able to introduce grading from year four. Subject grades will be introduced in upper secondary school. Grade inflation must be combated.

A national plan for peaceful study environments and security in schools will be produced. Mobile phone bans will be introduced. Vigorous action will be taken to tackle bullying. It should be easier to exclude or move pupils who have threatened others or subjected them to violence.

No pupil should be left behind, and those who want to should be able to get ahead. The reading-writing-arithmetic guarantee will become a reality. A proposal will be drawn up to make a ten-year compulsory school possible. Preschool and after-school care groups will be made smaller. It should be easier to get special support in smaller teaching groups. Support for children with neuropsychiatric disabilities will increase. Resource schools will be developed and schools for pupils with learning disabilities will be strengthened.

A homework guarantee and a priority timetable will be introduced so that pupils at risk of not achieving the necessary grades to qualify for upper secondary school can receive more teaching in the subjects they need. An increased pace of study will be offered to pupils who can achieve the knowledge objectives more quickly. Pupils in the upper years of compulsory school should be able to study upper secondary courses, and upper secondary pupils should be able to study higher education courses.

Let there be no doubt about where we are heading. The Swedish school system must be the greatest pride of our society.

 

Mr Speaker,

When a new life is on the way. When something hurts, or doesn’t feel right. When the pain is constant. It is then, at our most fragile moments in life, that Sweden’s health care system should be there offering security.

No one should have to wait too long for treatment or an operation. A general plan for shorter queues will be drafted, along with an updated ‘waiting list billion’. There will be a particular focus on ill health among women. There will be new investments in ambulance care, cancer care and maternity care. A broad primary care reform will be implemented. It must be more attractive for doctors to work in primary care, and easier to provide health care in rural areas.

A person who is sick should be informed about their care plan and who they should call. The patient contract system will be developed. The right to continuity of care in general practice will be safeguarded. It should be possible to impose fines or sanctions on care providers that do not meet the care guarantee.

Sickness insurance should provide financial security in the event of illness. It should be easy to return to work upon recovery. Rehabilitation and occupational health services are crucial.

The conditions and working environment of those employed in health and social care must be improved, so that more young people choose to apply to the sector and remain in it – in the knowledge that their job is not only important, but also stimulating. The professional role of assistant nurses will be strengthened by means of a register or protected professional title. More people should be able to study on full pay to become specialist nurses.

Psychiatric care will be expanded. Mental health must be tackled. A new form of care for patients with minor mental health issues will be investigated. A zero-queue target will be introduced for child and adolescent psychiatric services.

Children living in sheltered accommodation need better support.

Elderly care should maintain a high standard. Continuity of care in home-help services will be introduced throughout the country. Home-help staff should receive work uniforms free of charge.

The prospects of a job, a good life and meaningful leisure time will be improved for everyone with any form of disability. The right to assistance for self-care, breathing and tube-feeding should be reintroduced. The definition of normal parental responsibility will be narrowed. The right to assistance due to a need for supervision will be strengthened. The question of who should have overall responsibility for personal assistance will be investigated.

Anyone who is entitled to personal assistance must receive it.

 

Mr Speaker,

A century ago, the Riksdag took the first of two decisions that gave women and men equal suffrage. The best way to honour those who showed the way in the fight for democracy is to continue their work in a new era.

Democracy in Sweden is strong, but we can never take it for granted. It must constantly be defended – generation after generation, electoral period after electoral period.

Democratic institutions must be protected. The independence of courts and public service media must be strengthened. The electoral system’s resilience to manipulation will be improved. The media support system will create better conditions for independent journalism throughout the country.

We will preserve the reform ensuring free entry to state-owned museums. Culture schools will be developed, and all children should have the opportunity to benefit from them.

Astrid Lindgren once said that “children create miracles when they read”. She was right. For this reason, access to school libraries with trained librarians will increase. The Reading Delegation’s proposals will be implemented. We want more miracles in Sweden!

The sports movement and civic organisations should be supported and encouraged. Financial security for artists and cultural creators should be improved.

We are a feminist government. The Swedish Gender Equality Agency will remain. The rights of LGBTQ people will be strengthened. The Discrimination Act will be made more stringent.

The self-determination and influence of the indigenous Sami people will be strengthened. An independent human rights institution will be established.

Work on the national plan to combat racism will continue. Xenophobic hate crimes against minorities will be vigorously combated.

Wherever anti-Semitism exists, and however it is expressed, it must be identified and fought. In 2020, Sweden will host a new international conference on remembrance of the Holocaust, and Swedish young people should be given the opportunity to visit memorials in Europe. A new museum will be established to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust.

Never forget – this was the promise we made to each other. Sweden will never forget.

 

Mr Speaker,

Criminality must be fought with everything society has. Record numbers of women and men are now applying for police training programmes. They should be supported by substantial resources, coordinated agencies and more effective legislation.

Ten thousand more people should be employed in the Swedish Police Authority by 2024. Policing must be an attractive profession. There must be increased protection for police officers and other emergency services staff. The penalties for offences linked to disputes among criminals should be tougher. New legislation on data storage will be presented to the Riksdag shortly. Police will be given the right to take decisions on camera surveillance in public places.

The minimum penalty for obstructing the course of justice will be increased substantially. A crown witness system will be investigated. Unregistered pay-as-you-go mobile SIM cards will be banned. The penalties for those who transfer narcotics to others will be tightened.

Serious offences committed by young people under the age of 15 must always be investigated by the police. Actions to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance will be stepped up. Measures will be taken against the use of false identification documents, and against organised crime targeting our welfare systems.

People who are arrested and convicted must be handed effective sentences that can lead to life changes. The penalties should be tougher for those who recruit young people to criminal activities. Prisoners who do not cooperate in care and treatment should have their time in prison extended.

Crime prevention begins with the fight against poverty and segregation. A national exit programme will be introduced to allow more people to leave criminality behind them, and more community liaison workers and community police officers will be employed to ensure that fewer people are enticed into crime.

We are tough on both crime and its causes.

Society is always stronger than the gangs.

* * *

The new Consent Act enables more rape prosecutions. The work to realise a culture of consent will now continue.

More resources will be allocated to prevention efforts, and sex and relationship teaching in schools will be modernised. The minimum penalty for rape will be increased. A new offence classification of gross sexual molestation will be introduced. Statutory limitation periods will be extended, and removed entirely for sexual offences against children. More reception centres for victims of sexual offences will be established.

The Government will increase its initiatives against domestic violence. This applies to immediate support to victims and their children, preventive efforts, and initiatives to make those who perpetrate such violence change their behaviour.

* * *

Standing up for your life and your love, even when you know that your family refuses to accept it, takes great courage. And telling the world about it to bring about change for others takes even greater courage.

Fadime Sahindal had that courage. And because of this she was murdered, exactly 17 years ago today. This is how she concluded her speech to the Riksdag a few months before her murder:

“It should be a given that you can have both your family and the life you want for yourself. Unfortunately, it is not a given for many girls. I hope that you won’t turn your backs on them. That you won’t close your eyes to them.”

I wish I could say that honour culture has been suppressed. But this is not the case. It persists, and it still threatens people’s freedom and safety. Previous action has not been sufficient. We must do more. We will do more.

We must impose tougher penalties, increase awareness and strengthen efforts in schools and social services.

It should be easier to expel non-Swedish citizens who commit honour-related offences and hate crimes. At the same time, there should be greater protection against expulsion for victims of honour-related crime.

It should be possible to offer young people a greater degree of intervention without their parents’ consent where there is a suspicion of honour-related crime. Society must act immediately on any suspicion that someone is going to be subjected to female genital mutilation or be married off against their will.

 

Mr Speaker,

The fight against terrorism and violent extremism must be uncompromising. The legislation will be made tougher. Participation in a terrorist organisation will be criminalised. The Swedish Security Service will be given the possibility to read encrypted traffic. The internal border controls will remain in place as long as is necessary.

Terrorism and extremism are unfortunately just parts of the complex security threat targeting all open and democratic societies.

The work to create a modern total defence continues. The national security strategy must be implemented based on a broad security analysis. A national centre will be set up to increase information and cyber security. A new government agency will be established to strengthen our psychological defences against influence operations and similar. Our civil preparedness will be equipped to better handle climate-related crises such as health threats, fires, drought and flooding. Our vigilance against foreign attempts to acquire sensitive infrastructure will increase.

Sweden will maintain its security policy line. The defence appropriations will be gradually increased to strengthen Sweden’s military capabilities and our cooperation with other countries and organisations will be deepened.

Our military non-alignment serves our country well. Sweden will not apply for membership of NATO. However, we will safeguard the transatlantic link, develop our defence cooperation, particularly with Finland, and deepen cooperation for increased security around the Baltic Sea.

If another Nordic or EU country suffers a disaster or an attack, Sweden will not remain passive. We expect these countries to act in the same way if Sweden is similarly affected.

* * *

Membership of the European Union is a foundation stone of Sweden’s national, European and global action.

Sweden will work for an effective EU – an EU for the citizens, that creates jobs and increases the security of its people. An EU that tackles the threat of climate change and improves its competitiveness in the global economy.

Together with the rest of the EU, Sweden will continue to work to ensure that the planned withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU is accomplished in an orderly way. We are prepared to handle various scenarios.

Member States that break with the EU’s values and the rule of law should face severe consequences. History teaches us what can happen if we close our eyes to abuses of democratic rights and freedoms.

* * *

Our term on the UN Security Council has now come to an end – but Sweden’s international work for peace and democracy continues.

A number of serious challenges need to be dealt with:

The conflicts in Syria and Yemen pose serious security threats with catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine are flagrant breaches of international law. The Rohingya in Myanmar are being subjected to crimes against humanity. The violence must cease, and those responsible must be brought to justice. The Korean Peninsula must be rid of nuclear weapons. A lasting peace between Israel and Palestine requires a two-state solution.

Sweden is working actively to promote necessary reforms of the UN. International law must be safeguarded. The role of women in peace processes must be strengthened. Peace and democracy must be promoted through efforts for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, for easing of tensions and disarmament, for mediation and dialogue. Trust between people and countries is a powerful tool against war and conflicts.

That is how common security is created.

* * *

The right of asylum must be safeguarded in Sweden, in Europe and internationally. More countries must take greater responsibility. Sweden’s reception of refugees must be sustainable in the long term. The Act Temporarily Restricting the Possibility to Obtain Residence Permits in Sweden will be extended for two years, while at the same time persons eligible for subsidiary protection will be given the same right to family reunification as refugees.

The Government will work to establish a common asylum system in the EU that distributes the reception of refugees fairly and proportionately. Asylum seekers should be offered a legally certain reception with short waiting times. Those with grounds for protection must rapidly become a part of society, and those without such grounds must return promptly.

The most important tool to stop refugee disasters is action for development and conflict resolution.

The feminist foreign policy will be developed. The rights of women and minorities around the world must be strengthened. Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential parts of global development policy.

In a time of trade wars, Sweden must defend free trade and stand up for fair conditions. Investments in Sweden and international trade agreements must safeguard the environment, human health and workers’ rights.

The Swedish Global Deal initiative brings together almost 100 governments, enterprises and organisations. The OECD is now taking over as host organisation. Sweden will continue to promote social dialogue for better working conditions and increased productivity.

The Government will continue Sweden’s extensive development cooperation and maintain development assistance equivalent to one per cent of GNI. Development assistance should focus even more on promoting democracy. We remain committed to high ambitions for climate financing. Our leadership for globally sustainable oceans will continue.

As other countries reduce efforts for global sustainability, Sweden will increase them. We must be at the vanguard for the 2030 Agenda.

* * *

Mr Speaker,

The electoral period began in the autumn. Winter has now arrived, but today, 21 January, a new Government will begin its work. We have less time than usual, but together, and in broad cooperation, we can and will achieve all the more.

This is a new era, a challenging and crucial era. The parliamentary cooperation that begins today is historic.

Sweden’s new Government consists the PM and 22 ministers

Stockholm, Jan. 22(Greenpost)–Today, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven presented the Statement of Government Policy in the Riksdag and announced the ministers that make up the Government. The change of government took place at a Council of State at the Royal Palace presided over by His Majesty the King.

Sweden’s new Government consists of the Prime Minister and 22 ministers.

Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Minister
Stefan Löfven

Minister for EU Affairs
Hans Dahlgren

Ministry of Culture

Minister for Culture and Democracy, with responsibility for sport
Amanda Lind

Ministry of Defence

Minister for Defence
Peter Hultqvist

Ministry of Education and Research

Minister for Education
Anna Ekström

Minister for Higher Education and Research
Matilda Ernkrans

Ministry of Employment

Minister for Employment
Ylva Johansson

Minister for Gender Equality, with responsibility for anti-discrimination and anti-segregation
Åsa Lindhagen

Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation

Minister for Enterprise
Ibrahim Baylan

Minister for Rural Affairs
Jennie Nilsson

Ministry of the Environment

Minister for Environment and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister
Isabella Lövin

Ministry of Finance

Minister for Finance
Magdalena Andersson

Minister for Financial Markets and Housing, Deputy Minister for Finance
Per Bolund

Minister for Public Administration
Ardalan Shekarabi

Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Foreign Affairs
Margot Wallström

Minister for International Development Cooperation
Peter Eriksson

Minister for Foreign Trade, with responsibility for Nordic affairs
Ann Linde

Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

Minister for Health and Social Affairs
Lena Hallengren

Minister for Social Security
Annika Strandhäll

Ministry of Infrastructure

Minister for Infrastructure
Tomas Eneroth

Minister for Energy and Digital Development
Anders Ygeman

Ministry of Justice

Minister for Justice and Migration
Morgan Johansson

Minister for Home Affairs
Mikael Damberg

Commentary: China shows sincerity in talks while the US shows its destroyer

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Jan.7(Greenpost) — Sino-US trade talks began in Beijing on Monday while the US sent a  missile destroyer to the South China Sea area.

This round of trade talk started with China’s sincerity to stop the trade war and really start trade talks.  To show China’s sincerity, China has announced to buy American soybeans and even rice. China has decreased four times the import tariff.  All these measures show that China is very sincere to suspend the trade war because a trade war is neither good to China nor to America or any other country.

Why? Because the economic law shows that only by trading more, the world economy can be vital, protectionism will lead to slow down of the world economy which will be good to nobody.

On the contrary, Trump sent a missile destroyer to South China Sea to show his muscles.  But analysts hold that this action only shows that Trump is either stupid or he really played such a game that he would let people know that he is very unpredictable.

He has shown that when he first met Xi Jinping in his Florida villa when he said he sent a bomb to Syria just before they began to talk Sino-US relations.

And after he and Xi announced to have three months ceasefire of the so-called “trade war”, Canada arrested a Chinese business-person.  So the American action, to be precise, the Trump action shows that he is really not very confident and he wanted to show that he was tough and not easy to deal with.

The current world still requires more cooperation than conflict to meet the demands of the people.

China has always tried all means to promote development by various peaceful means and policies and sometimes even take initiative to benefit all parties such as the Belt and Road Initiative.

As many historians and sinologists have pointed out, China has always been a peace loving country and it has never invaded any country, thus, its action mostly aims to get people more jobs, reduce poverty and build a prosperous China as well as the world.

Analysts hold that China could further reduce the import tariff. On the one hand, it will make the US feel more balanced, on the other hand, it will be good for the Chinese buyers too.  This is a good way to satisfy the Chinese demand of international famous brands and they don’t need to buy it abroad, but buy it in China through more imports.

This will not only help solve the trade surplus issue, but also let Chinese people enjoy the higher living standards. When the Chinese are satisfied with their demand on famous brands, they will love their own country even more because those so called famous brands are just normal brands in other countries. For example, the watch in Switserland, Ford in America, Volvo(China’s now) in Sweden, these brands in China are treated as famous, but in its own country, for example, volvo in Sweden, it is just so natural that people buy it just as if Chinese will buy a red flag or a Chinese tooth paste.

So when the border is open and easier to go across, the imbalance will be solved and that will be conducive to the world.

China definitely should be thankful for the entry of WTO, but Chinese also work very hard to realize its development.  It makes the Chinese feel also awkward that it is always the west that complains about China and gives pressure to China.

Recalling China’s economic situation in 1980s when China just began to open up, China was very cautious of opening up and worried that the western power would buy up China’s land or ownership and so on, and that is why the 49 percent and 51 percent of ownership was established.

When I came to Sweden 12 years ago and asked Swedish whether they worried about their selling of companies to the Germans for example Siemens,  do they worry about ownership? They said they didn’t worry because as long as the company is in Sweden, it will pay tax to Sweden and provides jobs.  But now when China wanted to buy a port or something, Sweden began to worry about sovereignty and secrecy and so on.

Eight years ago when Li Shufu’s Geely purchase Volvo, many people also worried about Chinese companies will bring Volvo to China.  But now it shows that Geely keeps its promise and this has become the successful purchase case between China and Sweden and even in the world.

Why is that? I think it shows that if a company develops well and it will go international. Once it becomes international, it will benefit many people who involve in it. It will promote the world economic development.

But if one shows protectionism, it will stimulate conflicts not just in economic field, if one is not careful, it will involve other factors. That is why there is war and conflict.  Thus as responsible countries, big powers should take the consideration of the world economic situation, not just think it is only about you and me.

Obviously protectionism shows a county’s weak points and that is why it wants to protect its own economy.

Sweden is a small country, but it has a big mind and always been open in trade and let its companies compete in the international economy. Many companies died young, but it also raised the world’s largest per capita famous brands and innovation.  And why people like to try innovation? Because they think in the long term and try the best for anything they like. Time tells who will win in the end.

On this point, I think both US and China should learn from Sweden.

Finally, just heard the news that Tesla has launched a grand ceremony to open production factory in Shanghai now. This is another real action China has taken to allow foreign enterprise to establish solely foreign owned enterprise in China. This is the fulfilment of China’s promise of market access.

This should be a very positive action from Chinese side to turn the trade war into a trade talk.  It forms a sharp contrast with the sending of missile destroyer.

Ambassadör Gui Congyou accepterade en skriftlig intervju med svenska kinesiska medier

Av Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, 3 Januari (Greenpost) — Kinas ambassadör Gui Congyou accepterade en skriftlig intervju med svenska kinesiska medier den 29 december, 2018 på kinesiska.  Här är en översättning av intervjun.

Fråga: Kära ambassadör Gui Congyou, hur utvärderar du utvecklingen av förbindelserna mellan Kina och Sverige under det senaste året?

Svar: 2018 var ett mycket viktigt år för både Kina och Sverige. År 2018 var det första året för Kina att fullt ut genomföra den 19: e partikongressens anda och 40-årsdagen av Kinas reform och öppnande. Sverige höll allmänt val i september detta år. Under det gångna året har förbin­del­serna mellan Kina och Sverige upprätthållit en stabil utveckling totalt sett, och nya presta­ti­oner har gjorts genom samarbete inom olika områden. För det första upprätthöll de två sidor­na utbyten och utbyten på alla nivåer och inom olika områden. De två ländernas diplo­matiska avdelningar upprätthöll regelbunden kommunikation. Svensk infrastrukturminister Tomas Ene­roth ledde en delegation att delta i den första ”China International Import Expo” som hölls i Shanghai i början av november. På regional och kommunal nivå har ett flertal besök och utbyten ägt rum inom ekonomi, handel, vetenskap och utbildning. Detta i god pragmatisk anda som gagnat vidare samarbete mellan våra länder.

För det andra fortsatte det ekonomiska och handelssamarbetet att växa snabbt. Från januari till oktober ökade den kinesisk-svenska bilaterala volymen med 17% till 12,4 miljarder US-dol­lar. Den årliga volymen och Sveriges handelsöverskott med Kina förväntas nå nya höjder. Kina-Sverige “One Belt, One Road”-samarbetet har gjort positiva framsteg. China Eastern Airlines har öppnat ett direktflyg från Shanghai till Stockholm. Det svenska länet Dalarna har öppnat sina dörrar till staden Ganzhou i Jiangxi-provinsen i östra Kina. Under mötet i Shang­hai ”China International Import Expo” tecknade svenska företag kontrakt för 500 miljoner US-dollar med kinesiska företag.

För det tredje har utbyten och samarbete inom vetenskap och teknik, kultur och utbildning fortsatt i bra fart. Professor Chen Zhu, en berömd kinesisk vetenskapsman, vann det svenska Sjöberg-priset. Kinas förening för vetenskap och teknik och Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan undertecknade ett samarbetsavtal. Den första kinesiska kulturfestivalen hölls framgångsrikt i välkända Kungsträdgården i Stockholm. Flera välkända kinesiska artist-trupper uppträdde under året i: Stockholm, Göteborg och Falköping, och blev mycket väl mottagna av lokal­befolkningen.

För det fjärde har Kina och Sverige genomfört nära kommunikation och samordning på den multilaterala arenan. Mot bakgrund av den internationella situationen, full av osäkerhet, stöder Kina och Sverige stark multilateralism, förespråkar frihandel och motsätter sig uni­lateralism och protektionism. De två länderna har genomfört en effektiv samordning inom ramen för den multilaterala ramen, såsom FN: s säkerhetsråd, och genomförde sund kom­munikation om heta frågor t.ex. i DPRK: s kärnvapen och Jemen och gemensamt engagerade för att upprätthålla världsfred, stabilitet och utveckling.

Samtidigt såg vi också att förhållandena mellan Kina och Sverige har störts av några negativa faktorer under året. Den svenska polisens behandlingen av tre kinesiska turister hotade deras grund­läggande mänskliga rättigheter, såsom personlig säkerhet och värdighet. SVT produ­cerade ett inslag om dessa kinesiska turister i ett satirprogram som vi uppfattade som grovt förolämpade och orsakade stark indignation och högljudda protester från alla kineser och det stora antalet utländska kineser. Detta skadade den goda bilden av Sverige i Kina. Vi fortsätter att uppmana den svenska sidan att öppet och uppriktigt be om ursäkt för den negativa hän­delsen. Några politiker och media i Sverige har anklagat Kina, men de förstår inte Kina och vad vi anser vara Kinas inre ange­lägenheter. Dessa negativa faktorer har utan tvekan skapat onödiga hin­der för utveckling av vänskapligt samarbete mellan Kina och Sverige. Vi är starkt emot detta.

I allmänhet anser jag att det vänliga samarbetet är det viktigaste för de kinesisk-svenska förbindelserna. Att främja den positiva utvecklingen av de bilaterala förbindelserna är de båda folkens gemensamma ambitioner. Fördjupningen av de kinesisk-svensk förbindelserna har djup potential och breda utsikter. Kina har alltid varit engagerat i att främja den fortsatta utvecklingen av samarbete Kina-Sverige. Vi hoppas att den svenska sidan kommer att gå hand i hand med den kinesiska. Vi försöker bygga konsensus och skapa vinn-vinn-samarbeten som ger gynnsamma förutsättningar för en sund och stabil utveckling av förbindelserna mellan Kina och Sverige. Detta i en anda av ömsesidig respekt och likabehandling, men förstås med reservation för de skillnader här är i synsätt.

Fråga: Svenska medierna har en ny förståelse för dig. De tycker att du verkligen gillar att möta svenska medier. Du pekar ofta på sina misstag. Vad är din kommentar till den här kommentaren?

Svar: Medierna är en viktig bro mellan de två folken och spelar en viktig roll för att öka den ömsesidiga förståelsen mellan de två sidorna. Jag har noterat att med den snabba utvecklingen i Kina och den fortsatta expansionen av samarbetet mellan Kina och Sverige, ger de svenska medierna allt mer uppmärksamhet åt Kina. Det finns många objektiva och positiva rapporter om utvecklingen av Kinas reformer och att landet öppnats under de senaste 40 åren. Ömse­sidigt samarbete i ekonomisk och handelsinvestering, vetenskaplig och teknisk innovation, energibesparing och miljöskydd. Sådana rapporter kommer att hjälpa det svenska folket att fullständigt och bättre förstå Kina och underlätta en jämn utveckling av de bilaterala för­bin­delserna.

Samtidigt finns det fortfarande några medier och journalister i Sverige som tittar på Kina med färgade glasögon. De är fulla av fördomar, stereotyper, okunnighet och arrogans mot Kina och klandrar Kina för ‘kallt krig’ mentalitet. Detta Kina som de skriver om är långt borta från det riktiga samtida Kina. Vissa medier tillåter bara att de snedvrider Kina, men de kan inte låta andra prata om Kinas prestationer och Kinas ställning. Det här är en allvarlig kränkning av journalistiken moraliska principer. Det är en typisk media-tyranni och den allmänna opini­ons­diktaturen, och bidrar inte till en smidig utveckling av de kinesisk-svensk relationerna.

För att förhindra att dessa snedvridna rapporter gör svenskar misstänksamma och på sikt påverkar det vänliga samarbetet mellan våra folk måste vi påpeka dessa misstag och klargöra Kinas position. Vi välkomnar de svenska vännernas konstruktiva kommentarer, men tvekar inte att försvara vad vi uppfattar är rätt och vill motverka att fördomar mot kineser och Kina som land sprids.  Vi påpekade att vissa medier och journalister har gjort misstag i hopp om att de ska fortsätta bidra till kinesiskt-svenskt vänskapligt samarbete. Vi hoppas att svenska folket ska ha full tillgång till information och förstå ett autentiskt Kina på ett objektivt sätt. Jag hoppas att några svenska medier och journalister kommer att släppa arrogans och för­domar, och verkligen följa journalistikens etik och behandla Kina på ett objektivt och rättvist sätt. Som ambassadör är dörren till dialog och kommunikation alltid öppen.

Fråga: 2019 är 70-årsdagen av Kinas grundande av Folkrepubliken Kina och 69-års­jubileet för inrättandet av diplomatiska förbindelser mellan Kina och Sverige. Vilken är din syn på kinesisk-svenska relationerna under den här viktiga historiska perioden? Vilka större händelser förväntas inträffa?

Svar: 2019 är 70-årsdagen för grundandet av Nya Kina. Det är ett viktigt år för att nå målet att bygga ett välfungerande samhälle på ett allsidigt sätt och uppnå målet för det första år­hund­radet. Erfarenheten från de gångna 40 årens reformer och öppnade mot omvärlden, lär oss att vi måste fokusera framöver på innovation, samordning, ”grön utveckling”, öppenhet och del­ning och sätta mycket långsiktiga mål. Återupplivandet av den kinesiska drömmen fortsätter. Det kommer definitivt att ge nya viktiga möjligheter till utvecklingen av de kinesisk-svenska förbindelserna.

År 2019 kommer Kina och Sverige att genomföra fler dialoger och utbyten på alla nivåer och på olika områden för att öka utbytesfrekvensen och förbättra ömsesidig förståelse. Den svenska regeringsbildandet pågår fortfarande. När den nya svenska regeringen har tillträtt är vi villiga att kommunicera med den svenska sidan för att gemensamt planera utvecklingen av de bilaterala förbindelserna i nästa steg. De två sidorna bör fortsätta att utöka det pragmatiska samarbetet inom olika områden, genomföra det konsensus som nås och aktivt utvidga sam­arbetet inom områdena innovation, grön ekonomi, energibesparing och miljöskydd samt avancerad tillverkning, så att de två folken kan få mer känsla av vinst.

Vi är villiga att gå hand i hand med svenska vänner för att fira 70-årsdagen för Folkrepubliken Kinas grundande och 69-årsdagen för upprättandet av diplomatiska förbindelser mellan Kina och Sverige. Vi kommer att vidarebefordra den traditionella vänskapen mellan de två länder­na och fullt ut utveckla potentialen för samarbete för att injicera positiv energi och ny driv­kraft i de kinesiskt-svenska förbindelserna.

Fråga: Vilka är dina förväntningar för de utländska kineserna i Sverige?

Svar: I 2018 implementerade ambassaden resolut Xi Jinpings socialistiska ideologi med kinesiska egenskaper i den nya eran, upprätthållande av principen om “diplomati för folket”, aktivt genomförande av partiet och regeringens Huiqiao Huimin-politik (politik som är bra för kineserna) och säkerställande att moderlands oro för det stora antalet utomeuropeiska kineser genomförs. Ambassaden uppskattade och stödde aktivt de utländska kineserna i deras an­strängningar att bygga ett harmoniskt samhälle, genomföra kinesisk utbildning och skydda landets legitima rättigheter och intressen i Sverige och genomföra en rad praktiska åtgärder för att söka konsulära handlingar. Ambassadens konsulära avdelning kommer år 2019 offici­ellt att byta namn till konsulatavdelningen. Denna förändring framhäver den allt viktigare betydelsen av det kinesiska arbetet i ambassadens övergripande arbete och återspeglar am­bas­sadens beslutsamhet för att bättre tjäna de utländska kineserna. Jag hoppas att det stora antalet utländska kinesiska följeslagare genom våra ansträngningar kommer att känna mer verkliga känslor av lycka och lycka.

Den stora processen av reform och öppnande i Kina under 40 år, har visat att det stora antalet utländska kineser är viktiga vittnen, deltagare och bidragsgivare till reform och öppnande. Det hoppas att de utländska kinesiska landsmännen kommer att utnyttja den historiska möjlig­he­ten till den nya reformrundan och öppningen av moderlandet, fortsätta att vidarebefordra den härliga patriotismens tradition och älska landet, stäkra skydda moderlandets återförening, ta hand om och stödja moderlands utveckling, aktivt främja det pragmatiska samarbetet och humanistiska utbytet mellan Kina och Sverige och främja enastående kinesisk kultur. Att göra nya bidrag till den kinesiska drömmen om att bygga ett välskött samhälle på ett allsidigt sätt och inse den stora föryngringen av den kinesiska nationen.

Inför 2019 skulle jag vilja ta tillfället i akt att utvidga välsignelserna för det nya året till det stora antalet kineser. Jag önskar er allt det bästa under det nya året, dra fördel av moderlands utveckling, dela moderlandets utbyte av välstånd och väckelse, och uppnå bättre livsstil.

 

In future, only charges provided by law could be collected from clients of health and social services

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 14(Greenpost)–The Government is proposing a new Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services that would apply to health and social services organised by counties. In future, only service charges provided by the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services could be collected from clients.

The aim is that the service charges would be reasonable and not prevent people from using the health and social services they need.

The client’s own county would charge the client. Counties could also charge less than the maximum fee, or let their residents use services free of charge. The client would always pay the same sum for the same service organised by the county, irrespective of who provided the service. The county would use the same client charges for services provided by the county itself and for services bought from other service providers against the client’s health and social services voucher or personal budget. The service provider would be allowed to charge for unattended appointments that had not been cancelled.

As before, there would fixed client charges and client charges based on the client’s ability to pay (income-related charges). When determining income-related charges, only the clients’ continuous, regular income would be taken into account, not their property. Regulations concerning forest income would remain unchanged.

Scope of application of payment ceiling becomes broader

The aim is not to change the level of the current annual payment ceiling (EUR 683). In future, the following costs would be included when calculating whether the client’s total costs reach the payment ceiling: appointment and processing charges for oral health services, charges for temporary home nursing and hospital at home, charges for prehospital emergency medical services, and charges paid from the person’s income support.

Providers would be allowed to charge the same sums for distance services as for services received during traditional appointments. Charges for distance services would be included in the client’s costs for the payment ceiling. Payment practices in primary services and specialised services would be harmonised. In future, each appointment to a doctor, nurse or therapist would be charged separately, as well as each appointment for serial treatment.

The obligation to monitor when the client reaches the payment ceiling would be transferred from the client to the county.

The provision obliging to reduce or waive a charge would be made more effective and the provision would be extended to cover even the charges for short-term institutional healthcare. Clients should be informed about the possibility to apply for payment reduction. Payment reduction would be preferred rather than granting income support.

Free-of-charge health services to minors and for preventive purposes

In future, health services to minors would always be free of charge. The change would also apply to institutional healthcare and specialised medical care.

As before, preventive services would mainly be free of charge. Appointments to outpatient care services relating to mental health and substance abuse problems would be free of charge.

Charging criteria for home care, service housing and institutional care will be harmonised

The Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services would lay down charges for long-term service housing. In the same connection, the principles for income-related charges for long-term or continuous and regular services would be harmonised.

Continuous and regular home care would be comparable to ordinary long-term service housing because both arrangements bring services to the clients’ homes and the clients do not need services 24 hours a day. The income limits for home care charges would be raised.

Long-term service housing with 24-h assistance would be considered equal to long-term institutional care as both service arrangements provide clients with intensive 24-hour care. The Act would require that a client shall have at least EUR 160 at his or her personal disposal in service housing with 24-h assistance. In institutional care, the sum is EUR 108.

The Act is scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2021.