Tag Archives: China

China and Finland Promote Cultural and Tourism to Improve Trade and Tourism Industry

 By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

 Zhai Yuhu, Vice Director of Hebei Tourism Development Commission said Hebei province has great advantages and rich cultural and tourism resources. The Great Wall is in Hebei  which embraces both the beach and the mountains as well as skiing site in Zhangjiakou where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.
He said the purpose of this visit was to implement the strategic decision between the two countries’ governments.
“In 2017, the governments of Finland and China made the decision to promote cultural exchange with an emphasis on Winter Olympic, energy and tourism,” said Hebei Tourism Development Committee representative Zhai Yu Hu.

The Tourism Development Committee of Hebei Province in association with the Chinese embassy in Helsinki and Visit Finland organised the tourism promotion conference.

The conference was held marking the year 2018 as the EU-China tourism year aimed at promoting the less-known tourist destinations in a proactive way.

Similar to  Finland, Hebei Province also enjoys great sightseeing and snow sport activities in winter. The province is an internationally renowned ice and snow sports and tourism resort in China. It has more than 80 skiing resorts, of which the largest one covers about 156 kilometres. In the 2017-2018 snow season the area received as many as 2.741 million visitors.

In an interview with Greenpost, Zhai Yuhu said that Finland has  long been known as an experienced country in ice and snow activities and sports, Hebei Tourism Development Committee likes to learn from Finland. Besides, the province also aims at knowing more about winter sports equipment from Finnish companies to elevate itself to the international level in terms of manufacturing them.

Zhai Yu Hu said that Hebei  has similar geographical features as Finland, having great forests and a large number of lakes. Embracing the capital city of Beijing and other neighbouring municipalities and facing the Bohai Sea with a 487km coastal line, Hebei Province enjoys great advantages in attracting tourists.

The province  has a variety of top tourism attractions, from the famous Great Wall, world-recognised geological parks and national reserves to the thousand-year historical complex of imperial gardens, ancient palaces and graveyards and temples, it is really worthwhile to visit,  said Zhai Yu Hu.

Apart from a tourism promotion framework, Hebei also has a trade facilitation policy that allows 144-hour visa-free transit for visitors from 53 countries and tax rebate on shopping departures for overseas tourists. A new international airport near Hebei province will open to operation next year to facilitate travel.

Guo Xiaoguang, Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki also spoke at the conference. He said China and Finland are really not far away from each other because there is only one country between the two countries, that is Russia.

Guo said that tourism is the best means to increase mutual understanding between the two countries. Therefore, the Chinese embassy to Finland also acts as a bridge between the agencies and companies of Finland and China in accelerating tourism cooperation.

To date, the Finnish national flag carrier Finnair has launched five direct flights from Helsinki to five different cities in China, thereby considerably increasing the number of Finnish tourists to China in recent years, while also adding a large number of Chinese visitors to Finland. Guo again and again introduced Hebei’s famous tourist destinations and warmly welcome Finnish tourists to visit Hebei.

The official tourism promotion board, Visit Finland representative Teemu Ahola, said currently Finnish officials are in China discussing further cooperation between China and Finland in snow sports in 2019 based on Xi jinping’s last year’s visit result.  In December this year,   Finland will go to Zhangjiakou to organise an opening event of the Winter Olympics 2022, which might become a good opportunity for promoting cooperation in sports and tourism between the two countries.

In an interview with Greenpost, Teemu Ahola said China is the fifth largest tourism market for Finnish tourism industry. They really like to tap the great potential of it and will organize promotion activities in China too.

During the promotion conference, the two sides also signed further agreements in deeper cooperation in the future.

About 100 people attended the event.

Commemorating 9.11, condemning terrorist attack against Afghan journalists

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM(Greenpost)– Today marks the 17th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the twin towers in the United States on Sept. 11, 2018.

Even though the United States had been acting as the world police, it didn’t justify the terrorist attacks against civilians in the twin towers.

Terrorism is the enemy of mankind who love peace and development.

Unfortunately today the terrorist action still exist.

At least 16 people have been killed recently  in two explosions in Kabul including two of TOLOnews’ journalists.

Samim Faramarz, journalist, and Ramiz Ahmadi, cameraman, lost their lives in an explosion in Kabul city on Wednesday night while covering an earlier bombing.

The first explosion happened at around 6pm Kabul time, targeting a wrestling gym in Qala-e-Nazer area in Kabul’s PD6.

The first explosion was a suicide bombing while the second explosion was a car bombing that according to officials left at least 16 people dead and 65 others wounded.

Farmarz had been reporting live from the scene of the first explosion on TOLOnews 6pm bulletin – just minutes before the explosion happened.

Faramarz started working at TOLOnews three years ago. Despite his activities in culture, he continued with making dozens of reports on corruption, security situation, political issues, electoral issues, suicide attacks in Kabul and other parts of the country, and documentaries.

He was 28 and was an exceptional person among his colleagues with a smiling face and a kind heart. The last post on his Facebook is about his work as a reporter.

Ramiz Ahmadi, like Faramarz, was leading in his profession as a cameraman at TOLOnews. He pictured many reports from war-hit areas in the country.

He worked for TOLOnews for four years and besides that he was a law student at a private university in Kabul.

Ahmadi was 23 years old and was always trying to support his family besides continuing his education.

His last post of Facebook was from one of his provincial trips for covering a story.

This comes after TOLOnews lost another employee in an explosion in Kabul this year in April.

On January 2016, a suicide bombing took the lives of seven TOLOnews staff members. This is the second black Wednesday for Afghanistan’s media family.

PROFOCA and Green Post strongly condemned this terrorist action against innocent journalists and civilians.

Said Najib Asil is Executive Producer from Tolonews in Afghanistan.  He said he lost two wonderful colleagues and best journalists in his organization.

In an interview with Greenpost in Xinjiang Uygor Autonomous Region, Asil said Afghanistan is suffering from the dispute between many other countries. Afghan issue is really not just a domestic issue.

He said Belt and Road Initiative is a great initiative, but China must solve the security issue along the border with Afghanistan because there is terrorist threat there.

He said the issue can only be solved through negotiations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, and other relevant partners.

Over the years, Afghanistan has suffered from Russian occupation, Taliban cruel rule and US involvement.  All these factors caused Afghanistan to be a country that almost every family has lost one or two of their relatives.

This was also the root cause why Afghan young people wanted to go abroad because they were fed up with the conflict and violence.  And they like to go to European countries such as Sweden.

In Sweden, to receive the orphan children was not just today’s issue. Six or seven years ago, I heard from Save the Children that there were Afghan children coming to Sweden without any document.  They think from children’s point of view, Sweden should receive them.

Thus a total of about two or three thousand Afghan children were received in Sweden.

As time goes by, these people of course now are more than teenagers.

History should not be forgotten, but terrorist action should be condemned and uprooted. How to do that?  Najib  Asil said Afghanistan should prioritise education so that the young people can quickly improve their education level and serve the country’s long term peace and development.

Terrorists were often the people who had low education and were brain washed easily.

It is hoped that world leaders especially the Asian leaders can take the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative put up forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping and be united in solving the peace and development issue in order to have a common bright future in Asia, as well as in the world.

It is believed that the Belt and Road Initiative is purely by the countries, for the countries and without any coercion or other intentions, it is purely for the common good, while of course good for both China and the world because China likes to see a peaceful and prosperous world.

Commentary : How to commemorate August 15th?

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

August 15th is a day that is worthwhile to commemorate because it was on that day in 1945 when the Japanese invaders surrendered.

Japanese invaders invaded China on 1931 after they occupied northeast China. Under Japanese occupation, all the Chinese must learn Japanese at that time.  Those who could not speak Chinese often faced being killed.  But if you could speak a little bit Japanese, sometimes you could survive.

The 14 years Japanese occupation almost changed the Chinese characteristics into being more obedient and tolerant.  That was a humiliation and disgrace, let alone experiencing all kinds of difficulties and hardship.

But on August 15th after 14 years of struggle, Japanese surrendered and China regained its dignity.

Today we commemorate this day not to ask the Japanese to compensate this or that, but to safeguard the peace we gained.  We should not let history repeat but open a new chapter to cooperate and safeguard the peaceful development environment.

As two important countries and neighbors, China and Japan should cooperate because the two sides are mutually complementary. China has vast land and huge population while Japan has high tech and more experience in development.  Japan can have good market if it has good relations with China.

If these two countries enjoy good relations, it will be conducive to the whole Asia pacific regions because they are the two strong countries.

To commemorate this day, we should try our best to safeguard the peace and develop further our economic, social, political and environmental development.

This year also marks 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan.  May our friendship and good neighborly relationship forever.

Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping vow to maintain ‘momentum’ on sidelines of BRICS; Chinese defence minister to visit to India in August

Modi, who is in Johannesburg to attend the BRICS Summit, met Xi for the third time in nearly three months on Thursday evening after their two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late April and a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China in June.

“It is important to maintain this momentum and for this we should, at our level, regularly review our relationship and give proper instructions whenever required,” Modi told Xi in his opening remarks.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. AP

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. AP

He told the Chinese leader that their recent meetings have given a new strength to bilateral ties and also provided new opportunities for cooperation.

Xi said that the Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to carry forward the fresh impetus of bilateral relations since their informal meeting in Wuhan, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication, increase mutual trust, promote practical cooperation, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges, strengthen dialogue and properly manage differences, it said.

At Wuhan, Modi and Xi had decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications to build trust and understanding, a move aimed at avoiding a Doka La-like situation in the future.

Modi said the Johannesburg meeting has provided one more opportunity to them to strengthen their closer developmental partnership.

Briefing the reporters about the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders reaffirmed their readiness to give the necessary direction to their militaries to enhance communication between them and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

“They were satisfied with the efforts being made by the officials of the two sides to strengthen bilateral engagements and to implement some of the understandings and decisions that the two leaders had reached at Wuhan,” he said.

Modi also expressed his willingness to send National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to China this year for the Special Representative-level boundary talks, he said.

Gokhale said the two sides had agreed at Qingdao that the Chinese ministers for defence and public security would travel to India this year.

“It was decided that these two visits would take place in August and October, respectively,” the foreign secretary added.

In Beijing, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang confirmed that State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe “plans to pay a friendly official visit to India” at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman.

“We have provided a top-level design for bilateral ties in a macroscopic perspective and a timely fashion, which is conducive to mobilising the positive elements of all sectors in both countries and uniting the wills of the 2.6 billion people of the two countries, so as to form a force that would push bilateral ties into the future,” Xi told Modi.

Gokhale said both the leaders also remarked that in the last few months mutual trust has increased between the two sides.

Xi once again conveyed to Modi that he is very happy to accept his invitation to visit India for an informal summit, the second one, next year and both sides also agreed to follow up on a number of issues, the foreign secretary added.

They also agreed that the high-level people-to-people mechanism which would be established between the two sides will also meet this year, he said.

One of the important issues which Modi raised with Xi at his previous meetings is of how the two sides can enhance Indian exports to China particularly agricultural exports.

“It has been decided that an Indian trade delegation will be travelling to China on August 1 and 2. Among the issues they will discuss are exports of soya, sugar and non-basmati rice and they will also look at the possible import of urea from China,” he said.

Modi also mentioned about the pharma sector and cited a Chinese movie titled ‘Dying to Survive’ which is based loosely on the role that the Indian cancer drugs play in saving the life of the main character of the movie, Gokhale said, adding that it was decided that an Indian pharmaceutical delegation will visit Shanghai, China on 21 and 22 August for talks.

Xi said that as major emerging market economies, as well as vindicators and contributors of the current international order, China and India should strengthen bilateral cooperation, while exploring a new model for regional cooperation, upholding multilateralism, championing economic globalization and striving for a more just and rational international order, Xinhua reported.

Xi and Modi will meet again at the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of 2018.

Source: Firstpost in India.

China reiterates non-first-use principle of nuclear weapon

STOCKHOLM, Feb. 19(Greenpost)–

A senior Chinese diplomat said Saturday that China is committed to the principle of non-first-use of nuclear weapon, expressing concerns about the danger of nuclear development at present at the ongoing Munich Security Conference (MSC).

“China maintains a very small nuclear arsenal, and China follows the policy of self-defense and minimum deterrence,” said Fu Ying, a veteran diplomat and now chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.

File Photo of Fu Ying [Photo: Xinhua]

File Photo of Fu Ying [Photo: Xinhua]

“China is also committed to the principle of non-first-use of nuclear weapon, and no-use of nuclear weapon against any nuclear state at any circumstances and no-use of nuclear weapon against nuclear-free zones,” she added.

Fu made the remarks at an MSC panel discussion about the nuclear security, on which some participants expressed their concerns over nuclear proliferation at present.

“I share and express the concern about the danger, about the risk of the nuclear development,” said Fu, who added that so far after many decades, the world has managed to prevent a major nuclear war, but obviously the challenges and dangers are growing.

She noted that it is important that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, United States, Russia, Britain and France, should continue their efforts and continue to take responsibility to maintain global strategic stability, to safeguard non-proliferation regime, and to continue the nuclear disarmament.

China is also in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), added Fu.

She also called for efforts to upgrade global security governance.

“We need to think about how to upgrade global security governance to reflect that highly integrated global economy,” said Fu.

“China supports and advocates the idea of common securities for all,” she said, stressing that China proposes and is committed to building a community with shared future for mankind.

Source: Xinhua

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China Special Series–Chinese wears better than ever before

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 12(Greenpost)–No matter you travel in the subway or in a bus, you will see beautiful boys and girls wearing beautiful clothes.

 

Even in the countryside, the free market sells various kinds of beautiful clothes and the prices are not expensive.

All the people no matter old or young, they just wear very good clothes. In other words, very new clothes.

When I was a child, we learnt from Lei Feng, a role model for youth. He said he wore a pair of socks for 9 years. Nowadays people have a lot of clothes and people begin to change a lot too.

Women change much more than men. But some men are also good at changing and buying new clothes.

Some women even go to another extreme to have too much clothes.

Children’s clothes are also in a great variety.  China’s export actually started with textile industry.

In Marx’s words, clothes, food, house and travel are not a problem now.

According to Xi Jinping’s report at the 19th CPC National Congress,  among 1.3 billion people, now there are still four percent of the total population living under poverty line. That translates into 40 million people and that is four times more than the whole Swedish population.

Xi has promised that China will wipe out poverty in three years by 2020. That is a great goal and that will really mark China to enter a new era.

I was so glad to see this when I was in China two weeks ago.

China has changed greatly and is experiencing the great transformation. Green environment is the goal people strive for.

 

 

China is willing to work with all parties in the Arctic

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 7(Greenpost)–China is willing to facilitate maritime transport and work with all parties in the Arctic. Exchanges and coordination with relevant countries are encouraged in this area. Closer cooperation will be carried out to improve the market environment for international transportation and to facilitate maritime transportation. China is willing to enhance customs cooperation with countries along the Road, and to promote information exchange, mutual recognition of customs regulations,and mutual assistance in law enforcement, according to a vision issued by China’s NDRC on June 20, 2017.

Strengthening the connectivity of information infrastructure and networks. Information networks will be improved in countries along the Road by jointly building a system with broad coverage for information transmission, processing, management and application, a system for information standards and specifications, and a network security system, thus providing public platforms for information sharing.

Participating in Arctic affairs. China is willing to work with all parties in conducting scientific surveys of navigational routes, setting up land-based monitoring stations, carrying out research on climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as providing navigational forecasting services. China supports efforts by countries bordering the Arctic in improving marine transportation conditions, and encourages Chinese enterprises to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route. China is willing to carry out surveys on potential resources in the Arctic region in collaboration with relevant countries, and to strengthen cooperation in clean energy with Arctic countries. Chinese enterprises are encouraged to join in sustainable exploration of Arctic resources in a responsible way. China will actively participate in the events organized by Arctic-related international organizations.

Source: Xinhuanet

A study paper by ISDP points out further cooperation areas between China and Nordic countries

Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Feb. 22(Greenpost) — A study published in November by Swedish Institute of Development and Policy  argues that both China and the Nordics have significant gains to make through closer cooperation. Relations based at the larger, Nordic regional level would be more interesting to China. Bilateral relations with five small individual states would be less so.

DSC_3010The paper says that the Nordic countries share common concern and interests, and maintain basic policy frameworks. Towards China, however, the Nordics diverge on geopolitical stakes, mutual competition, economic structures and multilateral affiliations.

  • Substantial efforts will be needed to strengthen Nordic collaboration as a union, in order to maintain meaningful relations with China. Further challenges lay ahead in developing Nordic institutional coherence at the European sub-regional level.
  • People-to-people relations leave space for improvement. The overall public image of China among Nordic societies has deteriorated in recent years, however, data is sparse and this trend may vary among Nordic countries.
  • Equally, the understanding of China by Nordic populations is poor, not least in the fields of political affairs, development and security policy. Deeper dialogue on areas of common interest such as the Arctic and “Belt and Road” region offer opportunities.
  • Economic relations have been fruitful. However, some opportunities remain underutilized. Nordic input on innovation, entrepreneurship, welfare and urban governance could be of great value to China’s domestic reforms. In turn, China’s reforms offer numerous projects, new markets and investment opportunities to Nordic enterprise.
  • Scientific and environmental relations are areas which both parties have shared mutual competences. China is fast becoming one of the innovative countries in the world. Here, the Nordic region can provide training opportunities and access to key expertise. In turn, Chinese scholars and expertise can complement areas where the Nordic region lacks its own resources.
  • Security and development are fields of complex relations. China has shown great commitment to development in recent years whilst Nordic institutions exist as knowledge bases for development policy.
  • Looking ahead, active and tangible policy measures will be required to gradually expand and then deepen relationships. In the short term, both sides should work towards building a base for further engagement. In the medium term, coherent and mutually recognized frameworks are needed to guide and interconnect policy efforts. In the long term, Sino-Nordic linkages can become a hub for dialogue and international coordination.
  • At last, Greenpost likes to give a little bit analysis. The low tide of engagement between China and Nordic countries were due to two reasons. One was the the relations with Norway, and the other was the Chinese side that has reduced official visits abroad because of anti-corruption campaign.  With the normalization of China- Norway relations, I predict that China and Nordic relations should face a new tide with the initiative of one belt and on road as well as cultural going abroad.

China publishes new action plan on human rights

2016-09-29 13:20:02    Xinhua      Web Editor: Wang Kun
The Chinese government on Thursday published its third national action plan on human rights protection, addressing challenges and promising to improve people’s standard of living and quality of life.

The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020), released by the State Council Information Office (SCIO), follows the previous two which covered 2009-2010 and 2012-2015 periods.

According to the new action plan, the period from 2016 to 2020 is a decisive stage for China to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way.

Although China’s human rights protection has moved up to a new level, problems remain, including those closely related to the people’s vital interests, the plan said.

The rule of law in safeguarding human rights needs to be further promoted and more efforts are required to realize higher levels of human rights protection, it said.

In an interview with Xinhua, an official of the SCIO said the action plan synchronizes with the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), with the protection of human rights running in parallel with economic and social development over the next five years.

The action plan vows more resources and policy support for rural, remote and under-developed areas and aims to ensure equal access to public services, said the official.

In the coming five years, the Chinese government will combine human rights with economic, political, cultural and social progress, ecological protection and Party building and adhere to the people-centered development approach, according to the action plan.

China will put the protection of people’s rights to subsistence and development in the first place and take people’s well-being and all-round development as both the starting point and ultimate goal of China’s human rights work, it said.

The joint meeting mechanism as well as supervision and assessment will be improved to ensure the implementation of the action plan, it said.

Guaranteeing civil and political rights

“Law-based governance shall be advanced, judicial protection of human rights strengthened and orderly civil participation in political affairs expanded to effectively protect the people’s civil and political rights,” the action plan said.

In the plan, China promises to expand citizens’ rights to know through various channels, and increase means of their participation in social governance.

China will give more space to public opinion, increase ways of expression, improve supervision system for the operation of power, and protect citizens’ rights of free expression in accordance with the law, the action plan said.

Protecting rights for specific groups

The action plan highlighted measures to protect the lawful rights and interests of ethnic minorities, women, children, elderly people and the disabled.

The state will prioritize the development of ethnic minorities, and respect and protect their rights.

Objectives set in the National Program for Women’s Development (2011-2020) is expected to be realized to eliminate gender discrimination, improve the environment for women’s development and protect the legitimate rights and interests of women.

The level of social security and basic public services for the disabled will be raised, and efforts will be made to bring them more opportunities to participate in social life on an equal footing, the action plan said.

Stressing environmental rights

The action plan stressed to implement the strictest possible system of environmental protection, addressing environmental problems including air, water and soil pollution.

By 2020, the ratio of days with good air quality in cities above the prefecture level shall exceed 80 percent and the total emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitric oxides drop by 15 percent.

In a move to curb water pollution, by 2020, the chemical oxygen demand amount and total emission of ammonia nitrogen shall drop by 10 percent, and excessive exploitation of groundwater shall be brought under strict control.

The action plan also urged to protect marine resources and environment, and upgrade the energy structure, it said.

Boosting international exchanges

China will continue to fulfill its obligations to the international human rights conventions, and actively conduct international exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights, said the action plan.

“China shall fully participate in the work of the UN’s human rights mechanisms, and promote the United Nations Human Rights Council and other mechanisms to attach equal importance to economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights, and function in a fair, objective and non-selective manner,” it read.

In the plan, China will increase consultation and cooperation on human rights with the other four BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa), developing countries and the G77 (group of developing nations).

China will also participate in regional and sub-regional activities on human rights, such as the Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights, the action plan added.

Source Xinhua  and CRI

China Voice: No need to overreact to China’s overseas NGO law

    BEIJING, May 4 (Greenpost) — Some people appear to have misunderstood China’s new law on overseas NGOs.
They seem to have failed to notice anything beyond the law’s restrictive provisions. News flash: There are few laws that only forbid, and this is not one of them.
When the new law takes effect in January, overseas NGOs will walk out of the shadow they have long stood in. Those with solid reasons to operate in China will have a legal identity, a clear code of conduct and protection of their rights and interests from the government and legal system. They will also be subject to supervision, just like their domestic counterparts are.
One issue that drew much concern is the involvement of the police in the registration and regulation processes.
China is hardly the only country in the world to place trust in law enforcement and, as lawmakers have repeatedly pointed out, the police have the resources and expertise to deal with foreigners. Rather than this being the “hostile setup” espoused by certain parties, it is a pragmatic arrangement to ensure an efficient and professional service.
The police have not been handed unrestricted power, and systems will be in place to assure accountability and, should they fail in their duty, suitable punishments.
When comparing previous drafts of the law, which went through three readings, it is clear that great effort has been made to develop a balanced and comprehensive law.
Gathering opinions from different parties including foreign NGOs that already operate in China, the top legislature made notable changes through every reading.
For instance, the adopted law removed a provision in the original draft that limited foreign NGO offices on the Chinese mainland to one, and deleted the five-year operational limit on representative offices. Restrictions on staff and volunteers were also lifted.
The draft had required a permit for NGOs that wanted to operate temporarily on the mainland. In the adopted law this has been changed to a compulsory report with the regulator 15 days before the program begins.
The Ministry of Public Security has promised to work out detailed protocols and publish this code of conduct as quickly as possible so that overseas NGOs will have enough time to prepare for registration.
China is still in the process of modernization, not only economically but also in governance. It is in its best interest to have a dynamic NGO sector, which features both domestic and foreign entities. From education, environmental protection to poverty relief, NGOs have an important part to play.
The law may not be perfect but it is a good beginning. It is likely that problems may emerge as it is enforced but, with the support and cooperation of NGOs, these problems can be properly addressed.
The law was drafted to give NGOs a more stable and positive environment in which to work in China. It will be a mutually beneficial relationship, better than letting the good and bad mix into the grey. Enditem

 

Xinhua Insight: Lawmakers approve China’s five-year plan against economic headwinds

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese lawmakers on Wednesday approved the country’s economic and social development blueprint for the 2016-2020 period, which sets targeted average annual economic growth at above 6.5 percent in the next five years.

A total of 2,778 lawmakers, or 97.27 percent, voted in favor of the five-year plan at the closing meeting of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

China has set 2020 as the target year to realize the first “centenary goal” of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, pledging efforts to double GDP and per capita personal income from the 2010 level before the Communist Party of China’s 100th anniversary of founding in 2021.

To this end, the five-year plan aims to keep medium-high growth in the next five years. By 2020, the size of China’s economy is expected to exceed 90 trillion yuan (13.8 trillion U.S. dollars), compared with 67.7 trillion yuan in 2015, according to the plan.

Addressing fellow lawmakers at the closing meeting, top legislator Zhang Dejiang called the 13th Five-Year Plan a document of “guiding importance” in the final stretch toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

His words came amid rising economic headwinds in China, with uncertainties clouding global economic recovery.

China’s economy expanded 6.9 percent year on year in 2015, the slowest in a quarter of a century, weighed down by a property market downturn, falling trade and weak factory activity.

The government now hopes to shift the economy from the previous mainstay of exports and investment toward services and consumer spending.

According to the five-year plan, the reform and opening up drive will continue between 2016 and 2020.

China will push ahead urbanization and agricultural modernization, coordinate development in urban and rural areas, and work to improve the people’s well-being across the board so that all people can share the fruits of development.

An innovation-driven development strategy shall be implemented, while industries must be propelled toward medium-high end, the document read.

By 2020, advances should be made in core technologies such as information communication, new energy, new materials, aviation, biological medicine and intelligent manufacturing, it said.

The environment is another key priority in the 2016-2020 plan.

As binding targets, water consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP will fall 23 percent by 2020, while energy consumption per unit of GDP will be cut by 15 percent. Carbon dioxide emissions will also be cut by 18 percent.

Major progress should be made on the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and the service trade’s share in total foreign trade would be increased.

“The five-year plan has offered a clear roadmap for the fulfillment of our centenary goal,” said Liu Xiya, an NPC deputy.

In his government work report, Premier Li Keqiang said China had successfully fulfilled all the main tasks and targets set out in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), setting a positive tone for the implementation of the new one.

Chinese can derive great confidence and a strengthened sense of unity from the country’s achievements, drawing on them to forge ahead on this new leg of the journey toward the Two Centenary Goals, he said.

His optimism was shared by Liu. “The next five years will mark the home stretch to 2020 target, and there is every reason to believe that we can deliver on those targets since our economic fundamentals are still sound,” she said.

The drafting of the new plan started early. A plenary session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee last year was dedicated to review proposals for the five-year development blueprint and set its overarching principles.

A draft version of the plan was submitted to lawmakers for review at this year’s annual legislative session, during which dozens of changes were made.

Kan Ke, an official with the secretariat of this year’s NPC session, said the formulation of the final document was a very China-style political process: The proposition of the ruling Communist Party becomes the will of the state in a due course of legislative procedures.

He added that the drafting process was in line with the evolution of modern state governance, and is conducive to the implementation and enforcement of the Party’s decisions.

His words were echoed by Zheng Yongnian, professor and director of the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore.

Zheng hailed the consistency of China’s political and economic design in comparison with the West, where “a political party may make plenty of pledges before elections, but fail to deliver after coming to power.”

Kan agreed. “Coherence is the basis for our economic and social development. This is where our institutional superiority comes from,” he said.  Enditem

 

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

 

China urges EU to accept its market economy status

   BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) — China on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to obey the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and stop its unfair treatment of China.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks following comments by EU Trade Minister Cecilia Malmstrom on Wednesday. She said the EU must maintain solid trade defenses even if it decides to grant China market economy status.

China joined the WTO in 2001. The WTO accession protocol means China will automatically transit to a market economy for Europe by Dec. 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of its accession to the organization. However, Europe insists this must be debated.

“We’ve heard different opinions on China’s market economy status from the EU recently,” Hong said, noting that China had fulfilled its obligations since becoming a member of WTO.

So far, over 80 countries, including Russia, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia, have recognized China’s status as a market economy.

China is now the EU’s second largest trading partner and one of the biggest markets for the 28-member bloc.

The EU is an important member of the WTO, a vital supporting force to the multilateral trade and international legal systems, Hong said, adding that China hopes the EU will fulfill its commitments to China’s entry into WTO.  Enditem

 

 

Commentary: Time for EU to grant China market economy status

by Xinhua writer Chen Jipeng

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — It is high time for European Union (EU) member states to grant full market economy status to China, the second largest trading partner of the 28-nation bloc.

The market economy status is relevant for Chinese exporters because it determines the way in which dumping is assessed in EU’s trade remedy cases against imports from China. With market economies, the assessment of dumping is based on a comparison of the export price and the domestic price of the product in question.

However, China’s non-market economy status is often cited so that the domestic price in China is not considered a suitable benchmark. The export price is compared with domestic price of a surrogate country.

In one of such cases, the United States was chosen as a surrogate country to assess the price levels of stainless steel from China. This is obviously unfair given the much higher labor cost in the United States and the tendency of the producers in the United States — who compete against Chinese companies — to inflate price estimates.

Fortunately, the legal basis for such an obviously unfair practice will no longer exist starting from Dec. 11 this year, under the provisions of the World Trade Organization accession protocol signed by China.

Commissioners from the EU’s 28 members will on Wednesday debate for the first time the issue of granting China full market economy status from December.

Legal experts are of the opinion that the European Union should grant China full market economy status, according to European media reports.

The non-market economy status of China, however, has often become a convenient weapon for trade protectionists. Some of the EU members have continued to be swaying over the issue to retain an unfair advantage.

Nevertheless, the undoubtedly protectionist practice is obviously out of time. Despite its existence, bilateral trade between China and the EU have been growing quickly. China is now the EU’s second largest trading partner and one of the biggest markets for the 28-member bloc. The idea of free trade and comparative advantage has been the driving force behind the phenomenal growth. Sticking to a weapon of protectionism would only increase frictions rather than help the gigantic bilateral trade.

It is known that China has built an efficient market economy to achieve remarkable growth over the decades and it is duly recognized by more than 80 countries, including Russia, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia.

A quick look at the list of the countries that the EU has recognized as market economy tells us that China deserves the market status, too.

It is advisable for some of the EU members to dump the idea of resolving to labelling one of their top trading partners as a non-market economy for a bit of protection. If history tells, it is much wiser to continue opening up and practise free trade.  Enditem

 

China-Europe fast rail brings mutual benefit

CHENGDU, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) — Trains made nearly 180 round trips between Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Lodz, Poland, in the last two and a half years.

Since 2013, three trains a week have made the 9,826 kilometer trip on the Chengdu-Europe fast rail, reaching Poland via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.
“Commodities are transported to Europe within 15 days,” said Xu Pingfu, vice director of the Chengdu logistics office. “It is the fastest freight railway between China and Europe.”
Around 300 trains will ply the route in 2016, which will extend to Hamburg in Germany and Tilburg in the Netherlands. Commodities from coastal cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen are transported to Chengdu and from there to Europe because of the line’s low cost and high reliability.
“The price of transporting commodities on the Chengdu-Europe line is one fifth of the air freight cost, and it is three times faster than shipping,” said Xu.
Chengdu will spend a total of 1.9 billion yuan (300 million US dollars) in the next three years building China’s largest international railway port, said Chen Zhongwei, director of Chengdu logistics office.
Many leading exporters are considering moving to Chengdu for these reasons, according to Chen.
“We aim to be the pivot between Europe and Pan-Asia by building international railways and establishing a European commodity distribution center in the next three years,” Chen said.   Enditem

Editor: Xuefei Chen Axelsson

 

China inks nuclear power partnership deal with Thailand

  GUANGZHOU, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) — China and Thailand reached an agreement Wednesday to cooperate on a nuclear power project in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) announced on Thursday.

According to the agreement, CGN, Guangxi Investment Group Co. Ltd., and Thailand’s Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH), a subsidiary of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, will team up to establish a joint venture to develop, construct and operate the second phase of the nuclear power plant in Fangchenggang City.

The project is a pilot site for Hualong One nuclear power technology, the country’s third-generation nuclear reactor design, which was jointly designed by CGN and China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC).

Rum Herabat, chief executive officer of RATCH, said the project has the support of the Thai government. He said he hopes cooperation with China will help Thailand train talent and gain experience in nuclear power development.

The project will also serve as a bridgehead for China’s nuclear power technology to expand in the ASEAN market.  Enditem

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

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