China News - Winter 2015

Boeing to sell 300 jets to China

Boeing will sell 300 jets to China and also plan to open a facility in China jointly with Comac (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) to finish work on 737 planes. The deals are worth $38 billion. The joint venture would boost production of this best-selling Boeing jet. The announcement follows Xi Jinping’s visit to a Boeing factory near Seattle. There were some protests from workers and lawmakers who believed it would cost American jobs. The joint factory in China will paint fuselages, install seats and inflight entertainment facilities; the final details are still to be worked out.

Last month, Boeing upgraded its forecast for plane-demand in China to 6,330 new jets (worth $950 billion) over the next 20 years with 70% of this representing direct growth, rather than replacing older aircraft. (From The Wall Street Journal 23/9/15 via the Internet)

From the British press

China spending more on research and development

Last December Xi Jinping said that China must rely on innovation to achieve continuous and healthy economic development. China is now spending 2% of GDP ($200 billion) on research and development (R &D), which is a fourfold increase in a decade. As a proportion of GDP, it exceeds that of the EU and the eventual hope is that it will match that of the US and transform China into an innovation superpower. Already a fifth of all technical graduates in the world are Chinese.

A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute stated that Chinese firms are good at innovating in a number of industries using the assessment of the ability to expand revenue and raise profits, avoiding the ‘trap’ of counting PhDs and patents. The report says that Chinese score in consumer driven industries such as e-commerce and in efficiency-driven ones such as manufacturing, but lag behind in industries which use the latest science and technology. There are some exceptions such as Huawei, which is a world-class telecoms-equipment firm and spends $5 billion on R & D each year. Huawei, together with Ericsson, are the leaders in 5G technology for the next generation of mobile phones.

BGI, a privately run company is one of the world’s most highly regarded genomics institutes and owns half of the world’s genome sequencing capacity. It has won accolades for sequencing the SARS virus and decoding the genomes of birds and of the friendly microbes that live in the human gut. BGI advises most of the world’s large pharmaceutical companies on drug discovery and development.

The world’s fastest superconductor is Chinese, the Tianhe-2. China’s National Institute of Biological Sciences found the elusive hepatitis B virus receptor. Venus Medtech, which makes aortic heart valves, and Nurotron, which makes cochlear implants, are examples of Chinese cutting edge start-ups. Chipscreen Biosciences won Chinese approval for a breakthrough cancer therapy this year and it could be the first drug entirely developed in China to go global. Peter Williamson of the Judge Business School in Cambridge believes that Chinese firms are good at adapting new ideas and technologies are applying them to the mass market quickly. (From The Economist 12/9/15)

Xi Jinping and Obama agree on various points

The US and China yesterday declared new steps in a common front to combat climate change. They also agreed on a preliminary deal to outlaw cyber-espionage. China announced that by 2017 it intends to launch a national carbon trading system, also known as cap-and-trade which has the potential of curbing fossil fuel emissions. Also China said it would spend $3.1 billion to help developing countries to slow emissions.

China’s cap-and-trade system will impose a nationwide ceiling on emissions from the most carbon-intensive sectors of the Chinese economy and require companies exceeding their quotas o buy permits from those that have sharply reduced emissions. The US will make a similar contribution, plans were announced to limit emissions for heavy vehicles and there will be a Clean Power Plan for utilities. (From ‘I’ (Independent) 26/9/15)

George Osborn plans to make China UK’s second largest trade partner

George Osborne touring China, announced plans in Xinjiang to build a closer relationship with China. He is the first serving British minister to visit Xinjiang and believes a partnership with China will unleash growth to help Chinese regions like Xinjiang develop. He also announced a £10 million government investment package which will see an extra 5.000 students learning Mandarin. (From The Times 23/9/15)

Hinckley Point and other Chinese investments

Work on the first nuclear power plant in the UK in 20 years is set to begin after the French company EDF and China’s main nuclear company agreed a deal on the £18billion project. China’s state owned China General Nuclear Power has taken a 33.5% stake in Hinckley, EDF owning the rest. The deal was signed in front of Mr Xi and Mr Cameron. The two nuclear power companies also announced plans to work together on two more nuclear power stations, Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.

During Mr Xi’s visit, almost £40 billion worth of deals were signed. These include a £50 million investment by the Chinese car maker, Geely to build zero emission black cabs, a £50 million Aston Martin deal with China Equity to develop an electric sports car, a £2.6 billion contract with the cruise ship firm Carnival and a £1.7 billion deal with Chinese developer, Advanced Business Park, to develop a 35-acre Liverpool site creating up to 30,000 new jobs. (From The Guardian 22/10/15)

Chinese President visits Manchester

David Cameron accompanied Xi Jinping to Manchester where they visited the Etihad Stadium, the National Graphene Institute and the National Football Museum. Mr Cameron said that it was all part of building a Northern Powerhouse. China is a key trading partner and we will see real investment going into the north. Cash for projects in Leeds, Blackburn and the University of Central Lancashire are also expected. Many of the details of these deals were agreed during a trade mission to China last month by George Osborne, Manchester Council leader Sir Richard Leese and Trafford leader Sean Anstee. Mr Xi announced a new direct flight from Manchester to Beijing by Hainan Airlines and plans for a £130 million ‘China Cluster’, lure Chinese firms to the £800 million Manchester Airport business park project. (From The Manchester Evening News 23 and 25 Oct 2015)

China urged to spend £12bn on HS2

A huge chunk of Britain’s planned rail and urban regeneration projects could be paid for by the Chinese after the government launched a charm offensive to lure China to back the HS2 high-speed rail line and the northern powerhouse project. Days after George Osborne called on Beijing to back the UK’s nuclear capability, he will use his China tour to kick-start the bidding process today for almost £12bn of investment opportunities in the north of England, which includes Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Osborne will announce a ‘partnering day’ in which British and Chinese firms will be encouraged to submit joint bids for contracts. (From The Times 24/9/15)

Easing of one-child policy to increase work force

The easing of the one-child policy is expected to add 30 million people to the work force of China by 2050, according to Wang Pei’an, spokesman for the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday. The new policy will allow three million more births initially, lifting the 16.87 million to nearly 20 million a year. (From I (Independent) 11/11/15)

Vaccination donation for developing countries

China will donate $5 million to an international vaccine organisation to fund vaccinations for 300 million children in developing countries. The money will be donated between 2016 and 2020 and is expected to help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, save five to six million lives. The Chinese Government signed a deal with Gavi on 9 September. Between 2002 and 2011, Gavi provided China with free Hepatitis B vaccines for more than 25 million new-borns in the poorer and remote western part of China. (From Beijing Review 17/9/15)

Senior PLA general sentenced

Chinese general Gu Junshan, former head of logistics in the PLA, originally sentenced to death, turned informer and avoided the death penalty. He is one of a growing number of service officers to face prosecution in President Xi’s campaign against corruption. Gu took bribes in return for brokering property deals involving military land. Police recovered four lorry loads of luxury items from numerous properties. (From The Times 11/8/15)

Judge reforms in China

It is said that China has about 200,000 judges, or about 14 per 100,000 inhabitants; the US has 11 per 100,000, but many of the ’judges’ in China work in administrative roles and many do not have law degrees. Well-qualified judges find their caseloads soaring - but not their pay, which is the same as back-office colleagues who, inappropriately, have the same title. Reforms are in hand to substantially boost the pay of ‘proper’ judges and their status will in effect be enhanced by downgrading the titles of ‘lesser’ judges. At a meeting of court officials in July, a deputy chief of the Supreme Court, Shen Deyong, said that there would be a ‘series of challenges’ and difficulties in implementing reforms but the targets for sifting the ranks of judges would be strictly enforced. In Shanghai only a third of judges will keep their title, the others will be given more fitting titles such as, ‘legal assistant’ and ‘administrative officer.’ (From The Economist 26/9/15)

Chinese visitors ‘take home’ landmarks

A Chinese consortium may be planning to build a full-sized replica of Longleat House in Wiltshire. Viscount Weymouth, who has taken over the running of Longleat from his father, the Marquess of Bath, travelled to Sichuan with Bob Montgomery, the chief executive of Longleat, earlier this year. Traditional English architecture has become increasingly popular in China. The ghosts of Longleat however may be more difficult to replicate!

Other ‘copycat’ buildings in China include: Tower Bridge in Suzhou, but it is bigger than the original, having four towers; The Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng (near Hangzhou); Thames Town near Shanghai, which is a £500 million replica of an English market town complete with telephone boxes, a pub and Regency terraces; Anting German Town, near Shanghai based on designs by Albert Speer and finally there is a Sphinx at Chuzhou. (From The Times 2/10/15)

Convicted spies were freed ahead of summit

China and Taiwan have swapped high-level convicted spies in a sign of goodwill linked to the first meeting ever between the two top leaders. The prisoners were allowed home before Xi Jinping met Ma Ying-jeou last month in Singapore, it was revealed yesterday. There was one released by the mainland and two by Taiwan. The two Taiwanese had initially been sentenced to death. The news has been reported both in Taiwan and in the mainland. Mainland officials did not say it was part of an exchange. (From I (Independent) 1/12/15)

China to join ‘top table’ of IMF

The Chinese yuan is to join the elite currency basket of the International Monetary Fund, opening the way that could send tremors through the global financial system. This could mark an end to the increasingly unhealthy era of US dollar dominance and weakens Western control of the machinery of global markets.

The yuan will become the fifth currency to make up the IMF’s basket of ‘Special Drawing Rights’ (SDR) later next year joining the dollar, the euro, sterling and the Japanese yen.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, said China’s reform drive would bring about a ‘more robust international monetary and financial system.’ (From The Telegraph 1/12/15)

Ale sales soar in China due to Xi Jinping visit

The beer that Xi Jinping drank in the pub with David Cameron Greene King IPA has become sought after in China. Mr Xi, referred to as Xi Dada, meaning uncle Xi, is popular in China. Will Yorke, a Beijing-based British brewer and restaurant owner, bought the last available case of the beer at an imports store and ran a promotion with fish and chips for £10. Crayfish Baby, a seafood restaurant ran a similar promotion, with a ‘Xi Dada’ set menu for £9. Nick Yates, a beer writer based in Beijing, said that Chinese drinkers do not usually like British ale, but Greene King is as middle of the road as you can get. (From The Times 11/11/15)

From the Chinese Press

China celebrating 70 years after end of WW2

China celebrated with a Victory Parade in Beijing on 3 September 2015. Representatives of China’s PLA units, army, navy, air force, marines, veterans of WW2, medical workers and other units took part. Also marching were units from Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Pakistan, Egypt, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Mexico and several mother nations. President Putin was present as was the President of South Korea, Park Geun Hye, former UK prime minister, Tony Blair, former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. Many western leaders were not present.

On show were China’s latest military hardware and new high-tech weapons and missiles and there was a fly-by of helicopters and aircraft. The parade was reviewed by President Xi Jinping and in a speech he said that China will remain committed to peaceful development. China loves peace and no matter how strong China may become, it will never seek hegemony or expansion and will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation. He also announced the cutting of 300,000 troops from the PLA and that China will seek to cultivate the sense of a community of shared future.

China was an ally of the Western powers and Russia and made a vital contribution to the defeat of Japan and the Fascist Powers. About 50% of the total number of Japanese forces was in China which impeded their northward invasion of the Soviet Union and this prevented the Soviet Union from having to fight on two fronts. This was to the advantage of the US and Britain. Chinese forces killed, wounded or captured more than 1.5 million Japanese soldiers between1931and 1945. Japan had to turn down Germany’s request for help in the Battle of Stalingrad. Other Chinese sources believe Japan committed 32 of its 34 divisions (94% of its entire forces) to China by 1938

China endured 14 years of Japanese aggression and occupation and suffered more than 35 million military and civilian casualties. Chinese military casualties reached 3.8 million with more than $100 billion in direct property losses together with $500 billion indirect economic losses. (From Beijing Review 10/9/15)

China and Millennium poverty reduction goals

State leaders from 189 countries in 2000 adopted the UN Millennium Declaration and committed themselves to achieving the eight millennium development goals. The first was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. In an interview with Chinese media in 2011, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Chinese ‘remarkable progress’ has contributed to reaching the goal of lifting at least half the extremely poor people out of poverty.

During the period 1990-2010, 526 million people in China rose above the absolute poverty level, accounting for 75.7% of the world’s reduction during this period. Bill Gates commented that the rich experience China has accumulated in poverty eradication should be promoted in African and other Asian countries. China thus reached the Millennium Development goals ahead of the specified date and is now sharing its experience with other countries and regions in poverty alleviation. (From China Today July 2015)

China has included poverty reduction in its key development goals and constantly improves its strategy and policy system. In 2011, China raised the poverty standard for farmers to an annual per capita income of 2,300 RMB, which is 92% higher than that set in 2009. After raising the bar, China’s population in poverty rose from 26.88 million in 2010 to 128 million in 2011. (From China Today July 2015)

Progress in other Millennium Development Goals

The UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 specified eight development goals (MDGs) with the target of meeting them by 2015. China integrated the MDGs into its national development strategy and has reached the goals ahead of schedule. In 2013, China achieved the goal of poverty reduction, becoming the first country in the world to halve its proportion of population living in poverty, despite its huge number of people.

China made encouraging progress in achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health care, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. China is also working on ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

World Bank Country Director for China, Klaus Rohland, said that China has outperformed any country in the world in terms of poverty reduction. From 1981 to 2012, China has lifted 600 million people out of poverty. This is unprecedented historically speaking. Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said that China had contributed to the realisation of the MDGs through its economic growth, poverty reduction and by boosting other countries’ economic development. (From China Today July 2015)

Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK

The President of China and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 20 October 2015. They also met Prince Charles and other senior members of the Royal Family of the UK. The high-profile reception reflects the high hopes on the future of China-UK relations. Analysts say that it showed Britain’s sincerity to join hands with China and showed respect and friendship between the two countries.

Investment and finance were two themes central to Xi’s visit. According to Xinhua, a series of deals worth about $60 billion were signed during the visit. The main item was the $9 billion investment by China’s General Nuclear Corporation in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. The power station is due to be completed in 2025 and will provide 7% of the UK’s power needs Other deals included more than $18 billion of oil and gas ventures. Britain’s BP will supply China’s state-owned Huadian with $10 billion of liquefied natural gas. The UK and China will strengthen cooperation in the financial and education sectors. Tourism visas for Chinese citizens will be valid for two years from 2016 and new 10 year multiple entry visas will also be available. Chinese investment in railways is being sought, especially the high-speed railway to northern England.

President Xi assured the audience at the closing ceremony of a China-Britain business summit that there will be no hard landing for the Chinese economy despite any downward pressure. (From Beijing Review 29/10/15)

Beijing receives water from the Yangtze River

The capital of China received more than 500 million metric tons of water from the Yangtze River by 6 September through the South-to-North Water Diversion project. The project began operating on 12 December 2014. More than 72% of the water was allocated for daily use and production, 10% was stored in Beijing reservoirs and 18% was allocated to replenishing underground water supplies. (From China Daily European Weekly, 11-17/9/15)

Cargo trains to Europe

A cargo train of 41 coaches completed its first laden journey to Lodz in Poland from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province on 6 September. It carried mainly food and drinks and took 16 days to cover the 9,826 kilometre journey. The Chengdu-Europe express train started in April 2013 and has carried export goods worth $693 million, but all have returned to China empty. A number of cities, including Chongqing, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Changsha, and even Shenyang and Harbin in northeast China have rail freight services to Europe. (From China Daily European Weekly 11-17/9/15)

China launches space junk monitoring centre

China set up a space junk monitoring centre to protect its spacecraft in orbit. The centre will track and monitor near-earth objects and space debris. It will also develop emergency response plans, take measures in case of emergencies and share data with international counterparts. Space debris is generally man-made litter left in space and can travel at an average speed of 10 kilometres per second and at this speed even the smallest piece can damage or destroy spacecraft and satellites. China has 129 space objects orbiting the Earth and there are an average of 30 incidents each year where pieces of space junk have come dangerously close (less than 100 metres) to a Chinese spacecraft. (China Today July 2015)

China is biggest investor in Australian agriculture

According to a report from the Australian Foreign investment Review Board, China is now the biggest investor in Australian agriculture. During the fiscal year ending June 2014, China invested A$ 632 million, which is twice the amount of the year before. A report from the Wall Street Journal stated that China and Australia clinched a free-trade deal last November in which Australia lifted restrictions on livestock exports and eased scrutiny of investments by Chinese companies. However, Australia still currently forms a small part of China’s global agricultural investment portfolio, which is currently US$ 43 billion, which has been built up over the last 10 years. (From China Today October 2015)

China wins Nobel Prize jointly with Ireland and Japan

The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been won jointly by China’s Tu Youyou, Irish-born William Campbell and Satoshi Omura from Japan. Tu won half the prize for her discovery of a new anti-malarial drug, artemisinin, which has significantly reduced the mortality rates of patients suffering from malaria. The chairman of the Nobel Committee said that Tu’s inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine was important but the critical part was identification of the active agent in the plant extract. When the new drug is used in combination therapy, it is estimated that it reduces mortality by 20% in adults and 30% in children. The other half of the award was for the discovery of avermectin, which has helped in the battle against river blindness and lymphatic filariasis and shows effectiveness against other parasitic diseases. (From China Today November 2015)

Legal aid for death row inmates

Convicted criminals will be entitled to free legal aid under a new rule drafted by the Ministry of Justice. Lawyers will be assigned to condemned prisoners who cannot afford to engage one during reviews of their sentences. Under Chinese law, all death sentences are reviewed by the Supreme Peoples’ Court before execution. The new rule follows a recent meeting of the CPC Political Bureau. (From China Today 2015)

China is world’s largest robot user

China became the world’s largest consumer market for robots for the second consecutive year. Sales of robots increased by 54.6% in 2014 to around 57,000 units, which is 25% of the global total. Nearly 17,000 units were made in China worth about 3 billion yuan. The robotics industry in China expects the number will continue to grow rapidly and contribute to making China a world manufacturing power. Industrial robots have been used in the automobile, electronics, food, aviation, and medical industries in addition to military applications.

Robots are in demand because of rising labour costs and are especially useful in undesirable work environments. Robots are expected to be in demand especially in healthcare. (From China Today September 2015)

China joint satellite with Europe

The Chinese Academy of Sciences and the European Space Agency joint space satellite programme will focus on an X-ray imaging satellite to study the Earth’s magnetosphere. The project is known as SMILE (Solar, Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) is due to to be launched in 2021 and will study the effects of the sun on the Earth’s environment. This is the first comprehensive collaboration between China and the European Space Agency. Previously the Europeans contributed to China’s Double Star, a similar satellite mission, which was launched in 2003 to focus on the impact of the sun on the Earth’s environment. (From China Today July 2015)

Catering for senior citizens’ needs

Four ministerial-level departments issued a document to regulate square dancing in squares and parks as a physical exercise. The document requires local government to provide convenient venues for square dancing and calls for establishment of a management system. Square dancing has been the subject of complaints of loud noises and occupation of public space. In 2014, the number of senior citizens aged above 60 reached 212.42 million, accounting for over 15% of the population in China. According to UN estimations, this figure will reach 36.5% of the population by 2049 and will surpass most developed countries. A sound pension system alone is not adequate for an ageing society. Senior citizens’ preferences and needs should be taken into consideration in urban planning. More needs to be done to cope with an ageing society. (From Beijing Review 17/9/15)

Old friends of WW2

In Beijing Review of 17 September 2015 there was a photograph of Anna Chan, the widow of American general Claire Lee Chennault, who led the ‘Flying Tigers,’ which was an American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force during WW2. She was meeting a Chinese Flying Tiger veteran in Zhijiang in Hunan province on 4 September.

Chinese involvement in WW1

On 7 June 2013, overseas Chinese in France organised the first memorial ceremony at the Arc de Triumph to honour Chinese labourers who died in France during WW1. About 500 people attended, including overseas Chinese, students and French representatives of the military and government. Starting in 1916, special agencies of Britain and France began massive recruitment of Chinese labourers in north China. They were mostly from Shandong; in the British assessment, they were hard-working and well adapted to the European climate.

Around 5,000 died but despite their huge contribution and sacrifices to the European allies, they never received any recognition. After the war, they were all repatriated to China. Although this excerpt is from China Today August 2014, it has been included because of the current interest in the CLC of the British Army.

First Chinese author to win science fiction prize

Liu Cixin has won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Washington State on 22 August. With his novel, ‘The Three-Body Problem’, Liu is the first author from Asia to win this honour. Just two hours after receiving the prize, his trilogy, ‘Remembrance of Earth’s Past’, of which ‘The Three Body Problem’ is the first instalment, went to the top of the bestseller list on Amazon China. It has already sold 1.5 million copies in China. (From China Report October 2015)

China to build large particle collider

Chinese particle scientists are proposing a new accelerator with seven times the energy level of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. An initial conceptual design has been prepared and international peer review has been organised. The final design is likely towards the end of next year. (From China Daily European Weekly, 30 Oct-5 Nov 2015)

British pub becomes tourist attraction overnight after Xi Jinping visit

Steve Hollings, landlord of The Plough at Cadsden, Princes Risborough where David Cameron took the Chinese President on 22 October, said that he has received many Chinese customers during the weekend. Normally most of the customers are locals. The two leaders had two pints each of Greene King IPA bitter with goujons and chips. From China Daily European Weekly 30 Oct-5 Nov 2015)

Xi Jinping visits Manchester City FC

Accompanied by David Cameron, the president of China visited Manchester City’s Football Academy. The event was hosted by Manchester City’s Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. Xi is a football fan and urged increased cooperation between the UK and China. He was presented with a soccer shirt by the players and posed for a selfie with Sergio Aguero, City’s star Argentinian striker. He also met Patrick Vieira, Mike Summerbee and Manchester United’s former captain Gary Neville.

Xi also visited the National Football Museum and saw the induction of Sun Jihai into the Hall of Fame. Sun was the first Chinese player to score in the English Premier League and was named as City’s Ambassador to China last month. (From China Daily 24-25/10/15)

SinoFile is compiled by Walter Fung.

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