For forty years SACU has produced a Sinofile column, in our magazine. They comprise a set of short news summary notes that invariably give a keen insight into life in China. Here are some extracts from the most recent issue of China Eye.

China Eye Magazine

China News - Winter 2016

Final Paralympics, Rio de Janeiro 2016 Medal Table
CountryGoldSilverBronze Total
4US40 431115
9Italy 10141539

China first competed in the Paralympics in 1984 when it won two gold medals and was ranked 23 in the table. Since then it has climbed steadily to ranking No 1 at Athens in 2004 when 63 gold medals were won. China was also ranked No 1 at the 2008 games in Beijing when 89 golds were won, and again at London in 2012, when 95 golds were won. (From Wikipedia)

From the British press

Beijing warns Trump over trade rhetoric

During the US election campaign, Trump constantly attacked China’s trade policy and pledged to impose 45% tariffs on imported Chinese goods and to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

Chinese state media has said that Xi Jinping told Mr Trump, in a telephone call yesterday, that there are many areas where the largest developing economy and the largest developed economy could cooperate. The two sides must promote economic development and global economic growth and push for better relations. However, the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party, said that if Mr Trump imposed heavy tariffs it would paralyse bilateral trade. Large orders for Boeing planes could be switched to Airbus and US auto sales could be affected as could sales of Apple phones. (From I (Independent) 15/11/16)

British PM meets Chinese President

At the Hangzhou G20 Summit meeting, Theresa May said that there is more than the Hinckley Point nuclear deal to consider. Xi Jinping the Chinese President said that he understood that Mrs May needs some time to review decisions of the previous government. In a press conference, Mrs May stated that a decision would be taken later in the month, but the UK’s relationship with China is more than just Hinckley Point, when you look at the investment there has been from China in various parts of the country and other infrastructure in the UK. A global strategic partnership has been built with China. Downing Street said that their meeting was ‘warm’ and that Mr Xi mentioned Britain finishing ahead of China in the Olympic medal table. He raised the prospect of a major free trade deal between the UK and China after Mrs May said that the ‘golden era’ would continue. (From The Times 6/9/16)

China will not shut the door on globalisation

President Xi Jinping has vowed that China will not shut the door despite Donald Trump’s threats to abandon free trade deals and slap tariffs on China’s produce. He described Trump’s victory as a ‘hinge moment’ in US-China relations but insisted that China will play an even bigger role in the process of economic integration and pledges to open China to foreign investment. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, he said. ‘Sealing off and excluding others is not the correct choice. China will not shut the door to the outside world, but will open more. We’re going to ensure that the fruits of development are shared’.

Trump has accused China of engaging in illegal activities such as stealing American trade secrets and believes that present trade deals, which he will re-negotiate - have destroyed American jobs. (From The Telegraph 21/11/16)

Hinkley could pave way for Chinese investment

The approval of Hinkley Point fuelled hopes for a ‘golden era’ of Chinese-British relations potentially ushering in billions of pounds of more investment. Miranda Carr, a senior analyst at Haitong Securities, said that if Hinckley had been cancelled then the UK might have been frozen out by China in the short term.

Mrs May delayed approval for Hinkley amid energy security concerns, prompting warnings from the Chinese ambassador. The Chinese authorities will expect closer scrutiny from the UK Government in future, especially around development of its own reactor at Bradwell-on-Sea, said Guo Yu, head of Asia research at global risk consultant Verisk Maplecroft. Ms Carr said extra security measures and greater UK Government involvement in the Bradwell project is fairly understandable from a Chinese point of view given that China has similar concerns over its strategic assets. Ms Carr added that Mrs May has taken a more measured approach to Chinese investment compared to the ‘open door’ policy of David Cameron, but there is still strong interest by the Chinese in investing in the UK and that should continue. (From The Daily Express 19/9/16)

Britain’s approval of Hinckley has given China the foothold it has long coveted in the European nuclear market. On the back of the Hinkley project, CNG of China says it is now ready to submit applications to generate nuclear power at Bradwell in Essex and Sizewell in Suffolk. (From I (Independent) 16/9/16)

China ready to take lead role

Beijing said yesterday that it would ‘play its role’ in promoting economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, just a day after President-elect Trump said he would kill an ambitious regional trade pact as soon as he stepped into the Oval Office. Trump has threatened new tariffs to protect home markets and promised to bin the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. (TPP).

China, Japan and South Korea are already in the initial stages of discussing a trilateral deal. Beijing has for the last five years been pushing its own limited Asian regional trade pact that excludes Washington. (From I (Independent), 24/11/16)

‘Chinese bones’ found in London

During analysis of human remains in a Roman cemetery in Southwark, London, two skeletons dated between the 2nd and 4th century AD were thought to be Chinese. Two others were thought to be of African origin. To the Romans, China was a mysterious civilisation, technologically advanced, disquietingly powerful and purveyors of silk. Pliny the Elder grumbled about a balance of payments deficit because of silk, which, ‘drains our empire of one hundred million sesterces every year. This is the price our luxuries and our womankind cost us.’ (From The Times 23/9/16)

Chinese teapot smashes price guide

A teapot from the Qianlong dynasty has been sold at Sotheby’s in New York. The piece is said to be an ode to Emperor Qianlong’s adoration of tea and features a figure, possibly the emperor himself, being served tea. The auction house gave a guide price of about $300,000, but it was eventually sold to an Asian buyer for $3,490,000. There was a contest between 10 bidders and the 250-year-old teapot’s price was pushed to nearly $3.5 million. The head of Sotheby’s Chinese works of art department commented that the Chinese art market remained robust. (From The Times 16/9/16)

Car boot Chinese vase fetches £61,000

A rare Chinese vase bought in a Hampshire car boot sale for £10 has been sold at auction for £61,000. The enamel ‘two quails’ vase was thought to be worthless by its new owner until he put it on eBay where bidding reached £10,000 before he withdrew it in favour of a Salisbury auction house. (From I (Independent 16/11/16)

Chinese invest in Liverpool and north-west

A glossy brochure at a property fair in Hong Kong indicates where Chinese investors should put their money. It says Liverpool has the fastest growing economy outside of London. The brochure describes the £200 million New Chinatown project as one of the most important and exciting developments in the UK today. ‘It is the burgeoning energy and dynamism of modern China transplanted into the heart of an historic world heritage city’. Units in the New Chinatown development located on Great George Street, ‘beneath the majesty of Liverpool’s magnificent Anglican cathedral’ are being marketed at property fairs in China and Hong Kong as ‘Xinhua Bu’ (New China Wharf) for prices of up to £545,000. Half of the first wave of the 790 studio apartments have apparently already been snapped up by investors in China and the Far East.

The New Chinatown is amongst the latest in a wave of foreign-backed developments that has seen billions of pounds flood into the UK’s northern cities. Sheffield has announced a multibillion pound deal that will initially involve four or five city centre projects which will create hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs in South Yorkshire. Manchester also has had hundreds of millions in Chinese investment in the past year. (From The Guardian 1/10/16)

Trade deals with China on the cards

Britain is making progress towards new trade deals with China once Brexit has taken place. China’s Vice-premier Ma Kai met Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor, to discuss, finance, trade and investment in London. They agreed to start work on the London-Shanghai Stock Connect, which is a system which should make it easier for British and Chinese investors to put money into each stock market. A plan to share information on financial technology, known as the FinTech Bridge is also on the cards. Mr Hammond believes this will help cement London as the leading financial centre but will also bring mutual benefits. He also believes it is an important milestone for China as it continues to open up its markets and liberalise its economy.

The two countries also issued a statement on their determination to open up global trade, which is particularly pointed given Donald Trump, US president-elect’s, proposals to increase protectionism. The UK and China said they would work with the G20 nations to ‘break a new path for world economic growth. (From The Daily Telegraph 11/11/16

Media restrictions in China

China is to crack down on social media and entertainment that promotes ‘Western values’ The authorities have already issued rules to limit foreign inspired TV shows and put in place harsher penalties for those who spread rumours via social media. The official news agency, Xinhua, has stated that social and entertainment news must be dominated by mainstream ideologies and positive energy. News content should not make improper jokes, defile classics or express overt admiration for Western lifestyles. It should avoid putting stars, billionaires or internet celebrities on pedestals and not advocate overnight fame or publicise family disputes. There is also a draft law in preparation that will require film industry workers to maintain excellent moral integrity. This follows incidents in which celebrities have been arrested for drug offences and prostitution. (From I (Independent) 31/8/16)

British Museum goods on sale in China via Alibaba

The British Museum is planning to sell a new range of luxury clothing and shoes to China together with a selection of household utensils inspired by its ancient collections, a range of reproduction artefacts and jewellery, luggage and travel gear. They will not be available in London, but will be sold on a website in China, via online market place owned by Alibaba. (From The Times 1/11/16)

Flights between China and UK to double

Flights between China and Britain will more than double under a deal struck last night. Ministers hope it will boost trade with Beijing after the UK leaves the EU. The weekly limit of passenger flights to China will increase from 40 to 100 in each direction. The restrictions on how many destinations can be served, which currently stands at six, will be scrapped and this will enable the UK to establish direct connections with fast growing Chinese cities. Cargo flights will be unlimited. The deal is also designed to increase numbers of Chinese visitors to Britain, which is increasingly important to the UK tourist industry. (From I (Independent)12/10/16)

Debt for equity

China has published guidelines that will allow companies to exchange debt they owe to banks for shares. Corporate debt has ballooned in recent years to around $3 trillion. In March the idea of debit for equity was raised, but this was resisted by some bankers for fear of propping up ‘zombie’ firms. However, the government says that only viable companies will be eligible for the scheme, which it promises will be market-driven. (From The Economist 15/10/16)

China’s space missions

China will launch its second experimental space laboratory this evening and another manned space mission next month as part of a broader plan to have a permanent space station in service around 2022. China’s space effort is a priority with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power. Separate to its civilian ambitions, China has also tested anti-satellite missiles.

China will launch the Tiangong 2 just after 10.00pm this evening, a spokeswoman told a news conference live from the launch site in Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert. The Shenzhou II spacecraft, which will carry two astronauts and dock with Tiangong 2, will be launched sometime next month. The astronauts are expected to remain in Tiangong 2 for about a month. (From I (Independent 14/9/16)

Chinese space effort

A Chinese spacecraft docked successfully with a new spacelab. Two astronauts entered the orbiting module for a month-long stay-the longest period in space by Chinese personnel. (From The Economist 22/10/16)

Philippines’ president in China

Mr Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China for a state visit. He said he would not raise the Philippines dispute with China over maritime territory. Mr Duterte has been trying to strengthen ties with China and distance himself from the US. (From The Economist 22/10/16)

From the Chinese press

China backs transparency reforms

China will implement rules to improve government information transparency, calling for more public participation in policy making and sharing information. A new guideline which specifies a set of requirements on government affairs transparency was approved yesterday during the State Council’s executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

By the end of next year, government at all levels should set up a system that allows attendance from the public at government meetings, especially attendance from the press, stakeholders and experts. Policy documents that may impose or result in a crucial impact on people’s lives need feedback before they are issued. A third party evaluation will be set up to assess how these reforms are implemented. (From Xinhua via Shanghai Daily 1/11/16)

Visit to China by Vietnamese delegation

China and Vietnam vowed on 12 September to properly manage differences over the South China Sea and to strengthen maritime cooperation and to enhance bilateral ties. The pledge came when Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who led a delegation of 132 members for a six-day trip. (From China Daily European Weekly 16-22/9/16)

China ‘strips cloak’ from US stealth bomber

Chinese scientists claim to have developed a ‘stealth-stripper’ radar that could hand Beijing a decisive advantage in the South China Sea. A military-run research institute, China Electronics Technology Group, says it has developed a type of radar that can strip the cloak of invisibility used by the US B-2 stealth bomber. It detects the shadow of the aircraft as it flies.

Capable of spotting planes at a 60-mile range, it is reported to be five times more powerful than anything produced for the Pentagon. Douglas Barrie, a military aviation expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London says that China had a great leg-up over a short period of time since the 1990s by shopping for technology from the former Soviet Union and Israel. China has spent a lot of money and poured a lot of national resources into radar development.

This radar development threatens to alter the military balance in the South China Sea. The system was unveiled after the US and Japan announced joint patrols of the islands claimed by China. (From The Sunday Times 25/9/16)

China and Canada to work on extradition treaty

China and Canada agreed on 12 September to begin discussions on a bilateral extradition treaty that would facilitate the return of corrupt fugitive Chinese officials at large in Canada. The agreement was reached at the China-Canada High-Level National Security and Rule of Law Dialogue in Beijing, where discussions were held on ways to improve cooperation on issues such as law enforcement, combating transnational organised crime, judicial cooperation and exchanges on the rule of law. (From China Daily European Weekly 16-22/9/16)

Sino-Africa Joint Research Project

Africa’s efforts to preserve its biodiversity will soon get a boost thanks to this Chinese-funded joint project. It will be hosted by one of the leading Kenyan academic institutions, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and will be operational by December 2016.

The project will focus on protecting Africa’s plants, animals, fungi and microbes. Research programmes will deal with conservation, geographic and remote sensing, development of natural products, agricultural science and technology, microbiology and molecular biology.

African and Chinese scientists will conduct the work, which will be a collaboration between the African University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The centre will serve as a hub of Sino-African cooperation in biodiversity-related research.

Africa is rich in biodiversity; its living organisms comprise about a quarter of global diversity and the continent supports the world’s largest intact assemblages of large mammals. (From China Daily European Weekly 7-10/10/16)

Seven more Free Trade Zones (FTZ) established

In August of this year, FTZs were established in Liaoning, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Chongqing. There is now a total of eleven FTZs as part of the programme to advance reform and opening up and to promote the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road).

The first FTZ, Shanghai, was the pilot, established in 2013 was such a success that the government decided to expand this innovation. Soon after, FTZs were set up at Tianjin, and then at Guangdong and Fujian. They offer preferential tax policies, speedier customs clearance and better government services.

Each FTZ will have its own focus. Shanghai will focus on international finance and hi-tech trade; Tianjin on shipping and logistics; Fujian on trade with Taiwan, finance and tourism; Guangdong on international shipping, logistics and trade; Liaoning will test market-oriented reforms to transform the old industrial heartland in the northwest; Zhejiang on international commodities trade; Henan on becoming a national transport and logistics hub; Hubei on hi-tech; Chongqing will attempt to attract more investment to west China; Sichuan will be a growth engine for China’s less-developed western region and Shaanxi will focus on boosting trade with countries along the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. (From Beijing Review 6/10/16)

Crackdown on online pornography

China on 5 September published details of seven criminal cases uncovered during a crackdown on online pornography and piracy to protect minors. The National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publications launched a campaign against the production and sale of illegal publications and online material which could affect juveniles.

In one case in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, police shut down a profit-making child pornography website. The website used 15,000 obscene videos and 31,000 pornographic pictures for its 7,771 members. (From Beijing Review 15/9/16)

Promoting cycling: bike lanes for Beijing

A network of 3,200 km of bike lanes will be built over the next five years in Beijing, according to a plan unveiled by the local government on 2 September. Bicycles used to be the most common form of transport, but today cars have taken over. The plan is to bring back more bicycles on to the roads.

Car and bicycle lanes will be separated to a greater degree to ensure the safety of cyclists. Cars will be prohibited from parking in bike lanes. In addition to building cycle lanes, the government should promote a cycling culture to encourage green transport.

However, encouraging cycling should not mean giving cyclists special privileges. They should not be allowed to cycle on pavements and should be fined if they break traffic laws.

The Netherlands is an example to follow. There are 18 million cycles, in a country with a population of 16 million. Here the government is trying to build special cycle lanes and to implement pro-cycling policies. (From Beijing Review 15/9/16)

Afforestation achievement in China

China has 69.3 million hectares of artificially grown forests, the largest in the world following more than six decades’ afforestation. Total forest acreage has grown to 208 million hectares from 82.7 million hectares in the early 1950s, covering 21.66% of the land compared with 8.6% more than 60 years ago.

Drought and excessive lumbering exacerbated water and soil erosion, but in 1979, China launched a 70-year tree-planting programme in the northern regions of the country. China has effectively contained desertification with desert land area shrinking continuously over the past decade.

The area of formerly productive land degrading into desert has been contracting at an annual average of 2,424 sq km for over 10 consecutive years. (From Beijing Review 8/9/16)

Rural freshmen at college

Over 90,000 students from rural and poor areas were admitted to colleges this year, an increase of 20% over last year. Some universities have simplified enrolment procedures and given economic support to students from families with difficulties to make this possible. In addition, universities have expanded enrolment and introduced some preferential policies. (From Beijing Review 8/9/16)

Help for migrant workers

China will help 100 million migrant workers to settle in cities. Over the next five years, the government will help over 13 million migrants annually apply for urban household registration (hukou). This will qualify them for access to public services such as healthcare an education. This is part of the plan to increase the proportion of registered permanent urban residents to 45% by 2020. At the end of 2015, the number was 39.9%

China plans to relax household registration requirements in most cities for students from rural areas and migrant workers who have lived in the city for a long time. However, metropolises such as Beijing will implement steps to control rapid population growth. (From Beijing Review 20/10/16)

A Very Large Hadron Collider?

Chinese scientists are planning a Very Large Hadron Collider (VLHC) to further the study of particle physics. It will be the most powerful particle accelerator, operating at seven times the energy level of the Large Hadron Collider developed by the Switzerland-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Chinese scientists involved hope that the VLHC will lead to the discovery of the ‘Supersymmetric Particle,’ which would be a massive leap forward in mankind’s understanding of the universe. It will cost billions of US dollars to build, but it could attract the world’s scientific talent and make breakthroughs in high-energy physics. Han Tao, a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh and VLHC project participant, believes that high-energy physics has entered a bottleneck phase that needs to be bypassed with a new generation of energy collider. China has the opportunity to become a global leader because no similar project has been proposed in the US while Europe is still busy with the LHC.

There are opponents of the project however, who say that the chances of finding the ‘Supersymmetric Particle are slim and that the huge cost will mean less money for other branches of science. (From China Report November 2016)

Support for ethnic minorities

The Ministry of Finance announced that 2,385 billion yuan ($357 million) has been allocated so far in 2016 to support ethnic cultural development in minority areas. The funding has been used to protect and utilize the cultural heritage of minority groups, provide public cultural services to ethnic minorities and to protect their basic cultural rights and interests.

Great efforts have also been made to reduce poverty in ethnic minority regions. From 2012 to 2015, the number of poverty-stricken people in minority regions including the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang plummeted from 31.21 million in 2012 to 18.13 million in 2015. The GDP of the ethnic minority regions increased from 5.85 trillion yuan ($876 billion) to 7.47 trillion yuan ($1.2 trillion) in the same period. In addition, per-capita disposable income increased from 20,542 yuan ($3,076) to 26,901 yuan ($4,028). (From Beijing Review 8/9/16).

Pure electric buses

Recently, a total of 50 pure electric buses have been put into use in Jingjiang, Jiangsu province. Each bus can run 150 km on one charge. There a total of 146 new-energy and clean-energy buses in the city making up 64.3% of the city’s total buses. (From Beijing Review 8/9/16)

Africa’s first modern electrified railway

Officials from Ethiopia and Djibouti inaugurated Africa’s first modern electrified railway on 5 October at a grand ceremony in Addis Ababa. The $4 billion railway stretches 751.7 kilometres and will carry trains travelling at up to 120 km/h. It was constructed by China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. The service will reduce travel time between the two cities from seven days to just 10 hours.

It will provide land-locked Ethiopia with faster access to the Djibouti port and should help boost industry along its route. Ethiopia hopes to become a major manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa, along with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Today, more than 95% of Ethiopia’s imports come through Djibouti. The railway is electric and hence environmentally friendly. (From China Daily European Weekly 7-13/10/16)

International students study in China

More than 397,000 international students went to study in China in 2015, making it the third most popular destination in the world after the US and UK. The figure is twice that of 2015.

The website believes that China may take second place after the US by 2020. Most of the students come from other East Asian countries with, 35% from South Korea, 11% from Japan and an increasing number of British students. A study by the University of Liverpool suggests an increase of British students because UK universities want to establish partnerships in the wake of Brexit.

The subjects being studies by British students are becoming increasingly diverse: biology, science, engineering, as well as foreign languages and social sciences. China has also been trying to attract students by increasing the number of scholarships five-fold since 2006, as well as raising educational standards and offering more courses in English. (From Chinareport 1/10/16)

White Paper on poverty reduction

The White Paper entitled China’s Progress in Poverty Reduction and Human Rights, said that poverty reduction is the most telling evidence of China’s progress in human rights. Over the past 30 years since the launch of the reform and opening-up drive, more than 700 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty. According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in China fell from 61% in 1990 to 4.2% in 2014.

The number of people that have been lifted out of poverty accounted for 70% of the world’s total. At the end of 2015, China still had 55.75 million people living in poverty, but the government plans to lift all of the poor out of poverty by the year 2020. (From Beijing Review 27/10/16)

China’s 2030 health plan

China aims to increase the average life expectancy of its citizens to 77.3 years by 2020 and 79 by 2030. In 2015, it was 76.34 years.

The Healthy China 2030 blueprint released on 25 October includes 29 chapters covering areas such as public health services, environmental management, the medical sector and food and drug safety. The blueprint noted the effect of industrialisation, urbanisation, an ageing population and environmental and life-style changes. (From Beijing Review 3/11/16)

Cycling first in Beijing

Beijing plans to make more bicycles available for rent and reserve more lanes for cyclists to offer ‘green options’ to 75% of commuters by 2020. An additional 10,000 bikes will be available for rent by the end of this year, bringing the city’s fleet to nearly 80,000. Rental fees average one yuan ($0.15) per hour for bikes available at more than 2,000 locations across the city, which plans to have 500 km of bike lanes by the end of this year. Special bike lanes will be constructed on 150 roads, including the Third Ring Road, one of the busiest in central Beijing.

By 2020, Beijing will have 100,000 public bikes for rent, 900 km of subway lines and 1,000 km of bus lanes. Before the year 2000, bicycles were the most popular means of personal transport, but today, few people use them. The reason is that many live more than 10 km from work and also the health and safety risks posed by smog and heavy traffic. (From Beijing Review 6/10/16)

Confucius Institutes teaching Mandarin

In the past 12 year, 500 Confucius Institutes have been established around the world in 134 countries and are now teaching nearly two million people Mandarin and Chinese culture. The Institutes are not evenly spread however, there are more than 100 in the US and more than two dozen in the UK.

There have been some cases, however, of some institutes accused of opaqueness, of being political - or not political enough! Some awkward situations have arisen over political issues and some institutes have been asked to close and leave in countries such as the US, Canada and Sweden. In some countries, they fail to make progress. In Japan for example, none of the elite public universities have allowed a Confucius Institute on campus. However, almost a dozen private colleges have done so.

Hanban, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, has plans for a total of 1,000 institutes worldwide by 2020. (From China Daily European Weekly 11-17/11/16)

Research: a cornerstone of UK-China relationship

Academic research began with Huang Kuan who graduated from Edinburgh University in medicine in 1855. In 2014/15 almost 90,000 Chinese graduated from UK universities. These universities have been establishing relationships with partner institutions in China and some have established campuses of their own in China.

The UK’s seven Research Councils, the main public bodies funding academic research in the UK established their China Office in 2007 to pursue active engagement with China. Since then, over £211 million in funding has been invested in 47 joint programmes comprising 139 individual projects. In total partnerships have been facilitated between 121 British and Chinese academic institutions and 123 industries.

China has now emerged as the world’s second largest economy, with research and development spending accounting for 2.1% of GDP in 2015, the same year in which Chinese scientists became the world’s fourth most cited in international science papers. China’s 13th Five Year Plan aims to increase this further to 2.5% of GDP by the year 2020. It also plans to build an indigenous network of world-class universities and rapidly expand support for innovation. (From China Report 1/10/11)

National innovation centres to be set up

The Chinese Ministry of Industry an Information Technology (MIIT) announced that China will set up 40 national innovation centres by 2015. The centres will be devoted to developing information technology, artificial intelligence, new materials and biomedicine. About 15 will be established by 2020 and they will aim to bridge the current gap between theory and practice to make industry more innovative and enhance global competitiveness. The MIIT has promised to improve intellectual property management to promote cooperation and profit sharing between centres. (From China Today October 2016)

New KMT leader visits the mainland

The Taiwan Affairs office has announced that Hung Hsiu-chu, the leader of the Kuomintang made her first visit to the mainland from 30 October to 3 November. She became leader after her party lost their legislative majority to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan in January. The DPP has refused to recognise the 1992 one-China Consensus.

She visited Nanjing where the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is situated before travelling to Beijing to attend a forum on the peaceful development of Cross-straits relations on 2 November. Her visit is regarded as having a positive influence on Cross-straits relations. (From Beijing Review 3/11/16)

China’s new warplane makes debut at Zhuhai

China’s new warplane the J-20 stealth fighter made its first appearance at the Zhuhai Air Show, which opens today. China trailed the world in aerospace 20 years ago, but is now at the leading edge. The six-day show features 151 aircraft form 700 exhibitors from 42 countries. The president of China’s state aerospace company AVIC, has business in 80 countries of the world with annual sales of over 80 billion yuan ($11.8 billion). Earlier this year, AVIC acquired the British cabin interior supplier AIM Altitude. Another exhibiter, China South Industries Group Corporation, showed off 70 products focussed on anti-terror operations, fast response forces and aircraft munitions. (From Shanghai Daily 1/11/16)

The British aerobatic team, the Red Arrows are due to perform at the show. They have already appeared over Zhuhai. (From Beijing Review 3/11/16)

SinoFile is compiled by Walter Fung.

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