China working hard to ensure ‘six stabilities’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S SHINE NEWS NETWORK FROM SHANGHAI)

 

China working hard to ensure ‘six stabilities’

Xinhua

Amid complicated international landscape and new changes in China’s domestic economy, experts around the world believe that the Chinese government has sufficient policy tools to tap its inherent dynamism so as to secure robust and resilient economic growth.

These remarks came following the Chinese government’s recent proposal of a target to “stabilize the employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment and expectations,” collectively known as the “six stabilities.”

Since the beginning of this year, despite fluctuations of certain economic indicators, the Chinese economy has registered stable growth, with the four major macroeconomic indicators of economic growth, employment, CPI and the international balance of payments basically meeting expectations.

In its latest World Economic Outlook report released on October 8, the International Monetary Fund kept China’s economic growth forecast unchanged at 6.6 percent.

IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld recently said that the Chinese economy saw robust performance in the first half of this year, and that the recent figures which might not be so ideal are still in line with expectations, considering that measures such as strengthening financial supervision and preventing risks would drag down economic growth to a certain degree.

Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, says the slowdown in growth is a result of the government’s initiative to deleverage and regulate the economy, which in fact produces a “high-quality” slowdown.

Rhee expressed confidence that the Chinese government has the policy tools to stabilize economic growth and offset negative impacts from the economic and trade frictions with the United States, but meanwhile, deleveraging should forge ahead to ensure more stable and resilient growth in the medium term.

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, a consultant with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries based in India, said China’s economy, which has started to shift from high speed growth to medium-high speed growth, has stepped into the deep waters of economic restructuring, where certain suffering and pain are inevitable.

The government embraces change and has a mature and sensible understanding of economic development, as indicated by its economic policy adjustments in recent years, he said, adding these adjustments will benefit China’s economy in the long run.

Even though the favorable international environment plays a role in China’s economic success, Bhattacharjee said, its achievements should be mainly attributed to the inner dynamism generated by its domestic policies.

Hong Kong holds opening ceremony for Express Rail Link to mainland

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI SHINE DAILY NEWS)

(THIS JUST GIVES BEIJING A FASTER WAY TO SHIP SHOULDERS INTO HONG KONG WHENEVER BEIJING WANTS TO SHUT DOWN ANY AND ALL ‘FREEDOM’ RELATED RALLY’S)

Hong Kong holds opening ceremony for Express Rail Link to mainland

Xinhua

Imagine China

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, (6-R), the Governor of Guangdong Province Ma Xingrui, (6-L) and other Chinese government representatives officiate at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, China, 22 September 2018.

The opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link was held Saturday at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, one day ahead of the official operation of the first high-speed train from Hong Kong to the mainland.

The opening of the XRL marks Hong Kong’s official connection with the national high-speed railway network, Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said at the opening ceremony.

On the B1 Level of the station, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Leung Chun-ying, Governor of Guangdong province Ma Xingrui, Director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR Wang Zhimin and other officials officiated the opening ceremony.

“Pearl of the Orient” and other songs played by Hong Kong violinist Yao Jue and Hong Kong String Orchestra as well as the video narrating the development of the railway in Guangdong and Hong Kong commenced the opening ceremony.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Ma Xingrui, General Manager of China Railway Corporation Lu Dongfu and Chairman of the MTR Corporation Ma Si-hang delivered speeches at the ceremony.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Ma Xingrui also unveiled a display embodying the official operation of the West Kowloon Station, the terminal of the cross-boarder high-speed rail trains between Hong Kong and the mainland.

China to slap additional tariffs on US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI ‘SHINE’ NEWS AGENCY)

 

China to slap additional tariffs on US

Xinhua

China has decided to impose additional tariffs on imported products from the United States worth about US$16 billion, according to an official statement released yesterday.

Approved by the State Council, its Customs Tariff Commission has decided to impose additional duties of 25 percent on the US$16 billion of US products after making proper adjustments to the second part of a list of the products subject to the tariffs. The additional duties will take effect on August 23.

Commenting on the decision, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said it is totally unreasonable for the US to put domestic laws above international laws time and time again. To defend its legitimate rights and interests and the multilateral trade system, China was forced to take necessary countermeasures, said the spokesman.

The customs tariff commission said the list has been appropriately adjusted after taking into account the advice of related government departments, industry associations and enterprises to best protect the interest of domestic consumers and companies.

The commission also published a final version of the second part of the list on the website of the Ministry of Finance.

In June, the customs authority unveiled a list of products from the US worth US$50 billion that will be subject to additional tariffs in response to US announcement to impose additional duties on Chinese imports.

Additional duties on the US products in the first part of the list, worth US$34 billion, came into force on July 6.

China Busts a $3 Billion Underground Bank

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

China Busts a $3 Billion Underground Bank as it Tightens its Grip on Money

Sunday, 3 December, 2017 – 11:00
More than 10,000 people have used an underground bank to effectively funnel billions of dollars out of China. (AFP)
Beijing – Sui-Lee Wee

The money came from all over China — its wealthy southern and eastern coasts as well as the arid northwest — as thousands of people scrambled to circumvent the country’s strict controls on wealth.

In the end, more than 10,000 people had used an underground bank to effectively funnel $3 billion out of the country before the authorities put a stop to it, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency in November.

The discovery of the underground bank in Shaoguan, in the southern province of Guangdong, demonstrates the furtive lengths that Chinese citizens go to in order to skirt government limits and get more of their money out of the country.

The sums involved are enormous, large enough to not only affect China’s economy but resonate around the world. Two years ago, a loss of confidence in China’s outlook led many of its people to send their money abroad — a flow that helped drive a $1 trillion drop in China’s stash of surplus foreign money. The exodus was enough to darken the country’s long-held image as a major global economic growth engine.

China appears to have since stemmed the surge of money abroad, thanks to an improved economic outlook and tough new efforts to keep the money at home. But the underground bank bust announced Thursday showed the lengths that the authorities will pursue to enforce limits on money leaving the country.

The Chinese police have detained seven people believed to be involved in the bank, according to the Thursday reports. The authorities discovered 148 “illegal and fraudulent accounts” from the bank, involving more than 10,000 people, the Xinhua report said.

Underground banks are illegal but common in China. According to China’s Ministry of Public Security, underground banks handled more than $137 billion in transactions last year. There are also lawful ways of moving princely sums out of China without surpassing government limits: directing money to casinos in Macau — the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is legal — as well as using credit cards to buy luxury goods abroad and purchasing insurance policies that can be cashed out overseas.

China imposes strict limits on how much money can leave the country. Those limits help the government keep a firm hand on the value of its currency, and the Chinese authorities credit the limits with helping keep its financial system steady during emergencies like the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the global crisis that began in 2008.

The government sets a $50,000 limit on the money Chinese citizens can move out of the country in a year, though businesses and those making strategic investments can send out much more.

But growing numbers of people began dodging the limits two years ago, when a stock market crash, a surprise government-led currency devaluation and prospects of slowing economic growth led many to seek safer havens for their money.

President Xi Jinping has made it a top priority to keep more money in China. His government has shut down platforms that trade crypto-currencies; announced controls on outbound investment in property, entertainment and soccer; and imposed curbs on payments overseas.

Much of China’s underground banking activity is centered in cities that border Hong Kong and Macau, special administrative regions of China that are governed by their own laws.

In Shaoguan, the police were alerted to a suspicious bank account that was opened in 2011 in the city by a Mr. Zhong, a resident from the southern city of Zhuhai that borders Macau, according to Guangzhou Daily, an official newspaper. It did not further identify Zhong. After almost no activity for years, there were 121 transactions involving $15 million in 2016, prompting the authorities to look more closely at who was involved.

Ultimately, the Xinhua report said, the authorities discovered that the people running the underground bank had illegally bought and stole the identity documents of more than 200 people to open the fake accounts that underpinned the enterprise. News reports did not disclose detailed information about how the underground bank worked.

The Shaoguan government and the police did not respond to requests for comment.

The trail appeared to lead to Macau, according to the news reports. The suspicious bank account that prompted the investigation was opened specifically for a gambler in Macau called Peng to transfer money, Xinhua said. “Several members of the criminal gang” then converted the renminbi into Hong Kong dollars for Peng, according to the report. Hong Kong has its own currency, which tracks the value of the United States dollar.

The Xinhua report did not offer details about Peng.

Macau is under pressure to keep a tight rein on capital outflows. Most recently, it installed automated teller machines with facial recognition software to monitor transactions for people using Chinese bank cards, according to Macau Daily Times.

The Xinhua report acknowledged that underground banks are “seductive,” especially for people who struggle to get financing, but warned that “the people will suffer tremendous loss” if the banks abscond or cheat their clients.

The New York Times

China’s Government Loses An Old Friend With Ouster Of Mugabe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

How Chinese See the Fall of Their Country’s Old Friend Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

Chinese president Xi Jinping welcomed Zimbabwe President Mugabe's visit in August 2014. Photo from Xinhua.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe during a visit in August 2014. Photo from Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

As political and military forces in Zimbabwe moved to push longtime President Robert Mugabe from power, Chinese were watching the path of removal of a man many described as a dictator with interest.

Mugabe, 93, has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 30 years since the country’s independence from British colonial rule until today. When the majority of western countries started to sanction Zimbabwe for Mugabe’s land seizure policy and human rights abuses in the early 2000s, China stepped in and became Mugabe’s most important ally.

Throughout the years, relations between Zimbabwe and China have grown closer through loans, construction and investment projects and diplomatic visits. Between 2010 and 2015, China granted Zimbabwe over US$1 billion in loans.

Such financial support has led Zimbabwe’s opposition party to accuse Beijing of aiding Mugabe and stealing billions from the country with illicit trade in the diamond industry. And, in fact, Zimbabwe’s economy has been deteriorating under Mugabe’s regime, and corruption is a serious problem. At the start of November Mugabe sacked his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a move to seemingly position his own wife Grace Mugabe to take over the presidency.

The situation culminated on November 15, 2017 when the military took control of the country. Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans poured into streets of the capital Harare to celebrate and chanted anti-Mugabe slogans like “Mugabe must go” and “No to Mugabe dynasty”. ZANU-PF removed Mugabe as leader of the ruling party, pulling Mnangagwa into the spot, and threatened to impeach Mugabe if he didn’t step down as president.

So far, however, Mugabe has refused to resign till today.

‘Such an old friend was not reliable’

Quite a number of international media outlets have speculated China’s involvement in the Zimbabwean coup as the military action took place just three days after the commander of the Zimbabwe army, Constantino Chiwenga, returned from a visit to China.

On popular social media platform Weibo, many Chinese netizens have also repeated the theory:

The chief of the coup just returned from China. The coup happened soon after the return, draw your own conclusion.

The old friend has become very old and easily influenced by his wife. His wife had many negative remarks about China. Just two years ago, this old friend even said the country’s poor economy was thanks to China. Such an old friend was not reliable. The new guys graduated from the Shijiazhuang Army Academy.

Zimbabwe has sent its military officials to China for training since the 1960s and reportedly, former Vice President Mnangagwa was also trained by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

‘An African version of the crackdown on the Gang of Four’

Beyond possible Chinese influence on the coup, many netizens saw parallels between the situation in Zimbabwe and a certain period of China’s own history — the arrest of the “Gang of Four” by the military on October 6, 1976, a month after former state leader Mao Zedong’s death.

The gang’s leading figure was Mao’s last wife, Jiang Qing. The comment below is one of the most popular on Weibo:

This incident is basically an African version of the crackdown on the Gang of Four.

Just as Mao Zedong was considered a founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Mugabe was viewed as a great leader who played a central role in liberating Zimbabwe from British colonial rule.

Even given the damage inflicted on the country’s economy and the human rights abuses that have happened under Mugabe, he was appointed as the chairman of the 54-state African Union in 2015.

‘The nature of an undemocratic country is like a prison’

Many comments on Twitter said Mugabe’s fall demonstrates the power of the people. For example, @twiqiang08 wrote:

津巴布韦人民撕毀他们曾经的“伟大领袖、伟大舵手、伟大导师、红太阳”穆加贝的巨幅画像。

评: 人民一旦觉醒,所有的“伟大”都会荡然无存,独裁者就会像垃圾一样被扫进历史垃圾堆!

People in Zimbabwe tear down huge portrait of Mugabe, their once “great leader, great captain, great teacher and red sun”. Comment: When people wake up, all “greatness” will vanish, the dictator will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

The description of “great leader, great captain, great teacher and red sun” were used to describe Mao Zedong. Recently, Chinese-state affiliated media outlets have started calling President Xi Jinping as “great leader” after the 19th national congress of the CCP and recently used more than 15,000 Chinese words to explain why “Xi is the unrivaled helmsman who will steer China toward this great dream”.

On Weibo, one user was skeptical of the euphemism of “people’s power” as dictators are often endorsed by “people” in the first place:

The so-called “people” are just cheering squads, people throughout the whole world are the same. When Mugabe came into power, they cheered and took him as savior. Eventually he turned them all into billionaires (because of the devaluation of currency) and their average lifespan was reduced from 60s to 30s. [According to World Bank report, the life expectancy of Zimbabwe had dropped from 62 years in mid-1980s to 40 years old in 2002 and 2003. In recent years the figure is back to 59.] Now that he has fallen, they cheer again.

But Twitter user @huangmeijuan pointed out that the cheering crowds are forced to endorse dictators because there is no room for dissent:

今天的津巴布韦街头,到处是”穆加贝滚蛋‘’ 的口号!人民不需要伟大领袖。
伟大领袖消失了,并没有天下大乱,也没有军阀混战,以前专门镇压示威游行的警察,早就躲得远远的,一个都没有出来。因此,不是民主的国家本质就是一座大监狱,所谓的伟大领袖只是监狱狱长而已。

Today, slogans like “Mugabe must go”, “People don’t need a great leader” have occupied Zimbabwe’s streets. Now that the great leader has gone, the country has not fallen into chaos or warlordism. The police responsible for the rally crackdowns of the past have run away, no one has shown up. The nature of a undemocratic country is like a prison and the great leader is just a prison guard.

Chinese political dissidents on Twitter expressed wishful thinking about which authoritarian leader would fall next. @BaiqiaoCh said:

又一个臭名昭著的大独裁者被轰下台了。津巴布韦发生政变,93岁的总统穆加貝被赶下台。穆加貝跟中共关系非常密切,2015年还闹剧般地获得过中共颁发的孔子和平奖。下一个被政变下台的会是谁呢?北朝鲜的金胖子还是西朝鲜的习包子?太令人期待了!

Another notorious dictator has fallen. 93-year-old Mugabe was forced to step down in a coup in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has close relation with the Chinese Communist Party and in 2015 he was even awarded with the Confucian Peace Prize. Which [dictator] would be the next to step down in a coup? North Korea Fatty Kim or West Korea [meaning China] Xi the bun? Am so eager to see this happen.

Chinese agency has another video on Doklam, minus the overt racism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES) / (HOW DOES ONE SAY CHINA’S GOVERNMENT IS FULL OF S-IT IN MANDARIN?)(IS THE REASON DONALD TRUMP AND XI JINPING GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER IS BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH HABITUAL LIARS?) (TRS)

 

Chinese agency has another video on Doklam, minus the overt racism

Chinese news agency tries a different tack with a video explainer claiming “sober, cooperative solution is in need to tackle China-India border standoff”.

INDIA Updated: Aug 21, 2017 07:48 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A screenshot of video posted by China Xinhua News on Twitter.
A screenshot of video posted by China Xinhua News on Twitter.

After last week’s bizarre, racist anti-India video, Beijing mouthpiece Xinhua is trying a “sober” approach.

It’s still pretty silly, but at least we’re spared the Chinese actors trying to pass off for Sikhs… and the unintentionally hilarious beards.

This time, Chinese news agency tries a different tack with a video explainer on the Doklam standoff that features a newsman in a suit arguing, not that China is right, but that India is wrong: why, is never explained.

There is even a vaguely conciliatory reference to the two countries’ great histories, during which the video shows a montage of the famous Xian warriors, followed (inexplicably) by a snippet featuring a camel caravan that is presumably meant to represent India!

Bhutan, the country caught in the middle of it all, gets no mention.

Still, there’s no overt racism in the new video, which must count as an improvement. This might even pass for a sign of grudging respect.

What explains the change of tone? Perhaps it’s an acknowledgment that last week’s video went too far into crazytown. Or perhaps, a recognition that the Dokram affair will not be resolved by blatant propaganda directed at Indians, especially when their own response has been to laugh out loud.

Far be it for us to suggest that the video Hindustan Times commissioned, featuring comedienne Vasu Primlani had anything to do with it…

Powerful Earthquake Strikes SW China At Least 13 Dead 175 Injured

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

CNN) At least 13 people were killed and 175 more injured late Tuesday after a powerful earthquake struck a popular tourist area in southwest China, according to state media.

Of those hurt, about 28 had been severely injured, state-owned media outlet Xinhua said.
The quake struck Jiuzhaigou County in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province late on Tuesday night.
At least five of the people who died were tourists, Xinhua reported, citing the information office of the provincial government. About 2,800 people were evacuated from the severely damaged Intercontinental hotel.
Epicenter
Map data ©2017 Google, SK telecom, ZENRIN
Rescuers are still working to clear the rubble, and there are people buried beneath the debris, state broadcaster CCTV said.
There was some disagreement over the size and power of the earthquake.
The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude-6.5 quake 35 kilometers (22 miles) west-southwest of Yongle, Xinhua reported it was 7.0-magnitude, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center.
Residents in Chengdu, the provincial capital — 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from the epicenter — told state media they had felt the quake.

Chinese paramilitary police search for survivors after an earthquake in Jiuzhaigou in southwest China's Sichuan province early on August 9.

The China Earthquake Administration has launched a Level I emergency response, the highest of its four levels, according to state media.
Almost 400 fire trucks and more than 1,100 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, CCTV said. They are bringing with them 55 life detectors, 30 rescue dogs and 24 generators.
Local authorities announced the closure of the Jiuzhaigou tourist area, which includes a national park known for its waterfalls and topographical formations, beginning Wednesday.
Yu Qian, a local taxation bureau official, told Xinhua that the earthquake cut off power and disrupted phone service in her neighborhood.

Firefighters in China's Gansu province preparing to head to Sichuan on August 8.

Photos from the scene showed what appeared to be pieces of buildings lying in the street, a stone the height of a small automobile in the street and a heavily damaged hotel entrance, its revolving doors twisted and rubble lying in front of them.
The temblor wasn’t the only quake in China in the past 24 hours.
On Wednesday morning, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, close to the border to Kazakhstan, the United States Geological Survey said.
The quake struck at 7:27 a.m. local time. Its epicenter was 107 kilometers (67 miles) south-southeast of Dostq, Kazakhstan, at a depth of 25.9 kilometers (16 miles), the USGS said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, due to the sparsely populated nature of the area.