Archive for the ‘Beijing’ Category

At G-20, China Did Not Commit Bailout Funds Despite Huge Reserves

November 16, 2008

China got what it wanted in Washington’s financial summit — a promise of a bigger role for developing countries in global finance — but gave no sign Sunday whether it will respond by using any of its $1.9 trillion in reserves in a bailout fund.

By JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

China has been pushing for developing countries generally — and itself specifically — to have more influence at the International Monetary Fund and other global bodies. Analysts say that might be Beijing’s price to give in to foreign appeals to dip into its reserves and contribute money toward an IMF emergency loan fund for struggling countries.

The Washington summit was an “important and positive” step toward “the reform of the international financial structure,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. It made no mention of possible bailout contributions, and a man who answered the phone at the ministry press office said he had no information.

Leaders from 21 nations, including China, and four international organizations attended the emergency two-day summit intended to address the financial crisis sweeping the globe.

Summit participants vowed Saturday at the conclusion of the two-day conference to cooperate more closely, keep a sharper eye out for potential problems and give bigger roles to fast-rising nations. But the leaders avoided many of the harder details leaving them to be worked out before their next summit, after President George W. Bush is gone and President-elect Barack Obama is in the White House.

China says it will cooperate with the IMF but Chinese officials say its most important role will be to preserve global growth by keeping its own economy healthy. Beijing announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package last week, at a time of slowing economic growth and fears that falling exports could lead to layoffs and factory closures.

“China’s economic power is growing, so China could contribute and help ease the financial crisis,” said Wu Jinglian, a prominent economist and Cabinet adviser. “But the first priority is to keep our own economy growing. That will benefit every country in the world.”

A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside ...
A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside the prefabricated temporary housing in Yingxiu, Sichuan Province in China Nov. 8, 2008. Six months after the worst quake to hit China in three decades, the future remains uncertain for many survivors. Jobs are hard to come by, and government aid payments are about to end. Many people are still in temporary housing. China’s leaders have called reconstruction a priority. Last week, the government announced plans to pump $146 billion into the effort over the next three years. Some 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion) will be spent on ensuring schools, hospitals and other public facilities are built to higher standards.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_re_as/as_asia_meltdown_summit_1

China’s new reality: Economic boom is slowing

November 10, 2008

Job cuts, factory closures, unpaid export shipments — stalling worldwide demand for products made-in-China is driving home a new economic reality for businesses that until recently were struggling to keep up with soaring exports.

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer

China’s economy is still growing at an enviable rate: It expanded 9 percent in the quarter through September. But that was the slowest in 5 years and down from 11.9 percent last year. Forecasts for next year range as low as 7.5 percent.

The Golden Years have shuddered to a dramatic halt and much tougher times are upon us,” Stephen Green, economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai says, pointing to slowing exports and investment.

In this Feb. 16, 2008 file photo provided by China's Xinhua ...
In this Feb. 16, 2008 file photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, workers prepare for construction of a new project Shanghai Center at the building site in Pudong District of Shanghai, east China. China’s economy is still growing at an enviable rate: It expanded 9 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2008. But that was the slowest in 5 years and down from 11.9 percent last year. Forecasts for next year range as low as 7.5 percent.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Niu Yixin, File)

The suddenness and severity of the chill from the global slowdown prompted leaders to announce late Sunday a $586 billion economic stimulus package aimed at boosting growth in China‘s own markets.

“This broad-based fiscal stimulus program will emerge as the government’s front line of defense against an excessive economic slowdown,” Jing Ulrich, J.P. Morgan & Co.’s chairwoman for China, said in a note to clients.

But it’s unclear whether the package will be enough to salvage exporters left high and dry by overseas customers who are either canceling or abandoning orders as they face what might be one of the bleakest Christmas shopping seasons in decades.

For apparel maker Yiwu Bangjie, the first sign of trouble came with the failure of a longtime American customer to pick up and pay for its latest shipment of seamless underwear, says Tao Jianwei, the company’s general manager.

“After the shipment arrived at the U.S. port, when we notified our customer to take delivery and finish paying, their reply was that they had no money to pay for the goods,” said Tao, whose company is based in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.

Yiwu Bangjie is one of the luckier casualties of the slowdown. Tao, who would not identify his U.S. customer, said he expects to get 90 percent of the $100,000 due back through export credit insurance.

“We’re lucky to have that insurance,” he said. “Everyone knows the global economy is headed for recession, so it’s best to be cautious.”

Others have suffered far more.

Thousands of factories have closed, especially those in labor-intensive industries such as toys and shoes. Official statistics on bankruptcies and factory closures are sketchy. However, the economic planning agency reports that 67,000 small- and medium-sized companies closed down in the first half of the year.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081110/ap_on_bi_ge/as_
china_slowdown;_ylt=AmNFyiDBa0Zwsiq8tNllMc.s0NUE

China: Your Worst Environmental Nighmare

November 7, 2008

I admit I have a deep distrust for anything the communist leadership and the state controlled media of China proclaims.  But when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated before a United Nations conference on the environment Friday China’s position that, as a developing country, it had no real role in the world’s environment and global warming issues, I was again dismayed and angry.

China’s sprawling and largely unregulated coal-fired industries are spreading a brown pall over the globe.  Every household in China cooks and heats with coal.  Coal soot blackens Chinese buildings and homes, inside and out, like never before seen on earth, even in Scotland 100 years ago.  And scientific study after scientific study has said that Chinese people die premature deaths in the millions due to pollution.

Above: Tiananmen Square in Beijing, just before this summer’s Olympics.  Photo: Odid Bality, Associated Press.
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Wen Jiabao, a scientist, a geologist in fact, knows all this to be true.  But to continue making inexpensive goodies for your local Wall Mart which keeps the Chinese people employed and earns China a tidy profit, Mr. Wen will continue to foster the myth, in fact the lie, that it took decades for the “developed nations” to learn to be environmentally smart so therefore China has decades to do the same.

The immensity of China’s destruction of the earth is almost unfathonable.  Seventy percent of China’s rivers and inland waters are polluted and some 90% of its ground water has pesticide and toxic levels of fertiliter and animal dung in it.  The air in China pegs all measurement instruments with pollution like an earthquake registering a “ten” on the Richter scale.  The Chinese government has almost no control over its far-flung industries, as the poisoned milk and other food product scandals proved.  So now China, even when equipped with thousands of ways learned in the West to cut down on pollution, is urging the world to look the other way.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

Above: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

The world should say “No way” to China on pollution and the environment.

But as the decision is to be made at the United Nations, where other “developing nations” dominate and the United States is the Great Satan, expect the U.S. and other Western nations to work their butts off on the environment on a fool’s errand for years to come: because the destruction of our planet earth by China will continue unabated as long as the West remains “tolerant” and accepts such lies as those spewed by Mr. Wen.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 7, 2008

Related:
China: Dodges All Responsibility, Says Rich Nations Must Take Climate Lead

China: 70% of waterways and 90% of underground water polluted

China is the World’s E-Waste Dumping Ground

Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, ... 
Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 2006. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a top UN official urged industrialised nations Friday to alter their lifestyles and not let the global financial crisis hamper climate change efforts.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)
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The New York Times’ produced a nine article series on pollution in China before this summer’s Olympics.  Here is an exerpt:

In its rush to re-create the industrial revolution that made the West rich, China has absorbed most of the major industries that once made the West dirty. Spurred by strong state support, Chinese companies have become the dominant makers of steel, coke, aluminum, cement, chemicals, leather, paper and other goods that faced high costs, including tougher environmental rules, in other parts of the world. China has become the world’s factory, but also its smokestack.

This mass shift of polluting industries has blighted China’s economic rise. Double-digit growth rates have done less to improve people’s lives when the damages to the air, land, water and human health are considered, some economists say. Outmoded production equipment will have to be replaced or retrofitted at high cost if the country intends to reduce pollution.

China’s worsening environment has also upended the geopolitics of global warming. It produces and exports so many goods once made in the West that many wealthy countries can boast of declining carbon emissions, even while the world’s overall emissions are rising quickly.

Read more and link to other articles:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/world/asia/21transfer.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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China, Air Pollution and the Olympics

In China, airborne pollution causes more than 650,000 premature deaths a year, according to medical professionals.

·”International experts said that hundreds of millions of Chinese are exposed every day to the potentially lethal mix of soot particles and smog.” New York Times, Dec. 9, 2007.

• A UN Environment Report indicated that high levels of air pollution were a “legitimate concern” for anyone taking part in the Beijing Olympics.

• Beijing is so choked with smog that athletes are concerned about competing. In fact on 9 April Olympic chief Jacques Rogge conceded that air pollution was an issue for athletes’ health in Beijing during the Games. He earlier denied fears over pollution, but then suggested that certain events of more than one hour could be exacerbated by the weather. The marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking are the events. Most at risk are the marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking.

• Marathon record-holder Haile Gebrselassie withdrew from the Olympic event because of the pollution.

• New Zealand and American athletes wore face masks frequently while in Beijing.

• Some countries such as Britain, Australian and Canada delayed their teams’ arrivals in Beijing until the last possible moment to protect their athletes from air pollution.

• The Daily Telegraph reported that Britain’s swimming team trained in Osaka, Japan instead of in China nbecause of the air pollution. The Canadian team provided athletes with asthma inhalers.

• In an interview with the BBC, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski warned visitors to Beijing that “high pollution levels may be a trigger to serious problems if they already have, for instance, cardio-vascular disease. Those who come with asthma may suffer attacks.”

U.N. torture panel to question China on abuses

November 6, 2008

Rights activists hope that China’s appearance before a United Nations torture panel on Friday will shed light on what they say are widespread abuses in the country.

Chinese officials will face questions about alleged mistreatment of prisoners, drug addicts and dissidents in the two-day review by the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

By Laura MacInnis, Reuters

Corinna-Barbara Francis of Amnesty International said the rare public grilling would heap pressure on Beijing to increase its monitoring and do more to reduce the incidence of torture.

“A country like China typically can evade that sort of formal analysis and scrutiny,” she said. “It is important that the U.N. (committee) is looking at China and scrutinizing it.”

Amnesty is among more than a dozen human rights groups that submitted reports to the U.N. panel describing acts of brutality in Chinese police stations, prisons, covert detention centers, and in the streets throughout the country.

The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a network of Chinese rights groups, told the committee that while Beijing has introduced some new laws, it defines “torture” too narrowly and lacks the mechanisms to monitor, investigate, and sanction it.

“Except for some progress in the promulgation of legislation and administrative documents, China has made no clear and discernible improvement in prohibiting the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” it said.

Falun Gong members carry a banner outside the Chinese Embassy ... 
Falun Gong members carry a banner outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur April 18, 2008.(Zainal Abd Halim/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081106/wl_nm/us_un_china_torture_1

Without Losing Face, China’s Diplomat Avoids Greeting Taiwan’s President

November 6, 2008

The meeting between Chen Yunlin and President Ma Ying-jeou, the highlight of a four-day visit to the island by Mr Chen, had been overshadowed by controversy over how the Chinese envoy would address his host.

In the event, he successfully ducked the issue – by offering no verbal greeting at all.

Richard Spencer in Beijing
Telegraph (UK)

He could not use Mr Ma’s title, since China does not recognise the Taiwan government’s autonomy.

But he could not address him simply as Mr Ma without paying disrespect to his host – and playing into the hands of Mr Ma’s anti-China opposition, who were already accusing him of selling out to Beijing by inviting him.

Taiwan democratically elected President Ma Ying-jeou (right) made history when he became fisrt leader of the island to meet a senior Chinese leader science the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Taiwan democratically elected President Ma Ying-jeou (right) made history when he became fisrt leader of the island to meet a senior Chinese leader science the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. Photo: AFP / Getty Images

So during their five-minute public meeting, he uttered just one line, as he handed over a gift of a painting: “I offer this to you. This is by a master artist.”

Mr Chen’s visit is the fruit of a warming of ties between the two former enemies, who are still technically at war. Taiwan is ruled by the same political party that fought the Communist Party for control of China in the 1930s and 40s, and the People’s Republic still claims sovereignty over it.

Mr Ma has improved relations since his election in March by promising not to move towards a declaration of formal independence.

Mr Chen signed a number of trade deals on his visit, but the two sides did not attempt to make progress on all-important security issues, such as the 1,000 missiles the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has targeted at the island.

“We cannot deny that differences and challenges still exist, such as Taiwan’s security and Taiwan’s position in the international community.” Mr Ma said at the meeting.

Mr Ma’s opponents from the Democratic Progressive Party, whom he defeated in the election, staged noisy protests against Mr Chen’s visit and said the president was “selling out” the island.

“Ma is sucking up to China by degrading Taiwan’s sovereignty and this humiliates our country,” said Ko Kai-liang, 40, a chemical company worker.

Nevertheless the visit will be regarded in both Beijing and Taipei as a success – especially the subtlety of Mr Chen’s diplomacy.

For he did not quite fail to address Mr Ma: the picture was of a horse, the meaning of the Taiwanese president’s surname.

China, India wary of taint of global economic crisis

November 1, 2008

Two powerhouse emerging market countries felt the sting of the global financial crisis on Saturday as India unexpectedly cut its main short-term lending rate again and China said it was now feeling a slowdown.

The developments followed signs elsewhere this week that world markets were stabilizing, with interbank rates falling and U.S. stocks posting their best week in 34 years.

“The impact of the crisis on China has just started to appear as China has already seen a sharp slowdown in industrial profit growth and fiscal income,” a senior Bank of China (BOC) executive said in Shanghai on Saturday.

Shoppers walk through Bern's Westside shopping centre, which ... 
Shoppers walk through Bern’s Westside shopping centre, which was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, on the opening day, in Bern October 8, 2008.(Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

The global economy will likely enter recession next year with the United States, Europe and Japan posting negative growth, Executive Vice President Zhu Min told a financial conference.

“That will have a huge impact on China,” he said.

Zhu also said currency volatility was expected to add further pressure on China’s banks, which have enjoyed robust profits for years as the country boomed. Earnings growth is now slowing as the economy cools from the impact of the crisis.

“The uncertainties in the world’s currency markets have exposed the Chinese banking sector to higher foreign asset risk,” Zhu said.

A central bank spokesman said Beijing was no longer imposing strict limits on bank lending as it sought to preserve growth in its economy, in which the overseas market is important.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081101/ts_nm/us_financial6_115

Ex-Beijing Vice-Mayor Convicted After Corruption Trial

October 20, 2008

BBC

A former vice-mayor of the Chinese capital, Beijing, has received a suspended death sentence for corruption, state media have said.

Liu Zhihua was convicted by a court in Hebei province of taking $1,020,000 (£589,000) in bribes while in charge of building venues for the Olympic Games.

Construction work in Beijing (2006)

Liu supervised the building of venues ahead of August’s Olympic Games

Liu abused his power to give contracts, loans and promotions to others in return for the money, the reports said.

When sacked as vice-mayor in 2006, Liu was also accused of having bad morals.

He was believed to have kept several mistresses, some of whom he reportedly helped become rich through his illegal activities.

One of them, Wang Jianrui, was named by the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Hengshui, although the reports did not say whether she had been prosecuted.

Liu’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, told the Associated Press that the allegations had been dubious and that he would probably appeal.

A suspended death penalty in China is normally commuted to life imprisonment on condition of good behaviour.

China has been hit in recent years by a number of high-profile cases of official corruption, which has become rampant since market reforms opened the economy in the 1980s. President Hu Jintao has vowed to take action against those found guilty.

Correspondents say reporting on Liu’s prosecution was restricted in the months leading up to the Olympics in order to avoid tarnishing the state’s image.

More Food Poison? Vietnam says Indonesian biscuits contain melamine

October 14, 2008

JAKARTA (AFP) – Vietnam has complained to Indonesia of possible melamine contamination in Indonesian-made biscuits, a report said Tuesday.

File photo shows a man riding his rickshaw heavily loaded with ... 
File photo shows a man riding his rickshaw heavily loaded with boxes of milk in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam has complained to Indonesia of possible melamine contamination in Indonesian-made biscuits, a report said Tuesday.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Vietnamese authorities informed Indonesia’s embassy in Hanoi that Indonesian-made Khong Guan biscuits could be tainted with the chemical, Trade Ministry Director Subagyo was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency.

Indonesia’s food and drug monitoring agency has been ordered to probe the issue, Subagyo said.

“Based on the results of our own tests the product is not contaminated with melamine,” food and drug agency chairman Husniah Rubiana Thamrin Akib was quoted as saying.

Khong Guan biscuits had already been tested in Indonesian and Vietnamese laboratories and had come up negative for melamine, usually used in making plastics, she said.

“Our products are safe because we import milk from Europe, Australia and New Zealand,” Akib said.

Indonesia ordered food producers to avoid using Chinese-made milk products in September after four Chinese children died and at least 53,000 fell ill from drinking milk or milk products laced with melamine.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081014/wl_asia_afp/
indonesiafoodsafetyvietnam_081014055422

China Defense Minister Blasts US Arms Sale to Taiwan

October 14, 2008

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China’s defense minister has demanded that the U.S. cancel a $6.5 billion arms sale to Taiwan, saying it created “obstacles” in relations between Beijing and Washington.

Liang Guanglie’s remarks are the latest show of pique by Beijing over the arms package that includes Patriot III missiles, Apache helicopters, and parts for F-16 jet fighters.

Officials bow to a picture of Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Nationalist ...
Officials bow to a picture of Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Nationalist Party which ran China until 1949, during Taiwan’s National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei October 10, 2008.REUTERS/Nicky Loh (TAIWAN)

Washington must “strictly adhere to its commitments on the Taiwan issue, immediately cancel all items regarding arms sales to Taiwan and cease U.S.-Taiwan military relations,” Liang was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday as telling visiting U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The sale has not “not only damaged relations between the two countries and two militaries, but also created obstacles in exchanges and cooperation in all areas including high level exchanges between the two militaries,” Liang was quoted as saying at his Monday meeting with Hagel.

That was an apparent reference to Beijing’s suspension of some senior-level visits and other planned exchanges, announced earlier this month to the Pentagon but not publicly confirmed by Chinese officials.

Claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a perennial bugbear in relations between Beijing and Washington. China strongly objects to U.S. legislation requiring Washington to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself from Chinese threats to attack if the island moves to cement its de-facto independent status.

However, despite the suspension of high-level military contacts and a further diplomatic protest from Beijing, experts say they don’t anticipate a wider rift developing over the latest arms sale.

Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have eased since the inauguration of Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou, who has pledged to build bridges with the mainland in contrast to the more confrontational tone taken by his independence-leaning predecessor Chen Shui-bian.
F-16 June 2008.jpg
Above: F-16

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081014/ap_
on_re_as/as_china_us_taiwan_1

Beijing’s Massive Pre-Olympic People Relocation, Home Demolition a Human Rights Issue

April 27, 2008

John E, Carey
Peace and Freedom

Before the start of the Olympics, communist leaders in Beijing announced a plan to remove from the city the hordes of vagrants, homeless people and orphaned children who live on Beijing’s streets. Some estimate that as many as 2 million orphaned or homeless children alone live in Beijing.

The program is designed to make sure Westerners like you and me see the best of Beijing – even if that is only a temporary and false façade. TV viewers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and places like Japan can expect to see a completely sanitized Beijing this August.

Human rights groups are asking: “Where are they going and how are they getting there?”

China remains silent.  The removal and relocation of people from Beijing for the Olympics is shrouded in secrecy.
A group of slave laborers rescued from a brick kiln in Linfen, northern China's Shanxi province, in late May stand outside a police station. About 550 slave laborers have been freed from various brick kilns and mines in central China in the past month.
Last year, Western media discovered slaves working in China’s mines.  Many were young boys with no rights and miserable living conditions. Above: Slaves released in China after more than a year of forced labor.

Then there is the government removing homes and creating homeless — with little warning and little compensation.

The Washington Post reported in a long story by Jill Drew on Saturday April 26, 2008, that communist leaders in Beijing are buying up at below market value all the villagers’ houses near the Olympic venues.  As soon as the people vacate; their former homes are bulldozed into oblivion. 

“Su, Wang and another neighbor were the last three holdouts to fight for their families’ homes against developers who own rights to this land, just across the street from the main Olympic park in Beijing. The three have now been forced to join the thousands of people — housing advocates say hundreds of thousands — whose homes have been plowed under in the rush of Olympics-related construction over the past seven years,” wrote Ms. Drew.
A haze of pollution hangs over China's National Stadium, known as the bird's nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8.
A haze of pollution hangs over China’s National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8. Many of the homes in the area of the stadium have been bulldozed away and no longer exist. (By Greg Baker – Associated Press)

“Less than four months before the Summer Games open, the forced relocations in Beijing are highlighting another cost of the Olympics, as residents make way for such architectural glories as the National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, and the apartment and office towers springing up nearby,” Ms. Drew reported for the Post. “Whole neighborhoods have been wiped out. Especially controversial has been the destruction of about 800 of the city’s 1,200 hutongs, lanes full of traditional, courtyard-style houses.”

“You can never win when you sue the government,” said Su.  Meaning you can never stay and you can never recoup the full value of your home.

Beijing is being remade for you and me and other TV viewers and Olympic tourists.  But there is a price; a toll that can only be measured in human suffering.  Because China is a communist holdout, the people have no rights and no voice.  The government is free to abuse its own population.  That’s always a prescription for abuses: and today in Beijing a blind man can see that the displaced, poor and “without voice” are powerless to resist their communist government….