China Briefs—Dec 3 to Dec 5
China Briefs—Dec 3 to Dec 5

Customers shop in a crowded department store on November 29, 2008 in Chengdu of Sichcuan Province, China. (China Photos/Getty Images)
Customers shop in a crowded department store on November 29, 2008 in Chengdu of Sichcuan Province, China. (China Photos/Getty Images)
Dec 3 — China’s Economy, in Need of Jump Start
BEIJING (Andrew Jacobs, New York Times)—Tenacious thrift, once an admirable quality in China, has become a liability as the nation’s export-driven economy slows, a prospect that has stoked the government’s fear of unemployment and social instability, and that could threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power.

On Monday, J.P. Morgan cut its fourth-quarter growth forecast for China to 7.7 percent, and other analysts predict that number could hit 5 percent next year.

Government analysts are looking to consumers, especially the country’s hundreds of millions of high-saving peasants, to pick up much of the slack.

Dec 3 — U.S., China headed for possible currency clash
BEIJING (Joe McDonald, Associated Press)—The deepening world economic crisis and a possible spat over currency levels hung in the air as the United States and China sat down Thursday to discuss the future of their economic relations.

U.S. officials say Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will press Beijing to let its yuan rise against the dollar to ease trade tensions at the two-day Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Dec 3 — China’s Wealth Fund Dare Not Invest in Foreign Finance Sector  
HONG KONG (Dow Jones)—China's US$200 billion sovereign wealth fund "dare not" invest in foreign companies now because of "uncertain" foreign government policies, China Investment Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Lou Jiwei said Wednesday.

Dec 3 — Fire in China company dorm kills 11, injures 10  
BEIJING (AP)—A fire at the dormitory of a seafood company in the coastal city of Qingdao killed 11 workers and injured 10 others.

Dec 3 — 100 police staff protest over pay in China: rights group  
BEIJING (AFP)—About 100 police employees damaged government property in a highly unusual protest in China over inadequate pay, a human rights group said on Wednesday.

The three-hour protest occurred Tuesday in the city of Leiyang in the central province of Hunan, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.

Dec 3 — Saudi Arabia finds chemical in milk from China  
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP)—The Saudi government has found excessive amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in powdered milk imported from China and lower concentrations in chocolate wafer cream made in Malaysia.

Dec 3 — Melamine found in eggs from China  
HONG KONG (UPI)—Food safety officials in Hong Kong say they found excessive amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in another batch of eggs from mainland China.

Dec 3 — Dalai Lama meets Belgian PM on tour that has angered China  
BRUSSELS (AFP)—Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama met Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme on Wednesday, the latest leg of a European tour which has upset Beijing and led to the postponement of a China-EU summit.

The Nobel peace Laureate will address the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday and is scheduled to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's presidency, in Poland on Saturday.

Dec 3 — China praises Nepal for stopping Tibetan protests  
KATMANDU, Nepal (Binaj Gurubacharya, Boston Globe)—Beijing praised Nepal on Wednesday for banning anti-China protests by Tibetan exiles earlier this year and detaining demonstrators, actions that helped bring the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest.

Dec 3 — China to Provide Security-Related Equipment to Nepal  
KATMANDU, Nepal (Outlook India)—Giving a major boost to their bilateral cooperation, China today pledged to provide training and security-related equipment to Nepal and agreed to explore ways to expand the strategic rail service from Tibet to the Himalayan country.

The announcement was made during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who also promised a USD 15 million grant to Nepal for various development projects and responded positively to Kathmandu's request for USD 200 million more in soft loan.

Dec 3 — China braces for snow and dust storms  
Reuters—Temperatures are expected to drop by up to 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) across most of China in coming days, bringing snow in the northeast and sandstorms in the west, state media said.

Dec 4 — China Needs to Be Prepared for ‘Worst Case Scenario’   
Bloomberg—China needs to be prepared for the “worst case scenario” amid a deepening global economic crisis, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said.

The statements came in Beijing at the twice-annual U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue between the United States and China.

Dec 4 — China scholar warns of social turmoil as growth slows  
BEIJING (Reuters, Chris Buckley)—China risks massive social turmoil next year as the economy slows and the number of angry jobless grows, a leading Communist Party scholar has warned, urging the government to focus development priorities on job creation.

Zhou Tianyong, a researcher at the Central Party School in Beijing, forecasts the reservoir of poor, jobless workers and farmers will climb as nation's growth rate slows to about 7.5 percent next year, its slowest rate for many years.

Writing in the China Economic Times on Thursday, Zhou warned that the resulting strains between rich and poor could erupt into searing unrest that will test the ruling Communist Party's grip.

Dec 4 — China tells France Dalai Lama meeting could hurt trade  
BEIJING (AFP)—China warned on Thursday that multi-billion-dollar trade ties with France could be affected by President Nicolas Sarkozy's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Liu again urged Sarkozy to take steps to "repair" ties, presumably by cancelling the meeting, or risk long-term harm to bilateral relations.

Dec 4 — China Lacks Moral Authority To Be A Superpower – Dalai Lama  
BRUSSELS (AFP, Dan Martin)—China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.

After addressing the European Parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China "deserves to be a superpower" given its huge population and economic and military strength, however, “one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking," he told a press conference in Brussels.

"Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press – too much censorship – the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor," he said.

Dec 4 — China Red Flag Linux policy suggests open source not always open  
CNET—China is forcing Internet cafes to pay for Red Flag Linux, which may be the clearest evidence yet that freedom isn't to be found in a software license, open source or not.

Dec 4 — China to issue blacklist of harmful food additives  
BEIJING (AP)—China will issue a blacklist of food additives that could be harmful, state media said Friday in the wake of a scandal over tainted milk believed to have killed six children and sickened hundreds of thousands.

Awareness of the widespread use of food additives has increased in the wake of the milk scandal. A front-page article last week in China's Southern Weekend newspaper questioned whether the addition of bleaching agents to flour was healthy.

Dec 4 — Call made for China navy to battle Somali pirates
BEIJING (AP)—A Chinese general has called for the country's navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China's international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

Dec 4 — Vietnam, China enhance military cooperation  
Vietnam Net—Vietnam and China have agreed to step up their cooperation in the research and transfer of military technologies, the training of staff, organising search and rescue exercises, disarming mines and conducting joint sea patrols.

Dec 4 — China, Russia to send probes to Mars next year  
BEIJING (Reuters)—China will team up with Russia to launch two satellite probes to take pictures of Mars and one of its small moons in October next year as it seeks to cement its place in the select ranks of global space powers.

A Chinese-built probe will piggy-back on a Russian-built rocket which would also be carrying a Russian satellite, the Beijing News said.

Dec 4 — China and the Bali Democracy Forum  
WASHINGTON (McClatchy) Tim Johnson, Commentary—China is among the curious guests invited to next week’s Bali Democracy Forum to spread the gospel of representative government.

But it won’t feel alone. Also going are envoys from Burma, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

I’m sure they’ll all have plenty to say at the Dec. 10-11 forum, including why their countries simply aren’t ready for democracy.

Dec 5 — China: Factory owners protest for payment of debts  
GUANGZHOU, China (Associated Press, William Foreman)—About 100 factory owners and employees held up red protest banners outside a government building Friday in southern China, demanding that officials help them collect more than $13 million in debts from an electronics factory that recently closed.

The demonstration in Guangzhou was one of many in recent months in Guangdong — one of China's wealthiest and most industrialized provinces — where thousands of factories have shut down this year. Most of the protests have involved laid-off workers, and Friday's event was a sign that anger about the ongoing economic woes was bubbling up to the managers and owners of small factories.

Dec 5 — China November Car Sales Drop 10% as Slump Spreads
Bloomberg (Li Yanping)—China’s November car sales plunged 10 percent, the biggest decline in more than three years, extending a global rout in auto demand that has caused carmakers to seek government support.

Dec 5 — China power producers post big losses in Jan-Oct  
BEIJING (Business Times, Malaysia)—China's five biggest power producers lost 26.8 billion yuan (100 yuan = RM53) in the first 10 months of this year after raw material costs rose and a slowing economy curbed demand, a company official said.

Dec 5 — China International Marine Halts Bulk Operations, WSJ Reports  
Bloomberg—China International Marine Containers (Group) Co. halted its key bulk shipping business in October because of slowing demand for commodities, the Wall Street Journal said.

Dec 5 — Overzealous cadres overwhelm China quake victims  
BEIJING (Reuters)— Local officials who are over-eager to meet earthquake reconstruction targets are making survival more difficult for victims of a devastating quake in China's Sichuan province earlier this year, state radio said on Friday.
The onset of winter has added to the miseries of survivors of the May 12 quake, millions of whom are still crowded into tents, thin prefabricated houses and make-shift shelters.

Charities have launched quilt drives and provincial officials have warned that quilts, clothing, and in some cases, even food, is scarce. But authorities in Mianyang, one of the areas that was worst-hit by the quake, have demanded most of its people move into permanent housing by the Chinese New Year, which falls in late January, state radio said.

Officials in Mianyang have launched a "tent-clearing" drive, the report said, increasing the crowding for families who had been keeping their belongings outside while they squeezed into temporary rooms.

"It is impossible to live like this," said a villager. "But we were forced to remove the tent today. We have to. If we don't, the government will have somebody remove it by force."

The Sichuan provincial government has said the quake reconstruction could take as long as three years, but local officials may be eager to make a good impression by appearing to meet the target ahead of time.

Dec 5 —  When China will be democratic, Tibet issue will be solved: Dalai Lama  
GDANSK, POLAND (AFP)—When democracy takes root in China, including the rule of law and freedom of the press, the issue of Tibet will be solved in a few days, Tibet's spiritual leader said Friday.

Dec 5 — Chinese property hunters to raid US
BEIJING (Financial Times, Geoff Dyer)—Chinese bargain hunters are preparing to descend on American cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, where homeowners have suffered some of the steepest price falls in the US.

Dec 5 — China's turn: Religious revival  
Canadian Business —Buddhism is big business in China. Chinese religious policies have continued to evolve rapidly — largely because the economic boom has unleashed a massive religious resurgence.

Taiwanese analysts say as many as one-third of China’s 60 million Communist party members are religious. On holy days, main Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian sites are overrun with pilgrims. With floods of money from newly observant donors, temples across the country are being restored at a frantic pace. Christianity is also booming in China, with an estimated one million new followers joining congregations annually.

The Communist government maintains an ideological commitment to atheism as a central tenet of Marxism, and bitterly resents the intrusion of religion into politics, but it now aims to channel religion toward economic growth and social stability according to State Minister for Religious Affairs.

Dec 5 — China conducts 1st successful test of hybrid rocket  
China Daily—China successfully launched and retrieved a hybrid rocket on Friday for the first time. The rocket, "Beihang-2", was launched at 3:05 pm from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province.

Dec 5 — Nine killed, three injured after bus plunge in SW China  
China Economic Net—Nine people died and three were injured after a bus plunged into a reservoir in a southwest China city on Thursday night, police said on Friday

Dec 5 — Cold snap sweeps China, brings snow, sharp drop of temperature  
China Economic Net —The strongest cold front this winter swept most parts of China on Thursday, bringing sharp drop of temperatures and snow in some areas. From Tuesday to Thursday, snow had fallen in northwestern Xinjiang, northeastern Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces.

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