China Briefs: Jan 3 to 4, 2009

By Gisela Sommer, Epoch Times
January 7, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Workers at a semi-hightech factory in Shenzhen, southern China's Guangdong province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers at a semi-hightech factory in Shenzhen, southern China's Guangdong province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 3 — Fire dies under China’s once booming manufacturing industry  
The Times (Leo Lewis) – China’s vast manufacturing sector, the driving force behind the country’s celebrated economic growth story, is on the brink of technical recession as order books run dry and once humming factories fall silent.

Jan 3 — Parents of kids in China milk scandal released  
BEIJING (AP) – Five parents whose children were sickened by tainted milk have been released by Chinese police after being detained for a day in an apparent move to prevent them from meeting with journalists, a lawyer said Saturday.

The parents were unhappy about a compensation plan made public this week, saying the amounts were too low and the plan was formulated without any input from families.

Jan 3 — China arrested almost 1,300 in Muslim west last year: report  
AFP – China arrested almost 1,300 people for terrorism, religious extremism or other state security charges in the country's Muslim-majority western Xinjiang region last year, state press said Sunday.

The vast desert area bordering Central Asia is home to more than eight million members of China's ethnic Uighur population, Muslims who have complained for decades of political and religious repression.

Jan 3 — NTDTV and Supporters Send Letter to French President Regarding Eutelsat turning off broadcast signal to China (Worldwide Support) – On December 29, 2008, representatives of the New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) French branch delivered a letter to the French Presidential Palace. The letter was jointly signed by the NTDTV branch, political leaders and human rights groups from different countries.

The letter was regarding Eutelsat turning off NTDTV's broadcast signal to China under pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and called upon French President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene to defend freedom of the press in China and Europe…

Jan 3 — China is preparing Tiananmen Square military parade: report  
AFP – China will mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic with a military parade showcasing the nation's latest weapons, state press said Sunday.

The parade was last held in 1999 to mark the 50th anniversary. The 1989 parade for the 40th anniversary was reportedly cancelled after the military crushed democracy protests on Tiananmen Square in June that year.

Jan 3 — China violates accord with Japan over disputed gas field: report  
TOKYO (AFP) – China has violated an agreement with Japan and continued developing a gas field in a disputed area in the East China Sea, a press report said Sunday.

Jan 3 — China tested Pakistan's first N-bomb during Benazir's tenure: ex-US official
WASHINGTON (New Kerala) – In a startling revelation made by a former US official, it has emerged that China tested Pakistan's first nuclear bomb in 1990.

Thomas Reed, a former US Air Force secretary has claimed in his book ‘The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation’ that during Benazir Bhutto's tenure China helped Pakistan in testing its first nuclear armament.

Jan 3 — Fireworks factory blast kills 13 in eastern China  
BEIJING (AP) – An explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in eastern China killed 13 people, state media reported Sunday.

Accidents in Chinese factories are common, with thousands dying every year in part because of lax enforcement of safety rules.

Jan 4 — China's mounting pink slips  
International Herald Tribune (Christina Larson) – Mounting factory layoffs this year – around 2 million have been sent packing near the factory city of Dongguan alone – have prompted a string of noisy but isolated protests across the country's southern industrial region. The anxious Chinese government has rushed in with bailout money for companies and some compensation for workers. So far, a thousand sparks haven't become a wildfire. Fretful Chinese workers have yet to channel discontent into unified campaigns, or demands for representation in the political sphere. But whether Beijing can so easily mollify the growing apprehension among the country's middle class could be another story entirely.

Jan 4 — China factory output dips further  
BBC News – China's manufacturing output falls for a third consecutive month as the economic slowdown continued to hit its economy.

The official purchasing managers' index moved slightly higher than November's all-time low to 41.2 with any figure under 50 indicating a contraction.

Jan 4 — Bush administration files trade case against China  
WASHINGTON (AG Weekly) – The Bush administration on Friday filed a trade case against China over its use of export subsidies to promote Chinese products.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, in announcing the case, said China was violating global trade rules administered by the World Trade Organization in the way it operates a “famous brands” program to promote the sale of Chinese goods in other countries.

Jan 4 — China allowed into Iraq oil fields  
BEIJING (The Times of India) – Energy hungry China has finally got its hands into oil assets in Iraq, which has remained off-limits to foreigners since Saddam Hussein nationalised the industry in 1972. The state-run China National Petroleum Corporation has become the first foreign company to start work in an Iraqi oil field after a gap of 30 years.

Jan 4 — China’s net cops focus on public opinion  
BEIJING (Financial Times, Kathrin Hille) – China’s government is equipping its internet censors with more advanced software that allows them to spot risks of subversion much earlier and root it out more efficiently, according to the country’s internet security market leader.

The revelation from Beijing TRS Information Technology, China’s leading provider of search technology and text mining solutions, that it is thriving on the government’s desire to better “manage” public opinion, comes as the political leadership is facing growing challenges, mostly voiced through the internet.

Jan 4 –– Road accidents kill over 73,000 in China in 2008  
People's Daily – Almost 73,500 people died in road accidents in China last year, according to official figures released on Sunday. Last year, 265,204 road accidents killed 73,484 people and injured 304,919 others nationwide, down 19 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent respectively from 2007, the traffic administration bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said.

Jan 4 — Quake-hit seat of China's Qingchuan County could relocate  
CHENGDU (China Daily) – China might relocate the county seat of Qingchuan, which has had constant aftershocks since the massive May 12 earthquake in which 4,697 local residents died and 15,489 were injured.

Jan 4 — New bird flu cases revive fears of human pandemic
Los Angeles Times (Mary Engel) – Just when you thought you could scratch bird flu off your list of things to worry about in 2009, the deadly H5N1 virus has resurfaced in poultry in Hong Kong for the first time in six years, reinforcing warnings that the threat of a human pandemic isn't over.

Jan 4 — Chinese New Year Spectacular in S.F., Cupertino
SAN FRANCISCO (San Francisco Chronicle, Mary Ellen Hunt) – If ancient Chinese goddesses were modernized to the 21st century, one imagines that they would look a lot like Vina Lee, the tall, fine-featured, elegant choreographer and dancer whose artistry graces the [New York based] Chinese Classical Divine Performing Arts Company in the company's forthcoming performances of the Chinese New Year Spectacular at the War Memorial Opera House and the Flint Center in Cupertino.