China Briefs—Nov 20 to Nov 23

By Gisela Sommer, Epoch Times
November 27, 2008 8:17 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 10:38 pm
Residents drink tea beneath a bridge across the Yangtze River on November 28, in Chongqing. The Yangtze River has reached its flood peak this week.  (China Photos/Getty Images)
Residents drink tea beneath a bridge across the Yangtze River on November 28, in Chongqing. The Yangtze River has reached its flood peak this week. (China Photos/Getty Images)

Nov 20 — Protest-hit China says job stability top priority  
BEIJING (Reuters)—Stabilising employment is the top priority for China, a minister said on Thursday as he revealed a rise in jobless workers triggered by a weakened export sector amid a series of strikes and protests.

Unemployment rose in October as the impact of the global financial crisis hit China's production heartland. The ranks of jobless are expected to rise further in 2009, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin said.

After decades of solid economic growth, China is battling an unknown as falling demand for its products triggers factory closures, sparks protests and raises fears of popular unrest.

Nov 20 — China fears job riots  
CNN—China's job outlook is "grim," and the global financial crisis could cause more layoffs and more labor unrest until the country's economic stimulus package kicks in next year, the nation's minister of human resources and social security said Thursday.

Thousands of graduates crowd a jobs fair in Nanjing but vacancies are becoming harder to find.

Nov 20 — The Poverty Problem   
Newsweek (Jayshree Bajoria, Council On Foreign Relations—The decline of the global economy has triggered concerns that millions will be sent into poverty in China and India.

Nov 20 — Police detain 30 for violence in NW China protest  
BEIJING, Associate Press (Gillian Wong)—Police have detained 30 people in northwestern China’s Longnan city for violence during a protest involving 2,000 people earlier this week in which a large crowd stormed a local Communist Party headquarters and clashed with police, authorities said Thursday.

Nov 20 — China Announces Possible Diversification into Gold
BEIJING (Dow Jones)—China's central bank is considering raising its gold reserve by 4,000 metric tons from 600 tons to diversify risks brought by the country's huge foreign exchange reserves, the Guangzhou Daily reported, citing unnamed industry people in Hong Kong.

Nov 20 — Over 1,000 melamine babies still in China hospitals  
BEIJING (Reuters)—Over a thousand Chinese infants are still in hospital receiving treatment for kidney damage caused by tainted milk, China's Health Ministry said on Thursday, more than two months after the scandal broke.

The United States has since banned all imports of Chinese food products unless they are certified either free of diary or free of melamine.

Door-to-door screening of more than 307,000 Beijing families with children under the age of three found that over 75,000 babies had been fed contaminated milk formula, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Nov 20 — Migratory birds starving in China  
BEIJING, (UPI)—Thousands of migratory birds in Central China cannot feed because of flooding from heavy rains in a large freshwater lake region in Dongting.

A spokes person for the Eastern Dongting Lake Nature Reserve Administration told Xinghua news that the water level in the lake has risen about 20 feet, flooding wetlands that usually provide food for the birds.

Nov 20 — China says quake school toll over 19,000  
BEIJING (Reuters)—Schools that collapsed during China's May 12 earthquake killed more than 19,000 people, nearly a quarter of the total deaths, an official said on Friday, giving the first government estimate.

The deaths of children, many buried under ruins of shoddily built classrooms while nearby buildings withstood the tremors, has been the most controversial aspect of the disaster.

The 7.9 magnitude quake killed more than 80,000 people.

Nov 20 — Poisonous Gas Sickens More Than 100 Children In China  
BEIJING (AFP)—More than 100 primary school students in south China were taken to hospital after they inhaled gas emitted by an illegal refinery nearby, a local official and state media said Friday.

Nov 20 — China boosts military ties with Chile and Argentina  
HONG KONG (UPI, Andrei Chang)—China has been stepping up its military contacts with Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, in addition to its existing ties with Cuba and Venezuela.

Nov 20 — U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission Report to Congress
WASHINGTON—The compretensive 400 page 2008 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was released amidst world-wide media attention. The report warns that China is stealing vast amounts of sensitive information from U.S. companies and government agencies by computer hacking, and is also developing cyber-warfare, the report to Congress says.

The report is available at

Nov 21 — China angrily dismisses US congressional report  
AFP—China reacted angrily Saturday to a US congressional report that accused Beijing of developing sophisticated cyber warfare and militarising its space programme.

Nov 21 — China 'needs to explain' military boost 
AAP—China needs to be more forthcoming in explaining the reasoning behind the major expansion of its military forces, Australia's Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston says.

Nov 21 — Silicon Valley engineers sentenced to prison for roles in China chip theft  
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune)—Two engineers from China who pleaded guilty to economic espionage against the U.S. are each facing a year in prison, in a case that highlights national security threats surrounding sensitive technologies.

Nov 21 — Australian Police Find A$32 Million of Drugs Among China Goods  
Bloomberg—Crystal methylamphetamine valued at A$32 million ($20 million) smuggled in household items from China were intercepted by police in South Australia in the state's largest seizure of the addictive recreational drug.

Nov 21 — China has only identified 19,000 quake victims: official  
AFP—Fewer than a quarter of the total dead or missing victims of the devastating earthquake that struck China six months ago have been identified, a top official said.

Nov 21 — China vows not to compromise with Tibetan exiles  
AP  (Christopher Bodeen)—China launched a new attack on the Dalai Lama's drive for Tibetan autonomy on Friday, vowing not to compromise with leaders of the Tibetan exile community meeting to debate the future of their movement.

Nov 21 — China's crops at risk from massive erosion  
Reuters—Over a third of China's land is being scoured by serious erosion that is putting its crops and water supply a risk, a three-year nationwide survey has found.

Soil is being washed and blown away not only in remote rural areas, but near mines, factories and even in cities, the official Xinhua agency cited the country's bio-environment security research team saying. Each year some 4.5 billion tonnes of soil are lost, threatening the country's ability to feed itself.

Nov 21 — China Orders Execution of 2 Communist Officials for Corruption  
Bloomberg  (James Peng and John Liu) reported that China sentenced to death two former Communist Party officials from Chenzhou on corruption charges.

Zheng Jinchun, 61, the former head of the party's discipline commission for state employees, will face execution for taking 31.52 million yuan ($4.6 million) in bribes from 1997 to Sept. 2006, the official Xinhua News reported.

Li Dalun, 58, who served as secretary of the party's Chenzhou Municipal Committee, took 14 million yuan of money and gifts from February 1999 to May 2006 in exchange for promotions, contracts and mining. Li was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve.

Corruption costs China's economy as much as $86 billion a year, or 3 percent of gross domestic product, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said last year.

Nov 21 — Guns N' Roses not bringing "Democracy" to China  
LOS ANGELES (Reuters, Dean Goodman) – Guns N' Roses fans in China will have to go underground to get their hands on a copy of the band's first album in 17 years, "Chinese Democracy," which will be released worldwide on Sunday. The rock band's Geffen Records label said on Friday, "It is unlikely we will be approved to release the album in Mainland China."

….The title track might raise some eyebrows. Evidently addressing China's communist leadership, singer Axl Rose says followers of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement have "seen the end and you can't hold on now."

The artwork includes Beijing artist Shi Lifeng's 2008 oil painting "Red Star," which depicts the powerlessness of Chinese people in a state ruled by an iron fist.

Nov 22 — 4.1-magnitude earthquake jolts central China county  
YICHANG, China Daily – An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale jolted  central China's Hubei Province on Saturday, the National Seismic Network reported.

Nov 22 — Panda in China zoo bites student who wanted a hug  
AP via Yahoo! News—A college student in southern China was bitten by a panda after he broke into the bear's enclosure hoping to get a hug, state media and a park employee said Saturday.

Nov 22 — China jails online activist for supporting Tibetans  
BEIJING (New Kerala)—China has sentenced an online activist to three years in prison after convicting him of subversion for supporting Tibetans who staged anti-Chinese protests, a rights group said Saturday.

A court in the south-western city of Chengdu, Sichuan province, sentenced Chen Daojun Friday after finding him guilty of "inciting subversion of state power", the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said in a statement.

Nov 22 — 'China is a threat to democracy'  
BBC News – In an interview with the BBC former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten said more should be done to tackle the democratic deficit in China and Asia.

Lord Patten said China promoted the idea that one could get rich without needing democracy – and such an idea posed a threat to the West. He did not think the Chinese model of "authoritarian, illiberal, proto-capitalism" would win out, because it did not have the "safety valves" provided by democracies when times were tough.

Nov 23 — China now America's biggest foreign creditor  
Honolulu Advertiser—China passed Japan to become the U.S. government's largest foreign creditor in September, the Treasury Department announced last week.

China's new status — it now owns nearly $1 out of every $10 in U.S. public debt — means Washington will be increasingly forced to rely on Beijing as it seeks to raise funds to cover the cost of a $700 billion bailout. China, in fact, may be the government's largest creditor, period. The Treasury Department does not keep records on domestic bond holders. But analysts said China's holdings are so vast that the existence of a larger stakeholder in the United States now seems unlikely.