China Briefs: Jan 17 to 18, 2009

By Gisela Sommer, Epoch Times
January 20, 2009 1:53 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 10:20 pm

Chinese People's Liberation Army air force officers wave goodbye to helicopters leaving Hong Kong to go back to China during the city's annual rotation of military personnel. (Alex Hofford/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese People's Liberation Army air force officers wave goodbye to helicopters leaving Hong Kong to go back to China during the city's annual rotation of military personnel. (Alex Hofford/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 16 — Obama Pentagon pick cites China concern 
WASHINGTON (Reuters, Jim Wolf) – President-elect Barack Obama's choice for the Pentagon's second-ranking job said on Thursday it would be tough to pay for all existing big-ticket U.S. weapons programs but called for hedging against China's growing military might.

William Lynn, who would be the deputy secretary of defense, and other Obama nominees for top Pentagon jobs did not name which programs they might seek to cut, eliminate or stretch out to meet budget constraints.

Jan 17 — China says no threat from its military development  
BEIJING (The Hindu) – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will not engage in any arms race and its development does not pose a threat to any country, China Daily quotes a senior military official as saying.

The Chinese military has strengthened along with the country’s robust economic growth in recent years.

Jan 17 — Taiwan firms seek damages over tainted milk powder from China  
TAIPEI (EARTHtimes.org) – A dozen Taiwan companies are seeking 700 million Taiwan dollars (21 million US dollars) from China for losses caused by China's tainted milk products, a newspaper said Saturday. The companies, including the King Car Group, a leading food and beverage group, are jointly seeking the compensation from China, the Liberty Times said.

Jan 17 — China suffers setback at WTO in car parts case  
NEW DELHI (The Hindu, G. Srinivasan) –  For China, a non-market economy and a new-fangled member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the rules of the global trading game can no longer remain opaque or arbitrary. The rule-based world trading system bastion has made this loud and clear to China, in its confirmation of the latter’s breach of trade law in the car parts case recently.

On January 15, the WTO has circulated the Appellate Body report in the case brought by the European Union (EU), US and Canada against China’s taxes on imported car parts, thereby corroborating China’s contravention of trade law in the car parts case.

This is the first altercation brought by the European Commission against China.

Jan 17 — Global slump casts a pall over Chinese New Year
BEIJING (AP, Joe McDonald) – The Year of the Ox seems likely to bring more belt-tightening. Squeezed by the global slowdown, consumers and companies in countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, which begins this year on Jan. 26, are slashing their spending on traditionally lavish gifts, liquor and banquets.

Jan 17 — M&S fires China boss  
Daily Telegraph – Marks and Spencer has fired its managing director in China just three months after launching its flagship store in Shanghai.

The store was deserted during the key Christmas trading period.
Chinese customs officials blocked M&S goods and poor supply chain management resulted in rows of bare shelves at the store.

Jan 17 — China’s Labor Camps: Business as Usual
Epoch Times blog – Almost daily, Falun Gong practitioners in China report about fellow practitioners being sentenced to slave labor in China’s Forced Labor Camps.

A headline on Clearwisdom.net (English version of  Minghui.org) Jan. 17, reads: “Over Ten Falun Gong Practitioners in Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province Sent to Forced Labor Camps or Sentenced in 2008.”

The personal stories behind these headlines are heartwrenching. They are the stories of millions of Chinese people used and abused by their own government.

For a long time it has been known that China’s communist regime prospers financially by utilizing Forced Labor Camps as low cost production sites for products made for export. The camps also serve as a means to intimidate Chinese citizens and prevent them from expressing independent thought or criticism of the regime, hence the official term, “Education through Labor Camps”.

How China’s Forced Labor Camp system has played a role in China’s (and the world’s) economic prosperity is a topic the world has neglected to sufficiently discuss and condemn.

As we are now all looking for the causes, and solutions to the world’s economic demise, we have an opportunity to reflect and explore recovery plans that include ethical and moral evaluations and solutions. If we want the world economy to become healthy again, we first need a global consciousness raising.

Slave labor by millions of Chinese citizens, including Falun Gong practitioners,  cannot remain business as usual.

Jan 17 — Drought deepens in northern China  
TAIYUAN, China (UPI) – A drought in northern China is getting worse, with officials saying Saturday they have bumped up their emergency warning level.

Jan 18 — China reports two new cases of bird flu, one dead  
BEIJING (Reuters) – A woman in eastern China has died and a 2-year-old girl is critically ill in the north after becoming infected with bird flu, the Chinese Health Ministry said on Sunday.

After not reporting a single human infection in almost a year, China has now confirmed three cases of the H5N1 virus in less than two weeks.

Jan 18 — "Erroneous" Western democracy not for China: official  
BEIJING (Reuters, Ian Ransom) – China must build defenses against "erroneous" ideas involving Western-style democracy, a top government official said in comments published on Sunday, shooting down recent calls by dissidents for political reform.

China's ruling Communist Party has stepped up efforts to stifle dissent and protest ahead of politically sensitive anniversaries this year, and amid concerns that rising unemployment in a slowing economy could fuel broad social unrest.

Jia Qinglin, China's fourth-most senior official, demanded officials throw their weight behind the one-party state in an essay in the Party's main ideological journal "Seeking Truth" (Qiushi), which was reproduced on major web portals on Sunday.

"Build a line of defense to resist Western two-party and multi-party systems, bicameral legislature, the separation of powers and other kinds of erroneous ideological interferences," said Jia, who is also head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a largely toothless parliamentary advisory body.

Jan 18 — Tibet to mark suppression of Dalai Lama-led rebellion: China  
BEIJING (AFP) – China announced on Monday that Tibet would each year have a special day to celebrate the Chinese military's crushing of a Dalai Lama-led rebellion and the "freeing of slaves" 50 years ago.

The new day is sure to stoke controversy as communist China's versions of recent Tibetan history are markedly different from those of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, and his supporters.

Jan 18 — India, China will be the next big global powers  
Deccan Herald (Gurcharan Das) – China and India are in a struggle for a top rung on the ladder of world power, but their approaches to the state and to power could not be more different.

Jan 18 — China way ahead on border infrastructure  
NEW DELHI (The Times of India) – First, India woke up to China's massive buildup of military infrastructure all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) rather late in the day. And now, it's floundering to execute its own relatively modest plans to strategically counter the Chinese moves.

"The plan is to construct the 73 roads in a time-bound manner by 2012 to counter the rapid pace of military development in the Tibetan Autonomous Region…” said a source.

Jan 18 — China grid operator profit plunges 80 pct  
BEIJING (Reuters) – China's top grid operator, State Grid Corp of China, on Sunday said its 2008 net profit fell almost 80 percent on the previous year due to natural disasters and higher power prices, Xinhua news agency reported.

Jan 18 — China's toy exports hit by global crisis: state media  
BEIJING (AFP) – China's toy exports have taken a beating from the global financial crisis, with demand shrinking in the key US and European markets, state media reported Sunday.

The paper quoted customs officials as saying that apart from the global slowdown, toy exports had also been impacted by a series of recent product quality scandals.

Jan 18 — Spectre of 50m job losses looms in China  
THE AGE (John Garnaut) – The economic crisis is set to hit workers hardest in China, with a leading scholar predicting 50 million people could be out of work this year.
Tsinghua University's Professor Yu Qiao said the Government's huge stimulus effort would cushion GDP growth but would not sufficiently address the mass unemployment problem, with potentially grave social consequences.

Jan 18 — Earthquake hits China  
BEIJING (Gulf Times) – A 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck southwest China late Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, with local media reporting some material damage.

The quake hit at 8:41 pm (1241 GMT) in the border area between the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, at a depth of 10km, the USGS said.