China Briefs—Dec 1 – 2
Dec 1 — China's currency falls by record against U.S. dollar
Market Watch—China’s currency stages a record loss against the U.S. dollar Monday, falling to the lower end of its daily trading limit, in what some analysts say is a policy shift as authorities let the yuan depreciate against the greenback in an effort to help bolster the decelerating economy.
Dec 1—China says 294,000 children fell ill from tainted milk
BEIJING (AFP) – China said Monday that a total of 294,000 children had fallen ill from consuming dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, with 154 of them still in serious condition.
The health ministry's total figure of children sickened amid this year's scandal was a nearly six-fold rise from the government's previous figure given in September of 53,000.
Dec 1 — Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to Buy China Dairy Farm, Telegraph Says
Bloomberg—Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is to buy China's largest dairy farm in a 200 million pound ($300 million) deal, the Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information from.
Dec 1 — China mine blast kills 15 workers, 3 rescuers die
BEIJING (AP)—A coal mine blast in northern China killed 15 miners and three rescuers died in a cave-in Monday morning.
China's coal mines are the world's deadliest. Coal is hugely important in China, feeding two-thirds of the economy's energy demand.
Dec 1 — China manufacturing slows as downturn deepens
Associate Press—China's manufacturing activity contracted sharply in November as a downturn in the world's fourth-largest economy worsened, raising the threat of politically volatile job losses, according to data reported Monday.
Also Monday, the government lifted food price controls imposed earlier in the year to cool high inflation. The move highlighted the speed with which Beijing has had to shift focus from surging prices to falling growth……
Dec 1 — China Cuts Interest Rates to Boost Economy
UK Business Week (Frederik Balfour)—As they try to tackle China's economic problems, Beijing leaders are not taking any half measures. Earlier this month the government unveiled a massive $586 billion dollar fiscal package of tax cuts and spending projects. Now in a further attempt to goose growth, China's central bank on Nov. 26 announced a massive cut in its one-year benchmark lending rate, slashing it over a full percentage point, to 5.58%. The 108-basis-point cut is the most dramatic the Peoples Bank of China has engineered since the dark days of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. The central bank also cut the reserve rate requirement that banks must set aside against loans and reduced one-year bank deposit rates by 108 basis points, to 2.52%.
Such a large cut in interest rates underscores how concerned China is with bolstering growth, and is a huge contrast to just six months ago when the country was struggling to keep inflation under control. Today's cut is the fourth since September. It's uncertain how effective the cuts will be.
Dec 1 — China's CNPC gets $3.29 bln UAE pipeline project
Associated Press—China National Petroleum Corp. has won a bid to build a $3.29 billion pipeline in the United Arab Emirates, its largest overseas construction project so far, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
Dec 1 — China builds South East Asia ties
BBC News—Senior Chinese officials are visiting Laos and Cambodia as they cultivate ties with China's poorer southern neighbors.
Dec 1 — China, Singapore vow to boost pragmatic military cooperation
People's Daily—China and Singapore have pledged to deepen and expand military cooperation in hopes of making substantial progress, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said during a meeting with Singapore's Chief of Defense Force.
Dec 1 — China to Provide Massive Economic Aid to Nepal
Outlook India—China is set to bolster ties with the Maoist-led government in Nepal with a massive USD 100 million financial aid soon after the landmark visit of Indian foreign minister to Kathmandu.
Dec 1 — Canceled meeting highlights China-EU discord
BEIJING (Reuters,Chris Buckley)—The public cheeriness that usually accompanies summit conferences between China and the European Union is on ice this year after Beijing called off the annual meeting, exposing rifts that go well beyond the tiff over Tibet.
Last week, China pulled out of the conference, which was scheduled to begin Monday in Lyon, France, blaming a decision by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader. Sarkozy's plan for a meeting Saturday has enraged Chinese leaders, who are increasing pressure to deter the Dalai Lama's frequent unofficial meetings with Western leaders.
But experts say that even after this quarrel blows over, China's willingness to cancel highlights deeper failings that may distract from efforts to resuscitate the international financial system and stalled global trade talks.
Dec 2 — China warns Sarkozy of fallout from Dalai Lama meeting
BEIJING (Reuters)—China warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy to call off a planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying on Tuesday that it was up to Sarkozy to create the right conditions for putting China-EU relations back on track.
There now seems little chance that Sarkozy will abandon the meeting. But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman nonetheless pressed that demand, warning that the dispute was clouding broader ties with the EU, China's biggest trade partner.
"France is clear about China's principled stance and major concerns," the spokesman, Liu Jianchao, told a news conference in Beijing.
"Now is the time for the French side to make an important decision on this issue, and we hope it will make the important choice to create a healthy atmosphere and conditions for advancing Chinese relations with Europe and France."
Dec 2 — Corruption, an illness that is hard to cure
Epoch Times blog—A Chinese lawyer, speaking to a western media about the melamine poisoned milk scandal and the difficulties faced by Chinese parents to bring lawsuits against China’s dairy industry, summed up the reason, saying, “Corruption is an illness that is hard to cure.”
It’s not that the Chinese communist regime leaders are the only corrupt officials in the world, but they are the masters of it, and everyone in the world knows it.
And yet the regime pretends to be so upright. People's Daily reported on Dec. 1 that a Chinese senior official met in Beijing on Monday with representatives of an international anti-corruption workshop, pledging to strengthen cooperation on discipline and supervision between Asian and African countries[!]
Dec 2 — 11 girls die of poisoning at school in north China
BEIJING (AP)—Eleven girls died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a school in northern China's Shaanxi province, an education official said Tuesday evening. A news report said the girls had lit a fire to keep warm.
Dec 2 — China urges developed world to take lead in climate change fight
HONG KONG (AFP)—China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi on Tuesday said rich countries should lead the fight against climate change and provide expertise to the developing world to help reduce emissions.
China agreed would help contain carbon emissions – as long as the wealthy industrial countries gave them the needed technology and finances.
Dec 2 — Taiwan says China "blocking" blockbuster movie
TAIPEI (Reuters)—Taiwan's biggest ever box office hit, a love story involving former colonial power Japan, has been held up in China, possibly over its historical slant, the island's government and newspapers said on Tuesday.
But China, which claims Taiwan as a renegade breakaway province and often censors films that do not follow the government line, denied there had been any delay.
The film follows two Taiwan people who fall in love with Japanese, one of whom was involved in Taiwan's colonization between 1895 and 1945. Their stories reflect the tight bonds, both then and now, between Taiwan and Japan.
The movie is already widely available in China on pirated DVDs.