Category - China

China makes big cut in bank reserve requirement to fight slowdown

Reuters, April 20

Beijing – China’s central bank on Sunday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, the second industry-wide cut in two months, adding more liquidity to the world’s second-biggest economy to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 100 basis points to 18.5 percent, effective from April 20, the central bank said in a statement on its website www.pbc.gov.cn.

“Though the growth in the first quarter met the official target of around 7 percent for 2015, the slowdown in several areas, including industrial output and retail sales, has caused concern,” said a report published by the official Xinhua news service covering the announcement.

The latest cut, the deepest single reduction since the depth of the global crisis in 2008, shows how the central bank is stepping up efforts to ward off a sharp slowdown in the economy.

“The size of the cut is more than expected,” said Shenwan Hongyuan Securities analyst Chen Kang.

“It’s going to release around a trillion yuan (in liquidity) at least.”

Institute: China now world’s third-biggest arms exporter

AP, By Christopher Bodeen, March 15

China has overtaken Germany to become the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, although its 5 percent of the market remains small compared to the combined 58 percent of exports from the U.S. and Russia, a new study says.

China’s share of the global arms market rose 143 percent during the years from 2010-2014, a period during which the total volume of global arms transfers rose by 16 percent over the previous five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report released Monday.

Its share of the world market was up from 3 percent in the 2009-2014 period, when China was ranked ninth among exporters of warplanes, ships, side arms and other weaponry, said the institute, known as SIPRI.

US anger at Britain joining Chinese-led investment bank AIIB

US statement says of UK membership that it is ‘worried about a trend of constant accommodation’ of China, in a rare public breach in the special relationship.

The Guardian, By Nicholas Watt, Paul Lewis & Tania Branigan, March 12

The White House has issued a pointed statement declaring it hopes and expects the UK will use its influence to ensure that high standards of governance are upheld in a new Chinese-led investment bank that Britain is to join.

In a rare public breach in the special relationship, the White House signalled its unease at Britain’s decision to become a founder member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) by raising concerns about whether the new body would meet the standards of the World Bank.

The $50bn (£33.5bn) bank, which is designed to provide infrastructure funds to the Asia-Pacific region, is viewed with great suspicion by Washington officials, who see it as a rival to the World Bank. They believe Beijing will use the bank to extend its soft power in the region.

The White House statement reads: “This is the UK’s sovereign decision. We hope and expect that the UK will use its voice to push for adoption of high standards.”

China’s Tensions With Dalai Lama Spill Into the Afterlife

New York Times, By Chris Buckley, March 11

Hong Kong — Chinese Communist Party leaders are afraid that the Dalai Lama will not have an afterlife. Worried enough that this week, officials repeatedly warned that he must reincarnate, and on their terms.

Tensions over what will happen when the 14th Dalai Lama, who is 79, dies, and particularly over who decides who will succeed him as the most prominent leader in Tibetan Buddhism, have ignited at the annual gathering of China’s legislators in Beijing.

Officials have amplified their argument that the Communist government is the proper guardian of the Dalai Lama’s succession through an intricate process of reincarnation that has involved lamas, or senior monks, visiting a sacred lake and divining dreams.

Party functionaries were incensed by the exiled Dalai Lama’s recent speculation that he might end his spiritual lineage and not reincarnate. That would confound the Chinese government’s plans to engineer a succession that would produce a putative 15th Dalai Lama who accepts China’s presence and policies in Tibet. Their anger welled up on Wednesday, as it had a day earlier.

Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who has long dealt with Tibetan issues, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama had, essentially, no say over whether he was reincarnated. That was ultimately for the Chinese government to decide, he said, according to a transcript of his comments on the website of People’s Daily, the party’s main newspaper.

“Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and over the end or survival of this lineage, resides in the central government of China,” said Mr. Zhu, formerly a deputy head of the United Front Department of the Communist Party, which oversees dealings with religious and other nonparty groups. He now leads the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body that meets at the same time as the Legislature, or National People’s Congress.

Chinese president Xi Jinping to visit US, says diplomat

Chinese ambassador to US says officials from both countries are discussing Xi making first state visit to US later this year

AP, February 8

A top Chinese diplomat has said President Xi Jinping plans to make his first state visit to the US later this year, Chinese state media reported on Monday.

The official China Daily newspaper quoted China’s ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai as saying Chinese and US officials were discussing the visit. Cui told Chinese reporters on Sunday that no date had been determined yet.

The US national security adviser Susan Rice said on Friday that the US had invited both Xi and the Japanese president, Shinzo Abe, for state visits.

China’s Louisiana Purchase: Who’s building a methanol plant on the bayou?

Al Jazeera investigates ties between Louisiana and the Chinese government in a proposed $1.85 billion methanol plant.

Al Jazeera, By Massoud Hayoun, January 26

This article is part one of a three-part series on China’s role in redeveloping southern Louisiana called China’s Louisiana Purchase.

St. James Parish, LA — A prominent Chinese tycoon and politician — whose natural gas company has a dubious environmental and labor rights record that recently started coming under fire in the Chinese press — is parking assets in a multibillion dollar methanol plant in a Louisiana town. And he appears to be doing it with help from the administration of likely GOP 2016 presidential ticket contender Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Not many locals in a predominantly black neighborhood of St. James Parish — halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge — know that Wang Jinshu, the Communist Party Secretary for the northeastern Chinese village of Yuhuang and a former delegate to the National People’s Congress, is the man at the helm of a $1.85 billion methanol plant to be built in their town over the next two years with a $9.5 million incentive package from the state. The details of the project are unclear, residents say, largely because they were not told about the project until local officials, amid discussions with state officials and Chinese diplomats, decided to move forward with the project in July 2014.

“We never had a town hall meeting pretending to get our opinion prior to them doing it,” said Lawrence “Palo” Ambrose, a 74-year-old black Vietnam War veteran who works at a nearby church. “They didn’t make us part of the discussion.”

LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

The ugly ramifications of the Trade in Services Act (TiSA)

Wolf Street, By Don Quijones, December 25

Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.
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Apec agrees network to share information on corruption

BBC, November 8

Countries of Asia and the Pacific region have agreed to set up a network to share information on corruption.

Apec members said in a statement that the purpose of the agreement, proposed by China, was to deny safe haven to anyone engaged in corruption.

It comes amid efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping to clamp down on corrupt officials, including those who try to escape abroad.

Apec leaders are expected to back the deal at a summit in Beijing next week.

US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the move as a “major step forward”.

“Corruption not only creates an unfair playing field, it not only distorts economic relationships, but corruption also steals from the people of every country the belief that the system can work for everybody,” he told journalists.

The Christian Science Monitor: As US and China meet at APEC summit, a drama involving billions in trade

Backlash after Hong Kong police release video of Occupy protesters’ ‘violent behaviour’

Backlash over video said to show the ‘hate and violence’ of Occupy protesters as lawmakers accuse security chief of ‘political propaganda’

South China Morning Post, By Tony Cheung , Shirley Zhao and Clifford Lo, October 28

Security chief Lai Tung-kwok yesterday attempted to lift the lid on “hate and violence” by Occupy protesters with a video of clashes with police – but found himself on the receiving end of a backlash amid accusations that he left out inconvenient events.

Lai premiered the video – said to have been gleaned from clips found on the internet – to members of the Legislative Council’s security panel. But panel members criticised him for using the meeting as a “tool of political propaganda”.

The minister insisted the video was meant only to show lawmakers what had happened.

Before showing the film, Lai spent seven minutes telling lawmakers how “Occupy Central … deviated from its nature of civil disobedience” and failed to live up to its promise to act “with love and peace”.

[…]

In the clips, protesters are seen apparently trying to seize barricades on September 28, while a man in the background shouts instructions such as “Charge! Put on goggles! The back row, proceed!” In other clips, officers are seen grabbing protesters’ umbrellas and using pepper spray and batons. In one clip, protesters are heard using foul language and shouting abuse at police in Mong Kok.

Police Unleash Tear Gas in Hong Kong Protests

New York Times, By Alan Wong & Chris Buckley, September 28

Hong Kong — In a significant escalation of their efforts to suppress protests calling for democracy, the authorities in Hong Kong unleashed tear gas, mobilized riot police with long-barreled guns and closed a subway station Sunday to disperse crowds that have besieged the city government for three days. But thousands of residents wielding only umbrellas and face masks defied police orders to clear the area.

Hours after the police sought to break up the protest, large crowds of demonstrators remained nearby, sometimes confronting lines of officers and chanting for them to lay down their truncheons and shields. Police officers were also injured in skirmishes with protesters. Streets of a city known as a safe enclave for commerce became a nighttime battleground.

Steve Lee, 23, a recent university graduate who joined the protest, sobbed on the sidewalk after exposure to tear gas. “I don’t understand how the government can, in less than 30 seconds after a warning, use tear gas against peaceful student protesters,” he said.

“Hong Kong has gone crazy,” he added. “It is no longer the Hong Kong I know, or the world knows.”

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

AP, August 31

China’s legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong’s leader, a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub.

The legislature’s powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than half of the votes from a special nominating body before going before voters. Democracy activists in the Asian financial hub responded by saying that a long-threatened mass occupation of the heart of the city “will definitely happen.”

Activists have also decried the nominating committee held up by Beijing as beholden to Chinese leaders and were mobilizing to stage massive protests against the decision.

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Hey, Remember How VW Wanted to Open More Factories in the United States?

And remember how they supported unions, the (informed) workers supported unions, and hell, most of America wanted to see those plants opening up here because, jobs? And it was only a small handful of conservative morons who were all Socialism!!!!!, which of course neglects the fact that the same “socialism” was expanding production into America?

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China plan to cap CO2 emissions seen turning point in climate talks

Reuters, By Kathy Chen & Stian Reklev, June 3

Beijing – China said on Tuesday it will set an absolute cap on its CO2 emissions from 2016 just a day after the United States announced new targets for its power sector, signalling a potential breakthrough in tough U.N. climate talks.

Progress in global climate negotiations has often been held back by a deep split between rich and poor nations, led by the United States and China, respectively, over who should step up their game to reduce emissions.

But the fact that the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases made unprecedented announcements on climate within 24 hours of each other sparked optimism among observers hoping to see the decades-old deadlock broken. The steps come ahead of a global meet on climate change starting on Wednesday in Germany.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, will set a total cap on its CO2 emissions when its next five-year plan comes into force in 2016, He Jiankun, chairman of China’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change, told a conference in Beijing.

China explores bond buying in first hint of QE

Officials have been clamping down on credit to puncture the property bubble but are clearly having second thoughts as money supply weakens and bad debts accumulate.

The Telegraph, By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, June 1

China’s central bank is exploring direct purchases of bonds and other assets to support key sectors of the economy in case the slowdown deepens, according to a leading Chinese business publication.

A front-page article in the China Securities Journal – regulated by the central bank – reported growing concerns about the weakness of the money supply and bad debts accumulating in the financial system.

The authorities may have to widen the range of possible options for “targeted monetary loosening”. These include surgical stimulus for the West and Central regions, as well as “direct asset purchases by the central bank”, mostly government bonds, financial and railroad debt, as well as state-backed housing bonds.

It is the first hint of quantitative easing in China, and has left analysts scratching their heads. The central bank has many other tools available that would normally be used first to combat incipient deflation. The Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) is still 20pc. This could be slashed to low single-digits if need be, generating up to $2 trillion of stimulus through higher lending.

Any move in this direction would be a radical policy shift. China has been clamping down on credit deliberately over recent months in order to slow the economy and puncture the property bubble before it becomes any more dangerous, but officials have clearly been having second thoughts for several weeks. Premier Li Keqiang announced a targeted cut in the RRR on Thursday, with lower rates for banks lending to agriculture and small business.

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