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ORF CHINA WEEKLY
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Vol. II Issue. 46
Key indicators signal momentum in economic recovery
12 November 2012

ECONOMY

Key indicators signal momentum in economic recovery

After successive quarters of economic slowdown, which culminated in a 7.4 percent economic expansion in Q3, China's economy is showing strong signs of recovery. As key indicators showed positive trends emerging and the data obtained in September pointed towards resurgent economic figures, analysts and investors feel strongly about China's economy gaining momentum in its recovery path.

Many analysts consider the October figures to be a significant turning point in China's economy as a positive outlook emerges for its performance in the first half of 2013. A Reuters poll suggests that the economy should witness a 7.8 percent growth in next year H1.

The 9.6 percent industrial output reading of the October data has certainly created an upswing in investor outlook. Nonetheless, equities continue to be subdued due to concerns regarding the "fiscal cliff" in the US and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

However, there continue to be voices of caution. Alistair Thornton, an economist with HIS Global Insight, Beijing, wrote in a note to clients, "The bottom line is that the economy remains very sluggish. Over the next couple of months, the economy will most likely continue to bounce off the bottom, although the balance of economic forces is shifting more to the upside than the downside."
Source (s): Reuters News Agency, November 9, 2012.

China's exports show positive trends

The October figures for China's market shipment have beaten all expectation as it rose to 11.6 percent, the strongest since May. The authorities, however, continue to take a grim view of the proceedings. Speaking at the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming told reporters that the crisis in foreign trade continues to pressurize the government to boost domestic consumption to sustain economic growth.

Despite the improving foreign trade, Chen said that the situation "is still severe, and we dare not say that the coming year will be sanguine". Chen also clarified that China is unlikely to meet the target 10 percent of growing foreign trade, as was set by Premier Wen Jiabao early this year. Notwithstanding these concerns, Chen did indicate that China will be able to sustain the share of foreign trade in the global market this year.

Emerging markets have played a crucial role in sustaining China's share of foreign trade in the global market. Sales to ASEAN countries gained by 16.6 percent in the first three quarters; while sales to Russia alone surged by 14.5 percent.
Source (s): China Daily, November 11, 2012.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS
China abstains over Japan disarmament resolution

China abstained over a newly-approved disarmament resolution sponsored by Japan calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

A foreign ministry spokesman from China stated that parts of the resolution were not in conformity with the principles that China advocated. The resolution was approved by a disarmament committee at the UN General Assembly on October 6, 2012.
Source (s): CCTV, November 06, 2012.

China slams UN Tibet comments

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman slammed the accusations made by the UN high commissioner for human rights regarding Chinese activity in Tibet. China also urged the UN envoy not to interfere in Chinese domestic affairs.

According to the spokesman, people in Tibet were enjoying the benefits associated with economic growth and social stability and the population were satisfied with the current situation.
Source (s): CCTV, November 05, 2012.

Zambia encourages Africa-China cooperation

A recent Times of Zambia report urged African nations to view their relations with China through an independent non-Western perspective, encouraging mechanisms that will result in a win-win situation for both parties.

The report brings confidence to Chinese investors, especially after a wave of anti-China sentiment has been spreading since the Zambian elections. Chinese nationals have also been the target of violent protests in Zambia's mining sector.
Source (s): Xinhua, November 09, 2012.

POLITICS AND SOCIETY
Wen pinpoints key tasks facing China in 5 years

Increasing people's income, fighting corruption and enhancing the Party building are the focal tasks to be addressed in the next five years, Wen Jiabao told delegates to the ongoing 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China Thursday afternoon.

He emphasized that China must maintain a steady and relatively fast economic growth and push forward reform and economic restructuring in a bid to avoid instable, imbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable economic development.

The political structural reform must be advanced simultaneously so as to improve democracy, safeguard social justice and fairness, protect the freedom and equal rights of the people and bring their initiative and creativity into full play.

Immediate tasks facing the incumbent government is to stabilize the Chinese economy and constitute reform plans on income distribution and compensation for expropriated rural collective lands.
Source (s) Xinhua, November 9, 2012.

Women assume bigger role in CPC

China has progressed steadily in improving women's representation at National Congresses of the Communist Party of China over the past decade, a trend which experts said will contribute to gender equality and social stability.

Among the 2,270 delegates to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opens on Thursday, 521 are women, around 23 percent of the total, according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.

At the 17th Party Congress five years ago, 20 percent of the delegates were female, while the figure was 18 percent at the 16th Party Congress in 2002.

The rising proportion of female delegates reflects the great efforts made by the Party to give women members a bigger say, said Xiao Bailing, president of Hunan Women's Federation.

Despite the progress, Sun from China Women's University said that women's representation in high-level Party and government positions is still low. Of the 204 members of the 17th CPC Central Committee, only 13 are women, accounting for 6 percent, according to official figures. Only five members of the 16th CPC Central Committee were women.
Source (s) China Daily, November 8, 2012.

CPC moves to solve land disputes

After it became the country's only ruling party 63 years ago, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is now looking back to where it started on its way to the national power: solving the land problems for farmers.

In his keynote report to the 18th CPC National Congress on Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao has pressed the Party to reform the land expropriation system and increase farmers' share of gain in land value. Hu promised the CPC will ensure equal exchange of factors of production and balance allocation of public resources between urban and rural areas.

The pledge, the first of its kind the CPC has ever made in its national congress reports, came at a time when massive protests by farmers over land seizures erupted in multiple villages across the country over the past years.

The reform of the land expropriation system, if proceeds as promised, means that the Chinese government will no longer sacrifice the property rights of farmers to reduce the cost of the country's industrialization and urbanization.
Source (s) Xinhua, November 9, 2012.

Plans outlined to improve life in Tibet

Officials from the Tibet autonomous region have vowed to improve local people's livelihoods. Losang Gyaltsen, Vice-Chairman of the region, said that local officials will also continue to help farmers and herdsmen to resolve their difficulties and improve their livelihoods.

The government has made considerable effort in improving the condition of the region's infrastructure, including its temples, replacing water pipes, repairing roads, and ensuring electricity supply, during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. It has also provided free medical checks, and introduced a social security system for monks, he said.

Liang Tiangeng, head of the organization department of the CPC Tibet autonomous region committee, said that the local government will achieve its goal of building 400,000 homes for farmers and herdsmen by the end of this year, of which more than 330,000 have already been built.

Losang Gyaltsen condemned the activity of inciting people to self-immolate, saying that it's a "crime of murder" in accordance with Chinese law.
Source (s) China Daily, November 11, 2012.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
China most threatening cyberspace actor: US Panel

China's intelligence agencies and hackers are increasingly using sophisticated methods to spy on US information networks, according to the draft annual report of the US China Economic and Security Review Commission. According to the draft report which has been approved the US Congress, China is "the most threatening actor in cyberspace." "China's persistence, combined with notable advancements in exploitation activities over the past year, poses growing challenges to information systems and their users," states the draft report. China's cyber warfare force includes civilians with "high-tech day jobs" who focus on military communications, electronic warfare and computer network operations, says the report.
Source (s): Bloomberg, November 06, 2012.

Google services stopped in China

As the leadership transition began in China, services provided by Google including the search engine was not accessible to internet users. Google stated that it was not a glitch at its end. This led to speculations about the Chinese government blocking access to the company's search engine and other services. Although, Baidu, the Chinese search engine, is still available for China's internet community, the content goes through the government filters to block anything that is deemed objectionable. Source (s): The Washington Post, November 10, 2012.

Contributors:

Sadhavi Chauhan
Rahul Prakash
Arvind K. John
Shaantanu Shankar