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ORF CHINA WEEKLY
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Vol. III Issue. 9
China strongly condemns blasts in Pakistan
04 March 2013

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China strongly condemns blasts in Pakistan

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman announced, on Monday, that China strongly condemns the two blasts that rocked Pakistan on March 3. According to spokeswoman Hua Chunying, "China opposes all forms of terrorism and strongly condemns the blasts." The spokeswoman also expressed her condolences to the injured and the family members of the victims.

Based on media reports, at least 40 people were killed and more than 100 others injured when twin blasts disturbed the Sunday night at a residential area in Karachi.

Source (s): Global Times, March 04, 2013

China transfers fraud suspect to ROK

The Chinese police have transferred a fraud suspect of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to the ROK authorities in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province. The suspect was apprehended by police while using a fake passport in an attempt to enter China at the Jiuzhou Port in Zhuhai at the end of 2012.

According to China's Ministry of Public Security, Park Inhyeong allegedly cheated people out of nearly $ 787,315 by promising high returns on short-term investments and other scams. The capture of Park is a remarkable achievement in tackling transnational crime and it will lead further intensification in cooperation between the two countries.

Source (s): Shanghai Daily, March 04, 2013

China defends increase in defence budget

Ahead of the release of budgetary allocations last Tuesday, spokesperson for the first session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Fu Ying said at a press conference, "China's peaceful foreign policies and its defensive military policies are conducive to security and peace of Asia."

As tensions with Japan and other South-East Asian countries have reached a stand-off, China tried to downplay the rise in its defence budget claiming that Chinese military policies were crucial in maintaining peace and stability in Asia.

Furthermore, international analysts have alleged that China's actual defence budget is far higher than what they announce. Last year, China increased its defence expenditure to take the budget over $ 106.4 billion. Aside from its military budget, China has also allocated $ 110 billion to internal security.

In regard to the tensions over disputed islands, Fu said, "When some countries make provocation, we should make resolute response and handle these matter in timely manner to send clear signal."

Source (s): Times of India, March 04, 2013

China becomes world's top oil importer

China has overtaken the US as the world's largest net oil importer. This will most likely have a profound effect on the geopolitics of natural resources. The shift is, however, still tentative.

Based on provisional figures from the US Energy Information Administration, US' net oil imports dropped to its lowest since February 1992 at 5.98 barrels a day in December. While China's custom office reported that its net oil imports grew to 6.12 barrels a day in the same month.

Analysts believe that even if the shift is reversed in January, China may still overtake US as the largest net oil importer by 2013 end or early 2014 given that domestic oil production in the US is likely to increase due to discovery of shale gas.

Source (s): The Financial Times, March 04, 2013

POLITICS AND SOCIETY

China to elect new leaders

Improving ties with neighbouring states is one of the many emerging challenges to China's foreign policy in the next five years, as Beijing anticipates new leadership this month.

China's annual meeting of the National People's Congress marks another major political event following the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November. It will see the election of a chairperson, vice-chairpersons, Secretary-General and members of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, as well as the country's President and Vice-President.

The NPC will also choose the Premier and Vice-Premiers of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, as well as State councilors, ministers for government departments, ministers in charge of commissions of the State Council, the Governor of the People's Bank of China, an Auditor-General, as well as the State Council's Secretary-General.

Source (s): China Daily, February 2, 2013

CPC Central Committee maintains frugality campaign

With the annual "two sessions" approaching, China's new leadership has vowed to fight corruption and stick to an ongoing frugality campaign.

The annual sessions of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body, and the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, will open on March 3 and 5, respectively.

As a result of the frugality movement, gala events and extravagant banquets paid for with public funds were effectively curbed during this year's Spring Festival, which ended on Feb 15. The upcoming meetings serve as an important channel for the CPC Central Committee to hear what the public has to say about the implementation of the campaigns.

Source (s): Xinhua, March 1, 2013

Grassroots get a bigger say in top legislature

The National People's Congress is becoming more representative and connecting with the grassroots as increasing numbers of migrant workers, women and rural deputies join the top legislative body.

Two hundred non-officials have been elected as national lawmakers to the 12th National People's Congress than the previous one in 2008. A total of 1,042, or nearly 35 percent of the 12th NPC deputies, are government and Party officials, according to the top legislative body. This is down almost 7 percentage points from the previous session.

More migrant workers and women, as well as younger people, have become deputies. A total of 401 workers and farmers have been elected deputies, a 63 percent jump from the 11th NPC, the NPC Standing Committee announced.

The younger generation is also emerging, with two deputies born in the 1990s and 74 in the 1980s. The number of female deputies has risen to 699, accounting for 23.4 percent. The proportion rose nearly 2.1 percentage points from a year earlier.

According to the 12th NPC Standing Committee, 409, or more than 13 percent, of the deputies do not belong to the Han ethnic group. China has 56 ethnic groups, with Han people accounting for the majority. All of the deputies were elected in December and January from 35 electoral units representing 34 Chinese regions and the People's Liberation Army.

Source (s): China Daily, February 28, 2013

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

China's first jumbo jet to debut in 2014

According to Wu Guanghui, the jumbo jet's chief designer and vice-general manager of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the aircraft's manufacturer, China's first jumbo jet will make its maiden flight in 2014.

It was announced that the design of the C919's airframe has been completed and the testing of its major components will commence in 2013. The process had to overcome major obstacles such as insufficient experiences and technological reserves, weak industrial foundation and fierce competition to reach where they are now.

Source (s): China Daily, March 04, 2013

Shenzou-10 to be launched in June-August

A spokesperson for China's manned space programme announced on Thursday that the Shenzou-10 spacecraft will be launched between June and August this year, and will dock with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module.

The news release also said that three astronauts will be boarding the Shenzou-10, though further details of the personnel were not provided. Such details are generally released only a few days prior to the launch. However, Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of China's manned space programme, had reportedly mentioned at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November 2012, that the crew might follow the pattern of Shenzou-9 and send two men and a woman.\

With the assembly of the spacecraft complete, it is presently under testing before being moved to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, is in the Gobi desert. The spacecraft will most likely be launched aboard the Long March-2F.

Source (s): China Daily, March 01, 2013

ECONOMICS

20% rise in income tax

To hold back the rise of housing prices in major cities, the State Council, or China's cabinet, has placed a 20 percent individual income tax on capital gains by home sellers. Previously, only a 1 percent individual income tax was levied on the sale price. Ji Gang, a senior Director in Savills Property Services (Beijing) Co, believes that this measure will lead to a sharp drop in property transactions and change people's expectations.

Property developers, fuelled by improved cash flow, are still optimistic about the market and are strengthening their competition for more land parcels. Industry statistics show that a total of 13 land parcels valued at 10.7 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) were sold in Beijing on 28 February. According to Zhang Dawei, head of Centaline's research department, the competition has lessened with the launch of land parcels.

Source (s): China Daily, March 02, 2013.

China's non-manufacturing sector experiences contraction

According to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), the non manufacturing sector declined to 54.5 percent in February, down by 1.7 percent from January. The figure marks the first decline since October. Further, the sub-index of intermediate input prices bore the biggest loss of 2 percentage points to 56.2 percent in February. Bucking the trend as five industries reaching beyond 60 percent in January, none hit 60 percent in February while water transportation even dropped to below 50 percent. Only construction and services ranged between 50 percent and 60 percent during the month.

Cai Jin, Vice Chairman of the CFLP, attributed the decline mainly to a dip in construction during the period of Spring Festival holiday. Business activity in house building and decoration saw remarkable declines while new orders for civil engineering hit a record high, with expectations of further steady expansion of infrastructure investment in 2013.

Source (s): Xinhua, March 03, 2013

China's consumer price expected to rise by 3% in 2013

A senior official with China's Central Bank has predicted that China will see a consumer price rise of about 3 percent in 2013. Yi Gang, Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China, announced that the year's inflation would remain in a controllable spectrum. Yi made the remarks ahead of a group discussion during the ongoing annual session of the country's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Source (s): Xinhua, March 04, 2013

Contributors:

•   Sadhavi Chauhan
•   Rahul Prakash
•   Arvind John
•   Rishika Chauhan