Posts tagged ‘climate change’

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Headlines 2017 (1) – Five Economic Policies

Having addressed one of next year’s headlines, these are some rough notes on China’s economic policies, i. e. this years headlines.

china.org.cn, a website operating “under the auspices of the State Council Information Office” and the China International Publishing Group, tells the world (in English) that

[t]he Chinese economy will focus on quality, a shift from the rapid growth the country has been known for over the past decades since the reform and opening up policy was introduced.

Referring to the Central Economic Work Conference’s summary, the article is mostly about parading the new normal personality cult (“Xi’s economic thought takes shape”), suggesting that

China will develop into a manufacturing powerhouse, with a shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China,” the statement said, as the country is striving to evolve from a world factory that churns out low-end products.

A Chinese-language article, published by Xinhua newsagency in Chinese one day earlier (on Wednesday, when the conference closed), is much more detailed, putting the meeting of officials and economists into the context of the CCP’s 19th national congress, and the current 13th Five-Year plan, with recurrent references to the five policies (五大政策).

In the Journal of Nanjing University’s (南京大学学报) third quarterly in summer this year, economics professor Hu Angang (and a doctoral assistant) suggested that the five policies (literally: five big policies) had afforded China the global number-one position as a high-tech industrial country, having overtaken America in 2015. The state’s visible hand had made this possible, Hu argued, adding that given that the market’s “invisible hand” wasn’t as well developed in China as it was in the US, only a sensible combination of both those hands had put China in its new position. Issues such as ways to define the scopes and goals of competition, as well as performance assessments, were also addressed both by Hu’s paper, and by the central economic work conference.

Hu suggests that there were frequent imbalances in classical economic policies, not least America’s (emphasizing innovation sometimes, or emphasizing job creation at others), while China had struck a balance between an industrial policy (产业政策 政策, the policy China started with 30 years ago), a competition policy (竞争政策), an innovation policy (创新政策), a policy of opening up (开放政策), and a “green” environment-protection policy (绿色政策).

One can’t say that the divide between advocates of a set of “balanced” policies are running right through the Pacific (i. e. between Beijing and Washington). America, too, has its share of advocates for balanced industrial policies. An example for an extremely unbalanced concept: the idea that “America should innovate” while China would manufacture was suggested in 2011, by  New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who said that he owed this division-of-labor concept to former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. (Besides innovation, Tung also had the “green policy” on his mind. What Friedman had in mind, God knows.)

Either way, Ralph E. Gomory, an applied mathematician, pointed out that Friedman’s and Tung’s math didn’t add up:

[w]e need successful industries and we need to innovate within them to keep them thriving. However, when your trading partner is thinking about GDP rather than profit, and has adopted mercantilist tactics, subsidizing industries, and mispricing its currency, while loaning you the money to buy the underpriced goods, this may simply not be possible.

That was six and a half years ago. And obviously, China’s leadership never intended to leave innovation to America for good.

However, Hu Angang’s paper concedes that so far, while being the world’s “number one high tech manufacturing country” (为世界最大高技术产业国), China’s ability to innovate independently from foreign know-how still remains “relatively low”.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Emphasizing District-Level Cooperation and Mass Work: Xinhua reviews Xi Jinping’s State Visit

The following is a translation of an article published by Xinhua news agency on Tuesday. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Chairman Xi Jinping’s first [update/correction: state] visit to America has been successfully concluded. It hasn’t only brought the nervous talk about qualitative changes in Sino-American relations to an end, but it also provided the global economy with positive expectations, successfully managed differences and risks, and to the Asia-Pacific and even to the world’s peace and stability, it has brought positive energy.

习近平主席对美首次国事访问圆满落下帷幕,不仅给半年来沸沸扬扬的中美关系质变论画上了句号,也给全球经济带来正面预期,并成功管控分歧与危机,给亚太乃至世界和平稳定带来满满的正能量。

This shows once again that the new type of big-power relations between China and America are possible, feasible, and projectable. On the road of building [these relations], some indications can be found:

这再次表明,中美新型大国关系可能、可行、可期,其建立之道,由此也可见端倪:

— From the bottom to the top. America’s elites, particularly its strategic elites, are worried about China, talk negatively about the direction of Sino-American relations, while the the district levels and common people are less affected by ideological and national-security interference, with a positive development for Sino-American relations. As for American diplomacy, Chairman Xi therefore particularly emphasized regional and local cooperation and doing mass work, to explore how the roads of the Chinese dream and the American dream are interlinked.

——以下博上。美国的精英,尤其战略精英,对华忧虑重重,存在唱衰中美关系倾向,而州及民众层面较少受意识形态、国家安全等问题干扰,发展对华关系积极。习主席对美国外交故而特别强调省州合作与做民众工作,探索中国梦与美国梦相通之道

— Adding to the existing quantities. Bilateral Sino-American trade is at an annual average of six-hundred billion US dollars, and Chinese investment in America is expected to rise to 200 billion US dollars by 2020. American diplomacy constantly digs into the potentials of economic cooperation, [no translation found]. The Sino-American Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is considered important by both sides.

——以存量博增量。中美双边贸易额年均达6000多亿美元,预计到2020年中国在美投资规模达2000亿美元。对美外交,就是不断深挖经贸合作潜力,做大压舱石。中美投资协定谈判(BIT)因而为各方所看重。

— Shelving smaller differences from common ground. China and America are the world’s leading powers, and interest conficts are inevitable. What matters is mutual respect, to follow the principles of no clashes and no confrontation [or antagonism], to strive for common ground while setting small aside differences. For example, in the previous stir about internet hacking issues, the theft of trade secrets was a small [legal] case, while the common ground is about rules for an open internet, with great peace and security. Having grasped this trend, through the U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum and other activities, and the promotion of network cooperation, had become a highlight of Chairman Xi Jinping’s visit to America. Arriving at consensus concerning the joint statement on climate change and other issues, and having built a solid foundation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris at the end of this year, are commended by the world.

——以大同存小异。中美都是世界首屈一指的大国,利益分歧在所难免,关键是相互尊重,遵循不冲突、不对抗的原则,求大同、存小异。比如此前炒得沸沸扬扬的网络黑客问题,异的是窃取商业秘密的小案件,同的是网络的开放、和平与安全大的规则。把握这一趋势,通过举办中美互联网论坛等活动,推动网络合作成为习主席访美成果亮点之一;通过达成中美气候声明等共识,为年底在巴黎召开的联合国气候变化大会成功奠定坚实基础,为世界所称道。

[Global order issues / One-Belt-one-Road initiative / U.S. concerns alleviated]

[global governance]

The Chinese and American path of establishing new-type big-power relations is constantly explored further. Chairman Xi Jinping’s visit to America has provided an example for this kind of exploration, directing the focus on the future development of Sino-American relations, and an example for the new-type big-power relations of the 21rst century.

中美建立新型大国关系之道,是不断探索的。习近平主席访美,是这种探索的成功之举,引领中美关系的未来发展,也为21世纪新型国际关系的建立做出了表率。

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Related

» Safe for democracy, Wikipedia, acc. Oct 6, 2015
» Safe for authoritarianism, FP, June 4, 2015
» No meeting without substance,Oct 2, 2015
» Your sea is our sea, July 16, 2015

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Leadership Styles: No Meeting without Substance

The Taipei Times compared Pope Francis‘ and Xi Jinping‘s leadership styles: the Chinese traveller to America was outwardly strong and internally weak, while the Roman-Argentinian was the exact opposite, the paper wrote in an online article on Tuesday. As a man who kept close to the public, was met with large crowds of people wherever he went and held Mass for almost 1 million people, the Pope had been a perfect example of soft power.

That was a bit like lauding a model mineworker for churning out tons of coal every day, and criticizing a goldsmith for not doing likewise – or vice versa.

Soft power abroad? Quite a number of Chinese people – especially Chinese people with some exposure to foreign cultures and hurt feelings – may long for it, and the Economist logically threatened Xi with something worse than criticism: neglect. But the politburo could care less. As long as the results are satisfactory – and as long as people at home can be made believe that Americans (not just at Boeing) could hardly wait for the Chinese visitor, everything is staying the desirable course.

But what are the results?

The two sides reached broad consensus and achieved a number of positive results, Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong) wrote on Sunday:

According to a list published by the Chinese ministry of commerce on September 26, the major consensus and results reached by the two sides can be counted as 49 points, fitting into five big categories. Obama, on his own initiative, reiterated that America maintained the one-China principle and did not support “Taiwan independence”, “Tibet independence”, “Xinjiang independence”, and that America would not get involved in Hong Kong affairs.*)

据中国商务部26日公布的成果清单透露,双方达成的主要共识和成果可分5大类共49项。奥巴马在峰会上主动重申,美国坚持一个中国政策,不支持“台独”、“藏独”、“疆独”,也不介入香港事务。

According to Xinhua reports, Xi Jinping made important suggestions concerning the next stage of Sino-American relations, emphasizing the need to promote Sino-American relations that would always develop along the correct track. The two sides agreed to continue efforts to build Sino-American great-power relations of a new type. He [Xi] also emphasized that the Chinese nation was highly sensitive about matters concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He hoped that America would scrupulously abide by the relevant promises, not to support any action aimed at harming China’s unity and stability.

据新华社报道,习近平就下阶段中美关系发展提出重要建议,强调要推动中美关系始终沿着正确轨道向前发展。双方同意继续努力构建中美新型大国关系。他亦强调,中华民族对事关中国主权和领土完整问题高度敏感。希望美方恪守有关承诺,不支持任何旨在损害中国统一和稳定的行动。

In this regard, Obama, on his own initiative, reiterated that America maintained the one-China principle, scrupulously abided by the principles of the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, and that this position would not change. America did not support “Taiwan independence”, “Tibetan independence”, and “Xinjiang independence”, and would not get involved in Hong Kong affairs. This is the second time after denying American connection to Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central”, during the APEC summit last year, that Obama stated his position.*)

对此,奥巴马主动重申,美国坚持一个中国政策,恪守中美三个联合公报原则,这一立场不会改变。美国不支持“台独”、“藏独”、“疆独”,也不介入香港事务。这是奥巴马继去年APEC期间否认美国与香港“占中”活动有关后,再次公开对有关议题做出表态。

The 49 projects, results and consensus concern the five great fields of Sino-American great-power relations of a new type, practical bilateral cooperation, Asia-Pacific affairs, international affairs, and global challenges. Among these, nearly twenty negotiation points pertaining to financial and trade cooperation and the Sino-American Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), awaited by all circles, have made progress. The information published by the Chinese ministry of information pointed out that both the Chinese and American leader had reiterated that to reach a high-level investment agreement was “the most important economic issue between the two countries”, and that both sides had agreed to strongly push the negotiations and to accelerate the work.

中美达成的49项目成果和共识涉及中美新型大国关系、双边务实合作、亚太地区事务、国际与地区问题、全球性挑战等五大领域,其中有近20项涉及金融和贸易合作,各界期待的中美投资协定(BIT)谈判业已取得进展。中国商务部26日公布消息指,中美两国领导人重申达成一项高水平投资协定的谈判是“两国之间最重要的经济事项”,双方同意“强力推进谈判,加快工作节奏”。

The Chinese achievement list unequivocally mentions: “The two countries’ leaders reiterate that to reach a high-level investment agreement is “the most important economic issue between the two countries”, and both sides agree to “strongly push the negotiations and to accelerate the work, so as to reach a mutually beneficial, double-win, high-level investment agreement”.

中方成果清单中明确提到:“两国领导人重申达成一项高水平投资协定的谈判是两国之间最重要的经济事项。高水平的投资协定将反映双方对于非歧视、公平、透明度的共同成果,有效促进和确保市场准入和运营,并体现双方开放和自由的投资体制。中美两国同意强力推进谈判,加快工作节奏,以达成一项互利共赢的高水平投资协定。”

China Institute of International Studies researcher Yang Xiyu says that this position [held by] the two heads of state was of historical significance, meaning that the world’s biggest developed and the world’s biggest developing country could, as fast as possible, achieve BIT, and that the world’s two biggest economic entities achieving BIT will raise the long-awaited effects, further solidifying the foundations of mutual trust in trade.

中国国际问题研究院研究员杨希雨表示,两国元首这一表态具有历史性意义,意味着世界上最大的发达国家和最大的发展中国家或尽快达成BIT,而世界上最大的两个经济体达成BIT协议将起到引领效应,进一步夯实中美互信的经贸基础。

[…]

Within the list of achievements, several points of consensus have been reached concerning Sino-American network security cooperation, such as China and America agreeing that each country’s government must not engage in, or knowingly support, the stealing of intellectual property rights, including trade secrets, and other classified trade information. China and America committed themselves to jointly define and promote appropriate standards of international society conduct on the internet, and to establish a high-level, joint dialogue system between the two countries, to strike at cyber crime and related issues. A number of American experts said that this was an important outcome of this [Xi] visit, and that strengthening cooperation about network security was a really important field of work in Sino-American relations. Indiana University professor and high-level Council of Foreign Relations network security researcher David P. Fidler believes that the two countries’ having achieved this consensus is “of major significance, and welcome news”.

此次成果清单中,中美网络安全合作达成多项共识。如中美同意,各自国家政府均不得从事或者在知情情况下支持网络窃取知识产权,包括贸易秘密,以及其他机密商业信息;中美承诺,共同继续制定和推动国际社会网络空间合适的国家行为准则,并建立两国打击网络犯罪及相关事项高级别联合对话机制。多位美国专家对此表示,这是此访重要成果,网络安全是中美加强合作的一个非常重要的领域。印第安纳大学法学教授、美国外交学会网络安全高级研究员戴维.菲德勒认为,两国达成的这一共识“意义重大且受人欢迎”。

The two sides will also strengthen anti-corruption cooperation, strengthen high-speed rail cooperation, strengthen cultural exchange cooperation, and reach consensus in reaction to global challenges, broaden practical cooperation on bilateral, regional and global levels, and manage and control differences and sensitive issues in a constructive manner, continuously achieving new positive results.

此外双方还在加强反腐败合作、加强高铁建设合作、加强文化交流合作及应对全球性挑战方面达成共识,将努力拓展双边、地区、全球层面各领域务实合作,以建设性方式管控分歧和敏感问题,不断取得新成果。

A benevolent label for these outcomes could be progress, and an accurate one would be unverifiable progress. It’s sort of obvious that Washington and Beijing wouldn’t issue a snafu statement at the end of the talks. What Beijing might consider a real achievement, however, is the prevention of an exchange of sanctions in the wake of the “network security”, i. e. hack-and-spy, controversies. That doesn’t go without saying – news coverage during late summer pointed to a chance that this could happen.

Hong Kong website Fenghuang (or Ifeng), in an article on September 22, attributed much of the success in defusing the conflicts to a visit by a delegation to Washington from September 9 to 12:

China attaches great importance to Sino-American relations and their future development, and does not ignore the concrete problems that occupy America.

中国关注中美关系大局及未来走向,并未怠慢美国关注的具体问题。

From September 9 – 12, politburo member and the central committee’s political and judicial committee secretary Meng Jianfu visited America in his capacity as Xi Jinping’s special envoy, together with [a delegation of] responsibles at offices for public security, the judiciary, network communication, etc.. He had talks with secretary of state John Kerry, homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson, national security adviser Susan Rice, and other central [US] authorities, to exchange views about cyber crime and other outstanding problems, and to achieve important consensus. Meng Jianzhu’s trip broke with old habits. Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, China’s diplomacy has become more direct and more practical.

9月9日至12日,中共中央政治局委员、中央政法委书记孟建柱以 习近平特使身份,率公安、安全、司法、网信等部门有关负责人访问美国,同美国国务卿克里、国土安全部部长约翰逊、总统国家安全事务助理赖斯等核心部门举行 会谈,就共同打击网络犯罪等突出问题深入交换意见,达成重要共识。中央政法委书记作为特使,打破以往惯例,习近平治下的中国外交更加直接务实。

That, and some more soothing soundbytes from Beijing, appeared to have had their effect on Washington, suggests Fenghuang:

On September 16, Obama made remarks about cyber security again, but according to Reuters, America will not impose sanctions on so-called “cyber attacks” before Xi Jinping’s visit, and maybe not afterwards either.

16日,奥巴马再次就网络安全放话,但据路透社报道,美国不会在习近平访美之前对所谓的“网络攻击”进行制裁,之后可能也不会。

After all, the main goal of the Obama administration had been to put pressure on Beijing, and to address domestic complaints, the Fenghuang article believed.

What looks credible – because it’s said to be long-established practice anyway – is that whatever consensus was indeed there between Washington and Beijing had been reached before Xi Jinping even set foot on American soil.

When he reached the American West Coast from Beijing, he meant business, not soft power – although there’s probably something charming to a 300-aircraft order form, at least among the stakeholders. The traditional microcosms were also conscientiously cultivated, even if Winston Ross of Newsweek was not convinced:

[Xi Jinping’s] handlers, who had corralled me and the reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times for the previous hour in anticipation of this exchange, apparently assumed we all spoke Mandarin. The Times reporter shot me a bewildered look. I shrugged. Xi said something to Oregon Governor Kate Brown that she found hilarious. We asked for a transcript of his remarks. We were not given one.

That occasion, Xi’s first stop – i. e. the meeting with American governors and Chinese provincial governors -, wasn’t (much) about substance, Ross alleged. He could have known better, even without translation: maintaining contacts between many layers of business and politics – not just the top echelons – is both a Chinese move to keep contacts going even if top-level relations between China and another country should deteriorate. Besides, while Confucius Institutes and other means of  indoctrination soft power may face some scrutiny at federal or central governments of democratic countries, regional authorities may lack the resources that such scrutiny would require.

Chinese central leaders waste no time with unsubstantial meetings. They waste no time with soft-power ambitions either. It’s the technology, stupid.

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Note

*) VoA has a somewhat different take on this: according to their newsarticle on Wednesday, Obama referred to both the Three Joint Communiqués, and the Taiwan Relations Act, and that had been the only public remarks made about Taiwan during Xi’s state visit in Washington. Ta Kung Pao omitted the mention of the TRA.

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Related

» Joint Press Conference, White House, Sept 25, 2015
» Six-point proposal, Xinhua, Sept 25, 2015

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sino-Venezuelan Relations: Locomoted by Finance and Investment, with Energy Cooperation as the Main Axis‏

China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping, in his capacity as state chairman, had talks in a frank and friendly atmosphere with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on July 20, according to People’s Daily online, and reached a broad consensus. They unanimously decided to promote Sino-Venezuelan relations further, to a level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Venezuela are good friends and double-win partners with trust in each other. We cherish the memory of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for making important contributions to the development of Sino-Venezuelan relations, and we appreciate how President Nicolas Maduro continues Chavez’ friendly policies towards China. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between [our] two countries, Sino-Venezuelan relations can take over from the past and carry it forward into the important stage of the [near] future. We unanimously agree to promote the relations of [our] two countries relations to a level of comprehensive strategic partnership, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit and common development. Xi Jinping put forward four proposals.

习 近平指出,中委是相互信任的好朋友和互利共赢的好伙伴。我们缅怀委内瑞拉前总统查韦斯为发展中委关系作出的重要贡献,赞赏马杜罗总统继承查韦斯对华友好政 策。在两国建交40周年之际,中委关系处在承前启后、继往开来的重要阶段。我们一致同意,将两国关系提升为全面战略伙伴关系,其内涵为战略互信、全面合 作、互利共赢、共同发展。习近平提出4点建议。

1. Grasp the general situation. The two heads of states should maintain regular contact, strengthen interaction between the two counties’ governments, political parties, legislative bodies, strengthen strategic planning, deepen mutual political trust, and to continue each other concerning issues of each others’ core interests.

第一,把握大局。两国元首要保持经常性接触,两国政府、政党、立法机关加强交往,加强战略规划,深化政治互信,在涉及彼此核心利益的问题上继续相互支持。

2. Lay emphasis on substantial results. Strengthen the top-level design of the two countries’ cooperation, both in terms of forging ahead with determination and pioneering courage, and in terms of pragmatism and efficiency, advancing in an orderly fashion, by maintaining mutual benefit and common progress, deepening the integration of interests, locomoted by finance and investment, with energy-sector cooperation as the main axis, and multiple wheels turning at the same time. Both sides should make good use of financing cooperation systems, advance mineral production, the construction of infrastructure and facilities, cooperation in science and technology, and, at an early date, the construction of agricultural demonstration parks. The Chinese side would like to increase the transfer of satellite technology to Venezuela, and encourages capable Chinese companies to actively participate in the construction of Venezuelan special economic zones.

第二,注重实效。加强两国合作顶层设计,既要锐意进取、勇于开拓,又要务实高效、循序渐进,坚持互利互惠,深化利益融合,以金融和投资为引擎,以能源合作 为主轴,多个轮子一起转。双方要用好融资合作机制,推进矿产、基础设施建设、科技合作,尽早启动农业示范园建设。中方愿加大对委方卫星技术转让,鼓励有实 力的中国企业积极参与委内瑞拉经济特区建设。

3. Expanding exchanges. With the anniversary of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries as an [auspicious] moment, cultural, educational and media cooperation should enhance the Sino-Venezuelan foundations of the friendly popular will.

第三,扩大交流。要以两国建交40周年为契机,促进文化、教育、旅游、媒体合作,夯实中委友好民意基础。

4. Awareness of the overall situation. Sino-Venezuelan relations should be put into the general Sino-Latin-American relations, the united cooperation of developing countries, and the plans of global peaceful development. I appreciate President Maduros participation and important proposals in the BRIC countries’ meeting with the South American Leaders’ Forum and Sino-Latin-American Leaders’ Meeting. China wants to build the Sino-Latin-American Forum and promote comprehensive Sino-Latin-American cooperation together with Venezuela.  The two sides should strengthen and coordinate cooperation concerning global economic governance, energy security, climate change, and other international issues and deliver a stronger voice of developing countries to the international community, promoting more attention of the international order for development into a more just and reasonable direction.

第四,着眼全局。把中委关系放在中拉关系全局、发展中国家团结合作、世界和平发展大局中谋划。我赞赏马杜罗总统出席金砖国家同南美国家领导人对话会和中拉 领导人会晤并提出重要建议。中方愿意同委方一道,建设好中拉论坛,推进中拉整体合作。双方还要就全球经济治理、能源安全、气候变化等国际事务加强协调配 合,向国际社会更多传递发展中国家声音,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理方向发展。

Maduro is quoted by People’s Daily online as confirming the trust between Venezuela and China and agreement on many important issues (两国对许多重大问题看法一致). He is also quoted as expressing Venezuelan appreciation of Chinese long history and culture, admiration for the great achievements made by socialism with Chinese characteristics (我们欣赏中国悠久的历史文化,钦佩中国特色社会主义事业取得的伟大成就), and a firm belief that China would play a great role in promoting world peace and development.

We will firmly carry the will of Hugo Chavez forward, and strengthen security cooperation with China from a strategic height. I absolutely appreciate the proposals made by Chairman Xi Jinping, I hope to maintain a close relationship with Chairman Xi Jinping, to promote the cooperation between [our] two countries. Venezuela welcomes expanded investment by Chinese companies and their participation in the development of the petrochemical industry and projects such as special economic zones. During the meeting of Chinese and Latin American leaders a few days ago, Chairman Xi Jinping’s important proposals and motions for the strengthening of cooperation had milestone character. They will vigorously advance the common development of Latin America and China. Venezuela firmly supports the establishment of the Latin-America-China-Forum, and wants to make active contributions to Latin-American-Chinese relations.

我们将坚定继承查韦斯遗愿,从战略高度加强同中国的全面合作。我完全赞赏习近平主席提出的建议,希望同习近平主席保持密切联系,推进两国合作。委方欢迎中 国企业扩大对委内瑞拉投资,参与石化产业和经济特区开发等项目。习近平主席几天前在中拉领导人会晤中就加强拉中整体合作提出的重要主张和举措具有里程碑意 义,将有力促进拉中共同发展。委方坚定支持成立中拉论坛,愿意为推动拉中关系作出积极贡献。

Wang Huning (王沪宁), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) and others attended the talks.

Friday, August 31, 2012

International Press Review: Merkel’s China Trip and Germany’s Submissive Bosses

translations from Chinese and German by JR. Links within blockquotes added during translation

Xinwen Lianbo, CCTV, August 31, 2012

Xinwen Lianbo, CCTV, August 31, 2012

Beijing Youthnet (北青网), August 31, 2012, 0715 local time (China)

Contrary to Thursday, which was packed with a political agenda, Friday is the day which is about “cultural tourism” and “economic cooperation trips”. Although this is Merkel’s sixth visit to China, this is the first time that she visits the Forbidden City. The scheduled fourty minutes of sightseeing let this German chancellor learn about Chinese history and culture first-hand, and deepen her comprehensive understanding of China.

与30日在北京密集的“政治日程”安排相比,默克尔今天的行程可以说是“文化之旅”和“经济合作之旅”。看点很多,可以用三个“首次”概括。今天上午温家宝总理将陪同默克尔一起参观故宫。虽然默克尔已经六次访问中国,这还是她首次到访故宫,预定40分钟的参观时间将让这位德国总理亲身领略中国历史和文化,加深她对中国的全面了解。

After the visit to the Forbidden City, Chief State Councillor Wen Jiabao personally accompanies Merkel on her trip to Tianjin, on the high-speed Beijing-Tianjin railway, which is the first time for Merkel to travel on a Chinese high-speed train. Concerning this, Merkel, herself from a great country of high-speed trains, says that this trip lets her experience China’s rapid development.

结束对故宫的访问之后,温家宝总理将亲自陪同默克尔乘坐京津高铁赴天津访问,这将是默克尔首次乘坐中国的高铁。对于来自高铁技术大国的默克尔来说,这次中国的高铁之旅相信可以让她感受到中国的快速发展。

The third “first”: this is Merkel’s first visit to Tianjin. Before, Merkel visited several Chinese cities, including Nanjing, Xi’an, and Guangzhou, but she is going to Tianjin for the first time. Tianjin is also Wen Jiabao’s hometown. During yesterday’s meeting with Merkel, Wen said that these Sino-German government consultations would be the last during the tenure of the current Chinese government. This means that if nothing extraordinary happens, this visit by Merkel will be the last one during which Wen will greet her in his capacity as Chief State Councillor. Merkel says that her stay as a guest in Wen’s hometown will be a memorable visit for her.

第三个“首次”:这是默克尔第一次到访天津。之前,默克尔已经访问过包括南京、西安、广州在内的多个中国城市,但天津还是头一回去,而且天津也是温家宝总理的故乡。昨天,温总理在与默克尔会面时就表示,这次中德政府磋商将是本届中国政府任内最后一次了。这意味着如果没有特殊情况出现的话,默克尔本次访华将是温家宝作为总理最后一次接待她访华。在这样一次访问中,默克尔到温总理的家乡做客对于她来说将是一次值得回忆的访问。

An important reason for Merkel to visit Tianjin is that Tianjin has become a focus of German companies in northern China. According to statistics, until July this year, 334 German-invested companies have been approved in Tianjin, and accumulated contractual investment is at more than 2.1 billion US dollars. Germany has also become the European country with the most companies investing in Tianjin.

默克尔之所以要访问天津,有一个重要原因是天津目前已成为德国企业在中国北方的主要聚集区。据统计,截至今年7月,天津累计批准德国投资企业334家,累计合同外资额超过21亿美元。德国也成为欧洲国家中在天津投资企业数量最多的国家。

During the time in Tianjin, Chief State Councillor Wen and Merkel held an hour of talks with Chinese and German entrepreneurs. This arrangement had been made during several of Merkel’s previous visits to China, too. In July 2010 and in February this year, when Merkel visited China, Wen held talks with Chinese and German entrepreneurs in Xi’an and Guangzhou, together with Merkel. This reflects the importance the two [heads of government] attach to listening to the comments and suggestions from entrepreneurs from both sides, concerning the development of Sino-German economic and trade cooperation. As for Merkel’s visit to China this time, an important goal is to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China. There are not only many entrepreneurs accompanying Merkel, but on Thursday, after the Sino-German government consultations, the two countries signed 13 agreemens concerning electric vehicles, biotechnology, climate protecton and other areas. The value of cooperation for the companies reached nearly seven billion US dollars.

在天津期间,温总理将和默克尔一同与中德企业家举行历时1个小时的座谈,这样的安排在以往默克尔的访华行程中多次出现。2010年7月和今年2月默克尔访华期间,温总理就曾与她一起在西安和广州同中德企业家座谈,这体现出两国总理非常重视听取双方企业界人士有关中德经贸合作发展的意见和建议。而默克尔本次访华的一个重要目的,就是着眼于继续加强与中国的经贸合作。随同默克尔来访的不仅有多位企业家,而且在30日中德政府磋商之后,两国签署了涉及电动汽车、生物技术、气候保护等领域合作的13项协议文本,有关企业、公司则达成的商业合作总金额接近70亿美元。

There is an important item on Chief State Councillor Wen’s and Chancellor Merkel’s agenda in Tianjin; they take part in Airbus Tianjin Company‘s ceremony, as the 100th A320 plane is completed. The Airbus assembly line in Tianjin is the first comprehensive one of this aircraft company outside Europe, a product of Airbus cooperation with Chinese companies. Both [heads of government] are witnessing the moment when the 100th plane since August 2008 leaves the assembly line.

在天津期间,温总理和默克尔总理有一项重要的日程安排是共同出席空客天津公司第100架A320飞机的下线仪式。空中客车在天津的这条总装线是空客公司在欧洲以外的第一条飞机总装线,是空客和中国企业合作的产物。从2008年8月开始组装首架飞机,到今年8月正好赶上第100架飞机下线,两国总理将共同见证这一时刻。

This production line is a win-win product for China and Europe. Airbus Tianjin Assembly Line general manager Shang Luguo said in an interview before that one of this projects biggest successes has been that it trained more than 400 Chinese technicians to master the world’s most advanced aircraft production technology. At the same time, it promoted China’s aviation industry’s development. China is currently conducting its own big-aircraft development program, and is learning from aircraft-building peers’ experience. This was very important for China, and this assembly line [in Tianjin] provided China with an opportunity to learn, which showed its importance.

这条生产线对于中欧来说是互利双赢的产物。空客天津总装线总经理尚鲁国之前在接受采访时就曾表示,这个项目取得最为重要的成就之一就是培养了400多名掌握世界最先进的飞机总装技术的中国员工,同时,推动了中国航空制造产业的发展。中国目前正在进行自己的大飞机研制计划,向同行学习飞机制造经验对于中国来说十分重要,而这条生产线为中国提供了一个学习的机会,可见它的重要性。

Also, China and Germany signed the “second-term Airbus China Assembly Line agreement”, and a purchasing agreement about 50 A320 aircraft at 3.5 billion US dollars. Wen and Merkel witnessed the signing of the contracts. Earlier, there were reports saying that Airbus expected purchases of 100 planes, but in fact, China bought only 50.

另外,昨天中德双方昨天还签署了《空客中国总装线二期框架协议》,以及价值35亿美元的50架A320飞机采购协议,温家宝和默克尔见证了协议的签署。之前,有报道说,空客方面预计中方订购的飞机是100架,而实际上中方购买的数量是50架。

Reuters, August 31, 2012

The European Commission has until next Friday to decide whether to launch an investigation into a complaint brought by European solar firms and people familiar with the case believe it may well go ahead and do so.

On Thursday, Merkel told reporters after talks with Wen that she favoured negotiations over confrontation in the matter, comments that were welcomed by the Chinese premier but stoked concern in the European industry.

But on Friday she appeared to row back on her conciliatory tone, saying Chinese solar firms needed to recognise that subsidies, such as bottom-rate bank loans, distorted competition and violated European law.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” she said. “My plea is that everyone be transparent, that they lay their cards on the table about how they produce.”

Der Spiegel, international online edition, August 31, 2012

The chancellor’s course on China, in fact, has slowly come to resemble the business-first policies pursued by her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. He almost surely approves of the lovely images of her visiting the Airbus plant in Tianjin, where she made a stop just before flying back to Berlin. The factory visit took place a day after a contract was signed for 50 new planes ordered by the Chinese.

[…]

Merkel, in fact, seems to have become almost completely domesticated by the economic gains made by the Asian superpower. She still, of course, addresses points of bilateral contention — during a press conference with her host Premier Wen Jiabao she requested that German press correspondents be treated better following repeated incidents of hassling. Beyond that, however, Merkel appeared overly considerate of a single-party dictatorship that pays little mind to human rights, neither at home in China nor elsewhere in the world.

Financial Times Deutschland, August 31, 2012, 1720 local time (Germany): Germany’s Submissive Bosses (Deutschlands devote Chefs)

When it comes to lobbying during the German-Chinese economic forum in Tianjin, it was Wen Jiabao and Angela Merkel who taught Peter Löscher and a few others some lessons. “Are there deficits in equal treatment for foreign companies in China?”, Wen followed up on Löscher’s vague opening statement, on which [Löscher] only goody-goody said: “I see it as a sign of trust that we can bring these issues forward with you personally.”

In Sachen Interessensvertretung waren es beim deutsch-chinesischen Wirtschaftsforum in Tianjin Wen Jiabao und Angela Merkel, die Peter Löscher und anderen ein paar Lektionen erteilten. “Gibt es in China denn auch Mängel in Sachen Gleichbehandlung für ausländische Unternehmen?”, hakte Wen nach Löschers vagem Eingangsstatement nach. Woraufhin der nur artig sagte: “Ich sehe es als Zeichen des Vertrauens, dass wir diese Themen bei Ihnen persönlich vorbringen können.”

It wasn’t the only moment when Wen or Merkel were compelled to actively encourage the top managers to complain. […]

Es war nicht der einzige Moment, in dem Wen oder Merkel die Topmanager aktiv zu Klagen ermutigen mussten. […]

Handelsblatt, August 31, 2012

[China’s] market may be the world’s biggest one – but the Chinese government continues to hamper investors. In the chancellor’s presence, German company bosses vented their furustrations. There are many reasons to complain.

Der Markt mag der größte der Welt sein – doch die chinesische Regierung stellt Investoren weiterhin Hürden. In Anwesenheit der Kanzlerin machten deutsche Firmenchefs ihrem Unmut Luft. Anlässe zur Klage gibt es viele.

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Related

» Independent Innovation, May 29, 2012
» Industriousness and Wisdom, January 9, 2011

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hu Jintao’s Africa Forum Speech: Talent Exchange, People-to-People Diplomacy, and no Bullying

Chinese party and state chairman Hu Jintao announced on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation’s 5th ministerial-level meeting’s opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday that China would provide 20 billion US dollars in loans to African countries during the next three years. This is twice as much as China’s commitment of three years ago, writes the BBC‘s Mandarin website. China had offered loans both on the Cooperation Forum’s 2006 and 2009 ministerial-level meetings. These two-days events are held every three years.

In 2006, Hu had announced 500 million US dollars in loans, and in 2009, chief state councillor Wen Jiabao announced ten billion (probably – the BBC apparently forgot a number of zeros) US dollars. Before the meeting this year, Chinese trade minister Chen Deming (陈德铭) wrote in an article that Sino-African bilateral trade had reached a historic record high of 166 billion US dollars.

Foreign ministers, officials in charge of foreign trade, and UN Secretary General Ban Kyi-Moon, as well as the African Union’s outgoing chairman Jean Ping took part in the opening ceremony on Thursday.

From the script of Hu’s speech in full, as published by Phoenix Media (Hong Kong):

China and Africa have cooperatively set up 29 Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms. In a “20+20 cooperation plan”, twenty renowned universities from China and twenty renowned universities from Africa have built relationships between each other. China and Africa help each other in international affairs, united collaboration has become closer, the two sides cooperate closely on issues such as United Nations reform, reacting to climate change, sustainable development, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round and other major issues, to protect developing countries’ common interests, to promote the democratization of international relations, to promote a direction in the international order which will be fairer and more reasonable.
中非双方合作在22个非洲国家设立了29所孔子学院或孔子课堂。中非20对知名高校在“中非高校20+20合作计划”框架下结为“一对一”合作关系。中非在国际事务中互帮互助、团结协作更加紧密,双方在联合国改革、应对气候变化、可持续发展、世贸组织多哈回合谈判等重大问题上密切配合,维护发展中国家共同利益,促进国际关系民主化,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理的方向发展。

[…]

Compared with six years ago, the international situation has changed greatly. Peace, development and cooperation remain the trends of our times, but there are clearly unstable and undetermined factors in the international trends. They remain affected by the global financial crisis, rising and falling international and regional hotspots, and an unfair and unreasonable international political and economic order which still affects and restricts global peace and development. Many developing countries’ development momentum is growing, but also facing difficulties and challenges.
同6年前相比,国际形势又发生了很大变化,和平、发展、合作仍然是时代潮流,但国际形势中不稳定不确定因素明显增多,国际金融危机影响犹存,国际和地区热点此起彼伏,不公正不合理的国际政治经济秩序依然影响和制约着世界和平与发展。广大发展中国家发展势头不断增乾但仍面临很多困难和挑战 。

After remarks of China being the world’s biggest developing country, and Africa consisting of the world’s greatest number of developing countries, as well as words of gratitude for African support in China’s development during the past six decades, Hu stated a number of promises, many of which are mentioned in a report on the BBC Mandarin website.

China also pledged to help in African human-resource training and provides 18,000 government scholarships, as well as dispatching medical staff to Africa, writes the BBC Mandarin website. China would [continue to] help to increase African agricultural technology and to improve individual countries’ customs systems and trade facilitation, Hu is quoted. China would also support African-Union peace-keeping missions, provide financial support for military development [to that end], and provide training for African-Union peace and security staff.

Hu called for a new situation in a Sino-African strategic partnership:

China and Africa should closely coordinate their cooperation in international affairs. We want to jointly protect the UN Charter’s purposes and principles, advocate the democratization of international relations, promote harmonious and balanced global development, oppose bullying of the weak by the strong, the strong bullying the weak, leaning on ones wealth to suppress the poor, we will strengthen discussion and coordination, take care of each others mutual concerns, join hands in reacting to global climate change, food security, sustainable development and other global challenges.
开创中非新型战略伙伴关系新局面,中非应该密切在国际事务中的协调和配合。我们要共同维护《联合国宪章》宗旨和原则,倡导国际关系民主化,推动和谐均衡的全球发展,反对以大欺小、恃强凌弱、倚富压贫,加强磋商和协调,照顾彼此关切,携手应对气候变化、粮食安全、可持续发展等全球性挑战。

People-to-people diplomacy plays a role, too. As the fourth item of five, non-governmental or

people-to-people friendship shall establish a solid public-opinion basis. China proposes to carry out “Sino-African people-to-people friendship actions”, to support and encourage bilateral non-governmental organizations, cooperation in the exchange between women and the young, to create a “Sino-African News Exchange Center” in China, to encourage exchanges and activities between Sino-African bilateral news media people, support the exchange of news people between news organizations of both sides, to continue the implementation of “Sino-African joint research and exchange plan”, and sponsorship of 100 projects of exchange and cooperation between academics and researchers.
第四,增进中非民间友好,为中非共同发展奠定坚实民意基础。中国倡议开展“中非民间友好行动”,支持和促进双方民间团体、妇女、青少年等开展交流合作;在华设立“中非新闻交流中心”,鼓励中非双方新闻媒体人员交流互访,支持双方新闻机构互派记者;继续实施“中非联合研究交流计划”,资助双方学术机构和学者开展100个学术研究、交流合作项目。

Not everything is as smooth as Hu’s speech on Thursday might suggest. Zimbabwe, one of China’s closest allies (and whose president, Robert Mugabe, is definitely more interested in democratization of international relations), is investigating persistent reports of rampant abuse of workers by Chinese employers. But then, the statement came from Zimbabwe’s minister of labor and social welfare, who is a member of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDL) – and the MDL is definitely the weaker half of Zimbabwe’s uneasy “coalition” government between president Mugabe’s cronies and the once oppositional MDL.
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Related

» Enhancing Zhou Enlai’s Convivial Diplomacy, February 20, 2012
» Universal Values, Competing Interests, July 16, 2011
» Namibia’s Vision 2030, March 26, 2010
» Old Comrades never Cheat, Aug 27, 2009
» Is AGOA Good Enough, Aug 5, 2009

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Culture is a Low-Carbon Industry: the 17th Central Committee’s “Cultural Decision”, Implemented on the Ground in Shijiazhuang

The latest leg of my translation of the CCP central committee’s “cultural decision” document, plus more links concerning that document, can be found here.

The following is a translation of an article by Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), published online on Friday. The article isn’t part of the actual document, but is meant to describe the document’s implementation “on the ground” in Shijiazhuang.

Shijiazhuang is the capital of Hebei Province.

Main Link: http://www.sjzdaily.com.cn/main/2011-12/02/content_1443135.htm

By this newspaper’s reporter, Yue Jinhong (岳金宏). The other day, in order to carry out and implement the spirit of the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session, the provincial 8th Party Congress and the 9th City Party Congress and to promote the provincial capital’s great cultural development and great bloom, member of the city’s municipal committee’s standing committee and propaganda bureau director Sun Wanyong (孙万勇) came to the Animated-Cartoon-Building project1) in  Gaocheng City‘s Qiaodong District, for on-site inspection and exploration.
日前,为贯彻落实党的十七届六中全会、省第八次党代会和市第九次党代会精神,推进省会文化大发展大繁荣,市委常委、宣传部长孙万勇就我市文化产业发展、文化项目建设等情况到藁城市、桥东区、动漫大厦项目现场等地进行了实地调研。

At the building, Sun examined the progress on-site and listened to reports about the project’s development. Sun Wanyong granted affirmation to the planning, orientation and progress and pointed out the major tasks in the work on the building’s outside design, the childrens’ theme restaurant design, the deepening of the career experience hall’s rearrangements, etc..
在石家庄市动漫大厦暨中国动漫衍生产品集散交易中心项目现场,孙万勇实地查看了施工现场,听取了项目进展情况汇报。孙万勇对大厦的整体项目立项、定位及工作进展予以肯定,指出下一步要重点做好大厦的外立面设计、策划动漫主题儿童餐厅、深入修改职业体验馆等工作。

In Gaocheng City, Sun Wanyong successively visited the Tuntou Palace Lantern village2), and Hebei Renowned Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. (formerly China Drumbeat Factory). In a discussion that followed, he gave the existing foundations of Gaocheng City’s cultural industry rather high ratings. He demanded that Gaocheng City should conscientiously explore the ways of transformation from a big to a strong city of civilization, to continue to increase the engagement in the cultural causes, to actively guide the development of lantern, musical instrument etc. trades’ healthy development, to continue to write the great chapter of the cultural industry’s development, to adminstrate the cultural cause for the people and the masses well, and to be good pioneers at the entire city’s cultural construction.
在藁城市,孙万勇先后深入屯头宫灯专业村、河北名华乐器有限公司(原中华鼓乐厂)进行实地调研。在随后举行的座谈会上,孙万勇对藁城市已经拥有的文化产业基础给予较高评价。他要求藁城市认真研究怎样实现从文化大市到文化强市的转变,继续加大对文化事业的投入力度,积极引导宫灯产业和鼓乐厂等文化产业健康发展,继续做好文化产业这篇大文章,多为人民群众办好文化事业,在文化建设上当好全市排头兵。

On November 30, in Qiaodong District, Sun Wanyong successively inspected the History and Culture Gallery at Minsheng Road, Letai Center, Zhongshan Warring States Cultural and Artistic Research Institute and other locations, and listened to reports from Shijiazhuang Space Animation City, Splendid International City and other projects, as well as a general report about Qiaodong’s general cultural construction. After listening, he pointed out that Qiaodong had always attached importance and priority to cultural construction, had incorporated cultural construction in its economic and social plans, and had marched to the forefront within the city. In its future work, Qiaodong District should play its cards in the areas of history and culture, originality, and in the cultural market well, brightly put the goal of a strong cultural district forward, make use of the good existing foundations, master the construction of its projects, achieve great breakthroughs, achieve great development and bloom for the entire city, and contribute to Shijiazhuang’s well-being.
11月30日,孙万勇到桥东区调研文化建设情况,先后察看了民生路历史文化长廊、勒泰中心、中山战国文化艺术研究院等地,听取了太空动漫城、锦绣国际城等项目以及桥东区文化建设总体情况汇报。孙万勇在听取情况后指出,桥东区历来重视文化建设工作,将文化建设摆上了重要位置,纳入了经济社会整体规划,在市里走在了前列。在今后的工作中,桥东区要打好历史文化牌、打好文化创意牌、打好文化市场牌,鲜明地提出建设文化强区这一目标,利用好现在的基础,抓好项目建设,争取有大的突破,为全市实现文化大发展大繁荣、建设幸福石家庄做贡献。

At the end of his exploration, Sun Wanyong emphasized that the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session had called for the great development and bloom of culture, and marked a new stage in our country’s cultural construction. Culture is an industry low in resource consumption, with no great negative impacts on the environment, a typical case of a low-carbon, green economy. To carry out and implement the spirit of the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session, our city has already made it clear that by 2015, the cultural industry’s development shall become a pillar of [Shijiazhuang’s] national economy. The entire city’s propaganda and cultural systems must establish a strong political conscience, an awareness of the overall situation, a sense of responsibility and opportunity, a high degree of cultural consciousness and cultural self-confidence, closely connect to our city’s reality, by high standards and vigorous measures plan and promote cultural reform’s development, continuously strengthen cultural development’s overall strength and competitiveness, and make efforts to initiate the new situation of our provincial capital’s cultural reform and development.
调研结束后,孙万勇强调,党的十七届六中全会吹响了文化大发展大繁荣的号角,标志着我国文化建设进入了一个新的发展阶段。文化产业资源消耗低、环境污染少、科技含量高,是典型的低碳经济、绿色经济。为贯彻落实党的十七届六中全会精神,我市已明确提出,至2015年要把文化产业发展成为国民经济支柱性产业。全市宣传文化系统要树立强烈的政治意识、大局意识、责任意识和机遇意识,树立高度的文化自觉和文化自信,紧密结合我市实际,以更高的标准、更有力的措施谋划和推动文化改革发展,不断增强文化发展的整体实力和竞争力,努力开创省会文化改革发展的新局面。

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Notes

1) Shijiazhuang is trying to build itself into a cartoon harbor of the vast country (i. e. China), China Radio International (CRI) reported in August 2009. Some pictures and English remarks were made available by Hebei’s provincial government in 2010 and in 2011 respectively. The Animated-Cartoon Building is scheduled to become – or to include – a place for exhibiting and trading cartoons, and according to a schedule published by Hebei News Net in October this year, that place will be ready for business early in 2012.

2) Tuntou Palace Lantern Village is described in a China Radio International article / broadcast of 2008 here.

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Related

» Cartoons: Lord Yegong Loves the Dragon, June 16, 2010
» Obituary: Hua Junwu, 1915 – 2010, June 14, 2010

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Monday, October 3, 2011

China, Myanmar, WTO: Dependence, Low-End Exports, and Friendly Consultations

The government has suspended work on the controversial Myitsone dam as a result of widespread public protest over its likely environmental and social impact,

reports the Myanmar Times.

Myitsone Dam under Construction, Wikimedia Commons (click on photo for source)

Myitsone Dam under Construction, Wikimedia Commons (click on photo for source)

China News Service (中国新闻网) reported on Sunday (October 2, 2011, 00:41 GMT) that

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) told a press conference today that the Myitsone electric plant project is a joint Sino-Chinese project which went through scientific demonstration and strict examination. The matters concerned should be properly handled through friendly consultations between the two sides.

中国外交部发言人洪磊今天回答记者问时说,密松电站是中缅两国的合资项目,经过了双方的科学论证和严格审查。对项目实施过程中的有关事宜,应由双方通过友好协商妥善处理。

Q: According to reports, Myanmar’s parliament announced on September 30 that during president Thein Sein’s tenure, the Sino-Myanmarnese cooperative  Myitsone electric plant  project will remain shelved. What is the Chinese side’s comment on this?

据报道,9月30日,缅甸联邦议会宣布吴登盛总统在其任期内搁置中缅两国密松电站合作项目。中方对此有何评论?

A: The Chinese government has always supported Chinese companies in developing cooperation with companies abroad, based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and demanded that Chinese companies should perform in strict accordance with those countries’ law and regulations, to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations, and urges governments in pertaining countries to guarantee the Chinese companies’ legal legitimate rights and interests. The Myitsone power plant is a project jointly invested by China and Myanmar, and went  through the scientific demonstration and strict examination of both sides. The matters concerned should be properly handled through friendly consultations between the two sides.

中国政府一贯支持中国企业本着相互尊重、平等互利原则同其他国家企业开展合作,并要求中国企业严格按照所在国法律法规履行责任和义务,敦促有关国家政府保障中国企业的合法和正当权益。密松电站是中缅两国的合资项目,经过了双方的科学论证和严格审查。对项目实施过程中的有关事宜,应由双方通过友好协商妥善处理。

Also on Sunday (Saturday, 18:07 GMT), People’s Daily‘s Bangkok correspondent Ji Peiyuan (暨佩娟) quoted Myanmar media:

According to Myanmar media reports, Burmese parliament announced on September 30 that during president Thein Sein’s tenure, the Sino-Myanmarnese cooperative  Myitsone electric plant  project will remain shelved. Thein Sein said: “Myanmar’s government is elected by the people, therefore, we have to pay attention to the will of the people. We are obliged to focus on settling the people’s worries and misgivings.”

Thein Sein said that the Myitsone electric plant  project could harm [or destroy, 破坏] the natural landscape, the livelihoods of the local people, the private capital in the cultivation of rubber plantations and crops, and collapsing dams, caused by climate change, could also damage the livelihoods of the people near the Myitsone plant, and further down the river. He also said that the Myanmar government would consult with the Chinese government to avoid harming Sino-Myanmar bilateral relations and friendship.

Myanmar Myitsone hydropower plant is worth 3.6 billion US dollars, and is about 200 kilometers away from Tengchong County in Yunnan Province. and is a major hydropower by the China Power Investment Corporation, in the region of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. It’s located in the Kachin mountainous region and to be developed at the 干流河段 section of the Irrawaddy River, with a capacity of six million kilowatts.

The rest of People’s Daily’s report reflects the statement made by Chinese foreign ministry Hong Lei (see this post’s initial paras).

The BBC reported that a letter by president Thein Sein had been read out in parliament, announcing the decision to suspend the project. The project had fuelled fighting between the army and ethnic Kachin rebels. The BBC quotes its South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey as saying that the decision appears to be further evidence of the new leadership’s desire to seek legitimacy by being more open to public opinion.

Both continuing the project in the long run (completion was originally scheduled for 2019), and its abandonment, would pose many problems. Continuation would reportedly have a negative impact on biodiversity, as frequently reflected by organizations like the Burma Rivers Network, it may come with side effects as many other mega dams from the Aswan Dam in Egypt to the Three-Gorges dam in China have, and rebel movements in the region could make the Myitsone project vulnerable to sabotage. Besides the mythological weight the river carries, forced relocations, and the loss of means of livelihood also seem to have driven opposition.

But Mynamar may have good reasons to keep consultations with Beijing as friendly as possible. Even if Yangon (or Naypyidaw) flatly refused to pay damages (if legally obliged to do so), business with its powerful neighbor would suffer. China sees itself a s a victim of trade protectionism, and this case, if it becomes a high-profile bone of contention, would add to that.

On the other hand, the further process may also make it clear to Beijing that mere deals with third-world countries’ regimes may not be sustainable. If China’s rulers understand that is a different question. Protectionism and resource nationalism had been on the rise and hampered Chinese business, official Xinhua news agency reported in September, citing an Ernest & Young report. Obviously, China was a “victim” of trade protectionism (贸易保护主义最大受害者).

There is grumbling among China’s academia, too. On the tenth anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO, People’s University (aka Renmin University) professor Gu Genliang (贾根良) questioned China’s foreign trade approach of importing high-end products and exporting low-end products (进口高端产品并出口低端产品).

By exporting hydropower to China, Myanmar would follow a path similar to the one Gu Genliang deems harmful. China, Gu Genliang (and many other Chinese people, academics or not) feel that they are being exploited, especially by America, of course.

[Update, April 11, 2012: the linked website, Utopia, is currently offline.  Apparently, Wu Genliang’s article can also be found here.]

Gu also fears foreign blackmail:

We are mired in heavy dependence on foreign resources and on on our own cheap exports. Large-scale low-end exports consume a lot of energy and natural resources, which led to our country’s dependence on foreign energy and resources which not only made the prices for these sources explode, which transferred the fruits of our people’s hard work into the hands of energy-exporting countries, but also has the potential of making us suffer from foreign countries’ embargos, thus carrying a huge security risk. At the same time, while our country is so reliant on foreign resources, it is ridiculous that we are exporting large quantities of rare earths and minerals coal, etc. at low prices.

第五,深陷对外部资源的严重依赖和本国资源廉价出口的陷阱。低端产品的大量出口是以大量消耗能源和自然资源为基础的,这导致了我国对外能源和资源的高度依赖,这种高度依赖不仅导致了能源和资源的价格暴涨把我国人民辛苦劳动的成果转移到资源出口国手中,而且潜伏着遭遇外国对我国实施资源禁运的巨大经济安全风险。同时,令人感到荒谬的是,在我国深陷对外部资源的严重依赖的同时,我国的大量资源如稀土、煤炭等却被大量地廉价出口。

The WTO ruled in July that Chinese export restrictions on certain raw minerals violated global rules

Gu spells out the conditions under which China’s WTO membership could still be useful – or those under which it should consider leaving the organization.

Myanmar is still a long way from even joining.

But maybe, at least, it will stop exploiting China’s dependence on energy, and pull the plug on the Myitsone project for good.

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Related

» The Government had little Choice, Asia Times, Oct 4, 2011
» Vietnam: Under Threat of Invasion, April 29, 2009

Updates / Related

» Aung San Suu Kyi Cautious, BBC, Oct 3, 2011

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