On February 17, China Times published an article discussing China’s investments to stimulate the economy. According to the statistics that each province has released, the total investment to stimulate the economy in 2017 amounts to more than 40 trillion yuan (US$5.82 trillion). Twenty-three provinces so far have announced their 2017 fixed asset investment targets. Taking into account the provinces that have yet not published their data, the total investment in fixed assets this year will be at least 45 trillion yuan (US$6.54 trillion).
In addition to the large provincial budget targeted for infrastructure investment, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also announced the latest progress on major investment projects. On February 15, NDRC spokesman Zhao Chenxin said at a press conference that in January, NDRC approved 18 fixed asset investment projects with a total investment of 153.9 billion yuan (US$22.38 billion). These projects are concentrated mainly in water conservancy, transportation, and energy fields.
Beijing Fushengde Economic Consulting Firm Chief, Economist Feng Delin, told the China Times reporter, “These investments are mainly to cope with the economic slowdown.”
Source: China Times, February 17, 2017
Caixin reported that, on February 17, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the second Chief Executive of Hong Kong after China took over, was convicted of a crime.
He faced three charges and was found guilty on the second charge, misconduct in public office. Tsang had deliberately concealed his plans to lease a three-story penthouse from Wong Cho-bau at the same time that Wong’s company was filing several applications with the Hong Kong government, including one for a digital audio broadcasting license. Wong’s applications were approved.
On February 22, the Hong Kong court sentenced Tsang to 20 months in prison. The Judge said that the sentence should have been a 30-month prison term, but he gave Tsang a 10 month reduction because of his 40 years of public service.
1. Caixin, February 18, 2017
2. VOA, February 22, 2017
Xi Jinping has been talking about focusing on “a few key people” to improve how his policies are carried out and to prevent corruption. According to Xinhua, the term “a few key people” mainly refers to the Politburo members.
After China understood that the South Korea Company Lotte would remain firm in its position with the Korean government on the exchange of land for the deployment of the “THAAD” anti-missile system, China’s state media Global Times published an article threatening that Lotte should prepare for the consequences. Continue reading
Global Times, a subsidiary of People’s Daily Online published an analysis of the U.S. aircraft carrier and guided-missile destroyer deployed over the weekend to patrol the South China Sea. The analysis appeared on February 20 in the military section of the website of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper.
It cited the U.S. Navy’s press release issued on February 18 that the USS Carl Vinson carrier entered the South China Sea on Saturday.
The analysis cited an article from Japan Times that China watchers believe Washington intends to gauge the Chinese response and then conduct a more beefed up freedom of navigation operation.
Analysts told Global Times reporters that U.S. warships’ patrolling in the South China Sea is different in nature from their entering the adjacent waters of islands in the area. China’s navy has maintained a normalized patrol in the waters of the Nansha Islands, also known as the Spratly Islands. It is paying minute to minute attention to see whether US warships will make any risky moves.
The analysis mentioned an earlier report from U.S.-based Navy Times, that, according to several Navy officials, the U.S. Navy is planning fresh challenges to China’s claims in the South China Sea. It is sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as its sovereign territory in order to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea. The military’s plans also likely call for sailing within 12 nautical miles of China’s newly built islands in the Spratly and/or Paracel islands.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the routine press conference on February 15, “China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight of all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, but we oppose those who threaten and harm China’s sovereignty and security under the pretext of freedom of navigation and overflight.”
Global Times reporters noted that China’s Ministry of Defense has made no official response regarding this latest development. Global Times‘ interpretation is that China is more at ease when confronting U.S. military intimidation coupled with media hype.
Source: People’s Daily Online, February 20, 2017
Japan Times, February 19, 2017
Xinhua recently published three consecutive commentaries warning about the “American risks,” especially the risks that Wall Street poses. The first commentary is titled “Is Wall Street Brewing a New Crisis?” The article warned that the whole landscape of economic optimism, the appreciating dollar, and a rapidly growing stock market, seems to be déjà vu all over again, just like the days before the last global crisis. People should not underestimate Wall Street’s greed. The second commentary pin-pointed the question, “Will Deregulation Trigger a New Crisis?” The commentator suggested that, since President Trump promised deregulation of the financial market along with plans for a tax cut and major infrastructure investments, Wall Street has been enjoying a “rave party.” The combined stimulation package could increase the risks to a dangerous level. The third commentary asked, “Why Are the Wounds from the Previous Crisis So Difficult to Heal?” The author quoted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated that the advanced economies responded to the earlier Crisis with public financial stimulation like the Quantitative Easing (QE) policies. These policies introduced high debt, low investment and a fragile financial industry across the globe. The structure of the U.S. financial system originally caused a lack of investment and consumer spending and slowed the recovery from the previous crisis.
Source: Xinhua, February 15, 2017