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
BBC Chinese recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on February 18 that it will ban coal imports from North Korea. China’s announcement explained that this ban was to implement UN Resolution 2321. The ban will remain effective until the end of this year. Observers around the world expressed the belief that this Chinese ban is the response to North Korea’s missile launch on February 12. It may also be the answer to the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s brother Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur on February 13. This new coal ban is a very important development since coal is the single most critical export product of North Korea and China has bought nearly all North Korean coal exports. The income from coal exports is considered an important pillar of North Korea’s economy. Previously, China promised to implement the UN resolution only under the condition that the sanction should not have a damaging impact on the civilian population of North Korea.
Source: BBC Chinese, February 18, 2017
China News recently reported that Xi Xiaoming, the former Vice President and Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of China, was sentenced to life in prison, deprived of his political rights for life, and had all of his personal property confiscated. Xi was accused of corruption and of accepting bribes worth over RMB 115 million (around US$ 16.7 million). Because Xi’s relatives accepted and consumed most of the money, the court ruled that his punishment would be lighter. Xi pled guilty and accepted the rulings in court. He has decided not to appeal. Between 1996 and 2015, Xi Xiaoming served in the Supreme People’s Court as the Vice President, judge of the Court for Economic Trial, judge of the Second Court for Civil Trial, and a Member of the Judicial Committee.
Source: China News, February 16, 2017
Seven police officers who physically assaulted participants in the Hong Kong Occupy Central movement were charged with physical assault and sentenced to two years in prison. When China’s official media expressed sympathy for the jailed officers, Internet comments responded directly, “Don’t people know that Hong Kong is still a democratic and free society that is not under communist rule? You are using a brain that has been brainwashed. How can you understand (what the truth is)?” Continue reading
According to Duowei News, on February 17, CCTV aired five minutes of news coverage of the National Security Committee forum that Xi Jinping hosted. According to Xinhua, Xi gave directives on the requirements of national security and its work in areas such as politics, the economy, homeland security, social issues, and the Internet.
According to Duowei, CCTV’s news coverage showed the the Committee’s first TV appearance since it was formed in 2013. The last news report on the committee was on April 15, 2014, three months after it was formed. CCTV’s coverage of the first meeting was only limited to text script with no video image.
Duowei quoted a comment from WeChat which stated that, due to the sensitive nature of the National Security Committee, it rarely publish any information but the related work has been carried out efficiently behind the scenes while the news coverage of the forum showed the importance of national security work in its related areas.
According to Duowei, the members of the National Security Committee consist of 12 members from the Central Politburo as well as eight senior members of the Central Military Commission.
Source: Duowei News, February 17, 2017 http://china.dwnews.com/news/2017-02-17/59800567.html
According to a report that Radio France Internationale published, Greenpeace East Asia and Custeel (a website that the China Iron and Steel Association, which 16 large-sized steel manufacturers and enterprises in China fund) conducted an investigation of China’s steel production. The findings showed that, despite the serious steel surplus that China faces, its 2016 steel production capacity actually increased by 36.5 million tons. The investigation report disclosed that even though China claimed that, in 2016, it shut down steel factories having 85 million tons of steel capacity, the number should only have been 23 million tons because the rest of the factories that were shut down had been idle, with no production capability. Meanwhile, according to the report, new projects launched in 2016 added 12 million tons of production capacity with most of it located in Hubei Province.
The report stated that China Steel production accounts for 50 percent of the production volume in the world. Competitors criticized (China’s steel industry) for using the destructive competition approach and selling below cost. As a result, in 2016, they faced anti-dumping treatment from the EU and the U.S. The Chinese authorities promised that, by 2020, China would reduce steel production by 100-150 million tons. In 2016, China’s steel production was around 1.1 trillion tons, which means it is sitting on 300 million tons of excess steel.
Source: Radio France Internationale, February 13, 2017 cn.rfi.fr/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20170213-%E6%89%BF%E8%AF%BA%E6%9C%AA%E8%A7%81%E6%95%88-%E5%8E%BB%E5%B9%B4%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E9%92%A2%E9%93%81%E4%BA%A7%E8%83%BD%E5%AE%9E%E9%99%85%E5%87%80%E5%A2%9E3650%E4%B8%87%E5%90%A8