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China’s SOEs Are the Largest Oil Drilling Contractors in Kuwait

According to an article that China.org published, China’s State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) broke through the domination that the U.S. and the European countries held and became the largest oil drilling contractors in Kuwait, which is considered a strategic partner of China’s “one belt one road” project. The SOEs have built 53 teams in Kuwait and employ over 3,000 Chinese and foreign workers. They own 53 drillers and hold 45 percent of the oil drilling market share. The article claimed that by the end of first quarter in 2017, China’s SOEs will be responsible for a total of 64 projects in the amount US$13.7 billion in Kuwait. The projects range from oilfield services, exploration, refinery, housing, and infrastructure, to telecommunications.

Source: China.org, July 16, 2017
http://news.china.com.cn/2017-07/16/content_41222830.htm

People’s Daily: Eleven Provinces and Cities had a Minimum Wage Increase in 2017

According to an article that People’s Daily published, by July 15, 2017, 11 provinces and cities had raised their minimum wage. The statistics disclosed that both the number of provinces that had a minimum wage increase and the rate of increase were lower than in the past. Take Beijing as an example. The rate of the increase in the minimum wage was only 5.8 percent this year while the rate of the increase in Shanghai was 5 percent. Most regions have minimum wage increases once every two years. Some regions have changed it to once every three years.

The article reported that, in 2012, 25 regions had wage increases that averaged 20.2 percent. In 2013, 27 regions had increases at a rate averaging 17 percent. In 2014 19 regions had increases that averaged 14.1 percent. In 2015 24 regions had increases of 14 percent. In 2016, 9 regions had increases that averaged 10.7 percent. The article cited the reasons for the reduced rate of the wage increases as slowed economic growth in recent years as well as the intent to ease the pressure on businesses in order to maintain their cost competitiveness. According to the list of the minimum wage in 31 regions mentioned in the article, the minimum wage gap varies between regions with those along the coastline ranked in the top five minimum wage regions including Shanghai, Tianjing, Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu. The regions in the Southwest, Northwest, and Northeast have a relatively lower minimum wage. The bottom two regions are Tibet and Guangxi Province where the minimum wage of the level 4 job category in Guangxi is only 1,000 yuan (US$141). That amount is less than half of the minimum wage in Shanghai which is 2,300 yuan (US$330).

Source: People’s Daily, July 16, 2017
http://society.people.com.cn/n1/2017/0716/c1008-29407521.html

Liu Xiaobo’s Ashes Cast into Ocean; Family Members “Thanked” Party at the Press Conference

According to articles that Radio Free Asia and Voice of America published, the body of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo was cremated on the morning of July 15 and his ashes were cast into the ocean right after the cremation. Six of Liu’s family members were at the funeral, including his wife. None of Liu’s friends were present. At 4:00 p.m. on the 15th, during the press conference that the Shen Yang Municipal office held, Liu’s brother read a written statement. He “thanked” the party and the government twice in his speech and also explained why they “chose” to cast Liu’s ashes into the ocean. Liu’s wife was said to be too weak to be at the press conference. Liu’s brother left after he finished reading the statement and didn’t answer any questions from the media. Liu’s wife and many of his friends received a warning from the security bureau not to attend the funeral. The photo taken at the funeral showed that most of the people at the funeral were government officials and members of the public security bureau. On the day prior to the funeral the spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that China was against the Noble Peace Prize being awarded to Liu and asked the media not to make any prediction as to whether Liu’s wife will be allowed to travel to Norway to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize that Liu received in 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize committee chairman applied for a visa to come to China to attend Liu’s funeral. Her application was denied because she didn’t receive the invitation from Liu’s family. Ms. Anderson stated that Liu had passed away and she was not able to reach Liu’s wife.

Sources:
1. Voice of America
https://www.voachinese.com/a/liu-xiaobo-ashes-spread-at-the-sea/3945404.html
2. Radio Free Asia, July 15, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/ql1-07152017101602.html

Frequent Appearances of Former Prime Minister Suggests Rally behind Xi for the Upcoming 19th National Congress

According to an article in the Epoch Times, the recent frequent appearances of former prime minister Wen Jiabao suggests that Wen is trying to rally behind Xi for the upcoming 19th National Congress. The article reported that, on July 6, Wen was spotted visiting the China University of Geosciences. In April Wen went to Lu Liang of Shanxi Province. A couple of months later, in June, Xi Jinping also visited Lu Liang and a poverty stricken village in the region. Xi’s visit was interpreted as his using Wen’s political power to extend the influence of his new leadership. According to the article, Wen and former President Hu Jintao are considered Xi’s major allies. Wen assisted Xi in taking down a number of political opponents who are part of former President Jiang Zemin’s faction. Wen and Hu Jintao have often appeared in public during the critical timing when Xi took down members of Jiang’s faction during the campaign to combat corruption.

Source: Epoch Times, July 8, 2017
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/17/7/8/n9369270.htm

Noble Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Still Wishes to Leave China to Receive Medical Treatment Overseas

According to an article that Radio Free Asia (RFA) published, Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is in critical condition because he has reached the late stage of liver cancer. Both Liu and his wife have continued to express their wishes to leave China to receive medical treatment overseas. Liu was sent to the hospital from Jinzhou prison where he was serving an 11 year jail sentence. Since June 7, he has been hospitalized at the First Hospital of China Medical University in the city of Shen Yang, Liaoning Province. On June 26, 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. The daily updates that the hospital has issued have never mentioned the family’s intent to have him seek treatment overseas. Based on an interview with RFA, a close friend of Liu’s wife told RFA that the official news release from Liu’s family has been strictly controlled by the officials; they could only say whatever the officials wanted them to say. The article also mentioned that Liu’s medical condition took a sharp turn in April after his wife disclosed the latest situation of his family members to him: his wife has been suffering from severe depression and her brother was sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 7, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/ql1-07072017101142.html

Chinese Rights Lawyers Commemorate the “July 9 Mass Arrest of Rights Lawyers”

On July 9, Epoch Times published an article discussing how Chinese lawyers from different regions have used many diverse ways to show their support in commemorating the “July 9 Massive Arrest of Rights Lawyers” which took place two years ago. Lawyers from Guangzhou have used candles and white paper. One rights lawyer from Shandong Province went on a hunger strike for one day. One lawyer decided to visit another lawyer who was released from the detention center. In addition, the legal community in Hong Kong held a moment of silence that lasted for 7 minutes and 9 seconds, while lawyers from Taiwan issued a statement condemning the persecution of Chinese rights lawyers. July 9, 2017, was proposed to be the first “Chinese Lawyer’s Day.” One rights lawyer told Epoch Times that Chinese rights lawyers will not be suppressed; nor will they back down. They will continue to fight for human rights in China. The article also reported that a few days before July 9, (the authorities) sent a notice to each law firm in China requesting them “not to use the Internet, any media interviews or other channels to discuss anything about the July 9 incident from 2015.”

On July 9, 2015, over one hundred Chinese rights lawyers, human right activists, and petitioners across 23 provinces were arrested and detained. Some of them were beaten and tortured during detention. Even today, a few of the rights lawyers are still in detention.

Source:
Epoch Times, July 9, 2017
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/17/7/9/n9371331.htm

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