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Huanqiu: Hong Kong Independence Backed by International Anti-China Forces and Financiers

The Chinese government’s mouthpiece Huanqiu issued a commentary which discussed the court trial of three leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong: Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law. The charges include inciting others to join an unlawful assembly and taking part in an unlawful assembly.
The commentary referred to the Occupy Central movement as a radical movement; it linked it to the clashes between the police and protesters earlier this year in the Mong Kok district. “The serious bloodshed in Mong Kok on Chinese New Year’s Day this year was the consequence of the ‘Occupy Central’ movement. The event escalated from demonstrations to riots that included brick throwing, arson, car burning, and even club fighting, deliberately endangering the personal safety of front line police officers.”
Huanqiu quoted a member of the Beijing based Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, “Hong Kong is not America’s backyard; Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affair; and the United States has absolutely no voice.” “If the U.S. attempts to intervene in Hong Kong affairs, there is a suspicion that it has contempt for the Hong Kong courts. The fact that these few defendants could actually get U.S. Congress involved shows that their relationship with the U.S. is not simple. Hong Kong should be wary of outside interference. Black financiers are fostering spokespersons by making investments behind the scenes.”
The comments about “U.S. interference” likely refer to an earlier statement issued by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, “CECC Chairs Troubled by Recent Developments in Hong Kong; Say Trial of Joshua Wong and Fellow Protesters Will be Important Bellwether.” The comment continued, "The ‘Hong Kong independence’ can be traced back to the international anti-China hostile forces. By means of education during the British Hong Kong, religion, and the poitical propaganda backed by the so-called core values of Western democracy, they are exerting a subtle influence with the minds of the younger generation."
Source: Huanqiu, March 1, 2016
http://msn.huanqiu.com/mil/observation/2016-03/8628798.html

In 2015, Chinese Tourists Spend 0.2 trillion Dollars Overseas

According to a Xinhua report on the statistics that the Ministry of Commerce recently published on Chinese’ overseas purchase of luxury goods, in 2015, Chinese tourists spent about 1.2 trillion yuan (US$0.2 trillion) overseas, thus becoming the leader among the world traveler consumer groups. 
Fortune Character Institute, a Shanghai based management consulting firm, estimated that, in 2015, Chinese consumers’ expenditures on luxury goods worldwide amounted to US$116.8 billion, about 46 percent of the world’s total expenditures on global luxury goods. Of Chinese consumers’ expenditures, US$91 billion or 78 percent, took place outside of China.
The price difference is still the most attractive reason for making purchases overseas. The average price spread for alcoholic beverages is around 64 percent; for wrist watches it is around 33 percent.
Overseas shoppers are mostly between 25 and 40 years old. Those between 25 to 30 years old prefer clothing and cosmetics; 30-to-35-year-old shoppers like luggage, bags, and digital products, 35-to-40-year-old shoppers are more interested in luxury jewelry, in addition to nutrition and health products.
Source: Xinhua, February 13, 2016
http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2016-02/13/c_1118026740.htm

92 Chinese Cities Suffered from Heavy Air Pollution on Lunar New Year’s Eve

Reports from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) have indicated that fireworks and adverse weather conditions intensified the air pollution in China during the Lunar New Year’s Eve. An official from the Ministry said that from the 2016 Lunar New Year’s Eve until New Year’s day, among the 338 cities that implemented the new air quality standards, 67 cities had good air quality. The remaining 271 cities were below par. Of these, 92 were reported to be heavily polluted.
Heavy air pollution is distributed mainly along the Yangtze River, in Beijing and the surrounding areas, the Northeast region, the Sichuan Basin, and the North China Plain. The primary pollutants, except for PM10 in a few cities, are PM2.5. The number of heavily polluted cities increased by 54 in comparison with last year. The average concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were 148 and 210 micrograms/cubic meter respectively, an increase of 27.6 percent and 23.5 percent each from last year. [Editors note: PM2.5 is particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less.
Source: Xinhua News, February 8, 2016
http://news.xinhuanet.com/local/2016-02/08/c_1118015119.htm

China’s Negative Population Growth, Not Far Away

According to a recent report on the website of yicai.com, a Shanghai based online media, the impact of a comprehensive two-child policy on the size and structure of the Chinese population may be less than expected. Due to the diminished willingness of Chinese people to give birth, a negative growth in population may arrive as early as 2023.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) is the government agency responsible for drafting laws and regulations on family planning policy. According to an NHFPC survey, Chinese couples are willing to have an average 1.93 children. NHFPC projects that, as a result of the implementation of the two-child policy that started on January 1, 2016, the annual birth rate will increase to 3 million. This will increase the active labor force by an additional 30 million people by the year 2050. NHFPC expects to see the negative population growth begin in 2030.
However, a few scholars estimate that the positive impact of the two-child policy will be lower than expected. Yao Meixiong, a statistician based in Fujian Province, believes that an addition of 30 million to the labor force by the year 2050 may be an overestimate. Due to the ever increasing annual death rate, China will see a negative population growth as early as 2023, when the annual death rate exceeds the birth rate. This is seven years earlier than the official estimate. 
Gu Baochang, a professor at Renmin University of China, looked at the characteristics of the women of childbearing age, more than half of whom are of age 40 and above. Considering the low willingness among the Chinese population to have more than two children, the new policy may not be as effective as expected.
Censuses have shown that the population of Chinese children who are below 14 years of age is trending downward in a surprisingly sharp decline. In 1964 the proportion of 14-year-olds among the total population was 40.7 percent; it was 33.6 percent in 1982; 27.7 percent in 1990; 22.9 percent in 2000, and only 16.6 percent in 2010. Alarmingly, the downward trend is continuing. According to statistics, 2015 was the fourth consecutive year of decline in China’s working-age population. It was the first time in the past 30 years to see a reduction in the population of migrant workers. Economists believe that China’s 2015 GDP growth rate, which saw a 25-year low, had a lot to do with the decline in migrant workers.
Source: yicai.com, February 1, 2016
http://www.yicai.com/news/2016/02/4746821.html

Chinese Military Hawk’s Opinion on Taiwan

Luo Yuan, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) major-general and Chinese military theorist, published an opinion article on Huanqiu, a People’s Daily publication; in the wake of the recent Taiwan general election, Luo expressed the following:
“Despite the fortuitous development of the Taiwan issue, an iron principle should never be bent: to conform to the historical trend. … No matter what kind of twists and turns may appear, reunification with the motherland is a historical trend that no one can stop.
“We will respect public opinion, but there is a difference between a broad and a narrow public opinion. On the issue of national unity, one should only listen to the broad public opinion of the entire nation, instead of the narrow opinion of the people in one region. … The option of Taiwan’s reunification or independence can be decided only by the 1.3 billion Chinese people including those in Taiwan.
“We will weigh the pros against the cons, but there is a difference between major pros and cons and the small pros and cons. National unity is a serious matter. No cost can be weighed as being superior to the value of unification.
“We will act according to the law. There is a difference between the large law and the small law. On the matter of national unity, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the National Defense Law of the People’s Republic of China, and the Anti-Secession Law are the iron laws that establish the bottom line that no one should touch and the legal framework that no local laws can surpass.
“There is a difference between peaceful reunification and military reunification and we will make every effort to achieve a peaceful reunification. As long as the peace does not die, we will make a one hundred percent effort. In exchange for the best interest of a unified country, we will minimize the costs for the people on both sides. We have made the promise that ‘Chinese don’t fight Chinese,’ but if the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces drive us into a corner, we have no choice but the military solution. ‘If you want reunification, then peace; if independence, then war.’ One cannot draw an equal sign between independence and peace.”
Source: Huanqiu, January 25, 2016
http://opinion.huanqiu.com/1152/2016-01/8438331.html

China’s Economy Faces Three Constraints

Li Wei, head of the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), recently expressed the view that it will be "very difficult” for China to maintain a GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent in 2016 because the Chinese economy faces three constraints.
“The first is a tightened external demand from the global market. Since the 2008 financial crisis, although major economies have initiated a series of stimulus measures for economic recovery, … it will still take time to see a new round of high growth. The IMF lowered [its forecast] for the world’s economic growth in 2016 from 3.8 percent to 3.6 percent.
“The second is the kink in the population structure, which results in escalating labor costs. With an aging population and a rapid decline in the active labor force, the competitiveness of Chinese laborers has weakened.
“The last is the pressure on the environment and resources. For a long time, China’s arable lands have been decreasing due to industrialization and urbanization, directly threatening China’s food security. A development model that neglects the cost to the environment cannot last.”
The DRC is a ministerial level government policy research and consulting institution directly under the State Council.
Source: China Securities Journal, January 11, 2016
http://www.cs.com.cn/xwzx/hg/201601/t20160111_4881221.html
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