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Briefings - 1242. page

China Speeds Up Tapping of Strategic Oil Reserves

On March 6, PetroChina announced the opening of a commercial oil reserve project in Shanshan county of Xinjiang province. Total oil reserves there are expected to reach 1 million cubic meters. The project marks the beginning of China’s second phase of tapping oil reserves in response to the worldwide oil shortage.

The first phase centers on the coastline and consists of four strategic oil reserve bases: Zhanhai, Zhejiang province; Huangdao, Shandong province; Zhoushan, Zhejiang province and Dalian, Liaoning province. The Dalian base was the last one opened and it was close to being 2/3 completed as of March 6.

Source: China Stock, March 7, 2008

Olympics: Beijing Arrests Falun Gong Practitioners Ahead of Games

On March 5, 2008, Falun Gong’s official website Minghui published a list of over 50 Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing who were arrested since December 2007. According to the report, the police began monitoring and following them as early as August 2007 in an attempt to limit efforts to expose the persecution of Falun Gong in the run-up to the Olympics.

Source: Minghui, March 5, 2008

Olympics: Pro-Democracy Student Leaders Demand Right to Return to China

A group of pro-democracy student leaders asked in a joint statement that China allow free travel. They and many others have had their Chinese passports revoked or renewal denied, effectively banning them from returning to China. Their joint statement says that the Olympic Charter prohibits any country from denying anyone the right to attend the Olympic Game on the basis of political or religious affiliation, and that China engages in political persecution via its passport administration, thus violating the Olympic Charter.

Source: Asian Times, March 6, 2008 reprinted by Boxun

China Launches Second Phase of Moon Probing System

Ye Peijian, an acadamic at CAS (Chinese Academy of Science) told the Chinese press that the second phase of China’s moon probing mission had begun. After launching its first lunar probe, named “Chang’e 1,” last year to “orbit” the moon, the second phase planned is a soft landing on the moon’s surface along with an “inspection using probing robots and probing devices," abbreviated as “landing”. According to Ye, the “landing” phase is scheduled to be completed by 2013. Experiments with the use of moonbuggies have also been conducted. The third phase will be a mission to carry out a soft landing on the moon’s surface and then return  the moonbuggy with collected lunar samples, abbreviated as “return”. Ye also anticipates that China will be capable of realizing a manned moon flight between 2020 and 2025.

Source: Xinhua, March 6, 2008

Hong Kong Media on 2008 China’s Defense Budget

Double Digit Increase of Military Expenditure Has Continued for 20 years. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily published an article on March 5, 2008 on China’s newly released defense budget. It states that China’s military expenditure has been on the rise with a double digital increase for 20 years in a row. After the 1989 Tiananmen massacre when military forces were used to suppress the Beijing democracy movement, defense expenditure started to take off and hit 355.39 billion yuan last year, about 14 times what it was in 1989.

Apple Daily comments that the 2008 defense budget of 417.7 billion yuan is no surprise in light of last week’s lengthy article in the PLA Daily calling for a significant increase in the defense budget.

Source: Apply Daily, March 5, 2008 reprinted by New Century News.

Xinhua Censors Wen’s Government Report

On March 5, the 11th National People’s Congress opened with Premier Wen Jiaobao’s two-and-half-hour report of government work. According to Radio Free Asia, in the transcript of Wen’s speech posted on the website of Xinhua New Agency, some of his words were missing. For example, in the part where Wen addressed  “strengthening the construction of socialistic democracy and the rule of law, facilitating social justice”, Xinhua’s report skipped the following words of Wen’s: “conduct democratic elections, democratic decision-making, democratic management, democratic supervision, and protect people’s rights to know, to participate, to express, and to supervise.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 5, 2008