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RFI: China Having a Hard Time Achieving Its Goal of Air Pollution Control

Radio France Internationale (RFI) recently reported that serious air pollution continues to be a major challenge for the Chinese government. The central government asked 28 cities in Northern China to lower the air pollution particles by 15 percent between November and next March. However, the Chinese Minister of Environment Protection, Li Ganjie, admitted during his visit to a few northern provinces, that it will be “very challenging” to deliver on the pollution control goal within that time frame. Li reported that air pollution improvements have been slowing down since the beginning of the year. In some places, the process has even reversed. He emphasized that his ministry will be focusing on mounting serious pressure on local governments to enforce environmental protection laws and regulations. Based on recent monitoring data, 13 cities around Beijing saw worse air quality than at the same time last year. The official numbers that the Ministry of Environment Protection provided also showed that, in the first half of the year, 328 large cities across China suffered worse air quality compared to last year.

Source: RFI, October 5, 2017

BBC Chinese: China Invested Heavily in African Leaders’ Hometowns

BBC Chinese recently reported that, based on a few studies and on academic research, it seems the hometowns of many African leaders received more Chinese aid than other places. For example, the last time that then Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Sierra Leone, he visited Yoni, a small village deeply hidden in the jungle, with a grand school-building plan. Why? It turns out Yoni is the hometown of President Koroma of Sierra Leone. Studies showed that, among 2000 Chinese aid projects in 50 African countries, presidential hometowns received the largest portion of the money. Even the hometowns of the spouses of these leaders received more aid. It was very hard to find proof of corruption in these projects and China insisted on not attaching any “political conditions” to aid. However, the studies found China’s aid usually had more conditions than the West.

Source: BBC Chinese, October 6, 2017

South Korea Export Growth Rate Reached No. 1 in the World

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu recently reported that, based on data that the World Trade Organization (WTO) released on September 19, South Korea’s export volume between January and July of this year enjoyed a year-over-year growth rate of 16.3 percent, reaching US$328 billion. This rate is the highest among the world’s top 10 largest export countries, and happens to be double China’s number. Ironically, the high growth was achieved during a period when China has been heavily boycotting South Korean products, mainly due to China’s unhappiness of the Deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system. In the meantime, China’s export growth rate (8.3 percent) was below the average of the 70 primary export countries in the world. Experts expressed the belief that South Korea’s strong export recovery was based on the global economic recovery as well as the unit price increases of Korean products. The author of the article suggested that foreign investments play an important role in the Chinese economy. Boycotting foreign products may impact China’s own position in the supply chain.

Source: Sohu, September 23, 2017

Indian Economy’s Freefall Has Caused International Investors to Flee

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, over five consecutive quarters, India’s 5.7 percent economic growth rate has reached a new low. The growth rate has been declining steadily and is now at its lowest since early 2014. The Indian SENSEX index has been in freefall since the beginning of September. International investors were not able to identify any positive spots and have decided to flee the stock market. In August and September alone, the Indian stock market lost around US$2.61 billion in foreign investments, which was roughly 40 percent of the total foreign investments in stock – based on statistics calculated at the beginning of the year. In the meantime, the growth rate of foreign investments in Indian bonds is nearly at zero. Economists expressed the belief that India’s deficit is expected to increase and international ratings organizations have started criticizing India’s upcoming stimulus plan before it even begins. Apparently, India’s October is not going to look good for foreign investors.

Source: Sina, October 1, 2017


Ministry of Commerce: Closing Down North Korean Companies Per UN Resolution

China’s Ministry of Commerce recently released its official announcement asking all government branches to close down North Korean owned businesses in China. The regulation was issued under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which is part of the Ministry. The new government regulation explained that the cause of the policy change was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375. The scope of the regulation applies to all companies in China that involve North Korea, including joint ventures. SAIC gave the companies 120 days to close down their businesses. The provincial governments are held accountable for enforcing the implementation of the new regulation. However, the new announcement did mention some exceptions for purposes that are not-for-profit and which the UN resolution allows.

Source: Official Website of the Ministry of Commerce, September 26, 2017

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