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100,000 Lawyers Participated in Ceremony Giving Pledge to the Constitution

On Sunday December 2, one day before Constitution Day in China, nearly 100,000 lawyers from more than 400 cities across the country participated in a group ceremony held in their region making a pledge to the constitution. The judicial administrative entity and the lawyer’s associations around the country organized the ceremony. Sohu reported that “the ceremony was not only for the legal profession to show respect for the constitution, a willingness to study the constitution and for their observance and maintenance of the constitution, but also to strengthen the ideological and political, as well as the professionalism of education among lawyers.” Fu Zhenghua, the Chinese Attorney General, even went to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, serving as a witness to the pledges of hundreds of lawyers. The media described it as the first occurrence of such an event in the history of Communist China.

According to the newly revised “lawyers’ pledge rules,” the pledge is expressly required as a necessary procedure for lawyers to perform. Lawyers must execute the pledge and comply with the procedures and dress requirements that the authorities set. If lawyers do not take the pledge, a penalty will be imposed. However, according to Radio Free Asia, many lawyers in China still haven’t participated in the ceremony despite the potential penalty. One rights lawyer from Shanghai told RFA that he was not invited to the ceremony, but even if he had been invited, he still would not have gone because he dislikes putting on a show. Another lawyer said that the party treats lawyers as party members by organizing a group pledge ceremony. The pledge ceremony should be held individually not as a group, he said. Both lawyers said that China does not have judicial independence. The so-called “ruling the country according to law” is nothing but empty talk.

1. Sohu, December 3, 2018
2. Radio Free Asia, December 4, 2018

Chinese Companies in Panama

On June 13, 2017, Panama dropped Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with China. Since then, many Chinese companies have entered Panama. At present, the Panamanian Chinese Chamber of Commerce has 40 members.

China Harbour Engineering has moved its regional headquarters to Panama and taken over an expansion project of the Colon Port and a cruise terminal project. Not long ago, China Harbour also won the bid for the project of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal. In 2017, China’s Lan Bridge Group also started the Colon Margarita port expansion project. China State Construction Engineering has successively undertaken infrastructure projects such as the Panama government’s “City of Hope” Housing Project, the Amador Convention Center, and Panama City’s San Isidro Bus Station.

China CAMC Engineering also established an overseas warehouse in the Panama Free Trade Zone in Colon. Goldwind Technology supplies equipment for the Panama wind power project and drives the export of Chinese equipment.

The Bank of China, Huawei, and Nuctech have also made considerable progress in their respective fields. At present, China Railway Engineering Corporation is conducting a feasibility study related to passenger and freight transportation.

Wei Qiang, China’s first ambassador to Panama, said that the enormous energy accumulated during the long-term relationship between China and Pakistan is to be fully released and will comprehensively be promoting cooperation in trade, investment, shipping, civil aviation, finance, agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting the construction of the “Belt and Road.” Panama is the first Latin American country to sign this memorandum with China.

The Panamanian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Miguel Hincapie said that Panama hopes to become China’s gateway to other parts of Latin America.

Source: Xinhua, December 3, 2018

Lianhe Zaobao: China Had to Buy U.S. Pork to Fight Swine Fever

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that China has been importing a massive amount of U.S. pork although China is charging punishing tariffs on pork originated from the United States. Highly infectious swine plague is sweeping across China, putting heavy damage on the pork market and industry in China. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, very recently, Chinese entities placed the largest order for U.S. pork since the beginning of the trade war. The active purchasing moves gave the observers the impression that the Chinese pork market is seeing a significant shortage. This may actually ease the tension between China and the U.S. that the trade war introduced. China is currently charging a 62 percent tariff against U.S. pork. For the week of November 22, purchases of 9,384 tons of 2019 U.S. pork originated from China. This represents a 72 percent share of all U.S. pork export deals during that week. U.S. pork futures increased by four percent.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, November 30, 2018

RFI Chinese: Human DNA Editor He Jiankui under House Arrest

Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition recently reported that the University President of Shenzhen Southern University of Science and Technology brought He Jiankui, an Associate Professor from the Department of Biology, back from Hong Kong. Unverified Hong Kong media reported that He Jiankui is currently under house arrest at the University. Ever since his claim of successfully editing human DNA, He Jiankui has been criticized globally for his “achievement.” Recently, the University changed its position on He’s “success.” Commercial investments funded He Jiankui’s human DNA editing experiments and He Jiankui himself is the founder of two private DNA testing companies. There have been reports that the faculties from U.S. Rice University and Harvard University were also involved in these DNA editing experiments. However, the “team” chose He Jiankui due to China’s unclear laws on this matter.

Source: RFI Chinese, December 2, 2018

Global Times: Three Signals from the China-U.S. Presidential Agreement

Global Times published a commentary immediately after the historic dinner that Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump had in Argentina at the G20 Summit. The presidential agreement can be summarized as follows: one, no more escalation of the trade war; two, no increase of the U.S. tariff to 25 percent on January 1; and three, the two countries should speed up the negotiations on removing the current tariff. This outcome sends three concrete signals. The first is that China’s determination to defend its interests didn’t change; the second is that head of state diplomacy plays a critical role in the China-U.S. relationship; and third, China should remain calm when facing new challenges and should focus on solving internal problems. The commentary concluded that China is no longer the old China of 40 years ago. It is now the second largest economy in the world and no one wants to lose the Chinese market. However, there will still be tough days in the near future and China cannot take the upcoming challenges for granted.

Source: Global Times, December 2, 2018

Xinhua: Overseas Scholar Recruitment Summit Held in Guangzhou

Xinhua reported that, from November 28 to 30, the 7th annual meeting for European and American Alumni Association (China Association of Overseas Students) and Guangzhou Haigui (Returned Scholars from Overseas) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit was held in Guangzhou. Three hundred forty candidates participated in the talent matching session held on November 30 and 79 letter of intent agreements were signed. Most of them were in the field of the next generation of information technology, bio-medicine, and artificial intelligence. A representative from the Guangzhou United Front office said solid achievements were made during the summit. The participants had the opportunity to learn about Guangzhou and its talent requirements, which will help promote high quality development in Guangzhou.

The article also listed the qualifications to join the European and American Alumni Association. They are:
1. Graduated from overseas higher education institutions with a bachelor’s degree or above;
2. Graduated from a domestic university with bachelor’s degree; received a master’s degree overseas or worked as a visiting scholar and conducted research projects at an overseas university or research institution for no less than two years;
3. Graduated from a domestic university with a master’s degree or above or worked as a lecturer, engineer, or in other corresponding positions, studied and conducted research at overseas universities, research institutes, or at companies for at least one year. Special consideration will be given to those who have overseas experience of less than one year.
4. Those with outstanding academic achievements or contributions may not be subject to requirements listed above but are subject to the approval of the Alumni Association.

Source: Xinhua, December 2, 2018