Category: News in Brief

China urges renewed peace effort in South Sudan after massacre

On Wednesday China urged renewed peace efforts be implemented in South Sudan after the United Nations said rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu. During the massacre, the United Nations said rebels hunted down men, women and children who had sought refuge in a hospital, mosque and Catholic church. More than 1 million people have fled from their homes since December when fighting erupted in the world’s youngest country between troops backing President Salva Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked vice president, Riek Machar. China has played an unusually active diplomatic role in South Sudan and is the biggest investor in its oil industry. Bentiu is the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity state. Oil firms in South Sudan, a country roughly the size of France, include China National Petroleum Corp, India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas. In February, China’s special envoy to Africa, Zhong Jianhua, said that China’s efforts to help resolve the conflict in South Sudan marked a “new chapter” in its foreign policy that would seek to engage more in Africa’s security. (Chicago Tribune, Reuters, News, April...

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Huawei says reports of NSA spying won’t impact growth

The New York Times and Der Spiegel last month cited documents leaked by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden saying the National Security Agency (NSA) obtained sensitive data and monitored Huawei executives’ communications. Not only had the U.S. National Security Agency hacked into Chinese telecommunication companies, but also spied on the communications of Huawei executives, according to documents from Snowden. Analysts at a conference in Shenzhen raised concerns about Huawei’s business suffering from similar worries over the security of its products, following the New York Times and Der Spiegel reports. During Huawei’s global analyst summit on Wednesday, Eric Xu, Huawei’s executive vice president, expressed confidence that Huawei would not be negatively affected, despite the fact that it has long been hounded by U.S. lawmakers’ accusations that it is a tool of Chinese state espionage. Huawei plans to spend more than $300 million on global marketing efforts throughout 2014, in an effort to improve its brand image. The Chinese company also expects information technology investment to ramp up 14 percent this year alone, as Huawei hopes to extend its product offerings outside of China. (Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Daily Tech, PC World, April 23)...

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China demands Malaysia ensure safety of Chinese after kidnap

China demanded that Malaysia ensures the safety of its nationals on Thursday, after armed men abducted two women, a Chinese tourist and a Philippine hotel worker, from a Malaysian diving resort on Borneo island. The unidentified gunmen kidnapped the two women on Wednesday night from Singamata island off the coastal town of Semporna in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah. Various armed groups, including Muslim separatist factions, operate throughout the southern Philippines, using kidnapping for ransom to help finance their operations. Authorities suspect one of these groups may be responsible for the abductions. Malaysia’s image has been battered in China over the handling of the investigation into the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people aboard, most of them Chinese nationals. Relations have become strained between the two countries. Chinese media has heavily criticized Malaysia’s response, and travel agents there have reported a slump in bookings to the Southeast Asian nation.   (Reuters, New York Times, Businessweek, April...

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China introduces measures to boost economic growth

China’s government said it would target more spending to boost growth, concerned that the economy is faltering. The government will seek to cut taxes on small firms and speed up the construction of railway lines. Such measures were part of China’s economic work plan for 2014, however, the government has never before put them together in a package aimed at boosting economic growth. As further stimulus measures, Chinese authorities said they will also extend tax provisions granted to small businesses into 2016. However, a string of disappointing economic data, including reports indicating a slowdown in China’s manufacturing activity, had led many analysts to believe growth may fail short of the government’s target. Chinese premier Li Keqiang has sought to reassure markets that the government remains prepared to act, and has previously emphasized that creating jobs was the most important item on his agenda.   (The Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Economist, April...

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Hundreds protest chemical plant in southern China

Hundreds of residents in Maoming, a city in Guangdong province, held demonstrations on Sunday and Monday to oppose a chemical plant. The planned facility was intended to manufacture paraxylene, a petrochemical used to make fabrics and plastic bottles. High levels of PX exposure can irritate the eyes and cause vomiting and respiratory discomfort, according to U.S. government and industry reports. A video of Sunday’s protest, which turned violent, showed dozens of demonstrators being chased through a street by police wearing riot gear and wielding long batons, who then fired tear gas at the fleeing people. The demonstration in Maoming recalls similar protests in October 2012 and August 2011 in the Chinese cities of Ningbo and Dalian, which also targeted PX-producing facilities. Sunday’s clash highlights the challenges faced by local governments, which increasingly must balance economic growth with a public that is increasingly environmentally conscious.   (The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The New York Times, March...

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SR: The Week’s China Reads

Robert A. Kapp Bio picture

Every week, China Program’s Senior Advisor Dr. Robert A. Kapp compiles a reading list and provides commentary, for you to better understand China.

Robert A. Kapp is senior advisor to the China Program at the Carter Center. He has been principal of Robert A. Kapp and Associates, a business consulting firm, since 2004. From 1994 through 2004 he served as President of the United States-China Business Council…