China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft returns to Earth
June 30, 2012 A Chinese space capsule carrying three crew members has returned to Earth following a 13-day mission.
Images of the capsule landing in Inner Mongolia at 10:05 local time (02:05 GMT) were shown live on television.
The astronauts, including China's first woman in space, carried out a successful manual docking with the Tiangong-1 laboratory module.
The mission is a key step towards China's goal of building a space station by 2020.
Premier Wen Jiabao hailed the mission as a complete success.
After Obama Blocks Pipeline, China Readies $15.1B Canadian Oil Deal
July 28/12 When Barack Obama blocked the Keystone Pipeline, Republicans said the move would encourage Canada to pursue oil deals with China instead of the United States and cede a massive chunk of North American oil assets to the communist nation.
Now, with China’s state-run oil company CNOOC poised to cut a $15.1 billion deal–the largest ever foreign acquisition for a Chinese company–with Canadian oil company Nexen, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are in full backpedal mode.
In a draft letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Sen. Schumer writes:
I respectfully urge you, in your capacity as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to withhold approval of this transaction to ensure U.S. companies reciprocal treatment.
Similarly, Rep. Pelosi is now sounding alarms of concern. In a statement, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hamill said:
This deal prompts great concern about the Chinese government’s continued attempts to use its state-owned enterprises to acquire global energy resources.
Saying “I told you so” offers little solace to concerned Republican lawmakers.
The armyworm outbreak in China's key grain producing areas has posed a major threat to the corn and rice crops this year.
August 14, 2012 China National News (IANS)
The agriculture ministry has warned the local governments to heed to its pest control advice to ensure grain security, the China Daily reported.
"We haven't seen such a pest plague in so many places in almost a decade," a spokesman for the ministry's crop production department said.
To date, at least two million hectares of autumn crops nationwide have been affected.
The areas include Hebei, Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Shanxi provinces, the Inner Mongolia region and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities.
The government will allocate 200 million yuan ($3.5 million) to fight the pests, the official added.
August 24, 2012 HONG KONG — [b]One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed on Friday, just 9 months after it opened, setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of its infrastructure.
A nearly 330-foot-long section of a ramp of the eight-lane Yangmingtan Bridge in the city of Harbin dropped 100 feet to the ground.
Four trucks plummeted with it, resulting in three deaths and five injuries.
The 9.6-mile bridge is one of three built over the Songhua River in that area in the past four years. China’s economic stimulus program in 2009 and 2010 helped the country avoid most of the effects of the global economic downturn, but involved incurring heavy debt to pay for the rapid construction of new bridges, highways and high-speed rail lines all over the country.
Questions about the materials used during the construction and whether the projects were properly engineered have been the subject of national debate ever since a high-speed train plowed into the back of a stopped train on the same track on July 23 last year in the eastern city of Wenzhou. The crash killed 40 people and injured 191; a subsequent investigation blamed in particular flaws in the design of the signaling equipment.
China’s fears grow over eurozone crisis
China has expressed deep alarm at the escalating crisis in Europe and warned against austerity overkill as Europe's crumbling demand sends shock waves through Asia.
Premier Wen Jiabao told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Europe must "strike a balance" between fiscal tightening and measures to promote growth. "Europe's debt crisis has continued to worsen, giving rise to serious concerns in the international community. Frankly, I am also worried," he said.
His comments mark a shift in Chinese policy. Beijing has until now backed austerity across Euroland, but the severity of China's own downturn has begun to rattle policymakers.
Exports of electronic goods to Italy crashed 43pc in July from a year earlier, and sales to Germany fell 11pc. Caixin reported that processing trade to Europe fell 21pc.
The country's two largest shipping groups COSCO and China Shipping both reported a drastic losses today. The Shanghai composite index of stocks threatened to break below 2000 today, the lowest since the Lehman crisis.
Mr Wen asked for clarification over whether Italy and Spain would adopt "comprehensive rescue measures" needed to unlock the EU bail-out machinery - and open the door to bond purchases by the European Central Bank.
China to buy Nexen Oil from Canada
September 21, 2012
China CNOOC offers $15B for Calgary oil firm Nexen (NXY)
Nexen shareholders approve of CNOOC takeover
Shareholders of Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc. voted to approve a proposed $15.1 billion takeover of the company by Chinese state-owned CNOOC,
but the foreign takeover still requires approval by the Canadian government.
99% of shareholders voted to approve the $27.50 per share offer. It would be China's biggest overseas energy acquisition.
China's first aircraft carrier
25 September 2012
China's first aircraft carrier has entered into service.
The Liaoning - named after the province where it was refitted - is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine.
For now the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training.
But China says the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend state interests.
The delivery of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when Japan and other countries in the region have expressed concern at China's growing naval strength.
China and Japan are embroiled in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Several South East Asian nations are also at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.
It also comes weeks ahead of a party congress expected to see the transition of power to a new generation of Chinese leaders.
China warns on sovereignty at island talks with Japan
China has warned Japan it will not tolerate violations of its sovereignty, in high-level talks aimed at easing tensions over an islands dispute.
The meeting came as dozens of Taiwanese boats sailed to the islands to protest.
The islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
Tension in the region has been high since Japan's purchase of the islands from their private Japanese owner.
Taiwanese vessels, including coastguard ships, have now left the area.
Chinese surveillance and fishing boats have also been sailing in and out of waters around the islands in recent days, following the Japanese government's announcement that it had bought the islands.
Blind Chinese activist says nephew could face unfair trial
October 13, 2012 Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng said on Saturday that Chinese police had sent the case of his nephew, charged with intentional infliction of injury, to the state prosecutor, paving the way for what he expects will be an unfair trial.
The case of Chen Guangcheng's nephew, Chen Kegui, has renewed international focus on China's human rights and legal system.
Chen has been held incommunicado by police for over five months and has been denied access to his choice of lawyers. His case is widely seen as illegitimate by Chen's family and human rights advocates.
Chen Guangcheng's escape from house arrest in northeastern China in April and subsequent refuge in the U.S. embassy caused huge embarrassment for China, and led to a serious diplomatic rift between the two superpowers.
Chen Kegui was initially charged with "intentional homicide" for using knives to fend off local officials who burst into his home on April 27, the day after they discovered his uncle had escaped.
Chen Guangcheng told Reuters he believed the police downgraded the charge because they had no evidence to build a case of "intentional homicide" against his nephew.
"Judging from the current situation, my confidence in Chen Kegui getting a fair hearing has dropped a lot," Chen Guangcheng said by telephone in New York, where he is now studying law.
Chen Guangcheng said the central government has failed to live up to its promise in May to investigate officials in Shandong whom he accused of engineering the "years of illegal persecution" against him and his family.
"It's been five months, I haven't heard any news about the investigation against Shandong," he said. "Instead I hear that Chen Kegui's case has been sent to the prosecutor, this piece of news in itself is problematic. So how can I not feel that my confidence has been lowered?"
China conducts East China Sea exercises
19 October 2012 The recent presence of Chinese ships near the islands has heightened tensions.
China is conducting naval exercises in the East China Sea involving 11 ships and 8 aircraft.
China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the islands.
China incoming first lady
October 21, 2012 China incoming first lady Peng Liyuan, wife of soon-to-be President Xi Jinping, is already famous and popular. How the Communist Party handles her may be a clue to its willingness to modernize.
She has a resume that would make U.S. political consultants drool.
A renowned soprano who's performed for Chinese troops, opera fans at Lincoln Center and Chinese TV, she's a WHO goodwill ambassador in the fight against tuberculosis and HIV.
She's helped earthquake victims and hobnobbed with Bill Gates at an anti-smoking event in Beijing. An artist in the army, she holds a civilian rank equivalent to major general, and sometimes belts out patriotic melodies in military skirt suits.
Her daughter is studying at Harvard.
How will her status be seen?? The spouses of China leaders have always kept a low profile.
November 5, 2012 By Gordon Chang
June 27 a plane carrying Chinese premier Wen Jiabao made a stop in Terceira, Azores.
He spent 4 hours touring the remote Portuguese outpost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
His visit followed a visit to South America.
Alarm bells should have immediately gone off in Washington and in Europe.
Wen's last official stop was Chile. Flights from Chile to China normally cross the Pacific, not the Atlantic, so why was Wen in the Azores?
Lajes Field, U.S. Air Base No. 4 is on Terceira.
If China controlled the base, the Atlantic would no longer be secure.
Chinese planes could patrol the northern and central portions of the Atlantic and thereby cut air and sea traffic between the U.S. and Europe.
Beijing would also be able to deny access to the nearby Mediterranean Sea.
China could target the American homeland. Lajes is less than 2,300 miles from New York.
Lajes is certainly the reason Wen went out of his way to win friends in Terceira.
For years his country has been trying to make inroads into the Azores and waiting for opportunities to pounce.
U.S. Pentagon budget cutters are planning to make Lajes a ghost base.
At one time, the facility was critically important.
Now Lajes is home to the USAF 65th Air Base Wing.
China changes leaders
November 15, 2012 Xi Jinping has been confirmed as the man to lead China for the next decade.
Xi led the new Politburo Standing Committee onto the stage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, signalling his elevation to the top of China ruling Communist Party.
The party faced great challenges but would work to meet expectations of both history and the people.
Most of the new committee are seen as politically conservative, and perceived reformers did not get promotion.
Xi Jinping replaces Hu Jintao, under whose administration China has seen a decade of extraordinary growth.
The move marks the official passing of power from one generation to the next.
Xi was followed out onto the stage by Li Keqiang, the man set to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao, and five other men, meaning that the size of the all-powerful Standing Committee had been reduced from 9 to 7.
Those five are Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng, propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Tianjin party boss Zhang Gaoli.
The new leaders had great responsibilities, but their mission was to be united, and to lead the party and the people to make the Chinese nation stronger and more powerful.
Obama Hails US-China Relationship
By Mary Bruce | ABC OTUS News – Tue, Nov 20, 2012
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - President Obama today said the United States and China have taken a "cooperative and constructive approach" to their relationship, as he came face-to-face with the rising economic power that his administration is trying to counter-balance in the region.
Meeting with outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, Obama reiterated his commitment to working with China, despite the tenuous relationship between the two economic superpowers.
"It's important that our two countries cooperate to build a more secure and prosperous future for the Asia Pacific region and for the world," he said. "As the two largest economies in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead the way in ensuring sustained and balanced growth, not only here in Asia but globally."
In his first post-election meeting with a Chinese leader, Obama stressed that "we work to establish clear rules of the road internationally for trade and investment, which can increase prosperity and global growth."
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