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China Reform Monitor - No. 940
Close eye on DPRK after Dear Leader's death;
PLA establishes inter-services Military Training Dept
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
January 5, 2012
For the ninth year in a row a group of 40 Chinese lawyers will provide free legal aid for migrant workers whose companies do not pay their wages. The group has a 24-hour hotline to assist unpaid workers, many of whom want to reunite with their families for Chinese New Year. Since 2003, the group has helped about 15,000 migrant workers recover 150 million yuan ($23.6 million) in back-wages, the official People’s Daily reports. To ensure they are paid, workers regularly threaten suicide or stage protests. To maintain social stability, Yin Weimin, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security, has vowed to crack down on delinquent employers before the national holiday. In February, the Criminal Law was amended to stipulate that malicious wage defaults are punishable by up to seven years in prison, the People’s Daily reports.
Beijing has announced 17 new rules aimed at controlling what Chinese Internet users post on social networking sites. Beijing officials said microblogs should “actively spread the core values of the socialist system, disseminate socialist advanced culture and build a socialist harmonious society.” Of the new microblog regulations the most noteworthy requires users to register with their real names and biographical information, although they will still be able to post under aliases. The New York Times reports that the regulations include a licensing requirement for companies that host microblogs and prohibitions on “spreading rumors, disturbing social order or undermining social stability.” Internet companies hosting microblogs must comply with the new rules within three months.
In the wake of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s, death China has tripled the number of surveillance aircraft patrolling the border with North Korea. Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reports that Y8 aircraft based in Siping, Jilin and equipped with China’s most advanced surveillance technology are collecting electronic military intelligence as far south as Pyongyang and monitoring U.S. and South Korean military activities.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has established the Military Training Department under the General Staff Headquarters in what the official PLA Daily has called an “historic overhaul” intended to improve coordination among China’s army, navy, air force, and strategic nuclear force. The new department was created in accordance with an order issued by Hu Jintao, chairman of the Central Military Commission, in an effort “to strengthen joint training of different branches of the armed forces,” said Chen Bingde, PLA chief of General Staff.
Despite fears of intellectual property infringement, Israel has agreed to work with China to build a $200 million Sino-Israeli International Water Industrial Park in Dangguan, Guangdong. China’s Dowell Technological & Environment Co. and Israel’s Shirat Enterprises will jointly manage the facility’s 400,000 sq. meters of research and exhibition space. The partners have already signed MoUs with 10 Israeli companies and are in discussions with about 30 more. “China is facing very problematic issues with water shortages and pollution and Israel, on the other side, has great technologies but not a great market,” Victor Zhao, Shirat’s China-based director, told the Jerusalem Post. Beijing will provide $6 million in grant funding per year for the Water Industrial Park and $18 million per year in investment funding. Each year both sides will seek to raise about $36 million in private sector capital.
[Editor’s Note: Shirat is also marketing new agricultural water technologies from Israel in Wuhan, Hubei. The Israel Chamber of Commerce in Beijing has proposed establishing an Israeli commercial demonstration center either in Beijing or Tianjin, which would house both permanent and revolving exhibitions as well as hold courses in water technologies. Since 2001, Israel has established a dairy farm near Beijing and agricultural centers in Xinjiang and Beijing.]