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China Reform Monitor - No. 1194

Railway to link China and Laos;
In Tibet, no religion for Party officials

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
December 3, 2015

November 6:

China’s state-owned Norinco Corp is providing at least $100 million in financing and technology to help Belarus' manufacture surface-to-surface tactical missile systems. Belarus will begin making the Polonez multiple-launch rocket system with a range of 300 km at a plant in Dzyarzhynsk. Chinese investment has already arrived, and the facility has been set up and is "manufacturing missiles and solid fuel rocket engines for the Polonez multiple-launch rocket systems," the 
Belarusian website Charter-97 reports. At a demonstration of the system on November 3, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he wanted enough missiles to deter anyone "from even entertaining the thought" of attacking Belarus. "All the capitals of our neighbors, except Moscow, will be in the sights of new Belarusian missiles." 

November 9:

The Communist Party chief of the Tibet, Chen Quanguo, has said the party will root out members who "pretend not to be religious but indeed are" and those who "follow the clique of the 14th Dali Lama." He told the official China 
Discipline Inspection Reportthat officials in Tibet had uncovered 19 cases of violations of political discipline and had punished 20 people. In August, the official China Organization and Human Resources News, a publication of the CPC Organization Department, said the party was tightening discipline in Tibet. The new policy, called the "six absolutely don’t-use[s]," describes criteria for rejecting potential party members or officials. People who have gone abroad to "worship" the Dalai Lama, attended his prayer sessions and teachings, or 'intentionally create ethnic conflict or disrupt ethnic unity" are automatically disqualified from service.

November 12:

A front-page 
article in the Harbin Daily, the party newspaper in the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, has called on cadres to purchase subscriptions and threatened to name and shame those who fail to comply with this "important political task." It said: "Doing a good job with the circulation of party papers and party publications concerns safeguarding ideology, the central government’s spirit. Offices that subscribe too slowly or do not subscribe after being repeatedly reminded will be reported to the whole city." Meanwhile, Guizhou party secretary Chen Min’er accused officials of preferring online gossip to party newspapers. "Sooner or later, problems will arise," he warned in theChina Youth Daily. "If this situation continues, the party's good policies will not take root." Local governments are also supporting the subscription drive. This month, Donghai county in Jiangsu barred the use of public funds to buy nonparty publications. Last month, an official in Gansu told the Gansu Daily that reading party papers helps people distinguish right from wrong.

November 13:

Beijing is pumping massive investment into infrastructure construction to compensate for a rapid contraction in lending and slowing growth in the property and manufacturing sectors, 
the SCMP reports. Fiscal expenditure rose 36.1 percent last month from a year earlier to 1.3 trillion yuan ($200 billion), the fastest expansion since July 2012. In the first 10 months of 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission has approved 237 projects, worth 1.9 trillion yuan ($300 billion). Local government expenditures rose 39.9 percent in October. The massive investment increase came as new loans in October fell to 513.6 billion yuan ($80 billion), half their September levels. Despite six interest rate cuts over the last year, "total social financing" amounted to only 476.7 billion yuan ($75 billion) in October, a plunge from September's 1.3 trillion yuan ($200 billion).

November 14:

China and Laos signed an agreement on the construction of a 418 km cross-border railway linking the two countries' Mohan and Boten ports, and the Laotian capital Vientiane. China will be responsible for 70 percent of the investment, some 40 billion yuan ($6.27 billion), and supply all the technology and equipment. Laos will finance the remainder. More than 60 percent of the railway will run through bridges and tunnels at a speed of 160 km per hour, the 
official China Daily reports. "The project will significantly boost the socioeconomic development of Laos, improve the nation's transportation and generate a lot of jobs for local people. Of course, it will also inject new momentum into the economy of China's southwestern regions," said Wang Xiaotao deputy head of China's National Development and Reform Commission.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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