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China Reform Monitor - No. 1239

China has already sunk $100 billion into the New Silk Road;
DPRK sells China fishing rights near maritime border with ROK

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
September 1, 2016

August 8:

Plans for a nuclear waste treatment plant have sparked protests in Lianyungang, Jiangsu. Thousands of people took to the street claiming the proposal was "no different from planting a nuclear bomb" in the city. Authorities had warned locals against joining the "unauthorized assembly," and after a third day of mass protests deployed truckloads of armed police in riot gear on sidewalks. "There were probably about 8,000-10,000 people [at the protests]," a protester surnamed Hu told Radio Free Asia. "It was very crowded; everyone packed in together. Then they sent in the riot police, who had guns and batons, and they started beating people up. They beat up anyone: men and women, old and young, and they pointed their guns at people's heads to frighten them." A resident surnamed Lu said he continued to demonstrate despite police using batons and pepper spray: "This project will affect future generations, and we don't need it here. We have come here to tell them that, because we have no voice."

Authorities in Lianyungang have imposed an information blackout and state media have made no mention of the protests, 
RFA reports. The city government announced via social media that the waste processing plant was "approved" at both provincial and municipal level and would "bring great benefits to Lianyungang's economy." Another statement instructed officials not to make any statements that contradict the party line: "It is forbidden to transmit any information about illegal gatherings, protests or demonstrations via SMS, tweets or smartphone messaging services. Rumor-mongering and the transmission of information having an impact on social stability is also banned." It called on local officials to carry out "education and management duties" among the local population and to "pursue those responsible for leading and gathering crowds."

August 12:

North Korea has sold its fishing rights near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de-facto maritime border with South Korea, to China for $75 million, 
Choson Ilbo reports. North Korea sold the fishing rights through an intermediary trade agency after its foreign currency dried up due to international sanctions following its nuclear test in January. Last month, the South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in Seoul that North Korea took $30 million from China to allow Chinese fishing boats to operate in its waters in the Yellow Sea. Around 1,500 Chinese trawlers entered North Korea's fishing zone, more than three times the number in previous years. Many cross into South Korean waters, where they fish aggressively and clash with South Korean authorities. North Korea and China signed an agreement in 2004 allowing Chinese fishing boats to operate in the North's waters, but not near the NLL. 

August 15:

China's People's Armed Police (PAP) have completed a five-day anti-terror exercise in Xinjiang including some 3,000 participants in an effort to "strengthen the country's anti-terrorism system and examine the battle capability of anti-terror equipment," 
the official PLA Daily reports. During the drill PAP forces tested 21 new pieces of high-tech equipment, including drones, assault rotorcraft and all-terrain assault vehicles. The exercise practiced the PAP's ability to carry out missions in cold mountainous regions, desert and residential areas. According to a military statement: "The drill examined the force's capabilities in force projection, intelligence reconnaissance, information communication, fire assault, comprehensive support as well as nighttime operations."

August 16:

Under China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative the global total value of "bilateral capacity cooperation has exceeded $100 billion," said Zhao Chenxin, a spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission. "Capacity, infrastructure and education cooperation with countries is progressing well under the framework," Zhao said. Chinese companies have built 46 cooperation zones in countries along the routes, while the Ministry of Education has inked over 60 deals with them. In 2015, nearly half of the 400,000 international students studying in China came from countries along the OBOR route, Zhao added. "China is building more railways, highways and ports along the routes while sealing more MOUs with its neighbors and partners," the official Global Times reports.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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