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China Reform Monitor - No. 1245

Taiwan invites Dalai Lama, prompting threats from China;
China and Russia hold military drills in SCS

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
October 7, 2016

September 1:

To demonstrate China's capacity to mobilize military and civilian forces, the PLA's South Sea Fleet joined with coastguard, maritime department and local fishing vessels for a series of drills near the Gulf of Tonkin. The exercises involved warships, aircraft, and 13 coastguard ships, including escort vessels, minesweepers and landing boats, and more than 10 fishing boats, 
the PLA Navy's Modern Navy magazine reports. Two teams simulated 20 scenarios, including joint escorts, joint attacks and drilling rig defense. The drills were designed to train fishermen how to work closely with the navy and coastguard and “show the U.S. that China's military and civilian forces are strong enough to defend the country's maritime sovereignty," Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told the SCMP

September 2:

A public battle has erupted between Beijing and Sing Pao, a small Hong Kong (HK) newspaper. Media outlets working with Beijing’s Liaison office in Hong Kong have attacked Sing Pao chief Gu Zhuoheng,
SCMP reports. Ta Kung Pao ran a full-page report accusing Gu of murky overseas dealings, and Wen Wei Po and HK Commercial Daily named him as the mastermind behind the case, in which two officials pilfered hundreds of millions of HK dollars. But Sing Pao has fought back. This week the newspaper printed a full-page report accusing HK chief executive Leung Chun-ying of provoking HK independence activists to justify his authority. Sing Pao was targeted by Beijing after it published an editorial accusing Leung of pressuring airport staff to deliver a bag his daughter had left at check-in to a boarding gate.

September 12:

China and Russia are conducting eight days of joint naval exercises in the South China Sea including live-fire drills, island defense, and landing operations. The drills, codenamed “Joint Sea 2016,” are the fifth such exercise between the Chinese and Russian navies. A PLAN spokesperson explained their purpose: "Together, Chinese and Russian participants will undertake defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint-island seizing missions and other activities.” The Russian Navy contingent includes three surface ships, two supply ships, two helicopters, 96 marines, and various amphibious armored equipment. The PLAN deployed 10 ships including destroyers, frigates, landing ships, supply ships and submarines, along with 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters, and 160 marines and amphibious armored equipment, 
the Times of India reports.

September 14:

China’s parliament has expelled 45 lawmakers from Liaoning over a bribery and vote-buying scandal, theFinancial Times reports. The purge has decimated Liaoning’s provincial legislature where 523 deputies have been disqualified or resigned, including 38 of 62 members of the standing committee, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The NPC has approved a temporary ad hoc panel to stand in for the Liaoning legislature’s standing committee. A “creative solution” would have to be found to replace the disgraced legislators, who were elected in 2013, said NPC standing committee vice-chairman Li Jianguo. Former Liaoning party secretary, Wang Min, is also under investigation the party’s anti-corruption agency. Premier Li Keqiang was Liaoning party secretary from 2004 to 2007 and Bo Xilai was governor from 2001 to 2004. 

September 15:

While visiting the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India Freddy Lim of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party invited the Dali Lama to visit Taiwan to host workshops and conferences. Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lee said that if the Dalai Lama accepted the invitation, "it will follow the appropriate procedures." In response, Chinese spokesman said: “The Dalai Lama is a wolf in monk’s clothes, with his gang of separatists and terrorists trying to destabilize China and Tibet. But we will not stand by and watch: anyone who supports him is our enemy.” He promised "serious consequences" across the Taiwan Strait if the Dali Lama were to visit. The Tibetan spiritual leader last visited Taiwan in 2009, 
Asia News reports

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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