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China Reform Monitor - No. 1266

China re-brands CCTV international;
Beijing squeezes Taipei as another capital switches recognition

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
January 17, 2017

December 23:

Mainland Chinese stock exchanges have made their first large scale acquisition outside China. The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has sold 40 percent of strategic shares to a Chinese consortium for $85 million. The Chinese group comprises three exchanges - China Financial Futures Exchange Company Ltd. (lead bidder), Shanghai Stock Exchange, and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Together they will take a 30 percent stake, while two local financial institutions, the Pak-China Investment Company Ltd. and Habib Bank Ltd., will pick up 5 percent each. "The foreign investors will be expected to bring in investment, experience, technological assistance and new products," a PSX official said in 
comments carried by The Dawn.

December 26:

China and Sao Tome and Principe have resumed diplomatic relations, a victory for Beijing over rival Taipei, which now has only 21 diplomatic allies, 
the Associated Press reports.. Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee accused the tiny African nations of demanding "an astronomical amount of financial help," but did not say how much. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart from Sao Tome held a ceremony in Beijing. Wang said the re-establishment of relations would bring benefits to both countries. The official Global Times said Beijing will squeeze Taiwan's external ties if the island's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party continues to defy Beijing. "Ma Ying-jeou recognized the One China Policy and because of that there has been a 'truce' between Taiwan and Beijing. The DPP will be committing 'diplomatic suicide' if it continues to pursue 'soft independence.' It wants to prove that Taiwan is a 'sovereign country.' But as the world continues to isolate Taiwan, its 'sovereignty' is becoming a joke." 

January 2:

China's newly launched broadcast network, China Global Television Network (CGTN), draws on the experience of Russia Today, the official Global Times reports. "The establishment of the CGTN shows China has changed its broadcasting strategy from a focus on domestic news to trying to seize greater international discourse," Zhang Shengjun, professor at Beijing Normal University explained. “Russia Today's distinctive brand has attracted much audience in the West. Beijing is trying to turn the new broadcaster into China's version of Russia Today. Through the new network, China can promote its culture and expose the weakness of Western systems,” Hong Kong's Oriental Daily reports

January 6:

Apple has removed both the Chinese and English-language versions of the New York Times app from its iTunes store in China. iPhone users can no longer download either application, although users that already installed the program remain unaffected. The Global Times has hailed Apple's decision, saying the U.S. smartphone maker doesn't care if users install the New York Times' application or not. "All Apple cares about is business and therefore it says it respects China's laws," 
the paper said in an editorial. "The U.S. is the most capable when it comes to influencing views around the world, but even they are worried about 'misinformation' from China and Russia. How can Beijing not be extra cautious against ideological and fanatical organizations such as The New York Times?" The removal came ahead of a key meeting by China's Cyberspace Administration of China top Internet watchdog on January 4.

[Editor's Note: The New York Times' website has been blocked in China since 2012 when it reported on former leader Wen Jiabao's "hidden fortune." That year Beijing refused to renew the visa of the paper's veteran journalist Chris Buckley.]

January 7:
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) will intensify its crackdown on underground banking and foreign exchange irregularities, 
the official China Daily reports. Beijing will strengthen operating management of cross-border capital flows and foreign exchange reserves to guard against losses in value, SAFE head Pan Gongsheng said after a work conference. China's forex reserves fell for the fifth straight month in November to $3.05 trillion, the lowest level since March 2011, but Beijing still controls the world's largest hoard.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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