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China Reform Monitor - No. 1275

ISIS highlights ties to Uighur militants;
Chinese ships survey in Philippines waters

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
March 29, 2017

March 2:

The Islamic State (IS) in western Iraq has released a video of Uighur militants vowing to return to the restive Xinjiang region and "shed blood like rivers,"
 the Apple Daily reports. Most official outlets only reported the Foreign Ministry's response, which, ironically, was that is "not aware" of the video. Li Wei, an analyst on Islamic extremism in Beijing, said the clip shows an alliance has formed between Uighur separatists and IS. "The clip has put China in a difficult position. It shows the need for closer international cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism." 

March 6:

The China Association for Promoting Democracy - one of the cooperative political parties under the leadership of the CPC - has put forward a proposal at the Chinese People's Consultative Congress to revise the restriction on foreign websites and officially "establish an authoritative list of negative foreign sites," reports China Digital Times.  A deputy from the party, Luo Fuhe, said that the restrictions were "detrimental" to scientific research and slowed internet access. Luo said scholars and graduate students buy software to bypass China's censorship to do their assignments, and some must use their weekends or vacations to go to Hong Kong or other places to visit sites required for their research. "Some international students visiting family back in China are unable to complete and file required forms because they are unable to open their foreign university websites," his petition read.

[Editor's Note: At the T20 Think-Tank Summit held in Beijing in July prior to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, the editor was told by one authoritative source that a petition requesting unrestricted access to the internet for research purposes was signed by several dozen researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Another said that researchers had a variety of methods to gain access to their materials or they could not accomplish their work.]

March 8:

President Xi Jinping met with Liaoning's new delegation to the National People's Congress (NPC) annual conference. During the meeting, Xi received an economic briefing and called on officials to focus on industries and boost manufacturing. The president concluded by warning the Liaoning deputies not to "form cliques" or "inflate" economic figures, the Ming Pao reports. In January, Liaoning governor Chen Qiufa admitted that between 2011 and 2014 some cities had reported fraudulent economic figures. "Xi Jinping's directive is undoubtedly very directed and clear - towards Liaoning and the rest of the nation," the official Xinhua said in an editorial

[Editor's Note: Last September, the NPC expelled 45 Liaoning representatives and disqualified 523 provincial level deputies, including 38 of 62 members of the standing committee, after they were found to have bribed their way into their seats in 2011, 
Financial Times reported

March 10:

The Philippines has lodged a diplomatic protest and President Duterte's spokesman expressed "concern" after Chinese survey ships were discovered conducting oceanographic research at Reed Bank and Benham Rise, 
The Philippine Star reports. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Chinese vessels were "looking for a place to put submarines" in the area, a move he considers "very concerning." He ordered the Navy to drive away Chinese ships from the area if they return. In 2012, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines undisputed claim over resource-rich Benham Rise, an underwater plateau situated about 250 km east of Dinapigue, Isabela.

March 12:

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) proposed by President Xi Jinping was expected to include $46 billion in infrastructure investments in Pakistan as part of China's One Belt One Road initiative. The value of the Corridor has since been revised upward to $54 billion after financing for more projects were added such as the Karachi Circular Railways project. Pakistan is now expected to repay China a total of $90 billion over the next 30 years, 
The Express Tribune reports
. After 2020, Pakistan's repayments to China will range between $2 billion and $5.3 billion with an average annual payment of $3.7 billion. China's return on investment – the sum of principal and interest on foreign currency debt and repayment of profits/dividend on equity investment – is estimated at 40%. All CPEC infrastructure and power projects are scheduled to be completed by 2030.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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