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China Reform Monitor - No. 1276

Taiwan's former president indicted;
China eyes logistics hub in Kazakhstan

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
March 31, 2017

March 13:

This year China will start construction on a 123-hectare transport logistics hub in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan near the Russian border to gain access to Russian ports in the Arctic Ocean, said a Kazak official. The project, which will include modern warehouses and processing facilities, is expected to be built at a cost of $100 million. Beijing Construction and Engineering Co. will cover 90 percent of the cost, with the remainder paid by Kazakhstan's Grand Stroy Astana LLP. "Many roads and railway lines cross in Petropavlovsk, such as the Trans-Siberian, Trans-Asian railways as well as the Petropavlovsk-Astana and Chelyabinsk-Novosibirsk motorways. Taking these into consideration, our Chinese partners contacted the region's administration with a proposal," the official said in 
comments carried by the Kazakh Telegraph Agency (KazTAG).

March 14:

The Central Institute of Socialism (CIS) in Beijing, the official institute co-founded by China’s eight "democratic" cooperative parties, has organized training sessions for China’s "patriotic Catholics and Christians" to learn how to build "Christianity with Chinese characteristics." Rather than making "Christianity exist in China," the "Chinization" of Christianity is necessary if it wants to be rooted and developed in China, said CIS Party Secretary Pan Yue at the opening ceremony. Pan said "Chinization" of Christianity will require persistence in the bottom line of political consensus, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

March 15:

Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou has been indicted for abetting a leak of classified information. The indictment is related to a separate probe into a Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker acquitted of embezzlement. "Ma's case is not directed at individuals, nor is it a political fight. Rather, it is the judiciary's process of removing influence by executive leaders - including the president and the premier. Taiwan's judiciary can proudly proclaim to be independent after putting two presidents on trial," Taipei's Apple Daily reportsHong Kong's Pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao, by contrast, suggested the indictment was politically motivated: "Ma has been indicted twice during the rule of the Democratic Progressive Party. It has stepped up persecution against KMT politicians after it returned to power last year." 

March 20:

Next month inspection teams from China's State Council will fan out throughout the country to investigate how the central government's anti-bureaucracy policies are being implemented. Inspectors are charged with "advancing institutional reforms in the business sector and making operational and post-operational oversight more effective," 
the official People’s Daily reports. The stated goal, "to streamline administrative procedures and delegate power to lower levels," has been a common refrain throughout the Reform Era.

March 22:

"The constant internal warfare in northern Myanmar has become an obstruction to the development of the Belt and Road initiative and must be resolved immediately," Ding Gang, senior editor at the People's Daily
wrote in the official Global Times. "The Belt and Road blueprint initiated by China aims to build up mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation. However, given a myriad of complicated issues involving politics, ethnic minorities and border division, to further advance the development of the strategy [it] needs [a] political and diplomatic effort apart from massive investment from Chinese companies."

[Editor’s Note: The Belt and Road initiative is Beijing’s plan to bring about the next stage of globalization in dozens of developing countries, a Sinocentric vision that harks back to the ancient Silk Roads. The goal is to create a new economic "belt" of connective infrastructure westward into Eurasia and a new maritime "road" connecting China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.] 

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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