Canadian diplomats denied access to tycoon’s trial in China: embassy

Canadian diplomats denied access to tycoon’s trial in China: embassy

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
AFP |
5:02 AM

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Canadian diplomats were denied access to the trial of Canadian-Chinese tycoon Xiao Jianhua in China, Ottawa’s embassy in Beijing said in a statement on Tuesday, a day after the businessperson stood trial.

Xiao, one of China’s richest people at the time of his alleged abduction from a Hong Kong hotel in 2017, reportedly had close connections to the upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

Nothing more had been known about the tycoon, who is a Canadian citizen, since his disappearance, until the embassy confirmed Monday that he was facing trial.

“Canada made several requests to attend the trial proceedings. Our attendance was denied by Chinese authorities,” the embassy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Chinese authorities have so far been silent about the case, reportedly linked to an anti-corruption drive championed by President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

Asked about the trial Monday, a foreign ministry official said they were “not aware of the situation.”

Xiao’s alleged abduction came at a time when mainland Chinese agents were not allowed to operate in Hong Kong, and it sparked fear in the city about residents being forcibly disappeared.

These fears were at the heart of massive pro-democracy protests that shook Hong Kong in 2019, prompted by a government bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China’s opaque, Communist Party-controlled judicial system.

Xiao’s disappearance also followed the alleged kidnapping into mainland custody of five people working for a bookstore that published salacious titles about China’s leaders.

The booksellers later appeared on mainland Chinese TV admitting to a variety of crimes.

In response to the 2019 protests, China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020.

That law allowed its security agencies to operate in the city and toppled the legal firewall between the mainland and Hong Kong courts.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220705-canadian-diplomats-denied-access-to-tycoon-s-trial-in-china-embassy

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Brown Forbes strikes late as Guangzhou’s struggles continue

Brown Forbes strikes late as Guangzhou’s struggles continue

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
Reuters |
5:02 AM

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Eight-time champions Guangzhou FC continued to struggle in the Chinese Super League on Monday when they slipped to a seventh loss in eight games with a 2-1 defeat by Wuhan Yangtze in Dalian.

Felicio Brown Forbes struck 11 minutes from time to earn Wuhan all three points and leave Guangzhou 16th in the 18-team top flight of Chinese football with three points claimed so far.

Asmir Kajevic gave Wuhan an 18th-minute lead after a mistake in the penalty area by Tyias Browning gifted the Montenegro striker possession and he slid the ball into the bottom corner.

Yang Liyu levelled for Guangzhou just before the hour mark but Brown Forbes latched on to Bruno Viana’s flick-on of goalkeeper Wang Zhifeng’s punt out of his own half to stroke a low effort beyond Liu Shibo.

Wuhan Three Towns continue to lead the standings, with their 4-2 win over Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday increasing their advantage at the summit to four points.

Marcao put the newly promoted side in front from the penalty spot in the 20th minute and the Brazilian added a second goal two minutes into the second half before Nicolae Stanciu struck from distance to give Wuhan a third.

Marcao completed his hat trick with a 62nd-minute header ahead of a brace from Zhu Jianrong that allowed Shenhua to salvage some respectability from the scoreline.

Defeat saw Shenhua slip to fourth place with defending champions Shandong Taishan moving into second following their 2-0 win over bottom side Guangzhou City.

First-half goals from Crysan and Zheng Zheng earned Hao Wei’s side their sixth win in eight games and keeps them level on 17 points with Henan Longmen, who won 1-0 against Zhejiang FC.

Samir Memisevic scored twice as Beijing Guoan defeated Tianjin Tigers 2-1 to move into fifth while Meizhou Hakka beat Shenzhen FC 1-0 to sit in sixth.

Junior Negrao scored two minutes from time to earn Changchun Yatai a 2-2 draw with Dalian Pro as Shanghai Port defeated Hebei FC 2-1 and Chengdu Rongcheng drew 1-1 with Cangzhou Mighty Lions.

Matches in the Chinese Super League are being played in three centralised biosecure hubs in an effort to limit cross-country travel due to the government’s attempts to pursue a zero-Covid strategy.

The current phase of the competition will conclude on July 12.

https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/brown-forbes-strikes-late-guangzhous-struggles-continue-2022-07-04/

Category: China

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China’s GDP target ever more distant, with second quarter growth tipped for 2-year low

China’s GDP target ever more distant, with second quarter growth tipped for 2-year low

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
South China Morning Post |
5:02 AM

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China’s economy is expected to post its lowest quarterly growth rate in more than two years next week, as it counts the cost of lockdowns and other hardline coronavirus control measures imposed during its “darkest hours” of April and May.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow by 1.4 per cent from a year ago in the April-June period, according to Chinese data provider Wind.

Analysts estimate GDP could expand sequentially in the final two quarters of 2022, but will fall short of the government target of around 5.5 per cent. (Bloomberg)

Analysts estimate GDP could expand sequentially in the final two quarters of 2022, but will fall short of the government target of around 5.5 per cent. (Bloomberg)

Though not as bad as the 6.8 per cent contraction in the first three months of 2020, during the initial outbreak of the pandemic, it would mark the second slowest quarterly GDP expansion since 1992, when the data set first became available.

Premier Li Keqiang has admitted that China may miss the government’s economic growth target of “around 5.5 per cent” this year and that a realistic goal for the second quarter is simply to achieve positive growth.

While concern about a recession grows in the United States and Europe, China has shown signs its slowdown may have bottomed out after the government eased some pandemic restrictions and rolled out support for the economy.

But even a rebound in the second half of 2022 might not be enough for China to hit the annual growth target, economists say, as Beijing is unwilling to drop its zero-Covid policy and rivalry with the West is heating up.

Analysts estimate GDP could expand sequentially in the final two quarters of 2022, but year-round growth is likely to be around 4.2 per cent, according to Wind.

Coronavirus restrictions are viewed as the biggest wild card for the world’s No 2 economy in the next six months.

A more science-based approach to virus control is the most important precondition for economic stability this year, said He Jun, a senior analyst with Anbound, a multinational independent think tank.

The whole world is recovering and reopening, China as a member of the global village should not become an ‘outlier’

He Jun

That would affect whether China could solicit more foreign investors, boost consumption and ensure normal production, he said.

“If we cannot look at the pandemic scientifically and continue to ignore economic development when formulating control policies… it will be difficult for us to guarantee our ‘darkest hours’ of April and May don’t come again,” he said.

“The whole world is recovering and reopening, China as a member of the global village should not become an ‘outlier’. Otherwise, we will have ‘self-isolated’ from the world market.”

Beijing might maintain the zero-Covid policy until March 2023 with some adjustments in the coming months due to mounting economic pressure, said Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura.

“Let’s not underestimate the risk after July,” he said last week. “A new type of business cycle is emerging in China… which fluctuates between the imposition and lifting of lockdown measures.

The central government eased control measures for both inbound international travellers and domestic mobility in late June, but some local authorities have reimposed lockdowns this week in the Yangtze Delta to quash fresh outbreaks.

At the same time, President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to the zero-Covid policy, even at the expense of short-term economic growth.

A certain degree of economic growth is critical for the creation of new jobs, which are in more demand than ever due to a record number of university students graduating this year. Employment is also crucial for social stability ahead of a major leadership reshuffle at the 20th National Congress later this year, said economists.

China needs a GDP growth rate of above 4.6 per cent this year to meet the demand for employment, according to a report from Beijing-based China Macroeconomy Forum last month.

The think-tank said China’s current economic recovery faced bigger challenges than that of 2020, pointing out the growth rate had been merely 0.8 per cent over the past three months.

Potential risks include a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreaks, a global economic recession, spillover from a prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict, a deteriorating property sector, a sharp fall in exports and credit risks at non-financial companies, the report said.

External circumstances are looking worse for the Chinese economy in the second half of the year, said Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the economic policy commission under the China Association of Policy Science.

Overseas demand for Chinese exports might decline and the US was doubling down on countering China’s expanding global influence, including via the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, he said.

Rising international energy prices which have been amplified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could continue to weigh on small Chinese firms and put jobs at risk, given the country’s high dependence on imported oil and gas, he said.

Foreign investor confidence is also at all time lows and many companies are looking to diversify supply chains.

Months of Covid lockdowns in Shanghai and other major cities have led to repeated calls from foreign firms for Beijing to ease its zero-Covid stance and provide more clarity around its policymaking.

He, from Anbound, said stronger “hostility” from Western nations might fuel Chinese nationalism and push the economy in an even more inward-looking direction.

“[China] must persist in opening-up and carry out reforms… it is what the US wants most that China decouples and closes the door,” he said.

Chinese authorities are also on alert for spillovers from US monetary policy.

Some analysts have said aggressive interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve to tame inflation will limit China’s ability to roll out monetary easing to support the economy.

An increasing number of economists are calling for more active fiscal stimulus.

“More treasury bonds could be issued, and the budget deficit [limit of around 2.8 per cent] is bound to be broken,” said Xu.

Wang Yiming, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, has also suggested raising the deficit rate and issuing special treasury bonds to help expand government spending.

China’s industrial output is expected to grow by 4.5 per cent year-on-year in June, accelerating from a 0.7 per cent rise in May, according to Wind.

Retail sales are estimated to fall by 2.2 per cent, though this would narrow the contraction from a month ago. Fixed-asset investment in the first half of the year is projected to slow down to 6.2 per cent.

“We are capable of coping with all kinds of unexpected changes to ensure stable, healthy and sustainable economic development,” said the National Development of Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency, when being asked at the end of last month whether China could achieve its growth target.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/china-gdp-target-ever-more-091114289.html

Category: China

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Canada says its officials were denied access to trial of billionaire in China

Canada says its officials were denied access to trial of billionaire in China

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
Reuters |
5:02 AM

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Chinese authorities have blocked Canadian government representatives from attending the trial of Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, the Canadian embassy said on Tuesday.

Xiao, who went missing in Hong Kong five years ago, was due to go on trial in China on Monday and Canadian consular officials had been pressing for consular access, the embassy said earlier in a statement.

“Canada made several requests to attend the trial proceedings,” public diplomacy counsellor at the embassy, Nadia Scipio del Campo, said in an emailed statement sent to reporters.

“Our attendance was denied by Chinese authorities.”

When asked for further details such as to confirm the location of the trial, the embassy said it would not comment further due to privacy considerations.

A spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, said on Monday he was not aware of the situation, when asked about Xiao’s trial at a media briefing.

China-born Xiao, known to have links to Communist Party elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was investigated amid a state-led crackdown on conglomerates.

Officials have not disclosed the specifics of the investigation.

Xiao was whisked away from a Hong Kong hotel, in a wheelchair with his head covered, in the early hours of the day he went missing, a source close to the tycoon told Reuters at the time.

Xiao was ranked 32nd on the 2016 Hurun China rich list, China’s equivalent of the Forbes list, with an estimated net worth of $5.97 billion at the time.

At the centre of Xiao’s empire is the financial group Tomorrow Holdings Co.

In July 2020, regulators seized nine of the group’s related institutions as part of a crackdown on risks posed by financial conglomerates.

In 2021, regulators extended the one-year take-over period of the nine financial enterprises by another year to “further promote risk disposal work and defuse financial risks”.

The extended custody is set to end on July 16.

The seizures were preceded in 2019 by a takeover by regulators of Baoshang Bank, a lender once controlled by Tomorrow. Regulators cited severe credit risks.

The lender, which had operated nationwide, was revamped into a much smaller lender in its home region of Inner Mongolia in northern China.

In recent years, a number of executives at big Chinese companies have been investigated or prosecuted amid a broader crackdown on corruption spearheaded by President Xi Jinping that has also ensnared politicians and bankers.

Among those who have fallen from grace was Jiang Jiemin, former head of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPET.UL), who was jailed for 16 years for bribery and abuse of power in 2015.

In 2017, Ai Baojun, a former chair of Baoshan Iron and Steel (600019.SS) who later became vice mayor of Shanghai, was jailed for 17 years for bribery and graft.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/canada-says-its-officials-were-denied-access-trial billionaire-china-2022-07-05/

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China mulls dipping into pork reserves to rein in costs

China mulls dipping into pork reserves to rein in costs

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
AFP |
5:02 AM

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Chinese authorities could dip into strategic pork reserves in a bid to rein in prices of the staple meat, Beijing’s top economic planner said on Tuesday (July 5).

Pork prices in the world’s second-biggest economy spiked late last month, with the meat selling for 32 per cent more than in June 2021 as market supplies dropped, state media Xinhua News Agency reported.

The spike came on the back of “irrational behaviours such as blindly holding supplies and reluctance to sell in the live pig market”, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a notice on social media.

The NDRC said that reluctance was aimed at boosting profits and ordered major suppliers to slaughter pigs at a “regular pace”, warning them against hoarding, Xinhua said.

On Tuesday, the commission added that it was “looking into a release of central pork reserves”.

It has also instructed local governments to release supplies “in a timely manner” to guard against sharp price hikes.

China has largely been spared the impact of a global surge in food prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

But pork prices were hit hard after the country’s herds were devastated by African swine fever in recent years, causing consumer inflation to spike.

In 2019, authorities said they would free up land to restore pork production to pre-swine fever levels, and officials have since released supplies from reserves to rein in rising costs.

“As the prices of hogs continue to rise, pig farmers are turning losses into profits… farmers are now profiting about 60 yuan (about $9) per head,” Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs hog expert Wang Zuli told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview in June.

“We can say the darkest days for pig farmers are over,” Wang said, adding that pork supplies were expected to grow.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/china-mulls-dipping-pork-reserves-rein-costs-2789896

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Imminent heatwaves to scorch northern China

Jacky Cheung accused of being unpatriotic in message celebrating HK’s handover to China

Jacky Cheung accused of being unpatriotic in message celebrating HK’s handover to China

06-Jul-2022 Intellasia |
Yahoo Malaysia |
5:02 AM

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Celebrity Jacky Cheung has come under fire from Chinese social media users for failing to mention the word ‘motherland’ in his congratulatory message to celebrate Hong Kong’s 25th anniversary of being returned to China.

The 61-year-old omitted the word during a clip that was aired by Chinese channel CCTV-6 on July 1, 163.com reported.

To add fire to the fuel, Cheung ended his message by saying Xiang Gang Jia You (Support Hong Kong).

After the clip was aired, the comment section was abuzz and social media users accused him of being unpatriotic.

The clip was later removed by the channel after negative comments outnumbered the positive ones.

Cheung later released a statement to address the controversy where he clarified he is one that loves the country.

“I am a Chinese who loves Hong Kong,” Sina.com reported.

https://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/jacky-cheung-accused-being-unpatriotic-051841994.html

Category: China

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