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August 30, 2012

Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China

Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mohamed Morsi (left) pictured in June.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, began an official state visit to China last Tuesday. This is Morsi’s first state visit outside the Middle East since taking office in June this year.

The trip is seen by analysts as an attempt to forge stronger economic and diplomatic ties with Beijing, and to access Chinese capital and expertise. Events scheduled for the visit include meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and prominent business figures. It is expected the two countries will agree to cooperate on a number of large infrastructure projects, including desalination and power generation — with this hoped to boost Egypt’s faltering economy. China has made an increasing number of foreign investments in recent years, in an attempt to increase its international standing. Trade between the two countries increased by 40% between 2008 and 2011 to US$ 8.8 billion.

Egypt continues to receive over US$ 1 billion annually in aid from the United States; however, the funds are believed to not come without conditions. Academic Peter Mandaville, of Georgetown University, suggested that Morsi’s visit was part of a “[…] broader effort by Egypt to signal that it’s going to diversify its portfolio of relationships”.



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January 22, 2011

Chinese president Hu Jintao visits United States

Chinese president Hu Jintao visits United States

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

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President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of China begin their working dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 18, 2011.
Image: Pete Souza/White House.

China’s president, Hu Jintao, held a press conference on Wednesday with United States president Barack Obama at the White House. The two leaders spoke about relations between their countries.

Topics included human rights, trade between the US and China, and climate change. Obama noted that China’s position on human rights was occasionally a “source of tension,” although it did not “prevent [the U.S. and China] from cooperating.”

Standing next to each other at the White House, the pair took questions from reporters on the scene. One asked how “[the US can work with] a country known for treating its people so poorly, using censorship and force to repress its people.” Obama replied “China has a different political system than we do. China is at a different stage of development than we are. We come from very different cultures and with very different histories. But as I’ve said before and I repeated to President Hu, we had some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly that we think are very important and transcend cultures. I have been very candid with President Hu about these issues.”

Hu did not initially respond to this question, blaming technical problems. However, upon being asked later, he stated “a lot still needs to be done” with human rights in the country. Hu stated that both China and the United States must appreciate their individual interests. According to CBS News, the Chinese president was in an “unfamiliar setting”; BBC News noted that the meeting was “rare”.


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July 23, 2010

Typhoon kills two in southern China

Filed under: Archived,Asia,China,Disasters and accidents,Floods,Hu Jintao — admin @ 5:00 am

Typhoon kills two in southern China – Wikinews, the free news source

Typhoon kills two in southern China

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Friday, July 23, 2010

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Satellite image of Chanthu before it made landfall
Image: NASA.

Two people are dead and thousands of others lost their homes in southern China after Typhoon Chanthu. The Typhoon made landfall in the Guangdong province with winds that reached 126 kilometers per hour (78 miles per hour). The storm caused approximatively 2.2 billion yuan (US$325 million, 251 million) worth of damages.

Chanthu caused downpours in China’s southern provinces, with central and western provinces expected to flood as well. The Typhoon prompted President Hu Jintao to call for increased flood control measures. Chanthu is the latest in a string of recent violent storms followed by massive floods.

So far this year 701 people have been killed by flooding, the highest since 1998. Along with that 347 people are missing and presumed dead. Storms have also destroyed 27,160 houses and 101,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of farmland.



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April 15, 2010

Rescue efforts underway after China earthquake

Rescue efforts underway after China earthquake

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

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Humanitarian aid groups and Chinese military forces are beginning rescue operations in western China after a heavy 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the region on Wednesday, that reportedly killed over 600 people and injured almost ten thousand.

Location of the quake’s epicentre.

The quake, which was centered around the remote town of Yushu, was largely destroyed by the heavy temblor, which occurred early in the morning as residents were waking up. The official death toll stands at 617, while 9,980 more were injured and an additional 313 reported as missing. The Chinese ministry of civil affairs reports that 15,000 houses had collapsed and 100,000 people – almost the entire population in the area – remain without homes.

The plateau where the earthquake hit is frequently visited by tremors; however, there are rarely many casualties due to its remoteness and small population. However, in May 2008 a heavy 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Sichuan foothills, killing 80,000 people.

Logistical problems

Rescue efforts are underway, but impeded due to the area’s remoteness and landslides, which have blocked many roads in the area. Also a factor is the high altitude at which the area is located – about 4,000 metres above sea level (13,000 feet) – which could adversely affect rescue crews not used to being in such thin air. Sniffer dogs, for instance, who aren’t accustomed to working at high sea levels, could have a harder time detecting living people buried beneath rubble.

Power and telephone lines were also downed by the temblor, affecting communication, although the authorities commented that electricity and phone links have been repaired to tens of towns.

China’s state media reports that troops garrisoned in the Yushu county, with help from locals, have already rescued over a thousand people buried beneath debris.

Residents and troops garrisoned in the Yushu county have managed to pull out more than 1,000 people alive, according to Chinese state media. They are using shovels and bare hands.

Further exacerbating the situation is the weather: temperatures are freezing, and meteorologists predict sleet and wind to come within the next few days. Many people were forced to sleep outdoors, protecting themselves from the cold in blankets, or spending the night in vehicles.

Pierre Deve for the non-governmental organisation Snowland Service Group, was present in Yushu. He described the damage to Times Online, saying: “There are corpses everywhere on the street. They don’t have time to deal with them. There is a real need for medicine, for food, for water and for doctors. People are terrified that there will be another earthquake. They are also afraid that a dam that has been cracked will burst and flood the town.”

A local doctor, Karma Sherab, also commented on the problems the area is facing: “Most of the hospitals have collapsed and others had become dangerous. The only thing we can do is to clean the wounds in a simple way or simply amputate instead of curing.”

‘Huge calamity’; leaders respond

Chinese president Hu Jintao, meanwhile, said that he would be dispatching over 5,000 rescuers and soldiers to the scene of the disaster; the government has pledged over US$29 million worth of aid. Hu described the quake as being a “huge calamity”. He is also shortening his visit to a summit in Brazil to return to his country. “That is why I decided to bring forward my return to China,” he said from Brasilia.

Premier Wen Jiabao has visited Yushu to oversee relief work; he decided to delay a visit to southeastern Asia due to the disaster. “As long as there is the slightest hope, we will make efforts that are 100-fold. Your disaster is our disaster, your suffering is our suffering.”

The head of China’s disaster relief department, Zou Ming, says that 120,000 articles of clothing, 120,000 quilts, food, and close to 40,000 tents were to be sent to the disaster zone; he encouraged people to donate money to assist in longer-term relief work.

Meanwhile, some foreign countries have offered financial help; among them is Japan, which has pledged over one million dollars to disaster victims. The United States also said it is “ready to assist” if China requests international aid.



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September 22, 2009

China promises cut in carbon dioxide emissions

Filed under: Archived,Barack Obama,China,Environment,Hu Jintao,Japan — admin @ 5:00 am

China promises cut in carbon dioxide emissions

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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Hu Jintao, the president of China, has promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced by his country, one of the largest polluters in the world.

Hu Jintao

In a speech to world leaders at the United Nations’ climate change summit in New York on Tuesday, the president said that China plans to receive 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

“We will endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level,” Hu said. He did not set a figure for the cuts, saying they will be made based on China’s economic output.

Hu encouraged developing countries “to avoid the old path of polluting first and cleaning up later.” He added that “they should not, however, be asked to take on obligations that go beyond their development stage, responsibility and capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, told world leaders at the summit that his nation plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020.

Prime Minister Hatoyama and President Hu also called for financial support from developed countries to help developing nations achieve climate change goals and sustainable development.

US President Barack Obama, who was also at the summit, encouraged all countries to work together to reduce their carbon emissions.

“Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it — boldly, swiftly, and together — we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe. The time we have to reverse this tide is running out,” he said.



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April 22, 2008

China, France attempt to repair relations in wake of protests

China, France attempt to repair relations in wake of protests

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A pro-Tibetan protester in Paris attempts to wrangle the Olympic torch from Chinese fencer Jin Jing, who has become a national hero to many because of the incident.
Image: Yang Zhen Dong.

After anti-France protests were held in major Chinese cities over the weekend, China and France are now attempting to smoothen relations. China has discouraged the actions of the “radical” protesters, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to a Chinese Olympic athlete who has gained national fame in China following a controversial incident in the Paris Olympic torch relay.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the demonstrations were “encouraging and touching,” but added that “we do not agree with some people’s radical actions.” She added that China should continue to harbor friendly bilateral relations with France.

A Carrefour retail store in China. Many Chinese protesters called for a boycott of Carrefour, who they accused of supporting the Dalai Lama.
Image: Cege72.

The Chinese state-run newspaper China Daily expressed the government’s views on the protests in an editorial, warning against “false patriotism” and encouraging tolerance of differing opinions. “Over-the-top nationalism is not constructive, but can do harm to the country,” the English-language newspaper said. “If we want to improve things, we will have to encourage responsible patriotism.”

Some Chinese protesters have called for a boycott of French goods, in particular the French retailer Carrefour, which Chinese bloggers accused of supporting the Dalai Lama. Carrefour denied this allegation, saying in an interview that “Carrefour has not given any direct or indirect support to any political or religious cause.”

Cquote1.svg Over-the-top nationalism is not constructive, but can do harm to the country. Cquote2.svg

—China Daily

The protests in China were a reaction to pro-Tibetan demonstrations held in Paris on April 7, when the Olympic torch was making its journey through the French capital. Pro-Tibet activists disrupted the torch relay by attempting to extinguish the flame or otherwise halt the proceedings.

One of the more controversial incidents of the torch relay involved Chinese Olympic fencer Jin Jing, who was one of the athletes chosen to bear the torch. Protesters tried to wrestle the torch from wheelchair-bound Jin, who is now regarded by many Chinese as a national hero because of the incident.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Jin, condemning the attack she suffered and praising her courage. “I would like to express to you my deep feeling towards the way you were shoved in Paris on April 7 when you were holding the Olympic flame. You showed an outstanding courage, which honors you, and all your country,” Sarkozy wrote in the letter. He also extended a personal invitation to her.

“This friendly move by President Sarkozy is appreciated by the Chinese people,” said ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. The letter was personally delivered by French Senate President Christian Poncelet, who is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders this week. Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is also scheduled to visit China.



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February 15, 2008

International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Steven Spielberg in 1999.

The Beijing National Stadium, where the opening ceremonies will take place.

On Wednesday, United States film director Steven Spielberg withdrew from his position as artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. “Conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual,” he said.

“Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there,” Spielberg’s statement said. “China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change.”

China immediately expressed regret over his decision and suggested that “ulterior motives” may be at play. “It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur, but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept. … China is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [But] empty rhetoric will not help. We hope that relevant people will be more pragmatic,” said Liu Jianchao, the Deputy-Director General of the Information Department in China’s foreign ministry.

Following Spielberg’s withdrawal, other organizations called for boycott of the Games. However, United Kingdom Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell rejected such calls. “The world has known for the last seven years that Beijing would host the Olympics,” Jowell told The Times. “Most progressive governments accept that there are wholly unacceptable aspects of Chinese policy, but that did not stop the International Olympic Committee awarding them the games. A call for a boycott doesn’t serve any purpose and it would be a great pity. This doesn’t mean, however, we should be distracted from the urgency of Darfur.”

“China is also concerned about the humanitarian issues there, but we have been playing a positive and constructive role in promoting peace in Darfur,” Liu said, adding that China is working with the United Nations to provide aid and resolve the crisis.

Critics of China contend that China supports the Islamic regime in Sudan because it buys two-thirds of the country’s oil exports and also sells it weapons. Further, China has been defending the government in Khartoum in the United Nations Security Council. Since 2003, fighting between government-backed militia and rebels in Darfur has led to the death of more than 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million others.

Meanwhile, United States President George W. Bush confirmed that he still plans to attend the Games in Beijing. “I view the Olympics as a sporting event. On the other hand, I have a different platform to Steven Spielberg, so I get to talk to Hu Jintao [President of China] and I do remind him he can do more to relieve the suffering in Darfur.”

Bush followed this by saying: “I’m not going to use the Olympics as an opportunity to express my opinions to the Chinese people in a public way because I do it all the time with the president.”



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February 25, 2007

VOA journalists resist plans to restrict mission in support of media freedom

VOA journalists resist plans to restrict mission in support of media freedom

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Voice of America (VOA) marked its 65th anniversary Saturday amid plans to cancel radio broadcasts to many countries where press freedom is under attack. These program cuts are resisted by many former and current VOA journalists who see them as a dangerous departure from VOA’s mission to support press freedom worldwide. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) – a bipartisan body managing VOA and other U.S. international broadcasts – plans to expand news coverage to the Middle East, North Korea and Latin America by eliminating or reducing programs to Russia, Tibet, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and a number of other media-at-risk countries. Acting with apparent approval from the White House, the BBG also want to eliminate VOA’s flagship English radio broadcast News Now.

Former and current VOA journalists who have criticized the BBG’s plans as a betrayal of VOA’s support for media freedom are circulating two online petitions asking the U.S. Congress to stop the proposed program cuts.

One of the petitions specifically opposes the planned elimination of VOA Uzbek radio broadcasts by pointing out that Uzbekistan’s ruler Islam Karimov has effectively silenced political opposition and eliminated or forced underground nearly all independent media outlets.

Cquote1.svg this lack of consistency sends a terrible signal to defenders of freedom and courageous journalists around the world. Cquote2.svg

—FreeMediaOnline.org

This is the second time the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) – bipartisan body in charge of U.S. international broadcasts – is trying to eliminate VOA radio programs to Uzbekistan. The BBG had stopped VOA Uzbek radio programs once before, in August 2004, but the pressure from the U.S. Congress and human rights groups forced the BBG to resume them in June 2005.

This year the BBG is again trying to end VOA radio presence in Uzbekistan and in a number of other countries. In addition to VOA Uzbek radio programs, the BBG is planning to eliminate or reduce U.S. taxpayer-funded broadcasts to Kazakhstan, Russia, Tibet and China — countries whose regimes were declared by the Paris-based nongovernmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as major violators of media freedom and freedom of expression. Uzbekistan’s leader Islam Karimov, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Kazakhstan’s authoritarian ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev and China’s leader Hu Jintao have been all called by Reporters Without Borders “Predators of Press Freedom.”

The second online petition initiated by a former VOA Associate Director Ted Lipien focuses on the BBG plans to eliminate VOA Russian radio broadcasts. The petition asks the U.S. Congress to reject the proposed cuts and demand from the White House and the BBG a consistent U.S. international broadcasting strategy in support of freedom.

FreeMediaOnline.org, a California-based nonprofit group founded to support freedom of the press worldwide, described these proposed cuts and reductions in U.S. international broadcasting as nothing less than a “gift to dictators and suppressors of press freedom.” FreeMediaOnline.org believes that “this lack of consistency sends a terrible signal to defenders of freedom and courageous journalists around the world. Some of them, like independent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, paid with their lives for exposing human rights violations. To make their voices heard, they have relied on VOA Russian radio programs which the White House and the BBG plan to eliminate.”

According to the BBG, some program cuts are necessary to fund expansion of U.S. broadcasts to Iran and to other major Muslim countries and regions. Critics such as FreeMediaOnline.org activists have pointed out, however, that there are many other noncritical programs within the U.S. international broadcasting bureaucracy controlled by the BBG. They maintain that reducing these support programs instead could easily pay for new programming to the Middle East and for the much needed enhancement and modernization of programs and program delivery to countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and China.

VOA first broadcast on shortwave to Nazi Germany February 24, 1942, just weeks after the United States entered World War Two. In that broadcast, news announcer William Harlan Hale told listeners, “The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell you the truth.”

VOA Director Dan Austin says although the technology of broadcasting may have changed in the intervening years, the Voice of America’s adherence to its core mission remains the same. He says the agency will continue to honestly and accurately report the news. Austin did not address the issue of the program cuts demanded by the BBG and how they might affect VOA’s mission. He was appointed to his position as VOA Director by the BBG.

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February 9, 2007

China accused of torturing Chinese-Canadian prisoner

China accused of torturing Chinese-Canadian prisoner

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Friday, February 9, 2007

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The family of a Chinese-Canadian imprisoned in China on terror-related charges say that the prisoner, Huseyin Celil is being tortured by Chinese police in order to make him sign a confession.

Celil has Canadian citizenship, which China has refused to recognize. Consular officials and his Canadian lawyer have not been permitted to meet him and his wife Kamila Telendibaeva hasn’t seen him in almost a year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that Celil is being tried in accoordance with Chinese laws and that consular access does not apply since Celil is a Chinese citizen.

Huseyin Celil’s sister, mother and older brother say that they are speaking out despite fears that the police would arrest them.

The family says that if Celil, who fled China in the 1990s and sought refuge in Canada, living in Hamilton, does not sign the confession, he would be “put in a hole and buried alive.” Celil was arrested in Uzbekistan in 2005 and extradicted to China. Chinese authorities say he is a member of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which China and the United States consider to be a terrorist organisation.

Celil alleged that he has been tortured during a court appearance during which his sister and son were present. Canadian officials were not permitted to be present at the trial.

This issue has caused friction between Canada and China, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper questioning China’s human rights record. The issue was also brought up when Harper spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Vietnam last November.

Canadian media report that Canadian federal officials have been dispatched to China and will stay in the country.

China’s assistant foreign affairs minister He Yafei said Celil is suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

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November 25, 2006

Pakistan and China sign free-trade deal

Pakistan and China sign free-trade deal – Wikinews, the free news source

Pakistan and China sign free-trade deal

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hu Jintao during a defense meeting held at the Pentagon, May 2002, cropped.jpg

Chinese president, Hu Jintao has signed a free-trade deal with his Pakistani counterpart, General Pervez Musharraf, during ongoing talks in Islamabad. They signed a five-year pact to boost bilateral trade on Friday.

After a three-day trip to India, Hu Jintao travelled to Pakistan for a four-day visit and received a royal reception at his arrival. His visit to Pakistan is the first by a Chinese leader in a decade.

According to diplomats, the agreement could triple the value of bilateral trade within next five years, to $15bn.

Pakistani commerce minister, Humayoun Akhtar said that new trade pact would energize the efforts to cut tariffs. He added that the trade would be completely tariff-free between the two countries within next five years.

Both countries have agreed a number of new defence and energy deals. The Pakistan Air Force and Chinese Aviation Industries have agreed for long term collaboration in the fields of aircraft manufacturing including Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS).

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