Friday, 26 September 2008


Shenzhou VII taikonauts (from left) Jing Haipeng,
Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming wave to people at
a press conference in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, September 24, 2008. [Xinhua]

Shenzhou VII lifts off tonight

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)

JIUQUAN, Gansu -- Shenzhou VII will lift off between 9:07
pm and 10:27 pm Thursday, carrying three astronauts, one of
who will become the first Chinese to walk in space, senior
space program officials said Wednesday.

One of the astronauts, Zhai Zhigang will walk in space
around 4:30 pm on Saturday, media reports said.

The spacecraft will carry astronauts Liu Boming and Jing
Haipeng, too.

One of the major tasks of the three-day mission is
extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk in this case,
mission spokesman Wang Zhaoyao said at a news conference
Wednesday. The success of the task will mark a remarkable
step forward for China.

The other tasks include releasing a small monitoring
satellite and satellite data relay trials, said Wang, who
is also deputy director of China's manned space program

"The Shenzhou VII mission marks a historic breakthrough in
China's manned space program. It is a great honor for all
three of us to be part of the mission, and we are fully
prepared for the challenge," Zhai Zhigang said when he and
the other two astronauts met the media Wednesday.

Tonight's mission will be the second stage of China's
three-stage manned space program, which eventually is aimed
at building a space lab and a space station by 2020.

Engineers began loading fuel in the carrier rocket at 4 pm
Wednesday, a process that would take seven hours and meant
the launch was "irreversible", Jiuquan Satellite Launch
Center officials said.

Shenzhou VII will be launched from atop the Long-March II-F
carrier rocket into orbit 343 km from Earth.

Two of the astronauts will enter the orbital module, put on
EVA spacesuits and prepare for the spacewalk. One of them
will put on a China-made "Feitian" EVA suit and the other,
a Russian Orlan-M "Haiying" suit.

And "one of the two will get out of the cabin and retrieve
the test samples loaded outside the module," Wang said.

Compared with the previous two manned space flights, the
Shenzhou VII mission faces unprecedented technical
difficulties, he said, even though China has achieved a
series of technical breakthroughs, including making an EVA
suit and airlock module.

During the mission, the astronauts will have to assemble
and test the 120-kg EVA suits, depressurize and
re-pressurize the cabin, and exit and re-enter the orbital

"The process of EVAs cannot be simulated completely on the
ground and some of the newly developed products have to be
tested in flight for the first time," Wang said.

Thirteen Orlan-M spacesuits, three for actual EVAs, were
received from Russia under a contract signed in April 2004,
he said. Moscow developed the spacesuits, while Beijing
gave the power supply and communication systems.

"Russian experts have provided technical assistance
throughout the mission," he said.

Thanks to the collaboration, China took only three and half
years to design the EVA spacesuit. Or else it would have
taken eight years to do so, Chen Shanguang, head and chief
designer of the project's astronaut suits and other
accessories, said.

Russia helped train the astronauts and develop the Shenzhou
spacecraft, too.

But soon China could train foreign astronauts, Xinhua
quoted Chen as having said. "China's two successful manned
space missions have showed it has the technical ability to
independently train astronauts in future."

In 2003, China became the first country after the US and
Russia to send a man into space. It followed it with a
two-man mission in 2005.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

CHAVEZ: “Thank God there is a revolution in China; thank God there is a revolution in Venezuela; thank God we met each other and we shook our hands"

The Strategic Fund China-Venezuela
to be injected with 12
billion dollars
in three years

ABN 24/09/2008 Caracas,

Caracas, Sept 24. ABN.- The President of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, informed that in
three years 12 billion dollars will be injected to the
Strategic Fund China-Venezuela.

During his fifth visit to China, Chávez explained that he
sent the request to China three months ago and he will take
advantage of his visit to renew the fund.

President Chávez detailed that in a first stage, China
contributed with 4 billion dollars and Venezuela with 2
billion. “These resources are being invested in the country
(Venezuela) in hundreds of small and medium works that are
currently under construction.”

“Chinese Government, with a prove of friendship and
confidence to Venezuela, has answered positively,” he said.

Venezuelan Head of State commented that China and Venezuela
are able to resist the consequences of the current crisis
of the capitalism because both countries had and have
revolutions; and, thanks to that, it is also possible the
close bilateral relation that has been developed since
almost a decade ago.

He reminded that the relation went stronger when both
countries decided to establish a strategic alliance and
demonstrate that Venezuela and China could create strong
links despite geographical distance and the excuses of some
people saying it was impossible to send oil to that

“They kept us tied to the empire. We were a colony. The
Government was not in Caracas, but in Washington,” Chávez
said explaining the dependence Venezuela had to the North
American market.

“Now, we are free to travel to Beijing. We are working to
increase the oil processing to China,” he stressed.

“Soon, we will reach 400,000 barrels a day (sent from
Venezuela to China), then 500,000 barrels next year, and we
are going to keep working until we reach 1 million barrels
a day,” he said.

Chávez explained that to face worldwide energy crisis,
Venezuela and China are increasing their trade and
relations in oil sector with agreements to build refineries
and tank ships, as well as increasing oil supply to China.

In reference to the financial crisis, President Chávez
insisted that, nowadays, when there are banks going to
bankruptcy and it is so hard to get a credit, both
countries decided to double their joint fund of 6 billion
dollars in order to support the development in sectors like
energy, housing, sanitation, aqueducts, agriculture, among

Regarding food crisis, Chávez pointed out that both
countries keep a close cooperation in agriculture and food
industry since two years ago.

“All of them (the agreements) allow us to overcome the
(worldwide) crisis,” said Chávez with respect to the
bilateral cooperation, while the world is passing through
hard moments.

“Thanks God there is a revolution in China; thanks God
there is a revolution in Venezuela; thanks God we met each
other and we shook our hands,” he insisted.

Translated by Ernesto Aguilera

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


"Maoist" Chavez eyes closer China

By Emma Graham-Harrison

BEIJING (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on
Tuesday unveiled early plans for two new refinery projects
in China, kicking off a visit to the energy-hungry nation
that could aggravate stormy ties with top oil user the
United States.

Fiery leftist Chavez paid tribute to China's autocratic
late leader Mao Zedong minutes after stepping onto Chinese
soil, and said he hoped to build a joint tanker fleet and
nearly double oil exports to the world's number two
consumer next year.

"We are talking about three refineries, to bring our crude,
which is heavy, and process it here in China," he told
journalists beside his official plane.

"We are also working on a project to construct a joint
Chinese-Venezuelan oil fleet."

China is cautious about handing out permits for refineries,
which are highly sought after by foreign oil companies and
crude-producing nations itching for access to its vast

The two countries in May agreed to build a 400,000 barrels
per day (bpd) plant in southern Guangdong province, the
first such investment deal between Caracas and Beijing. It
would be unprecedented for China to approve two more in the
near future.

But Chavez does have large amounts of oil to offer in
return, and the self-styled revolutionary and florid critic
of Washington is keen to reduce his nation's traditional
reliance on energy markets in the United States.

China's big energy appetite and Communist Party government
make it an attractive alternative. Chavez has visited China
five times over the last decade and often plays up
political ties between the nations, which contrast with his
ideological war against the "imperialist" regime in

"We are in the land of Mao Zedong and I pay tribute to him.
I am a Maoist," he announced to journalists and a
bemused-looking Chinese policeman on the airport's VIP red
carpet, before recommending Bolshevik leader Vladimir
Lenin's book 'Imperialism: The Highest Stage of

China's current reformist leaders are respectful of Mao as
the country's revolutionary founder but, now focused on
capitalist-friendly policies, avoid praising his visions of
farming communes and perpetual revolution.


Chavez's colorful rhetoric contrasts with the cautious,
muted tone of Chinese diplomats who prefer to focus on the
business side of the two nations' ties.

"Sino-Venezuelan relations have no ideological hue, are not
aimed at any third party and do not affect Venezuela's ties
with any other country," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang
Yu told a regular news conference on Tuesday.

But the nature and value of the socialist nations' growing
embrace may anyway spark concern in the United States,
which gets around 10 percent of its oil from Venezuela.

Chavez earlier this month threatened to cut off supplies to
the United States "if there were aggression against
Venezuela" and warned that doing so would push crude prices
above $200 a barrel. But Caracas would need to find a new
buyer for exports that in the five months to May were near
1 million bpd.

Beijing lent Caracas $4 billion this year and the two have
signed a deal to produce and upgrade the country's heavy
oil that will cost around three times as much, or $12

China will launch Venezuela's first satellite this year and
Chavez said in May he planned to buy Chinese military
training planes, expanding recent arms purchases.

Jiang declined to comment on any deals that might be
signed, but Chavez said more than 20 were drawn up,
covering areas from food cooperation to telecoms and

He added that Venezuela aims to increase oil exports to
China to 500,000 bpd next year, from around 300,000, and
hit 1 million bpd in four years.

If they can meet Chavez's target for China sales next year
they would supply over 6 percent of the country's oil, but
although imports have risen strongly this year customs data
suggests that Caracas may have set itself a difficult goal.

Venezuelan crude imports over the first eight months
climbed by more than 60 percent compared with a year
earlier, but were still only 5.18 million tonnes, or
155,000 bpd. Export volumes were boosted by nearly 3
million tonnes of diesel and fuel oil.


Chávez, China Agree to Build Oil Refineries


BEIJING -- China and Venezuela agreed to jointly build two
oil refineries, one in each country, Venezuelan President
Hugo Chávez said Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists on the first day of a two-day
official visit to China, Mr. Chávez said the refinery to be
built in Venezuela will be located in the oil-rich region
of the Orinoco Basin. A formal agreement on the issue is
expected to be signed during Mr. Chávez's stay in China.

China is already building a refinery to process Venezuelan
oil, following an agreement reached this year. Mr. Chávez
didn't provide details on when or where the second Chinese
refinery would be built.

"Venezuela has enough oil to last for 200 years," Mr.
Chávez said. "And the Chinese are already working to tap

He hopes to bolster ties with China through increased oil
sales, partly to reduce dependency on the U.S., which still
buys about 60% of Venezuelan exports despite years of

"China is showing the world that it isn't necessary to harm
anyone to be a great power. They are soldiers of peace," he
said, according to a Venezuelan government statement. Asked
about his absence from talks this week on the sidelines of
the United Nations in New York, Mr. Chávez said: "It's much
more important to be in Beijing than in New York."

China is the second stop in a six-country tour that Mr.
Chávez started in Cuba on Sunday. Mr. Chávez and his
Chinese counterparts are also expected to discuss a joint
$6 billion investment fund the two sides agreed to this
year. He plans to fly Thursday to Russia, and then to go on
to Belarus, France and Portugal.

The trip comes amid stepped-up confrontation with the U.S.,
including Russia's dispatch Monday of a naval squadron to
hold joint maneuvers with Venezuela's navy. The deployment
of Russian military power to the Western Hemisphere is
unprecedented since the Cold War and follows a weeklong
visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers.

"The only thing we demand is that our nation be respected,"
Mr. Chávez said. "We're no longer the backyard of the
United States."

Friday, 19 September 2008


China halves poor population
since millennium

Xinhua, 2008-09-19

BEIJING -- China halved its impoverished population over
the past three decades, according to Huang Yanxin, deputy
director of the regulation department under the Ministry of

The accomplishment makes China the first nation to fulfill
its objective under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

Huang made the comments at a press briefing on Premier Wen
Jiabao's attendance at the UN MDG summit in New York on
September 25.

According to Huang, China had fulfilled the goal of halving
poor population, compared with the time when MDG project
was established.

Set in 2000, the MDG include eradicating extreme poverty,
achieving universal primary education, promoting gender
equality and improving maternal health, all by 2015.

The percentage of people living in absolute poverty in
rural areas plunged from 30.7 percent in 1978 to 1.6
percent in 2007, Huang said.

"According to China's standards, the number of poor people
dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 14.8 million in 2007,"
said Huang.

China's achievements in relieving poverty had been felt by
all, Huang stated. China's poverty reduction promoted
development in rural areas, fostered harmony in communities
and sped up the process of international poverty relief

Huang noted that 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of China's
reform and opening up. One of the first steps the country
took was to improve rural living standards.

Huang said China had solved the problem of feeding 1.3
billion people during the past 30 years. Compared with
1978, grain output had increased from about 300 billion kg
to 500 billion kg in 2007. Amid world shortages of food and
soaring prices, China's food supply and prices remained

"It's the important contribution Chinese agriculture made
to domestic development and global agriculture," Huang

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


China Tells Businesses to Unionize

September 12, 2008
NY Times

SHANGHAI — Some of the world’s biggest corporations are
facing intense pressure from China to allow the
state-approved union to form in their Chinese plants and
offices. But many companies fear admitting the unions will
give their Chinese employees the power to slow or disrupt
their operations and will significantly increase the cost
of doing business here.

The companies, many of which moved to China to lower
manufacturing costs and some to avoid unions in their home
countries as well, are now being asked to meet a Sept. 30
deadline to make their offices and factories union shops.

Companies that do not comply risk being publicly vilified
or blacklisted by the union, and perhaps penalized by the
government, since businesses are required by law to allow
unions to form.

Lawyers and analysts say that demands of the All China
Federation of Trade Unions, the only union the Communist
Party allows, could sharply alter business practices of
foreign companies in China, including giving lower-level
workers the power to bargain over anything from pay raises
to whether a Chinese headquarters should be moved elsewhere
in the country.

“This will dramatically change the landscape here,” said
Andreas Lauffs, a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie’s Shanghai
office who is an authority on China’s labor laws. “At the
very least, company management must now consult, and in
many cases bargain, with employees and unions on a wide
range of matters, whereas in the past they enjoyed almost
unlimited autonomy.”

The union push is coming at a time when global corporations
are already facing rising labor and commodity costs in
China, which is struggling to contain inflation.

Hundreds of big corporations, like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and
Yum Brands, which operates KFC and Pizza Hut, have agreed
to set up unions in their Chinese operations.

But union officials say that some nonmanufacturing
companies are resisting. Microsoft’s China operation did
not respond this week to questions about the union drive.
The consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers said that its
workers were not unionized but that it was studying the

Union officials say they are focusing on global companies,
but Chinese companies make up the bulk of the manufacturing
work force and they are also expected to face audits and
pressure to unionize.

For years, Western labor activists have taken aim at
China’s manufacturing industry, exposing hundreds of
exploitive factories that employ child labor, force workers
to toil as many as 100 hours a week without overtime pay or
benefits, and violate labor and safety rules.

And some of the world’s biggest brand names, like Wal-Mart,
Disney and Adidas, have been singled out for using
contractors that violate China’s labor laws. The companies
have, in many cases, investigated the claims and fired

The new government pressure seems to be part of a sweeping
effort aimed at addressing some of the ugly consequences of
China’s dynamic economic growth, like rampant pollution, a
growing income gap and widespread labor abuse.

Up until now, though, the state-controlled union has done
little to agitate on behalf of workers, legal experts say,
and has often done more to control workers than to benefit
them. The union’s reputation for allowing abuses to exists
has led some to doubt whether it can properly represent

But the union, which says it already has 200 million
members, is promising to truly represent workers, and is
gaining standing with Communist Party leaders.

In 2004, the National People’s Congress, the state
legislative body, carried out inspections of companies
operating in China to ensure that they were following labor
laws and had dues-paying union members. Union officials,
using increasingly bold tactics, have zeroed in on the
China operations of the 500 biggest global corporations,
which would mean millions of new union members. The union
says it intends to combat worker exploitation.

“Some foreign companies in China haven’t behaved well in
dealing with their workers’ interests and rights,” Wang
Ying, an official at the All China Federation of Trade
Unions in Beijing, said in a telephone interview this week.
“As the economy and society develops, China needs to
improve workers’ legal rights and interests, which is a
demand of a civilized society.”

Forming unions could be costly, lawyers and labor experts
say, because a union could fight for higher wages and
benefits and because companies are required to pay 2
percent payroll dues. The dues could amount to millions of
dollars in additional costs for big companies. Yum Brands,
for instance, has about 160,000 employees in China.

Manufacturers are already coping with soaring labor costs,
which have jumped by 30 to 40 percent in some coastal
manufacturing zones over the last four years. Also, a new
contract labor law and stricter enforcement of older labor
rules means some companies can no longer avoid paying
overtime costs, which can be substantial because many
factories insist that some employees work six days a week.

But whether unions can really protect workers and bargain
collectively on their behalf is still in question.

“It all depends on how they are set up,” said Anita Chan,
an authority on labor issues in China who is a visiting
research fellow at the Australian National University in
Canberra. “After you set up a union, these groups have to
know how to become representatives of the workers, and
really collectively bargain.”

Mr. Lauffs, the labor law expert, said it was too early to
tell what impact new unions would have on companies here.
But union members would need to be consulted on all
employee-related and operational matters.

“Employees may have a say in major operational matters,” he
said. “And employees may have the right to strike.”

Many big corporations in China that have recently allowed
unions to form under pressure have declined to comment on
the union drive. Some company spokesmen have admitted
privately that they do not want to raise the ire of the
state-controlled union or anger China’s political leaders,
who are backing the effort.

But several big companies said they were working well with
the union. Wal-Mart, which for years has fought against
unions in the United States and elsewhere, now has unions
operating in nearly all of its 108 stores in China.

“We have a good relationship working with the union,” said
Jonathan Dong, a Wal-Mart spokesman in China. “The union
provides a complement to what we do.”

The top executive in China at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Frank
Lyn, said accounting and professional services firms like
his could not be equated with manufacturers.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation,” Mr. Lyn said.
“At this juncture we don’t see a pressing need for a

Ms. Wang, the official at the All China Federation of Trade
Unions, said that by the end of September about 80 percent
of the top 500 global corporations operating in China would
have unions here. “We are making great progress,” she said.

Chen Yang contributed reporting.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Foreign Policy with a Multipolar Vision

The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Vice-minister for Africa
Reinaldo Bolívar mentioned the multipolar vision of the
Bolivarian Government’s foreign policy and stressed that
“Venezuelan will be always willing to provide the greatest
possible humanitarian help to Africa in the event that this
continent be victim of natural disasters or wars.”

Bolívar informed that Venezuela has recently talked to the
authorities of the People’s Republic of China in order to
develop triangular relations in favor of Africa’s political
and economic development.

“The result has been positive; we have even received
specific gestures through the Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia,
which has cooperated with the school equipment of the
schools sponsored by Venezuela,” Bolívar explained.

The Venezuelan official highlighted that the importance of
an alliance with China is due to the huge presence of this
Asian nation in the African continent.

“China buys 40% of its oil form Africa, and in the recent
years it has considerably invested in infrastructures,
construction of bridges, hospitals and roads,” assured

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


The Future of Iraq's Oil Industry:
China and Russia May have The Lion's Share!

Via The Angry Arab News Service

September 6, 2008

On Iraqi oil. Amer wrote this for Iraq Slogger:

"The Future of Iraq's Oil Industry: China and Russia May
have The Lion's Share!

Most of the mainstream Western media reported – but gave
little heed – to the recent agreements between the Iraqi
Government and International oil companies to exploit
Iraq's vast oil resources. It was casually reported that
"service contracts" were to be granted to a group of
Western oil companies to refurbish and increase production
in several Iraqi oilfields. Shortly thereafter, it was
confirmed that oil contracts going back to the Saddam era
(mostly with Chinese and Russian companies) to exploit
several other oilfields will be revived - and revised - and
will shortly enter into effect.

The importance of this news cannot be underestimated; these
contracts – if fulfilled – will largely determine the
future of Iraq's oil industry, and by extension, its
economic development. On the other hand, the shape and
structure of these contracts reveal the "strategic"
political deals that took place in the backrooms: the
current contracts represent a major departure from the
original US vision for Iraq's oil future, and may be a
reflection of the new balance of power in the "New Iraq."

Az-Zaman reported on the official granting of "exploitation
rights" to the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation
(CNPC) to produce oil from the Ahdab field (near the
Iranian borders,) al-Ahdab, as described by the newspaper
is "one of five strategic oilfields in Iraq" whose
exploitation was contracted to Russian and Chinese
companies by the previous regime during the late 1990s.
Az-Zaman, reaching for the political angle, framed the
story with the following title: "Chinese deal with Iranian
mediation excludes US companies from investment in Iraq's

The title is somehow misleading – since US companies have
already guaranteed large contracts in Iraq, but it does
contain a grain of truth. Why would the United States (or
its "ally", the Iraqi government) be interested in reviving
oil contracts with nations that neither supported the
US-led invasion in 2003, nor are considered allies of the
US? Didn't US officials clearly proclaim in the early
months of the invasion that countries opposing the
enterprise will have little access to Iraq contracts? What
happened to the grand plans to privatize Iraq's oil
industry and use Western companies and expertise to quickly
boost production in the framework of production-sharing
contracts (PSCs)? Furthermore, the contracts handed out by
Saddam to CNPC and Russian companies represent most of
Iraq's oil potential.

Iraq's proven oil reserves can be roughly divided into A-
reserves in already-producing oilfields and B- reserves in
oilfields that have been discovered in the 20th century,
but remained (for various reasons) unexploited. The largest
proportion of Iraq's oil reserves belongs to the second
category. Most of Iraq's oil production in the last
half-century came from a handful of oil deposits that were
discovered in the 1920s-1950s and that have been
continuously producing ever since. These fields, such as
Kirkuk and Rumaila, are considered to be "maturing," that
is, their reserves are running out and any attempt to boost
production (and compensate for the natural decline) will be
progressively more expensive in the coming years. Some of
these oilfields, such as Kirkuk, have had their oil
reservoirs irreversibly damaged because of bad production
practices in the past. Virtually all of the "service
contracts" granted to Western oil companies are in those
aging oilfields, while Russian and Chinese companies will
be tasked with exploiting fresh reserves. Both categories
of contracts are substantial, and possibly very lucrative,
but it would seem ironic that, after America's costly
enterprise in the Middle East, the Chinese and the Russians
will stand to control most of Iraq's future oil production
– hence Az-Zaman's acerbic title.

What is more significant for Iraq is that all of the
contracts are reasonably favorable to the country and its
National Oil Company (or at least far better than the
original visions floated after 2003, which spoke of
Production-Sharing Contracts with unreasonably high margins
for foreign companies.) In fact, the original Saddam
contract with China was seen as "too favorable" and had to
be revised down to a "service contract" (Saddam had
originally offered generous production-sharing.) According
to Az-Zaman, the Chinese operator will receive compensation
for its investment costs in addition to an agreed-upon
profit margin – the paper said that the Chinese company
will receive around $6 for every barrel it extracts. The
oilfield is expected to produce around 110,000 Barrels per
day for a contractual period of 10 years.

Where does Iran come into the equation? The reason that
prevented the signing of quick, massive, oil contracts with
Western and US companies after the Iraq invasion was the
tremendous opposition fielded against such contracts in
Iraq. The oil workers Unions and Iraqi oil experts
mobilized quickly and were very vocal in expressing their
opposition to such plans; the raging public mood convinced
the government that "political" oil deals will be very
costly, and – maybe most importantly – pro-Iranian militias
in the South made it clear to the oil industry that no oil
will be profitably exported from Iraq under conditions
unfavorable to a host of local and regional "actors." Once
this new structure for the exploitation of Iraq's oil was
negotiated, probably many months ago – with limited Western
involvement, large contracts for China and Russia and a
larger participation on behalf of the Iraqi national oil
companies - "sabotage" and attacks against Iraq's oil
installations suddenly died down!"

Monday, 8 September 2008


Beijing Paralympics to highlight Olympic
spirit and glory
of humanity

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- While the beautiful memory of
the Beijing Olympic Games remains fresh, the Beijing
Paralympic Games are near.

The flame of the Beijing Paralympic Games will burn atop
the Bird's Nest on Saturday night. It will be a night of
reunion and dream fulfillment for more than 4,000 disabled
athletes from 148 countries and regions, a night of warmth
and joy for the 83 million Chinese with disabilities and
the world's disabled population of more than 600 million,
as well as a night of passion and harmony for the six
billion people across the globe.

The Paralympic movement, concept and spirit constitute an
outstanding contribution to the modern Olympic Movement.
Just like the modern Olympic Games, which has a history of
more than a century, the 48-year-old Paralympic Games also
seek to showcase the noble nature of mankind, such as the
enterprising spirit, transcendence, enthusiasm in
participation, as well as harmony and fraternity.

The Paralympic movement, concept and spirit constitute an
outstanding contribution to the modern Olympic Movement.
Just like the modern Olympic Games, which has a history of
more than a century, the 48-year-old Paralympic Games also
seek to showcase the noble nature of mankind, such as the
enterprising spirit, transcendence, enthusiasm in
participation, as well as harmony and fraternity.

"Two Games, Equal Splendor" is a promise China has made to
the world. And China has proposed the concepts of
"transcendence, integration and equality" for the Beijing
Paralympic Games. The country and its people are fulfilling
the promise and performing international duties with utmost
sincerity and in a down-to-earth manner. This has fully
demonstrated that China highly values the Paralympic Games,
earnestly takes care of the disabled, and sincerely wishes
to promote the humanitarian spirit.

The Paralympic movement, concept and spirit constitute an
outstanding contribution to the modern Olympic Movement.
Just like the modern Olympic Games, which has a history of
more than a century, the 48-year-old Paralympic Games also
seek to showcase the noble nature of mankind, such as the
enterprising spirit, transcendence, enthusiasm in
participation, as well as harmony and fraternity.

This September, Beijing is opening its arms to welcome
disabled athletes from all over the world, who have come to
share the idea of "One World, One Dream," and to cement
friendship, call on peace and promote harmony.

Taking part in sports activities, for fun or for
competition -- this is an important way for the disabled
people to get integrated into society on an equal footing.
And they yearn to prove themselves and show vigor of life
in the sports arena.

Integration, equality and common happiness are
indispensable elements of a harmonious society. Through
equal emphasis on sports activities for both disabled and
able-bodied people, we can encourage greater participation
in sport and better integration into society by people with

China's hosting of the Paralympic Games is also a major
step forward for human rights protection. Life quality of
the disabled is a benchmark for the civilization level of a
modern society. Respect and care for the disabled is an
important indicator of social progress. Safeguarding the
rights and interests of the disabled is a fundamental
protection of human rights.

Promoting the welfare of the disabled people is an
important part of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The development of sporting for the disabled has reflected
the historical progress China has made since 1949,
particularly in the past three decades of reform and

Thanks to the country's emphasis on human rights
development, the environment and conditions for the
disabled to participate in social affairs have improved
remarkably, the living standards of the disabled have kept
rising, and the social atmosphere of respecting, protecting
and helping the disabled has been fostered.

Through the hosting of the Beijing Paralympic Games, the
whole society will have a better understanding of the life
of the disabled, and make intensified efforts to take care
of and help them. The Games will also boost the
self-esteem, self-confidence and self-reliance of people
with disabilities. Furthermore, the communications and
exchanges between Chinese and foreign Paralympians during
the Games will help our country draw experience from the
rest of the world, find out and solve our own problems, and
do an even better job in seeking benefits for the disabled.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


Bringing out the best in us

Our Olympics showed the world a dynamic, diverse China: the result of 30 years of reform

Fu Ying
The Guardian
Thursday September 4 2008

A question often raised after the Beijing Olympics is this:
in what way has it changed China - and where is the country
heading now? One of the most important effects has been on
the world's perception of China, and vice versa. The
Olympics brought the international community into China and
made the Chinese people feel closer to it. They understand
better the diversity of the world, and are more relaxed
about different opinions about their homeland. They are
more confident in expressing their feelings and thoughts to
the world.

The Olympics also opened up China more directly to the
world, thanks to the presence of 30,000 international
journalists. Much of their reporting helped to unroll a
panoramic view of the dynamic, diverse, modern China, which
is not free of challenges. After this encounter, hopefully,
there will be fewer cases of using old footage, photos or
stereotypes to present today's stories.

For the Chinese people, hosting the Olympics is a
century-old dream come true. For 16 days the whole country
was immersed in excitement brought by the magic of sport as
well as the close encounter with the world. About half a
million people watched the games in Beijing and other
cities every day, in addition to the hundreds of millions
of television viewers.

The Olympics brought out the best in the Chinese people.
They cheered enthusiastically for athletes, both Chinese
and international, and for all endeavours, successful or
otherwise. Most noticeable of all were the smiling
volunteers who appeared everywhere, eager to help. The
Paralympics will be another opportunity to celebrate our
common humanity.

The success of the Olympics was not an overnight effort.
Only we in China know how hard the journey has been. It was
the culmination of seven years of painstaking preparations
and 30 years of persistent reform, during which a planned
economy was incrementally replaced by a market economy,
semi-seclusion gave way to growing openness, and human
rights gradually improved. The success of the Olympics has
strengthened our commitment to continue these reforms.

Of course, the games have not altered the underlying
realities. China remains a developing country with a per
capita GDP that is one twentieth of Britain's. It still has
a long way to go in meeting the challenges of development
and building a harmonious society for all its people.

Over the past three decades we have been through a vast
amount of change, more than many countries. We have learned
a lot from the west. As ambassador, I receive a continuous
flow of delegations from China to study Britain's
governmental and social management, legal structure and
technologies. But China should not be expected to become a
carbon copy of a western society. It will develop democracy
and prosperity in line with its own culture and social

Our continued growth will be achieved only through closer
integration and cooperation with the rest of world. A
relationship between China and the west based on mutual
understanding, respect and cooperation is what we desire.

Britain certainly made its name at our games, not only
thanks to the thrilling performance of its athletes, but
also with the dazzling eight-minute show that followed the
flag handover. People have already started to compare
Beijing with London, but I believe that each Olympics,
while building on previous efforts is unique. I am sure
that London will do well in 2012.
· Fu Ying is the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


The Chinese Dream has replaced America's

China's economy may be lagging behind the US, but it is
miles ahead in optimism, dynamism, and patriotism

Martin Fletcher
The Times

In the magnificent new stadiums of their capital, in front
of their fanatical compatriots, China's Olympians have
walloped their American counterparts this past fortnight,
capturing 16 more gold medals and ending the global
supremacy that US athletes have enjoyed since the collapse
of the Soviet Union.

It is an outcome that will only deepen the United States'
present funk, with pundits sure to compare China's
inexorable rise with America's decline, asking when the
lines will cross.

The answer is not for a long time - if ever. By almost any
measure the US remains in a different league. Its gross
domestic product was $13.8trillion last year, dwarfing
China's $3.2 trillion. GDP per capita was $46,000 to
China's $5,300. Of the world's 30 largest companies, 11 are
American and 3 Chinese, according to Fortune magazine.

But what is striking to casual visitors to China, however,
is the extent to which its people have adopted the
attitudes that made America great - the optimism, dynamism
and patriotism, the can-do spirit, the determination to
leave the next generation better off than one's own. In
three weeks travelling around China last month, I found a
country oozing with confidence.

The converse is also true. For now, at least, an America
afflicted by economic recession, plunging house prices,
collapsing banks, disastrous foreign ventures and dire
political leadership is sunk in malaise.

How would the US have responded to an earthquake like the
one that devastated Sichuan province in May? To judge by
its response to Hurricane Katrina, not with the spirit,
energy and self-reliance of the Chinese.

Throughout the stricken zone I found soldiers, contractors
and volunteers clearing rubble, restoring services and
erecting vast tracts of temporary housing with astonishing
speed. Even more striking were the victims. Far from
succumbing to self-pity or despair, or waiting for
government assistance, they were striving to rebuild and
recover as fast as possible, setting up makeshift shops,
restaurants, surgeries and even mini-factories in the
rubble of their homes. “The dead are dead. You don't want
to die with them,” said Huoyong Bin, 40, who has lost his
wife and father but has reopened his barber shop beneath an
awning in what remains of the marketplace of Jiulong

In Henan province, in the tiny rural village of Zhoutan, I
met the embodiment of what was once called the American
Dream but might now be renamed the Chinese Dream.

His name was Zhou Shouheng, 27. He is one of tens of
millions of uneducated peasants who have flocked to China's
cities to secure better futures for their families. He
works on building sites in Beijing, ten hours a day, seven
days a week, returning home twice a year. He makes this
sacrifice so that one day he can send his two children to
university and they can share in China's new prosperity.

“I hope they can design great buildings, not just build
them like me,” he said, adding that when he sees the fancy
apartments and swish cars of wealthy Beijingers it merely
inspires him to work still harder.

I also met young Americans who also see China as today's
land of opportunity and had opened start-up businesses
there. A 23-year-old Oklahoman has opened a simple pizza
restaurant in a town in Gansu province, while a Texan tours
Shanghai department stores with a video camera, offering a
live feed and bargaining services to wealthy Americans
sitting at home in their living rooms.

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can
do for your country,” President Kennedy proclaimed at his
inauguration in 1961. JFK would have approved of today's

Zhou Shousheng was back in his village because the building
sites in Beijing had been closed to clean the air for the
Olympic Games. In the city of Yiwu, the world's largest
market for Christmas decorations and countless other cheap
goods, traders were suffering grievously because the
pre-Olympic visa crackdown has kept foreign buyers away.
None complained. They were happy to sacrifice for the
greater good - a notion instilled from birth.

“It's the big wish of the 1.3 billion Chinese to have the
Olympics,” one said. “If the West has fewer Father
Christmases this year, it's worth it.”

For sheer dynamism the Beijing Iron and Steel Company takes
some beating. For 89 years its giant plant has blanketed
the capital with smoke and sulphur dioxide. The Olympics
forced its closure, so the company is building a giant,
state-of-the-art plant at Caofeidian, on the coast of Hebei
province. About 40,000 labourers began work in March last
year. Production will start in October - 20 months later.

The plant is surrounded by 140 square miles of tidal flats
that are being reclaimed from the sea and will soon be
covered in new petrochemical plants, power stations and
other heavy industry. This is not unusual. Everywhere you
go in China there are new highways, bridges, airports,
railway stations - whole cities that did not exist two
decades ago. While much of America's infrastructure is
deteriorating because its people prefer tax cuts, China is
investing heavily in the future.

Such achievements are much easier, of course, for an
authoritarian Government that stifles dissent, tramples on
human rights and has several hundred million dirt-cheap
labourers at its disposal.

The Chinese are not “free”, but outside Tibet - and with a
few other high-profile exceptions - they wear their
oppression lightly. I detected no great clamour for
democracy at this stage in the country's development.
Security and prosperity come higher on most people's wish
list. On that score the regime has delivered spectacularly,
with 400 million Chinese lifted from poverty in the past 30
years and consistent double-digit growth rates.

The Chinese can travel abroad, but how many abscond? Many
local officials are corrupt and reviled, but if China's
communist leaders stood in free elections they would
probably romp home. A recent survey for the Pew Research
Centre showed that an astonishing 86 per cent of Chinese
are satisfied with their country's direction, putting China
25 points ahead of second-placed Australia in the global
contentment rankings.

The US came 20th out of the 24 countries surveyed, with
only 23percent satisfied. Nigerians, Pakistanis, Mexicans
and Tanzanians were all happier.

None of this is immediately apparent from the Western
media's Olympic coverage. It has, rightly, reported on the
crushing of protests and internet censorship. It has
decried the pollution (conveniently forgetting that we have
shipped most of our dirty industries to China so that we
can buy the end products more cheaply). It had a field day
with the digitally enhanced fireworks, the pretty young
“singer” who mimed her words, and the other little tricks
the Chinese used to stage the most sensational opening
ceremony ever seen. None of this criticism is wrong, but it
is hardly a rounded picture.