Sunday, October 5, 2008

China steps up anti-poverty effort in arid western areas

China's State Council, or the Cabinet, has decided to further extend a program that involves special funds for infrastructure and other projects in three particularly arid and poor areas in the country's remote northwest.

While extending the program from 2009 to 2015, the government also decided to raise the annual total funding from 200 million yuan to 300 million yuan, Xinhua learnt Saturday.

The three areas are Dingxi and Hexi prefectures in Gansu Province and Xihaigu prefecture in neighboring Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

From 1983, the three prefectures were the earliest poverty-stricken regions to carry out the national poverty-relief programs. A dedicated agricultural development subsidy fund was set up to help the three regions build infrastructure and develop agricultural production.

The statement said it was the third time the government had extended the program, which would expire at the end of this year.

Over the past 25 years, poverty-relief efforts had achieved remarkable results. Life in the three areas were significantly improved, a government statement said.

Through 2007, those living under absolute poverty in the counties stood at nearly 1.35 million, in comparison to 7.84 million in 1982. Poverty incidence were down from 62 percent in 1982 to 8.3 percent last year.

In Dingxi and Hexi, the annual net income of local farmers jumped to 2,141 yuan per capita through 2007 from 96.3 yuan per capita in 1982. In Xihaigu, farmers' annual net income jumped to 2,214 yuan per capita in 2007 from 126.6 yuan per capita in 1982.

Poverty-relief programs implemented in the three areas had not only helped push forward anti-poverty efforts in Gansu and Ningxia,but had also been forerunners of the country's development-oriented poverty alleviation drive.

Despite notable achievements, the three areas were still at an early stage of economic development and local farmers income levels were far below the national average, according to the statement.

It was still an arduous task for the country to fundamentally change the three regions poor conditions, so the Cabinet decided to extend the program again and step up supporting efforts, it added.


Former Shanghai Party secretary Xia Zhengnong dies at 105

Xia Zhengnong, former secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and a member of the CPC Central Advisory Committee, died at age 105 Saturday.

An official statement said he died of illness at 11:16 a.m. on Saturday at the Shanghai Huadong Hospital.

It described Han as "an outstanding CPC member and a loyal Communist fighter."

Xia was born in 1903. He is a native of Fengcheng City of eastern Jiangxi Province. He joined the CPC in 1926.

He had been editor-in-chief of Cihai , a comprehensive Chinese encyclopedia, since 1978.


China denounces U.S. proposed armes sale to Taiwan

China on Saturday denounced the U.S. government's decision to sell arms worth of about 6.5 billion U.S. dollars to Taiwan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the Chinese government and people firmly opposed this action which seriously damaged China's interests and the Sino-U.S. relations.

The U.S. government, in spite of China's repeated solemn representations, on Friday notified the Congress about its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, including Patriot III anti-missile system, E-2T airborne early warning aircraft upgrade system, Apache helicopters and other equipment.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei has summoned the charge d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy to China to raise strong protest against the U.S. move, according to spokesman.

China firmly opposes to arms sales by the United States to Taiwan, said Liu, noting that this has been a consistent and clear stance of China.

The U.S. government's agreement on arms sale to Taiwan severely violated the principles set in the three joint communiques between China and the United States, especially the communique on the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan signed on Aug. 17, 1982, grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, endangered Chinese national security, and disturbed the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, Liu stressed.

"It is only natural that this move would stir up strong indignation of the Chinese government and people," he said.

"We sternly warn the United States that there is only one China in the world, and that Taiwan is a part of China," Liu said.

He said nobody could shake the strong will of the Chinese government and people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to oppose external interference, and nobody could stop the efforts to promote cross Strait exchanges and opening a new chapter of peace in cross Strait relations.

China urged the United States to recognize that it is seriously harmful to sell arms to Taiwan, Liu said, noting that the United States should honor its commitment to stick to one-China policy, abide by the three China-U.S joint communiques, and oppose the so-called "Taiwan independence".

Liu said the United States should immediately take actions to correct its mistakes, cancel the proposed arms sale, stop military links with Taiwan, and stop disturbing the peaceful development of cross Strait relations, so as to prevent further damage to the Sino-U.S. relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

China reserved the right for taking further measures, he noted.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ,China's top legislature, and the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference , China's top advisory body, on Saturday also express strong indignation over the U.S. arms sale plan.

The foreign affairs committee of the NPC Standing Committee and that of the CPPCC National Committee each issued a statement, stressing that people of all walks of life in China were firmly opposed to the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

"We firmly support our government's solemn stances over this issue," the statements said.

The statements said the cross Strait relations have recently witnessed sound momentum, which accords with the interests of both Chinese and U.S. peoples. The U.S. proposed arms sale to Taiwan actually was a move disturbing the improvement of the cross Strait relations.

The statements called for the United States to immediately correct its wrongdoing, and refrain from any further moves that will damage the Sino-U.S. relations and the world peace.

China's Defense Ministry also issued a statement Saturday, condemning the U.S. move.

Defense Ministry spokesman Hu Changming said the U.S. decision has ruined the good atmosphere of cooperation that had existed between the two armed forces over recent years.

The statement also warned China reserves the right of making further reactions.


China's defense ministry express strong indignation over U.S. proposed arms sale to Taiwan

China's Defense Ministry on Saturday expressed strong indignation and firm objection to the U.S. government's decision to sell arms worth of about 6.5 billion U.S. dollars to Taiwan.

Hu Changming, Ministry of Defense spokesman, said the relations between the Chinese and U.S. militaries as a whole had enjoyed sound momentum of active growth in recent years, with smooth development in bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various areas and at various levels.

The U.S. decision to sell arms to Taiwan undoubtedly poisoned the good atmosphere of the military relations between the two nations, and caused serious disturbance to the exchanges between the two armed forces, Hu said.

The U.S. government on Friday notified the Congress about its plan to sell arms to Taiwan, including Patriot III anti-missile system, E-2T airborne early warning aircraft upgrade system, Apache helicopters, Javelin missiles, Harpoon submarine-launched missiles, and some airplane accessory parts, according to Hu.

This move severely violated the U.S. commitment to China on the Taiwan issue, violated the consensus between the top leaders of the two nations on Sino-U.S. constructive and cooperative relations, and violated the U.S. stances to support the peaceful development of cross Strait relations, Hu said.

This move also grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, endangered Chinese national security, and disturbed the relations between China and the United States and that between the two armed forces, he stressed.

The United States had made explicit promises to China on the Taiwan issue, which were written into the three joint communiques. The joint communique signed on Aug. 17, 1982 provided for a step-by-step solution of the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, paving the way for the final solution of the issue. Hu said the fact proved that the United States had failed to keep its promise.

Hu urged the United States to recognize the situation, abide by the three China-U.S joint communiques, honor its commitment to China on the Taiwan issue, immediately cancel the proposed arms sale, so as to prevent further damage to the Sino-U.S. relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

"We reserve the right for taking further measures," he said.


China funds Palestinian foreign ministry to build new office building

China, the Palestinian National Authority and UN Development Program signed an agreement Saturday to construct the Palestinian Foreign Ministry's new office building.

PNA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attended the ceremony held in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and laid a corner stone for the new building which will be located in the western part of the city.

In his speech, Abbas said that this project "is a symbol of the persistence and dedication we promised two years ago to the development of the Palestinian people."

"I would like to thank the People's Republic of China for its support to the Palestinian people for more than 40 years," he added.

Yang Weiguo, head of the Office of China in Palestinian territories, said the project is just part of China's program to support the development of the Palestinian territories, and it proves the friendship between the Palestinian and Chinese people.

Yang signed the agreement of constructing the new building with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki and the UNDP special Representative of the Administrator Jens Toyberg-Frandzen.

According to the agreement, the project will be funded by the Chinese government, and implemented by UNDP, in cooperation with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

The new office building, which is expected to be completed by the year of 2010, will provide more than 400 officials with daily office functions, meetings and conference facilities.


Chinese official: Challenges ahead in peaceful use of nuclear energy

The international community has to pay greater attention to the challenges facing the rapidly growing civil nuclear projects, Chen Qiufa, director of Chinese Atomic Energy Agency, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The Chinese official, who was here for a six-day General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency starting on Sept. 29, said that every country is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy as long as it honors the obligation of nonproliferation.

Amid spiraling oil prices and global warming, the international community has begun to re-evaluate the strategic role of nuclear power in energy security and take it as an important alternative energy source.

The exploitation of nuclear power, however, poses many challenges, such as the safety of nuclear power plant, reliable supply of nuclear fuel, and safe disposal of nuclear waste, he said.

How to prevent the nuclear technologies falling into the hands of terrorists is another major concern, he added.

The IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, plays an irreplaceable role to tackle these challenges, Chen said, adding that the IAEA could provide substantial assistance to member states in nuclear technology application, the training of technical personnel and the supply of nuclear fuel, Chen said.

Despite the general trend of improving nuclear safety in recent years, there were sporadic cases of nuclear leak, which means the agency is still obliged to strengthening its role in promoting nuclear safety standards and boosting the international cooperation in this regard, Chen said.

Chen said that since it came into existence in 1956, the IAEA has been widely acclaimed for its efforts in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear power and nonproliferation. Its positive contribution to world energy supply, environmental protection, and international security has also been lauded.

The Chinese official also said that China, as a responsible country, will stick to its promises of nonproliferation and share its experiences in the peaceful use of nuclear power with other member states of the treaty.


Britain's Communist Party celebrates 59th anniversary of New China

The Communist Party of Great Britain celebrated on Saturday evening the 59th anniversary of the founding of the New China, lending its unswerving support to China's pursuit of socialism.

Reviewing China's development since 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, Harpal Brar, chair of the party, hailed China's evolving in the past decades into a "thriving economy."

"China has come a long way since it had been the miserable place under imperialist control. When 13 million children in Africa under the age of 15 die every year, over 400 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty in the last 30 years... China has achieved the basic human rights. It's a living example of socialism," he said.

Although the Chinese people know they still have a long way to go, "so far it has been fantastic," he added.

According to Brar, China has long been supporting countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in their struggle for independence and development.

The Chinese revolution has inspired the world with great lessons, therefore, celebrating China's National Day, which falls on Oct. 1, is actually "paying back a little to China for what it does for us," he said.

Some 80 party members and representatives from the Indian Workers' Association, Communist Workers & Peasants Party of Pakistan attended the celebration.

Jack Shapiro, a veteran member of the Society for Anglo-China Understanding who had facilitated exchanges between Britain and China on rehabilitation for the disabled, and Kojo Gottfried, former Ghanaian Ambassador to China, also shared their memories of China experience.

A resolution passed at the meeting congratulated China on the success of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics as well as the Shenzhou-7 manned space mission, in particular China's first ever spacewalk.

"Through these epic events, the people of the whole world have been able to see the enormous progress and tremendous achievements of socialist China, which stand in stark and growing contrast to the crisis, chaos and despondency now gripping the capitalist world," said the resolution.

The party also reaffirms its "invariable solidarity with the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government and people in their struggle to build a powerful, modernized and prosperous socialist nation, to reunify the country and to contribute to the building of an independent and peaceful world against imperialist aggression and war."

In July this year, the Communist Party of Great Britain launched a "Hands off China" campaign, supporting China in the waves of China-bashing in western media in the run up to the Beijing Olympics.