. China News .

China's new president calls for 'great renaissance'
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 17, 2013

China's Li says labour camp plans could be revealed
Beijing (AFP) March 17, 2013 - Plans to reform China's controversial "re-education" labour camp system could be unveiled before the end of the year, Li Keqiang said on Sunday at his first news conference as premier.

The deeply unpopular "laojiao" system is largely used for petty offenders but is also blamed for widespread rights abuses by corrupt officials seeking to punish whistleblowers and those who try to complain about them to higher authorities.

Under the scheme, people can be sent for up to four years' re-education by a police panel, without a court appearance where they could defend themselves.

Speculation mounted before China's annual parliament session that it was being earmarked for reform or even abolition, with calls for change from victims of the system increasing in recent months, and state-run media giving them prominence.

But no changes have been announced.

"The relevant authorities are working intensively on the plan to reform the re-education through labour system," Li said at a news conference. "The plan might be unveiled before the end of the year," he added, without giving further details.

Li has taken over day-to-day running of the government and is number two in the ruling Communist Party.

State media said in January that the system would be abolished, but the reports were swiftly deleted and replaced with predictions of reforms, with few details and no timetable.

Many commentators believe that even if there was a strong desire from Beijing for reform, opposition from local areas could stifle any real change on the ground for a number of years.

Tibetan self-immolates in China: rights groups
Beijing (AFP) March 17, 2013 - A Tibetan Buddhist monk has died after setting himself ablaze in China, Western rights groups said, the latest in a string of self-immolations in protest against Chinese rule.

US-based Radio Free Asia said Lobsang Thokmey torched himself at Kirti monastery on Saturday to mark a 2008 security crackdown by Chinese authorities in the country's Tibetan areas.

He emerged burning from his room at the monastery carrying a Tibetan Buddhist prayer flag, RFA said, and died before he arrived at hospital.

London-based Free Tibet also reported the death of the 28-year-old monk at the monastery, a historic centre of Tibetan Buddhist learning in Aba prefecture of southwestern Sichuan province.

More than 100 people have set themselves on fire in protest at China's rule since 2009 and around 90 have died, according to reports.

Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of religious repression and eroding their culture, as the country's majority Han ethnic group increasingly moves into historically Tibetan areas.

Tensions erupted in violent demonstrations in March 2008 in Tibet's capital Lhasa, which then spread into neighbouring Tibetan areas of China, including Kirti.

Tibet's government-in-exile said more than 200 people died in the March 2008 unrest, but China denies that account, saying there were 21 deaths and that "rioters" were responsible.

Beijing rejects criticism of its rule, saying Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and pointing to huge ongoing investment it says has brought modernisation and a better standard of living to Tibet.

Authorities have sought to crack down on the protests by arresting those accused of inciting them and prosecuting them for murder, and have embarked on a major publicity drive on the issue.

Beijing accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his "clique" of inciting such acts to push a separatist agenda. But the Dalai Lama says he is seeking greater autonomy rather than Tibetan independence.

The Nobel laureate fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising, and has since based himself in the Indian hill town of Dharamshala.

China's new President Xi Jinping will fight for a "great renaissance of the Chinese nation", he said Sunday as the world's most populous country completed its once-in-a-decade power transition.

In his first speech as head of state, Xi called for "the continued realisation of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation and the Chinese dream", laying out a vision of a stronger military and ever-higher living standards.

The 25-minute address closed a parliament meeting which named Xi as head of state and Li Keqiang as premier, four months after the pair took the top two posts in the ruling Communist Party -- the real source of their power.

Both Xi and Li stuck to the party's long-held consensus on the need for economic reforms to ensure growth, while increasing military power and avoiding political change that could threaten its grip on power.

Analysts said Xi's concept of a "great renaissance" was a slogan designed to have broad appeal, without any firm commitments to specific reforms.

Xi has close ties to China's expanding military -- which put its first aircraft carrier into service last year -- and he called for the armed forces to strengthen their ability to "win battles".

Beijing is embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and with neighbouring nations over claims to the South China Sea. Tensions with the US have increased over reports of army-organised hacking.

Newly appointed Premier Li Keqiang sought to play down such conflicts in a press conference, saying that Beijing would not "seek hegemony" as it became stronger and denying allegations that China engages in hacking.

Li called the accusations "groundless", days after President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue. He said China's relationship with Washington was vital and their mutual interests outweighed their differences.

"Conflicts between big powers are not inevitable," Li said.

Li, now in charge of the day-to-day running of the government, said that "maintaining sustainable economic growth", with an annual GDP increase of around 7.5 percent over the coming decade, would be his administration's top priority.

But ensuring such a performance would be difficult, he said. China recorded its slowest growth for more than a decade last year amid weakened demand in key export markets.

"What the market can do, we should release more to the market", he said without giving details of specific economic reforms.

Both leaders reiterated the party's repeated pledges to fight corruption, with Li saying that the government had an "unshakable resolve" to do so.

"Since we have chosen public service we should give up all thought of making money," the premier said.

Speaking in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Xi stressed continuity with previous Chinese leaders and thanked outgoing president Hu Jintao, who stood and bowed as China completed the transition of its top leaders.

Neither Xi nor Li mentioned systematic political reform. But Li said China would release a plan for unspecified changes to its controversial "re-education" labour camp system, in which people can be incarcerated for up to four years without trial.

He also promised to reduce the number of government employees as part of an anti-waste drive, again without giving details.

"The tone is definitely conservative," Joseph Cheng, a China politics expert at Hong Kong's City University, said of Xi's speech. "It is difficult to anticipate serious political reforms in the near future.

"What we see here is a very balanced approach not to alienate any vested interests and to continue to do something popular like combat corruption, combat lavishness and pomp and so on, and appeal to patriotism."

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University, said Xi's comments were open to widely differing interpretations. "We haven't seen many detailed analyses of what the China dream might be," he said.

Some within the PLA had a "much more aggressive" vision of the "China dream", he said, while others saw it as "the idea of cultural renaissance, China getting back its due status in world politics and restoring its prosperity".

Li handled his rare press conference -- for which questions had to be submitted in advance -- in a relaxed manner, smiling and occasionally joking with reporters.

But he did not field questions about the wealth of top officials and did not mention disgraced politician Bo Xilai, whose downfall last year exposed deep divisions in the ruling party before the leadership handover.

China's leaders have come under fire in the last year after reports, suppressed within the country, that the families of top politicians -- including Xi -- had amassed huge wealth.

But they have not vowed publicly to disclose their assets.


Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Show of ethnic harmony at China legislature
Beijing (AFP) March 16, 2013
Wearing an embroidered cap signalling her Uighur ethnicity, Rehangul Yimir's presence in the Great Hall of the People symbolises Beijing's efforts to gloss over simmering frictions among its disparate peoples. According to official figures Xinjiang is 46 percent Uighur - who speak a Turkic language and are mostly Muslim - and 39 percent Han Chinese, after millions moved to the area in rece ... read more

Lego to build Chinese factory to serve Asia

One of Europe's longest ice highways opens in Estonia

China foreign direct investment overseas soars 147%

Kyrgyzstan PM to head gold mine talks

Study Offers New Insights on Invasive Fly Threatening US Fruit Crops

MEPs retain ag 'greening' measures

Dead pigs in China river exceed 13,000

Young pigs prefer traditional soybean diet

Zimbabweans approve new constitution by landslide

Army, police shadow looms over Zimbabwe polls

I. Coast attack kills six, including two soldiers: army

Sudan, South Sudan agree new timeline to restart oil

Man creates car that runs on liquid air

Greener cars could slash US pollution by 2050: study

Volkswagen eyes Chinese growth after record profits

Russian dashcams digital guardian angels for drivers

India a market for nuclear power suppliers

Britain gives green light to new nuclear plant

Crippled Japan nuclear plant hit by power cut: report

S. Korea invites inspection to allay nuclear safety fears

Obama adds voice to accusations of China hacking

US spy chief warns of cyber danger, N.Korea threat

Secret tape of US private in WikiLeaks case released

Growing cyber threat to US infrastructure: spy chief

Outside View: Questions for Obama

Japan PM hopes to meet China, S. Korea heads to ease ties

China names N. Korea, Japan expert as foreign minister

Xi: new style for China president

Uruguay deal boosts S. America wind power

Huge wind farm turbine snaps in Japan

Court ruling halts British wind farm

British National Trust opposes wind farms

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement