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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Beijing guiding Pyongyang? As North Korea fires more missiles in its drive to build and test rockets to reach the US mainland, one issue largely overlooked is that satellites are among methods used to guide such weapons to their targets. Peter J. Brown writes that Pyongyang doesn’t have a satellite navigation network, raising speculation that if it is using such a guidance system then is it tapping into China’s?

Moody’s downgrades China: Moody’s Investors Services downgraded China’s long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings on Wednesday, citing expectations that the financial strength of the world’s second-biggest economy would erode in the coming years. Asia Times reports that Beijing rejected the downgrade, saying the agency had used an “inappropriate” method to assess the risks facing the world’s number-two economy.

China-Philippines, war threat? Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte claims Chinese leader Xi Jinping made a threat of war during recent private discussions in Beijing on the South China Sea, reports Richard Javad Heydarian. The claim, not confirmed or denied by Beijing, has predictably provoked a new flurry of criticism and raised hard new questions about Manila’s diplomatic realignment away from the US towards China.

Cannes eyes China: At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it’s difficult to find a producer who isn’t interested in a slice of the Chinese box office, set to be the globe’s most valuable by 2019. Katy Lee writes that the world’s film studios are lining up to sign tie-ups with Chinese industry players, despite government screening quotas and spending clampdowns.

Taiwan’s same-sex ruling: Taiwan’s top court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, a landmark decision that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex unions. Liu Hsiu Wen reports that the ruling is likely to reverberate around the region, with calls for marriage equality rising in a number of countries, including South Korea and Japan.

Posted inBeijingChinaShanghaiTianjin

China Digest for Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Assistant to the CBRC chairman under investigation

Yang Jiacai, an assistant of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) chairman, is under investigation for suspected violation of party rules, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. A Beijing News noted that Yang’s name was removed from the official CBRC website on Tuesday night.

First special bond set up on debt-for-equity swaps

The National Development and Reform Commission has approved the first special bond to promote debt-for-equity swaps in the country, Xinhua reported. Shaanxi Financial Holding Group will launch the special bond expected to be valued at 4.8 billion yuan (US$697 million). CITIC Securities will be its lead underwriter.

Inner Mongolia joins bond club on stock exchange

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region became the fourth local government to issue bonds on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on May 22, the Economic Information Daily said. The region joins Shanghai, Hebei and Shandong. Local governments issued 474.5 billion yuan worth of bonds in the first quarter of this year, a 50% year-on-year decline.

Don’t use illegal means to raise funds: local governments warned

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said issuing bonds was the only legal avenue for local governments to raise funds. Six ministries, including finance and justice, released a joint document to regulate local level debt financing, illegal debt-raising via financing platforms backed by local authorities, unregulated public-private partnership projects and government investment funds, the article said.

Experts seek more controls on PPPs

With investment in public-private partnerships exceeding 14 trillion yuan in the past three years and local governments facing increasing debt risks, experts are calling for more rules and controls to ensure sustainable development, Yicai said. At the end of March, the central government had registered 12,287 PPP projects as part of reforms.

Authorities urged to cut overcapacity of coal power

The North Power Electric University is urging the government to curb overcapacity, with excess capacity in coal power expected to reach 140 million kilowatts by 2020 as consumer demand declines, Caixin reported on Tuesday, citing a research paper.

280 detained, 3,000 held accountable for green breaches

China News said more than 3,000 people had been held accountable and 280 detained for violating environmental laws after the third round of national inspection from April 24 to 28. Seven teams inspected local governments and firms in Tianjin, Shanxi, Liaoning, Anhui, Fujian, Hunan and Guizhou.

More environmental protection criteria will be established

Between 800 and 1,000 environmental protection criteria will be released during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and limits on air pollutants will be tightened, Shanghai Securities Journal said on Wednesday, citing Zou Shoumin, the chief of the Technology Standards Division in the Environmental Protection Ministry.

New policy to protect Beijingers’ housing fund benefits in Xiongan

The central government set a new policy on the housing fund to ensure that employees whose company or employer moved from Beijing to the Xiongan New Area would enjoy the same benefits, said China News. The policy aims to coordinate development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei and ease pressure on the crowded capital.

State Council wants better private medical services

Private hospitals are being encouraged to improve on and offer general medical services, invest in the medical industry and meet public demand, a Xinhua report said, citing a State Council advisory paper.