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China Reform Monitor - No. 949
New investments in China-DPRK special economic zone;
Refugees from Myanmar unrest stream into Yunnan
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
February 22, 2012
While attending a Peking Opera performance held by the Shanghai municipal government former premier Zhu Rongji criticized China’s corrupt bureaucracy. The 83-year-old reminded the 1,500 people in the audience - including more than 1,200 government officials - that from 1987 to 1991 the city had a “clean government” under his administration. “Looking back to the era when I was Shanghai’s party head we closely watched the 506 bureau officials and gave them the chance to contribute their talents. This gave Shanghai a clean government,” Zhu told the Shanghai officials. “Our leaders today, like Peking opera artists, raise their voices to signal their audience to applaud.” It was his second criticism of China’s government in the past year, following an attack on the education system last April, the South China Morning Post reports.
Two former Shanghai officials sacked following a blaze in a high-rise building that killed 58 people 15 months ago have returned to senior posts - one in Xinjiang and the other with a government-run developer in Shanghai. Zhang Renliang, who was fired as head of Shanghai’s Jingan district and its deputy party secretary last June, has been named deputy party secretary of Kashgar, Xinjiang. Xu Sunqing, the former vice-governor of Jingan district who was also sacked after the fire, is now vice-president of the Huangpu River Banks Development and Construction Investment Company, the South China Morning Post reports.
[Editor’s Note: It is common for officials to swiftly return to official positions after being fired following high-profile incidents. In November, Wu Xianguo, who was removed as party boss of Shijiazhuang, Hebei after the melamine-tainted-milk scandal in 2008, appeared at an important party meeting suggesting his return. Yu Youjun, who was removed as deputy minister of culture for graft was later named deputy head of the South-North Water Diversion Project, and Meng Xuenong, fired once as Beijing mayor and then again as Shanxi governor, is now deputy secretary at the Communist Party Central Committee organization.]
Shanghai’s food safety watchdog is investigating eggs which have hardened yolks and can bounce like rubber balls when boiled. In recent weeks the “rubber eggs” have appeared on the market in dozens of regions across China. The official People’s Daily reports that high levels of a compound called gossypol is the likely explanation for the characteristics since when hens eat gossypol-enriched feed it binds to protein in egg yolks. Gossypol suppresses sperm activity in humans and is linked to male infertility.
China’s Rilin Group is forming a joint venture with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. to build new a dockyard to repair and service ships in Hwanggeumpyong, the joint China-North Korea special economic zone (SEZ) based on an island adjacent from Dandong, Liaoning. The facility, located near the mouth of the Yalu River on the China-DPRK border, will cater to ships transporting natural resources between northern China and North Korea. In April, the partners plan to announce their blueprint, the size of their investment, the date of groundbreaking and the building schedule. The project is the first part of an MoU signed in January 2011 between the two companies to develop ship repair, wind and nuclear power facilities in the China-North Korea border area, Kyodo News Service reports.
Fighting between Myanmar’s military and the Kachin Independence Army has driven 10,000 refugees, mostly women, children and the elderly, from their homes and across the China-Myanmar border into makeshift tent cities in Yunnan Province. Over the past eight months the refugee population inside China has grown dramatically leading to food shortages and deteriorating conditions in the camps including outbreaks of dysentery and other diseases. China tolerates the camps, the biggest of which are in Nongdao and La Ying, but does not officially recognize their existence. “There is no such situation,” the director of the Yunnan information office said in comments carried by the Vancouver Sun. “Everything is normal on the China-Myanmar border.” Yunnan provincial authorities have told the Kachin refugees to leave, but have not threatened force or sealed the border.