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China Reform Monitor - No. 977
No U.S. invitation to China for world's largest naval exercise;
PRC and ROC reassert claims to Spratlys to counter Vietnam
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
July 6, 2012
A five-day training workshop on the safety of reporters organized by the World Media Summit (WMS) of theofficial Xinhua news agency has concluded in Beijing. The training program, attended by 50 journalists with news organizations from 30 countries, focused on strategies for journalists working in hostile environments including war, conflict, plagues and natural disasters. Senior professionals from WMS secretariat members – Xinhua, Reuters, AP, Itar-Tass, BBC, CNN, News Corporation and Al Jazeera – gave lectures. Xinhua president Li Congjun said the WMS would continue to hold training programs for reporters from around the world. About 300 representatives from more than 170 foreign and domestic media outlets attended the first WMS, launched by Xinhua in October 2009. Al Jazeera and The New York Times joined the presidium in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
During a trip to Xinjiang, Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), told the military and armed police stationed there to ensure social stability, promote unity among different ethnic groups, and “maintain a high level of ideological, political and unity with the Communist Party of China,” the semi-official Global Times reports.
After local security known as cheng guan – neighborhood police widely disliked for their brutality – tied up and beat a migrant teenage boy in Zhongshan, Guangdong, 300 migrant workers from Sichuan clashed with police leaving 30 people injured and two wrecked police cars, the Guardian reports. The incident was sparked by a fight between a 15-year-old boy from Chongqing and a 13-year-old local boy. Relations between migrant workers from Sichuan and locals in Guangdong have become particularly tense. Last June, Reuters reported that after cheng guan roughed up a pregnant street hawker, thousands of Sichuanese rioted, torched cars, ransacked government buildings and clashed with police in Zengcheng, Guangdong. Last July, in Anshun, Guizhou, the death of a disabled fruit vendor in the custody of the cheng guan, brought thousands into the streets hurling stones and overturning cars.
[Editor’s Note: The number of government-recorded “mass incidents” has risen from 8,700 in 1993 to about 90,000 in 2010, according to official statistics. Some estimates are higher. The government has not released official data on such incidents in recent years.]
In response to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue earlier this month that Washington will shift 60 percent of its navy to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, a Chinese defense ministry spokesman said, “U.S. reinforcement of military deployment in the Asia-Pacific is not conducive to security and mutual trust in the region.” The comments come after this week’s meeting between Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, and China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in which both sides agreed to boost military dialogue and cooperation and jointly contribute to regional peace and stability. The official China Daily reports that the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest naval exercise, is being held from June 27 to August 7 on and around Hawaii, with 22 nations and 25,000 personnel participating. China is not taking part.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC-Taiwan) have both released statements reasserting their claims in the South China Sea after Vietnam’s congress passed a maritime law claiming sovereignty and began air patrols over the Spratly islands. “Whether looked at from the perspective of history, geography or international law, the Tungsha Islands (Pratas Islands), the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands), the Chungsha Islands (Macclesfield Islands) and the Shisha Islands (Paracel Islands), as well as their surrounding waters, are inherent parts of the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan),” read an official ROC statement, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reports. For its part, a PRC military spokesman said in comments carried by the official People’s Daily that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters.” He added that China’s military will “safeguard our territorial sovereignty, sea rights and interests” and if Vietnam’s flights pass over China’s newly established Sansha city “the military will take action according to relevant regulations.”