SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – China has warned the Vatican to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and called on the newly elected pope to adopt a “practical and flexible” attitude.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that Beijing hoped that the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis I, create conditions to improve China-Vatican relations.
Hua said that China had "two basic principles in dealing with relations with the Vatican," which has been cut since 1951.
"It should sever its so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognize the Chinese government as the sole legal representative of all of China,” she said.
"The Vatican should not interfere in China's internal affairs, including under the pretext of religion," she added.
China has an estimated 12 million Roman Catholics, and appoints bishops without papal approval.
On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was named the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the nickname of Pope Francis I.
Pope Francis replaced Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on February 28, becoming the first pontiff in six centuries to do so. He stated that the reason for his decision was his deteriorating health due to old age.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Official data show Iran’s crude oil exports to China soared to their second highest level in December 2012, in spite of US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s energy sector.
Reuters quoted customs figures as saying China imported nearly 593,390 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in December last year, up 3.6 percent from the preceding year and up 39 percent from November.
For the whole 2012, the highest level of China's crude imports from Iran stood at 633,000 bpd.
Industry officials in China attributed the enhancement in Iran’s crude oil exports to improvement in shipment.
A well-informed Chinese official was quoted as saying “The problems with delays have improved recently. The period of delay has become shorter and overall, less frequent.”
Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Slumping property prices, unsold inventories, and rising anxieties—all signs of a slowdown in the one of the world’s most critical economic engines: China.
After months of pessimistic data and warnings from economists, China released its latest figures on Saturday and they were not pretty. Chinese manufacturing, long a major driver of the country’s economic strength, sank for the first time in nine months as exports and domestic purchasing slowed in the face of dire woes abroad.
The latest economic news adds to the pressures facing the Chinese government as it plans to transfer power to a new set of leaders this fall. And while the U.S. is abuzz with the pomp and bluster of the presidential campaign, China’s fiscal problems are likely to hamper America’s efforts to boost its own economy.
To understand why this is happening, rewind to the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. To ward off the looming disaster drowning global markets, the Chinese government implemented a stimulus package worth about $586 billion. The money went largely to local governments, which poured it into infrastructure, transportation, housing, and other projects.
While the huge injection of cash propped up the Chinese economy in the short term, it fueled a property bubble and other side effects that now look increasingly risky for the country’s long-term prospects, say analysts. With growth slowing, it seems unlikely that the leadership will repeat the stimulus script this time around, opting instead for systemic corrections that mitigate unintended consequences.
Whether China can avoid a hard landing remains an open question. Currently, the economy is mired in a host of ills not so easily cured. Take the city of Ordos, a vast metropolis in the northern province of Inner Mongolia filled with new apartment blocks, roads, and malls. The one thing absent? People. Called China’s ghost town, Ordos symbolizes the rush to build, build, build that’s common across the country. But falling property values have left the city looking like a post-apocalyptic fossil.
After years of selling land to property developers—often against the will of residents—local governments are finding their coffers running low and buildings standing empty. The central government, desperate to encourage a sustainable economic recovery, needs to revive the housing market. But that’s difficult to accomplish without sparking another housing boom, say analysts.
“They’re trying very hard to get that Goldilocks temperature, but it’s always too hot or too cold,” said Alistair Thornton, an economist with IHS Global Insight in Beijing.
Beyond housing, China’s state banking sector is being limited by capital outflows and debts, while the ailing euro zone has added to China’s export worries. For China’s manufacturing sector, which is so exposed to the global export economy, this is a major challenge its leaders are racing to address.
In late August, Premier Wen Jiabao toured China’s manufacturing hub of Guangdong province, where he urged the country to spur targeted export growth at a time when overseas orders slowed at the sharpest rate since March 2009. Wen’s calls came as China has lowered its GDP growth target to 7.5 percent, following the faltering U.S. economic recovery and growing debt problems in the euro zone.
“China will never again have double-digit growth,” said Thornton, the economist. “It goes without saying that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is going to have ripple effects beyond its borders.”—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — In this week’s Science magazine, researchers from Michigan State University look at lessons learned in China and management strategies that hold solutions for China, and across the world.
Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and doctoral student Wu Yang outline China’s water crisis and recent leapfrog investment in water conservancy, and suggest addressing complex human-nature interactions for long-term water supply and quality.
Two-thirds of China’s cities have water shortages, more than 40 percent of its rivers are severely polluted, 80 percent of its lakes suffer from eutrophication—an overabundance of nutrients—and about 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water.
Water can unleash fury. Recent floods in Beijing overwhelmed drainage systems, resulting in scores of deaths. Water shortages also may have contributed to recent massive power outages in India as rural farmers stressed a fragile grid by pumping water for irrigation during drought.
China has dedicated enormous resources—some $635 billion worth—which represents a quadrupling of investment in the next decade, mainly for engineering measures.
“There is an inescapable complexity with water,” Liu says. “When you generate energy, you need water; when you produce food, you need water. However, to provide more water, more energy and more land are needed, thus creating more challenges for energy and food production, which in turn use more water and pollute more water.”
Goals often contradict each other, he adds.
“Everybody wants something, but doesn’t take a systems approach that is essential for us to see the whole picture,” Liu says.
Solutions, he says, come from looking at issues from multiple points of view at the same time. That’s the way to avoid the unintended consequences that plague China’s water and a way to prevent a water crisis from becoming a water catastrophe.
The work is funded by the National Science Foundation and MSU AgBioResearch. —www.shafaqna.com/english