By Vivian Ni
Jun. 30 – While estimations on the scale of China’s local government debt vary based on different official statistical sources, China’s National Audit Office (NAO) has finally confirmed how massive the local debt is to the Chinese public recently. According to the NAO report, China’s local government debt stacked up to RMB10.7 trillion by the end of last year, generating concerns over Chinese banks’ financial conditions and drawing the central government into a dilemma where efforts to combat inflation could be limited.
Addressing the 21st meeting of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 27, NAO Auditor General Liu Jiayi said 90.05 percent of prefecture-level governments and 86.54 percent of county-level governments in China are indebted, owing a total of RMB10.7 trillion by the end of 2010, accounting for over a quarter of the GDP of the year. The NAO released these figures based on its auditing work on 1,873,683 sums of debts borrowed by 25,590 governmental arms, 6,576 financing vehicles, 54,061 other kinds of borrowers, and 373,805 projects across the country. Continue reading
Jun. 29 – India will overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2025 and the combined populations of the two countries will reach nearly 3 billion by 2050, according to projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this week.
The bureau’s forecasts suggest that India will add some 467 million people to its population over the next 39 years, much more than any other nation. China, meanwhile, is expected to see its total population drop by 33 million. Continue reading
Jun. 28 – Asia’s largest low-cost airline, the Malaysian-based AirAsia Berhad is looking to develop more routes to India and China, seeing the opportunities generated from the increasing demand from those fast-growing countries. Its expansion plan in India may bring more competition to IndiGo, India’s domestic airline that operates under a similar low-cost model and currently boasts routes to 25 destinations in the country.
AirAsia plans to use its subsidiary in Bangkok – Thai AirAsia – as a hub for its expansion to India and North China, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes. In order to support the plan, the company’s Thai arm will likely add another 50 aircraft to its current 20-plane fleet. Continue reading
Michelle Yeoh in a scene from the upcoming film “The Lady”
Jun. 28 – The Myanmar government has deported Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh, who is starring as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film. The Luc Besson film about Ms. Suu Kyi’s life, titled “The Lady,” is due out in October. Ms. Suu Kyi spent most of the last two decades detained by the former military junta and was released only last year.
A government official said that the Malaysian actress, best known for her Bond girl role in “Tomorrow Never Dies” and for starring alongside Zhang Ziyi and Chow Yun-fat in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” arrived in Rangoon on June 22 and was deported the same day because she was on a government blacklist. Continue reading
By Vivian Ni
Jun. 27 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it had consulted Saudi Arabia, China and India before it made the decision to release 60 million barrels of oil reserves in the coming month. It has also invited China – the world’s second-largest oil consumer – to join the IEA and contribute, together with other member countries, to stabilizing global oil prices.
On the sidelines of the second Global Think Tank Summit held in Beijing between June 25 and 26, the IEA’s executive director Nobuo Tanaka said all three countries the agency had consulted “understand” and “appreciate” the action of an oil release, which aims at filling the significant supply gap caused by the unrest in Lybia and supply disruptions in other oil producing countries. Continue reading
Jun. 27 – Sharp-eyed viewers of CCTV may have noticed the recent adverts promoting the port of Dandong on China’s border with North Korea as a new northeastern gateway to global markets. That campaign goes hand-in-hand with the recent decision to set up a free trade zone on North Korea’s Hwanggumpyong Island, an undeveloped island adjacent to Dandong, where a tax-free zone of 11 square kilometers will be set up. China has reportedly signed a 50 year lease agreement to develop the island.
Dai Yulin, secretary of the Dandong committee of the Communist Party of China, said in the China Daily that the area will help boost FDI, turning the zone into a hot investment destination. Continue reading
Jun. 24 – An eight-member Indian military delegation began a six-day visit to China on June 19, marking the resumption of the two countries’ military exchanges which were suspended for almost a year due to a visa dispute.
In addition to visiting China’s capital of Beijing, the delegation’s itinerary includes trips to China’s coastal economic center Shanghai and the restive northwestern province of Xinjiang, according a report in the Global Times. Anupam Srivastava, director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Trade and Security, University of Georgia, pointed out the visits to the two additional locations have reflected the importantance of maintaining maritime safety as well as fighting terrorism. Continue reading