China-Russia Arms Deals Are Political for Cold War Partnership

Su-35 fighter jet

Su-35 fighter jet

There have been reports that Russian military worries that providing China with advanced weapons may threaten Russian security while Russian military industry circles worry that China may steal Russian technology by reverse engineering, but Russian President Putin insists that there should be the arms deals. Why? For the sake of Sino-Russian Cold War partnership against the US.

China’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) autocracy and Russian Putin autocracies may in essence support each other while the US pivot to Asia constitutes a threat to both China and Russia. Influential US Sixty Minutes Plus’s support in its recent report for Russian youngsters’ opposition to Putin’s autocracy is a clear example of US people’s mindset. As a democracy, US government has to obey the people’s will and the media can be dominant.

Chinese government’s mouthpiece reflects the situation well in its report “Insider story of China’s purchase of Su-35 fighter, Radar and engine are the keys” on March 28. It says:

Canada’s Kanwa Defense monthly publishes an article in its April issue (published ahead of schedule) titled “Russia and China Signed Su-35 Purchase Deal”. The following are excerpts of the article:

The journal quotes top management of Russian military industry as saying that Russia and China have signed the “Confirmation Agreement on the Purchase of Su-35 Multipurpose Fighters”. It is not a formal purchase agreement, but the smooth implementation of the agreement means great progress in Sino-Russian relationship as strategic partners.

An authoritative source confirms that the number of purchase in the agreement is 24 and China does not request any technological transfer, including 117S engines.

Informed sources say that China hopes to purchase Su-35 because the IRBIS-E passive phase array radar and 117S engine Su-35 uses are the most advanced equipment in the world.

That was the first time that the most authoritative Russian military industry top management confirmed that Sino-Russian military cooperation would be greatly enhanced and regarded the purchase of Su-35 as a new wave of purchase. The source says, “At present, there are talks on specific technological details and prices; therefore, we have to prepare a formal contract, which maybe will be signed at the end of 2013. Intensive talks are being carried out mainly on what weapon system China needs.”

The journal’s analysts believe: There is fairly great possibility that China will sign the final purchase contract because:

The Su-35 issue is first of all a political decision. Russian source stressed: “All arms deals, especially major arms deals are political decisions.”

Chinese military has already entered the era of attaching great importance to static and strategic air force. Due to causes of military technology, Chinese air force needs a fourth-generation engine like 117S. With it, the J-20 fighter jet under development will have supersonic cruise capability and be upgraded as a standard fifth-generation fighter.

Nor will there be great possibility in any change in the radar in the Su-35, i.e. the IRBIS-E radar, sold to China, but there may be adjustment in software for Chinese version of Su-35. There is the allegation that in order to reduce the price, China may choose a different radar. However, according to Russian authoritative aviation experts, that does not make sense as the great increase in Su-35’s power output precisely aims at satisfying the need of IRBIS-E radar.

There seems to be a sign of renewed contact in the field of radar technological cooperation. The two sides are now discussing the possibility of joint development of passive phase array radar. That shows that China still has difficulties in developing that kind of radar.

If Chinese air force has really obtained Su-35, there will be a further all-round change in the air strategic situation in Asia-pacific region.

Source: “Insider story of China’s purchase of Su-35 fighter, Radar and engine are the keys” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)

Related posts at
The beginning of a new Cold War: On Putin’s Beijing visit dated June 6, 2012
The emergence of a new Cold War – China and Russia against the US dated March 25

China: PLA takes higher profile in disputed waters

Chinese warship at James Shoal

Chinese warship at James Shoal

Publicity surrounding naval activities in contested waters has been on the rise since the new leadership took over in Beijing

The People’s Liberation Army has stepped up publicity of its military activities in the South China Sea since the change of leadership last month, a move analysts say is intended to send a message to China’s neighbours.

The websites of the PLA Navy, PLA Daily and Xinhua recently carried up-to-date reports on an 11-day patrol and open-ocean training mission led by the amphibious landing ship Jinggangshan in the South China Sea that started on March 19.

The navy website on Tuesday posted an unprecedented high-profile oath-taking ceremony performed by the crews of a fully equipped four-ship fleet led by Jinggangshan near James Shoal, or Zengmu Reef, near the outer limits of China’s controversial “nine-dash line”. The line, the basis for China’s claim to virtually all of the South China Sea, encompasses territory also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The pictures showed marines and sailors pledging to “defend the South China Sea, maintain national sovereignty and strive towards the dream of a strong China”. The fleet also visited Mischief Reef, a fishing area and shelter for Chinese fishermen, and conducted patrols and training missions in surrounding waters, the navy website said.

Xinhua said the Jinggangshan fleet on Friday entered the Bashi Channel, an international waterway between Taiwan and the Philippines linking the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean to conduct blue-water training missions. The fleet was due to return to its base at Sanya, Hainan, yesterday.

“The intended message by the PLA Daily and other official reports was to tell the world that, no matter what speculation was made by neighbouring counties involved in territorial disputes with us in the South China Sea, our navy will still conduct patrol and training missions there. It’s a move to show our determination to defend our ocean territory,” said Li Jie , a Beijing-based naval expert.

The PLA also added a softer touch to its publicity campaign by airing footage of soldiers stationed on remote Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands saying hello to their mothers via video.

Footage also showed visiting South Sea Fleet commander Jiang Weilie praising their contributions to the country’s national defence.

Shanghai-based naval expert Professor Ni Lexiong said the navy had also sent more ships to the disputed Diaoyu Islands, also claimed by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, since Xi Jinping became chairman of the Central Military Commission in November.

“President Xi’s call to make China a maritime power, and the dream of a strong China, told us that he wants to make some difference from his predecessors Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao , who were criticised by the public as being too soft and weak when dealing with territorial disputes,” Ni said.

“As someone from a princeling background, Xi is more assertive than Hu and will certainly take a tougher stance on the issues over the East and South China seas.”

Wang Hanling, a maritime expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the navy had been able to patrol in waters off James Shoal, Mischief Reef and other areas in the South China Sea for the past several years, but remained low-profile in the era of Hu and Wen.

However, Antony Wong Dong, of the Macau-based International Military Association, said China risked its image if it just focused on sending more naval ships to disputed waters.

“No one in the world now doubts China’s military capability,” Wong said. “China would make its Southeast Asian neighbours feel more comfortable if it invited them take part in military exchange programmes, training exercises or joint patrols to increase its defence transparency.”

Source: SCMP “PLA takes higher profile in disputed waters”

Related posts:
China: New PLA Regulations on Serviceman’s Crimes Forebodes War dated March 28
China: PLA Navy amphibious task force reaches Malaysia ‘to defend South China sea’ dated March 27

First lady Peng Liyuan and the photo that’s best forgotten

A computer shows a website displaying the photo of Peng Liyuan singing to martial law troops in Tiananmen Square. Photo: AP

A computer shows a website displaying the photo of Peng Liyuan singing to martial law troops in Tiananmen Square. Photo: AP

Picture of Peng Liyuan singing to troops after Tiananmen crackdown is scrubbed from web

A photo of new first lady Peng Liyuan in her younger days, singing to martial law troops after the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across cyberspace this week.

It was swiftly scrubbed from China’s internet before it could generate discussion online.

But the image – seen and shared by outside observers – revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the country’s softer side.

The leadership wants Peng to show the human side of President Xi Jinping, while not exposing too many perks of the elite. And it must balance popular support for the first couple with an acute wariness of personality cults that could skew the consensus rule among top party leaders.

The photo shows Peng wearing a green military uniform, her windswept hair tied back in a ponytail, as she sings to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in rows in Tiananmen Square.

It contrasts with her appearances this week in trendy suits and coiffed hair while touring Russia and Africa with Xi.

Kelley Currie, a human rights expert for the pro-democracy Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia, said: “I think that we have a lot of people hoping that because Xi Jinping walks around without a tie on and his wife is a singer who travels with him on trips that maybe we’re dealing with a new kind of leader, but I think these images remind people that this is the same party.

“It’s using new tools and new techniques, for the same purposes – to preserve its own power.”

Peng, 50, a major general in the People’s Liberation Army best known for soaring renditions of patriotic odes to the military and the party, kept a low profile as her husband prepared to take over as party chief. Her re-emergence has been accompanied by a blaze of publicity in state-run media hailing her beauty and charm, in a bid to harness her popularity to build support for Xi at home and abroad.

“The photo probably has a negative impact more so internationally than domestically,” said Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong.

He said more scrutiny of Peng is likely and such photos could raise questions about Xi’s interest in reforms.

He added: “It has been several months now that Xi Jinping has assumed the top leadership role and we have found no indicator that he is interested in this stage to push serious political reform.”

The image is a snapshot of the back cover of a 1989 issue of a publicly available military magazine PLA Pictorial, according to Sun Li, a reporter.

He said he took a photo of it on his cell phone several years ago when it was inadvertently posted on his microblog.

Sun said he quickly deleted it and had no idea how it resurfaced on the internet years later.

Warren Sun, a military historian at Monash University in Australia, had little doubt about the authenticity of the photo. He cited a 1992 academic report as saying that after the crackdown, Peng performed a song titled The Most Beloved People in a salute to the martial law troops.

In an indication of Peng’s appeal on the mainland, a man whose 19-year-old son was killed in the Tiananmen crackdown said he bears no grudges.

“If I had known about this back then, I would have been very disgusted by it. But now, looking at it objectively, it’s all in the past,” said Wang Fandi, whose son Wang Nan died from a bullet wound to his head.

“She was in the establishment. If the military wanted her to perform, she had to go.”

Source: SCMP “First lady Peng Liyuan and the photo that’s best forgotten”

China to spend $16 billion to tackle Beijing pollution crisis

Dead fish are seen in the Wenyuhe River on the outskirts of Beijing March 24, 2013.  Credit: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Dead fish are seen in the Wenyuhe River on the outskirts of Beijing March 24, 2013.
Credit: REUTERS/Jason Lee

China will spend 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) over three years to deal with Beijing’s pollution, an official newspaper reported on Friday, as the government tries to defuse mounting public anger over environmental degradation.

Beijing’s government has pledged to improve sewage disposal, garbage treatment and air quality, as well as crack down on illegal construction, the China Daily newspaper said, citing a three-year plan released on Thursday.

Air quality in Beijing, a city of around 20 million people, has mostly stayed above “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels since the beginning of this year.

Pollution was one of the key themes at the recent National Party Congress, where China’s new leaders were confirmed. Many Chinese feel the government lacks bite when it comes to enforcing policies designed to protect the environment.

Beijing’s plan includes laying or upgrading 1,290 km (800 miles) of sewage pipeline, building five garbage incineration plants, setting up 47 water recycling plants and upgrading 20 sewage disposal plants, said China Daily.

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun called on the government to allow the private sector to participate in these investments.

The government also plans to curb illegal construction and land use, and will compile a list of illegal buildings for demolition next year, Beijing Deputy Mayor Wang Wei told China Daily.

Most of China’s major cities are plagued by pollution of one sort or another. Earlier this month thousands of dead pigs were found floating in one of Shanghai’s main water sources.

($1 = 6.2143 Chinese yuan)

Source: Reuters “China to spend $16 billion to tackle Beijing pollution crisis”

China’s Human Rights Dilemma: Violator of Human Rights Remains Popular

According to SCMP’s report today titled “Jailed former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun settles into prison life”, Wang Lijun, the monster police head who persecuted lots of people on the excuse of fighting organized crime still has a number of admirers in Chongqing who remember Bo Xilai’s rule fondly, and have also praised Wang’s contribution towards improving the city’s public security.

Some supporters from Chongqing or Wang’s hometown in Liaoning province even took dishes of dumplings to the prison and dedicated them to Wang on the eve of Lunar New Year last month.

For them, human rights and the rule of law are nothing. Forget human rights and the rule of law. Just give us good public order. That’s what they care.

Wang and Bo Xilai are charismatic and talented. In such a China, they may return to power as Bo Xilai predicted when China does not have good leaders to counter them.

Just think about Mao Zedong, the monster who caused the death of famine of more than 20 million people and persecuted countless people during his “Great” Cultural Revolution.

He remained popular not only among lots of Chinese people but also among quiet a few people outside China. Henry Kissinger praised Mao in his book “On China” perhaps to please China where he has been making lots of money, but he would not have written in praise of Mao if there had not been a large number of Mao’s admirers in the world.

In such a China and even such a world, human rights and the rule of law are very difficult to achieve. Those who fight for human rights and the rule of law have to be patient and prepared to make generations of efforts.

The following is the full text of SCMP report:
Wang Lijun is comfortable, says his family, with workouts to keep fit and a TV for entertainment

Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing is leading a comfortable life in a prison on the outskirts of Beijing, a source close to his family said.

“He stays in a good mental state and has put on some weight compared with when he stood trial in September,” the source quoted a family member who had visited Wang as saying.

Wang, whose flight to the US consulate in Chengdu in February last year triggered the country’s biggest political scandal in decades, was jailed for 15 years in September for bribery, bending the law, abuse of power and attempted defection.

The source said Wang’s food and accommodation were better than expected. “Wang lives in a single-room which has everything one could expect to find, including a television to watch and newspapers and magazines to read,” the source said.

However, he has no computer and no access to the internet.

He is being held in Qincheng Prison, which is administered by the Ministry of Public Security and was built to hold officials above vice-ministerial level.

Inmates are believed to include former Shanghai Communist Party secretary Chen Liangyu, former Guangdong people’s congress chief Chen Shaoji and Wang Huayuan , who was formerly the top anti-corruption official in Guangdong and Zhejiang. The source added that Wang worked out regularly.

The right-hand man of former Chongqing Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai, Wang fell out with his boss for reporting early last year that Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Fearing persecution by Bo, Wang fled to Chengdu, the capital of neighbouring Sichuan province, and sought refuge in its US consulate. He left the consulate the next day and was escorted to Beijing by state security officials.

Since his jailing, Wang has been criticised for what some saw as his harsh treatment of his subordinates in the police force. Others have said he sacrificed the rule of law during a sweeping crackdown on organised crime in Chongqing that started in 2009.

But a number of ordinary Chongqing residents remember Bo’s rule fondly, and have also praised Wang’s contribution towards improving the city’s public security.

The source said some supporters from Chongqing or Wang’s hometown in Liaoning province had taken dishes of dumplings to the prison and dedicated them to Wang on the eve of Lunar New Year last month. “It was a heartfelt gesture even though he [Wang] failed to receive the gifts,” the source said.

Source: SCMP “Jailed former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun settles into prison life”

BRICS ‘Big Five’ find it hard to run as a herd

(L-R) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a family photograph during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Rogan Ward

(L-R) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a family photograph during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Rogan Ward

At a summit in South Africa on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin likened the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to Africa’s “Big Five” game beasts of trophy hunting lore – the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.

The Russian president’s comparison captures the dilemma of these muscular emerging global powers, which together present a formidable potential economic and political counterweight to the developed West, but individually could hardly be more different.

The question is whether the BRICS five can run as a herd or hunt as a pack on the global stage, transforming their diverse but collective strength into real institutions and coordinating structures to project their voice in the world.

At a two-day summit in Durban, South Africa, the leaders of countries that make up more than 40 percent of the world’s population and a fifth of global GDP seemed to have little concrete to show from their mostly closed-door deliberations.

After mooting plans for a BRICS development bank at a summit in New Delhi a year ago, the leaders in Durban were only able to announce the start of formal talks on the constitution of the bank, a lumbering pace even for a group as diverse as the BRICS.

“We have decided to enter formal negotiations to establish a BRICS-led new development Bank based on our own considerable infrastructure needs, which amount to around $4.5 trillion over the next five years,” the host, South African President Jacob Zuma, told the summit.

He added the bank aimed to cooperate in the future with other emerging markets and developing countries, but revealed little about the structure of a world institution pitched as a potential complement, if not rival, to the IMF and World Bank.

A separate statement from the five heads of state blandly hailed the development bank plan as “feasible and viable”.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had said on Tuesday that BRICS ministers in Durban seeking to thrash out the technicalities of the bank had not been able to agree yet on details of its funding or its location.

“It cannot be done overnight. We just used one year since the New Delhi summit to complete a feasibility study and now we are at a very different stage where, as always, the devil is in the details,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov told Reuters on Wednesday.

Zuma also announced the group’s “resolve” to set up a $100 billion foreign exchange reserves pool, again indicating little real progress on creating another financial coordination tool.


That the BRICS have come even this far could be seen as surprise. The group began as an idea in a 2001 research note by a Goldman Sachs banker, who coined the term BRIC to refer to fast-growing big countries Brazil, Russia, India and China, on a path to overtaking the world’s rich nations in economic power.

Those four are the only developing countries that number in the world’s top 10 by GDP, and each is a giant in its region, but they have little else directly in common. Yet they share a sense that institutions set up by the West are ignoring their interests, and in 2009 they held a summit in Russia, announcing their goal of joining forces to counterbalance the West.

They have held annual summits since, in 2010 adding South Africa, the largest economy on its continent, although it barely cracks the global top 30 and is a twentieth of China’s size.

“We have firmly established BRICS as a credible and constructive grouping in our quest to forge a new paradigm of global relations and cooperation,” Zuma said on Wednesday.

At the Durban summit, the South African hosts announced the signing of two multilateral agreements, one on “green economy co-financing”, the other on infrastructure co-financing for Africa, but no figures or details were immediately given.


Seasoned BRICS observers said they were not surprised by the lack of concrete institution-creating results from the summit.

“I think there was too much hype around it,” said Martyn Davies, chief executive of the Johannesburg-based Frontier Advisory consultancy that focuses on emerging markets.

“They are still battling to create the economic institutions to back their geopolitical rhetoric … the rhetoric is not supported by the substance,” he told Reuters.

Just as lions, elephants and rhinos are not natural allies, Davies saw the BRICS countries as “very disparate, with no political commonality”.

After only a few hours of plenary talks at a Durban conference centre, the BRICS heads of state retreated to a nature reserve lodge on Durban’s outskirts for a closed-door dialogue with a score of African presidents about “unlocking Africa’s potential” by supporting infrastructure construction.

Led by China, the BRICS are now Africa’s largest trading partners and its biggest new group of investors. BRICS-Africa trade is seen eclipsing $500 billion by 2015, with China accounting for 60 percent, according to Standard Bank.

African governments and leaders broadly welcome the multi-billion-dollar Chinese-led BRICS trade and investment influx.

“You have to put money into development. The West has not put money in. This is what China does,” Congo Republic’s Transport Minister Rodolphe Adada told Reuters in Durban.

He said Africa could only benefit from the eventual creation of the BRICS development bank: “What we already do individually (with BRICS members), we can multiply if we have this instrument,” Adada said.


Bala Ramasamy, economics professor at Shanghai’s China Europe International Business School, said that despite kindred statements about rebuilding the world’s financial architecture, the BRICS nations have struggled to find a common identity.

“The BRICS as a group does not mean much. They mean something individually. This is not an alliance of equal partners. China is the dominant player here,” Ramasamy said.

“If you think about BRICS as a balancing power to the U.S. and the EU, this is not one entity. So how do you expect them to counterbalance the United States?” he added.

The World Bank has always been led by an American and the IMF by a European since both bodies were founded in 1946. Last year, the BRICS failed to agree on a developing world candidate to be the new World Bank president and could not stop the appointment of another U.S. citizen, Korean-born Jim Yong Kim.

Frontier Advisory’s Davies said he believed the only emerging power which presents a real substantive challenge to the existing world political and financial status quo is China. But he added Beijing seemed unwilling to shoulder this burden alone and sought company in the BRICS group.

In Beijing, the influential Chinese tabloid the Global Times acknowledged the BRICS would face some problems when seeking to deepen their multilateral cooperation.

“But they are at least encouraging each other and increasingly distancing their interests from Western ones. This will further define fairness and justice worldwide.”

In the absence of concrete institutions to consolidate and leverage their clout on the global stage, Davies said the BRICS should consider widening their organization. “What about new members … Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria?” he said.

Ramasamy said the BRICS summits served as “a signal to the developed world that the emerging markets are getting their act together one way or the other”.

“Whether they do it or not is a separate question.”

Source: Reuters “BRICS “Big Five” find it hard to run as a herd”

China: New PLA Regulations on Serviceman’s Crimes Forebodes War

Ming Pao says in its report today titled “PLA New Rules: Treasonable Speech Guilty of a Crime”, “The Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department yesterday promulgated “Regulations on the Standards for Prosecution of the Crime of the Serviceman’s violation of Duty” for punishment of crimes of serviceman’s violation of duty in accordance with law and protection of the state’s military interests.

“The part of the regulations on the ‘crime of serviceman’s defect’ stipulates that a serviceman turning traitor and fleeing from China, turning traitor and fleeing outside China, joining a reactionary organization or giving treasonable speech constitutes a crime.

“Some academics in PLA told Ming Pao that PLA’s primary discipline is ‘obeying order and command’ and ‘no democracy or freedom can be allowed in that respect’.”

There is already a chapter in China’s Criminal Law on the crimes of serviceman’s violation of duty. The Regulations interpret the provisions of the Criminal Law and list in details the cases for prosecution.

Article 11 of the Regulations on the crime of serviceman’s defect provides that where a serviceman leaves his position in the period when he is performing publich duty and turns traitor and flees from China or turns traitor and flees outside China, thus endangering the state’s military interests, he has committed the crime of defect. The Regulations also clearly stipulate that a serviceman suspected of any of the act of fleeing from China due to opposition to the state’s political power or the socialist system, giving public treasonable speech, joining reactionary agency or organization abroad shall be prosecuted.

The corresponding Article 430 of the Criminal Law stipulates that offender of a crime of serviceman’s defect shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years or criminal detention; and if the circumstance is serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years. A serviceman who drives an aircraft or warship to turn traitor and flee or has any other especially serious circumstance shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years, life imprisonment or death.

Note: Death penalty may mete out for the crime of defect if serious.

The Regulations contain lots of provisions related to wartime offences, including disobeying order in wartime, surrendering to enemy, deserting from one’s unit during a battle, fighting inactively, injuring a civilian, etc. There are all those provisions in a previous draft of the Regulation for trial implementation. Such provisions are now formally written into the Regulations.

Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, a professor of the National Defense University explained to Ming Pao reporter that the promulgation of the Regulations aimed at providing the PLA legal guarantee for victory as they provide the grounds for strict command of the troops.

In addition, Prof. Liu said that there has been PLA’s established tradition that when making preparations for war, discipline in war shall be announced before troops leave for the battlefield. Therefore, the promulgation of the Regulations is “a major measure in preparation of war.”

Source: Ming Pao “PLA New Rules: Treasonable Speech Guilty of a Crime” (Excerpts and summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)

China: 1.1 tr yuan in economic losses from pollution in 2010

Ministry’s report shows smog caused 1.1tr yuan in losses in 2010, but incomplete study does not include damage to people’s health and deaths

The mainland is paying an increasingly heavy price for rampant pollution, with direct economic losses more than doubling between 2004 and 2010, a recent government-backed study has found.

An incomplete calculation of the environmental costs in 2010 showed that pollution had caused 1.1 trillion yuan (HK$1.36 trillion) in economic losses, or 2.15 times the 511.8 billion yuan loss in 2004, when the “green GDP” project was launched.

The direct cost of pollution accounted for 2.5 per cent of total economic output in 2010, but if damage to the ecosystem – including forests, wetlands and grasslands – was included, the losses added up to 1.54 trillion yuan, or 3.5 per cent of that year’s gross domestic product.

The cost of pollution also grew more rapidly than GDP in 2010, up 13.7 per cent compared with GDP growth of 10.4 per cent.

The latest update of the study, led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, was quietly posted on the academy’s website in January, when about a seventh of the mainland was shrouded in smog. It said the findings were incomplete due to lack of data in some areas.

Aimed at putting a price tag on the mainland’s runaway economic growth, the study has been stubbornly resisted by local governments because the findings could tarnish their political achievements. As a result, the academy had only previously released figures for 2004 and 2008, even though the study is conducted annually.

“The existing accounting system fails to reflect the true cost of resources consumption and environmental degradation, as a result the country’s economic achievement has been over exaggerated,” the academy said in a summary of the findings for 2010 that was posted on its website.

The existing accounting system fails to reflect the true cost of resources consumption and environmental degradation, as a result the country’s economic achievement has been over exaggerated

Government campaigns targeting major air and water pollutants since 2006 were not able to reverse the trend of rising environmental costs, it said.

A total of 558.9 billion yuan would have been needed to clean up pollution in 2010, an increase of 94 per cent from the 287.4 billion yuan needed in 2004, the study said.

The research does not calculate the health costs associated with pollution, but they would push the economic losses even higher.

A government-sponsored report released in 2006 said air pollution caused 358,000 premature deaths in 600 mainland cities each year, with an estimated health cost of 152.7 billion yuan.

The World Bank estimated in 2007 that the health costs of air and water pollution equalled 4.3 per cent of the mainland’s GDP.

Premier Li Keqiang has pledged that the country will not pursue economic growth at the expense of the environment, saying “such growth won’t satisfy the people”, but has yet to release details of his planned remedy.

Professor Li Wei, from Beijing Normal University, said the “green GDP” project’s findings should serve as a wake-up call for local governments and officials, and prompt them to reconsider their economic growth targets.

China Environmental News, the ministry’s daily, said on Tuesday that the project might have regained momentum.

Source: SCMP “1.1 tr yuan in economic losses from pollution in 2010, China report says”

China eyes $3.5 billion Russian arms deal despite ire over Sukhoi copy

China is seeking renewed deliveries of advanced weapons from Russia with a $3.5 billion deal for fighters and submarines in the pipeline despite lingering resentment in Moscow over Chinese copying of its military technology.

China’s state media reported this week that Moscow had agreed to supply 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighters and four Amur-class conventional submarines to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which would make it the first major arms deal between the two nations in almost 10 years.

Russia has not yet confirmed the deal and military experts there said the Chinese announcement was premature because negotiations were continuing.

But the reports signal that Beijing wants to boost its military firepower as it locks horns with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea and contends with the U.S. military pivot to Asia.

The need to order some of Russia’s most advanced military hardware also indicates that shortcomings remain with some of China’s home-grown defense technologies, military analysts said.

“Currently the two sides are working on the relevant contracts and the results are likely to be produced by the end of the year,” said Vassily Kashin, an expert on Russia’s arms trade with China at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

The reports of the agreements and extensive coverage of the capabilities of the fighters and submarines on China’s state television also appeared timed to enhance the domestic propaganda value of a visit to Moscow by President Xi Jinping last week, his first foreign trip since he formally took office earlier this month.

“This is all being done to pump up Xi’s image,” said Reuben Johnson, a Kiev-based military analyst and correspondent for Jane’s Information Group. “If the deal had been ready, it would have been signed when Xi was in Russia.”

Xi, as chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, is also commander-in-chief of the PLA. He has carefully cultivated strong links with senior military commanders over the decades as he rose through the Communist Party hierarchy.

In a series of speeches and visits to military units since he was named Communist Party chief last November, Xi has sought to cast himself as a leader who will push for China’s re-emergence as a great power with the military strength to defend its sovereignty and national interests.

Russia’s defence minister, General Sergei Shoigu, welcomed Xi with full military honors and the Chinese head of state became the first foreign leader to inspect the Russian military command center in Moscow.


However, military experts in Russia said the arms deal had not been raised while Xi was in Moscow.

Preliminary agreements between the two sides had been signed late last year when former president Hu Jintao was still in office, they said.

China relied heavily on arms imports from Russia in the early years of its ongoing military build up.

Russian analysts estimate that China took delivery of about $26 billion in weapons and technology between 1992 and 2006 in a trade that allowed the PLA to close a yawning gap between its largely obsolete inventory and modern Western hardware.

But, this business began to sour in the mid-1990s when Russia accused Chinese contractors of reverse engineering what was then Russia’s front-line fighter, the Su-27.

Russia sold more than 280 fighters from the Su-27 family to the PLA. There are also more than 160 of the reverse engineered version, known as the J-11, in service with the Chinese military.

Chinese aviation industry officials deny copying the Su-27, saying the J-11 superficially resembles the Russian fighter but relies heavily on locally derived technology and software.

Anger over what the Russian defense industry regarded as outright intellectual property theft contributed to a sharp slowdown in weapons transfers by the middle of last decade with Moscow reluctant to risk selling its best hardware.

There were also fears in Moscow that arming the PLA could pose a long-term threat to Russia if there was a deterioration in ties between the two countries that share a 4,300-km (2,600-mile) -long border.

However in recent years, sales have picked up again with steady deliveries of equipment including jet aircraft engines, helicopters and missiles.

The value of new contracts signed last year exceeded $2.3 billion, Kashin said.

This is despite the growth of defense manufacturing in China that has accompanied its rise to be the world’s second-largest economy. Authoritative Chinese military analysts acknowledge that Russia’s defense industry still retains a substantial lead over its Chinese counterpart.

“Although China has stepped up the development of new stealth fighters and submarines in recent years, some of these technologies are not mature in key areas,” said a commentary published this week in the Chinese language edition of the official Global Times newspaper.


Aviation industry experts say that China’s failure to build high performance jet engines for its fighters is one of the major reasons for its desire to buy the Su-35 in a deal that will be worth at least $1.5 billion.

“Engines continue to be the Achilles heel of the Chinese aerospace industry,” said Johnson, the Jane’s correspondent.

The new Russian fighter has more advanced and powerful engines than the Su-27, which give it enhanced performance and maneuverability, experts say.

Some analysts suggest Chinese technicians want to adapt the Su-35 engine technology for use in the two stealth fighters now under development for the PLA.

But this time around, the Russian defense industry appears more confident that it can protect its intellectual property.

“It is understood that the Chinese will try to steal or copy any system they are given access to,” said Kashin. “But, the amount of time they will need to do that might be very significant.”

Kashin said one reason for China’s earlier success in copying Russian weapons was that hardware, design data and technical experts remained in countries like Ukraine and Belarus after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

China was able to gain access to this knowhow while it reverse engineered the Su-27 and Su-33, a version of the Su-27 built for aircraft carrier operations.

“The new Russian systems cannot be found in the Ukraine or Belarus,” Kashin said.


The prospective order for Amur-class submarines, estimated to be worth about $2 billion, also suggests that the PLA navy is dissatisfied with the latest versions of its home-grown Song and Yuan class conventional submarines.

Submarines are a top priority for the PLA as it attempts to build a force capable of dominating China’s offshore waters and deterring the U.S. military from intervening in regional conflicts, analysts say.

Submarines would also be crucial in any territorial clash with Japan, which has a powerful navy and advanced anti-submarine warfare capability.

The PLA navy now has a fleet of more than 60, mostly conventional submarines, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Most Western analysts believe the most capable vessels in this fleet are 12, Russian-made Kilo class submarines delivered from the late 1990s.

The Amur class is regarded as a significant improvement on the Kilo class with improved stealth, batteries and weapons.

Source: Reuters “China eyes $3.5 billion Russian arms deal despite ire over Sukhoi copy”

China: PLA Navy amphibious task force reaches Malaysia ‘to defend South China sea’

Chinese Navy's amphibious landing ship Jinggangshan is seen during a training with a hovercraft in waters near Hainan Province on March 20, 2013. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Navy’s amphibious landing ship Jinggangshan is seen during a training with a hovercraft in waters near Hainan Province on March 20, 2013. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese navy vessels at James Shoal yesterday. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Chinese navy vessels at James Shoal yesterday. Photo: SCMP Pictures

A Chinese amphibious task force sparks jitters around the region by reaching the southernmost waters of its claimed domain

A fully equipped PLA amphibious task force has reached China’s southernmost claimed possession in the South China Sea in an unprecedented show of force that is raising eyebrows across the region.

The four-ship flotilla headed by the landing ship Jinggangshan visited James Shoal – some 80 kilometres from Malaysia, less than 200 kilometres from Brunei and 1,800 kilometres from the mainland coast – close to the outer limits of China’s “nine-dash line”, by which it lays claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.

A Xinhua report yesterday described marines and crew gathering on the deck of the Jinggangshan – one of the PLA Navy’s three 200-metre landing ships – to pledge to “defend the South China Sea, maintain national sovereignty and strive towards the dream of a strong China”.

“It was a surprisingly strong message in sending out this task force, on such a new operational role from previous PLAN [PLA Navy] patrols in the region,” said Gary Li, a senior analyst with IHS Fairplay in London.

“It is not just a few ships here and there, but a crack amphibious landing ship carrying marines and hovercraft and backed by some of the best escort ships in the PLAN fleet,” he said, adding that jet fighters had also been used to cover the task force.

“We’ve never seen anything like this that far south in terms of quantity or quality … it is hard to know whether it is just coincidence, but it does seem to reflect [President] Xi Jinping’s desire for more practical operationally based exercises.”

The landing ships are considered some of the most sophisticated vessels in the PLA and are thought to be key to any strategy to invade Taiwan. Their deployments are closely watched by regional rivals. The first of the landing ships, Kunlunshan, has been used in anti-piracy work off the Horn of Africa.

Photos circulating on mainland websites show marines storming beaches, backed by hovercrafts and helicopters dispatched from the Jinggangshan during several days of exercises that saw them visit all of China’s holdings in the Spratly Islands.

The PLA took six Spratlys reefs and shoals from Vietnam in a sea battle 25 years ago this month.

The ships are due to head back north, crossing into the western Pacific for further drills via the Bashi channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, Xinhua said.

News of the Jinggangshan’s appearance off James Shoal last night sparked chatter among military officials in the region.

“That is quite a show of sovereignty – an amphibious task force,” said one military attaché monitoring developments. “It has got everyone talking.

“The Spratlys is one thing, but turning up at James Shoal is quite another. Once again, China is showing it is quite unafraid to send a message to the region – and in a year when Asean is chaired by Brunei, turning up down there in such a fashion is pretty strong symbolism.”

PLA deployments into the South China Sea in 2009 and 2010 sparked fears across the region of a new assertiveness by Beijing. Those concerns in turn prompted fresh moves by several Southeast Asian nations to force the long-simmering South China Sea dispute back on to the regional agenda – and forge closer ties with the US

Source: SCMP Chief Asia Correspondent Greg Torode’s column article on March 27 “PLA Navy amphibious task force reaches Malaysia ‘to defend South China sea’”

For Youtube video’s CCTV footage of Kunlunshan, a PLA Navy amphibious landing ship similar in model to Jinggangshan, please visit SCMP website at: