EU parliament ‘freezes’ EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to freeze the ratification of the EU-China CAI. The resolution was passed on 20 May 2021. MEPs demanded that China needs to lift its sanctions on five of its members before the European Parliament would be willing to reconsider the matter. MEPs also urged the Chinese government to ratify and implement several conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Chinese government reacted by calling on Brussels to “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs (and) abandon its confrontational approach”. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated that the agreement is a “balanced and win-win deal that benefits both sides, rather than a gift or favor bestowed by one side to the other.”
China’s debt clampdown stokes the risk of first local government credit defaults
Local governments’ high debt spikes are concerning, as early this year the central government announced that it’s not going to bail out local governments in case of risk of defaults.
One of Beijing’s top priorities has been to reduce the exposure of local governments to extreme debt, in order to promote a restructuring of Local Government Financing Vehicles (LGFVs), resulting in the slowing of new debt issuance from LGFV’s.
Lithuania pull out of 17+1 in Eastern Europe
The Chinese Diplomatic initiative created to increase diplomatic contacts with Central and Eastern European countries is now going to be 16+1, with the risk of decreasing furthermore, if other countries will follow Lithuania’s example.
The reason for this decision from the Lithuanian government lies in a better approach to organize in concert with the EU, the Lithuanian foreign minister stated: “From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 17+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1″.
Yuan Longping, China’s ‘Father of Hybrid Rice,’ Dies at 91
The Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping died last Saturday. In China, he was known as “the father of hybrid rice” as he first cultivated the high-yield hybrid rice varieties that helped combat poverty and famine in China.
In the 1970s the first hybrid rice yields were 20% higher than normal rice yields. Consequently, Yuan Longpin’s hybrid rice varieties have been distributed to 8.5 billion 亩 mǔ (1.4 billion acres) of farmland across China, feeding 80 million people each year.
In 2019, Yuan Longpin received the Medal of the Republic by Chinese President Xi Jinping. He then kept on researching the salt-tolerant “sea rice” and the high-yielding “super hybrid rice” varieties.
Sources: Sixth Tone, China Development Brief
The Greater Bay Area: a cultural circle with the same roots – 粤港澳大湾区：同根同源的文化圈
The Lingnan culture (represented by the Cantonese opera, the dragon boat festival, martial arts, lion dance, etc) is the natural cultural link of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, as stated in an article on Qiushi. In 2006, Cantonese opera was included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage and in 2009 in the “List of the representative works of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity” by UNESCO.
In 2019, Guangdong formulated the “Three-Year Action Plan to Promote the Construction of the” Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Cultural Circle” (2019-2021),《广东省推进“粤港澳大湾区文化圈”建设三年行动计划（2019—2021年）》in order to cooperate in organizing various cultural heritage exhibits and performances, and to protect, publicize and make good use of cultural relics in the Area.
Source: 求是网 (Original in Chinese)
World Environmental Justice Conference opens in Kunming, Yunnan – 世界环境司法大会在云南昆明开幕
The conference: “Role of the Judiciary in Advancing Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth” co-sponsored by the Supreme People’s Court and the United Nations Environment Program opened in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Wednesday.
President Xi Jinping sent a letter to the conference. He affirmed China’s willingness to cooperate with other nations and international organizations to strengthen global ecological and environmental governance. China adheres to new development concepts of innovation, coordination, green promotion, opening-up and sharing.
Inge Annoson, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, attended the opening ceremony. She highlighted the right to a healthy environment as a key to sustainable development and the important role which plays the rule of law on the environment.
Sources: 新华，人民网 (Original in Chinese).