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Chinese President Xi Jinping urges high-quality development of Yangtze River Economic Belt

The Chinese President called for comprehensively improving the efficiency of resource utilization and accelerating green and low-carbon development on the premise of strictly protecting the ecological environment.



Xi Jinping

Nanjing, Nov 16: Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed efforts to implement the spirit of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and promote the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Jinping, also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Saturday in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, at a symposium he chaired on comprehensively advancing the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Xinhua news agency reported.

He called for efforts to write a new chapter in prioritizing ecological conservation and boosting green development, create a new model for regional coordinated development, create a new height for high-level opening-up, foster advantages in innovation-led development, and draw a new painting featuring harmony between nature, the people and the cities.

Such efforts are aimed at turning the Yangtze River Economic Belt into the country’s main focus for green development, the major artery for a smooth “dual circulation” of domestic and international markets, and the main force spearheading high-quality economic development, he said.

After hearing reports from seven officials that include ministers and provincial Party chiefs, Jinping said over the past five years, transitional changes have taken place in the ecological and environmental protection along the Yangtze River Economic Belt while historical achievements have been achieved in the area’s economic and social development.

Provinces and municipalities along the Yangtze River have done a good job in handling the Covid-19 epidemic and coping with the shocks brought by huge floods as well as external environmental changes, making a prominent contribution for China to first restore positive growth among major economies, he said.

Jinping said that promoting the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt is an important strategy that has a bearing on the overall national development, noting that the Yangtze River Economic Belt consists of 11 provinces and municipalities and accounts for about half of China’s population and GDP.

Efforts should be made to strengthen the protection and restoration of ecological and environmental systems and coordinated work of the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Jinping said.

The Chinese President called for comprehensively improving the efficiency of resource utilization and accelerating green and low-carbon development on the premise of strictly protecting the ecological environment.

The restoration of the ecological environment of the Yangtze River should be a major priority, he said, adding that the establishment of a mechanism should be accelerated whereby protection and restoration of the ecological environment shall be reasonably rewarded, while those responsible for the ecological environment destruction shall pay their due price.

Jinping stressed efforts to explore effective ways conducive to promoting smooth domestic circulation, advance the coordinated development of the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, promote people-centered new urbanization, and increase people’s life quality and income.

To create a new height for high-level opening-up, the Chinese President urged efforts to promote innovative development of trade and make better use of foreign capital.

Provinces and municipalities along the Yangtze River should find their respective positions in the new development pattern of “dual circulation” and take the initiative to open up their markets to the world, Jinping said.

Efforts should also be made to better integrate the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

He stressed the need to accelerate the upgrading of the industrial base and the modernization of the industrial chain.

“We should take bold steps in innovation and focus on the real economy to boost economic development,” he said, adding that the country should speed up breakthroughs in key and core technologies.

He also urged efforts to strengthen the dominant position of enterprises in innovation, foster advanced manufacturing clusters with international competitiveness, and build independent, controllable, safe and efficient industrial and supply chains that serve the whole country.

Noting that Yangtze River is the icon of the Chinese nation and the symbol of Chinese civilization, Jinping called for protecting, inheriting and carrying forward the Yangtze River culture, as well as protecting its cultural relics and heritage.

He also stressed the need to conduct in-depth research on the key issues that currently constrain the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the leading group for promoting the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, attended the symposium.

To promote the development of the economic belt, authorities should apply the new development philosophy throughout the whole process and in all areas, set a good example in promoting high-quality development, and make greater contribution to speeding up the establishment of the new development pattern, Zheng said.


Italian PM Giuseppe Conte wins crucial vote of confidence

Conte will now lead a minority administration in a country prone to political disputes.



Giuseppe Conte Italy PM

Italy averted further political chaos on Tuesday after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte survived a confidence vote in the upper house of Parliament.

The country had been embroiled in fresh political uncertainty over the past week after a smaller party withdrew its support for the coalition government — thus stripping it off from having a majority in Parliament.

However, Italian lawmakers in the Senate supported Conte during a vote on Tuesday, by 156 to 140, allowing him to remain in office. He was also backed by the lower house of Parliament in a vote on Monday evening. Conte will now lead a minority administration in a country prone to political disputes.

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Joe Biden to propose eight-year citizenship path for immigrants

The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino and immigrant communities.



Joe Biden

President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on day one of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal status, in what would be a reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.

The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations.

It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favoured by many Republicans, putting passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.

Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the legislation who spoke to the Associated Press news agency anonymously.

As a candidate, Biden called Trump’s actions on immigration an “unrelenting assault” on American values and said he would “undo the damage” while continuing to maintain border enforcement.

Under the legislation, those living in the US as of January 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other basic requirements. From there, it is a three-year path to naturalisation, if they decide to pursue citizenship.

For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the US without documentation as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status, could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.

The bill is not as comprehensive as the last major immigration overhaul proposed when Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.

For example, it does not include a robust border security element, but rather calls for coming up with strategies. Nor does it create any new guest worker or other visa programmes.

It does address some of the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States, and provides grants for workforce development and English language learning.

Biden is expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including an end to the prohibition on arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.

During the Democratic primary, Biden consistently named immigration action as one of his first-day priorities, pointing to the range of executive powers he could invoke to reverse Trump’s policies.
Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and enough other Republican senators to avoid the impasse that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.

That kind of major win – even if it involves compromise – could be critical as Biden looks for legislative victories in a closely divided Congress, where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities that involve rolling back some of the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending.

As a candidate, Biden said the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.


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Trump administration determines China committed Uighur ‘genocide’

The determination, issued on the last day of Trump’s term, has no immediate effects but likely to strain US-China ties.



Uighur Muslim rights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration has determined China has committed “genocide and crimes against humanity” in its repression of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region.

“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the [People’s Republic of China], under the direction and control of the [Chinese Communist Party], has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

he statement claims “exhaustive documentation” of the events “confirms that since at least March 2017, local authorities dramatically escalated their decades-long campaign of repression against Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, including ethnic Kazakhs and ethnic Kyrgyz”.

The determination comes a day before US President-elect Joe Biden is to take office. Biden’s campaign declared genocide was occurring in Xinjiang before the president-elect’s victory.

“I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,” Pompeo added.

The Reuters news agency reported that US officials briefing reporters on the move said in a call that “an exhaustive documentation of [China’s] own policies, practices and abuse in Xinjiang” viewed by Pompeo led him to make the determination that such acts had been committed since at least March 2017.

“This is a very serious and tragic set of actions that are taking place there in the western part of China,” Pompeo said in an interview on Tuesday on US TV station Fox News.

“This is forced sterilisation, forced abortions – the kind of things that we haven’t seen in an awfully long time in this world,” Pompeo said.

He said the designation is something they have been working on “for an awfully long time”.

The move is likely to place a further burden on the deteriorating ties between the world’s leading economies.

Washington has ramped up sanctions on Beijing over alleged abuses in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and military incursions in the disputed South China Sea.

The Trump administration has also sanctioned Huawei, one of China’s leading telecommunications companies, as it plans to expand throughout Europe and North America.

The rare determination comes after Congress passed legislation on December 27 requiring the US administration to determine within 90 days whether forced labour or other alleged crimes against the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are crimes against humanity or genocide.

China has been widely criticised for complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centres” to stamp out “extremism” and give people new skills, but which others have called concentration camps.

Pompeo’s determination does not have immediate effects, though it places a spotlight on Xinjiang, one of the world’s leading regions for producing cotton.

Last week, the United States imposed a ban on all cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang.

Pompeo said on Tuesday “the threat from the Chinese Communist Party is real. It is existential to the United States”, and that he is “counting on the next administration continuing our work”.


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