Martine Bulard

Rédactrice en chef adjointe au « Monde diplomatique »

  • Chine à l’ONU : "S’attaquer aux racines du terrorisme et éviter les « 2poids,2mesures » dans cette lutte"
    UN Security Council adopts resolution on preventing IS attacks - Global Times

    The United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution on counterterrorism at the UN headquarters in New York, on Nov. 20, 2015. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution here on Friday, calling on all countries to coordinate efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) and similar groups. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

    The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Friday, calling on all countries to coordinate efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) and similar groups.

    The unanimously-adopted resolution calls upon member states that have the capacity to do so to “take all necessary measures” to “redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts” committed by IS and other terrorist groups.

    The resolution “unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms” the horrifying IS terrorist attacks in Sousse, Ankara, Sinai, Beirut and Paris, and other attacks including hostage-taking and killing, saying “all such acts of terrorism as a threat to peace and security.”

    It also expresses sympathy to the people and governments of Tunisia, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon and France, and to all governments whose citizens were targeted in the above mentioned attacks and all other victims of terrorism.

    IS has been conducting deadly terrorist acts at multiple locations across the world. The most recent ones that have shocked the world are the Paris attacks which took place last Friday, in which nearly 130 people were killed and many more were injured.

    After the adoption of the resolution, Francois Delattre, permanent representative of France to the UN, said IS perpetrated “a war against France,” and it sought “a target far beyond” — the world; it sought to “undermine an ideal that of our freedom and shared humanity, an ideal which is one of the United Nations.”

    “The resolution we’ve just adopted recognizes the exceptional nature of the Daesh (IS) threat and calls upon all member states to take all necessary measures to eradicate the sanctuary it created in Syria and Iraq, but also to push back its ideology which is radical,” said Delattre.

    IS, a militant group that has overrun vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings.

    Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said China condemns the terrorist group’s “heinous atrocities,” and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

    “The international community must join hands in acting on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other basic norms of international relations, give full play to the UN, further strengthen coordination and cooperation in counter-terrorism and form a united front against terrorism,” said Liu.

    “Counter-terrorism efforts must address both the symptoms and the root causes of the problem and refrain from adopting double standards,” he added.
    #Chine # terrorisme #Onu

    IS announced its killing of a Chinese citizen, Fan Jinghui and a Norwegian hostage, Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, in the latest issue of its English-language magazine Dabiq. China has confirmed Fan’s death on Thursda


  • What does the TPP mean for Japan’s agricultural sector? | East Asia Forum

    What does the TPP mean for Japan’s agricultural sector?
    19 November 2015
    Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

    The issue of liberalising Japan’s agricultural market presented a major, if not the major hurdle to the Abe administration’s agreement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal struck in Atlanta on 5 October 2015. Japan has agreed to abolish tariffs on 81 per cent of 2328 agricultural, forestry and fisheries imports — more than on any other free trade agreement concluded by Japan so far but lower than any other participating country. Tariffs will be abolished on 30 per cent of imports in the so-called five ‘sensitive’ categories (rice, wheat and barley, beef and pork, dairy products, and sugar). But for some of these products the measures that will be implemented fall short of full liberalisation.

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has completed an official analysis of the TPP’s impact on about 60 agricultural, forestry and fisheries products. It concluded that there will be no dramatic rises in imports for the time being and only limited or no impact in many cases. Though it did find that ‘prices of domestic products may fall in the long run’ for some sensitive agricultural products.

    Yet opinions differ on what impact the TPP will have on Japan’s farming sector. Farming representatives from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have rated the MAFF’s assessment as too optimistic.

    The TPP outcome raises questions about the reassurances given by the TPP Minister, Akira Amari, that Japan’s negotiating team fully protected ‘core areas’ (koa bubun) of the five ‘sensitive’ items. It revealed a significant gap in how the government and the grassroots interpreted the Diet resolutions demanding that these items be exempted from tariff liberalisation.

    The Japan Agricultural Cooperative (JA) organisation has gone on the offensive, saying that ‘farmers will face tougher competition with major exporters such as the United States; and that great concern and anger are spreading at the grassroots’.

    #TPP #Japon #agriculture

  • Japanese investment in China drops sharply - Global Times
    Japanese direct investment in China dropped 25.1 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months this year, after declining 38.8 percent in 2014 on a yearly basis, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Tuesday.

    Over the last two years, Japan’s direct investment in China has been on a downward trend, partly because of the external economic environment and also problems at Japanese enterprises, Shen Danyang, spokesman for MOFCOM said at a regular press conference on Tuesday.

    The depreciation of the Japanese yen has made it more difficult for Japanese enterprises to expand their business in China, Shen said at the press conference.

    Jin Baisong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, agreed with Shen. “The depreciation of the yen and appreciation of the yuan has made it costlier for Japanese companies to run their businesses in China,” Jin told the Global Times on Tuesday.

    This means that export-oriented Japanese companies are now less competitive in the Chinese market, Jin said.

    Some Japanese companies have also adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward the Chinese market as they have some concerns over economic development in China, Shen said.

    China’s economy has entered a “new normal” period with slower economic growth, and labor and land use costs are still rising, Shen noted.

    Japan has a long history of investing in China, and many Japanese companies set up branches in China years ago, but they are now facing intensified competition from domestic companies as well as firms from other countries, Shen noted, adding that some Japanese companies with lower technology have been forced out of the Chinese market.

    The sharp drop in Japanese direct investment in China also partly reflects soured bilateral relations over territorial and wartime historical issues, Jin said, and this could continue to be “one of the factors limiting Japanese direct investment in China.”

    However, a reduction in some countries’ direct investment in China is “a normal phenomenon” and simply a strategic adjustment when faced with rising costs, Chen Fengying, a research fellow with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

    “In the past, China gave some privileges such as tax breaks to foreign companies in order to attract their investment. But now, China is starting to treat domestic and foreign companies equally,” Chen said.

    Direct investment in China from the US also declined during the first 10 months, with a drop of 13.6 percent year-on-year, according to a statement released by MOFCOM on November 11.

    However, investment from ASEAN, the European Union, and from countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” initiative continued to grow, MOFCOM said.

    China still appears to be an attractive destination overall, with foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland increasing 8.6 percent year-on-year to 639.42 billion yuan ($103.68 billion) in the first 10 months, according to MOFCOM.

    But Chen also noted that Japanese companies will not give up on the Chinese market, adding that foreign investment in the domestic services and high-tech manufacturing sectors is growing strongly.

    In the first 10 months, foreign investment in the domestic services sector increased 19.4 percent, and in the high-tech services sector it rose by 57.5 percent to $6.76 billion, according to MOFCOM

    Most Japanese companies that have invested in China are eager to seek more profitable businesses, news portal reported in September, citing a report released by the Japan External Trade Organization, a government-related organization aiming to promote trade and investment between Japan and other countries.

    The Global Times tried to reach some Japanese companies with branches in China for comment, but got no response as of press time.

    Meanwhile, 28 percent of 1,000 company executives based in 89 countries and regions still regard China as one of the best investment locations in the world, according to a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in June this year.
    #Chine #Japon

  • Big trouble in rural China: Data reveals greater the wealth gap the higher the crime rate, and Hong Kong is feeling the effects | South China Morning Post

    A growing wealth gap, an ageing population and the lack of a social safety net could be driving crime in some of China’s poorest areas.

    Hong Kong has been hit by a spate of high-profile robberies and kidnapping cases, and many of the suspects hailed from Wengan county in Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces and home to “Guizhou gangs”.

    A South China Morning Post investigation in Wengan found that beneath an apparent economic boom, the county is grappling with social problems. Left-behind children, elderly people without support and a mentality of searching for quick, easy money are commonplace.

    Wu Shiwei, a researcher at Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, highlighted in a research paper published in May how the lack of a social safety net in rural areas, the wealth gap and urbanisation combined to drive up crime rates in local counties.

    Wu said data collected between 1986 to 2012 showed “a definite link” between crime rates and economic growth: “The greater the rural-urban divide, the higher the crime rates.”

    #Chine, #Pauvreté

  • Major farm reform on near horizon - Business -

    In 30 years, about 85 percent of China’s supply of farm products will be provided by 7 percent of its labor force, said Zou Lixing, a research official with China Development Bank.

    By comparison, in the United States, virtually the whole country’s market of farm products is sustained by only 1.5 percent of its labor force, Zou said.

    For the past 2,000 years, small-plot farmers in China have provided the nation with most foods. As of 2014, there are 22 million farm workers in the country, according to government data, although some of them might have actually worked in cities.

    To facilitate the change, the coming Five-Year Plan calls for land management rights to be registered and duly protected by law-apart from land ownership rights-so that land can be used more efficiently.

    Before the agricultural reforms of the 1980s, farmland and farming operations were concentrated in people’s communes.

    Chen said the priority in the coming agricultural reform is to improve the system of property rights in rural China, with the necessary step of allowing highly skilled farmers to operate large farms and raise the country’s agricultural productivity.

    Chen’s remark followed proposals for the new Five-Year Plan that emerged from a top-level decision-making meeting last week.

    The coming reform will encourage farmers to contract out their land to more productive farm managers in various ways, either individually or in groups.

    It will encourage farmers to use their plots to set up joint-stock companies.

    Han Jun, deputy director of the office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, said the policies and incentives promoting large-scale agribusinesses will help attract more highly skilled people to become China’s future farm managers.

    One of China’s challenges now is the aging of its current generation of farmers and the lack of workers to take over their jobs, Han said.

    According to the National Bureau of Statistics, more than 45 percent of the country’s population lived in rural areas last year, or nearly 600 million people.

    Dang Guoying, a specialist in agriculture and rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new types of agribusinesses will enjoy economies of scale, delivering much higher output and earning greater profits than the traditional small-plot farmers.

    “Professional farm managers equipped with modern technologies and management methods will be the mainstay of the country’s agriculture in the future,” Dang said.

    #Chine #Paysans #Réforme_agraire

  • America’s labour market is not working —

    In 2014, 12 per cent — close to one in eight — of US men between the ages of 25 and 54 were neither in work nor looking for it. This was very close to the Italian ratio and far higher than in other members of the group of seven leading high-income countries: in the UK, it was 8 per cent; in Germany and France 7 per cent; and in Japan a mere 4 per cent.

    In the same year, the proportion of US prime-age women neither in work nor looking for it was 26 per cent, much the same as in Japan and less only than Italy’s. US labour market performance was strikingly poor for the men and women whose responsibilities should make earning a good income vital. So what is going on? (See charts.)

    The debate in the US has focused on the post-crisis decline in participation rates for those over 16. These fell from 65.7 per cent at the start of 2009 to 62.8 per cent in July 2015. According to the Council of Economic Advisers, 1.6 percentage points of this decline was due to ageing and 0.3 percentage points due to (diminishing) cyclical effects. This leaves about a percentage point unexplained. Princeton’s Alan Krueger, former chairman of the council, argues that many of the long-term unemployed have given up looking for work. In this way, prolonged cyclical unemployment causes permanent shrinkage of the labour force.

    Thus unemployment rates might fall for two opposite reasons: the welcome one would be that people find jobs; the unwelcome one would be that they abandon the search for them.

    Happily, in the US, the former has outweighed the latter since the crisis. The overall unemployment rate (on an internationally comparable basis) has fallen by 5 percentage points since its 2009 peak of 10 per cent. In all, the proportion of the fall in the unemployment rate because of lower participation cannot be more than a quarter. Relative US unemployment performance has also been quite good: in September 2015 the rate was much the same as the UK’s, and a little above Germany’s and Japan’s, but far below the eurozone’s 10.8 per cent.

    #Etats-Unis, #chômage, #Marché_du_travail

  • Economic ties won’t ensure peace between China and Japan | East Asia Forum

    Then for three decades — from the Communist Revolution in 1949 to the launch of the reform program in 1979 — China closed itself off from the rest of the world economy and there was very limited trade between China and Japan; nor was there any armed conflict. Then, following Nixon’s surprise visit to Beijing in 1972, Japanese prime minister Kakuei Tanaka hurried to Beijing, diplomatic relations were renewed, trade was resumed and Japanese aid flowed to China.

    As noises began to spread in the 1980s that China’s new economic program heralded potential major transformations and opportunities, Japanese investors seemed unwilling to take a chance on China. The Japanese did not see the rise of China coming and are still reeling from the shock.

    To go forward, we first need to retrace our steps.

    As Rana Mitter recently documented in China’s War with Japan, 1937–1945: The Struggle for Survival, historians have grossly misrepresented, if not obliterated, China’s role in aiding the defeat of Japan in World War II. This is reflected, among other things, in the prevalent view among Japanese that defeat was at the hands of the Americans, not the Chinese!

    American occupation policy underwent a dramatic 180-degree change after the Communist Party took control in China and the Cold War settled on the world. Japan metamorphosed from defeated enemy to pampered protégé. In a large part thanks to all the American support — massive transfers of technology, setting the value of the yen at a low, highly competitive exchange rate (360 yen to the US dollar), opening of the US market to Japanese goods — the Japanese economy rose rapidly, engendering the ‘economic miracle’ of the 1960s. Within a dozen years after the war it became the world’s second biggest economy. During this time the Chinese continued to be dirt-poor.

    Throughout the 1980s the Japanese economy grew rapidly and appeared to be poised to surpass the United States. Then, as the Japanese economy tanked into its lost decades — in stark contrast to China’s inexorable rise — economic interdependence intensified. China and Japan became major trading partners. What meagre growth Japan was able to generate was driven by exports to China. Japanese direct investments surged and Japanese technology played a critical role in the development and competitiveness of China’s global supply chains. Most recently, with the advantage of the declining value of the yen, Japan has become a major destination for Chinese tourists.

    While the mutual benefits derived from economic interdependence would seem to indicate that all is well, this is far from the case. There are disputes galore, including over territory (the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands), over history and over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s defence policy. In a Pew Survey on Global Views of China, the Japanese stand out as having the most ‘unfavourable’ views of China at 89 per cent. The second is Vietnam with 74 per cent ‘unfavourable’, while the figure is much lower among China’s other Asian neighbours: 37 per cent for South Korea, 32 per cent for India, 22 per cent for Indonesia and 17 per cent for Malaysia. For the US it is 54 per cent.

    All this raises several key questions. Can economic interdependence erase or even attenuate such fundamental antagonisms? Are long-term sustainable economic relationships possible with people you mistrust? As China’s economy seems to be headed for choppy waters, might Beijing be tempted to encourage popular venom against Japan to deflect attention from domestic ills?

    More fundamentally, can economic pragmatism trump nationalist fervour? The lessons from history in respect to this question are not encouraging. Economic interdependence is not enough: measures for confidence-building and dialogue are urgently required.

    Jean-Pierre Lehmann is an emeritus professor of international political economy at IMD, Switzerland, founder of The Evian Group, and visiting professor at Hong Kong University and NIIT University in India.

    #Chine, #Japon

  • Esclavage moderne en Chine Des femmes vendues à des paysans célibataires Mentally ill women sold as brides to rural bachelors looking for an heir - Global Times

    Shortly after the Chinese health authorities celebrated World Mental Health Day on October 10, the story of a criminal gang that trafficked mentally disabled women astonished readers across the country.

    The gang looked for young women who are mentally ill or disabled in rural areas in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province in South China, paid their parents and promised to find them a good husband, and then took them to Shandong Province and sold them to elderly bachelors in Liaocheng and Linqing, the Xinhua News Agency reported on October 13.

    In Shandong, these women were held captive in a pigsty for potential “buyers” to inspect. Most of the buyers were from poor families in mountainous regions. They knew the women had mental problems but they didn’t care. What the buyers valued most was whether the women were fertile or not, according to the report.

    When the police broke up the gang and sent the rescued women back to their homes, some parents even refused to accept them. Law experts and sociologists are calling on the authorities to pay more attention to these women and to better protect them.

    Case cracked

    On February 8, 2015, on train K2386 from Nanning to Changchun, which stops at Shandong’s Liaocheng, a woman behaving peculiarly and the two men escorting her aroused the attention of railway policemen. After interrogating the three passengers, the police found that the woman was mentally disabled and had been trafficked by the men from Guangxi.

    When the train stopped in Jiangxi Province, the three passengers were transferred to the public security bureau. As the investigation continued, the police found that the men were part of a gang trafficking mentally disabled and ill women.

    #Chine #trafic_humain

  • China loses round one in Philippines dispute over islands -

    China has lost the first round of a major legal fight with the Philippines after an international tribunal agreed to hear a case about contested islands in the resource-rich South China Sea.
    The Philippines last year asked a court in The Hague to invalidate the “nine-dash line” — a demarcation on Chinese maps that China uses to lay claim to most of the South China Sea. China has refused to participate in the case, but has made clear through other channels that it does not believe the court has jurisdiction. But the court decided on Thursday that it had such authority.

    Manila brought the case after concluding that efforts to address assertive Chinese behaviour in the region had run their course without any resolution. China and its maritime neighbours have had bitter disputes over dozens of islands, reefs and atolls in the waters for decades, but tensions have risen in recent years as China has grown its maritime presence in the waters.
    “It is big and welcome news,” said a senior US military official. “It demonstrates the relevance of international law to territorial conflicts in the South China Sea and it shows that sovereignty claims are not indisputable.”

    #Chine #Mer_de_Chine

  • The TPP isn’t a done deal yet | East Asia Forum
    While the TPP agreement has been announced, the full negotiated text has not been released. It is expected that it will be made public sometime in November 2015. This delay is apparently because officials are still working on the wording of the agreement. This is in itself unusual given the announcement and all the fanfare. Several US Democrats fear ‘side agreements and special secret deals’ that water down the agreement are still being struck, while one trade minister was forced to concede that ‘a few issues have yet to be settled … and we are still negotiating via email’.

    Worse still, what is finally publicly released is ‘not expected to be the final legally scrubbed text’ either, although it is expected to closely resemble the final version to be presented for ratification. It seems the TPP is a ‘living document’ that will continue to evolve.

    Following its release, the next step is for the TPP to be ratified by the respective legislatures. This is expected to happen within about two years. For the US, legislators will have a minimum of 90 days to study the agreement before Congress votes ‘yes’ or ‘no’. While the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the fast-track negotiating authority granted to the US President, may have helped in successfully concluding negotiations, how it affects congressional passage is less clear. If a majority of legislators find the final agreement compromised too much they could vote ‘no’, as they can no longer change its details. House Republicans will need to support it in numbers if it is to pass, but may find it difficult if there are too many critical compromises.

    Other countries may also face challenges in getting the agreement passed by their legislatures. If the TPP is ratified only after a country ‘cherry picks’ the agreement for its desirable elements, and avoids dealing with the more sensitive areas of reform, the whole process could be compromised.

    What if one or more countries fail to ratify the TPP? The TPP will still survive if at least six original signatories — accounting for 85 per cent of the region’s 2013 GDP — complete ratification, preferably but not necessarily within two years. The GDP threshold ensures the agreement cannot enter into force without both the US and Japan.

    The final step, following successful ratification, is implementing the agreement. This is arguably the most crucial step in the process in terms of its impact on the ground. History is littered with examples of trade and other agreements that have had little or no impact because of the way in which they have been implemented. While the controversial investor–state dispute resolution mechanism may increase the likelihood of compliance, it cannot guarantee comprehensive implementation.

    Even without the negotiated text, we can already judge some crucial aspects based on information either officially or unofficially released. With time running out in the lead-up to the September 2015 Atlanta meeting, there was increased talk of compromise and flexibility to break deadlocks and reach agreement.

    More than a year ago, I warned that the TPP was ‘degenerating into a series of bilateral deals, with a US–Japan agreement at its core’ and to accommodate the differences, we should ‘look out for a lot of transition periods and other loopholes’. It is now clear that the special interests of middle-income countries — Vietnam and Malaysia in particular, but also Peru and Mexico — have been accommodated to secure agreement.

    The leaked text purported to be the final intellectual property chapter shows that transition periods for pharmaceuticals can extend up to 18 years (as it does for Vietnam). Data exclusivity on biologics also appears to have been limited to five years, a lot less than the 12 years the US pharmaceutical lobby pushed for. Different transition periods also apply to copyright and trademark provisions. And some countries even have the option to maintain current domestic rules when implementing TPP obligations.

  • Provocations à répétition entre la Chine et les Etats-Uiis
    China lodges protest with U.S. on warship patrol in South China Sea - People’s Daily Online

    The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong discontent” and “resolute opposition” over a U.S. warship patrol near Zhubi Reef, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.
    This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangers the safety of personnel and facilities in the reef, and harms regional peace and stability, ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.
    Lu urged the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrongdoing.”
    Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef without the permission of the Chinese government, according to Lu.
    The U.S. warship was monitored, tracked and issued with warning, said the spokesperson, adding that China will continue to watch the situation and “do whatever is necessary.”
    Stressing that China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters is “irrefutable,” Lu said China is prepared to respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.
    China respects other countries’ freedom of navigation in accordance with international law, Lu said, however, China is firmly opposed to any action that harms China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom.
    The construction activities undertaken by China on its own territory is an internal affair and will not block the legal freedom of other countries, the spokesperson said.
    The U.S. side should remember its commitment that it would take no position on territorial disputes, as this would damage China-U.S. ties and regional peace, said Lu.
    Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in response to a question on the U.S. Navy’s intention at a seminar, warned the U.S. not to “make trouble out of nothing.”
    "If it is true, we advise the U.S. to think twice before it takes any action," he said, urging them “not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing.”

    #Chine, #Etats-Unis#Mer_de_Chine

  • Modi’s Silence on Hindu Violence Threatens India’s Secular Tradition

    On Sept. 28, in the village of Dadri in the state of Uttar Pradesh, barely 50 miles from India’s capital of New Delhi, a Hindu mob beat a Muslim laborer, Mohammed Akhlaq, to death. The mob had attacked Akhlaq at home in the belief that he had slaughtered a cow to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid. The horrific absurdity of the crime was further accentuated when subsequent forensic examination of the meat taken from Akhlaq’s refrigerator demonstrated that it was actually mutton.

    The killing generated understandable anger and profound dismay within India’s vast civil society. However, it took a full eight days for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to the right-wing, pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to even allude to the incident publicly. And in his first public statement, Modi still failed to condemn the killing unequivocally. Instead he urged both Hindus and Muslims to refrain from violence and instead focus on combating the common scourge of poverty.

    Unfortunately, more violence by Hindus since Akhlaq’s murder suggests that message fell on deaf ears. On Oct. 14, a mob in a village in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh killed a 20-year-old truck driver, believing he was part of a cattle-smuggling gang. Days earlier in the nearby state of Jammu and Kashmir, another Hindu mob, enraged by rumors of the slaughter of cows, attacked a 16-year-old truck driver, who later died from his injuries.

    Modi’s unwillingness to censure the perpetrators of Akhlaq’s murder reveals a lot about India’s prime minister, and it underscores his government’s ambivalence on a bedrock principle of India’s constitutional order: secularism. Worse still, it is just the latest in a series of moves by his government, including its studied silence in the aftermath of other communal and religious violence, that suggests it may well be seeking to usher in a new social order—one that privileges India’s dominant Hindu community over everyone else.

    Of course, previous governments have also failed to stoutly defend the norm of India’s secular tradition. However, under Modi, it is under more serious threat.

    #Inde #Extrémisme_hindouiste

  • South Korean Plastic Surgeons Help Northern Defectors Erase Their Scars - The New York Times

    SEOUL, South Korea — Nearly 20 years ago, Lee Geung-ja was working the night shift at a factory in North Korea when an accident with melting plastic left her face scarred and discolored. Most of her left eyebrow and eyelid were destroyed. In her own words, she looked like “a monster.”

    In 2010, she defected to South Korea, where she lived like a creature of the night, working alone cleaning buildings and bathhouses in the wee hours to avoid being stared at. Her self-consciousness wasn’t helped by the fact that South Korean society places a huge importance on appearance, particularly for women: Plastic surgery is a common gift for daughters after high school or for college graduates hunting for jobs.

    “When I walk on the street or have to meet another person, I instinctively lower my face and turn to the left not to show its left side,” Ms. Lee, 40, said in an interview. “In South Korea, where even good-looking people go under the knife, I find it harder to compete with this face.”

    #Corée du Sud #Réfugiés #Chirurgie_esthétique

  • Growth data buoy China at ‘pivotal moment’ in economic rebalancing -

    “Chinese rebalancing is at a pivotal moment. Should it fail the global economy, it could be pushed into a major downturn,” wrote Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG.
    Consumption accounted for 58 per cent of that growth, or 4 percentage points. Investment, which includes construction of new houses and factories, contributed only 43 per cent, or 3 percentage points. Services, whose share of overall output passed 50 per cent this year, grew 8.6 per cent, well ahead of the 5.8 per cent expansion in the struggling industrial sector.
    Analysts say rising incomes amid a still-tight labour market are fuelling consumption.
    “The consumption share of GDP is bigger and bigger because ordinary people’s share of national income is higher and higher,” Huang Yiping, professor at Peking University’s China Center for Economic Research, told local media on Monday. Mr Huang sees telecommunications, education, travel, elderly care and financial services as sectors likely to benefit most from increasing consumption.

    Yet for analysts sceptical of China’s official GDP data, the latest figures compound that suspicion. They doubt that services could have remained so strong given the steep declines in the stock market in the second quarter. Financial services were the biggest contributor to services growth earlier in the year.
    “It is somewhat puzzling how the service sector maintained strong growth in the third quarter, given that the strong service sector growth in the first half was mainly driven by the financial sector,” wrote Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan. “The recent stock market correction should have led to service sector deceleration.”

    #Chine #croissance

  • What is the US protesting in the South China Sea? | East Asia Forum

    While extensive land reclamations in the South China Sea have not helped China’s image, none of its current actions justify deliberate provocations by the United States. It’s not clear just what Washington is protesting in the South China Sea. There are three possibilities, some or all of which may apply.

    One explanation may be that the United States is protesting against China’s claim to sovereignty over disputed features. But Washington has repeatedly said that it doesn’t take sides in the island disputes. An authoritative report last year from the Center for Naval Analyses in Washington concluded that ‘[t]he absence of an unambiguous legal case in any of these disputes reinforces the wisdom of the US policy of not taking a position regarding which country’s sovereignty claim is superior’.

    But FON operations against only China’s claims suggest that the United States has taken sides. Washington hotly denies this, but it is how people in the streets of Beijing, Hanoi and Manila see US actions. Resulting surges in nationalism in these capitals are not helpful for resolving the disputes.

    A second possibility is that the United States is protesting China’s claim to a territorial sea around built-up, low-tide features in the South China Sea. But only three features fall within this category (Subi, Hughes and Mischief Reefs) and China has not actually made formal claims to any territorial sea from these features. It would be preferable to wait until such claims were made before responding with diplomatic protests rather than ‘rocking the boat’ now. In any case, it’s a fairly trifling issue on which to risk a dangerous incident between Chinese and American forces.

    Finally the United States may be protesting a general threat by China to FON in the South China Sea. But China has repeatedly denied it poses such a threat. And with so much of China’s own trade passing through the sea it’s nonsensical to suggest that it would. American commentators invariably overstate the value of US trade passing through the South China Sea. They fail to recognise that the vast majority of US trade with East Asia does not go through the area. For their part, Australian politicians also often grossly inflate the amount of foreign trade going through the South China Sea. In the event of some crisis, the trade of other Northeast Asian countries could readily be re-routed away from the South China Sea albeit at some cost in time and distance

    #Chine,#Etats-Unis #Mer_de_Chine

  • [East Asia Forum] Bloggers keep the windows open in Vietnam’s constitutional debates - martine.bulard - Messagerie

    During the debates leading up to the adoption of Vietnam’s 2013 constitution, commentators focused on public calls for liberal institutional reforms. Hundreds of newspaper articles discussed limits to party power, constitutional review and human rights. Much has also been made of Petition 72, a demand for sweeping liberal constitutional reforms submitted by public intellectuals such as Nguyen Dinh Loc, a former minister of justice. These commentators argue that this discourse reveals broad-based support for liberal constitutionalism and law-based governance in Vietnam.

    But when the National Assembly approved the new constitution in late 2013, there were few tangible changes to governance structures. Attempts to place constitutional limits on Communist Party power, promulgate a human rights declaration and legalise private land ownership were rejected. Although the new constitution appears to strengthen fundamental rights, Article 14 gives authorities wide-ranging powers to override civil rights in the interests of ‘national defense, national security, public order, the security of society, and social morality’.

    In a particularly bitter blow to reformers, after years of discussion, the Party rejected a constitutional court with powers to strike down unconstitutional legislation and government decisions. Unprecedented deliberation in state-mediated forums, such as the press and academic journals, did not result in meaningful institutional change.

    A look at the history of constitutional debates in Vietnam suggests that pu#blic discussion in state-mediated forums rarely produces liberal institutional reform. Since the Nhan-Van Giai-Pham affair in the 1950s, reformers have periodically urged the government to improve human rights and adhere to legal processes. But recurring attempts in state-mediated forums to introduce liberal democratic institutions, such as a constitutional court, have been unsuccessful.

    Though controls are not as proscriptive as the Seven Prohibitions in China, the Party in Vietnam stage-manages constitutional debate in state-mediated forums. While windows that allow discussion about normally taboo liberal institutional reforms may open in state-mediated forums, these windows shut when constitutional amendments are passed. This forecloses further discussion and signals the limits to institutional reform.

    #Vietnam # Constitution #Internet

  • « La persécution de la communauté musulmane au nom de la protection des vaches relève d’un agenda politique » — Eglises d’Asie

    « La persécution de la communauté musulmane au nom de la protection des vaches relève d’un agenda politique »


    Le 28 septembre dernier, le musulman Mohammad Akhlaq a été lynché à mort par des hindous qui lui avaient faussement reproché d’avoir consommé de la viande de bœuf. L’incident a eu lieu à Dadri, une ville de l’Etat d’Uttar Pradesh. Depuis, les tensions communautaires entre hindous et musulmans se cristallisent sur la question du bœuf, la vache étant considérée comme un animal sacré dans la religion hindoue. D’un côté, les partisans de l’hindutva, l’idéologie nationaliste hindoue, militent depuis des années pour une prohibition totale de l’abattage des vaches et de la consommation de la viande bovine. De l’autre, les tenants de la laïcité (secularism) considèrent ce projet comme une atteinte aux libertés fondamentales.

    Pour Eglises d’Asie, Vanessa Dougnac et William de Tamaris ont interviewé, le 9 octobre à Delhi, Zafarul Islam Khan, président de All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), organisation qui rassemble différents groupes d’obédience musulmane en Inde.

    Eglises d’Asie : Vous représentez une partie de la minorité musulmane (14,2 % de la population indienne), qui n’a pas caché son inquiétude face à l’influence croissante des nationalistes hindous, depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir, en mai 2014, de l’un des leurs, le Premier ministre Narendra Modi. Comment interprétez-vous cette « guerre du bœuf », ravivée par l’incident de Dadri ?

    Dr Zafarul Islam Khan : La persécution de la communauté musulmane au nom de la protection des vaches relève d’un agenda politique. Les émeutes et les massacres qui éclatent régulièrement font partie de la stratégie bien huilée du Sangh Parivar [« famille » de l’extrême-droite hindoue qui décline plusieurs organisations, comme la matrice fondamentaliste du RSS (le Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Corps national des volontaires) ou encore son aile politique, le Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Parti du peuple indien), le parti au pouvoir au plan fédéral - NDLR].

    La stratégie du Sangh Parivar consiste à polariser la société hindoue sur l’enjeu de la protection des vaches de façon à obtenir des gains politiques et électoraux. L’électeur hindou va ainsi avoir tendance à croire que seuls les leaders de cette mouvance sont capables de défendre ses intérêts et que les musulmans sont des ennemis. En Inde, cela fait longtemps que cette stratégie est à l’œuvre. Mais maintenant que le BJP est à la tête du pays, les partisans de la ligne nationaliste se sentent enhardis.

    Pourtant, il faut rappeler les faits : mis à part quelques cas isolés, les musulmans ne consomment pas de viande bovine. Dans le cas où un tel incident surviendrait, les fondamentalistes hindous ne devraient avoir aucune légitimité pour rendre eux-mêmes justice. Au cas où la loi de l’Etat prohibe l’abattage des bœufs, ils doivent porter plainte. Les musulmans les plus pauvres consomment généralement de la viande de buffle, parfois désignée comme « viande de bœuf », d’où des situations confuses et parfois dramatiques.

    #Inde #Hindouisme #musulmans

  • China’s Great Game: New frontier, old foes -

    For the architects of Mr Xi’s Silk Road project, the slaughter at the Sogan coal mine — which neither the Chinese government nor state media have acknowledged — was a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead as Beijing begins playing a “Great Game” of its own in central Asia and beyond.
    To realise this dream of an infrastructure-led revival of commerce and prosperity across the Eurasian land mass, the Chinese government will first have to tame its own Wild West. At the moment, however, it is refusing to budge from policies that seem only to be fanning the flames of ethnic unrest.
    Over the past 60 years, the Han, China’s dominant ethnic group, have increased their proportion of Xinjiang’s population from 6 per cent to more than 40 per cent, fuelling widespread resentment among Uighurs who see the influx as part of a deliberate attempt by Beijing to dilute their community’s religious and cultural identity.
    A modern-day Silk route is Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy
    “Xi Jinping sees Xinjiang as absolutely critical for his agenda. It’s not just about security and solving the Uighur issue, it’s also about building this new Silk Road economic belt,” says James Leibold, a China scholar at La Trobe University in Melbourne. “The party needs to convince a weary Han public and foreign governments that the anti-terror campaign has succeeded, and shift the narrative to Xinjiang as the gateway to the new Silk Road and the countless opportunities [that] await those willing to invest in the region.”

    #Chine #Route_de_la_soie #Xinjiang

  • Les inégalités continuent à augmenter en France

    « Au regard des principaux indicateurs, la réduction des inégalités amorcée en 2012 s’accentue en 2013 ». Pour l’Insee, qui vient de livrer ses données 2013 sur les revenus [1], les inégalités de revenus se réduisent. En 2013, le rapport entre le seuil d’entrée au sein des 10 % les plus riches et celui des 10 % les plus pauvres est resté stable. L’indice dit de « Gini » (qui compare la distribution des revenus à une distribution égalitaire) a diminué de 0,305 à 0,291. La masse des revenus détenue par les 20 % les plus riches était 4,6 fois supérieure à celle détenue par les 20 % les plus pauvres en 2012, ce rapport est passé à 4,3 en 2013.

    Un grand nombre de commentaires de ces données, rédigés dans l’urgence, ont repris cette analyse. Pourtant, cette façon de voir les choses reste très incomplète et mérite d’être analysée en détail. Les variations sur une ou deux années ont peu de sens compte tenu des marges d’erreur. L’Insee a changé de méthode en 2010, puis en 2012 : on ne dispose pas de série historique complète. Pour comprendre les évolutions, il faut se livrer à des calculs compliqués qui permettent d’éviter les ruptures de série, ce que fait l’Observatoire des inégalités, notamment sur la pauvreté. Par ailleurs, l’Insee n’a diffusé qu’une partie des données [2].

    Que peut-on dire, malgré tout, des nouvelles données ? Contrairement à ce que nous observions les années précédentes, sur la période 2008-2013, ce dixième supérieur voit son niveau de vie moyen baisser (-3 200 euros annuels pour l’ensemble de la période), seules les tranches de 70 % à 90 % des revenus les plus élevés connaissent une hausse de leur niveau de vie annuel. Le niveau de vie moyen des 10 % les plus pauvres a perdu 240 euros. En euros, les plus aisés ont donc perdu davantage que les plus pauvres. Le fléchissement des revenus des plus riches tient à la baisse des revenus financiers (la crise de 2008 est passée par là) et surtout aux hausses d’impôts mises en place entre 2011 et 2013. En particulier, le plafonnement des niches fiscales, la création d’un taux à 45 % pour l’impôt sur le revenu, la baisse du plafond du quotient familial et l’imposition des revenus du capital au barème de l’impôt sur le revenu, ont joué en 2013. Cet effort est indéniable. Pour cette seule année 2013, le niveau de vie annuel moyen des 10 % les plus aisés aurait diminué de 3 800 euros selon l’Insee. Cette baisse, qui est censée avoir alimenté le « ras-le-bol fiscal » des couches aisées, est aujourd’hui décrié par la majorité elle-même et a laissé place à des diminutions de prélèvements, dont on verra les effets sur la hausse des inégalités dans deux ans.

    Les revenus des plus pauvres se maintiennent, notamment du fait des minima sociaux et des allocations logement, pourtant désormais dans le collimateur du gouvernement. Selon l’Insee, le niveau de vie annuel moyen des 10 % les plus démunis aurait augmenté de 300 euros en 2013, mais constitue un changement. Les plus en difficulté se situent un cran en dessous. Un titulaire du RSA touche 461 euros par mois une fois déduit le forfait logement, bien moins que le seuil des 10 % les plus pauvres (900 euros) ou leur niveau de vie moyen (680 euros). Rappelons enfin qu’entre 2013 et fin 2014, le nombre de titulaires du RSA a augmenté de 200 000, soit une progression de 13 %. Depuis 2008, la hausse est de 510 000 (+43 %). La progression de 2013 n’empêche pas qu’entre 2008 et 2013, le niveau de vie moyen annuel du dixième le plus démuni a baissé de 240 euros. Considérer que la situation des plus démunis s’améliore reste une vue de l’esprit.

    + 4 300 euros par an pour les 10 % les plus aisés en dix ans

  • La Chine et le Vatican se parlent — Eglises d’Asie

    Le pape François le dit, Pékin ne confirme ni ne dément : la Chine et le Saint-Siège se parlent. Dans l’avion qui le ramenait ce 27 septembre de Philadelphie vers Rome, lors de la traditionnelle séance de questions-réponses avec les journalistes l’accompagnant, le pape François a évoqué les négociations en cours ...... entre les deux parties. « Nous avons des contacts, nous parlons, nous progressons. Mais, pour moi, ce serait une joie que d’avoir pour ami un grand pays comme la Chine », a-t-il notamment déclaré.

    Cette confirmation que des négociations sont en cours intervient alors que la concomitance des voyages aux Etats-Unis du pape François et du président chinois Xi Jinping n’a pas été l’occasion d’une rencontre, même brève, entre les deux hommes. Elle intervient de plus alors qu’il se confirme que les plus hautes autorités chinoises préparent une conférence au plus haut niveau sur les questions religieuses et que l’instance chargée d’appliquer la politique religieuse du Parti vient de publier des directives qui ne témoignent d’aucune ouverture vers plus de liberté religieuse.

    Dans l’avion d’American Airlines qui le ramenait vers Rome, le pape a déclaré ceci à propos de la Chine : c’est « d’un grand pays qui, outre l’apport d’une grande culture, bénéficie au monde. J’ai déjà dit que j’aimerais me rendre en Chine. J’aime le peuple chinois et j’espère qu’il est possible d’entretenir de bons rapports. Nous avons des contacts, nous parlons, nous progressons. Mais, pour moi, ce serait une joie que d’avoir pour ami un grand pays comme la Chine »

    Etant donné le secret quasi absolu qui entoure les « contacts » entre Pékin et le Saint-Siège, ce qu’a dit le pape ce 27 septembre apporte quelques éléments d’information. Pour mémoire, en début d’année, le cardinal Pietro Parolin, secrétaire d’Etat du Saint-Siège, se montrait plutôt optimiste quant aux pourparlers en cours : en janvier, il déclarait en effet : « Nous sommes dans une phase positive. » Mais, fin avril 2015, le même cardinal Parolin adoptait un ton légèrement différent : tout en espérant la reprise d’un « dialogue substantiel », il estimait que les négociations entre les deux parties ne présentaient « pas de grandes nouveautés ». Du côté de Hongkong, l’évêque du lieu, le cardinal John Tong Hon, jugeait, le mois dernier auprès des journalistes de l’agence Ucanews, que « l’atmosphère était meilleure » entre les deux parties, même si son prédécesseur, le cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, se montrait toujours aussi dubitatif quant à la volonté réelle des dirigeants chinois d’amender leur politique religieuse.

    #Chine #Vatican

  • A Chinese view on fixing the Japan relationship | East Asia Forum

    In September 2012, the very day after his meeting with then Chinese president Hu Jintao on the sidelines of APEC in Vladivostok, then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda announced the nationalisation of some of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. For many in China, it was an unfathomable shock that a Japanese leader was so ready to disregard a Chinese leader’s domestic political circumstances or, seen another way, to mount such an outright challenge to his authority at home. Since then, high-level meetings have ground to a halt, the brief and visibly uncomfortable meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Abe on the side of APEC 2014 in Beijing notwithstanding.

    To resume such meetings, bilaterally, trilaterally (China–Japan–South Korea) or on the side of multilateral forums, is of course in China’s interest in pursuit of a less tense external environment. But the true test is how to effectively signal their utility to respective domestic constituencies. For Beijing, Tokyo and indeed Seoul, several years of domestic acrimony on such sensitive issues as territorial sovereignty and wartime history has been such that it has put all countries’ leaders between a rock and a hard place. A prudent act of leadership now would be to gear domestic attitudes on such delicate issues towards strategic patience. This is not an easy task, yet it is essential for even a photo-op meeting to be worthwhile at all.

    The history issue is often said, by those in both China and Japan tasked to find ways out of the continuing impasse, to be the key roadblock to progress. Over time, hope for government-sponsored joint versions of the history of World War II has faded to the point where there ought to be consideration of even dropping the entire project.

    China, ideally, should come up with the intellectual fortitude to publicise domestically Japan’s post-war contributions towards China’s pursuit of modernisation. In the 1950s, while locked in Cold War hostility towards the Chinese government, the Japanese government allowed limited trade activities to proceed when the former was under broad Western isolation in the wake of the Korean War. Official development assistance from Japan played a powerfully supportive role in China’s re-linking with the rest of the world economy, and not only in a material sense. Particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, the fact that China and Japan were able to work cooperatively in trade and investment relations was seen as a vote of confidence in China by other industrialised nations.

    China could not have succeeded in improving its relative economic position, were it not for the foundation laid in these early years. Sure, China did pay back its yen loans, but this history of economic aid still merits recognition.

    To do this is, fundamentally speaking, in the interest of the Chinese polity itself. Indeed, for the past two years the phenomenon of increasing numbers of Chinese tourists travelling to Japan even against the backdrop of difficult government-to-government diplomacy can and should serve as a reminder: government-sanctioned versions of Japan are being tested. As is true in other societies, for the average citizen, while remembering an intolerable past is important, it can hardly be the only dimension of a relationship with another society. The Chinese nation-building project could benefit immensely from narrowing the unspoken gaps between accounts of pre-1945 Japanese atrocities in China and present-day sentiments about Japan that its citizens gather through personal observation and interactions.


  • Japan: End of the rice age -
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    Japan’s rice crisis starts with its older, smaller stomachs. As the population ages, appetites are shrinking. Diets among younger Japanese favour wheat and the country is eating about 20 per cent less rice than it did two decades ago.
    Other sources of demand are also vanishing: Japan drinks about a third as much (rice-based) sake as it did in 1970 and consumption of fish — the traditional accompaniment to rice — is down 30 per cent since 2005. In desperation, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries ministry has been forced to find ways of promoting a grain whose very name in Japanese — gohan — means “meal”.
    After hitting a peak of 2,670 in 2006, Japan’s average daily calorie intake has been on the decline, falling to 2,415 last year, says a spokesman from the rice department of the ministry.
    “The difference is that people are not eating as much because the population is getting older,” he says. “I think that peak of 2,670 was the limit of what Japanese people will eat.”
    The industry has watched helplessly as Japanese-grown rice has become cheaper than its Californian-grown equivalent for the first time since 1953. The price may recover in the short term, but the fundamentals suggest it is the start of a long-term trend. This inflection point, say Japan’s leading rice experts, demands a wholesale revision of the way the nation thinks about its staple.
    Agricultural arrow
    According to some, the politics and protectionism behind Japan’s relationship with rice — defining features of the way the ruling Liberal Democratic party has maintained power and the country has been governed since the second world war — are already in flux. The public may see Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new national security law, passed last week after the biggest protests Japan has seen since the 1960s, as his most radical bid at reform. But the changes he may have in store for agriculture could be far more profound, analysts say.
    Rice Japan analysis 1
    Earlier this year, Mr Abe’s party forced the JA-Zenchu union to waive its right to supervise and audit farming groups — a move intended to dilute the power of the union. The idea, considered to be among the reforms that make up the “third arrow” of Abenomics, could give greater autonomy to co-operatives. The government has also relaxed some of the limits on corporate farm ownership and created ways to merge small holdings into larger ones. Mr Abe may seek to expand the policy.
    JA’s control over the distribution of Japan’s crops gives it a stranglehold on farming. Breaking that is likely to remain a priority for the prime minister.
    Despite its enduring status as the sole symbol of Japan’s self-sufficiency in food, and the rescuer of a nation from postwar hunger, the rice industry has fewer defenders than in the past. The demographics of the rice industry, in which the average age of farmers is 70, are working against it. About 64 per cent of Japan’s farmers grow a crop that represents just 21 per cent of the country’s agricultural output by value, says the Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    Japanese consumers may be wealthy enough to shun imports that have been 20-30 per cent cheaper. But former agriculture ministry sources say even they have begun to notice the absurdity of a system which funnels billions of their taxes into subsidies that cause more fields to lie empty and inflate prices.
    The beef and wheat lobbies, say government insiders, now wield more influence at the top levels of government. It has finally become acceptable to question precisely how a rice industry this rickety holds the nation in its thrall. “As we are now starting to see very clearly, without its protections, Japanese domestic rice policy does not actually work at all,” says Tokyo University’s Masayoshi Honma.
    #Japon #Agriculture #FTA

  • North Korean song of ‘bumper crop’ strikes a discordant note -

    Severe drought followed by flooding has caused havoc in North Korea’s agricultural system this year, underscoring the country’s continuing lack of food security, with the state cutting rations this summer to less than half the level needed for basic nutrition.
    The grim outlook has tempered optimism about the impact of agricultural reforms in recent years, as described to UN agencies by North Korean officials. In June 2012, six months after Mr Kim took power, the state promulgated new guidelines allowing smaller work teams on farms of as few as 10 people.
    Two years later, a new set of guidelines declared that teams could now be as small as two households, and that they would be allowed to work the same plot of land for many years at a time.
    Crucially, these changes have been combined with reforms allowing the teams to keep up to 70 per cent of what they produce instead of handing it all to the state.
    State media did not announce the changes but have subsequently referred to them.
    “The advantage of the ‘field responsibility’ system is that the workforce at each farm regards a small plot of land as their own,” Ji Myong Su, head of agriculture management research at Pyongyang’s Academy of Agricultural Science, told the state Tongil Sinbo newspaper in June.
    The speed of grain planting had doubled at the farms where the new system had been implemented, involving some teams as small as four people, he added.

    Another important change in 2014 was a dramatic increase in the maximum permitted size of “kitchen gardens from 100 to 3,300 square metres, which will encourage more private food production, says Cristina Coslet, an FAO official covering east Asia. “I could really see the difference between the fields and kitchen gardens [during a 2012 visit] — they look after [the latter] carefully and water them,” she says.”

    #Corée_du_Nord, #Agriculture

  • Should the US patrol around China’s artificial islands? | East Asia Forum

    The US defence establishment’s provocative plan to assert freedom of navigation by patrolling near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea appears to have stalled. But if the United States abandons the policy it will forego an important opportunity to help stabilise Asia’s contested waters.

    In May, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter reportedly asked the US military to develop plans to send planes and ships within 12 nautical miles (nm) of China’s new installations — the radius of territorial sea and airspace granted to legitimate territorial features under international law.

    The intended effect would be to demonstrate that land reclamation does not create new areas of sovereign territorial seas, cautioning Beijing against any future attempt to institute exclusive military control in these areas. This month, US defence officials reiterated their desire to carry out the plan. But so far no patrols have been conducted.

    Some analysts have expressed concern that such freedom of navigation (FoN) operations would spur the militarisation of the area or, worse, provoke Sino–US confrontation. Similar misgivings in Washington are likely part of the explanation for the lack of implementation so far.

    If conducted on the basis of careful research and clear communication, such a policy could show that the United States is willing to act in a measured way to uphold universally accepted international rules in the region. In the process, it would demonstrate limits to China’s ability to create new ‘facts on the water’.

    Ensuring FoN operations in the Spratlys are constructive rather than destabilising depends first and foremost on making them scrupulously legal.

    The key would be to make certain that US ships and aircraft only pass within 12 nm of those artificial islands built on features that were naturally underwater at high tide. One example is Mischief Reef, where China has created more than five square kilometres of new land. No matter how much sand is dumped on these ‘islands’, the waters around them have no legal territorial sea status.

    On this point, international law is, thankfully, unambiguous. Article 60 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) explicitly states that artificial islands ‘have no territorial sea of their own’. Patrols within 12 nm of such submerged features would be on safe legal grounds and could not be construed as a violation of any country’s territorial waters.

    At the same time, UNCLOS is equally clear that even small ‘rocks’ may be entitled to 12 nm of sovereign territorial sea — provided they naturally protruded above the waterline at high tide. Fiery Cross Reef, where China has built a 3000 metre runway, is one such feature. American FoN patrols should not enter within 12 nm of this or any other disputed feature without producing strong evidence that it was, in fact, entirely submerged in its natural state.
    #Chine #Mer_de_Chine

  • Réforme du Hukou à Chongqing, le nouveau maire dans les pas de Bo Xilai
    Chongqing Mayor Says Rural Land Reform Pilot Has Been Just the Ticket

    The southwestern city of Chongqing has taken a big step toward reforming its system of household registration, known as hukou, by granting urbanites and people living in rural areas the same access to social welfare and public services, the government announced in early September.
    The city also promised it would make it easier for farmers to settle in urban area, abolishing some rules that have been blamed for hindering free movement across regions.
    However, those moves were just the latest efforts Chongqing has made in the hopes of boosting its growth as the country rapidly urbanizes. The city’s government was the first in the country to adopt “land tickets,” an experiment that allowed farmers to sell usage rights for idle farmland as long as the authorities gave their permission. The four-year-old program has seen a total of 10,000 hectares of rural land turned over for industrial or commercial development.
    Chongqing, which is home to nearly 29 million people and is a major source of migrant workers, has become a rare economic and manufacturing hub in China’s vast, underdeveloped west. Over the past few years, the city has served as inland China’s reform testing ground and gotten attention for its continuous efforts to make progress in land management and the hukou system, which gives holders the rights to a range of public services, from health care to schooling.
    “Chongqing is enjoying a bonus from its reforms of the hukou system,” said mayor Huang Qifan, a major backer of the city’s reforms and its mayor since January 2010.

    #Chine, #Agriculture #Hukou