Posts Tagged ‘Hinkley Point’

How China Is Buying Its Way Into Europe

April 23, 2018
Image result for cosco, rotterdam, photos
Published: 

For more than a decade, Chinese political and corporate leaders have been scouring the globe with seemingly bottomless wallets in hand. From Asia to Africa, the U.S. and Latin America, the results are hard to ignore as China has asserted itself as an emerging world power. Less well known is China’s diffuse but expanding footprint in Europe.

Bloomberg has crunched the numbers to compile the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period, in dollar terms, according to available data.

The volume and nature of some of these investments, from critical infrastructure in eastern and southern Europe to high-tech companies in the west, have raised a red flag at the European Union level. Leaders that include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are pressing for a common strategy to handle China’s relentless advance into Europe, with some opposition from the EU’s periphery.

We analyzed data for 678 completed or pending deals in 30 countries since 2008 for which financial terms were released, and found that Chinese state-backed and private companies have been involved in deals worth at least $255 billion across the European continent. Approximately 360 companies have been taken over, from Italian tire maker Pirelli & C. SpA to Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon Holdings Ltd., while Chinese entities also partially or wholly own at least four airports, six seaports, wind farms in at least nine countries and 13 professional soccer teams.

Importantly, the available figures underestimate the true size and scope of China’s ambitions in Europe. They notably exclude 355 mergers, investments and joint ventures—the primary types of deals examined here—for which terms were not disclosed. Bloomberg estimates or reporting on a dozen of the higher-profile deals among this group suggest an additional total value of $13.3 billion. Also not included: greenfield developments or stock-market operations totaling at least $40 billion, as compiled by researchers at the American Enterprise Institute and the European Council on Foreign Relations, plus a $9 billion stake in Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. chairman Li Shufu reported by Bloomberg.

Nowhere is China’s buying spree more evident than in the British capital, where it has gobbled up around a dozen office towers in the City of London and Canary Wharf financial districts.

Related image

2016 was by far the biggest year for Chinese dealmaking in Europe, when China National Chemical Corp., also known as ChemChina, announced it would purchase Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG for $46.3 billion. (For the purposes of this analysis and the following graphic, Bloomberg looked at the announcement dates of deals. The Syngenta takeover, for instance, was finalized only in January 2018.)

Excluding the sizable increase produced by the Syngenta megadeal, there is a clear upward trend in recent years, with less than $20 billion in relevant investments annually prior to 2014 but more than that in each year since. And yet the average size of deals for which financial information is available looks to have fallen. In 2008 and 2009, the average deal was worth almost $740 million, compared to a little more than $290 million for 2016 and 2017 (when discounting ChemChina-Syngenta). So far this year, the average deal is clocking in at $127 million.

More than half of the known investment total is concentrated in Europe’s five largest economies: The Chinese have participated in deals worth $70 billion in the U.K. alone. But it is at the periphery where China has made some of its biggest infrastructure plays, such as purchasing Greece’s largest port, in Piraeus. There’s also an important core-periphery divide when it comes to Europe’s openness to Chinese investment. At the same time that GermanyFrance and Italy are pushing for an EU-wide investment screening mechanism, governments in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus are skeptical of such a move, saying it would hamper their countries’ ability to attract much-needed capital.

The money will flow to where it is most welcome. Until a European review mechanism is put in—the U.S. has one, Australia has one—Europe is likely to win the lion’s share of Chinese investment. I expect a move in Europe to regulate Chinese investment, but right now it is the number one destination.

—Derek Scissors, China researcher at the American Enterprise Institute

Whether it’s buying up London commercial real estate, German technology companies such as industrial robot maker Kuka AG, Scandinavian carmakers like Volvo Personvagnar AB, or such energy producers as Switzerland’s Addax Petroleum Corp., Chinese investments have clustered in a few key industries.

TK
A consortium led by Shandong Hi-speed Co., a Chinese infrastructure-management company, purchased a stake in France’s Toulouse-Blagnac airport in 2015.

Knowing who is doing all this buying is crucial to understand how such activity fits into China’s official and unofficial foreign policy aims. In all, more than 670 Chinese or qualifying Hong Kong-based entities have invested in Europe since 2008. (Assets invested in or bought by Hong Kong entities without significant ties to mainland China are excluded from this analysis.) Of those, almost 100 are state-backed companies or investment funds, which collectively had a hand in transactions worth at least $162 billion, or 63 percent of the total reported deal value, as compiled by Bloomberg.

Yet the line between state and private enterprises is far more blurred in China than in Europe: The Cosco group of companies, which is challenging Europe’s domination in container shipping, consists of publicly traded branches of state-owned China Ocean Shipping Group Co., and has bought stakes in, or operate in, ports from the Bosphorus to the Baltic Sea. Eight of the 10 largest acquirers we identified were state-owned or -backed, including China Investment Corp. (a sovereign wealth fund), Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., and Silk Road Fund Co. (a sovereign wealth fund connected to China’s Belt and Road Initiative).

There is no backroom deal; everything is transparent. There is no ‘winner takes all’, but every project delivers win-win results.

—Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, in March

An additional 30 or more entities are currently owned by one of China’s provinces or municipalities

The picture of China’s financial interests in Europe wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at two additional types of transactions: large stock purchases on the open market, such as Ping An Insurance Group Co. of China Ltd.’s $10 billion stake in bank HSBC Holdings Plc, and greenfield developments, or construction projects on previously undeveloped or underutilized land.

Bloomberg’s analysis of data from Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute, plus research conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) identified at least nine large greenfield projects, mostly in the London area. The exceptions: the $24 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, of which China is funding one-third, and a massive $3.4 billion mall outside Paris that Chinese real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group Co. is pursuing alongside French supermarket chain Auchan Holding SA.

TK
The U.K.’s $24 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is one-third funded by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp.

Looking ahead, Chinese companies have expressed interest in a slew of European deals that haven’t been officially announced yet, based on Bloomberg data and reporting, as well as a recent ECFR report. These include building nuclear reactors in Romania and Bulgaria, buying a Croatian container terminal and building a Swedish port, taking over Czech carmaker Skoda Transportation AS and an Ireland-based oil and gas producer, investing in French ski-lift firm Compagnie des Alpes and a German electricity grid operator and providing financing for a bridge in Croatia and a Budapest-Belgrade rail link.

Methodology

This analysis is primarily based on data for mergers and acquisitions, investment and joint-venture deals from the MA function on the Bloomberg Professional service where the target’s country of risk is in Europe (minus Georgia, Russia, Turkey), where the acquirer’s country of risk is in China, and which was announced between Jan. 1, 2008 to March 31, 2018. Twenty-five deals were manually added for certain Hong Kong-based acquirers generally deemed to be Chinese, arms of Chinese companies or have significant Chinese backing.

  • Bank of China Group Investment Ltd.

  • Boyu Capital Advisory Beijing Co.

  • Cathay Fortune International Co.

  • CIMC Enric Holdings Ltd.

  • Citic Capital Holdings Ltd.

  • Citic Capital Partners

  • Golden Brick Capital Management Ltd.

  • GSR Capital Group LLC

  • GSR Ventures Management Co.

  • Haier Electronics Group Co.

  • Haitong International Securities Group Ltd.

  • Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd.

  • Hony Capital Ltd.

  • MIE Holdings Corp.

  • Nanchang Industrial Holding Group Co.

  • NetDragon Websoft Holdings Ltd.

  • ORI Healthcare Fund LP

  • Primavera Capital Ltd.

  • Shanda Group Pte Ltd.

  • Shanda Investment Group Ltd.

  • Sparkle Roll Group Ltd.

  • Sparkle Roll Holdings Ltd.

  • United Luck Group Holdings Ltd.

  • Vinda International Holdings Ltd.

  • WH Group Ltd.

  • ZZ Capital International Ltd.

Two deals conducted by AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. were also added manually because the acquirer is controlled by China’s Dalian Wanda Group Co.

Deal valuations are based on reported terms. Where a deal involves multiple acquirers, including outside China, we include the total deal value as reported, not an individual acquirer’s share. Deals are registered according to their announcement date.

Both pending and completed deals are included in the analysis. This analysis captures Chinese inflows into Europe and therefore excludes subsequent deals in which Chinese acquirers have sold or restructured any relevant assets or company stakes.

This graphic regroups the 73 industry groups as shown on the MA Bloomberg function into 25 broader categories, as laid out here.

Information on large equity stake purchases on the open market or investments in land or greenfield developments are based on research by Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute and by the European Council on Foreign Relations and attempt to capture the Chinese share of a deal’s value.

Different European Union countries’ stances regarding an EU-wide investment screening mechanism are based on Bloomberg reporting.

 Bloomberg
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Defects found at China nuclear reactor project

December 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Two reactors are under construction in China’s Taishan in southern Guangdong province

BEIJING (AFP) – Defects were found in equipment for a third-generation nuclear reactor under construction in southern China with the problematic parts being replaced, the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) said Wednesday.The issue concerned equipment used in one of two new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), large units designed to offer improved power and safety.

With EPRs in Finland and France facing setbacks, the Chinese Taishan 1 and 2 are on track to become the first working reactors of their kind in the world.

But “local defects” were recently found in Taishan 1’s deaerator, a device used to remove oxygen from water circuits, CGN — which manages the project alongside French state utility EDF — told AFP in an email.

Problems were “discovered in the non-bearing welding line of the internal support of (Taishan 1’s) deaerator”, CGN said.

The deaerator is located “outside the nuclear zone”, it added, noting that “replacement measures” are being taken.

The two reactors under construction in Taishan, southern Guangdong province, are 51 percent owned by CGN, 30 percent owned by EDF and 19 percent owned by the province’s electrical utility firm.

Taishan 1 is slated to go onstream before the end of the year.

Britain in September also gave the green light, with conditions, to EDF and CGN to build another such reactor at England’s Hinkley Point, after a heated debate which included worries over China’s involvement.

Delays, £1.5-bn costs overrun at UK’s Hinkley nuclear project

July 3, 2017

AFP

© EDF ENERGY/AFP/File | EDF is part of a French-Chinese consortium that was awarded the two-reactor project at Hinkley last year despite criticism from green groups and cost warnings from experts

PARIS (AFP) – A project to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Britain will overrun by £1.5 billion ($1.95 billion, 1.71 billion euros), France’s EDF power supplier said on Monday, warning also of delays of up to 15 months.

EDF is part of a French-Chinese consortium that was awarded the two-reactor project last year despite criticism from green groups and cost warnings from experts.

“The final project costs are now estimated at £19.6 billion at 2015 rates, an increase of £1.5 billion,” EDF said in a communique.

It also warned of a possible delay of 15 months in delivering the first reactor, and nine months for the second.

The announcement came after EDF on June 26 said it was carrying out a “full review” of Hinkley Point’s costs and schedule.

Named Hinkley Point C, the project, built in the southwestern English county of Somerset, will provide seven percent of Britain’s power needs, according to the British government.

Critics have focused on the proposed design, which uses a novel EPR reactor that has run into huge problems of cost overruns and delays at sites in France and Finland.

They also question an electricity price guarantee to EDF of £92.5 for every megawatt hour of power produced by Hinkley over the following 35 years, rising with inflation, despite falling energy prices.

On June 23, Britain’s National Audit Office (NAO) lashed the scheme, saying the government had “locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.”

Environmentalists are fiercely opposed, urging the government to instead focus on renewable sources like wind and solar power to meet Britain’s energy needs.

The project, scheduled under the deal to start producing electricity in 2025, has a projected operational lifetime of 60 years.

The deal was approved by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government only last September, amid uncertainty about the future of the British economy caused by Brexit.

Heavily-indebted EDF, mainly owned by the French government, is funding around two-thirds of the cost and its Chinese partner the remainder.

Wukan protests: police deny violence against Hong Kong journalists in Chinese village crackdown — But nobody believes Beijing’s account

September 18, 2016

Authorities claim law enforcement practices carried out in a ‘civilised’ manner

By Danny Lee and Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post

Sunday, September 18, 2016, 2:27am
 

Police authorities in Guangdong have denied officers were violent towards five Hong Kong journalists detained in Wukan last week, claiming they carried out law ­enforcement duties in a “civilised” manner.

 Police can be seen massed in the background as Wukan villagers take a rest. SCMP photo

 Villagers confront a phalanx of security in Wukan earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Addressing the incident for the first time, the public security ­bureau of Lufeng, which administers the coastal village, said media reports that police had “slapped, punched and pushed journalists to the ground” were “inconsistent with the facts”, the China News Service reported on Saturday.

The police had “adhered to rational, calm, civilised and standard law enforcement practices when handling the case,” the authorities said.

Three Hong Kong journalists, including a South China Morning Post reporter, were assaulted by two dozen unidentified men who broke into a house where they were interviewing a villager in Wukan on Wednesday night. The journalists were there to report on violent clashes between villagers and riot police on Tuesday, in which tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at residents.

According to police, members of the “village security team” raided the home after receiving reports from two villagers who saw three unidentified men – the Hong Kong journalists – entering the house.

 One Wukan villager who was injured as locals attempted to dodge the police earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Upon their arrival, the village security team started “pushing and shoving” the journalists before taking them to the Lufeng public security bureau, police said. Local officials accused five Hong Kong journalists in total of “illegal” reporting.

Police said four of the five journalists did not have press badges issued by the All-China Journalists Association. The SCMP reporter had a badge, but had not “gone through relevant procedures according to the rules”, the police said, without specifying what procedures or rules.

The information office of the Lufeng municipal government said all five Hong Kong journalists “violated relevant regulations on reporting in the mainland,” the CNS reported.

“For Hong Kong and Macau journalists to report in the mainland, they need to obtain press badges issued by the All-China Journalists Association from the liaison offices in Hong Kong or Macau, and obey the country’s laws, regulations and rules to do objective and fair reporting,” the information office said.

Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan rejected the official government response.

“I think the police are liars. I am so disappointed in their reaction.I believe our journalists,” Sham said.

The SAR government has expressed concern about the case. A government spokesman called for Hong Kong journalists reporting on the mainland to be respected.

The coastal village has been the epicentre of villager-police clashes since Tuesday after uproar over the imprisonment of the democratically elected village chief Lin Zuluan for 37 months on corruption charges earlier this month. Wukan came to prominence five years ago after villagers protested a land-grab by officials and developers. The initial unrest ended after officials stepped down and villagers elected Lin as their new leader.

Around 100 people, including members of pan-democratic parties, held a candlelight vigil outside the Liaison Office on Saturday night in support of the residents of Wukan and to protest the attacks on Hong Kong reporters.

In Hong Kong People Lights Candles In Solidarity With Wukan, Chinese Village Under Siege by Chinese Security Forces

September 18, 2016

Hong Kong – More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on Saturday (Sep 17) to protest a violent crackdown on protesters during tense clashes this week in the rebel Chinese village of Wukan.

More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong for the rebel Chinese village of Wukan. (AFP/Isaac Lawrence)

The 13,000-strong fishing village in southern Guangdong province became a symbol of resistance against corruption in 2011 after a mass uprising over land grabs propelled it onto global front pages and led to landmark elections.

Wukan was back in the headlines after Lin Zulian, who played a key role in the 2011 protests, was detained in June and sentenced to three years in prison last week, triggering protests.

Chinese authorities on Tuesday said they had detained 13 residents for “disturbing public order”, which set off a fresh round of protests.

Bloodied villagers threw bricks and stones at riot police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, according to local media reports.

Law enforcement officers were “hitting the villagers, even the old”, wrote one resident, Zou Shaobing, on a micro-blog.

It is important for Hong Kong to show solidarity for Wukan, organisers said of the virgil, which was staged just outside China’s representative office in the city.

Protesters attend a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong. (AFP/Isaac Lawrence)

“Today we have Wukan, tomorrow this sort of violence may occur in Hong Kong,” lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki told the 100-strong crowd, who chanted “release Lin Zulian and all Wukan villagers”.

.

 One Wukan villager who was injured as locals attempted to dodge the police earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Veteran pro-democracy protester Lee Cheuk-yan said the violence deployed in Wukan was not so different from the crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Hundreds – by some estimates more than a thousand – died after the Communist Party sent tanks to crush demonstrations in the square in the heart of the nation’s capital, where student-led protesters had staged a peaceful seven-week sit-in to demand democratic reforms.

 Wukan residents protest in their village. Photo: SCMP Pictures

“This Wukan incident serves as a reminder to our youth that China’s nature has not changed,” Lee told the crowd, as people tied black ribbons to the metal fences surrounding the Chinese liaison office.

“We are coming out because we are worried,” office clerk Jade Lee, 53, told AFP.

Hong Kong was returned from Britain to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal that guaranteed its freedoms for 50 years, but there are fears those liberties are being eroded.

The city saw mass pro-democracy rallies in 2014, which failed to win concessions on political reform, leading to the emergence of a slew of new parties and figures demanding greater autonomy from Beijing.

  (The BBC Presenter clearly took the side of the Chinese government)

 A Wukan villager injured in altercation with Chinese police. SCMP photo

Embattled Wukan Villagers Have Two Lines of Defense on Main Road Facing Phalanx of Chinese Police

September 15, 2016

Residents afraid to leave their homes for fear of being taken away while a Post reporter is detained overnight amid crackdown on media

By Staff Reporters
South China Morning Post

Friday, September 16, 2016, 2:30am
.
 

Residents in the coastal village of Wukan in Guangdong remained tense on Thursday amid an ongoing police lockdown, with some ­families separated on an otherwise festive day.

Local authorities also stepped up control over reporting out of the village, with five Hong Kong journalists, including one from the South China Morning Post, detained overnight and forced out in the early morning.

Special police have started to withdraw from the village, but ­local police were seen standing guard on every road. During the night, officers marched in formation and patrolled throughout the village.

“Police are still everywhere. It’s very quiet. No one dares to leave their house for fear of being taken away randomly,” a villager said over the phone.

 One Wukan villager who was injured as locals attempted to dodge the police earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Wukan was rocked when residents clashed with riot police on Tuesday following pre-dawn raids by officers seeking protesters who had been supporting jailed village leader Lin Zuluan. The villagers have been staging a sustained campaign over unresolved land disputes.

Not being able to unite with family makes me sad, but there is no point talking about sadness now
VILLAGER

Women were being allowed to enter and leave the village on Thursday during daylight hours after their personal identification was checked. But a complete lockdown resumed at nightfall. “The women go to buy food from neighbouring villages more than 10 kilometres away and they buy in bulk,” said a villager in his 40s. He said he was forced to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival without his wife and daughter, who were less than 20km away.

 Villagers confront a phalanx of security in Wukan earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

“This is the first Mid-Autumn Festival I’m spending without them. I can’t leave Wukan because I won’t be allowed in and I still have a younger son to take care of,” he said. “Not being able to unite with family makes me sad, but there is no point talking about sadness now.”

A Post reporter and two other Hong Kong journalists from another publication were interviewing villagers in a house when two dozen unidentified men broke in at about 9.30pm on Wednesday.

The Post reporter was pushed to the ground, while the other two journalists were punched in the stomach and slapped twice by the assailants. They accused the journalists of stealing but did not show any documentation throughout the incident. The owner of the house was also subdued.

The three journalists were taken to a local police station where they were joined by two more Hong Kong reporters from another publication, who had been detained on their way to ­Wukan.

They were questioned separately by Lufeng government officials, who accused them of “illegal” reporting and breaching police lines. Recent photos on their phones were deleted.

The Post journalist did not sign any document, but other Hong Kong reporters were said to have been asked to sign a “confession letter” agreeing not to return. All five reporters have returned to Hong Kong.

News associations in Hong Kong issued a statement strongly condemning the use of violence by Lufeng authorities. The Hong Kong News Executives’ Association said it would write to the central government’s liaison office and the Hong Kong government to demand attention to the incident and would relay its concerns to the central government.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2019811/security-squads-keep-tight-grip-wukan-village-after

Related:

  (The BBC Presenter clearly took the side of the Chinese government)

SCMP reporter among five Hong Kong journalists detained, questioned by Chinese police in bloody Wukan crackdown

September 15, 2016

South China Morning Post reporter was conducting interview at villager’s home when two dozen men broke in and pushed him to the ground

By Staff Reporters
South China Morning Post

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6:14pm
.
 

A South China Morning Post reporter was among five Hong Kong journalists detained and questioned by local authorities in Wukan, Guangdong province, on Wednesday night.

The journalists had been interviewing villagers involved in a violent protest that saw tear gas and rubber bullets fired at residents.

The Post is highly concerned about the incident and condemn the detention of journalists.

The reporter was released around 2am on Thursday morning and returned to Hong Kong unharmed.

Our reporter and two other Hong Kong journalists from another publication were invited by a resident to a villager’s house for an interview on Wednesday.

Watch: Wukan in police lockdown after clashes
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2019607/scmp-reporter-among-five-hong-kong-journalists-detained

Around 9.30pm, two dozen unidentified men broke into the house and pushed thePost reporter to the ground, accusing him and others of stealing.

The owner of the house was also subdued by the assailants, who did not show any documentation throughout the incident.

The other two Hong Kong journalists later told the Post reporter that one of them was punched in the stomach by the assailants and another one slapped twice in the face.

The three journalists were then taken to a local police station where they were joined by two more Hong Kong reporters from another publication.

They were questioned separately by Lufeng government officials, who accused them of “illegal” reporting and breaching police cordon.

Watch: Chinese riot police clash with villagers after Wukan arrests
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2019607/scmp-reporter-among-five-hong-kong-journalists-detained

The Post journalist, who has proper journalist credentials issued by Beijing authorising him to work on the mainland, was released after questioning.

While he did not sign any document, other Hong Kong reporters were said to have been asked to sign a “confession letter” agreeing not to return. Some of them were reportedly beaten. We could not verify the information.

After the Post reporter’s release at around 2am, he was escorted by two Lufeng government officials back to the border of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement issued on Thursday morning that it “strongly condemns Chinese public security officers’ violent treatment against the Hong Kong journalists”.

 Wukan residents protest in their village. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The association called on the Hong Kong government to look into the matter and take effective measures to protect the rights and safety of Hong Kong journalists working on the mainland.

The Hong Kong News Executives’ Association also “strongly condemns” the violence, urging relevant authorities to pay attention to and ensure journalists’ safety.

In its statement, the new executives’ association said it would write to the liaison office and the Hong Kong government to demand their attention on the incident and would also relay its concerns to the central government.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2019607/scmp-reporter-among-five-hong-kong-journalists-detained

Related:

  (The BBC Presenter clearly took the side of the Chinese government)

Hong Kong journalists ‘detained and beaten’ in China

September 15, 2016

HONG KONG (AFP) – 

Hong Kong journalists covering violent protests in the rebel Chinese village of Wukan said they were detained and beaten by police as state press slammed “foreign media” for stoking the tensions.

Wukan, a 13,000-strong fishing village in the southern province of Guangdong, became a symbol of resistance against corruption after a mass uprising over allegedly illegal land grabs propelled it onto global front pages in 2011.

Lin Zulian, who played a key role in those protests, was detained in June and sentenced to three years in prison last week.

Chinese authorities said they had detained 13 residents Tuesday for “disturbing public order”, which triggered a new round of protests.

Online footage running in Hong Kong local media and reported to be filmed by villagers showed them throwing bricks and stones at police with riot shields. Images also showed bloodied villagers, with reports police had fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

Law enforcement officers were “hitting the villagers, even the old”, wrote one resident, Zou Shaobing, on a micro-blog.

Reporters were also then targeted.

Elderly woman protester in Wukan tries to stop her own bleeding after she was attacked by Chinese police

A reporter from Hong Kong’s liberal Ming Pao newspaper told local broadcaster Cable TV a group had broken into a villager’s house where he and another two Hong Kong reporters were on Wednesday evening.

“At least 20 people knocked on the door, broke it down and requested us to kneel down. One of the reporters didn’t manage to kneel down and was shoved to the floor. Another reporter was punched and I was slapped twice,” the unnamed male reporter said.

They were then taken to the local police station for interrogation, he said, where they were asked about how they had entered the village, who they had contacted and were asked to write a letter promising not to visit the area again.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper said its reporter was one of the others detained at the villager’s home.

“The Post is highly concerned about the incident and condemns the detention of journalists,” the newspaper said.

– ‘Beaten and removed’ –

Two other Hong Kong reporters were stopped just outside Wukan and were held in a police station for around five hours where they had their phones investigated and fingerprints recorded.

A protestor against the jailing of former Wukan village head Lin Zuluan holds a sign.

One of them told AFP that they had to sign forms admitting they were conducting “illegal reporting” and that they would never do so again in the area.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association called on the city government to investigate and ensure journalists working on the mainland were protected.

It said that at least five journalists and photographers from Hong Kong had been “beaten and removed from their hideout in Wukan”.

The reporters had been held for six hours before being released and returned “unwillingly” to Hong Kong, the statement added.

The Global Times, closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party, blamed foreign press for interference.

It said “unscrupulous media” had “encouraged, planned and organised the chaos (in Wukan)” but that local police had not resorted to violence.

The newspaper said life in Wukan had now “returned to normal”.

Ming Pao reported that villagers had been offered 20,000 yuan (US$3,000) for information on “foreign forces”.

AFP journalists said access to the village had been blocked by police Tuesday.

Related:

  (The BBC Presenter clearly took the side of the Chinese government)

HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh pose for an official photograph with the President of The People’s Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, accompanied by Madame Peng Liyuan Photo: Arthur Edwards

Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

China is notorious for its forced confessions and state controlled media…

 (Contains links to many previous articles on the Philippines and the South China Sea)

   (From July 12, 2016)

Britain’s Nuclear Hinkley C finally gets green light after ‘revised agreement’ with EDF

September 15, 2016

Hinkley point — A computer generated image (CGI) of the French energy producer’s proposed two nuclear reactors. Credit AFP, Getty Images

By Telegraph Reporters
15 September 2016 • 8:13am

The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will go ahead following a “new agreement” with EDF, the Government has confirmed.

Ministers said they had imposed “significant new safeguards” for future foreign investment from China in critical infrastructure.

A statement said: “Following a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project, and a revised agreement with EDF, the Government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

“However, ministers will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure, which will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley.”

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the Government’s agreement.

“Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

“This decision is unlikely to be the grand finale to this summer’s political soap opera. There are still huge outstanding financial, legal and technical obstacles that can’t be brushed under the carpet.”
John Sauven, Greenpeace

“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”

Ministers said the agreement “in principle” with EDF means that the Government will be able to prevent the sale of the French firm’s controlling stake before completion of construction, without the prior notification and agreement of ministers.

The agreement will be confirmed in an exchange of letters between the Government and EDF.

“Existing legal powers, and the new legal framework, will mean that the Government is able to intervene in the sale of EDF’s stake once Hinkley is operational,” the Government statement added.

“The new legal framework for future foreign investment in British critical infrastructure will mean that after Hinkley, the British Government will take a special share in all future nuclear new build projects.

Animation: How Hinkley Point power plant will be built Animation: How Hinkley Point power plant will be built Play! 02:30

“This will ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the Government’s knowledge or consent.

“The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) will be directed to require notice from developers or operators of nuclear sites of any change of ownership or part-ownership.

“This will allow the Government to advise or direct the ONR to take action to protect national security as a result of a change in ownership.”

Unions welcomed the announcement, saying 25,000 jobs will be created by the project.

Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “Our members are shovel ready and dead keen to start work on the country’s first nuclear power station for a generation.

“It is excellent news that that the uncertainty caused by Theresa May’s decision to put Hinkley Point ‘on hold’ has now been dispelled and that the Government recognises the role of nuclear in a mixed energy economy.

“It means that the lights will remain on in the UK in the decades ahead and it heralds an economic renaissance for the West Country, with the accompanying creation of thousands of skilled jobs and the positive ripple effects to the supply chain across the UK.

“It is especially heartening that the new jobs will include 500 much-needed apprenticeships.

“This was the first big litmus test for big infrastructure projects, following June’s EU referendum and shows that there is the appetite for giving the green light for such projects that the UK so desperately needs for its future economic prosperity.”

“It will be a big relief for the 25,000 quality jobs which were put at risk by the latest delay, never mind the reputational damage inflicted on UK plc”
Justin Bowden, GMB

A state-backed Chinese firm has a third stake in Hinkley and is pressing to build other new nuclear power stations in the UK including Bradwell in Essex.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said: “Giving the thumbs-up to Hinkley is vital to fill the growing hole in the UK’s energy supply needs.

“It will be a big relief for the 25,000 quality jobs which were put at risk by the latest delay, never mind the reputational damage inflicted on UK plc.

“GMB has always had reservations about linking Bradwell and Sizewell with the contract for Hinkley. The Government should never have allowed the country to be held over a Chinese barrel.”

Claire Jakobsson, Head of Climate & Environment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “This announcement provides some positive news for industry.

“With Hinkley C being such a major part of the Government’s energy strategy it is a relief to finally see the project given the green light after months of delays and uncertainty. It is encouraging to see investment in major UK infrastructure projects continuing to go ahead.

“However, this project will clearly require a vast amount of support and it remains to be seen whether this deal is able to offer value for money. If new nuclear is to continue to play a major role we must see significant reductions in strike prices for future projects.”

Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general, said: “The final green light for Hinkley Point is good news for the UK’s energy future as well as supporting jobs and growth across the South West and the country.

“New nuclear energy will play an important role in supporting a diverse, low-carbon and secure energy supply, so it’s now time to push on with this key project.

“Investors are hungry for further signs from the Government that the UK is open for business. Pressing ahead with major infrastructure decisions – such as giving clarity around the next Contracts for Difference auction and the post-2020 Levy Control Framework, and expanding runway capacity in the South East – would give a real boost to their confidence in the UK in the long run.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We are pleased ministers have ended the uncertainty over Hinkley Point. This project will create thousands of quality jobs and apprenticeships and bring much-needed investment to the South West.

“But the Government must not stop here. It is time to get the shovels out for a third runway at Heathrow, high-speed rail and new affordable homes.

“Now is the time for the Government to make the infrastructure investments our economy desperately needs.”

John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director said: “This decision is unlikely to be the grand finale to this summer’s political soap opera. There are still huge outstanding financial, legal and technical obstacles that can’t be brushed under the carpet.

“There might be months or even years of wrangling over these issues. That’s why the Government should start supporting renewable power that can come online quickly for a competitive price.

“Today’s decision hasn’t been made on the cold, hard facts that show Hinkley will not deliver competitively priced, low carbon energy any time soon. Instead it seems that Hinkley became too big to fail. The potential for political embarrassment for the new Prime Minister was too high.

“The new arrangement for a Government special share changes almost nothing on the Hinkley deal and time will tell what it means for Bradwell in Essex, which is due to use Chinese technology.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/15/hinkley-c-finally-gets-green-light-after-revised-agreement-with/

Related:

Wukan: What a police crackdown in the so-called ‘democracy village’ says about Xi Jinping’s China

September 15, 2016

By China correspondent Bill Birtles

ABC News (Australia)

A small fishing village far from China’s capital may seem like an unlikely place for bold political experiment.

But the 13,000 residents of Wukan in southern Guangdong province have, for the past five years, been trailblazers for grassroots democracy in China.

Now, with 2,000 police swarming the village and putting it under lockdown, that political experiment appears to be finished.

One local who gave his surname Zeng told the ABC that police had broken into the family home and arrested his mother.

“Many people in the village were hit by rubber bullets,” he said.

“My sister was hit in the foot and the head.”

Extraordinary smartphone footage showed hundreds of protestors using rocks to drive back riot police.

But locals have also posted dozens of pictures of bruised and bloodied residents, and police said 70 people had been taken into custody to stem the unrest.

Wukan has history of activism, grassroots democracy

The people of Wukan are no strangers to clashes with authorities.

The town shot to prominence in 2011 when villages forced a major standoff with police.

They were furious about illegal land grabs, and to defuse tension, the provincial government granted them a rare opportunity in authoritarian China — to elect their local leader in an open, transparent poll.

They voted in one of the protest leaders, Lin Zuluan.

Five years on, Mr Lin has been jailed for corruption, and the town has once again become a hotbed of anger.

“These human rights violations reflect the failure to implement a real democratic process,” Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, Patrick Poon, said.

Other observers see Wukan as an example of a broader trend in China.

“Economic growth in China is slowing down, and the Xi Jinping leadership in Beijing realises there will be more protests by disaffected villages and workers,” Willy Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said.

“So setting an example of resolute action against disobedient villagers in Wukan is a way of telling the rest of the country that Beijing won’t hesitate to use draconian means to restore order.”

A protestor against the jailing of former Wukan village head Lin Zuluan holds a sign.

But the lockdown in Wukan is also symbolic.

While village-level elections were introduced in 1979, they have failed to push forwards grassroots democracy in China, with corruption and Party interference a problem.

Wukan’s poll looked to be a turning point.

But with the town now under lockdown and the democratically-elected leader jailed, any hope that the Wukan model could be applied to other parts of China appear dashed.

“What’s happened is very disappointing, regarding the overall progression of political reform, because no advancement has been made since 1979,” Mr Lam said.

Topics: community-and-society, government-and-politics, unrest-conflict-and-war, china

Includes video:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-15/wukan-what-a-police-crackdown-says-about-xi-jinping’s-china/7845752

Related:

  (The BBC Presenter clearly took the side of the Chinese government)

HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh pose for an official photograph with the President of The People’s Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, accompanied by Madame Peng Liyuan Photo: Arthur Edwards

Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

China is notorious for its forced confessions and state controlled media…

 (Contains links to many previous articles on the Philippines and the South China Sea)

   (From July 12, 2016)