CSG news update -- 2007-06-12

From China Study Group <chinastudygroup@gmail.com>
Date Tue, 12 Jun 2007 02:00:33 -0700

China Study Group news update

Southern China rainstorms death toll rises to 71
Xinhua | 2007-06-11
BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from heavy rains that pelted southern China last week stood at 71 as of Monday evening, with reports of five more people being killed, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.      "Torrential rains, mud slides and floods triggered by widespread rains...

Hu's Tightening Grip: CMC Personnel Shifts and Increasing the PLA's Budget
China Brief | 2007-06-11
Willy Lam
Chinese President Hu Jintao is strengthening the People's Liberation Army's command structure even as the Pentagon has spotlighted its rapid modernization in its recently released report on China's military power. As chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since late 2004, Hu i...

Grey Income: A Report Causes an Uproar
Economic Observer | 2007-06-11
Ma Guochuan
"At the top of the income ladder there's a large quantity of unrecorded income that is causing income disparity in China to grow. Urban families at the top ten percent of the income bracket are now making 31 times more than those at the bottom ten percent, and not the nine times that statistics ...

Beijing Demolition Plan on Hold as "Voters" Object
New York Times | 2007-06-11
BEIJING (Reuters) - A rare vote by residents of a dilapidated neighborhood has thrown the largest demolition project in Beijing in decades into doubt, a result state media on Monday described as an embarrassment for the developers.  State media hailed the "referendum" as significant in a country w...

SEPA: Environmental Law Enforcement a Constant Challenge
China.org.cn | 2007-06-11
Zhang Yunxing
Nine months have passed since Ma Ning took his office on September 3, 2006 as director for Southwest Environmental Protection Supervision Center sponsored by State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). On that day, he left Beijing for Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Provi...

Chinese, Russian companies ink 2 bln-dollar contracts
People's Daily Online | 2007-06-11
Chinese and Russian companies on Sunday in St. Petersburg inked a series of contracts ranging from agriculture to car-making, on the sidelines of an international economic forum.  The 19 contracts are valued at about 2 billion U.S. dollars.  Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and her Russian counterpart...

China's old-age insurance scheme to cover migrant workers
People's Daily Online | 2007-06-11
 China's 140 million migrant rural workers will soon be covered by the nation's old-age pension scheme, according to Zhang Xiaojian, vice minister of labor and social security.  A draft of the national old-age insurance system for migrant rural workers has been worked out and will be submi...

An Olympic Reprieve for China's Convicts
Time | 2007-06-11
For those facing time on China's death row, it must have come as a rare piece of good news: late last week, the Chinese government said it has reduced the number of prisoners it will execute this year. On Friday the China Daily, the country's official English-language newspaper, published fi...

China biggest Asian military spender
USA Today | 2007-06-11
Associated Press
STOCKHOLM (AP)  The United States remained the world's biggest military spender last year, devoting about $529 billion to arms, while China overtook Japan as Asia's top arms spender, a Swedish research institute said Monday.  The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said...

Group Says Beijing Exploiting Children To Make Olympic Merchandise
Radio Free Europe | 2007-06-11
Breffni O'Rourke
 June 11, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- China has been accused of allowing the exploitation of children and adult workers at enterprises manufacturing official merchandise for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  The Play Fair Alliance, a human-rights panel which monitors working conditions, gave details about the c...

China's Trade Surplus Soared in May
New York Times | 2007-06-11
BEIJING (AP) -- China's politically sensitive trade surplus soared in May to the third-highest monthly level on record, according to government figures released Monday, amid growing pressure from U.S. lawmakers for sanctions against Beijing.  The surplus hit $22.5 billion (16.9 billion euros),...