China ASEAN Monitor
Politics and Security
Panama papers: how China’s great firewall is protecting its leaders
While several of China’s most powerful politicians have been linked to the “Panama Papers” leaks, blanket Internet censorship has prevented the country’s citizens from learning about it. The names of relatives of President Xi Jinping and other powerful members of the Communist Party have come up in relation to secretive offshore companies, prompting a media blackout and the censoring of social media and the Internet through the so-called Great Firewall of China.
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China to release more water to alleviate Southeast Asia drought
China will release more water from a dam in its southwestern province of Yunnan to help alleviate a drought in parts of Southeast Asia, China’s Foreign Ministry said on 12 April, following an initial release begun last month. The actual amount of water released will be decided upon by how much water there is to release upstream and the demands of downstream users. Thailand is facing its worst water shortage in two decades and in Vietnam some 1.8 million people are facing water shortages.
Vietnam tells China to pull its oil rig as new Prime Minister takes office
Vietnam’s new Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in his inaugural speech on 7 April that he would defend Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, referring to the ongoing territorial disputes with China. The same day the government in Hanoi told Beijing to pull its oil rig from waters between the two countries that haven’t been demarcated yet and urged China not to drill for oil or gas in the area.
China, ASEAN countries to improve anti-terror cooperation
China and ASEAN countries decided to improve their cooperation in security and anti-terrorism during a meeting in Beijing on 7 April. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to put into action the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security strategy for Asia, which was previously proposed by President Xi Jinping at the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in 2014.
The Chinese Economy
China stanches flow of money out of the country, data suggests
New data suggests that China has stanched, at least for now, the heavy flow of money that flowed out of the country last yeast. Estimated at nearly US$1 trillion, the money flow was seen as a sign of growing scepticism about the Chinese economy. Chinese officials said on 7 April that the country’s foreign exchange reserves grew in March, for the first time in five months. Those reserves of about US$3.21 trillion are a rough proxy for the money moving in and out of the country.