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China news round-up: Local government debt rises, artist Ai Weiwei protests with flowers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 8:09am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 12:39pm

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New York Times
The National Audit Office found that local governments had accumulated 17.89 trillion yuan worth of debt obligations as of the end of June. That was an increase of 12.7 per cent from December 2012.
China Change
More than 20 journalists are speaking out again against the Southern Media Group.
Financial Times
"Beijing is using tactics drawn from Josef Stalin’s 1930s playbook in order to crush any form of dissent by the Uygurs," writes Ahmed Rashid.
Yang Gang, a former member of the country's top political advisory body who is now investigated by the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog, has been the target of many petitions from business people who say he abused his power.

China Labour Bulletin
A Hong Kong-owned electronics company in Shenzhen employed more than 70 underage workers, forcing them to work 12 hours every day for a fixed monthly salary of just 2,000 yuan.
New York Times Style Magazine
Ai Weiwei protests his loss of freedom with flowers.
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
The party will 'persist in the basic national policy of birth planning', allowing government bureaucrats the ability to remain deeply involved in the reproductive choices made by couples.
Radio Free Asia
Two protest rallies against polluting construction projects occurred in Guangdong province.

Tech in Asia
Baidu distinguished itself from Alibaba, Tencent, and Qihoo by continuing to double down on online media in 2013.
Wall Street Journal - China Real Time Report
A new breed of shadow bankers has stepped in to lend to debt-hungry businesses and households as the Chinese government tries to rein in traditional banks.
General Motors’s Chinese joint venture will recall 1.46 million cars to replace defective fuel-pump brackets in China’s biggest call back since a new law broadening manufacturer liability came into force.
China Business News*
China's securities regulator approves five new IPOs.

Foreign affairs
Council on Foreign Relations
"To fail to be firm with China carries the risk of a return to a world of great power politics," writes Col Robert S. Spalding.
Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should be able to exercise the right to collective self-defense in the event that a “grave situation” emerges while Self-Defense Force ships are participating in joint patrols of key sea lanes for transporting crude oil and other essential items, according to a government panel report.
Foreign Affairs
China has started to delink economics from politics in its ties with Japan.
While some Chinese businessmen are now worried that changes to their pre-existing cooperative partnerships with North Korea may affect investment and cooperation projects, concrete evidence of this fear still has not yet been seen.

* denotes articles in Chinese language.