Every Wednesday, The Diplomat’s editorial team scours the web to find the best material on all things China. From Beijing’s relations with its neighbors and growing military might, to a rapidly evolving economy and amazing arts and culture, we present a diverse grouping of articles for your reading pleasure.
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-The big news this week was the emergence of a new variant of H7N9 bird flu in China. Two individuals have already died from the disease and at least five others have been infected. Currently authorities do not believe the disease is transmitted by humans. In political terms this development immediately conjures up images of the SARS epidemic that took place early on in the Hu-Wen administration.
– Could Sino-Japanese relations be on the mend? The two sides have begun their first unofficial cultural exchanges since bilateral relations deteriorated after Tokyo announced plans to nationalize the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in September of last year. This weekend former Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a regional security forum.
– In February Daryl Morini outlined six ways Chinese and Japanese leaders can dial down tensions in the East China Sea.
– Many news organizations are reporting on a recent study that found that 1.2 million Chinese died prematurely in 2010 from outdoor air pollution. This constituted 40 percent of the global total. Public concern over pollution has been growing in China in recent months.
– There are signs the government has been proactive in addressing the issue. The Climate Institute’s 2013 report on G-20 nations’ green energy policies, which was released in late March, found that China was among the top five countries best positioned to compete in a low-carbon economy. This was partially due to the fact that China boasted over half of worldwide public equity investment in clean energies.
-For analysis on how China’s new leaders may address environmental issues see Greenpeace China’s Li Shuo & Monica Tan’s recent piece in China Power.
– Deng Yuwen, deputy editor of the Study Times, a weekly journal published by the Central Party School, told South Korean media this week that he was relieved of his position as deputy editor and suspended from the school after he wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times arguing that China’s relationship with North Korea was “outdated.”
– For more on China’s North Korea diplomacy, see Joel Wuthnow’s recent piece on how Beijing handled negotiations over the most recent UNSC sanctions against Pyongyang.
– Beijing and Shanghai outlined new rules aimed at curbing property prices. Beijing’s municipal government said it planned to finish construction on 70,000 affordable housing units in the city this year. Shanghai’s local government also said that it hopes to complete 10,000 affordable housing units in 2013.
-Creating affordable urban housing is crucial to Premier Li’s goal of accelerating the pace of urbanization.
– Bonus: Xi Jinping made his first foreign voyage as China’s president last week. Here are some interesting primary documents and official coverage.
– Transcript: Xi Jinping’s pre-trip interview with BRICS nations media.
– Transcript: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping’s remarks following bilateral talks.
– Full Text: Joint Communique Between The Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China
– Full Text: Fifth BRICS Summit Declaration and Action Plan
– China’s Foreign Ministry Recap of Xi’s speech to the Parliament of the Republic of Congo.