Sunday, November 11, 2012

China Looks To Buy Our Timber Companies

China Eyeing Timberland on Vancouver Island

Report claims Chinese state-owned firm is considering buying 12% stake in Island Timberlands

Posted: Nov 6, 2012 8:35 AM PT 

China’s government wealth fund is reported to be in negotiations for a 12.5 per cent stake in a firm which owns about 254,000 hectares of forest land, mainly on Vancouver Island. (Brookfield Infrastructure Partners)

The Journal said China’s government wealth fund, the China Investment Corp., is negotiating with Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management for a 12.5 per cent stake in Island Timberlands, which owns about 254,000 hectares of forest land.
Without identifying its sources, it said a deal could be announced as early as this week.
Island Timberlands is jointly owned by a subsidiary, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, and other institutional investors.

BIP shares were up two cents at $34.42 US on the New York Stock Exchange at mid-morning Tuesday.
It holds a total of more than one million hectares of forest lands in North and South America.
CIC manages China’s massive foreign exchange reserves and the Journal has previously reported that it has been in talks with Brookfield for assets that would hold on to their value in times of inflation.

The central banks of the U.S., Europe, Canada and others have been embarking on various program aimed at stimulating their economies by keeping interest rates low, raising concerns of eventual inflation.
The report comes as the Harper government considers whether to approve a proposal from the Chinese state-owned energy giant, CNOOC, for Calgary based-Nexen, which has assets in Canada’s oilsands and conventional oil and gas properties in Canada, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, the government announced it was extending its deadline for its review of the net benefits to Canada of the $15.1-billion proposal to Dec. 10.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NEXEN Blocked?

Canada Should Block Chinese Nexen Takeover

By Clive Ansley & David Kilgour  
Created: October 23, 2012 Last Updated: October 25, 2012
Related articles: World » International

A security guard mans his post in front of the CNOOC global headquarters in Beijing, 23 October 2007. 
(Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

The proposed $15.1billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen, Canada’s sixth largest oil company, by government-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is one of Beijing’s largest foreign buyout attempts to date.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China are unlike responsible publicly traded and private businesses in Canada, instead operating as extensions of the party state, often with priorities far different from the concerns of customers, employees and shareholders.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government must decide whether or not to approve the purchase under the vague “net benefit” and “national security” tests in the Investment Canada Act. It is important to keep in mind that what is sought is a complete change of ownership of a business with about 3,000 employees, which has been operating in a socially responsible manner in Canada and internationally for many years.

The takeover would constitute Nexen’s nationalization by the party state in Beijing. CNOOC is controlled by its parent, China National Offshore Oil, wholly owned by the Chinese government, which is in turn dominated from top to bottom by the Communist Party. A similar offer was made by CNOOC for Unocal of California in 2005, but was halted in the face of opposition in Congress and by American public opinion.

China Minmetals considered a takeover the same year of Noranda, then Canada’s largest mining enterprise, but abandoned it when Canadians became aware that Minmetals was a branch of the mines department of the government of China.
The board chair of CNOOC, Wang Yilin, is also the secretary of the party branch in the business.

Charles Burton, the academic and former Canadian cultural attaché in Beijing, explains:
“CNOOC’s party committee has a party discipline inspection group whose head, Zhang Jianwei, is also a senior member of the CNOOC board. Zhang’s job is to make sure that all the leaders of Nexen comply with the secret directives of the party leadership in Beijing … it is difficult to believe this will all go the way CNOOC, its Canadian lawyers, PR agencies and ‘pro-China’ Canadian supporters say it will…

The Economist magazine concluded in its Jan. 21 edition about China’s model of state capitalism:
“The Chinese party-state is the largest shareholder in the country’s 150 largest companies and directs thousands of others… A culture of corruption permeates China’s economy today, with Transparency International ranking it far down its list at 75th place on its perceived corruption index for 2011.”
The magazine quotes a central bank of China estimate that, between the mid-1990s and 2008, up to 18,000 Chinese officials and executives of state-owned companies “made off with a total of $123 billion” (averaging about $6 million each) and concluded, “by turning companies into organs of the government, state capitalism simultaneously concentrates power and corrupts it.

The Party, published in 2010 by Richard McGregor, former China bureau chief for the Financial Times, documents its continuing grip on the government, courts, media and military.
“Top leaders adhere to Marxism in their public statements, even as they depend on a ruthless private sector to create jobs … (It) has eradicated or emasculated political rivals; eliminated the autonomy of the courts and press; restricted religion and civil society; denigrated rival versions of nationhood; centralized political power; established extensive networks of security police; and dispatched dissidents to labour camps.”

Consider the conduct of Chinese SOEs globally. When the China National Petroleum Corp. took a stake in Sudan’s oil fields in 1996, Beijing subsequently backed the al-Bashir regime in Khartoum, selling it arms and providing diplomatic cover at the UN Security Council. Bashir and his agents committed systematic atrocities in south Sudan and Darfur for which he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. Africans also accuse Chinese resource companies of underbidding local firms and not hiring local residents. In Zambia, Chinese mining companies banned union activity, and in two instances, were charged with attempted murder after opening fire on local employees protesting work conditions. Its SOE roles in Iran and elsewhere are similarly controversial.

In Canada, the SOE Sinopec flew 150 Chinese workers into Alberta in 2007 to build a storage tank on an oil project. Two were killed and two were injured when the tank roof collapsed. When the Alberta government laid charges for failing to protect its workers, Sinopec’s construction company denied a presence in Canada (no doubt recognizing that this position might affect the bid for Nexen, the company recently pleaded guilty). Major corporations are above the law in China and routinely ignore safety, environmental and employment legislation with impunity.

On Oct. 17, Lucy Zhou of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada said the association has now identified 76 people persecuted by CNOOC and its subsidiaries for practicing Falun Gong. CNOOC fired employees that practiced Falun Gong or cut their wages. It imprisoned employees and used company security personnel to force them into detention and brainwashing facilities.

In short, Chinese SOEs in general and CNOOC in particular, being dominated by the political views of the Communist Party, violate values held dearly by Canadians, including the right to dignity, safe working conditions, to bargain collectively, and the right not to be persecuted for religious reasons. The revelations in recent days that CNOOC has persecuted its Falun Gong employees should be the final straw in deciding that the proposed buy-out is not in Canada’s interest.

Beijing would not for a moment permit a foreign government or private company to take over a major business like Nexen in China. There is no reciprocity between China and Canada in trade and investment; the bilateral investor protection agreement, which took 18 years to negotiate, is now signed in some form, but not yet ratified by both sides. The courts and entire legal system in China, moreover, are controlled and administered by the party. Judgments in disputes between Chinese and foreign parties are politically, rather than judicially, driven; there is seldom a political reason to uphold a claim by a foreign entity against a Chinese one.

Canadians have indicated decisively through opinion surveys and other avenues the extent of opposition across the country to the proposed Nexen takeover. In a recent Angus Reid poll 58 percent of those interviewed want Ottawa to reject the CNOOC takeover of Nexen (vs. 12 percent urging the government to give it the green light). Not surprisingly, opposition to the deal was strongest in British Columbia (69 percent) and Alberta (63 percent) where more people are directly exposed to the Chinese invasion of the Canadian natural resource ‘patch’ and, rather remarkably, quite universal across the political spectrum: 57 percent of Conservatives were in the Naye category, as were 65 percent of NDPers and 69 percent of Liberals.
And when asked if they thought foreign governments should be allowed to gain control over natural resources on Canadian soil, the Nayes soared to 78 percent.

In blocking the Nexen takeover, the Harper government should publish a set of regulations for SOEs, whether they are publicly traded or not, to govern all foreign takeovers. Any SOE, regardless of national origin, will be limited to a minority shareholding in any Canadian business. CNOOC might be told that it can own up to 20 per cent of Nexen, provided that no other entity linked to the party state in China attempts in future to purchase any additional ownership.

David Kilgour is a former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) and MP for southeast Edmonton. 
Clive Ansley is a Canadian human rights lawyer and former professor of Chinese law, who practiced in China for 14 years.

China Will Be Building Its Own Cities In The USA



Shocking As It May Seem,China Wants To Construct A 50 Square Mile Self-Sustaining City South Of Boise, Idaho

Thanks to the trillions of dollars that the Chinese have made flooding our shores with cheap products, China is now in a position of tremendous economic power.  So what is China going to do with all of that money? 

One thing that they have decided to do is to buy up pieces of the United States and set up "special economic zones" inside our country from which they can continue to extend their economic domination.  One of these "special economic zones" would be just south of Boise, Idaho and the Idaho government is eager to give it to them. 
China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach for short) plans to construct a "technology zone" south of Boise Airport which would ultimately be up to 50 square miles in size.

 The Chinese Communist Party is the majority owner of Sinomach, so the 10,000 to 30,000 acre "self-sustaining city" that is being planned would essentially belong to the Chinese government. The planned "self-sustaining city" in Idaho would include manufacturing facilities, warehouses, retail centers and large numbers of homes for Chinese workers.  Basically it would be a slice of communist China dropped right into the middle of the United States.

According to the Idaho Statesman, the idea would be to build a self-contained city with all services included.  It would be modeled after the "special economic zones" that currently exist in China.
Perhaps the most famous of these "special economic zones" is Shenzhen.  Back in the 1970s, Shenzhen was just a very small fishing village.  Today it is a sprawling metropolis of over 14 million people.

If the Chinese have their way, we will soon be seeing these "special economic zones" pop up all over the United States.
So exactly who is "Sinomach"?
The following description of the company comes directly from the website of Sinomach....
With approval of the State Council, China National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH) was established in January 1997. SINO-MACH is a large scale, state-owned enterprise group under the supervision of the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
As you can see, Sinomach is basically an arm of the Chinese government.
The borrower is always the servant of the lender, and now China is buying up America.
The reality is that Sinomach is not looking only at Idaho.  Sinomach is in discussions to develop "special economic zones" all over the United States.

Sinomach has recently dispatched delegations to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania to explore the possibility of establishing "special economic zones" in those states.
Will such "self-contained communities" soon start appearing from coast to coast?
According to Dr. Jerome Corsi, the U.S. government has already set up 257 "foreign trade zones" across America.  These "foreign trade zones" will apparently be given "special U.S. customs treatment" and will be used to promote global free trade....
"The FTZs tend to be located near airports, with easy access into the continental NAFTA and WTO multi-modal transportation systems being created to move free-trade goods cheaply, quickly and efficiently throughout the continent of North America."
So what do our politicians think about all of this?
Most of them are greatly in favor of it.
"Idaho’s the last state that should say we don’t want to do business with Asia," Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little said last year. "Asia’s where the money is."

So will all of this "foreign investment" really bring jobs back to the American people?
Perhaps a few, but the truth is that these "special economic zones" that the Chinese are setting up are designed to be self-contained communist Chinese communities.  Some Americans will likely be employed in these areas, but not nearly as many as our politicians would have you to believe.

In addition, these "special economic zones" represent a massive national security threat.  The communist Chinese could potentially be able to bring in and store massive amounts of military equipment virtually undetected.
In the days of the Cold War, we would have never dreamed of giving the Russians a 50 square mile city in the middle of Idaho.
But today we have become convinced that the communist Chinese want to be our great friends.

The following quote originally appeared in the Idaho Statesman, but has since apparently been taken down....
"The Chinese are looking for a beachhead in the United States," said Idaho Commerce Secretary Don Dietrich. "Idaho is ready to give them one."
If relations between the U.S. and China go south someday, we will deeply regret giving China so many open doors.

The truth is that you can never fully trust the communist Chinese.  Their top military officers talk about a coming conflict with the United States all the time.  China is extremely interested in North America.  In fact, the Chinese and the Mexicans have even been holding talks on military cooperation.

But even if you don't consider the communist Chinese to be a military threat, you should be deeply concerned about the economic implications of what is happening.
Today, tens of millions of Americans are wondering why the economy is so bad.
Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the fact that we have sent China thousands of our factories, millions of our jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth is a major contributing factor.

If you do not know the truth about how badly the Chinese economy is wiping the floor with the Americen economy then you need to read this article: "40 Signs The Chinese Economy Is Beating The Living Daylights Out Of The U.S. Economy".
Beautiful new infrastructure is going up all over China today, and meanwhile many of our once great manufacturing cities are turning into rotted-out war zones.

China would not be what they are today if we had insisted that they abandon the communist system and respect basic human rights before we ever opened up trade with them.
But that did not happen.  Instead we enthusiastically welcomed China into the WTO and we let the predatory Chinese system run wild.

In 2010, China had a "current account balance" of over 272 billion dollars, which was the largest in the world.
In 2010, the United States had a "current account balance" of negative 561 billion dollars.  According to the CIA world factbook, that put us in last place in the entire world. In fact, our negative current account balance was more than 9 times larger than anyone else in the world.  If you go check out this chart it will give you a really good idea of how nightmarish our trade situation has become.

The world is changing and nothing is ever going to be the same again.
Just ask the residents of Boise, Idaho - they are about to have a 50 square mile self-contained communist Chinese city plopped right into their backyard.

This Is Totally Disgusting-Shame, Shame, Shame, Obama!

Jobs for China right on American soil! Wake Up Canada!

I Saw A Shift In Canadian Diplomatic Protocol

It was a time not that long ago when Chretien was courting the Chinese presence in Canada and going overboeard to make then feel welcome. I sensed something strategically and dangerously was happening. It disturbed me at the time as to why there was such a radical mistep in International/Security policy and of all places right here [in] Canada.

I witnessed this when China brought over their military [yes a personal military entourage/when HU made his first visit, China's first!], their first state visit to see Chretien also. All along the procession down Toronto streets there were Chinese Military cops with their weapons at the ready, a few journalists commented on it.

Canada doesn't allow countries to bring their military, so I knew this was breaking protocol for a significant reason: a show of force is what they wanted..they got it thanks to Chretien. From that point on I was looking for clues as to why.
So here we are today. Take it for what it is, staring you right in the face.

On the horizon we can expect more brazen action such as the 5th column of miners slated to come to our shores - just the start for Canada. Not however in the US; cities are being constructed just for them. You must think this is crazy. Normally one would , but just look at these sites, and what's already been agreed to.
I will post links demonstrating my point...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Very Angry Canadian Unions Over Chinese Workers

Canadian Unions Decry Importing Chinese Labor for Mines

By Justina Reichel On October 31, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

During a trade mission to China in November 2011, premier of British Columbia, Canada, Christy Clark announced a $1.36 billion infusion of Chinese capital for new projects in the province's coal mining industry. Controversy is growing regarding a plan to use Chinese nationals to work in four new coal mines being developed by Chinese-backed companies in the northeast of the province. (Government of British Columbia)

During a trade mission to China in November 2011, premier of British Columbia, Canada, Christy Clark announced a $1.36 billion infusion of Chinese capital for new projects in the province's coal mining industry. Controversy is growing regarding a plan to use Chinese nationals to work in four new coal mines being developed by Chinese-backed companies in the northeast of the province. (Government of British Columbia)

A group that represents more than 50 labor unions in British Columbia, Canada, is wading into the growing controversy surrounding a plan to use foreign labor in four new coal mines in the province. Chinese-backed companies are developing the mines, and temporary Chinese workers are slated to help operate them.

On Monday, British Columbia Federation of Labor President Jim Sinclair called on the provincial government to suspend hundreds of temporary work permits for the Murray River coal project due to questionable recruitment methods.
Sinclair alleges jobs were not sincerely offered to Canadians. He said recruitment companies are charging Chinese miners exorbitant illegal fees to work in Canada, and wages offered to the temporary workers are well below Canadian wages.

“We understand the jobs weren’t advertised fairly at going wage rates to workers in Canada,” Sinclair wrote in a letter to British Columbia Jobs Minister Pat Bell. “We are confident that no effort has been made to train workers locally. And now we learn that recruiters are asking prospective Chinese miners to pay a modern-day head tax.”

Wages offered to the temporary workers are well below Canadian wages.

The project is owned by Vancouver-based HD Mining International, in partnership with Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd., and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc.
In the coming years, the companies plan to open a total of four underground coal mines in British Columbia and bring in up to 2,000 Chinese nationals to work them. The first dozen approved under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program are to arrive by the end of the month.

HD Mining and British Columbia’s provincial government say the Chinese workers are needed because of a shortage of skilled labor in Canada, as well as a lack of Canadians trained in the particular long-wall style of mining used in the Murray River project.

But Steve Hunt, Western Canada director for the United Steelworkers Union, says this argument is a red herring and an excuse to exploit cheap labor from China.

“We’ve long-wall mined in this country before, and we’ll do it again. It’s just a different process in mining. It’s not complicated—it’s a different set of equipment,” he said.
“This is simply the [British Columbia] government trying to make excuses. And quite frankly, instead of standing up for British Columbians and Canadians, they’re just simply standing up for this mining operator.”

Hunt notes that the United Steel Workers, which has over 225,000 members in Canada, was not contacted by HD Mining during the recruitment process.
“I’ve had calls and emails from people that have applied for jobs at this mine and didn’t get a response,” he said.

Jobs were advertised, says company

However, HD Mining says it met federal government requirements both to recruit Canadians first and to offer competitive wages.
“There were about eight or nine different publications that we advertised the jobs in,” said Jody Shimkus, a spokeswoman for HD Mining.
“We advertised for these jobs and we did not get experienced Canadian long-wall miners interested in these jobs, if they do in fact exist,” Shimkus adds.
“We have to satisfy the federal government that we have made efforts to recruit and employ local Canadians before they will give us the labor market opinion and approve the temporary foreign workers.”

The provincial government has said the Chinese jobs will be temporary—lasting just a six- to eight-month period while the initial exploration takes place.
“[British Columbia’s] government is committed to making sure that if these mines are found to be viable, British Columbians will be able to do the jobs that will be created in Northeast [British Columbia],” says an Oct. 16 press release from Premier Christy Clark’s office.

“There was always a plan for this mining company to bring their own workers into [British Columbia]”

—Shane Simpson, member of the Legislative Assembly

During a trade mission to China in November 2011, Clark announced a $1.36 billion infusion of Chinese capital for new projects in the province’s coal mining industry, which would eventually result in 6,700 new jobs.

Last week the British Columbia New Democratic Party (NDP) called on Clark to release details of trade agreements she made during the mission and provide evidence that any deals made in Beijing promised jobs to British Columbians first.
The NDP says a two-page meeting note related to the November 2011 meeting in Beijing with HD Mining shows Clark was aware that the company intended to supply half of the workers for the Murray River project with its own staff.

“The premier talks a big game with her so-called jobs plan, and that was the thrust of her trip to China. But it has become clear there was always a plan for this mining company to bring their own workers into [British Columbia] to work in their coal mines,” said NDP labor critic Shane Simpson.
According to news reports, Bell said Tuesday his ministry will investigate the complaint that Chinese workers are being asked to pay illegal fees to work on the Murray River project.

Huge Row Over Chinese Imported Workers

B.C. miner controversy sparks probe of temporary foreign work program 0

By Kristy Kirkup, Parliamentary Bureau

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Minister Diane Finley speaks to the media in Ottawa in this Sept. 20, 2012 file photo. (QMI Agency files)
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Minister Diane Finley speaks to the media in Ottawa in this Sept. 20, 2012 file photo. (QMI Agency files)

The government announced it will review how the Temporary Foreign Work Program operates after it approved permits for a B.C. mining company to hire Chinese miners even though Canadians are supposed to get first dibs on jobs.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is already investigating why the work permits were granted to 201 mine workers at HD Mining International Ltd., located west of Grand Prairie, Alta.

"We are not satisfied that sufficient efforts were made to recruit or train Canadians interested in these jobs," HRSDC Minister Diane Finley said.
Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers must apply for a "labour market opinion" from Service Canada that assesses "the impact the foreign worker would have on Canada's labour market."

"Concerns have come to light, subsequent to these labour market opinions being approved for that particular mine, that Mandarin was listed as a work requirement," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in an October interview with QMI Agency. "I understand HRSDC is taking a look at that to see if that was a valid work requirement."

The NDP, however, wants to see an "immediate suspension" of these permits and has demanded a full investigation to see if Canadian workers were given an opportunity to apply for the positions at the B.C. mine.

NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims also worries about how Canada's temporary foreign worker system operates overall and says a review is "long overdue."

"Companies used to have to search for six months in Canada before they could go look for overseas workers. And is just six days before being allowed to hire workers from overseas.... The system is being abused," she said.

Sims also criticizes the government for allowing temporary foreign workers to be paid 15% less than other employees.
"They're helping their business friends to bring in cheap labour," Sims said. "That also suppresses the wages for Canadians here."

The Canadian Labour Congress and other unions have also hammered the feds for approving the work permits, saying Canadian workers need long-term employment.
The employment standards arm of the B.C. Ministry of Jobs and Tourism announced on Oct. 19 it would investigate HD Mining

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

China's Election/NOT!

China's predetermined politics leave public disinterested

China prepares for election
Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China Wednesday, 
Nov. 7, 2012. (AP / Vincent Yu)

Janis Mackey Frayer, CTV Asia Bureau Chief
Published Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 12:09PM EST 

China is undergoing a political transition that happens only once every decade and, when it is complete, one of the world’s most influential countries will be ruled by new generation of leaders.
Its new president, Xi Jinping, was today anointed Chairman of the Communist Party and Supreme Leader.  Mr. Xi’s ascent is no surprise here, as he has been the heir apparent to outgoing president Hu Jintao since 2007.

Coincidentally the Communist Party’s 18th Congress, known here as shi ba da or “18 Big”, will get underway within hours of the U.S. re-electing its president.  The slate here will not be determined at the ballot box by Chinese of voting age, but behind the sealed doors of the Great Hall of the People by 2,270 elite Communist Party delegates.
There will be no breathless reporting of results on television specials as they are all largely predetermined. It means the vast majority of Chinese claim little interest in the process because they have absolutely no hand in the outcome.

“Politics is none of our business,” declared a Chinese friend earlier this week. “Everything is mi mi (secret) so what is the point to care?”
China’s new leaders will determine the course of the country and its important economy for the next decade, so in that sense, much of the world is curiously watching.

Mr. Xi will head the all-powerful Standing Committee of the Politburo, comprised of nine men (there is the slim possibility of one woman), that will balance expectations here with modest reforms while preserving party power and stability.
That last task may prove the trickiest so there is little chance of dramatic change any time soon. Mr. Xi and his comrades will not be officially installed to rule until the National People’s Congress convenes in the spring. For now, hints of “reform” manifest in subtle ways, like party communiqués with fewer references to the late Chairman Mao Zedong, a pioneer of Chinese Communist ideology.

“Gradually the Party is moving away from Mao,” historian Zhang Lifan said in an interview. “But if they do so too quickly that can cause problems, too.”
For the Congress, China’s government has left few details unattended in primping its desired appearance of calm and unity. Around the capital, it has ordered a refreshing of flower displays and food inspections at hotels. There are traffic controls in place and trucks are restricted from parts of the city. Balloons, kites and even pigeons are banned from flying. Kitchen knives have been pulled from some store shelves and boats were ordered out of park ponds by Beijing’s Traffic Authority to “ensure water safety.”

The security measures seem less a hedge against the spectre of attack or violence than the perennial fear of dissent. Internet censorship has ramped up, meaning Internet speeds have slowed down as they comb content. Taxi drivers have been ordered to remove backseat window cranks to prevent passengers from tossing anti-regime leaflets. Activists were told -- or outright forced -- to leave the city until the Congress is over.

“At first they were very nice. But then as soon as I got in a car with them they put a black hood over my head,” said rights activist Liu Shasha, who was taken from Beijing to her hometown in Henan Province on Oct. 22, according to Reuters.
Amnesty International says more than a hundred other writers, bloggers, lawyers and dissidents were told to leave the capital over the past few months. Their phones are tapped, email is monitored and, in some cases, policemen are assigned to watch closely over them.

“We are witnessing the same old tactics of repression,” said Amnesty’s Roseann Rife. “Respecting human rights would be a genuine show of strength by the incoming leadership.”
To dissuade petitioners -- the people who come from all parts of China to register their grievances -- an undisclosed number of police are on duty.  They are fortified by more than a million security volunteers to quash “bad behavior” as China’s rulers aim to choreograph stability and enforce it.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Heywood Murder: Daily Mail UK

Chinese lover who murdered British businessman Neil Heywood avoids execution

  • Gu Kailai admitted lacing British businessman's drink with cyanide
  • Wife of high ranking Chinese politician will probably spend 14 years in prison
  • Poisoning happened after her lover 'threatened her playboy son'
  • Media denied access to court to hear trial of 'China's Jackie Kennedy'
By Anna Edwards

The wife of a fallen Chinese politician who confessed to killing her lover, British businessman Neil Heywood, has today avoided execution.
A Chinese court sentenced Gu Kailai, wife of ousted politician Bo Xilai, to death with a two-year reprieve for murdering a British businessman, two witnesses to the closed-door hearing said.
The sentence means that Gu is likely to face life imprisonment - which would in effect mean her serving about 14 years in jail - provided she does not commit offences in the next two years.
Scroll down to watch the sentencing
Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, stands in the dock facing the court during her sentencing today over the death of Neil Heywood
In the dock: Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, was sentenced today over the killing of Neil Heywood
He Zhengsheng, a lawyer for Mr Heywood, said Gu Kailai was given the suspended death sentence by the court in Hefei.
Afterwards, a court spokesman said Gu’ s sentence had been reduced because the judges believed Mr Heywood had ‘used threatening words’.
The court also found Gu’s actions reflected a ‘psychological impairment’ but did not elaborate.
Zhang Xiaojun, an aide to the Bo household, was jailed for nine years for acting as an accomplice to the poisoning of Heywood.
State broadcaster CCTV showed a calm-looking Gu wearing a black suit, hands folded in front of her, peering straight ahead in the packed courtroom as she accepted the verdict. No foreign reporters were allowed in.

Gu said: 'I think the verdict is just. It fully reflects the court's special respect toward the law, reality and life.'
During the trial last week, Gu admitted to poisoning the businessman in November, and alleged that a business dispute between them led him to threaten her son, Bo Guagua, according to state media.
She confessed to luring her former lover to a hotel room where she got him drunk and then laced his drink with cyanide.
The alleged motive behind 41-year-old Mr Heywood’s grisly death was revealed at the murder trial of Mrs Gu, dubbed the Jackie Kennedy of China.
Facing trial: Gu Kailai, 52, and aide Zhang Xiaojun, 33, are escorted into the Hefei City People's Court to face charges relating to the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood
Facing trial: Gu Kailai, 52, and aide Zhang Xiaojun, 33, are escorted into the Hefei City People's Court

Gu Kailai
Zhang Xiaojun
No contest: During the trial Gu and Zhang did not raise any objections that on November 13, 2011, they went to Heywood's hotel room and, after getting him drunk, administered a fatal poison
The court room in Hefei, Anhui province was packed with people listening to hear the fate of the murderer. She avoided the death penalty
The court room in Hefei, Anhui province was packed with people listening to hear the fate of the murderer. She avoided the death penalty
Her lawyer even argued that affable Mr Heywood, a father of two young children, ‘should bear some responsibility’ for his own murder.
Mrs Gu appeared in court two weeks ago alongside her co-accused – family bodyguard Zhang Xiajun, 33, who is alleged to have prepared the poison – where they both entered pleas but they did not contest the murder charge against them.
The court heard the Jaguar-driving Englishman had fallen into an ‘economic dispute’ with Mrs Gu’s party-loving son Bo Guagua, 24, whom Mr Heywood had once mentored to secure a place at his alma mater, Harrow School.
A police officer stands guard outside Hefei Intermediate People's Court today. TV cameras were set up outside awaiting the sentencing of Gu Kailai
A police officer stands guard outside Hefei Intermediate People's Court today. TV cameras were set up outside awaiting the sentencing of Gu Kailai
Keeping watch: In heightened security conditions, to police officers stand behind tape in bushes close to the court ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble
Keeping watch: In heightened security conditions, to police officers stand behind tape in bushes close to the court ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble
Mr Bo, known for a love of champagne and shisha parties while studying at Oxford University, was allegedly told by Mr Heywood: ‘If you do not give me £13million, you will be destroyed,’ the judges heard, according to a reliable source who was in the courtroom.
Under threat: An undated photo of businessman Neil Heywood who was murdered in November last year
Under threat: An undated photo of businessman Neil Heywood who was murdered in November last year
During the trial, the court heard how Mr Heywood and his murderer had an affair which ended in assassins attempting to kill him.
Bodyguard Michael Wright, who protected Neil Haywood during his affair with Gu, told the court how he fought off three Chinese assassins in an attempt on the old Harrovian’s life.
Michael Wright and his team were protecting the couple during the time they shared a flat in Bournemouth and revealed that the exposure of the affair led to a serious threat to Neil Heywood's life when three men tried to break into their home.
His interview comes the days after Gu Kailai appeared in court in China accused of killing Neil Heywood after he made a threatening demand for £13million from her playboy son.
Mr Wright said the team were surprised by three Chinese henchmen under orders to kill Mr Heywood after a spy, posing as a cook, has exposed the affair in 2001.
He said the three men attempted to break into the flat using martial arts but were fought off and fled.
Mr Wright said that despite the attempt on his life Mr Haywood and Mrs Gu became increasingly relaxed about their affair and would enjoy romantic dates at local restaurants.
'We respect the court's decision,' He Zhengsheng, a lawyer for the Heywood family, told reporters.
He and another witness to the hearing, which was barred to all but a few journalists from official Chinese media, revealed the verdict outside the courtroom.
They both also said Zhang Xiaojun, an aide to the Bo household, was sentenced to nine years in prison for acting as an accomplice to the poisoning of Heywood.
Political scandal: Gu Zailai, left, with her husband - former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai. The murder case is one of China's biggest political scandals
Political scandal: Gu Zailai, left, with her husband - former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai. The murder case is one of China's biggest political scandals
Implicated: The official allegation against Gu suggests Heywood might have been making threats against her son Bo Guagua, 24
Implicated: The official allegation against Gu suggests Heywood might have been making threats against her son Bo Guagua, 24
Gu's sentencing could be a prelude to formal punishment of Bo Xilai, a brashly ambitious politician under investigation for alleged violations of party discipline - an accusation that covers corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.
After the party leadership decides on those allegations, Bo Xilai could also face criminal charges related to the murder case.
Bo's hopes for securing a spot in China's next top leadership unravelled after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. consulate in early February for about 24 hours and exposed the murder allegations.
Bo, the son of a revolutionary, ran the southwestern city of Chongqing where Heywood was killed. Bo was seen as competing for a place in the Politburo Standing Committee, the body at the pinnacle of power in China, at a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year.
His downfall has stirred more division than that of any other leader for over two decades. To leftist supporters, Bo was a charismatic rallying figure for efforts to reimpose party control over dizzying, unequal market-led growth.
But he made powerful enemies among those who saw him as an opportunist who wanted to impose his policies on the country.
Bo was sacked as Chongqing boss in March and Gu was publicly accused of the murder in April, when Bo was suspended from the Politburo, a 25-member elite council that ranks below the Standing Committee. He has yet to be expelled from that council.
Four Chinese policemen have also admitted to charges that they sought to protect Gu from investigation - a development that could also prove dangerous for Bo.
Police sources in Chongqing have said Bo tried to shut down the investigation into his wife after being told she was a suspect. Bo has not been seen in public since March, when he gave a combative defence of his policies and family at a news conference during China's annual parliament session.
The murder trial comes at a sensitive time in China with a handover soon of power to younger leaders.


Looking far plumper in the dock than before she was arrested, there was speculation yesterday that the world was watching Gu Kailai’s ‘body double’ rather than the woman herself.
Micro-bloggers believe the government used a stand-in for Gu at the trial because her appearance has changed so radically since she has been in custody.
She has put on weight, when most prisoners in Chinese jails shed pounds.
Some are blaming her puffy appearance on the medication used to treat her ‘mental state’, though few are convinced.
Gu Kailai
Gu Kailai
Controversy: Looking far plumper in the dock, left, than before she was arrested, right, there was speculation yesterday that the world was watching Gu Kailai’s ‘body double’ rather than the woman herself
The Financial Times quoted two security experts ‘familiar with facial recognition software’, who said the person shown in state television footage of the courtroom was not Gu.
If true, the real Gu could have done a deal with Communist Party chiefs and be spending her time under house arrest in far comfier surroundings than a jail.
Though it may seem far-fetched, the use of a body double by the rich and powerful in China is well documented by the media.
In May 2009, wealthy 20-year-old Hu Bin killed a pedestrian when drag-racing through the city streets of Hangzhou. In court, Hu is believed to have hired a body double to serve his three-year sentence.
The same year, a hospital president who caused a deadly traffic accident hired an employee's father to ‘confess’ and serve as his stand-in.
In another case, after hitting and killing a motorcyclist, a man driving without a licence hired a substitute for £5,000.
Meanwhile, the owner of a demolition company that illegally demolished a home earlier this year hired a destitute man and promised him £20 for each day his ‘body double’ spent in jail.
The practice is so common that there is even a term for it - ding zui. Ding means ‘substitute’ and zui means ‘crime’, in other words, ‘substitute criminal’.

VIDEO: Gu Kailai's reaction to the suspended death sentence aired on Chinese state TV  

VIDEO: Gu Kailai escapes the death penalty for murdering Neil Heywood

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The China Threat To National Security

Chinese State Owned Companies May Sue Canada Over Deals

Chinese companies can sue BC for changing course on Northern Gateway, says policy expert

The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA), which will come into effect at the end of October, is Canada's biggest foreign trade treaty since NAFTA. What are its implications for BC?

Read More:
china canada oil, fippa canada
« prevnext »
Graphic by Craig Fleisch ( for The Vancouver Observer
A Canada-China investment treaty, known as FIPPA, will hamstring BC from negotiating a greater share of profits and creating regulations related to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline for the next 31 years once it comes into effect at the end of October, an international investment law expert warns. 
"This treaty, in effect, will pre-empt important elements of the debate of the Northern Gateway pipeline and may frustrate in a very significant way the ability of the current BC government or any future government—if the NDP were to win in spring—from stopping that pipeline or bargaining a better deal for BC," said Gus Van Harten, an Osgoode Law professor who specializes in international investment law.
Van Harten noted that arbitrators in foreign investment agreement disputes will most likely judge in favour of Chinese investors in cases where the host country attempts to impose new or updated regulations that may interfere with the investor's bottom line.
"If this treaty comes into effect, and there's any Chinese ownership whatsoever in assets related to this pipeline—minority ownership, ownership we generally don't know about—then Canada will be exposed to lawsuits under this treaty, because the BC government will be discriminating against a Chinese investor, which is prohibited by the treaty."
The treaty will protect investors' rights for 31 years as of November 1.
The Northern Gateway is a controversial pipeline project proposed to run from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta to the north coast of BC. It would build a twin pipeline running from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, BC.
The eastbound pipeline would import natural gas condensate and the westbound pipeline would export bitumen from the oil sands diluted with the condensate to the new marine terminal in Kitimat, where it would be transported to Asian markets by oil tankers. The project is currently under review from the National Energy Board, which is set to make a decision on whether or not the project will go ahead by the end of 2013.
The proposed pipeline has polarized BC politics. BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark has demanded a "fair share" of its profits for the environmental risks the pipeline could pose to BC's northern coast. Meanwhile, the BC NDP has taken a firm stance against Northern Gateway, asserting a "Made in BC" environmental assessment that would involve consideration for First Nations rights and environmental concerns.
Disputes can be decided in secret tribunals under FIPPA
Van Harten wrote in another op-ed for The Toronto Star about the unprecedented secrecy around the three-person tribunals which judge the disputes between a foreign investor and the host country. Harten called this an "about face" from previous Canadian government policy.
"The turn to secrecy is an about-face for the government. Canada was until now a champion of openness in investor-state arbitration," Van Harten wrote.
"The Canada-China deal undermines basic Canadian principles of public accountability and open courts. It raises dramatically the stakes of Chinese takeovers in the resource sector. If ratified, it will tie the hands of future elected governments for at least 31 years."
Canada paid out $160 million in investor-state compensation since 2001 under NAFTA, Canada's last major international trade-related agreement, with another payout pending in a case involving research and development rules in Newfoundland.
"We have lost about half of the decided cases against the government, all by U.S. companies under NAFTA," Van Harten wrote, as a warning against the investor-state clause in FIPPA.
Liberal MP and Committee on International Trade co-chair Wayne Easterwho has been a Member of Parliament representing Prince Edward Island since 1993, recalled the case of Ethyl Corporation vs. the Government of Canada in 1997. The Canadian government paid the Corporation $13 million after its ban on the import and inter provincial trade of the gasoline additive MMT—a suspected neurotoxin-- was found to violate the investor corporation's rights under NAFTA.
"Even though we were doing it for an environmental reason, under the investment rules it affected their future profit, and so the Government of Canada had to cut a check to Ethyl," Easter said.
"And that's what can happen when a government makes a decision in the public interest that affects a company's future profits of something they're selling into the marketplace. It really takes your ability of public policy out of public interest hands, being the government, and puts into private investor hands."
Harper government muffling debate: opposition MPs
The majority Harper government is continuing a trend of muffling democratic debate in the House of Commons by ignoring calls to study, debate and clarify a major foreign investment agreement between Canada and China, say opposition MPs.
"There is no mechanism that the Conservatives have permitted in this case to allow stakeholder input and full discussion about FIPPA," said International Trade critic for the official opposition Don Davies.
Davies proposed a motion on October 2 in the Standing Committee for International Trade to gather expert opinions, clarify ambiguities, and debate contentious clauses in the wide-ranging agreement.
After the majority Conservative committee voted for a confidential, in-camera meeting, the motion was removed from the Committee's agenda.

Easter said that this was "typical" for the Conservatives when they don't want to engage in a critical debate.

"The problem is with this particular government is they typically go in-camera to defeat a motion," he said.
"We should be doing what Parliament is supposed to do and hold a consultation so that we know just exactly what is happening under the investment agreement, and so that we can look at the implications."

One of the implications that Easter says he worries about is the investor-state arbitration clause, a controversial clause (Article 28) in the FIPPA that allows for a three-person tribunal to judge cases of investor-host country disputes in confidential hearings.

Policy watchers and opposition MPs have raised alarms about this clause, raising examples in the past where multinational corporate investors sued government of Canada in secretive tribunals ratified under NAFTA.
Harper government's consultation with House "unprecedented": Minister of International Trade spokesperson
A spokesperson for the Minister of International Trade Ed Fast responded to questions directed at the Minister about consultation about FIPPA with the House through written responses to The Vancouver Observer.

"In the name of transparency, our government introduced an unprecedented process for putting international treaties before Parliamentarians in the House of Commons. The NDP have already had two opportunities to debate the FIPPA with China and have chosen not to."
However, critics of the government's handling of FIPPA say that this is not enough, calling for consultation from provinces and territories and committee hearings at the very least.
Scott Sinclair, a senior researcher and director of the Trade and Investment Research Project at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, said that the federal government should be consulting provinces and territories about such a wide-ranging agreement.
"There isn't nearly enough consultation, and the intenton of Parliament to not even going to have a vote raises some very important issues about right to regulate and the rule of law," he told The Vancouver Observer.
"I think there's a strong case that the federal government consult each and every territorial government before this treaty is ratified. At the very least, there should be Parliamentary committee hearings to look at this agreement from every angle."
LeadNow, a non-profit for progressive politics in Canada, has launched a
petition to stop FIPPA.