China’s Xi Jinping Gets Second Term In Office

China’s rubber-stamp parliament unanimously handed President Xi Jinping a second term Saturday and elevated his right-hand man to the vice presidency, giving him a strong ally to consolidate power and handle US trade threats.

Xi’s reappointment by the Communist Party-controlled legislature was a foregone conclusion, but all eyes had been on whether his former anti-corruption enforcer, Wang Qishan, would become his deputy.

The National People’s Congress has widely expanded Xi’s already considerable authority during its annual session, adding his name to the constitution and lifting the two five-year term limit for the presidency and vice presidency.

Xi received a standing ovation after winning all 2,970 votes for the presidency and Central Military Commission chairman. In 2013, Xi had received 2,952 votes, with one against and three abstentions, a 99.86 percent share.

Only one delegate voted against Wang’s appointment, with 2,969 in favour.

Xi and Wang shook hands as the legislators heaped on applause.

As part of the package of constitutional amendments, Xi and Wang for the first time took the oath of office by pledging allegiance to the constitution. Xi put his left hand on a red-covered book containing the charter, and raised his right fist to take his vow.

“I pledge loyalty to the constitution of the People’s Republic of China” Xi recited, vowing to “strenuously struggle to build a rich, strong, democratic and civilised” country.

Elevating Wang allows Xi to keep a formidable ally by his side, as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong cements his authority and sets his sights on a possible lifelong tenure — a move that has drawn criticism online.

Wang, 69, stepped down from the Communist Party’s ruling council in October under informal retirement rules.

But he has kept a prominent profile, sitting at the same table as the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee during the public sessions of the National People’s Congress while receiving fervent applause from the delegates as he voted.

Wang’s appointment shows that “he’s a really important political advisor,” said Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London.

“He’s a very capable politician, so it makes sense he would still be around,” Brown told AFP, noting that “it also shows we’re in an unconventional time in Chinese politics.”

Wang was at the frontline of Xi’s anti-corruption crusade, heading the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which has punished 1.5 million officials in the past five years, from low-level cadres to regional leaders and generals. He stepped down last year.

Known internationally in his previous role as China’s pointman on trade, Wang could help Xi deal with increasingly tense relations with the United States amid fears of a looming trade war, analysts say.

Xi Adds On Another Title- President For Life

On Sunday, China’s rubber-stamp parliament endorsed Xi’s move to abolish rules limiting the head of state to 10 years in power, paving the way for another potential title: President for Life.

Since taking over the Communist Party in 2012, Xi has steadily tightened his grip on virtually all aspects of the party, state apparatus and even how China’s citizens should think.

Along the way he has accumulated an array of increasingly fawning titles to justify this one-man power grab.

It can be difficult to keep track of them all, but here are the key titles, honorifics and other heapings of praise that Xi will struggle to squeeze onto his crowded business card.

General Secretary of the Communist Party

In a one-party state, this is the most important title in the land. Bestowed upon Xi in 2012, it gave him control over the world’s most populous country and is the crucial springboard from which he launched his push for even greater power. He has not looked back.

This term is actually not used in Chinese, as all power flows from leading the party. But China introduced it for foreign consumption decades ago to provide the world with a familiar term to use and give the veneer of a state — rather than purely party — leader.

Central Military Commission Chairman

Mao once said “power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and the chairmanship of the world’s largest armed forces — also assumed by Xi in 2012 — is considered the all-important muscle backing up the party chief’s power.

Xi Dada
This term, roughly translated as “Big Uncle Xi”, emerged soon after he took power and was amplified by state media and party organs to promote him as a warm-and-fuzzy father figure.

Core leader
Xi’s official titles are nice, but “core leader” of the party — which he was declared in late 2016 — puts Xi in historic company. Only Mao, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin have been thus anointed, which essentially makes the bearer unassailable in the party.

Lingxiu (Leader)
Following the Communists’ high-stakes party congress last October, Xi began to be referred to in government meetings and state media as “Lingxiu”, a reverential terms with spiritual connotations. The last person so honoured was Mao himself, confirming Xi’s designs on Mao-like levels of adulation.

Also on Sunday, the parliament approved the addition of Xi’s guiding political philosophy — Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era — into the nation’s constitution. Mao and Deng are the only other leaders to have their names alongside their guidelines in the constitution.

Living deity
Party apparatchiks have fallen over themselves to offer praise for the ascendant Xi at the ongoing parliament meeting in Beijing, but a delegate from Qinghai province — birthplace of the Dalai Lama — may have outdone them all. Wang Guosheng, Qinghai’s Communist Party boss, said commoners in the province viewed Xi as a “living Bodhisattva”, someone on the path to become a Buddha.

‘Chairman of Everything’
Xi has taken control of an array of “leading groups” in the party overseeing economic, policy, foreign affairs, national security and just about everything else — snatching ultimate control in these areas from the government itself, according to some analysts.

China Ready To Hit Back At US

China, the world’s second biggest economy fuelled fears of a trade war when it warned that it is ready to hit back at the United States if it harms its economic interests.

It was China’s first response since President Donald Trump unveiled steel and aluminium tariffs.

Trump’s announcement on Thursday sparked a flurry of counter-threats from other nations but its main trade rival, China, had avoided any overt warnings of potential retaliation until now.

“China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States,” Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told a news conference on Sunday, the eve of the rubber-stamp parliament’s annual session.

“But if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by and will take necessary measures.”

Zhang warned that “policies informed by misjudgement or wrong perceptions will hurt relations and bring consequences no side wants to see”.

Trump’s announcement came as President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide, Liu He, met with US officials at the White House this week to discuss the fraught economic relationship.

During his visit, according to the official Xinhua news agency, Liu and his hosts “agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes by cooperation rather than confrontation”.

Since announcing plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from other nations, boasting on Friday that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”.

China has been the main target of Trump’s ire over the US trade deficit since his presidential campaign, but its steel and aluminium exports to the United States are minimal.

While China is the world’s largest steel producer, it accounts for less than one percent of US imports and sells only 10 percent of its wrought aluminium abroad.

Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the US market.

“The American action to put sanctions on other countries’ reasonable steel and aluminium exports in the name of harming national security is groundless,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.

Some US allies, like Canada and Australia, had hoped to be spared the tariffs. A US official said Friday no countries will be exempt, but added that possible exemptions to the measures would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Australia warned that a trade conflict could put the brakes on global economic growth.

“That’s what concerns me, if we continue to see an escalation of rhetoric and, ultimately, action around tariffs applying for imports and exports across multiple economies… this will lead to a slow-down in growth,” trade minister Steve Ciobo told Sky News Australia Sunday.

Trump ratched up the rhetoric on Saturday, threatening a tax on cars from the European Union if it enacts retaliatory measures.

On Friday, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU was drawing up measures against leading US brands such as Levi’s and Harley-Davidson.

China Spent 279 Billion Dollars On Research In 2017

China’s Minister of Science, Wan Gang has revealed that the country spent an estimate of 1.76 trillion yuan (279 billion dollars) in 2017 on research and development.

Speaking in a new conference, Wan Gang said; “China needs to enter the ranks of innovative countries and become a big technological innovation power by 2050.

“Basic research and frontier exploration is the big lesson that must be done now,”

China has been trying to ease its dependence on low-end heavy industries and to develop less-polluting ways to promote economic growth and move up the global value chain.

The 2017 spending amounts to around 2.1 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product.

This compares with around 2.8 per cent in the United States, 2.9 per cent in Germany and 3.3 per cent in Japan, World Bank data for 2015 shows.

China’s annual research and spending has risen 70.9 per cent from 2012, Gang noted.

China has established dozens of new high-tech industrial parks and incubators aimed at promoting technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and big data.

The country is also investing heavily to dominate industries such as nuclear and renewable energy, high-speed trains and electric vehicles.

Gang told reporters that China was aiming to bring output of electric vehicles up to 2 million units by 2020, double the estimated volume for 2018.

The Chinese currency exchanges at 1 dollar to 6.3115 Yuan.


Six Online Game Companies In China Named For Illegal Operations

On Wednesday, the Chinese authority released informations about six typical cases of online game Companies punished for illegal operations.

The Ministry of Culture said that in two cases, police foundNo real-name registration was found in two cases, reports from the Ministry Of Culture

Two other  companies had no registration with the administration.

In the other cases, companies induced players to pay illegal fees.

The companies have been fined and ordered to make immediate rectifications.

Chinese Government Ban Hip-Hop Culture, Actors With Tattoos

The Chinese government has placed a ban on hip-hop culture and actors with tattoos from appearing on television because the country now considers it “tasteless and obscene.”

The new order was given by the country’s media regulator, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT)

Gao Changli, director of the administration’s publicity department, in a statement, outlined four “Don’t” rules on Friday:

*Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
*Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
*Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
*Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity

The statement added that it  “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture),” Sina, a Chinese news outlet, reports.

The ban follows the removal of the prominent rapper GAI from Hunan TV’s Singer, a hit competition show. Clips of GAI, whose real name is Zhou Yan, were also removed from China Hunan TV’s official Youtube Channel.

Wang Hao, aka PG One, another well-known rapper, was forced to apologize earlier this month after one of his songs, “Christmas Eve,” was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women.


Astronauts For Space Stations To Be Selected By China

China will start selection for the next generation of astronauts who will train to work space station initiated by the government, said on Monday by the local media reports.


Yang Liwei, The Deputy Director of the China Manned Space Agency and the first Chinese astronaut in space said this during an open day at Beijing’s Astronaut Center of China.


“The selection work will commence as soon as possible and that Chinese engineers and scientist will be eligible to apply.


“We plan to select suitable candidates from space industry companies, research entities and universities and train them into engineers and payload specialists capable of working on the space station.


“Those who want to apply for an engineer’s post will need a master’s degree, while candidates for payload specialists will need a doctorate degree.


“They will also have at least three years of working experience,’’ Yang said.


According to the report, the country is developing and building parts of a manned space station and plans to start assembling it in space in 2020.


The station is scheduled to become fully operational around 2022.

China Breaks Record With World’s Longest Bridge

China said it has completed the major work of the world’s longest sea bridge on schedule, after its lighting system was installed and tested.

It took six years preparation, and eight years to build the 55-kilometre-long bridge linking Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao.

Major work on the bridge consisted of a 22.9-kilometre-long main bridge, a 6.7-kilometre-long tunnel and an artificial island off the bridge, which is considered the most technically demanding part of the whole construction.

In the next few weeks, engineers and constructors will test the coordination of the bridge’s various systems and equipment, and proceed with inspection and cleaning work, said Zhang Jinwen, project director with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) Authority.

“The bridge will be put into trial operation after its port project is completed and taken over by customs, inspection and quarantine, and border control authorities,” Zhang said.

In the past 14 years, the regional economy and transport network have undergone tremendous changes, leading authorities to re-assess the utilization rate of the bridge, said Su Yi, assistant to the chief of the HZMB Authority.

But Su dismissed worries that the bridge would not have enough traffic, saying, “we have full confidence for the future.”

“We have a whole toolbox of policies at our disposal,” Su said. “It is like playing cards. We can adjust our moves accordingly.”

The bridge will slash travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from three hours to just 30 minutes, further integrating cities in the Pearl River Delta.

Source: Xinhua

Goodbye 2017, Hope For A Miracle In 2018 By Segun Odegbami

As dusk sets on another year, it is time once again for us to perform our annual ritual of looking back and then peering ahead. In looking back at 2017, what we see is Nigerian sports on a roller coaster heading to an undefined destination.

Simply put, administration, as has always been the case, has not managed to match plan with potential in sports development.

In 2017, there was, again, no grand plan to harness the huge amount of abundant natural talent that the whole world knows exists in this mass of Black humanity.

What is noticeable about the year is an emerging trend, a subtle change in strategy, of identifying good athletes to represent the country in international competitions from the fairly large pool of Nigerian youngsters born or living overseas.

This group, honed in the more advanced sports cultures abroad, has helped to shore up the talent base and reinforced the quality of representation in several national sports teams. This has been mostly noticeable in athletics, basketball and football.

This newly adopted strategy makes a big statement about the state of domestic sports development within the country itself – very slow, or non-existent in most sports.

So, in 2017, we can categorically state that there was no remedy still for the absence of an authentic domestic sports development plan in the country. There is no functional policy, no good infrastructure and facilities, little personnel capacity development and definitely no grand plan.

The other day, I was looking at a document prepared by the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) in 2003, for a 10-year sports development programme in Nigeria using the Australian model but anchored to the Nigeria Institute for Sports (NIS).

That plan was actually presented to, and approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Implementation kicked off but was quickly buried in the storm of a change in government. The appointed members of a new governing Council of the NIS and new leadership of the NSC did not have the original vision, the enthusiasm, the passion and even the knowledge to sustain the implementation of that grand idea whose rewards and products lay in the distant future and could not be ‘seen’ immediately.

The plan was eventually ditched and now rests forgotten somewhere amongst several other similar archival materials of Nigerian sports.

It took a trip by President Obasanjo to Australia, and a visit by him to the Australian Institute of Sports for him to be apprised of what sports did for Australia that they could also do for Nigeria and its teeming youths. The ensuing enthusiasm birthed the approved but dumped 10-year Athletes Development plan.

The feeling amongst administrators at the time was that 10 years were a long time. To sustain the tempo for that length of time in this environment is impossible. Nigerians are impatient and never give allowance for germination and nurturing before cultivation. Things must be done now now and results must also be now now.

The fear is that no one survives that long in sports administration, and that they will not reap from what they have sown. Such is the myopia that drives sports development.

What cannot bear fruits immediately is not pursued. That’s why a coach must produce results immediately he is hired or he gets fired after the first major failure. That’s why Nigeria must win medals in the immediate next international competition or the administrator is counted as a failure. Achievement is tied to the medals rostrum.

That’s why also the short cut rules and fails down the line!

It has been 14 years since the Australian programme was approved. By now, if the country had been patient, had vigorously followed the plan, it would have become an advancing sports culture winning medals more consistently and steadily growing the sports industry.

In 1977, I was in China with the Green Eagles of Nigeria for an invitational tour. The national team visited the cities of Peking, Shanghai, Canton, and even Hong Kong.

China, of course, is an ancient civilisation with a long history dating back Centuries. But in 1977, I can testify, it was a Third World country in terms of economic, political and social advancement compared to the West.

It was a true communist enclave, relatively poor, overpopulated, remote and closed to the outside modern world. It welcomed very few tourists and visitors. Only very few cars plied its wide roads and boulevards filled everywhere with oceans of bicycle riders. There weren’t even coloured television sets in the modest homes the people lived in. The citizens wore the same set of ‘uniforms’ as clothing – white baggy shirts on grey baggy trousers.

The only Blacks in the whole of China according the information available were the Nigerian Ambassador, his family and few staff of the embassy. In all our travels in China, we did not encounter a single Black person!

Today, China is the probably second only to the USA as a global super power in virtually all fields. There are probably more Nigerians migrating to China than anywhere else in the world. There is a bulging Black population in China and Chinese cities have become some of the fastest urban developments in the world today!

All of this in less than 40 years!

The case of Brazil brings the matter even closer home.

When the Green Eagles also spent three months in Brazil in 1979, that country was very much like Nigeria, a young fledging emerging Third World democracy.

In fact, Brazil had a thriving Black population mostly of Nigerians of Yoruba extraction in the Bahia region where we went to play one friendly match. The country was very much like Nigeria rich in mineral resources and eager to improve the level of national infrastructural development.

The foundations of the first underground train system were just being laid in Rio De Janeiro at the time just as a similar project was sprouting in Lagos under the Lateef Jakande government.

The metro line system was a 25-year development projection. It looked like an eternity at the time. But only myopic self-serving administrators would think that way.

That was some 38 years ago. The metro line system in the city of Rio is working today and has moved the city into the 21st Century.

Whereas, the Lagos Metro-line system is just taking off now again after over 30 years in comatose, crippled by national politics, locked up in a drawer gathering dust and waiting for a national leader that can see beyond the mist of politics, and see that even eternity is NOW!

Whilst several countries have moved up the sports development ladder since the 1970s, Nigeria has remained in a warp!

The 10-year Athletes Development Plan designed by the AIS is dead. The NIS is a living dead institution. Nothing has happened. No meaningful sports development has taken place. No new plan is even in place!

That’s why the option of fishing for athletes to represent the country from the pool of Nigerians living abroad and honed in the advanced cultures of sports overseas has become attractive. It is the new short cut.

It is working in Basketball, in some Track and Field events, and particularly in football. Unfortunately, this pool of talent is still limited compared to the huge millions and millions of young Nigerian boys and girls in or out of schools waiting to be discovered, plucked, engaged and trained to become the best they can be all over the country.

In 2017 table tennis is one sport that has done fairly well through the effort of a few administrators with commitment to the relatively inexpensive community-driven sport.

There is wrestling also doing well and producing a pool of new local talents.

What is clear at the end of 2017 is that sports are still not appreciated by most States and the Federal Government as an important tool for national development beyond their periodic entertainment value.

As the country enters 2018, we hope that a ‘miracle’ will happen to change this mentality and attitude. That’s the only way some of us in the industry that keep our sanity in this clime.

Russia, China Building Weapons To Target US Satellites–General

A senior US general said Saturday that countries like Russia and China are actively building weapons that can target space-based US military assets like satellites.

“They’ve been building weapons, testing weapons, building weapons to operate from the earth in space, jamming weapons, laser weapons, and they have not kept it secret,” Gen. John Hyten, the head of US Strategic Command, told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

“They’re building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies, and to change the balance of power in the world,” added Hyten, who oversees all US military operations in space. “We cannot allow that to happen.”

Russia and China saw how the US military made successful use of satellites during military operations like the 1991 Gulf War and now seek ways to deny the US the ability to use satellites in future conflicts, Hyten said.

One critical space-based asset are satellites that warn US military planners about the launch of enemy missiles.

“Every missile that comes off the planet is seen first by one of our overhead missile warning capabilities,” Hyten said, adding that the satellites are “not easy to defend.”

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke alongside Hyten about the threats to US satellites.

“Most folks aren’t thinking about the fact that our first way of detecting a launch by North Korea, so that we can turn our radars to start tracking it and start aiming our interceptors to be able to get it in time, is a satellite up there waiting for that heat signature,” said Rogers, a vocal advocate of creating a separate US military Space Corps.

“We can not let that satellite be dazzled for 10 or 15 minutes, it would be too late,” he added.

Hyten advocated for making satellites more defensible, but he acknowledged that there are currently no rules of engagement when it comes to military conflict in space, adding that international norms are needed.

Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force, said the US needs to embrace a new policy and make it clear that if command and control or warning satellites are targeted, the US “would consider that to be a hostile act” and respond.

“It’s probably time as a country that we start to talk about this,” Wilson said.


FIFA Extends Media Rights With China TV Till 2022

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has extended its rights deal with China’s state broadcaster which has run since the 1978 World Cup.

The global soccer body said on Wednesday that it has agreed to grant China Central Television (CCTV) the exclusive media rights in China for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar respectively.

The deal with the state broadcaster includes all its other major international competitions until 2022, including the women’s World Cup in 2019.

It covered all media rights across all platforms including life, delayed and highlights rights, FIFA said in a statement that gave no financial terms. FIFA said that CCTV, which has broadcast the World Cup in China since the 1978 edition in Argentina, reaches 99 percent of the population throughout the country and that “the partnership will help FIFA to reach the widest possible audience in China”.

“China has an important role to play in FIFA’s global development strategy,” FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said. “Our close partnership with CCTV, reinforced by this new two-cycle deal, will make the FIFA World Cup even more accessible to the Chinese audience, increase further the popularity of the game in the country, and support the development of Chinese football.” China’s team failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament.