China could overtake Japan as Asia-Pacific's largest economy

Singapore - Chinese CurrencyChina could overtake Japan as the largest economy in the Asia-Pacific region and second-largest globally within the next five years, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Monday.

Although Japan is currently the region's largest economy, Standard & Poor's predicted China will lead Asia-Pacific sovereigns in economic growth this year, followed by India.

New Zealand, China sign free trade pact

Beijing - New Zealand, China sign free trade pactThe New Zealand government ignored calls by pro-Tibet campaigners at home to snub Beijing over its crackdown on Tibetan nationalists and signed a free trade agreement Monday with China.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, witnessed the signing of the pact - the first China has signed with a developed country - in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

China vows to take torch to Tibet despite "sabotage" threat

Beijing - Leaders of China's Tibet Autonmous Region have vowed to go ahead with the Olympic torch relay through the region despite what he described as the threat of "sabotage activities" by supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama, state media said on Sunday.

Zhang Qingli, head of the regional branch of China's ruling Communist Party, told a meeting to plan the torch relay on Saturday that "grave challenges remain ahead, as the Dalai clique is plotting new sabotage activities," the official Xinhua news agency said.

Zhang urged "all relevant departments to spare no efforts in preparing for the torch relay to ward off any possible mishap," the agency said.

New Zealand prime minister visits China to sign trade pact

Beijing - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the signing of a free-trade agreement with China on Monday.

Clark will also hold formal talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, China's foreign ministry said.

Last week, Clark told New Zealand's political television programme Agenda that the free-trade pact would be "comprehensive" and "high quality."

She confirmed that the agreement would allow some specialist Chinese workers, such as chefs or Chinese medical practitioners, to work in New Zealand.

She also said China had committed to a phased reduction of agricultural tariffs.

Hong Kong activist urges police caution on Olympic Tibet protests

Hong Kong activist urges police caution on Olympic Tibet protestsHong Kong  - A prominent pro-democracy campaigner in Hong Kong Sunday urged the territory's leader not to crack down on anti-China protests when the Olympic torch reaches the city May 2.

Emily Lau expressed concern in a radio broadcast that police might overreact to the protests which are likely to be the liveliest on Chinese soil because of Hong Kong's guaranteed freedom of speech.

China bans multiple-entry visas in Hong Kong until after Olympics

China bans multiple-entry visas in Hong Kong until after OlympicsHong Kong  - China has stopped issuing multiple-entry visas to foreigners travelling from Hong Kong until after the Olympics, a news report said Sunday.

The issuing of visas is also being delayed, taking four days to process in Hong Kong instead of one or two days, the South China Morning Post reported.

Business people and tourists who make regular trips to mainland China from Hong Kong can now only apply for single or double-entry visas, the newspaper said.

Chinese team in Delhi to guard Olympics torch

New Delhi, Apr. 6 : The Chinese Government has reportedly sent a team of investigators to Indian capital New Delhi to ensure the safety of the Olympic torch when it arrives on April 17.

According to sources, the final route that the Olympic torch would take is yet to be determined.

According to official sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, a special squad is being sent by Beijing to make sure exiled Tibetans don’t disrupt the relay. However, the city police has refused to confirm or deny the news.

Beijing does not want to take any chances.

Last month, agitating Tibetans broke into the Chinese embassy compound, waving the Tibetan flag.

Nepal formally bans Everest climbing to facilitate Olympic torch

Nepal formally bans Everest climbing to facilitate Olympic torchKathmandu - Nepal announced it will ban ascents of Mount Everest for 10 days in May, media reports said Sunday.

The ban will come into effect from 1 May and continue until 10 May, Kathmandu Post reported.

"The cabinet meeting held this week decided on the ban as part of Nepal's policy not to let its soil be used for anti-China activities," the newspaper quoted an unnamed official of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation as saying.

Taiwan reopens Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's mausoleum

Taipei  - Taiwan's Defence Ministry reopened to the public for one day Saturday the mausoleums of the late Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) leader, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and his son Chiang Ching-kuo.

The mausoleums were ordered shut by President Chen Shui-bian, who favours independence for the self-governing island and views Chiang's legacy with distrust.

Chiang's KMT government ruled Taiwan with an iron fist after losing control of China to the Communists and fleeing across the Taiwan Strait at the end of a civil war in 1949.

Chiang died in 1975 and was succeeded by his son, the late president Chiang Ching-kuo, who died in 1988.

Dalai Lama to attend Olympics - if China invites him

Dalai LamaDharamsala, India  - The Tibetan government-in-exile, in its latest effort to open talks with China to end the unrest in Tibet, said at the weekend the Dalai Lama can attend the Beijing Olympics if China invites him.

"If China invites him, he can attend the Beijing Olympics, but under one condition, that is there must be a relaxation of suppression in Tibet," Prime Minister Samdong Rinpoche said in Dharamsala, the exiled government's base in north India.

China-made frigate to head for Pakistan on Monday

China-made frigate to head for Pakistan on MondayShanghai, Apr. 5: The first of four F-22P frigates ordered by the Pakistan Navy from China three years ago will be launched on Monday from a Shanghai shipyard.

According to a China Daily report, the deal marks the navy's first purchase of a major fighting unit from China.

In the past, it procured such military hardware from Western countries, including Britain and France.

New violence, deaths reported in Tibetan area of China

Beijing - New violence that erupted in a Tibetan area of south-western China left up to 15 people dead after police opened fire on protesters, US-based Radio Free Asia reported on Saturday.

The broadcaster listed 11 Tibetans identified by local sources as having died during a clash on Thursday night in the Kardze, or Garze, area of Sichuan province.

China's official Xinhua news agency quoted a local official as saying police had fired "warnings shots" to stop a violent protest but had "exercised restraint" in quelling the "riot" outside government offices.

The agency said one official was seriously injured in the violence but reported no deaths or injuries to protesters.

Monks face punishment for protest in front of journalists in Lhasa

Beijing - The Tibetan monks who held a daring protest in front of a group of visiting journalists in Lhasa are to face punishment for their actions, informed sources said Sunday.

Officials in the Tibetan capital who hosted a brief visit by international diplomats shortly after the protest reported that no- one had asked what would happen to the monks, "but whoever exhibits separatist tendencies will be punished according to the law."

The quote came Sunday from sources who had been informed about the trip to Lhasa by diplomats from 15 embassies in Beijing.

The journalists had been told that the monks from Jokhang temple would not be harmed, but exiled Tibetan groups said that was doubtful.

Tibet is a treasure trove of natural resources

Tibet is a treasure trove of natural resourcesWashington, March 26: China’s interest in Tibet might be more than political, with the hold over the region likely to do more with economics, taking into consideration the region’s wealth of natural resources, particularly in terms of prospective lithium reserves.

According to report by the Green Energy News, for the most part, lithium is extracted from brine lakes. But Chabyer salt lake, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, at an elevation of 14,400 feet (4,400 meters) is the largest lithium mine in China.

Gateway to Tibet is a virtual war zone, closed as unrest continues

Gateway to Tibet is a virtual war zone, closed as unrest continuesNew York, Mar. 26: The gateway to the Tibetan plateau, Chengdu, a city of 10 million people in the middle of China, has been blocked off at various points by police and paramilitaries, and if a New York Times report is to be believed, a virtual war is on the region between the Tibetans and the Chinese.

The paper quoted a monk in Chengdu’s Luhuo County as saying that “Tibetans are dying for no reason. This is happening in remote places, and nobody knows.”

Tibet is No.1 lithium producer in the world

Washington, March 26: TibetThe presence of the largest lithium mine in the Tibet Autonomous Region in China, has now made Tibet the No. 1 area in the world in terms of prospective lithium reserves.

According to report in ENN (Environmental News Network), for the most part, lithium is extracted from brine lakes. But Chabyer salt lake, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, at an elevation of 14,400 feet (4,400 meters) is the largest lithium mine in China.

Amnesty claims that Tibetan monks who defied Beijing are missing

Tibetan monksLondon, Mar. 25: At least 15 young Tibetan monks, three of them in their teens, who sparked a rebellion against China's repression, are said to be missing in their homeland.

According to The Independent, the group handed out leaflets, chanted pro-independence slogans and carried the banned Tibetan flag during a peaceful march down Barkhor Street in the old quarters of Lhasa on March 10.

Their demand was that the Chinese government that has ruled Tibet since 1951 should ease a "patriotic re-education" campaign which forced them to denounce the Dalai Lama and subjected them to government propaganda.

China was indecisive during first day of violence in Tibet: NYT

New York, Mar. 24: Foreigners and local residents of Tibetan capital Lhasa who were witness to the anti-Chinese violence, have said that they were simply stunned by what they saw.

They claimed that so chaotic was the situation in the first 24 hours that riot police officers initially fled and were often nowhere to be found. Some Chinese shopkeepers begged for protection, they added.

According to them Tibetans rampaged through the city's old quarter, waving steel scabbards and burning or looting Chinese shops. Clothes, souvenirs and other tourist trinkets were dumped outside and set afire as thick grey smoke darkened the midday sky.

Beijing Olympics should be held on time: Dalai Lama

New Delhi, Mar 23 : Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said that he does not have any intention to oppose the Beijing Olympics and that it should be held on the scheduled time.

“Olympics should be held on time as it is a question of over one billion Chinese people,” Lama told reporters here.

Anti-Chinese protests by Buddhist monks erupted in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, from March 10 with a demand to stop the Beijing Olympics.

According to Chinese Government, the Dalai Lama has caused the trouble to ruin Beijing's Olympic Games in August.

The Dalai Lama, recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, had never abandoned violence after fleeing China in 1959, a Chinese local daily claimed. (ANI)

Ancient tombs unearthed in China believed to be country’s largest

New Delhi, March 23 : Archaeologists have unearthed 604 tombs belonging to Qin Dynasty in Qujia Village, near Xi’an in China, which are believed to be the largest discovered in the country till date.

Excavations were undertaken ahead of a railway improvement project in Shaanxi Province.

"I was astounded by the sheer number of tombs," said Sun Weigang, a researcher with the Shaanxi Institute of Archaeological Research. "We know Shaanxi is rich in cultural relics, with over a thousand tombs unearthed every year. But we have never found so many in such a small area," he added.

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