People worried as China’s capital blanket by pollution
admin • December 3, 2018 • 8423
A building in smog in Beijing, China | REUTERS
A total of 79 Chinese cities have triggered air pollution alerts as severe winter smog covers wide swaths of the country, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday (December 1).
China’s capital Beijing issued its first air pollution alert for the winter season on Nov. 23, and it has again issued a yellow alert, the third-highest in its pollution warning system from Saturday (December 1).
Beijing was visibly clouded in smog on Sunday (December 2), and residents were not happy, but many seem resigned to the constant recurrence.
As of Nov.30, five cities had issued red pollution warnings, the most severe in China’s pollution warning system, 73 had issued orange warnings, the second-most severe, and on issued yellow, triggering the implementation of emergency management and control measures, Xinhua reported.
China has taken steps to broaden its campaign against air pollution, including extending a monthly air quality ranking to 169 cities from 74 to pressure local authorities to clean up dirty skies. — Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Some senators are seeking to probe a deal signed between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and China-linked Dito Telecommunity Corp. (formerly Mislatel Consortium) amid concerns that the agreement could pose a threat to national security.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said she has filed Senate Resolution No. 137 after Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated that he was not aware of the said agreement, which allows Dito Telecommunity, the country’s third major telecommunications player, to rent spaces where they can set up equipment and other facilities inside military bases across the country.
Dito is a company comprised of Udenna Corporation, led by businessman Dennis Uy, and China Telecom.
“Is there now a ‘sign first, worry about security later’ policy under this administration?” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Ito na ang pangalawang beses na hindi nakonsulta ang defense secretary tungkol sa mga diumanong Chinese deals na pinapasok ng ating pamahalaan na may seryosong implikasyon sa ating pambansang seguridad,” she added.
Hontiveros further said that entering into a deal with a Chinese-linked firm is “irresponsible” amid continuing maritime disputes between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.
“Sa isang panahon na patuloy ang panghihimasok ng Tsina sa West Philippine Sea, napaka-iresponsable na pumasok tayo sa mga kasunduan sa kanila na hindi sinusuri ang epekto nito sa ating pambansang seguridad at kaligtasan,” Hontiveros added.
(In this time when China continues to infiltrate the West Philippine Sea, it is irresponsible for us to enter a deal with them without scrutinizing its effects on our national security and safety.)
The senator cited Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law which states that Chinese organizations and citizens are obligated to support “state-intelligence gathering efforts.”
Hontiveros said that under China’s law, Chinese corporations cannot refuse to assist such acts of espionage, since its Counter-Espionage Law requires that “when the state security organ investigates and understands the situation of espionage and collects relevant evidence, the relevant organizations and individuals shall provide it truthfully and may not refuse.”
“There is an urgent need to determine whether or not the presence of Chinese facilities in military bases and installations undermines national security and whether or not the lease agreements entered into for this purpose comply with applicable law,” she said.
The lawmaker added the agreement may be violating the Public Land Act which states that “military reservations cannot be subject to lease, occupation, entry, sale, or other disposition, until declared alienable by provisions of the Act or by proclamation by the President,” and the AFP Modernization Act, which states that any “sale, lease or joint development of military reservations must be authorized by Congress.”
Senator Francis Pangilinan agreed with Hontiveros’ sentiments.
In a statement, Pangilinan pointed out that two high-ranking government officials, Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, have earlier raised concerns on issues involving China, including the proximity of Chinese-dominated offshore gaming operators’ hubs to military camps and the influx of thousands of its nationals in the country.
“Hindi biro itong China telco involvement dito sa ating military camps,” Pangilinan said.
(This Chinese telco’s involvement in our military camps is no joke.)
“Ang concern: gagamitin nung Chinese government yung information na nakukuha [at] dumadaan doon sa kanilang mga sistema para itulak ang interes ng China,” he added.
(The concern is the Chinese government will use the information that passes through their system to advance China’s interests.)
The senator stressed the security risk is not a mere speculation, citing the move of other countries such as Australia, the United States, Japan and New Zealand to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei due to security concerns.
Pro-Beijing supporters flooded into a Hong Kong shopping mall waving China flags and singing the Chinese national anthem on Friday (September 13) where they were confronted by with anti-Beijing groups.
The confrontation came hours before a city-wide Mid-Autumn festival celebration where demonstrators are set to carry lanterns and form human chains on the scenic Victoria Peak, an area popular with mainland Chinese tour groups. The human chain is also due to be formed on Lion Rock which separates the New Territories from the Kowloon peninsula.
The anti-China demonstrations started in June in response to a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, but have broadened into calls for democracy.
China says Hong Kong is now its internal affair. It denies meddling in Hong Kong and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by its obligations under the Joint Declaration. (REUTERS)
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly P53 million worth of misdeclared agricultural products from China were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the Port of Manila.
The BOC said the products that were shipped inside 16 containers arrived in Manila last August 8.
The shipment was consigned to a certain Shinerise Trading Service. It was initially declared as fishballs.
However, upon inspection of the containers, the BOC found that the shipment contains carrots and onions estimated to worth P40.1 million, broccolis worth P10.04 million, and P2.5 million worth of potatoes.
The bureau has issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the said shipment.
The BOC also cancelled the accreditation of the Shinerise Trading Service and its broker was placed under investigation.
The confiscated agriculture products will be destroyed as these did not have necessary clearance as proof that these items are safe for public consumption, the BOC said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
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