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This Week in China

Top Story The Chinese government strongly rebuked French President Nicolas Sarkozy for meeting with the Dalai Lama at a conference of Nobel Laureates in Poland over the weekend. Sarkozy’s actions “severely undermined China’s core interest, gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and sabotaged the political basis of China-France and China-EU relations,” said Deputy ...

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Top Story

The Chinese government strongly rebuked French President Nicolas Sarkozy for meeting with the Dalai Lama at a conference of Nobel Laureates in Poland over the weekend. Sarkozy’s actions “severely undermined China’s core interest, gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and sabotaged the political basis of China-France and China-EU relations,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Yafei in a statement.

 

An editorial in the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece publication, accused Sarkozy of drumming up controvery to draw attention away from his political woes at home. Meanwhile, internet users have called for protests of French goods and stores, such as Carrefour markets, recalling similar protests earlier this year after activists disrupted the Olympic torch relay in Paris.

U.K. Prime Minister Gordan Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also recently met with the Dalai Lama but without much consequence. Given that France currently holds the E.U. presidency, China is probably concerned at the visibility of French actions. Sarkozy will have to be careful where he sticks his neck out.

General News

Officials say upcoming reforms to China’s fuel taxation and pricing schemes will lower gasoline prices, which have remained high despite plunging oil prices.

China has banned pork imports from Ireland due to dioxin concerns.

Direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan will begin Monday with a flight from Shanghai operated by China Eastern Airlines.

Politics

In China, arrests marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One well-known dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was detained for his involvement in drafting a public letter that demanded political reform and was signed by over 300 academics, lawyers, artists, and farmers.

Japan lodged a complaint with Beijing on Monday over Chinese ships that sailed near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

Business & Economics

Chinese exports fell for the first time in seven years as consumer demand continued to weaken elsewhere in the world.

The government urged domestic airlines to cancel or postpone aircraft orders to keep costs low during a period of weak demand for travel.

Science & Environment

The “taikonauts” from China’s recent spacewalk mission are on a tour through Hong Kong and Macao where they are meeting with students, scientists, and the public at large.

Topping the United States for the first time, China published more scientific theses in 2007 than any other country.

China Moment

Perhaps it comes a surprise to no one, but a new report shows that more than 90% of China’s richest people are the children of senior officials (Hat tip: WSJ China Journal).

Photo: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

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