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Related: President Xi welcomes Obama to visit China for APEC summit – Xinhua In his opening remarks, Xi praised the positive progress of the annual high-level meeting, urging the working groups of both sides to coordinate to implement the consensus of this round of S&ED and CPE. Xi said the new model of China-U.S. relationship is drawn from the experience of bilateral ties over the past 35 years. Xi said he and President Obama are determined to ensure healthy and stable growth of China-U.S. ties on a correct track. “China is willing to make concerted efforts to this end,” he said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for his part, described this round of dialogue as “excellent.” He said Xi’s strong speech opened the annual meeting and had raised the level of the dialogue.// any way to quantify what “excellent” means?
Related: China, U.S. to boost security ties, but no breakthroughs | Reuters China and the United States agreed on Thursday to boost military ties and counter-terrorism cooperation during high-level annual talks in Beijing, but there was little immediate sign of progress on thorny cyber-security or maritime issues.
Related: U.S. Probes Tibetan House Arrest During Kerry China Visit – Bloomberg During his meetings, Kerry raised specific cases of human rights violations in a direct, candid and constructive way as well as concern that there is a trend in China for more arrests and harassment of individuals who express political views, an Obama administration official told reporters at the end of the first day of talks.
US strategists face dilemma over Beijing claim in South China Sea – FT.com $$ In recent months, the US has come to two broad conclusions about its approach to the South China Sea. The first is that its efforts at deterrence are having only limited impact. Despite considerable US attention and rhetoric since 2010, China has slowly continued to shift the status quo in ways that are rattling both many of its neighbours and the US. The second is that US military strategy in the region has to some extent been asking the wrong question. For several years, some of the Pentagon’s best minds have been focused on how the US would win a protracted war with China and have come up with a new concept – known as AirSea Battle – to ensure continued access of US aircraft and ships to contested areas during a conflict.//remarkable if the US really thought it had a deal with China over Scarborough Shoal but proceeded with trust without verify/enforce. Wonder how many of the officials who worked on that reported deal have experience working and living in China? Based on this report they seem unaware of one of the most basic China 101 rules…no longer
Chinese Hackers Pursue Key Data on U.S. Workers – NYTimes.com nice timing on this story // They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances. The hackers gained access to some of the databases of the Office of Personnel Management before the federal authorities detected the threat and blocked them from the network, according to the officials. It is not yet clear how far the hackers penetrated the agency’s systems, in which applicants for security clearances list their foreign contacts, previous jobs and personal information like past drug use.
Related: Kerry Discusses Cybersecurity With Chinese Counterparts – WSJ $$ U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he had a “frank exchange” with his Chinese counterparts on cybersecurity this week. “Incidents of cybertheft have harmed our businesses and threatened our nation’s competitiveness,” Mr. Kerry said in a briefing at China’s Great Hall of the People following two days of talks between high-level U.S. and Chinese officials. Chinese officials, meanwhile, warned the U.S. against taking a confrontational approach on cybersecurity and other issues.
China Exports Strengthen on U.S. Demand – WSJ $$ China’s weak first-half trade results, which saw imports and exports grow by a combined 1.2%, will make it “tremendously hard” for China to reach its 7.5% trade growth target for 2014, Customs Administration spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said Thursday. That said, export momentum does appear to be returning, analysts said. U.S. imports of goods from China increased in each of the past four months to reach $37.99 billion in May, according to Commerce Department data. Despite tepid global economic growth in recent years, China has continued to pick up market share. Nearly 20% of goods imported globally by the U.S. now come from China, up from 16% in 2008, although some say rapidly rising wages may blunt China’s advantage.
Related: China’s Exports May Have (Gently) Turned a Corner – China Real Time Report – WSJ the uptick in exports represents a rebound from the first quarter’s 3% contraction. That suggests that, while the export cycle may not be recovering to its post-crisis pace, it is at least perhaps no longer slowing down. Two of Asia’s electronics exporting powerhouses, South Korea and Taiwan, have reported a similar trend. South Korea’s exports grew 3% in the second quarter, up from 2% in the first three months of the year. Taiwan’s also expanded 3%, up from just 1% in the first quarter.
Related: China’s Copper Imports Fall as Financing Deals Unwind – Bloomberg China’s copper imports dropped to the lowest since April last year as demand for the metal as collateral to obtain credit eased amid a probe at Qingdao Port. Inbound shipments of unwrought copper and copper products fell to 350,000 tons in June, a 7.9 percent decline from the previous month, according to data released by customs today.
China to take measures to promote judicial independence: Xinhua | Reuters The official Xinhua news agency, quoting a plan released by the Supreme People’s Court, said superior courts will henceforth be able to set up circuit courts to handle complex cases as well as tribunals specializing in environmental or intellectual property issues. Current handling of specialized cases is often marred by lack of subject-matter expertise among judges. The Supreme People’s Court appointed a senior judge to head a newly formed tribunal in charge of environment and resources cases last month. “The reform will be focused on efforts to remove some deep-rooted problems affecting the capability and fairness of the country’s judicial system,” Xinhua said, quoting the court document it said was issued at a press conference on Wednesday.
Related: The Supreme People’s Court Issues its Newest Five Year Reform Plan for the Courts | Supreme People’s Court Monitor On 9 July, the Supreme People’s Court issued its fourth five year reform plan for the courts, approved by the Party leadership, which sets out 4 broad areas of reform, relating to 8 general areas. An overview has been released on Wechat and other Chinese social media and can be expected to be published very soon in more traditional media. The Court described it as taking first steps towards establishing a judicial system with Chinese characteristics and is intended to roll out reforms announced in the 3rd Plenum decision and the judicial reform decision announced earlier this spring and some of its themes were highlighted in press releases published just after Chinese new year.
China’s dissidents feel the ‘chilling effect’ as party’s muzzling tactics prove effective | South China Morning Post “This is what Xi Jinping sees as the war, fighting in the ideological and discursive affairs of the country, like what people think, how people discuss the past and the future, how people discuss the role and legitimacy of the party,” said Zhengxu Wang, a China politics professor at the University of Nottingham. The party has worked for years to control the conversation, building up a vast network of state-run media alongside a huge censorship system that filters online content, even a constantly updated list of search terms and any oblique references to them. But Xi has pushed the party to act more forcefully, said Wang.
Related: Li Chengpeng’s Social Media and Blog Accounts Suspended – NYTimes.com The Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo microblog and blog accounts of Mr. Li, 45, who had more than 7.4 million followers on Sina Weibo, disappeared at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday. While no official reason has been given for the suspension of the accounts, Mr. Li, speaking by telephone from his home in Chengdu, said on Wednesday that, although he did not know at first why his accounts had vanished, he has since learned that his muzzling involved ”a number of problems accumulated over years.”//always found Li far more thoughtful and interesting than Han Han
Related: Fei Chang Dao: Global Times’ Hu Xijin On the Closure of Writer Li Chengpeng’s Weibo Radical liberals are cherishing the unrealistic hope that there will be a subversive change in China’s system, or even a collapse of the current social system. They probably believe that engaging in political opposition in China is a promising undertaking and the universal values promoted by the West will prevail eventually. . . . . In the pursuit of so-called “free speech,” radical liberals cannot take a swipe China’s political cohesion or publicly challenge China’s political system.
Like Bank of China, Citic Bank also offers service branded ‘money laundering’ by CCTV | South China Morning Post if start of a real crackdown then could hit luxury property markets around the world, as well as Macau and luxury goods makers..CCDI get the data of who used this service? Could be a useful roadmap to corruption and naked officials // BOC may not be alone in doing so. Industry sources told the South China Morning Post on Thursday morning that China Citic Bank – a mid-sized bank controlled by the powerful Citic Group, which is directly led by the State Council, China’s cabinet – provided the same foreign exchange service. “It is definitely not an illegal business,” one of the sources said. “Both BOC and Citic Bank have been able to do this business only after they got approval from the Guangzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China. So the PBOC definitely knows what the business is about,” said the source, who declined to be named, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Related: China Said to Probe Alleged Bank of China Money Laundering – Bloomberg China’s central bank and currency regulator are investigating a state media report that alleged Bank of China Ltd. broke rules on transferring money overseas, two government officials familiar with the matter said.
Related: Australia’s SIV scheme a target for money laundering | Business Spectator CCTV undercover footage clearly shows the Australian national flag on a Bank of China stand at a busy immigration show, advertising Australia as an important destination for investors. Social media posts from major media outlets about the story prominently feature a picture of a map of Australia. Business Spectator understands that the China Banking Regulatory Commission has intensified its investigation into money laundering and has recently signed an agreement with US authorities that allows greater information sharing about bank account details.
Special report: the legacy of Hunan’s polluted soils | He Guangwei – China Dialogue Cadmium pollution in the soils of China’s largest rice-growing province will take take many years to clean up–This is the second of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
PBOC Preparing Policy Tools to Manage Rates – Bloomberg China’s central bank is preparing policy tools to manage market-based interest rates and their use will require collateral from banks to conform with international practices, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said. “After rates are liberalized, the central bank will need an effective monetary-policy transmission mechanism in the money market,” Zhou said in a press briefing today during U.S.-China economic talks in Beijing. He highlighted the European Central Bank’s long-term refinancing operations as something similar to what the PBOC is adopting and said central banks generally demand collateral when using such methods. // 周小川：央行正准备新工具 利率市场化两年可以实现
Guest post: China’s shadow banking is risky, but how risky? – beyondbrics – Blogs – FT.com The FT shadow banking series provides timely assistance. For regulators, a better understanding lays the foundation for effective solutions, particularly in China where the swift disintermediation of commercial banks is under way. As a bank regulator in Shanghai, China, what surprises me, however, is that the China story leads the FT series on global shadow banking, and China’s shadow bank is labeled “global threat”.By any standard, I cannot agree with that.–Liao Min is Director General, China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), Shanghai Office.
Standard Bank says has $170 million exposure to China metal fraud | Reuters Standard Bank Plc said it has a total exposure related to China’s Qingdao port of about $170 million worth of aluminium, and has started legal proceedings in Shandong Province to protect its position.
Chinese bank debt finds favour with money market funds – FT.com $$ One money market fund manager said his company was keen to add more Chinese bonds to its portfolios but was facing pushback from clients. “They say: ‘There are ghost towns, cities with no one there – who made that loan? How can I trust those banks? How can I trust those numbers?’ We’re dealing with that kind of stuff,” he said. In spite of lingering worries, demand for Chinese bank debt has found support from a lack of supply from other parts of the world as well as the slightly higher coupons offered by Chinese banks compared with western counterparts – a vital factor in a world starved of yield.
Jinan lifts 3-year home purchase restrictions – Xinhua Jinan on Thursday lifted its three-year home purchase restrictions by allowing residents to buy more properties
U.S. Companies Step Up Business Conducted in Yuan – WSJ $$ The yuan is making inroads with U.S. firms now because it is becoming more cost-efficient to pay in the currency. American importers can often negotiate better prices with Chinese suppliers if they agree to use yuan to make a purchase. Chinese companies tend to increase prices when they settle trades in dollars as a way to offset potential exchange-rate fluctuations. Transactions in yuan still represent a tiny portion of the more than $500 billion in annual trade between the U.S. and China. But companies and banks in both countries say the currency, also known as the renminbi, is starting to gain a foothold in America for the first time since China began loosening restrictions on trading the yuan outside China in 2009.
JPMorgan Hires UBS’s David Li as China Head, Replacing Shao – Bloomberg Li replaces Zili Shao, JPMorgan’s former China chairman and chief executive officer, who was named the bank’s Asia-Pacific vice chairman in April. Fang Fang, the company’s CEO of investment banking for China, resigned in March after more than 12 years at the firm amid an investigation by U.S. regulators into its Asian hiring practices.
Gov’t Throwing Money away on Bullet Trains, Expert Says – Caixin It is unwise to continue building high-speed rail lines and trains while the current high-speed network has a hard time getting enough passengers and is operating at a loss, said Zhao Jian, a professor at the School of Economics and Management at Beijing Jiaotong University. He made the comments after Premier Li Keqiang visited a construction site on July 3 for a high-speed rail line linking Shanghai and Kunming, the capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan.// Zhao been saying this for years, doesn’t seem to have the Premier’s ear
China takes on ‘rat traders’ in stock market probe – FT.com $$ “This time CSRC is very serious about [dealing with insider trading]. It’s one of their big priorities,” said Ivan Shi, senior manager at Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai-based consultancy that tracks China’s fund management industry. At least 178 fund managers have left their jobs during the first six months of this year, compared with 150 during all of 2013, according to an analysis of official figures by Z-Ben. “The large number of fund managers leaving this year definitely has a direct relationship with the investigations,” said an equity trader at a brokerage in Shanghai. “The crackdown on rat trading is an expression in the stock markets of the national anti-corruption campaign.”
China’s top prosecutor orders more transparency in corruption cases | Reuters Such information should be released as par for the course rather than on a case-by-case basis as tends to happen now, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Wednesday, citing an order from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. “The public will be informed in a timely manner of cases such as suspected duty-related violations by provincial-level officials and those behind serious accidents or major food and drug safety scandals,” it cited the notice as saying.
中国腐败与反腐的变化趋势 – 评论 – FT中文网 【编者按】腐败的特点、
社科院将意识形态列入干部考察 实行一票否决_网易新闻中心 CASS to include ideology in cadre assesments // 核心提示：2月27日，中国社科院成立马克思主义学院，
Man’s indecent act costs him his job- China.org.cn The 38-year-old was also put under administrative detention, a punishment for violations not serious enough for criminal charges. Police said Wang Qikang had been drinking when he twice deliberately touched a woman’s thigh on a Metro Line 9 train on June 29. Police did not say how long he was detained for the indecent assault. Wang was an executive at the state-owned Jinjiang Shanghai Travel Agency. He has been expelled from the Party and dismissed from his job, parent company Jinjiang International (Group) Co Ltd said.
Chinese Journalists Warned Not to Work With Foreign Media – NYTimes.com will there be a crackdown on PRC news assistants for foreign journalists? // // The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which regulates the media, in a notice dated June 30 but posted on its website this week, alerts Chinese journalists not to pass on any information obtained in the course of their work to any foreign media groups or to domestic media where they are not employed, and it re-emphasizes that they are not permitted to write for foreign news agencies.
Eight PLA major generals implicated in Xu Caihou graft case｜｜WantChinaTimes.com Eight major generals of the People’s Liberation Army have been linked to the corruption cases of retired general Xu Caihou and former PLA General Logistics Department deputy commander Gu Junshan, reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.
南京军区新晋14名将军 蒋谟祥等晋升中将军衔_新闻_腾讯网 14 generals promoted in Nanjing Military District
Chinese military tightens auditing – Xinhua The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday introduced a 17 article auditing regulation to step up the fight against corruption in the Chinese military. According to the regulation, all malpractice uncovered by the PLA audit office will be transferred to military law enforcers. Audit authorities are banned from replacing such transference with lenient punishments such as fines or criticism reports, according to Li Qinghe, the PLA’s chief auditor. Zhao Keshi, head of the PLA General Logistics Department, said auditors will watch closely over military funds, expenditure, assets and all economic activities of the military will be audited.
The Coming Downturn of China-Vietnam Trade Relations | East by Southeast I recently had a conversation with a high ranking officer in Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade whose work responsibilities include promoting and facilitating border trade and investment between Vietnam and China. We have been meeting for years and despite past flareups in the South China Seas and the occasional anti-China rally in Hanoi, he has always expressed optimism toward the future of the China-Vietnam relationship. He has believed that cooler heads will always prevail at the upper levels of government and that the increasing flows in border trade and investment overland between China and Vietnam do much to alleviate the tensions brewing on the seas. But in my recent meeting, the officer expressed a 180 degree interpretation of the future of trade relations between China and Vietnam. He fears that as a result of China’s aggressive movements in the South China Sea, the two countries will soon adopt isolationist and protective trade policies toward each other, and the goodwill provided by decades of border trade and shared investment projects will soon become undone.
Australia will stand up to China to defend peace, liberal values and the rule of law: Julie Bishop-The Age Australia will stand up to China to defend peace, liberal values and the rule of law, says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. In the Coalition government’s clearest statement yet on how to handle China, Ms Bishop said it had been a mistake for previous governments to avoid speaking about China for fear of causing offence. Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe arrive to tour the Rio Tinto West Angelas iron ore mine. Photo: Reuters “China doesn’t respect weakness,” Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media, marking a break from the policies of previous governments whose reticence, she said, had only caused confusion.
China says more than half of foreign aid given to Africa | Reuters More than half of China’s foreign aid of over $14 billion between 2010 and 2012 was directed to Africa, the government said on Thursday, underscoring Beijing’s interest in the resource-rich continent to fuel its economy.
China issues white paper on foreign aid – Xinhua China on Thursday issued its second white paper on foreign aid, elaborating how the nation helps other developing countries reduce poverty and improve livelihood without imposing political conditions. The white paper, China’s Foreign Aid (2014), says as the world’s largest developing country, China appropriated 89.34 billion yuan (about 14 billion U.S. dollars) for foreign assistance through grant, interest-free loans and concessional loans from 2010 to 2012. “When providing foreign assistance, China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient countries and fully respecting their right to independently choosing their own paths and models of development, ” the document said.
Polls Slow Japan’s Plan to Revise Constitution – NYTimes.com “We’ve seen pretty consistently that the majority of the public doesn’t support what the prime minister is trying to do in the realm of this significant and historic change in policy,” said Daniel Sneider, the associate director for research at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. “It’s a dangerous game he’s playing, but he’s determined to do this,” Mr. Sneider added.
Japan Military Jets Scrambled Record 340 Times in April-June | Defense News | defensenews.com The Joint Staff of Japan Self-Defense Forces said, however, that around 70 percent of the jet launches were in response to Russian planes approaching Japanese airspace. The rest were scrambled in response to approaching Chinese planes, it said, adding that Japanese airspace was not violated on any of these occasions. The latest figure marked a sharp increase on the same quarter last year, when Japanese jets were scrambled 110 times.
Transport minister refuses to double Chinese tourist quota – Taiwan News Online Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih on Wednesday turned down a request by the aviation industry to double the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit Taiwan daily on group tours. Chinese tourists are already creating “a bit of turmoil” in Taiwan and the local people do not have a good impression of them, so now is not a good time to increase the current daily limit of 5,000 on group visits
China’s box office sales surge in H1 – Xinhua China’s box office sales totaled 13.7 billion yuan (about 2.21 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2014, up 24.7 percent year on year, official statistics showed on Thursday. Thirty-three titles achieved ticket sales of over 100 million yuan in the recording period, including 15 domestic productions, according to data published on Wednesday by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). Unlike in 2013, domestic productions accounted for less than half of the market share in the first six months this year, according to the SAPPRFT.
Asia Chats: LINE and KakaoTalk Disruptions in China – The Citizen Lab Since July 2 2014, functionality of messaging applications LINE and KakaoTalk has been disrupted for users based in China as a result of DNS tampering and HTTP request filtering. On July 3, LINE updated the keyword list used to trigger keyword filtering for users with accounts registered to Chinese phone numbers. However, the blocking of LINE domains in China breaks the update functionality for this new keyword list. Photo-sharing platform Flickr and Microsoft’s cloud-storage service OneDrive have also been recently disrupted in China by DNS tampering.// reports today on Twitter from Beijing that all of Google’s services are now unblocked…a blip in the GFW matrix or something else?
Closer Look: Is UnionPay Really Trying to Handle Payments with QR Codes? – Caixin a source with knowledge of the situation said UnionPay, a state-backed company whose payment subsidiary competes with third-party payment companies, is not launching a quick-response (QR) code transaction business. It is only providing technical support to a payment company that wants to use UnionPay’s influence to generate pre-launch buzz. Nonetheless, the move by UnionPay has caused controversy. Critics say it would give UnionPay and its partner an unfair advantage in competition with other third-party payment companies, who were told by the central bank in March to suspend handling payments through QR codes – those black and white blotches that can be scanned using a phone’s camera – for security concerns.
Qihoo 360 Joins Asian Companies Launching VC Groups in Silicon Valley – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ far behind Tencent // Chinese security giant Qihoo 360 Technology Co.QIHU -0.98% has established a venture investing group in Silicon Valley to bankroll strategically significant startups, VentureWire has learned. “We find a company we like, we try to partner and become strategic investors,” Qihoo 360 Director of Strategic Initiatives Mike Liao said.
LOOK: A harrowing look inside the home of the Hangzhou bus burner: Shanghaiist After police identified the suspect in the Hangzhou bus arson case as a 34-year-old Gansu man named Bao Laixu, reporters paid a visit to his home in Dingxi to learn more. Here’s what they found.//how are more people not crazy given the disparity and dislocation?
Music Dies Amid Crackdown on China’s ‘Gilded’ Performers – China Real Time Report – WSJ This week, China’s Ministry of Culture said it was cracking down on the use of government funds for such performances abroad — sometimes justified by the notion of “cultural exchanges” — and asking local ministries of culture to do more to prevent associated waste. “Some of these performances are even supported by government money,” the official Xinhua news agency wrote on Wednesday. “They don’t think about the cost, they don’t think about the object, or its outcome, and through dishonest reports or hyping try to seek fame. This not only wastes peoples’ energy and resources, it also damages the country’s artistic honor.” It described such activities as empty publicity stunts, or rather, as attempts to “get gilded.”
北大静园修缮后似高级会所 校长回应现场遭”嘘”_网易新闻中心 今年5月，北大启动“
Small Show At The Met Makes Me Wish… UPDATED Finally, I discovered something else when I looked up the donor of many, if not most of these objects: Heber R. Bishop, whom Hyperallergic once described as “an incredibly wealthy businessman who was enchanted with jade in all its forms, from geological shards to the most ornate jade carvings of China.” That article, published a year ago, revealed that these pieces were once on view in a room of their own, known as the Jade Room, “ showcased in an opulent room in the style of Louis XV, with fifteen delicate glass cases presided over by a chandelier.” // 富不过三代
China to Exempt Electric Cars From 10% Purchase Tax – Bloomberg The tax break also applies to qualified imported EVs, according to the government statement, paving the way for foreign carmakers such as Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Volkswagen AG (VOW) to benefit from the waiver.
Silencing a Health Reformer’s Strong, Lonely Voice – Caixin Dr. Liao Xinbo is struggling to square his enormous popularity and thirst for health care reform with a recent demotion that, in his words, marked the culmination of his frustrated work life. Liao served as deputy director of the Guangdong Province Health and Family Planning Department for a decade. But in April, superiors stripped the 58-year-old of his administrative responsibilities and moved him to a desk in the inspection office. Liao was demoted despite – or perhaps because of – his tendency to speak out against the cumbersome bureaucracy at the heart of China’s health care system. This outspokenness has attracted a huge following to his social media accounts and made him a favorite among Guangdong journalists who cover the medical sector.
Alibaba Group Fights Fake Drugs with Scannable Codes | Alizila The technology, which is integrated into the latest versions of popular shopping and e-payment apps Mobile Taobao and Alipay Wallet, allows consumers to scan barcode on drug boxes to get information on the drug’s authenticity, origins, usage, ingredients and contraindications.
Halliburton’s new China JV targets Xinjiang tight oil, gas | Reuters The latest venture between Halliburton and China’s SPT Energy, known as Xinjiang HTDT, joins similar tie-ups between U.S.-listed Weatherford and China’s Sinopec Group and U.S. fracking giant FTS International with Sinopec. SPT has 20 years experience operating in Xinjiang while Halliburton would contribute its expertise in enhancing oil recovery using fracturing technology,” Sun Xiaogang, SPT’s chief financial officer, told Reuters.
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