David Cameron meets Dalai Lama, hurts feelings of the Chinese people

The Beijing Morning Post is a commercial daily under the Beijing Daily Press Group, controlled by municipal authorities. Today’s front page features the following assortment of headlines: “China strongly condemns the British Prime Minister’s meeting the Dalai Lama”, “Subsidized housing that is being rented out or left idle must be reported” and “Electronic passports have arrived!”

In the first article, the newspaper reports that China’s Vice-Foreign Minister, Song Tao, held an emergency meeting with the British Ambassador to express the nation’s opposition to Prime Minister David Cameron meeting the Dalai Lama in London on May 14. This was done despite China’s repeated attempts to prevent it, and flies in the face of the countries’ bilateral relations. It represents a serious interference within China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s core interests, and “hurt the Chinese people’s feelings,” Song complained. (See Mapping the hurt feelings of the Chinese people for a history of similar hurtful acts by various countries.)

The next headline, which announces that those receiving subsidized housing must report to the government if they lease out or do not inhabit their apartments. This announcement is probably connected to a recent government initiative to extend subsidized housing to another 130,000 Beijing households by 2015. The article states that those receiving subsidized housing can expect regular home visits and routine inspections to make sure they are using the housing as intended. Any violation, such as selling, lending, renting, or leaving the apartment empty will be reported to the Municipal Housing Commission. Tenants will also have to report changes to their income, assets, or status of other family members in a timely manner.

The featured photo shows an immigration official holding up an example of China’s new standard passports (ie: not diplomatic or fancy in any way). As of today, the Ministry of Public Security will begin issuing these passports, equipped with an embedded electronic chip that stores information on the bearer’s name, date of birth, photograph and other details. It will also contain records of the person’s fingerprints and signature. These new e-passports will provide increased security and will allow for self-clearance, so the bearer can just swipe his passport and walk through immigration.

Links and Sources
Beijing Morning Post: 中方强烈谴责英首相见达赖 ; 经适房闲置或出租 物业须上报 ; 电子护照来了!
Danwei: Beijing to provide subsidized housing to 130,000 households by 2015, Mapping the hurt feelings of the Chinese people

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