China | China Signs Gas Accord with Russia, Faces Hong Kong Protests, Participates in South Sudan Mission
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China Signs Gas Accord with Russia, Faces Hong Kong Protests, Participates in South Sudan Mission
After a decade of discussion, Russia's Gazprom signed a deal to sell natural gas to China's National Petroleum Corporation in May 2014. The deal was a $400 billion, 30-year supply contract for 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The supply would start in 2018. The fuel would come from a new pipeline in eastern Siberia. By 2014, China consumed about 4% of the world's gas, but about half of the world's iron ore, coal, and copper. However, China was on its way to being the world's biggest gas user by 2035. The deal was finalized during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Shanghai.
China said in December 2007 that Hong Kong citizens will directly elect the chief executive in 2017 elections and the legislature by 2020. Under the current system, an election committee loyal to the Chinese government elects the chief executive, and a body made up of pro-China business groups elects half of the legislators.
In June and July 2014, the pro-democracy group called Occupy Central held an unofficial referendum on how the island's chief executive will be elected in 2017. About 90% of the 800,000 who voted endorsed giving citizens direct say in the election. Weeks of pro-democracy protests followed the referendum. In late August, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee ruled that the 1,200-member election committee would vote on candidates for chief executive, and those garnering votes from more than half of the committee could run. The decision sparked much larger protests, which intensified throughout September, with tens of thousands of demonstrators shutting down the heart of the business district. On September 28, police in riot gear cracked down on protesters, using tear gas and batons. Despite the violence, protesters returned to the streets. The protests threatened the stability of the financial hub.
Also in Sept., China announced it would send 700 troops to take part in a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for the United Nations. The fighting in South Sudan between rebels and the government continued to be an ongoing threat to China's oil investments there. In a statement, Chinese officials said that the job of the troops will be to protect citizens and aid workers. According to United Nations officials, it was the first time that China sent an entire battalion to assist in one of their peacekeeping missions.