SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
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Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine

Press review, if not selected: all SinOptic
  12.01-16.01.04, No. 02  
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Foreign Policy

US should stop interfering in HK affairs: FM
2004-01-11 Xinhua News
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Saturday called on the United States to stop interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs and not to do anything harmful to the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and to Sino-US ties.
Spokesman Kong Quan made the remarks in response to reporters' questions about a US State Department spokesman's latest comment on the development of Hong Kong's political system. Kong said Hong Kong affairs were an internal issue of China, and the Chinese government firmly opposes any foreign government interference in the affairs of Hong Kong in any form. Hong Kong's political structure must develop in a gradual and orderly manner according to the Basic Law and the actual circumstances in Hong Kong, said the spokesman, stressing that it is in the long-term interests of Hong Kong people from all walks of life.

Japan urged to honour history, not war criminals
2004-01-13 China Daily
Vice-President Zeng Qinghong Monday asked the Japanese Government to handle the issue of history "appropriately" and remember the unfortunate history between China and Japan. ( ) Friendly exchanges between China and Japan over more than 2,000 years as well as the past three decades, since diplomatic ties were re-established, had seen concrete benefits to both peoples. However, lessons from the unfortunate history of last century should not be forgotten, Zeng said. "It is regrettable that the leader of the Japanese Government again visited the Yasukuni Shrine that honours Class-A war criminals," said Zeng. ( )On New Year's Day, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, his fourth in three years to a site that honors Class-A war criminals. The visit provoked strong indignation from China and other Asian nations.

Japanese warships attack Chinese fishing boats off Diaoyu Island
2004-01-15 People's Daily
Ten Japanese warships and a plane attacked two Chinese fishing boats using a water cannon Thursday night at areas off Chinese Diaoyu Islands, injuring one Chinese boatman, a Chinese activist told Xinhua. Two fishing boats carrying 20 people from two Chinese companies and a non-governmental group were attacked about 10 nautical miles off the islands at about 7:00 p.m. Thursday (Beijing Time), said Li Nan, who is on the Chinese mainland and in charge of logistics and coordination for an inspection tour of sea areas off the islands. About 50 minutes later, Chinese activists aboard the boats released a monument with an inscription that says "Chinese territory Diaoyu Islands" into the sea area, Li quoted a message sent from the boats through a radio. Li said he lost contact with the two boats since then, as their radio contact was probably jammed by the Japanese. Li said that four Japanese warships and a plane appeared near the two Chinese fishing boats sailing in the direction of Diaoyu Islands at about 3:00 p.m. Thursday as they were about 30 nautical miles off the islands. ( ) The two boats left Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday to inspect tourism resources in the sea areas off the islands. They were scheduled to reach their destination on the morning of Jan. 16 and return on Jan. 18, organizers said Wednesday.( )

China offers DPRK economic aid
2004-01-13 Xinhua News
China's top legislator Wu Bangguo had informed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that China would provide this neighbor with economic aid, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said here Tuesday. Kong said Wu made the statement during his visit to the DPRK in October last year. As a good neighbor and traditional friend of the DPRK, China had been providing the DPRK with economic assistance within capacity, the spokesman said. Kong said relevant departments of the two countries were consulting on the details of assistance.

Die chinesischen und amerikanischen Vorbereitungen für die zweite Runde der Sechsergespräche
2004-01-15 Nanfang Baoye
Die Leiterin der Asien-Abteilung beim chinesischen Außenministerium Fu Ying und der chinesische Sonderbeauftragte für die nordkoreanische Nuklearfrage, Ning Fukui, trafen am Dienstag in Washington den Sonderbeauftragten des US-Außenministers für Ostasien und Pazifik, Kelly. Im Mittelpunkt des Treffens stand die Vorbereitung einer 2. Runde der Sechsergespräche über die nordkoreanische Nuklearprogramm. Dabei wurde die Ansicht vertreten, dass die Vorschläge Nordkoreas und die bei den sechsseitigen Gesprächen anstehenden Fragen ausführlich erörtert werden sollten. Mitteilungen zufolge laufen die Vorbereitungen auf eine zweite Runde der Sechsergespräche bislang gut. Dabei bemühe sich China durch verstärkte Konsultationen mit den beteiligten Seiten um ein baldiges Treffen einer neuen Gesprächsrunde über die nordkoreanische Nuklearfrage. ( )

Jiang: Constructive US role on Taiwan valuable
2004-01-15 China Daily
China values the commitment of the United States Government to play a constructive role in the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question, the country's top military leader said yesterday. Stressing Taiwan as the most important and sensitive question in Sino-US relations, Jiang Zemin, chairman of the Central Military Commission said the mainland will adhere to a "peaceful reunification, and one country, two systems." Jiang made his remarks when meeting yesterday with visiting the top uniformed American, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces. US President George W. Bush delivered a public rebuke to Taiwan last month, during a visit to the White House by Premier Wen Jiabao. "The comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose,'' Bush said, referring to the Taiwan authorities' plan of "defensive referendum" aims at splitting up Taiwan from China. Jiang told Myers: "We will make all efforts to achieve reunification with Taiwan by peaceful means, and will not allow Taiwan's independence." At yesterday's press conference, Myers said the United States has a very good understanding on the Taiwan question, and the Chinese viewpoint. Myers described his talks as "very beneficial" and said his team was "making good progress in military-to-military relationship" building with China. Myers said his talks with Chinese military officials also covered the Korean Peninsula and international terrorism. "There is consensus that a nuclear-free peninsula is the shared goal of China and the United States," said Myers. He said each military agreed to fight terrorism. ( )

Beijing prepared to crash separatist activities
2004-01-14 China Daily
The referendum being proposed by Taiwan's leader Chen Shui-bian and the island's authorities is an attempt to pave the way for a referendum on independence, and a serious threat to peace across the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese government warned Wednesday. Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, said Chen had disregarded the essential interests of the Taiwan people and organized various separatist forces to push for independence by way of a referendum and "remaking the constitution", which was doomed to draw condemnation from the Chinese compatriots worldwide. The international community had also expressed objections and questioned Chen's activities. This showed his attempt to change the status quo and split the nation unilaterally through a referendum was unpopular, Li said. Li said the basic pattern and developing tendency for relationsacross the Taiwan Strait had remained unchanged last year. In 2004, the Chinese government would continue to promote direct exchanges of postal services, transport and trade and to maintain stability, Li said. The Chinese government would try its utmost to seek peaceful reunification, but would also make necessary preparations against any form of separatist activities, Li added. Li said the Chinese government had an unswerving resolution and confidence in maintaining national sovereignty and territorial integrity and would allow nobody to separate Taiwan from China.

Die Friedliche Nutzung der Atomenergie zwischen China und den USA
2004-01-14 Renmin Ribao
Der Sprecher des chinesischen Außenministeriums, Kong Quan, hat am Dienstag in Beijing vor der Presse die Erklärung zwischen China und den USA zur friedlichen Nutzung der Atomenergie begrüßt. Die Erklärung war während des Besuches von US-Energieminister Abraham in China unterzeichnet worden. Kong Quan bezeichnete die Erklärung als nützlich für den Ausbau der Zusammenarbeit zwischen China und den USA, bei der friedlicher Nutzung der Atomenergie, der nicht Weiterverbreitung von Atomwaffen und dem Kampf gegen den Terrorismus. Die Erklärung diene nicht nur der friedlichen Kooperation zwischen China und den USA, sondern beeinflusse auch die Lage in der Welt, so Kong Quan.

SCO a major force in international counter-terrorism
2004-01-15 Xinhua News
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has become a major force in international combat against terrorism, which gives priority to cracking down on the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism, said Zhang Deguang, the first secretary general of the SCO, here Thursday. Zhang made the remark at a press conference after the SCO member states held a one-day ad hoc foreign ministers' meeting and the inaugural ceremony of the secretariat of the SCO, a permanent secretariat in Beijing. ( ) Along with the opening of the SCO secretariat, the SCO's Regional Anti-terrorism Center, another permanent organ stationed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, was also opened in January 2004. The SCO foreign ministers have agreed to hold the inaugural ceremony of the anti-terrorism center during the Tashkent SCO summit in 2004, said V. T. Casymov, director of the executive committee of the center. The SCO attaches great importance to fighting terrorism, yet has a lot to do in the future, said Casymov.
The annual fee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is distributed in line with each country's obligations and willingness, said a senior official of the organization here Thursday. Zhang Deguang, secretary-general of the new SCO Secretariat, told press that the SCO annual budget totaled 3.5 million dollars, of which 2.16 was allocated to the secretariat. The rest was the budget of the SCO regional anti-terror center, the other permanent SCO organ, Zhang said. China and Russia shoulder 24 percent of the annual fee each, while Kazakhstan took 21 percent, Uzbekistan, 15 percent, Kyrgyzstan, 10 percent and Tajikistan, six percent. He stressed that even though different member states shoulder different proportions of fees, each has an equal right in decision-making in line with the SCO Charter and in light of democratic consultation. " There is no veto in the SCO, so no major country can outweight others. "

President Hu to visit four nations
2004-01-15 Xinhua News
Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to France, Egypt, Gabon and Algeria from January 26 to February 4 at the invitation of French President Jacques Chirac, Eyptian President Muhammed Hosni Mubarak, Gabonese President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan made the announcement here Thursday at a regular press conference. President Hu Jintao will confer with French President Jacques Chirac on international and regionalissues of common concern during his visit to France, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan Thursday. President Hu would meet with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin too, and also possibly attend activities of China CultureYear, Kong added. ( ) Chinese state councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will accompany President Hu during the four-nation trip. Enditem

FM: China-India border discussions "positive"
2004-01-15 Xinhua News
The second ministerial-level discussions on border issues between China and India were "positive" and the atmosphere was "constructive", said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman here Thursday. In response to questions at a regular press conference, spokesman Kong Quan briefed journalists on the second round of talks held on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing between Dai Bingguo, vice-foreign minister of China, and Brajesh Mishra, Indian national security adviser and principal secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who headed the talks as special representatives on each side. ( ) He said the two sides have agreed to hold the third round of talks in New Delhi. The two countries held the first round of ministerial-level talks on Oct. 23 and 24, 2003. He introduced that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met respectively with Mishra, whose visit Kong called important and beneficial. On the Sikkim issue, Kong said it is left over by history, and the process toward resolution of this issue was initiated during Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to China last year.

 

Domestic Policy

First mayor proposed by public elected
2004-01-11 China Daily
China's first mayor to be elected through public competition, instead of being appointed, was officially named over the weekend in Jintan City, East China's Jiangsu Province, by the local legislature -- the municipal people's congress. Experts said that it is a good attempt to upgrade grassroots democracy under the current governmental official selection system, but warned that it may also bring more corruption. Wu Xiaodong, 39, won 229 votes from 233 delegates on Friday at the second session of the 14th Jintan Municipal People's Congress, which was closed over the weekend. Wu became the only candidate for the mayor position, after defeating 58 other officials from the Changzhou area. All 59 candidates for the mayor position had undergone the procedure of applying, choosing, investigation and research, election-rally speech and answering questions as part of the selection process. But the number of voters in these earlier rounds was not available. The move to select a mayor and a county head through public proposal was implemented by the Organization Department of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China in the second half of last year.( ) "It is democratic progress under the current official system, supervised by the Communist Party of China,'' Xu said, emphasizing that it is still not an election directly by the general public, but by officials at certain levels to decide the candidate. Xu's colleague, Jin Anping, an associate professor in the School of Government, agreed on the positive impact of Wu's election. But she also expressed her worries. "Since the procedure of choosing a candidate is done among governmental officials, will it result in more serious corruption as a person who wants to be chosen has to convince all of the related officials, instead of mere organization officials or certain high officials like before?'' Jin said. Jin said she believed that most of the officials will convince others through his or her performances but some will possibly use money. She said the condition is different from democratic elections among residents in which candidates will find it difficult to corrupt hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people, but can only campaign for the office. Even worse, Jin is afraid that some officials will not dare to offend other officials' interests for fear of future promotions being lost. "( )

WHO sees no significant SARS threat
2004-01-13 Xinhua News
Bob Dietz, a WHO spokesman in Beijing, said Monday that while the agency was urging caution for SARS it did not see a significant public health threat. He said a few cases in a country with a population of 1.3 billion should not be cause for alarm. On Monday afternoon, a WHO team was analyzing samples taken from the apartment complex where a recovered patient lives, the restaurant where a 20-year-old waitress suspected to have SARS works, and a market where wild animals had been sold before an anti-SARS crackdown on their trade.
WHO spokesman Roy Wadia, in Guangdong with the team, said the analysis was aimed at one goal - to find the source of SARS infections. Also, a WHO animal expert was working with Chinese agriculture officials, and another WHO scientist was helping health authorities organize data, he said.

WHO warns bird flu virus more serious than SARS
2004-01-14 Xinhua News
The World Health Organization (WHO)warned Wednesday that the bird flu virus, which has caused an Asia-wide health scare, is likely to be far more serious than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). "If the H5N1 (avian influenza) virus attaches itself to the common human flu virus and if it is then effectively transmitted, it has the potential to cause widespread damage," the Philippine Star daily on-line news quoted Peter Cordingley, spokesman of the Manila-based WHO Western Pacific Region Office, as saying. At least three -- possibly 12 -- deaths in Vietnam since October have been linked to the virus which killed six of 18 people who fell sick in China's Hong Kong in 1997. Cordingley said more deaths are expected in Vietnam due to the H5N1 virus. He said one of two young children with the flu symptoms was in a critical condition in hospital. "This mortality rate is far higher than that of the SARS virus,". "The common human flu virus is far more infectious than the SARS virus and can be spread by aerosol and not just through droplets as in the case of SARS virus," Cordingley explained. Current evidence indicates that the H5N1 virus can spread from poultry to people but not easily from person to person. Vietnam is currently battling to contain an outbreak of bird flu that has infected between one and two million chickens. Japan and South Korea are dealing with much smaller outbreaks of the disease

PLA event welcomes uniformed ambassadors
2004-01-13 People's Daily
The Chinese military will develop a "comprehensive" friendship with all its foreign counterparts in the new year, said Zhang Bangdong, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence at reception for foreign defence attaches in Beijing Monday. Officials revealed that reforms on military diplomacy are under way.
Details on the measures will probably come out "quite soon," a source said, adding that such moves help the Chinese military become increasingly "open" and "transparent" to the outside. Gordon Kerr, British defence attache said yesterday that he and his colleagues have noted modernization efforts of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the pace of military construction. "We hope that we can contribute to that process through our bilateral and multilateral engagement with the PLA," said Kerr, who is also head of defence attache corps in Beijing. Carsten Klenke, German deputy defence attache said that he noticed the PLA has been working on improving its military diplomacy. "As a consequence, we see increasing military exchanges between China and other countries,'' Klenke said. ( )

Chinese Internet surfers hit 80 million
2004-01-15 China Daily
China's Internet community has multiplied 128 times in a little more than six years, new statistics show. There are now about 80 million netizens in the country, a drastic jump from the 620,000 users recorded in 1997, the China Internet Network Information Centre's latest report (CNNIC) shows. The number grew to 79.5 million by the end of December 2003. About 11.5 million new users were recorded in the second half of last year, a growth higher than the 8.9 million recorded in the first six months of 2003. China's Internet population surpassed Japan by the end of 2002, jumping to the second in the world following the United States. Although large in size, the current number is only 6.2 per cent of the country's total population ( ) The proportion of male and female Internet users remained at about 3:2 during the past two years. If the number of people with Internet connections rose, so did the amount of time they spend online. The average time people spend connected rose to 13.4 hours a week. About one third of the population in Beijing and Shanghai are netizens, but in poorer areas such as Henan, Guizhou and Inner Mongolia, only 3 or 4 per cent are online. The gap between the rich and poor is also reflected in the figures. Farmers, for example, account for less than 0.8 per cent of the country's netizen community.

KPCh will verstärkt gegen Korruption vorgehen
2004-01-15 Nanfang Baoye
Die Disziplinkontrollkommission beim ZK der KPCh hat am Dienstag die dreitägige Plenarberatungen in Beijing beendet. In einem Abschlusskommunique hieß es unter anderem, der Kampf gegen die Korruption müsse im Jahr 2004 fortgesetzt werden. Es gelte, gegen die Korruption vorzugehen. Experten vertreten die Ansicht, dass die KPCh mit dieser Orientierung einen wichtigen Schritt zum Ausbau der innerparteilichen Disziplin unternommen hat.

 

Patrick Dreher
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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