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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

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  09.02-13.02.04, No. 06  
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Foreign Policy

Push to lift arms embargo on right track
2004-02-13 China Daily
China has applauded the European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief for pushing forward attempts aimed at ending a 15-year-old arms embargo. The EU ban was placed on China in the late 1980s. Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said: "We appreciated Javier Solana's remarks. The embargo is a relic of the Cold War and it's out of date." Xinhua Thursday quoted Solana as saying the process of lifting the embargo is "on the right track." But he was not able to tell Chinese reporters a date for when the ban could end. Zhang added yesterday: "We hope the EU members can lift the ban at an early date with a long-term point of view to developing ties with China." In reaction to President George W. Bush's call for closer global co-operation on the anti-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Zhang said China is resolutely opposed to the proliferation of WMDs and the means of transporting them, adding that China has common interests with the US in this regard. She said China has consistently advocated strengthening international co-operation in the field of non-proliferation and taken measures to enhance controls on the exporting of sensitive technologies. Zhang said China has expressed its willingness to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a 33-nation group that wants to implement similar export controls on missile technology. And China is presently involved in initial discussions with MTCR representatives about joining the bloc, Zhang said. There were some clear public indications late last month of China's decision to try and formally become part of the group when President Hu travelled to France to meet Chirac. A joint statement released after the meeting said France supported China's membership "at the earliest possible date." China has also filed a formal application to join another multilateral export control bloc -- the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 40-member organization that establishes export control regulations for nuclear trade.

US 7th Fleet warship to visit China
2004-02-12 Chinadaily
Blue Ridge, the command ship of the US Navy's Seventh Fleet is to visit east China's Shanghai porton Feb. 24-28, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here Thursday. Zhang said at a regular press conference that the two sides are making preparations for the visit. Military contacts between China and the United States will be more diversified and cover more spheres in 2004, Zhang said, adding that there will be high-level visits, contacts between academies, mechanical contacts and exchange of visits of warships as well. "We are happy with the constant development of military and state relations between our two countries," she said. ( ) During their consultations, the two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues, the Taiwan issue and the KoreanPeninsula nuclear problem. They also reviewed the growth of their military ties since the fifth defense consultations, said Zhang. Annual consultations between the defense departments of the two countries began in 1997. Previous consultations have been held in Washington and Beijing alternately. The fifth consultations were held in December 2002 in Washington. ( )

Chinese defense minister meets US under secretary of defense
2004-02-10 People's Daily
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan reiterated China's stance on the Taiwan issue here Tuesday, saying "Chinese people themselves are more eager than anyother to realize the peaceful reunification of China." Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and a State Councilor, made the remarks during his meeting with Douglas Jay Feith, US under secretary of defense for policy. Feithis here for the sixth round of consultations on defense at the vice defense ministerial level. Cao said that during this positive and constructive consultation, the two sides exchanged views on issues of common concern, which promotes the mutual understanding and trust betweenthe two sides. Cao also emphasized that China always held active attitudes toward development of bilateral military relations, and would liketo make joint efforts with the US side to push forward its healthyand stable development. He said: "After our serious discussion on key issues including the Korean nuclear issue, the Taiwan issue and Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, we believed that the two sides share common interests on many important international issues." ( )

China, EC sign milestone tourism memo
2004-02-12 Xinhua News
The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the European Community signed a milestone memorandum of understanding here Thursday which will facilitate Chinese group tourism to Europe. Chinese tourists going through selected travel agencies will benefit from facilitated procedures to apply for tourist visas from 12 member states of the European Community which have been granted "Approved Destination Status" (ADS) by China. The 12 nations are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany,Greece, Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The memorandum also includes provisions for the return of Chinese who overstay their visa. The memorandum is expected to enter into force before the summer. The Memorandum of Understanding on Approved Destination Status,which was initialled during the EC-China Summit in Beijing on Oct.30, 2003, is the largest ADS agreement ever concluded by China andwill facilitate Chinese tourist groups access to Europe. Consulates of the 12 countries in China will simplify and facilitate delivery of tourism visas for groups with a minimum of five persons which will apply through designated Chinese travel agencies. China agreed to ensure the return of possible over-staying tourists according to the agreement. According to the World Tourism Organization, China will become the top tourist destination in the world and the fourth source of outbound tourism, with an estimated 100 million outbound travelersby 2020. ( ) In 2002, 645 000 Chinese tourists traveled to the European Union, whereas 1.3 million European tourists visited China.

Koizumi remarks spark China "dissatisfaction and regret
2004-02-12 China Daily
China Wednesday expressed "dissatisfaction and regret" over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's remarks about justifying his visits to a shrine for Japan's war dead. Asked in parliament on Tuesday if he felt reluctant to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours 14 convicted "Class A'' war criminals among 2.5 million other Japanese killed in wartime, Koizumi said: "I have no such feeling.'' Since taking office in 2001, Koizumi has paid four visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, with the latest taking place on New Year's Day. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Wednesday that "China firmly opposes" visits by the Japanese leader to the shrine. China hopes Koizumi does not take actions that will offend people from countries victimized by Japan in wartime, she said. Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was in Japan for talks on security issues and other matters, met Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi Wednesday in Tokyo. Wang said Japan's post-war development as well as its current international status are based on introspective reflection of its historical aggression to other nations. "Any remarks and practices which justify war criminals will destroy such a base, and is not good for Japan as it tries to establish trust with neighbouring countries,'' Wang was quoted as saying. Kawaguchi told Wang the Japanese Government will adhere to the spirits of the speech made by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in 1995, who admitted that Wang said China and Japan should not ignore their history if they want to advance bilateral ties. The only correct attitude is to "take history as a mirror and face the future,'' according to Wang. Further, Chinese President Hu Jintao met Takenori Kanzaki, head of the New Komeito Party Wednesday in Beijing. The party is in an alliance with Koizumi's Liberal Democrats to govern Japan. It was reported that Koizumi asked Kanzaki to deliver a letter to President Hu, requesting a bilateral meeting. This has not been confirmed by Chinese officials. However, a leading Chinese expert on Japanese affairs told China Daily Wednesday that chances for a visit by Koizumi to China are "not optimistic'' because of his recent remarks. There are several major problems with Sino-Japanese relations, and Koizumi's consecutive visits to the Yasukuni Shrine has been one of them, said Professor Yang Bojiang, director of Northeast Asian Studies Division of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. "The possibility of inviting Koizumi to visit Beijing officially has been further reduced,'' Yang said. However, he said the two leaders are able to meet on other occasions, such as international conference. In another development, spokeswoman Zhang said on Tuesday China resolutely opposes and will absolutely not accept Japan's attempt to impose pressure on China on the issue of Diaoyu Island with a third country. Zhang made the remarks in response to the question of a reporter who referred to a Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman as reportedly saying recently that the United States would fulfill its obligation of defence in view of the security pact with Japan if the Diaoyu Islands were attacked.

China joins regional counter-terrorism cooperation
2004-02-05 PLA Daily
China is committed to full engagement in counter-terrorism cooperation with countries in Asia and the Pacific for the benefit of a more peaceful and stable region, a Chinese official said here Wednesday. "As a member of the Asia-Pacific region, China has been condemning and opposing all forms of terrorism, and supporting countries in this region in preventing and combating terrorism, religious extremism and separatism," Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said in a speech given to the regional ministerial meeting on counter-terrorism held in Bali.Delegates from over 20 countries are participating in the two-day conference, which is co-hosted by Indonesia and Australia.Yang went on saying that China is among countries facing the terrorist threat, noting that the East Turkistan forces, now listed as a terrorist group by the UN Security Council, has staged over 260 attacks inside Xinjiang, in which 162 people of different nationalities died and over 440 were wounded.He added that the East Turkistan group remains a primary, immediate terrorist threat for China, as some of its members remain at large and its affiliated groups are colluding with Al-qaeda, Taliban remnants, Chechen terrorist groups and other international organizations.( )

 

Domestic Policy

Snakeheads expose cruelsome truth
2004-02-13 China Daily
Though British authorities have not identified 19 cockle pickers who drowned at Morecambe Bay in the United Kingdom, 16 families in East China's Fujian Province have reported their relatives missing and fear some may be among the victims. And among those, 15 of the families are from Fuqing, a city in Fujian Province. According to an insider, some 30 per cent of able-bodied labourers who once lived in Fuqing are believed to live abroad now. Why would so many Fuqing residents want to go abroad, even at a huge cost? Lin said the craze to go abroad among people in Fuqing started with some advertisements in the early 1990s. "Some companies in Fuzhou (capital of Fujian Province) posted advertisements in Fuqing then, recruiting people to work in Japan and claiming that after paying less than 100,000 yuan (US$12,050) people can earn an annual income of 200,000 yuan (US$24,100) there," Lin said. Several thousand residents in Fuqing went to Japan this way, and some of them came back and became snakeheads themselves to smuggle more locals to Japan, he said. He explained that 100,000 yuan (US$12,050) was enough to smuggle a man to Japan by sea, and 150,000 yuan (US$18,000) would be required if stowaways wanted to leave with a false passport. As it was becoming more difficult to sneak into Japan, snakeheads started to smuggle people to countries in Europe, especially the United Kingdom. People from Fuqing have also been smuggled into France, Germany, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, Lin said. The cost of smuggling humans to countries like Germany and France is about 150,000 yuan (US$18,000). Lin added the population working as snakeheads in Fuqing now is "huge." ( )

China's auto production ranks 4th in the world
2004-02-12 People's daily
China last year produced 4.44 million cars, up 35.2 percent year on year, which raised China's ranking in world car production from the fifth to the fourth place.( )

Worsening drug trafficking poses challenge
2004-02-12 Xinhua News
Drugs trafficking worsened in China last year, with new foreign sources of illegal narcotics, domestic drug-making areas and trafficking routes undermining the country's anti-drug efforts. Luo Feng, deputy director of the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), told an NNCC meeting in Beijing Thursday that Afghanistan, with an annual opium output exceeding 3,600 tons, has turned into a major potential problem for China. Luo, also Vice-Minister of Public Security, said new types of narcotics were also creeping across the country through the southeastern coast. The notorious Golden Triangle, an area along the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos where production flourished, remained the biggest drugs source last year, Luo said. Southwest of China, the triangle produced 70 to 80 tons of heroin annually, 80 percent of which was smuggled to China overland along the Sino-Myanmar border. Luo said domestic drugs dealers usually assembled at the border areas in southwest China's Yunnan Province, hiding narcotics in vehicles, mail or on people. "Recently, overseas drugs rings have opened new trafficking routes, smuggling narcotics to China through India and Nepal," Luosaid. Last year, China intensified crackdowns on drug trafficking, uncovering nearly 94,000 drugs-related cases and arresting 63,700 people. The police also seized 9.53 tons of heroin, 5.83 tons of "ice",or methamphetamine, 409,000 "head-shaking" pills, or ecstasy, and 72.8 tons of raw materials for narcotics manufacturing. Meanwhile, narcotics manufacturing at home became more rampant,which Luo highlighted as a new problem in China's drugs control work. ( )

Verstärkte Kontrolle der KP-Funktionäre
2004-02-12 Gangming Ribao
Der Sekretär der Disziplinkontrollkommission des Zentralkomittees der KP Chinas, Wu Guanzheng, hat eine stärkere Kontrolle der Arbeitsweise leitender Funktionären auf aller Ebenen angeordert . Bei einem Besuch in der Provinz Anhui forderte er zudem die Etablierung eines Kontrollmechanismus und die strenge Umsetzung von Kontrollmaßnahmen. Und Macht- und Amtsmißbrauch von Parteifunktionären müssten publik gemacht und bestraft werden, so Wu Guanzheng. Das ZK der KPCh hatte im Januar neue Vorschriften zur Kontrolle von Funktionären der KP veröffentlicht, in dem verstärkt gegen Korruption vorgegangen werden soll. Alle Mitglieder der KP wurden aufgefordert, die Vorschriften zu beachten und die Kontrolle der Funktionären zu verstärken. ( ) Gestern wurde der ehemalige Vize-Gouverneur der Provinz Anhui, Wang Huaizhong (57), mit einer tödlichen Injektion hingerichtet. Wang wurde beschuldigt zwischen 1994 und 2001 623.000 US-Dollar an Bestechungsgeldern angenommen zu haben. im Oktober 2002 war er festgenommen und im Dezember vergangenen Jahres vom Gerichtshof in Jinan, der Hauptstadt von Shandong, zum Tode verurteilt worden.

Farmers to take part in village affairs
2004-02-11 China Daily
Farmers electing village leaders themselves is no longer a problem in the country's most rural areas, but supervising their work and the operation of village committees can be awkward. A national co-ordination group on villagers' self-governance has pledged to help give farmers more say in decision-making and encouraged voters to actively supervise the actions of the leaders they selected. As an integral part of their community's autonomy, the creation and implementation of democratic decision-making processes, management and supervision still lag far behind the establishment of democratic elections, Zhang Mingliang, director of the Department of Construction of Basic-level Government and Community under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said yesterday in Beijing. Often, "the will of the people is not fully reflected by village committees' decisions, while some committee members tend to forget their responsibility of exercising legal power for those who elected them,'' Zhang said at the second meeting of the co-ordination group. ( )

Poor people expect to get more housing funding
2004-02-10 Xinhua News
China will put in place a new policy aimed at boosting housing subsidies for poor urban residents. The new policy, effective as of March 1, 2004, will replace an older one issued in 1999, greatly increasing the coverage and funding of the housing for the poor program. Xie told a national meeting held in Beijing that the governmentwill expand the coverage of housing subsidies for the poor from medium- and large-sized cities to counties. China now has a total of 21.8 million people living under the poverty line in its cities. In Beijing and Shanghai, the two largest cities in China, more than 20,000 poor families lack adequate housing. The per-capita housing area of these poor urban families was less than five square meters, compared with the national average of 23 square meters. According to the new policy, the government will offer cash as the main form of subsidy to the poor families, instead of providing them with housing or rent reimbursement. Xie said the housing for the poor program is one of the measures that the Chinese government has adopted to help the disadvantaged groups. In the next step, the government will consider housing assistance to rural laborers in cities and urban residents living just above the subsistence line. ( )

China reports bird flu hit Tianjin, a city close to Beijing
2004-02-10 China Daily.
Four new suspected bird flu outbreaks, including one in the northern municipality of Tianjin, were reported on February 9 in China. Tianjin is a new to be affected by avian influenza. Tianjin is located close to the capital Beijing, which has yet to report any outbreaks. Hubei, Yunnan and Shaanxi provinces had reported other outbreaks earlier. China so far has 38 suspected or confirmed outbreaks in 14 of its provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Of the total, 19 outbreaks have been confirmed as the deadly H5N1 bird flu. ( )

More rural people turn to city life
2004-02-10 China Daily
China is expected to see its urbanization rate grow by 1 percentage point each year in the coming decades as an increasing number of rural residents turn to non-agricultural work to earn better incomes and boost their standard of living. Chen Xiwen, deputy director of the office of the Central Financial Work Leading Group, said the number of Chinese rural residents leaving their land for cities reached 99 million at the end of last year, an increase of 5 million compared to last year. "This number is still on the rise," Chen said at a news conference in Beijing yesterday. By the end of last year, the country's urbanization rate stood at 39 per cent, earlier figures show. Encouraging rural residents to work in cities and speeding up urbanization are important measures taken by the State to increase people's incomes. Previous reports said income earned from city work accounted for about 70 per cent of rural residents' growth each year. ( )The growth was much lower than the 9.3 per cent income growth rate enjoyed by urban dwellers. The rate was also much lower than the year's economic growth rate of 9.1 per cent. Realizing the urgency of raising rural residents' income, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Sunday issued a document for the first time in history on policies to boost the growth in the income of rural residents, Chen said. ( )

 

Taiwan

Mainland simplifies procedures for commuters across Taiwan Strait
2004-02-12 PLA Daily
China's mainland will take a couple of measures to simplify procedures on commuting across the Taiwan Strait for both Taiwanese and mainland people. According to the new measures, not only Taiwanese people investing, working or studying on the mainland but also mainland residents' spouses from Taiwan, people over 70 years old and kids under the age of 16 can apply for long-term residence on the mainland or visa convenience for commuting across the Strait. The new measures will authorize the Fujian Provincial Public Security Bureau to issue travel documents valid for five years for Taiwanese commuters, and public security departments in Fuzhou and Xiamen can handle travel applications from Taiwanese people, noted Han. ( )

Mainland will not meddle in Taiwan's election
2004-02-11 China Daily
A Taiwan affairs official said on Wednesday in Beijing that the central government will not meddle in Taiwan's local elections next month and does not care who wins. "We don't care who wins the election. What we care about is the winner's attitude towards cross-Straits ties and national reunification," the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Zhang Mingqing told a news conference in Beijing. If Taiwanese entrepreneurs on the mainland wish to set up supportive organizations for certain candidate, they have to abide by mainland regulations on non-governmental organizations, he said. But no application for such organizations has been submitted yet. He stressed the mainland will not permit or offer convenience for any "Taiwan independence" separatist activities on the mainland. Zhang also dismissed media speculation that the arrest of Taiwan spies was aimed at discrediting Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian ahead of the polls. On the one hand, Chen is bent on having his own way and pursuing a referendum that would provoke confrontation between peoples on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, sabotage cross-Straits relations and endanger peace in the Taiwan Straits,but on the other hand, he has professed he would set up a so-called framework for cross-Straits peace and stability. "We think Chen Shui-bian's words are deceitful," Zhang said. Zhang called on compatriots in Taiwan and the international community to see through the deceit of Chen Shui-bian and the danger of activities promoting "Taiwan independence". ( )

 

DPRK

DPRK denies testing chemical weapons on prisoners
PLA Daily 2004-02-06
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday denied a BBC report alleging that the DPRK has tested chemical weapons on prisoners, condemning it as "slanted propaganda from the United States". A BBC TV documentary on Sunday included comments from a former DPRK intelligence agent and prison official who said he witnessed prisoners being executed in a gas chamber while scientists monitored the process.The US is "spreading a sheer lie", the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying on Thursday."It's a trite method for the present US administration to invent lies and justify a war of aggression under that pretext," he added.

DPRK denies involvement in Pakistani nuke-tech transfer
2004-02-10 Xinhua News
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday refuted the allegation over the "transfer of nuclear technology" from Pakistan to the DPRK. A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said the allegation is "nothing but a mean and groundless propaganda." On Feb. 1, Pakistan nuclear scientist Qadeer Khan admitted during investigation that he had leaked nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and the DPRK. He said it had nothing to do with the Pakistani government and army.

Li Zhaoxing traf Vize-Außenminister der DPRK
2004-02-10 Dongfang Wang
Der chinesische Außenminister Li Zhaoxing traf am Montag in Beijing mit dem nordkoreanischen Vize-Außenminister Kim zusammen. Im Mittelpunkt der Besprechung standen die bilateralen Beziehungen, die nordkoreanische Nuklearfrage und die zweite Runde der Sechs-Parteien-Gespräche in Beijing. Beide Politiker kündigten gemeinsame Bemühungen zur Förderung des Friedensprozess in der zweiten Gesprächsrunde an. Die zweite Runde der Sechs-Parteien-Gespräche wird am 25. Februar in Beijing beginnen. Außenministeriums-sprecherin Zhang Qiyue erklärt dazu, China hoffe auf eine schriftliche Vereinbarung als Ergebnis dieser Gesprächsrunde. ( )

ROK proposes high-level military talks with DPRK
2004-02-12 PLA Daily
South Korea Thursday formally proposed to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to hold high-level military talks as agreed at a recent inter-Korean ministerial meeting. In a regular press briefing, South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said his ministry had sent such message to the DPRK Thursday morning, but declined to elaborate on the proposed date for the talks, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency. The unification minister's remarks came after the two countriesagreed to resume high-level military talks to ease tension on the peninsula in the 13th Inter-Korean Ministerial Meeting held here from Feb. 3-6. ( )

 

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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