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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
  23.02-27.02.04, No. 08  
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Foreign Policy

China: willing to offer energy aids to DPRK
2004-02-26 Xinhua News
China is willing, under the principle that if all the sides could reach an agreement on the energy aids questions, to offer energy aids to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea together with other related sides, said a member of the Chinese delegation to the six-party talks here Thursday. Liu Jianchao, also deputy director-general of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, in response to questions in a press briefing, said related parties have made tentative discussions on energy aids to the DPRK during Thursday's talks.

DPRK puts forward proposal of complete stop of nuke plan
2004-02-26 Xinhua News
All parties to the six-nation talks discussed Thursday the proposal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to completely stop its nuclear programs, said a member of the Chinese delegation. Liu Jianchao, also deputy director of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, said during the some four-hour-long session of the talks which lasted till 1:40 p.m., the parties mulled the first-phase actions to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. The Chinese side believes that all sides should take coordinated steps, which is the best way to build trust when distrust still remains among some sides, Liu said. He added that the six parties had all agreed to take such coordinated steps and shared the view that actions were the most effective means to build trust. He also briefed reporters on Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan's afternoon meeting with delegation heads and foreign diplomatic envoys in China. Tang said the second round of talks had entered a pivotal phase and efforts had begun for abolishing nuclear programs, safeguarding security and promoting economic cooperation. "If we can take resolving the nuclear question as an opportunity to gradually narrow disparities, expand consensus and build mutual trust, we will likely turn the challenges into opportunities and bring benefits to all sides, and create a more peaceful and secure regional environment," Tang was quoted as saying. In response, heads of the delegations told Tang that the talks were constructive, and had provided unprecedented opportunities for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue. They also pledged further efforts toward the final resolution of the issue. Liu also expounded China's position on energy aid to the DPRK. He said the parties had held just a preliminary discussion of the issue, and if they reached consensus on relevant questions, China would be also ready to provide energy aid to that country.

China opposes foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs: FM
2004-02-24 Xinhua News
China firmly opposes any other countries to interfere in its internal affairs in any form, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here Tuesday. "Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and its affairs are the internal affairs of China," said Zhang when asked to comment on the so-called report on Hong Kong issued by the British Foreign Ministry. "It is improper for the British government to comment on the Hong Kong affairs at random," she said. Hong Kong is the special administrative region under the central government and implementation of the principle of "one country, two systems" is the fundamental guarantee for the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, she said. The political institutions of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) should accord with the Basic Law, which is beneficial to the long-term stability and prosperity of HKSAR and in the all-round and long-term interests of HKSAR, she said. To keep the long-term stability and prosperity is in the interests of all Chinese people including the Hong Kong compatriots, in the interests of the international community and especially in the interests of foreign investors, she stressed. She expressed her hope that the British side would keep their promises made by British leaders of making HKSAR the bridge of Sino-British friendship

China slams US human rights report
2004-02-26 Xinhua News
China on Thursday expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the United States for its report condemning China's human rights record. The so-called country report of human rights record in 2003 issued by the US State Department defied basic truth and made indiscriminate criticisms on China's human rights record, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a regular press briefing. Zhang said the Chinese government has always been devoted to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom and China's significant achievements in this regard has been recognized by the whole world. She said China hopes the United States will give up its double standards on this issue and stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries on the excuse of human rights.

 

Domestic Policy

Commentary: Politicians, separatists collude
2004-02-24 China Daily
A meaningful discussion is going on in Hong Kong on the definition of "patriotism''. The definition given by Deng Xiaoping two decades ago, which was republished recently, has served as a demon-detector that unveils the hidden agenda of certain politicians. Some of them have echoed the Taiwan independence forces by jointly chanting the slogan "returning the political power to the people'', exposing their true intention of opposing and harming "One Country, Two Systems". Using this slogan, some politicians in Hong Kong organized the July 1 mass rally to oppose legislation of Article 23, besieged the Legislative Council building and opposed the traditional appointment system for a portion of district councillors by the chief executive. The same slogan was used to push for quicker constitutional reform. Soon after the District Councils were elected last November, certain politicians took the advantage of the election results and demanded universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive in 2007 and formation of the Legislative Council in 2008. In Hong Kong, the slogan of "returning the political power to the people'' has been used to force through universal suffrage at the expense of the Basic Law and win over "public opinion" to turn the SAR into an independent or semi-independent political entity. In Taiwan the Democratic Progressive Party is also using the slogan as evidence of "public support" in its attempt to separate the island from China. It said that "such an insight was borrowed from Hong Kong's experience'' to help push for a referendum on Taiwan independence. Some politicians in Hong Kong said that "if political power could be returned to the people at an earlier date, it could serve as an example to Taiwan". How well they have acted in collusion with each other. The best example is Hong Kong legislator Emily Lau, who last year attended a forum organized by Taiwan separatists on the island. The separatists claim that "Hong Kong is a separate country" and "one country on each side of the straits". Lau openly lent her support to self-determination of Taiwan's future. All these developments point to the fact that some Hong Kong politicians have ganged up with Taiwan separatists to negate "One Country, Two Systems". They have tried to introduce theories on "Taiwan independence" and on "independence referendum" into Hong Kong, using the strategy and slogan of "returning the political power to the people". This suggests that a tiny handful of Hong Kong politicians have failed to keep their commitment to safeguarding the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the SAR. They are suspected of damaging the national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Whether they conform to the criteria set forth by Deng Xiaoping, the public should make their own judgment.

2.67 mln hectares farmland lost to industrial development in 2003
2004-02-24 Xinhua News
China's farmland acreage decreased by some 2.67 million hectares in 2003, owing to such factors as the extension of the scale in the total land acreage for construction use and the restructuring of the agricultural sector. By the end of 2003, total farmland acreage in China shrank to 123.4 million hectares from 125.93 million ha. at the end of the previous year, figures released Tuesday by China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) show. Last year, more than 229,130 ha. of farmland were rezoned for industrial development, 50,400 ha. lost to natural calamities, nearly 2.24 million ha. returned to forest and pastures, and more than 331,300 ha. were taken out of cultivation and grazing becauseof agricultural restructuring use. ( ) Of the total, 229,133 ha. were farmland, a rise of 17 percent over the previous year. The construction of factories, mines and industrial parks took a total of 111,733 ha. of farmland, up 37 percent from the previous year, and road building took 37,733 ha. up 25 percent. The area of farmland occupied by the state-approved major construction projects such as the Three Gorges Project also rose by some 52,670 ha. an increase of 26,670 ha over the previous year. In a substantial effort to curb rampant illegal use of farmland for other purposes, the Chinese government launched a campaign early last year to forcefully return land to farming. "

Vogelgrippe geht zurück
2004-02-26 Renmin Ribao
Das chinesische Landwirtschaftsministerium hat am Mittwoch die über vier Epidemiezonen in den Provinzen Guangdong, Hunan, Anhui und im Autonomen Gebiet Xinjiang verhängte Quarantäne aufgehoben. In den betroffenen Gebieten sei der Vogelgrippevirus vollständig besiegt worden. Am Mittwoch wurden in China keine neuen Verdachtsfälle auf Vogelgrippe gemeldet. Auch wurde der Export von Geflügelprodukten aus der Provinz Shandong wieder aufgenommen. Shandong ist einer der wichtigsten Produktionsstandorte für Geflügelprodukte in China. Seit dem Ausbruch der Vogelgrippe hatte die Provinz effektive Maßnahmen zur Bekämpfung der Epidemie ergriffen und mit Hilfe eines strengen Quarantänesystems einen Ausbruch der Geflügelpest in Shandong verhindert. Südkorea hat nun als erstes Land den Import von Geflügelfleischprodukten aus der Provinz Shandong wieder aufgenommen. Auch andere Länder wie Japan denken über einen ähnlichen Schritt nach. ( )

 

Social

National committee set up to beef up AIDS prevention
2004-20-26 People's Daily
China's cabinet has set up a high-level committee to coordinate the country's efforts to prevent and curb the spread of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), official sources said Thursday. The organization, known as the AIDS Prevention Committee, was headed by Vice-Premier Wu Yi, and involves 23 departments and institutions of the central government and leading officials of concerned departments of seven provincial governments. Addressing the first meeting of the committee, Vice-Premier Wu Yi said China should increase its sense of urgency in its efforts to prevent and curb the disease across the country. ( ) Wu vowed to increase the publicity campaign to increase the awareness of AIDS prevention and control among the general public,improve their understanding of the disease, and fighting prejudiceagainst AIDS patients and HIV carriers. China will continue its bid to intervene in the spread of AIDS through cracking down on prostitution and use of banned drugs, expanding research and international exchange and cooperation in this field and increasing government funding for AIDS prevention and control programs.

China will Rentenversicherungssystem ausbauen
2004-02-26 Guangmin Ribao
Wie der stellvertretende Minister für Arbeit und Soziales Liu Yongfu am Mittwoch mitteilte, sind bislang über 150 Mio. Chinesen, darunter 80 Prozent der Arbeiter und Angestellten von Unternehmen rentenversichert. Auch Gewerbetreibenden und Freiberufler würden zunehmend in die Rentenversicherung integriert. In China steigt der Anteil der alten Menschen in der Gesellschaft stetig an. Im Jahre 2003 war die Hälfte der chinesischen Bevölkerung über 60 Jahre alt. ( )

Farmers to get direct subsidies from the state
2004-02-25 Xinhua News
Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday presided over an executive meeting of the State Council on restructuring the grain sales system, subsidies for grain growers, and a draft regulation on promotion of non-State-run schools. According to an official release on the meeting, participants at the meeting agreed on the importance of deepening the reform of the country's grain sales system, and lifting restrictions on grain purchase and offering direct subsidies to grain growers. But the release did not go into detail on grain market liberalization, saying efforts are needed to ensure grain price stability in the process of the reform. The reform was designed to encourage grain production and ensure grain market stability and grain security, according to the release. At present, the State-owned grain companies maintain a monopoly over grain markets. The draft regulation on promotion of non-State education was passed at the meeting, and will be made public by the State Council at an unspecified time.

Debate over property protection, human rights
2004-02-24 China Daily
Proposals to add protecting property and human rights to the Chinese Constitution and other issues affecting ordinary citizens have attracted huge public attention as two of the nation's top legislature and advisory bodies prepare to meet. "If such an idea as the protection of lawful private property had been written into China's Constitution, some local governments and real estate developers would feel less confident about recklessly levelling private residences," a Shanghai-based real estate lawyer Liu Weiping, specializing in the illegal demolition of residential houses by local governments and real estate developers, said Tuesday. Liu made the remark before annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are scheduled to open in early March. The deliberation of the draft amendment to the Constitution, which has been arousing attention from all circles, will be placed high on the agenda for the NPC session. It will be the Constitution's fourth amendment, involve 14 revisions and cover a wide range of issues of public concern not tackled before. The protection of citizens' lawful private property and respect for and protection of human rights will be written into the Constitution. Some revisions will also be made to improve the land requisition, social welfare and insurance systems. The current Constitution, which contains 138 articles in four chapters, was formulated in 1982. It has been amended three times, with a total of 17 revisions. "Adding 'respect for and protection of human rights' to the Constitution shows that securing citizens' rights will be promoted to a very high level," said Liu Jitong, Phd, from the Sociology Department of Peking University. ( ) Professor Wang Lei from the Law School of Peking University said improving the social insurance system will be included in the Constitution this time, because China's existing market economy calls for a matching system of social welfare and insurance to meet the public's increasing demands on social security. But amending the Constitution is not the only hot issue attracting attention. A survey on one of China's largest news websites, asking "What issues in the upcoming NPC and CPPCC sessions attract you most?" revealed a long list, including anti-corruption, unbalanced economic development throughout China's regions, the income gap, increasing farmers' income, educational charges, the legal rights of migrant farmers, the emergency response system for public health, and the so-called March 20 Taiwan referendum. Anti-corruption is the top concern for some 83 per cent of those who took part in the survey. ( )

Party official executed in SW China for corruption
2004-02-20 Xinhua News
A top county official was executed Friday in this capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for bribery and abuse of power, said. Wan Ruizhong, former Communist Party secretary of the region's Nandan County, was convicted of taking bribes and abusing his power, and executed following approval by the Supreme People's Court. Wan was also convicted of plotting to cover up a mine accident that killed 81 miners in July 2001, according to the Nanning City Intermediate People's Court. The deaths occurred when the county's Lajiapo mine, which was under Wan's direct jurisdiction, flooded July 17, 2001( ) Only a day before Wan's execution, Yan Zhihua, another prefectural official, was sentenced to one year in prison with a two-year reprieve for his role in the cover-up. Other officials responsible for mine accidents in the area have been sentenced to death, 10 years and 13 years in prison, respectively, for their roles in similar cover-ups.

Income gaps have to be closed
2004-02-25 China Daily
Ever since the nation began opening to the outside world in the late 1970s, coastal provinces such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian have reaped the lion's share of wealth thanks to their natural advantages. But nine interior provinces and autonomous regions, plus the vast rural areas under the jurisdiction of Chongqing Municipality, have remained appallingly poor. This poverty belt, stretching from Yunnan in the south to Xinjiang in the north, makes up more than half of China's land mass and is home to 285 million people -- a population bigger than that of the United States. Despite China's energetic efforts to harmonize development between its prosperous east coast and the poverty-stricken interior provinces, coastal areas continue to suck up as much as 70 per cent of the new investment pouring into the country. As a result, the gap between the two -- whether measured by income or share in GDP and exports -- is expected to widen in the next few years. In addition, the income gap among Chinese urbanites continued to widen in the first nine months of last year, triggering fresh worries about a potential wealth polarization in the fast-developing economy. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced a steady rise in disposable income for urbanites, with per capita income up 9.5 per cent over the previous year to 6,347 yuan (US$767.47) between January and September 2003. But the survey suggested that per capita income of top earners, who account for 20 per cent of the urban population, posted a year-on-year increase of 12.4 per cent to reach 13,120 yuan (US$1,586) in contrast to low-income urban residents, who also make up 20 per cent of the urbanites, whose earnings edged up by 8.3 per cent to 2,433 yuan (US$294.19). Li Shi, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the income disparity is evident not only between urban and rural residents, but also among urban people as well. He says the data highlights the yawning wealth gap between the rich and the poor in China, which could be a destabilizing factor for society threatening sustainable economic growth. ( )

Benchmark of minimum wage to be raised
2004-02-23 Xinhua News
China will begin to enforce a new set of rules on March 1 that will raise the benchmark of minimum wage in the country. The new rules on minimum wage apply to employees of various sorts of organizations, including enterprises, government institutions and individually run firms. To date, 30 regions of the Chinese mainland have instituted the minimum wage system, with the southern coastal open city of Shenzhen boasting the highest monthly level of 600 yuan (approximately 73 US dollars), Shanghai municipality 570 yuan (69 dollars) and the national capital of Beijing 495 yuan (60 dollars). Raising the benchmark of minimum wage shows that the Chinese government is striving to alleviate the plight of low-income groups, said Yi Dinghong, dean of the economy of labor department of prestigious People's University of China in Beijing.

Country workers flood urban job markets
2004-02-23 China Daily
Some six out of 10 workers in China are from the countryside, according to a survey made public by the Chinese Federation of Enterprises over the weekend. The survey, which investigated 1,000 companies nationwide, said that 57.6 per cent of Chinese workers came from rural areas. The federation called for more measures to make these migrant workers live and work with ease in cities. Some officials and researchers suggested calling off barriers such as household registration systems and offering schooling for children of these workers, ensuring that migrant citizens can integrate into city life.

 

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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