SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

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
  13.04-16.04.04, No. 15  
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Foreign Policy

Cheney's China tour highlights common interest than difference
2004-04-15 Xinhua News
After US Vice President Dick Cheney's 46-hour heavily arranged visit in China, the "low-profile but very influential" official concluded his visit by saying that "the areas of agreements (between the United States and China) are far greater than those we disagree". During his stay in Beijing since Tuesday afternoon, he held talks or meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Central Military Commission Jiang Zemin and Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong. Cheney and Chinese leaders exchanged views frankly on bilateral ties and a range of regional and international issues involving the Taiwan issue, the Korean nuclear issue, trade and Iraq situation. On the Taiwan issue, the most vital in the Sino-US relationship, Chinese leaders described "Taiwan independence" as "the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits." China will never tolerate it and urged the United States to honor the one-China policy. Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong also told Cheney during their talks Tuesday evening that the election result in Taiwan could not change the fact that Taiwan is part of China. Replying to his hosts, Cheney reiterated that the US government will continue to adhere to the one-China policy, which was based on the three joint communiques between the United States and China, not support "Taiwan Independence", and oppose any unilateral action to change the status quo across the Taiwan Straits. On the bilateral trade issue, which arose much concern in the two countries, there seems to be not much argument during Cheney's meeting with Chinese leaders, including the US trade deficit with China and the alleged "manipulated" exchange rates of Chinese currency, the RMB. Cheney and the Chinese leaders agreed that China and the US witnessed sound development in bilateral ties and cooperation in all fields including major regional international issues, vowing to further the Sino-US constructive cooperation relationship. The two countries agreed to increase high-level exchanges and strengthen cooperation in anti-terrorism, trade, law-enforcement and military aspects. During his first visit to China's biggest economic hub Shanghai, the last leg of his China tour, Cheney addressed the faculty and students of the prestigious Fudan University as former US President Ronald Reagan has done in the same season 20 years ago.

Chinese President stresses expansion of Sino-EU links
2004-04-15 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao said Wednesday that China is ready to strengthen consultation and coordination with the European Union (EU) on important international and regional issues. Hu said China is willing to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between China and EU, adding that the two sides should join hands to contribute to world peace, stability and development. President Hu Jintao made the remarks during his meeting with visiting European Commission (EC) President Romano Prodi in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon. The two sides made an important decision to set up a strategic partnership last year, setting clear direction for the development of Sino-EU relations in the new century. Hu said the China-EU policy document forum held in Beijing earlier this year put forward a series of detailed targets and plans of strengthening cooperation between the two sides. China and EU are both important forces to safeguard world peace and stability and to promote common development, Hu said. He said China supports the enlargement and integration of the EU and hopes it will play a bigger role in international affairs. Prodi said EU-China relations have never been so good, noting that the two sides have conducted sound and fruitful cooperation in political, cultural and scientific areas. He said the EU places importance on China's important position and role in the international community and wishes to develop closer strategic relations with China. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao raised three proposals for strengthening Sino-EU relations as he met with visiting European Union (EU) Commission President Romano Prodi Tuesday. The proposals include: First, the two sides should study and set objectives and plan for the development of Sino-EU relations in the coming 10-15 years. Through the exchange of visits by high-ranking officials and the Seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting to be held in December, the two sides should add substance to and further develop the all-round strategic partnership between China and the EU. Secondly, the two sides should earnestly implement the policy documents that they signed on Sino-EU relations last year so as to expand and deepen their cooperation in various areas. Thirdly, the two sides should observe the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits to properly resolve important issues of common concern through dialogue and consultation. ( )

"New constitution" means timetable for Taiwan independence: official
2004-04-14 Xinhua News
A Taiwan affairs official of China's State Council Wednesday warned that the Taiwan leader's plan to hatch up a "new constitution" will result in tensions and danger in the Taiwan Straits. At the first regular press conference after the March 20 election in Taiwan, Li Weiyi, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, or the Chinese central government, described the agenda on "constitution" as a timetable for "Taiwan Independence". Chen Shui-bian, leader of Taiwan authorities, has stated in public time and again his intention to hold a referendum on writing a new constitution in 2006 and enact the constitution in 2008 to make Taiwan a "normal and complete nation", while calling for a cross-strait framework for peace, stability and interaction. The spokesman dismissed Chen's remarks on the proposed framework for peace, stability and interaction between the two sides as a move to deceive the people of Taiwan and the international community. Li noted that Chen has been creating chaos in Taiwan society and sabotaging cross-strait relations during his four years in power, and blamed Chen's separatist stance for the increased factors of instability in Taiwan and the deterioration of Taiwan's environment for development. What Chen had said and done had "posed a direct threat to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region", Li said. ( ) Chen is misleading people and has caused serious damage to the cross-strait relations, Li said, and it will impair the stability of Taiwan society, economic development and the well-being of the people of Taiwan. ( )

Vatican must break links with Taiwan before China allows relationship
2004-04-15 Xinhua News
The Vatican should first break off its relations with Taiwan, and does not interfere in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion, if it wants to establish relations with China, said Kong Quan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, here Thursday. Kong Quan made the remarks in response to a reporter's question on whether the Vatican wants to establish diplomatic relations with China. Kong said China holds a clear stance on the Vatican issue, and it is up to the Vatican to take action, he said. The Vatican should meet the above two demands if it has the sincerity to establish relations with China.

 

Domestic Policy

Banning not the way to eliminate begging
2004-04-14 China Daily
Beijing is not going to ban begging and busking at subway stations and on the trains, the municipal government's Legal Affairs Office announced at a press conference on Monday. ( )Since there is no violation of law, there is no legal ground for local authorities to ban it. Looking deeper for the reasons behind begging, we will find that the inadequate social security system is probably the prime cause. Many poverty-stricken people living on the bottom rungs of the social ladder do not get enough help from society. Natural disasters, disease and unemployment can leave people in helpless situations. Begging then becomes their only means of making a living. Therefore, a sound social security network covering every inch of our land and providing every citizen with protection is the ultimate resolution. Instead of banning, the government should persuade those beggars with working abilities to make a living through lawful work, and help those who, for various reasons are unable to work, to live with dignity.

Verschärfung der Internetkontrolle
2004-04-14 Renmin Wang (Übersetzung)
Seit Dienstag gelten weitere strenge Bestimmungen für minderjährige Internetnutzer. Internet-Cafes und weitere öffentliche Internet-Möglichkeiten sind nun für junge Leute endgültig verboten. Bei zweimaligem Verstoss gegen das Gesetzt für Jugendliche wird dem IT-Anbieter die Schliessung oder gar mit dem Entzug der Lizenz angedroht. Mit den neuen Beschränkungen wird die Verbreitung unkontrollierter Informationen im Internet bekämpft werden.()

Quenching thirst in Tarim Basin
2004-04-14 China Daily
The 1,321 kilometre Tarim River runs west to east along the northern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, China's largest, and flows into Taitema Lake. The river is the most important source of water in semi-arid Xinjiang, with more than 8 million people living in oases clustered along its banks and in an alluvial plain downstream. Yet, due to the increasing population, excessive water use for irrigation, and random land reclamation upstream, the lake has been drying up for three decades. To prevent further deterioration of the ecosystem , the central government launched a five- year emergency water diversion programme in 2000 with 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) earmarked for the reclamation of the river and Taitema Lake. This is the sixth time since May 2000 that water has been diverted from nearby Bosten Lake to the lower reaches of the Tarim River to rehabilitate the fragile ecosystem. In recent years, some 1.3 billion cubic metres of water has been released from Bosten Lake north of the Tarim River to flow downstream into the dry riverbed. The latest water diversion started in late March this year and water is now flowing into the river at a maximum speed of 50 cubic metres per second. Some 300 million cubic metres are expected to be diverted, Liu says.

HIV/AIDS sufferers can receive free therapy
2004-04-14 China Daily
HIV infected people and AIDS patients in rural China and those urbanites with low incomes are now eligible for no cost anti-virus treatments, according to a document jointly released by the ministries of health and finance Tuesday in Beijing. Since July 2003, the central government has promised to provide free medical treatments for HIV carriers stricken by poverty, said Hao Yang, director of the HIV/AIDS division of the Ministry of Health. And up to now, about 6,000 AIDS patients have received treatments in various regions, including Central China's Henan Province. ( )

Xinjiang enjoys stability and development
2004-04-12 Xinhua News
There have been no blasts or assassination incidents in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region over recent years, according to a news conference held here on Monday. The current security situation in this region is "very good", said Simayi Teliwardi, chairman of the Xinjiang autonomous region,at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing. ( ) In early the 1990s, with the support of international terrorists, a handful of violent terrorists hatched up and engineered a number of violent incidents in Xinjiang, seriously jeopardizing the lives and property of all ethnicities and social stability in this region. "The activities are firmly opposed and consciously boycotted by all Chinese people including locals of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," said the chairman.

 

Economy

President Hu emphasizes grain production
2004-04-13 Xinhua News
President Hu Jintao recently urged all local Party committees and governments to fully carry out the central policies of raising grain production and farmers' income, hoping to stabilize the fundamental status of agriculture in China's economy. Hu said he was pleased to see the farmers' enthusiasm for growing grain on the rise, and reiterated the importance of grain farming during an inspection tour in northwestern Province of Shaanxi from April 9 to 13. Touching the public with a "people first" principle, Hu's government has worked out a series of policies favoring its 900 million rural people, including purchasing grains at protected prices, subsidizing grain producers directly, stepping up supervision over the price surge of production means for farming and cutting down on agriculture taxes. The Chinese government has pledged to earmark 10 billion yuan (1.21 billion US dollars) this year from its grain risk fund to directly subsidize grain producers. Premier Wen Jiabao also pointed to the government's plan to cancel agriculture taxes in five years, another significant measure to alleviate the burden and promote income growth.

China's economy to grow by 9%: expert
2004-04-13 Xinhua News
The Chinese economy is expected to grow by nine percent this year, compared with the target of seven percent growth rate set by the Chinese government earlier this year, an economic expert said Monday. Xu Hongyuan, vice-director of the Development and Research Department under the official State Information Center, said the growth rate of the national economy is likely to exceed 10 percent during the second quarter of this year, as against the estimated 9.5 percent for the first quarter. The economy will slow down to at least eight percent during the second half of this year as the central government moved to regulate the macro-economy, said the vice-director. The average growth rate for the economy in 2004 will stand at about nine percent.

 

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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