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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
  04.05-07.05.04, No. 18  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese premier starts visit to Italy to enhance bilateral ties
2004-05-06 Xinhua News
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived here Thursday for a three-day official visit to Italy to boost political, economic and trade ties between the two countries. Wen's plane touched down at Rome's Fiumicino Airport at 5:35 p.m. local time (1535 GMT) after he wrapped up a two-day visit to Belgium and the European Union headquarters. ( ) Italy is an important trading partner of China in the European Union. The Sino-Italian economic and technological cooperation has also witnessed rapid development over recent years. Wen kicked off his 11-day Europe tour on Sunday, his first visit to the continent since taking office as premier one year ago. Italy is the third leg of the premier's five-nation tour, which has taken him to Germany and Belgium. He will also visit Britain and Ireland.

China, EU developing "mature partnership"
2004-05-05 Xinhua News
( ) On Thursday morning, Wen held talks with European Commission (EC) President Romano Prodi, vowing to further consolidate and develop the all-around strategic partnership between China and the bloc. The premier put forward a five-point proposal for boosting China-EU relations:
-- To enhance discussions on strategic issues between Chinese and European leaders;
-- To expand China-EU economic and technological cooperation;
-- To consolidate legal and safeguarding mechanisms for cooperation between the two sides;
-- To boost communications and dialogue between the parliaments, academic organizations, research institutes and media organizations from the two sides; and
-- To improve consultation mechanisms on settling disputes and differences arising from bilateral ties, including those related to trade and human rights.
( ) Following the EU's latest policy paper on China, the Chinese government issued its first-ever policy paper on the EU in mid-October, spelling out the objectives of China's EU policy and outlining plans and measures for cooperation in the coming five years. ( ) China and the EU now have become each other's second largest trading partner, experts said. With the entry of 10 new members on May 1, the largest-ever enlargement in EU's history, there is greater potential for Sino-EU economic cooperation. "I see a lot of complementarities in our economies," Prodi said, stressing that this will promise more and better economic cooperation in coming decades. Apart from economic cooperation, leaders from the two sides agreed to facilitate cultural exchanges and cooperation in education with a view to achieving better mutual understanding, a prerequisite for any further substantial development of bilateral relations. In October 2003, China and the EU signed a joint training program on global navigational satellite systems on the basis of the Galileo Project, a European alternative to America's global positioning system (GPS). The two sides also pledged to boost cooperation in atomic energy, customs, environmental protection and intellectual property rights. A memorandum of understanding on approved destination status signed in February, which will facilitate Chinese group tourism to Europe, marked a new era in tourism cooperation between China and the EU, experts said. ( )

Chinese premier holds talks with German chancellor
2004-05-04 Xinhua News
( ) Wen said the Chinese government attaches great importance to further developing its relations with Germany and is satisfied with the current bilateral cooperation in various fields. Developing Sino-German friendly ties is in the common interestsof the peoples of both countries, he added. "China highly appreciates the German government's persistent adherence to the 'one China' policy and its support for the cause of China's peaceful reunification," said the Chinese premier who is on a three-day official visit to Germany. Wen said his current visit to Germany came amid the European Union enlargement. "China supports European integration and hopes the EU will play a positive and constructive role in international affairs," Wen said. "We attach importance to the German role within the EU, and hope to enrich the content of bilateral strategic partnership," headded. The Chinese premier also proposed to establish an annual regular meeting mechanism between the two heads of government, establish a dialogue regime in anti-terrorism and law enforcement,and strengthen bilateral consultations and cooperation on international affairs. On economy and trade, Wen noted that Germany is China's largest trade partner in Europe while China is Germany's largest trade partner in Asia. Bilateral trade volume totaled 41.8 billion US dollars in 2003. The two countries should make joint efforts to double their bilateral trade by 2010, he added. As high-tech cooperation constitutes an important pivot of future Sino-German economic cooperation, the Chinese premier added,both sides should attach more importance to this cooperation, Wen also stressed that the two countries should give more government assistance to boost cooperation among their small and medium-sized enterprises.

Korean nuclear topic centre of discussions
2004-05-06 China Daily
China confirmed yesterday it will host working-level discussions on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue on May 12 with an eye towards the next round of six-party talks. After the last round, members decided to convene again before the end of June 2004. The fundamental goal (of the working group meeting) is to make preparations for the third round of (six-party) talks based on the consensus reached at the end of the second round. The announcement came shortly after a visit to China last week by Kim Jong-il, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and US Vice- President Dick Cheney's visit earlier. Kong praised Kim Jong-il for helping facilitate the meeting. "Kim Jong-il expressed willingness to participate in the six-party talks and achieve the final goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. A statement published by the official KCNA news agency said that DPRK will attend the working group talks. The lower-level talks are expected to focus on details rather than some principles. "At working group talks, participants should have in-depth talks to seek ways of defusing tensions over the nuclear issue," Kong told reporters, adding that the meeting is open-ended. The working group meeting was agreed during the second round of six-party talks in February. Two rounds of six-party talks - which included the DPRK, the United States, China, Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan - were held in Beijing in August 2003 and the latest in February this year. Ning Fukui, Beijing's special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs, will head the Chinese team at the working group meeting. Ning called for a "flexible" approach toward the nuclear stand-off after arriving in ROK for a two-day visit. Ning has also kicked off a visit to Japan and the United States. "We hope the participants will be more flexible and take a realistic approach so that progress can be made," Ning said. ( ) China maintains that the goal is to secure a promise from the DPRK to freeze all of its nuclear activities and accept inspections as the first step towards the final goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile the other parties concerned should respond to the needs of the DPRK. China says that providing energy support to the DPRK is one of the responses.

Inter-Korean ministerial meeting opens in Pyongyang
2004-05-05 Xinhua News
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea on Wednesday opened a ministerial meeting in Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel to discuss a range of inter-Korean issues including reducing military tensions between the twocountries. The 14th Inter-Korean Ministerial Meeting is the first ministerial level talks between the north and the south following the convening of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly and parliamentary elections in South Korea in March. Kwon Ho-ung, Chief Councilor of the DPRK Cabinet and head of the DPRK delegation, said in his keynote speech that the time is right to achieve progress in bilateral relations in accordance with the June 15 Joint Declaration. But he said that the US-South Korea joint military excises must be brought to an end in order to raise bilateral ties to a new level. If South Korea is truly willing to conduct dialogues and restart military talks with the DPRK, it should stop such militaryexcises and halt recent broadcasts "slandering the north", he said. South Korea's Unification Minister, Jeong Se-hyon, who led the South Korean delegation, proposed an early resumption of high level military talks to prevent possible clashes along the sea border between the two Koreas as fishing boats jostle for positionduring crab-catching season in May and June. He also conveyed his sympathy to victims of the recent Ryongchon explosion and promised help to the DPRK. Jeong hoped the upcoming six-party talks Beijing will succeed and move towards the means of resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. The South Korean delegation arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

 

Domestic Policy

China reports no new SARS case in past 24 hours
2004-05-05 Xinhua News
There was no new suspected or diagnosed SARS cases in the Chinese mainland in the 24 hours from 10:00 May 4 to 10:00 May 5, and the first diagnosed SARS patient in Beijing, surnamed Li, has been discharged from hospital, the Chinese Ministry of Health announced here Wednesday. The ministry said that currently, the one confirmed SARS patient in east China's Anhui Province is in good condition, and the six confirmed cases in Beijing are all in stable condition. They all are isolated at the designated hospitals for medical treatment. Of those who have had close contact with the reported SARS cases, none have shown abnormal symptoms, and 103 people in Anhui Province and 141 people in Beijing have been freed from medical observation, said the ministry.

China shuts down 8,600 illegal Internet cafes
2004-05-06 Xinhua News
China has shut down more than 8,600 unlicensed Internet cafes across the country since February when it launched a nationwide check on all Internet cafes, according to Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng. These cafes were closed for admitting juveniles in violation of relevant regulations, said Sun. Sun made the remarks at a recent week-long nationwide clean-up campaign for Internet cafes. "Some unlicensed Internet cafes, especially in some townships, counties and areas joining town and country, still need to be clamped down on, and some local governments do not impose severe punishment on those cafes who allow the entry of juveniles," Sun said. Local governments across China have been ordered not to approve any Internet cafe operations in residential areas or within 200 meters of primary and high schools. "They have brought great harm to the mental health of teenagers and interfered with the school teaching, which has aroused strong reaction from the public," said the GAIC. A recent tragedy in this regard happened in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on March 31, when two junior middle school students were crushed to death by a train when they fell asleep on the train track after surfing the Internet for over 48 hours in a cafe. The Chinese government has launched a nationwide check on all Internet cafes from February to August so as to halt the entry of minors as well as to prevent access to detrimental information through the Internet, according to a circular released in February jointly by the Ministry of Culture, the GAIC, the Ministry of Public Security and other relevant government departments. Any such place allowing juveniles to enter or allowing unhealthy information to spread through the Internet will face rigid, severe penalty. ( )

China sees rising criminal cases in first quarter
2004-05-06 Xinhua News
China reported 923,000 criminal cases in the first quarter, an increase of 14.2 percent over the same period last year. The figures, released Wednesday by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), revealed a 23.4 percent drop in bombing crimes in the period, while arsons and rapes fell by 6.6 percent and 7.9 percent respectively. Murder cases basically remained the same as last year, according to the statistics. During the period, China saw 639,000 theft cases, up 17.1 percent year-on-year, and robberies also rose by 8.6 percent to 74,000. Meanwhile, police cracked 285,000 criminal cases from January to March, 1.6 percent higher than the previous year, and dealt with 979,000 minor infringements, which were down by 11.3 percent. The MPS said that it has launched a special move to investigate homicide cases across the country since February this year in a bid to crack down on major violent crimes, including cases of murdering, bombing, poisoning, arson, abducting, robbery and rape-murdering. ( )

Fight intensifies on counterfeiters
2004-05-06 China Daily
The Supreme People's Procuratorate says it will further step up efforts to crack down on fake and substandard food, drugs and agricultural production materials. It will also pay more attention to cases involving production or distribution of faked famous brands and pirated books or discs. The move is driven by the recent spat of infant deaths caused by sub-standard milk powder. ( )

280,000 Chinese die of hepatitis B each year
2004-05-05 Xinhua News
China reports about half a million new cases of hepatitis B and 280,000 deaths from hepatitis B-related liver diseases each year, according to the Ministry of Public Health. Hepatitis B disease costs China 100 billion yuan (12.1 billion US dollars) in medical treatment and health care expenses. China has about 20 million people with chronic viral liver diseases out of its 1.3 billion population, and half of the 280,000 Chinese who died of liver diseases in China were due to liver cancer. About 2 billion people in the world have contracted hepatitis Bvirus, and 750,000 people around the world die of hepatitis B virus infection. Some carriers of hepatitis B virus may develop liver diseases, such as liver cancer.

Das Überleben dank der Sozialhilfe
2004-05-03 Xinhua Wang (Übersetzung)
22 Mio. Stadteinwohner in China erhielten im 2003 Unterstützung von der Sozialhilfe sagte der Minister für zivile Angelegenheiten Li Xueju. die chinesische Regierung werde weiterhin die Sozialabsicherung durch medizinische Hilfe, Bildungshilfe, Wohnungshilfe und juristische Hilfe fördern.

Die Zahl der Privatautos in China stieg um das 6x
2004-05-06 Xinhua Wang (Übersetzung)
Zwischen 1994 - 2003 stieg die Zahl der Privatautos in China um das 6x. 1994 betrugen 2,05 Mio private Pkws mit einem 21% Anteil den gesamten Zivilautobestand. 2003 stieg die Zahl der Privatautos bereits auf 12 Mio, was 50% der gesamten Zivilautos ausmacht.

 

Divers

1.33 million Chinese couples divorce last year
2004-05-04 Xinhua News
China has more than 1.33 million couples say goodbye last year, with an increase of 154,000 cases than the previous year, according to a recent report issued by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA). In the report of development and statistic of civil affairs in 2003, more than 8.11 million couples tie the knot by the end of 2003, 0.4 per thousand points higher than 2002, however, the divorce rate last year also rise 0.3 per thousand points. Since Oct. 1 last year, a new marriage registration regulations has taken effect, couples in China can marry without a health examination or a letter from their employers testifying their unmarried status. Meanwhile, a requirement for divorce also abolished in the new regulations. The number of Chinese registering for marriage dropped from some 8.92 million couples in 1998 to 7.86 million in 2002, according to the All-China Women's Federation. But the number of divorces has remained stable in the past five years, at about 1.2 million each year.

 

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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