SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND 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
  13.09-17.09.04, No. 34  
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Foreign Policy

China rejects US religion report
2004-09-17 China Daily
China rejected the US State Department's annual report on religious freedom Thursday with "strong displeasure" and "resolute objection. "Commenting on the International Religious Freedom Report 2004 released by the US State Department, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the report's section concerning China disregarded the truth and want only attacked China's religious and ethnic policies. " () China has been protecting its citizens' religious rights in accordance with the law, Kong said, adding that it is an obvious fact that all ethnic groups and people throughout the country enjoy religious freedom. Kong urged the United States to stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the guise of religious issues in order to avoid damages to bilateral relations. ( )

Beijing opposes US Congress resolution on HK
2004-09-15 China Daily
China on Tuesday strongly objected to a US Congress resolution on so-called "support for freedom in Hong Kong," saying it interfered in China's domestic affairs. ( ) The US House of Representatives on Monday adopted a resolution expressing support for "freedom" in Hong Kong at the instigation of several anti-China congressmen. "The US House of Representatives again meddled in Hong Kong's affairs and intervened in China's domestic affairs, which not only harms Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and Sino-US relations, but also harms the interests of the United States," said a statement issued Tuesday by the foreign ministry. ( ) Facts prove once again that since 1997, when Hong Kong returned to the motherland, its residents have been enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms, said the office. It is also a fact that Hong Kong has been progressing under the principle of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, it added.( )

FM spokesman: China intends no harm to neighbors
2004-09-16 China Daily
China will do no harm to its neighbors, but will instead seek common prosperity in the region through cooperation, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Thursday at a regular press conference. In response to a question about a report released by a Japanese advisory panel describing China as a military threat, Kong said the report represents a minority viewpoint and will not be supported by most Japanese people. ( ) China's national defense budget last year stood at about US$21.5 billion, while Japan's was more than 60 billion, Kong said. China has reiterated many times that it pursues a policy of "treating its neighbors as friends and partners," he said. "Under no circumstances will China harm the interest of any neighboring countries." Kong said healthy and mutually beneficial Sino-Japanese relations would be beneficial to the two peoples and conducive to regional peace and stability.

Difficulties exist for scheduled 4th round of six-party talks: FM spokesman
2004-09-16 People's Daily
Difficulties exist for the holding of the fourth round of the six-party talks before the end of September, said spokesman Kong Quan Thursday. He said at a regular press conference that all parties should make efforts to hold the new round of six-party talks before the end of September. "Even if the new round could not be held before the end of September, it should be held at an early date," he said. ( ) The six parties agreed to meet again before the end of September during the third-round meeting this June. China has carried out mediation actively and done much constructive work, leading to much progress, said Kong. However, whether the talks could be held as scheduled is mainly up to the DPRK and the United States instead of China, Kong added. The six-party talks have turned out to be a mechanism for peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue. ( )

Premier to visit Kyrgyzstan, Russia
2004-09-14 Xinhua News
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Kyrgyzstan and Russia, attending the third meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) among Prime Ministers from SCO member states and the ninth regular meeting between Chinese and Russian Prime Ministers from September 21 to 25. ( ) During Wen's visit, he will extensively exchange ideas of bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest with leaders of the two countries. He will also discuss the trade cooperation and SCO's development with other Prime Ministers from SCO member states. He will sign some important documents during his visit. ( )

DPRK confirms explosion in power plant project
2004-09-13 Xinhua News
An official of the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) confirmed Monday that last week's explosion in the country's northern region was part of a power plant project. The official told Xinhua that Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun had told visiting British Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell that the blast was conducted to demolish a mountain for the project. Outside media reported last week that a large explosion happened in the northern region of the DPRK on Sept. 9. Initial reports of a possible nuclear test had been denied by South Korean and US officials for lacking signature signs.

 

Domestic Policy

CPC Central Committee opens plenary session
2004-09-16 Xinhua News
The Fourth Plenary Session of the16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened here Thursday. During the four-day plenum, the CPC central committee will hear a work report of the committee's Political Bureau while deliberating on issues concerning the improvement of the Party's ruling capacity. It is the first time for a CPC Central Committee plenum to put the building of the Party's ruling capacity on the top of the agenda, analysts here said. The analysts expected that the Party's ruling capacity building will focus on issues such as how to pursue the policy of governing the country according to law, how to better handle the relations between the Party and the government, and how to improve its governance in line with the development of market economy. ( )

Traffic accidents causing more deaths
2004-09-15 China Daily
Traffic accidents killed some 68,000 people and injured 302,000 across China in the first eight months of this year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Public Security. A total of 340,000 traffic accidents happened from January to August, a year-on-year rise of 24 per cent, with the number of fatalities increasing 2.7 per cent during the same period. ( ) In one case on June 16, 21 of 26 passengers on a bus were killed in an accident in Xinyu, a city of Southeast China's Jiangxi Province. The bus was only designed to accommodate 19 people and its driver Li Xinming drove the bus into a lake. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

No room for splittists in Xinjiang
2004-09-15 Xinhua News
A senior Party official says there is absolutely no room for the extremely small number of national splittists and terrorists in Xinjiang as nationalities unite, border defense is strengthened and people's living standards keep rising. Speaking in an interview with foreign reporters in Urumqi, Wang Lequan, Secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Committee, says the Chinese government relies on the broad masses of people to safeguard the country's unification, social stability and the happy lives of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang by cracking down on extremists, splittists and international terrorists. Wang Lequan says the facts prove that violent activities conducted by these three forces have damaged the fundamental interests of people and their objectives do not enjoy popular support in the region. ( )

Survey aims to discover, curb AIDS spread
2004-09-13 China Daily
China's worst-hit AIDS province, Henan, has initiated a survey of blood buying medical stations in an effort to discover the true extent of its AIDS epidemic, local officials said. The survey, which began on July 26, aims to poll over 1 million people in 18 cities and 35 counties in the province believed to have sold blood at unsanitary blood stations, China Youth Daily reported. The survey aims to clarify how many people in the province are currently suffering from AIDS, how many are carrying the HIV virus and how many people donated blood for money before 1995, said Ma Jianzhong, director of the Henan Health Bureau at a press conference. The Henan provincial government has so far documented some 21,703 HIV carriers who became infected after selling blood at illegal and unsanitary blood stations in the 1990s, officials said. In a bid to make money, people in the Central China province, mostly farmers, sold their blood to illegal blood stations and individuals. Total HIV cases in Henan have reached 25,036. Among those infected, more than 97 per cent come from rural areas, official statistics show. ( ) Since 2003, governments have been providing anti-virus medicine for all rural HIV/AIDS sufferers for free. Nearly 80 per cent of China's HIV carriers live in rural and remote areas. However, due to the poor medical services and under trained personnel at grass-roots levels, many AIDS patients have stopped taking the medicine, which has allowed the disease to progress

China pledges better cooperation with int'l health bodies
2004-09-13 Xinhua News
China is ready to strengthen health cooperation and exchanges with the international society and contribute to the conquest of human diseases and the progress of international health drive, said Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi on Monday. Nowadays, traditional communicable diseases and chronic non-communicable disease are becoming greater burdens. The spread of new types of diseases like HIV/AIDS is becoming more serious. The health development gap between the developed and developing countries is widening. All these pose challenges to health undertakings of the world, said Wu. ( )

China has 236,000 "rich people"
2004-09-14 Xinhua News
China had about 236,000 wealthy people, each with more than US$1 million in assets in 2003, the Shenzhen Economic Daily said Monday, quoting a report in the Guangzhou-based 21st Business Herald. The report, compiled by the Merrylin Group, said China, with an increase of 12 percent over the previous year, was second behind India which had a 22-percent increase in the number of wealthy people, reported Shenzhen Daily. The wealth is calculated on financial assets, not including housing. Their total assets average 34 million yuan (US$4.1 million), according to the report. ( )

Three Gorges Dam protected by armed troops
2004-09-14 People's Daily
China has dispatched heavily armed troops to the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower project, to guard against any terrorist attack, a newspaper said on Tuesday. The forces had begun patrolling waters near the US$25 billion project in central Hubei province, built also to tame the flood-prone Yangtze River, the online edition of Huaxia Times, said. Soldiers manning the dam had been equipped with armed helicopters, airships, armoured vehicles and robots to defuse bombs, the newspaper said. "( ) China would be "seriously on guard against threats from Taiwan independence terrorists". His comments came in response to the US Pentagon's annual report to Congress on China's military power, which said unnamed proponents of strikes against China "apparently hope" that merely establishing places like the Three Gorges Dam as targets would deter Chinese military action. ( ) China has staged a string of anti-terror manoeuvres throughtout the country, to be better prepared for the rise in global terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

14,000 prisoners illegally released early
2004-09-11 Xinhua News
An investigation by China's top judicial body discovered that 13,961 prisoners had their jail terms illegally reduced in the past four months. The Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) also found 3,875 prisoners had been illegally released on parole or received medical treatment on bail. The SPP said it has redressed 4,331 of the cases, adding that 42 law enforcement officers have been found guilty in 35 cases concerning illegal jail term reduction. Before launching the investigation, the SPP believed that some prison guards were accepting bribes from the prisoners in exchange for lightening their sentences. The investigation's results have shown this to be true. ( )

 

Taiwan

Name-game exposes Chen's separatist stance
2004-09-15 Xinhua News
A Chinese government spokesman said here Wednesday that China will defend the one-China policy at any cost. ( ) When asked for comments on Chen's suggestion that "Taiwan" is the best option for a shortened form of the "Republic of China," the spokesman said this very suggestion has revealed again Chen's separatist stance and his promotion of independence for Taiwan, an inseparable province of China. "Recalling Chen's earlier words claiming that his main task in the coming four years is 'to seek a solution to the positioning of Taiwan,' we can tell that his 'constitutional reform' promise in his May 20 speech is totally hypocritical," said Zhang. He said there is only one China, to which both Taiwan and the Chinese mainland belong. "Judging from his recent activities and remarks, especially his title seeking effort for Taiwan, we find that Chen's neither accepted the one-China principle nor stopped his pro-independence activities.". ( )

 

Tibet

Tibet holds anti-terrorist maneuvers
2004-09-13 People's Daily
A day after the third anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US, the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China held anti-terrorist maneuvers Sunday morning in its capital of Lhasa. The local garrison of the People's Liberation Army, armed police, public security police and militia took part in the joint maneuvers. The anti-terrorist maneuvers, in the context of increased terrorist acts around the world, was staged to check the region's responsive mechanism in case of terror attacks, said organizers. The maneuvers, which lasted about three hours, covered anti-hijacking, anti-explosion, anti-biochemical weapons and seizure of terrorists.

 

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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