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
  11.10-15.10.04, No. 37  
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Foreign Policy

Cao Gangchuan meets Swiss Defense Minister
2004-10-14 PLA Daily
Chinese defense minister has met with his Swiss counterpart to exchange views on bilateral relationships and other issues of common concern. General Cao Gangchuan, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Samuel Schmid, defense minister and vice-president of the Swiss Confederation highlighted long-term and stable cooperation between the two countries in their Wednesday meeting in Bern. Cao Gangchuan also appreciates Switzerland's adherence to one China principle on Taiwan question. Schmid says his country cherish its cooperation with China and is ready to push the ties between the two countries and armies to a new height. Cao Gangchuan is on a three-day official visit to Swiss from Tuesday. He will later visit Belgium, France and Brazil.

Chinese defense minister leaves for four-nation tour
2004-10-11 People's Daily
Chinese Minister of Defense Cao Gangchuan left Beijing Monday for an official good-will visit to France, Belgium, Switzerland and Brazil Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, pays the visit at the invitation of French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut, Samuel Schmid, defense minister and vice-president of the Swiss Confederation, and Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Viegas Filho.

China to lobby for 4th round six-party talks
2004-10-13 China Daily
Chinese ambassador on the Korean Peninsula affairs Ning Fukui will pay visits to the related countries for discussions on the fourth round of six-party nuclear talks, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue in Beijing Tuesday at a regular press conference. "China still hopes the fourth round of six-party talks could be held as early as possible," Zhang said. Ning's visits are "a big step" toward resolving the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue, said Zhang, adding China "has been keeping close contact with all relevant parties and done a great deal of persuasion and promotion work. "All relevant parties have reached consensus, fixed the goal of realizing a nuclear weapons-free peninsula and agreed to solve all concerned problems through the mechanism of six-party talks," she said. ( )

Putin's China visit highlights oil projects
2004-10-12 Xinhua News
While Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to visit China this week, oil pipeline projects are likely to top the agenda, Shenzhen Daily reported Tuesday. On Sunday, Igor A. Rogachev, Russian Ambassador to China, said that a long-anticipated Sino-Russia oil pipeline plan would be unveiled in the next few months. ( ) The two neighboring countries would also negotiate on joint venture nuclear power plants and coal mining projects during Putin's visit, he said. According to Rogachev, trade volume between China and Russia would reach US$20 billion this year and both sides hoped to increase the volume to US$60 billion by 2010. For years, Russia has been hesitating whether to build a pipeline to China or Japan, its two energy-thirsty Asian neighbors. ( )

Putin in China
2004-10-15 Xinhua News
China and Russia signed an agreement here Thursday, completing the delimitation of the 4,300-kilometer-long boundary line between them. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signed the Supplementary Agreement on the Eastern Section of China-Russia Boundary Line on behalf of their respective governments.
China and Russia signed a joint statement on Thursday, reiterating their mutual support on issues related to national unity, sovereignty and territory integrity. According to the statement, Russia will observe the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed on July 16, 2001 and all past bilateral political documentsto firmly adhere to the one-China stand on issues of Taiwan and Tibet.

Chirac's China tour boosts Sino-French ties
2004-10-12 Xinhua News
French President Jacques Chirac's five-day state visit to China has advanced Sino-French cooperation to a new high, as the two nations commemorate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties with grand celebrations. ( ) During talks with President Chirac, Chinese President Hu Jintao said an annual meeting mechanism between leaders of both countries should be set up, calling for joint effort to push forward the democratization of international relations. Chirac reaffirmed the one-China policy, saying he opposes any move to intensify the tension across the Taiwan Strait and lead to Taiwan independence. France became on Jan. 27, 1964 the first major Western country to forge formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.( ) The two nations have signed agreements in science and technology such as environmental protection, development and peaceful use of atomic energy, health and medical science and research and peaceful use of space. Exchanges in education have also made much headway with approximately 20,000 Chinese students studying in France and about 120 pairs of universities and more than 20 couples of high schools from both countries having set up twinships. Culture and history have always held a very important position in exchanges between the people of the two nations, which are further pushed forward by the Culture Year jointly launched by China and France from 2003 to 2005. ( )

Annan urges China to play bigger role in world
2004-10-11 Xinhua News
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday urged China to play a bigger role in promoting world development and maintain world peace so as to make leading contribution to world development and security. In a speech at China's elite Qinghua University, Annan said as China's geopolitical weight grows, its share of responsibility for world security also increases. China's development has an impact on the whole world, which also draws China into new relationship with other parts of the world, he said, noting that China has a stake in the development and prosperity of the wider world. ( ) "We might succeed in halving the population of very poor peoplein the world by 2015, so long as China lifts all its people out of poverty," he said. Annan stated the world leaders will meet next September and check the proceeding of the Millennium Declaration, saying this will be the world's best chance for a breakthrough to address the joint global challenges of development and security. ( )

Wen offers 4 proposals to deepen partnership
2004-10-10 China Daily
China is willing to actively join international efforts to guarantee energy resources and explore new sources. Premier Wen Jiabao made the remarks at the Fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which closed over the weekend as oil futures finished above US$53 a barrel in New York. Wen said China is devoted to improving energy efficiency, promoting the diversification of resources and types of energy with consumption and the sustainability of the environment in mind. ( ) In addition, Wen also put forward four proposals to further strengthen comprehensive Asia-Europe co-operation to contribute to world peace, development and progress. First, Asia and Europe should strengthen political mutual trust through dialogue and consultation. ( ) Second, Asia and Europe should increase economic exchanges and promote regional economic growth and common prosperity, Wen said. ( ) Third, Asia and Europe should open new horizons for co-operation and promote co-ordinated economic and social development in various countries. ( ) Fourth, the two sides should actively conduct dialogues and exchanges to respect and preserve cultural diversity, Wen stressed. The participants hailed the success of the summit which brings together 39 member states from the two continents. ( )

 

Domestic Policy

Recent natural disasters cost 1,326 lives
2004-10-15 Xinhua News
Natural disasters have claimed more than 1,300 lives and created huge economic losses this year in China, reported China Daily on Thursday. Latest statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that 1,326 people died in natural disasters in the first nine months of this year and another 186 are missing. More than 170 million people have been affected by the disasters including floods, droughts, landslides, typhoons and earthquakes. The total direct economic losses across the country are estimated to exceed 90.6 billion yuan (US$10.9 billion), statistics show. Though large scale cross-region floods did not occur this year along major rivers, floods in certain areas caused huge losses, said Yang Yanyin, vice-minister of civil affairs.( )

Assessing status of nation's health
2004-10-12 Xinhua News
Chinese people are advised that the way to a healthy lifestyle is eating less fat and more cereals, exercising more, smoking less and cutting down on liquor, according to an official survey. A national survey on the status of nutrition and health of the Chinese people shows that China is still facing the dual challenges of nutrition deficiency and nutrition imbalance even though great progress has been made in recent years. In the 10 years between 1992 and 2002, thanks to the rapid development of China's economy, the status of diet and nutrition among the urban and rural Chinese population has improved significantly. And the incidences of malnutrition and nutrition deficiency have been in continual decline. However, the dietary habits of urban residents is still not up to par. Their consumption of poultry, meat and oil/fat is too high, while cereal consumption is at a relatively low level. Meanwhile, malnutrition among children in China's rural areas is still quite serious. ( )

Experts say civet is SARS source
2004-10-12 Xinhua News
Chinese health experts have concluded that the civet cat was the primary source of last year's SARS epidemic, China Radio International reported Tuesday. Research has proved that the cat was the primary animal source of the human SARS virus, with the ability to spread the virus. The experts have conducted lots of experiment on the civet cats and SARS virus. They found that civet cat is the most easily infected wild animal. However there isn't enough evidence to say the civet cat is the only source of human SARS virus.

Survey to find out HIV-infected blood sellers
2004-10-13 China Daily
The Ministry of Health Wednesday urged local governments to survey people who have sold blood since the early 1990s looking for HIV infections. Thousands of people, the majority of whom are farmers in dozens of provinces including Henan and Anhui, sold blood around 1995, before blood was tested for HIV. A lot of them were infected with the deadly virus and have, in recent years, began to develop full blown AIDS, said ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an. Among China's estimated 840,000 HIV/AIDS cases, about 20 per cent were infected after selling blood, said Ray Yip, director of the Beijing office of the Global AIDS Programme of the United States. China started to test blood used in transfusions in 1997. The country has also campaigned to close all illegal blood stations. Some major HIV/AIDS epidemic areas caused by blood sales, such as Henan, have moved recently to determine the exact number of people who got the virus through blood sales, Mao said. ( )

Guangdong offers free HIV tests
2004-10-11 Xinhua News
Gay men in Guangdong now have access to free and confidential HIV tests. The AIDS Prevention and Treatment Institute of the Guangdong Provincial Centre for Disease Control started offering the tests yesterday. The aim of the free HIV examination is to tackle the spread of the fatal AIDS disease that is now threatening prosperous Guangdong Province. The examinations may help his institute research the spread of HIV among gay men, which make up between 2 and 4 per cent of the local population. ( )In another development, Guangdong Province is planning to build a syphilis prevention and treatment centre to help handle the province's growing number of syphilis patients. The decision came after more than 9,000 syphilis patients were counted last year, the highest number in the country. ( )

Harm ranks fifth biggest killer in China
2004-10-10 Xinhua News
Harm is the fifth biggest cause of death in China, killing some 800,000 people out of 70 million harmed in a year, according to experts attending an ongoing national conference on harm prevention and control held in Guangzhou. Suicide stands as the biggest cause of death in harm cases, killing 250,000 to 350,000 people each year. The number of those killed in vehicle accidents ranks the second. And the third cause is drowning, said the experts. The World Bank forecast that in 2010 some 1.4 million Chinese will die of harm and the number will rise to 2.5 million by 2030. ( )

Half of Beijing's homes link to Internet
2004-10-12 Xinhua News
According to a recent poll, about 47 percent households in Beijing have connected to the Internet till the first quarter of 2004, reported China Radio International on Monday. Two thirds of those families chose broadband connection services, while others prefer to use the dial-up access. Spurred by growth in telecommunications, IT and online gaming, China's internet industry is booming. Besides household Internet users, the numerous Internet cafes in Chinese cities have contributed at least 15 billion yuan or 1.8 billion US dollars annually to the country's revenue.

Ranking officials in Heilongjiang removed
2004-10-11 China Daily
Five ranking officials in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province were removed from their posts on Sunday. ( ) "To discharge so many high-level officials at the one time is unprecedented in the province's history, and perhaps even rare in the whole country," commented an official from the Heilongjiang People's Congress, who declined to be named. ( ) No reason has yet been given for such a large-scale removal from office. ( )

Beijing unemployment up to 290,000
2004-10-11 Xinhua News
Beijing Labour and Social Security Bureau says the number of people registered as out of work will increase to 290,000 this year, about 20,000 more than expected at the beginning of the year, according to China Radio International Sunday. While economic progress has led to growth in employment, economic policy adjustments have slowed job creation. The municipal government plans to adopt four measures to increase or at least maintain the current employment rate. The measures focus largely on promoting increased hiring by employers, and retraining and reemployment amongst laid-off workers.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway expected to open to traffic in 2007
2004-10-11 People's Daily
Witnessing a smooth work for track laying the Tibet section of Qinghai-Tibet Railway project has made a favorable progress into Nagqu County, an important center in northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Up to now, the total length of track laying along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has covered 618 km, sounding another major breakthrough in the construction. ( ) So far, 301 km of the Qinghai-Tibet railway have been brought to finish, in which Tibet section took up 213 km. ( ) The Qinghai-Tibet Railway runs from the city of Golmud in western Qinghai to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, extending a total length of 1,142 km. Kicked off in 2001 the construction work will last for 6 years to complete in 2007, the year for the railway to open to traffic.

 

Taiwan

Chen Shui-bian's call for talks discredited
2004-10-11 Xinhua News
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian was accused Sunday of playing word games in his "national day" speech. Mainland researchers described his call for cross-Straits peace talks as "more symbolic than substantial." The researchers said Chen's peace overture was "too insincere and vague to be treated seriously by the mainland." At the "double-tenth" celebration ceremony to mark the founding of the "republic of China" in 1911, Chen said his government is willing to prepare for the resumption of cross-Straits negotiations on the basis of the 1992 meeting in Hong Kong. But he did not spell out what he meant by the proposal. ( ) Beijing has called the informal deal the 1992 consensus, which finally led to a series of ice-breaking meetings across the Straits. Talks broke off in July 1999 when former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui redefined cross-Straits ties as a "state-to-state relationship." Chen, however, has denied the existence of the consensus in a bid to shun the one-China principle since he took office in May 2000. ( ) The researcher went further to say that bilateral talks will not be resumed as long as Chen refuses to accept the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland are part of China. ( ) "On the other hand, Chen also wants to curry favour with Washington, which has warned against any move by the island to unilaterally alter the cross-Straits status quo." ( ) Chen promoted Taiwan as an independent country throughout an earlier address yesterday and justified the island's planned purchase of American weapons. His administration is planning to buy 610.8 billion new Taiwanese dollars (US$18.2 billion) worth of US-manufactured anti-missile systems, planes and submarines. The move has met with strong opposition from the Taiwanese people. ( ) This practice helped motivate the Taiwan independence forces and is very harmful to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits," Kong said. ( )

 

Switzerland

Chinese travellers ready for tour in Europe
2004-10-14 China Daily
You need a short break away from it all -- work, social engagements, household chores, the hustle and bustle -- to spend some quality time with your spouse or child, or just some peace and quietness? Yang Li, an employee of a State-owned foreign trade company in Beijing may suggest you select the long journey to Europe, one of the most diverse and rewarding holiday destinations available to Chinese travellers. She and her 12-year-old daughter became members of the first Europe Tour group, organized by the China International Travel Service (CITS). "Walking away from a small town in Switzerland, I looked back to see a tower's distinctive triple-towered silhouette against a sky of faultless blue, and the red and white flag rippling in the wind above the house, I felt very comfortable and relaxed," Yang said. Yang recognized the journey would give her daughter a lasting impression of Europe and its differing cultures. Most of the fresh batch of tourists to European countries are very curious about exotic sightseeing spots, museums, cathedrals and other ancient buildings. Yuan Qinggong, a Beijing surgeon, said he was satisfied with the service and reception of large-size travel agencies, such as Beijing Shenzhou International Travel Service and China Youth Travel Service. "Although local consumption is more expensive than in Beijing because of the euro's high currency rate, most of us bought many goods and souvenirs with discounts during our trip." Many foreigners find Chinese tourists' favourite activity seems to be shopping once abroad, as they pick up gifts for all their relatives at home. "Next time, I hope to see tourist information posted in Chinese at major tourist spots, as most Chinese visitors know little of the local languages," Yuan said. Many of the Chinese visitors to Europe complained of poor quality food at the Chinese restaurants they were taken to, Yuan added. Yu Lu, an employee at a joint venture in Beijing, said Chinese travellers should pay great attention to their behaviour, especially in public places, and to avoid disturbing local residents and other tourists. "We should absorb something valuable from the local people while enjoying cultural and historical relics symbolizing their civilizations," Yu said. Yu also advised outbound travellers to Europe to use credit cards instead of cash for safety reasons. Since September 1, many travel agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have organized dozens of tour groups to travel Europe, most of the tourists are professors, doctors, businessmen and retired officials, according to Li Ming, director of Outbound Business at CITS, the largest travel agency in China. Continental trips cost about 12,000 yuan (US$1,451) to 17,000 yuan (US$2,055) per person, depending on the level of tour.

Swiss man arrested in Germany in Libya nuclear case
2004-10-12 PLA Daily
A Swiss engineer has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of helping Libya obtain nuclear weapons technology, authorities said Monday. The 39-year-old, identified as Urs T., is believed to have been part of the international illegal supply network that helped Libya to build nuclear centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. ( ) Investigators believe he advised a Malaysia-based company and oversaw the production of more than 2,000 pre-assembled centrifuge components between 2001 and 2003. The components were shipped to Dubai, reloaded onto a German freighter under a false declaration for shipping to Libya, prosecutors said in a statement. However the ship was stopped in October last year in the southern Italian port of Taranto and the suspect components were seized, prosecutors said. ( )

Swiss govt strongly condemns deadly Sinai bombings
2004-10-08 Xinhua News
The Swiss Foreign Ministry strongly condemned on Friday the triple bombings on Thursday night in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula resorts that left dozens of casualties. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on its website that it condemns in the strongest terms the attacks in Taba and Sinai which have caused many deaths and injuries, and expresses its sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims and to their governments. It said that no cause can justify such crimes against civilians, and hoped that those responsible for these murderous acts will be rapidly identified and brought before the courts. "The DFA deplores the unending cycle of violence which currently prevails in the Near East and is causing great suffering to the inhabitants of the region," it said. The Swiss Foreign Ministry also called on all the parties involved to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and to resume dialogue in order to re-establish security rapidly. A deadly blast Thursday night rocked Hilton Taba hotel in Egypt's Sinai Peninsular, which was popular with Israeli tourists. ( )

 

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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