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
  01.11-05.11.04, No. 39  
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Foreign Policy

President Hu congratulates Bush on reelection
2004-11-04 Xinhua News
Chinese President Hu Jintao Thursday sent a congratulatory message to US President George W. Bush on his re-election on Wednesday, expressing his hope to work together with Bush to push forward Sino-US relations. Since Bush assumed presidency, China and the United States have made significant progress in cooperation in various fields, bringing substantial benefits to both countries and playing a positive role in promoting peace and development in Asia Pacific and rest of the world, Hu said in the message. "Both China and the United States are great countries and share a wide range of common interests and basis for cooperation," ( ) Meanwhile, Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong also sent a message to Richard Cheney to congratulate him on being elected the vice president. ( )

China pushing for six-party talks
2004-11-02 Xinhua News
China is pushing for the fourth round of six-party talks at the earliest date through diplomatic efforts, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. However, the spokeswoman said it was not clear whether the new round would be held at the end of November or December. China hoped it would be held "as soon as possible". China stands for a nuclear-weapon free Korean Peninsula, maintaining the peninsula's peace and stability and solving the problem through dialogue, said the spokeswoman. ( )

President Hu to visit Latin America
2004-11-02 Xinhua News
Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba from November 11 to 23 will give strong impetus to China's relations with the four countries, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here at a press conference Tuesday. According to Zhang, Hu will hold meetings and talks with leaders both from governments and parliaments, together with local leaders, business people and technology experts of these countries. During the visit, cooperation documents will be signed. According to the Foreign Ministry, Hu will also attend the 12th informal leadership meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which will be held in Santiago, capital of Chile. ( )

Chinese defense minister back to Beijing from four-nation visit
2004-10-30 People's Daily
Chinese Minister of National Defense Cao Gangchuan Cao returned Friday, concluding his official good-will visit to France, Belgium, Switzerland and Brazil. During his visit, Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, had discussions with government or military leaders of the four countries. The leaders exchanged views and reached broad agreement on bilateral relations, the international situation and regional security. Cao also visited military units and colleges in the four countries. Cao paid the visit at the invitation of French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut, Vice-president of the Swiss Confederation and Defense Minister Samuel Schmid, and Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Viegas Filho.

Disarmament helps improve border security
2004-10-29 Xinhua News
The joint disarmament efforts made by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have improved the security along China's 7,000-km-long border with the other four countries, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said here Friday. The disarmament has also bolstered the relationship of the five nations and the development of regional cooperation, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui. Envoys from China, Russia, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan-- the five members of a joint supervision group on disarmament --convened a meeting from Oct. 19 to 29 to commemorate the group's fifth anniversary. The group, established in 1999, is obligated to supervise and implement an agreement on the reduction of military forces and an agreement on strengthening mutual trust in the military signed by the five nations in 1996 and 1997. The five nations, also members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, hold two sessions each year to draw up mutual inspection plans and to supervise the implementation of the two agreements. On Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met delegates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan in Beijing to discuss military trust and the reduction of military forces in border areas, praising their work as "yielding fruitful results." ( )

 

Domestic Policy

China bans slaughter, cooking of civets
2004-11-03 China Daily
China has banned the slaughter and cooking of civets — believed to be the source of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak — in an effort to prevent a resurgence of the deadly disease as winter approaches, a news report said Tuesday. The announcement came a week after the government said 70 percent of civets tested in the southern province of Guangdong were carrying the virus. ( ) After researchers found the virus in civets, restaurants were barred from serving them. Thousands of animals were seized from markets and slaughtered. The rules are meant to promote "civilized eating habits," the Beijing Daily said. ( )

More couples in Shanghai go separate ways
2004-11-03 China Daily
Divorce rates in Shanghai soared 30 per cent year-on-year between January and September to more than 20,000, according to the Marriage Administration Office of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. The rising divorce rate is believed by many to be connected with the city's new marriage registration policy which makes divorce "fast and easy." Zhou Jixiang, chief of the Marriage Administration Office, however, dismissed the idea that the new policy is to blame for the surge in divorce proceedings. Under the new policy, if divorce is desired by both parties and if appropriate arrangements have been made for the care of any children and the allocation of property, divorce certificates can be issued for 10 yuan (US$1.2) then and there at a district marriage registration office. District offices sent out pamphlets earlier this month, asking couples intent on divorce to calm down and think about what they were doing before signing on any dotted lines. Before the new policy took effect on October 1, 2003, divorcing couples were required to obtain certification letters from their work places and household communities. Now all that is required is the presentation of identity cards and household registration books. The shortest-lived marriage recorded lasted for a day. ( ) For every 1,000 couples in Shanghai, there are five divorces,, according to official statistics. Although the rate is till lower than that of Western countries, it is at least 20 times greater than two decades ago and ranks Shanghai top in China's divorce statistics.

Researchers tackle population problem
2004-11-01 Xinhua News
The heavily populated southern province of Guangdong is leading the way in China's unprecedented population strategy research. The new campaign will draw up effective mid- and long-term strategies to tackle problems caused by the province's growing number of residents. Latest figures show permanent dwellers and settling migrants have surpassed 100 million. It was set up in September and has begun studies into the future population development trend. The group focuses on studying Guangdong's migrant population and the pattern of migration urbanization. Average age of employed people, the unemployment rate, the changes of demographic distribution in the province and related issues will also be probed. ( ) The province may see an additional 950,000 new immigrants from around the country this year. ( ) The province's birth rate between males and females has reached about 1.08 to 1 in recent years. With a large number of transient people, Guangdong had by the end of last year a registered population of more than 100 million.The large number of people include more than 80 million permanent residents and 23 million transient people from around the country. Farmers represent 65 per cent of the province's total population.

Village clash now under control, 7 dead
2004-11-01 China Daily
Clashes between villagers caused by a traffic dispute in Central China's Henan Province last week killed seven people. The situation is now under control, local officials said. The clashes erupted on October 27 in Langchenggang, a town of Zhongmou County, southeast of the provincial capital city of Zhengzhou, sources with the city's Information Office said. At around 16:40, a villager by the name of Lu, of Nanren Village, drove into the way of another villager called Liu, of the neighboring Nanweitan Village. A verbal argument erupted while neither agreed to give way. The argument escalated into a fight between the two. Later, Lu led a group of villagers to Liu's home, injured Liu and his family members. This set off a big confrontation between the two villages. The following day, a clash erupted between the villagers, causing one death on the scene and many injuries. Two others died in hospital on October 29. Some 42 people were sent to the hospital for treatment. Sources from the hospital said that 19 of the injured have been discharged. Local government called the police to calm the situation and arrested 18 suspects. Police said that a total of seven people were killed in the violence. Eighteen suspects involved in a fighting in Zhengzhou have been detained.

Labor disputes on the rise in China
2004-11-01 People's Daily
It was learned from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security that as labor relations are becoming diversified and complicated the number of labor dispute cases in China is increasing rapidly. During the first half this year labor dispute arbitration committees at various levels have accepted 135,000 labor dispute cases and handled 6,440 collective labor disputes, which involve 184,000 persons - considerably more than in the past. It was learned that with the transition in economic structure and employment modes labor conflicts, such as caused by employers' default in wage payoff and social insurance premium payment, are rather prominent and the number of labor dispute cases increases rapidly. ( )

President Hu named honorary president of China Red Cross
2004-10-29 Xinhua News
Chinese President Hu Jintao was named the Honorary President of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC). The decision was announced after the first council of the eighth national conference of the RCSC here Friday in accordance with the RCSC charter. This year is the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the RCSC. Ismail Amat, Han Qide, Fu Tieshan and He Luli, vice chairs of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), and Huang Mengfu and Zhang Huaixi, vice chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, were named Honorary Vice Presidents. ( ) From the sixth national conference of the RCSC in 1994 to the eighth national conference in 2004, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin acted as the RCSC Honorary President. Jiang made "a great contribution to progress of RCSC," an official at the conference said. State leaders in many countries worldwide act as the honorary presidents of the Red Cross. ( )

China closes 1,600 Internet cafes
2004-10-31 Xinhua News
China closed down 1,600 Internet cafes between February and August and imposed 100 million yuan, or 12 million US dollars, worth of fines for allowing children to play violent or adult-only games and other violations. Deputy director of the Culture Ministry's Market Department, Zhang Xinjian, says of the 1.8 million Internet bars inspected, 18,000 were ordered to stop operations until their problems are rectified. He adds that pornography, gambling, violence and the like have adversely affected the healthy development of the Internet in China. The crackdown comes amid a nationwide push to limit violence and pornography on the Internet that has seen the government shut down hundreds of websites. China has some 87 million Internet users, over 50 percent of whom are under 24.

 

Economy

Stable trading relations with US expected
2004-11-04 China Daily
US trade policy with China is unlikely to witness dramatic changes during the next four years, and the steady growth of Sino-US trade is expected to continue. George Bush's victory was good news for many Chinese companies selling goods and services to the United States, since Democrat John Kerry had attributed the loss of US jobs to trade and outbound investment, said Zhao Xijun, a professor from the Renmin University of China. Bush will continue to promote investment and trade, especially with a collective push from big companies, he said. China and other countries are expecting a more stable trading relationship with the United States, he said. ( ) However, that is not to say that there will be no friction between China and United States, Wang said. Just before the election, the Bush administration decided to re-impose quotas on Chinese socks and agreed to consider safeguard measures on Chinese cotton trousers. Griswold said Bush had not been immune to protectionist pressures. His Commerce Department has rejected arguments to recognize China a "market economy" for purposes of anti-dumping calculations. His administration has also retreated from free trade principles in the face of political pressure, casting a cloud of uncertainty over the trade policy of a second Bush term, he said. But analysts all agreed that it does not really matter who becomes president of the US, the impact on China will be minimal. Sino-US relations are shaped by the mutual interests shared by the two countries under a giant framework, rather than by individuals, Wang said. Neither Bush nor Kerry can weaken, let alone cut off, existing bilateral trade relations, he said. The trade deficit with China is always a problem for the US government. The Chinese Government is seeking to resolve the imbalance and China's capability to import from the United States will further grow with its economic development, Wang said. The US export control against China also represses full play of its comparative advantages, leading to a trade imbalance between the two countries.

EU-China energy and environment program launched
2004-11-04 China Daily
China and the European Commission of European Union jointly unveiled a 42.9-million-euro energy and environment program was introduced in Beijing Wednesday to improve China's energy efficiency. The five-year EU-China Energy and Environment Program is jointly launched by the Chinese State Development and Reform Commission and the Delegation of the European Commission of European Union, involving projects on energy saving, development of renewable energy and natural gas. China ranks the second in energy consumption in the world, and its energy efficiency stands at around 33 percent, 10 percentage points lower than the developed countries, said Zhao Jiarong, director of the department of environment resources conservation under the Chinese commission. ( ) Zhao said the introduction of the program is expected to draw energy-saving experience from members of European Commission and promote the sustainable development in China. The European Commission donates 20 million euros to the project, and the rest of its cost comes from China.

China, Iran sign biggest oil & gas deal
2004-10-30 Xinhua News
China's oil giant Sinopec Group has signed a $70 billion oil and natural gas agreement with Iran, which is China's biggest energy deal with the No. 2 OPEC producer. Under a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday, Sinopec Group will buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 30 years from Iran and develop the giant Yadavaran field. Iran is also committed to export 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil to China for 25 years at market prices after commissioning of the field. Iran's oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who is on a two-day visit to Beijing pursuing closer ties, said Iran is China's biggest oil supplier and wants to be its long-term business partner. Official figures show that China imported 226 million tons of oil in2003, about 13 percent of which coming from Iran. Beijing expects to secure foreign energy supplies by the deals for its economy, which has turned China into a major oil importer but suffers severe power shortages.

 

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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