SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT 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
  13.12-17.12.04, No. 45  
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Foreign Policy

US: Powell's successor to carry on cooperative ties with China
2004-12-17 Xinhuanet
The US government will continue to look for a close, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with China, a US government spokesman said on Wednesday. "I certainly think that Secretary (of State Colin) Powell's successor will continue the policies of President (George W.) Bush, which is to look for a close, cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship with China," said Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman of the US State Department. "We have so many common interests that it is critical that as two nations, we work together with all mutual respect and trust to try to achieve our common interests," Ereli said. Speaking at the final briefing of the year at the Washington Foreign Press Center, Ereli admitted that there are disagreements between Washington and Beijing, but he also noted that "the hallmark, in our view, of a strong and good relationship is that we can be comfortable enough with each other to speak openly about what our differences are, but at the same time maintain the kind of friendship and respect to work together in areas where... there is a common purpose." "And that is the character of the Sino-US relations over the last four years," Ereli said. "I would fully expect it to continue in the next four years."

Sino-Russian joint military drill planned
2004-12-14 China Daily
China and Russia will jointly hold a first-ever military exercise next year, visiting Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said yesterday. Ivanov made the announcement at a news conference after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Cao Gangchuan. Officials did not disclose the exact time and place of the manoeuvres. The bilateral ties between China and Russia have entered a new phase in their relations, with the two sides establishing a strategic co-operative partnership, said President Hu Jintao, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, when meeting with Ivanov. It accords with the fundamental interest of the peoples of all the countries in this region to strengthen Sino-Russian military co-operation and unilateral co-operation within the framework of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization to fight against terrorism that threatens the safety of the two nations and of the region, Hu said. The signing of Russia-China friendly neighbouring co-operation agreement and the demarcation of the borders have deepened the bilateral strategic co-operative partnership, said Ivanov. The military relationship is an important component of bilateral ties, Ivanov said. Russia will work together with China to push forward the relationship to maintain stability and peace in the region and the whole world. During follow-on talks between Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission and Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan and Ivanov, Cao said the frequent visits by the military leaders of the two nations will enhance relations, especially bear significance on the co-operation between their armies. ( ) Yesterday morning, Guo Boxiong, another vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, also met with Ivanov. Speaking on the Taiwan question, Guo said Taiwan straits situation is very complicated and the separatism activities of the Taiwan independence forces are the largest threat to the peace and stability. He stressed that the Chinese People's Liberation Army will never sit idle regarding Taiwan separating from China. Ivanov said Russia will adamantly stick to its one-China policy and will never change its position. ( )

China concerned with Japan's defense policy
2004-12-13 PLA Daily
China on Friday expressed "deep concern" with Japan's overhaul of its defense policy. "We are deeply concerned with the great changes of Japan's military defense strategy and its possible impact," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue said. The Japanese government on Friday approved a new edition of the National Defense Program Outline which features more proactive use of force and deeper involvement of the self-defense-oriented troops in international affairs. The new outline also said Japan will continue to watch China's moves in military modernization and marine activities. When asked to make a comment, Zhang said due to historic reasons, Japan's military and security moves are sensitive issues. She said China hopes the Japanese side will take its Asian neighbors' concern into full consideration and keep following the path of peace and development. She also urged Japan to take prudent actions in military and security issues to maintain the peace and development of the region. Meanwhile, Zhang expressed China's "strong dissatisfaction" to the Japanese government, which described China as a potential threat in its official document. "This is totally groundless and extremely irresponsible," she said. She said China hopes Japan would do more things that could help promote mutual trust and maintain healthy and stable development of the bilateral ties. ( )

China, Sudan to broaden cooperation
2004-12-14 Xinhuanet
China and Sudan, both important in their own continents, should enhance cooperation and contribute to the common development of Asia and Africa, State Councilor Zhou Yongkang said Monday at his meeting with a visiting Sudanese delegation. Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, Minister of Energy and Mining of Sudan and head of the delegation, expressed his appreciation to the Chinese government for its consistent support of Sudan's economic development. Describing China as "an old friend," Al-Jaz said that Sudanese have benefited a lot from a petroleum program initiated in Sudan by the China National Petroleum Corporation in late 1990s. As Sudan's domestic situation becomes increasingly stabilized, the two countries' collaboration can be expanded toward a broader aspect, he noted. There are many investing opportunities in Sudan, for instance, the construction of infrastructure facilities, agriculture and animal husbandry, Al-Jaz said. Al-Jaz also reiterated the Sudanese government's stance against Taiwan Independence and its support for the one-China policy. Zhou said that China and Sudan always enjoy good relations andhave achieved noticeable progress in cooperation of many sectors. He said that China wished the Sudanese government "could independently solve its domestic problems in a proper way" and revitalize its economy and social security as early as possible.

China expects enhanced Sino-UK ties
2004-12-13 PLA Daily
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw separately on Friday, saying that China will continue to work with Britain to boost bilateral relations. During the meetings, Li said the Sino-UK relationship has recently made fresh progress as the two governments are trying hard to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with the frequent exchanges of high-level visits and political consultations. Bilateral cooperation in major fields set in the Sino-British joint declaration is also going well, said Li. ( ) The British foreign secretary also reiterated that Britain adheres to the One-China policy.

Pakistan, China sign 7 deals on projects
2004-12-16 China Daily
Visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz yesterday concluded a series of agreements on major projects with Chinese leaders, injecting new economic energy into the bilateral a relationship marked by an "all-weather" partnership. Aziz's visit, his first to China as prime minister, is seen as part of continuing high-level exchanges between China and Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf visited Beijing last November during which the two countries signed a joint declaration on the future developments of Chinese-Pakistani co-operation. The primary objective of Aziz's visit is economic links and enhanced commercial interactions, according to Pakistan officials. ( ) Yesterday, the two sides penned seven agreements, including a protocol on issues involving preferential trade arrangements and a free trade agreement, and vowed to discuss details on establishing a free trade zone between the two countries. In addition, Aziz announced yesterday that Pakistan recognizes China's full market economy status. ( ) During yesterday's meeting, Premier Wen Jiabao suggested the two sides give priority to the exploration of energy and resources in their future economic co-operation and strengthen exchanges in the field of agriculture. Expressing appreciation for China's official support and economic aid to the social development of Pakistan, Aziz said his country welcomes additional Chinese entrepreneurs. The two countries have undertaken a number of key infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including roads, dams, ports and hydroelectric plants. ( ) This is also the first high-level visit of any Pakistani leader to China after the October's hostage-taking episode near South Waziristan that culminated in the death of a Chinese engineer working on the Gomal Zam dam project. Although the Chinese side has indicated the tragedy would not influence China-Pakistan co-operation, some worried it would shake Chinese nationals' confidence of working on economic projects in Pakistan and affect Chinese capital injection there. The leaders of the two countries yesterday also exchanged views on regional and international issues, including the India-Pakistan peace process and anti-terrorism campaign. Beijing welcomed and supported the ongoing Indo-Pakistani peace process. Meanwhile, Wen called China and Pakistan, which are threatened by terrorism and extremism, to jointly implement prevention measures and enhance co-operation in anti-terrorism efforts. Last year, the two countries conducted their first joint naval exercises near the Shanghai coast. The highly successful drill, simulating an emergency rescue, was the first time either country had engaged in joint naval operations with another nation.

CPC: more influence through diplomacy
2004-12-16 People's Daily
Communist Party of China (CPC) is gaining influence among its Asian peers through diplomacy in 2004, said Wang Jiarui, head of the CPC international department, Wednesday in Beijing. He told Xinhua he believed that the CPC's diplomacy has been successful and helped the state to tackle some diplomatic stalemates. Wang has every reason to feel proud. His team held the first international meeting in the party's history in September. Delegates from 81 parties in 35 nations converged in Beijing for the third International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and announced the Beijing Statement advocating cooperation among Asian parties. ( ) Wang said the inter-party diplomacy is a complementary channel to state diplomacy, which could play a pivotal role when the latter is not so successful. A good example would be Kim Jong Il's visit to China. The general secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) paid an unofficial visit to China from April 19 to 21, two months after the second round of the six-party talk closed at the end of February. Kim Jong Il agreed in the meeting with General Secretary Hu Jintao to push for the talks, which quieted down the speculation whether the third round could be held after the name-calling and finger-wagging between the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States. Inter-party diplomacy has helped with the Taiwan issue. According to Wang, through forging ties with political parties in countries which have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the CPC is trying to exert influence on them without offending diplomatic rules. China's new leadership is increasingly apt to use inter-party diplomacy. In 2004, more than 300 CPC delegations went abroad and close to 200 foreign delegations visited the country, one third of which were received by the standing members of the central committee's political bureau. ( ) Looking to 2005, Wang said the international department of the CPC Central Committee will explore new spheres and new ways for CPC diplomacy to play its advantage to the full. It will also conduct deeper and broader researches on foreign parties to provide intellectual support for the party, which is transforming and updating itself in a volatile, fast changing world.

Eight African nations welcome Chinese group tourists
2004-12-17 People's Daily
Chinese group travelers will be allowed to visit Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunis, Zambia and Zimbabwe as of Wednesday. Ordinary Chinese citizens will be allowed to visit the faraway and mysterious African continent 600 years after ancient Chinese navigator Zheng He sailed there. ( ) Today Chinese travelers can take the same route, said Taka Munyanyiwa, tourism official of Zimbabwe. Tourism insiders estimated that more than 50,000 Chinese people travel to Zambia annually, and the number is expected to double next year. ( ) The eight African nations cherish great expectation toward the world's fastest growing outbound tourism market, said a tourism official. Historical navigator Zheng He also promoted trade relations between ancient China and African nations. With the elapse of six centuries, Chinese travelers will further enhance friendship and exchanges, said Liu Dunren, Mauritius tourism representative in China.

 

Innenpolitik

Human rights situation improved in China
2004-12-13 China Daily
Chinese media have been exposing human rights violations in an unprecedentedly bold way this year, after the country inserted a clause declaring "the state respects and safeguards human rights" into its Constitution. Why were HIV carriers not allowed to register for civil service examinations? Why have some big-name international companies refused to establish trade unions? Why are migrant workers' salaries always in arrears? Why were innocent people held in illegal custody for more than three years? These questions were all raised by Chinese media in 2004. Do these outright slams on human rights violation by Chinese media mean that China's human rights situation went backwards? Of course not. On the eve of "Human Rights Day 2004," Liu Wenzhong, a professor at the Foreign Affairs College and executive council member of China Society for Human Rights Studies, said the media's sharp criticism demonstrates that the human rights protection awareness of Chinese citizens and media have been enhanced and the country's governmental affairs have become more transparent. ( ) Since May, the Supreme People's Procuratorate has launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on power abuse crimes. By the end of October, China had eliminated illegally prolonged custody in 22 provinces. Earlier this year when the clause saying "the state respects and safeguards human rights" was written into the Constitution, Liu Hainian, director of the Human Rights Institution under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, interpreted "human rights protection" as "protecting every human being's every right." At the end of this year when human rights experts reviewed the country's human rights status in 2004, they found that a series of measures taken by the Chinese government, upholding its new position of putting "people first," exactly echoed Liu's interpretation of "human rights protection." ( ) "Because the majority of China's population is farmers, the improvement of their standard of living is the most significant human rights protection," said Chen Weidian, executive council member of China Society for Human Rights Studies. The Chinese government has always maintained that the right to subsistence is one of the most important human rights. (In 2004, a regulation on prison inmate behavior was revised, lifting restrictions on inmates' hairstyles. The Administrative Licensing Law also came into effect this year, aiming to return more rights to citizens by limiting government power. "Although progress has been made, China's human rights cause isstill facing up to severe challenges," Chen said. "A large number of miners died in a variety of coal mine accidents this year, poorfood safety still worries Chinese people and power abuse crimes still exist." He said, however, he believed the Chinese government will strengthen its efforts to further protect every citizen's every right in the future.

China's mining accidents kill 5,286 people in 11 months
2004-12-15 People's Daily
From January to November, 3,413 mining accidents occurred in China and killed 5,286 people, a decrease of 253 cases and 451 people from the first 11 months of last year, said Wang Xianzheng, director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), at a teleconference on production safety Tuesday. China's coal mines are registering their lowest death rate per one million tons of coal so far this year, he said. The death rate for every one million tons of coal is 2.998 percent, down 0.846 percent year-on-year, he said, stressing "this is the lowest rate in history." China produced 35 percent of the world's coal last year, but reported 80 percent of the total deaths in coal mine accidents, according to statistics with the SAWS November. In 2003, the average coal miner in China produced 321 tons of coal a year; only 2.2 percent of that in the United States and 8.1percent that of South Africa. The death rate for every 100 tons of coal, however, is 100 times of that of the US and 30 times that of South Africa. Chinese government has taken measures to improve work safety at coal mines. In 2000, China set up a national surveillance system to monitor safety conditions. In the following years, the government earmarked more than 4 billion yuan (over US$480 million) to help state-owned and small local coal mines in gas explosion prevention and monitoring.

Central Party Committee appoints new provincial chiefs
2004-12-14 Xinhuanet
China has recently changed the top leaders of three provinces of Liaoning, Henan and Fujian. According to the CPC Central Committee decisions, made public Monday, Li Keqiang will become secretary of the CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee, leaving his former post as secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee. Li, 49, took the post of secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee in December 2002 after being the provincial governor in 1999 and then deputy secretary from October 2001 to 2002. Meanwhile, Wen Shizhen is no longer secretary of the CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee. Wen, 64, had held the post since 1997. Xu Guangchun, 60, director-general of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, has been named secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee. Lu Zhangong will become secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Committee, replacing Song Defu who will be transferred to another post. Lu, 52, had been the province's governor and deputy secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Committee since January 2003 and was appointed acting secretary in February this year. Song, 58, had been the secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Committee since 2000.

China reassigns posts of principal provincial leaders
2004-12-17 People's Daily
The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has decided to reassign posts of leading officials of Anhui province in east China and Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China. In accordance with the CPC Central Committee decisions, made public Thursday, Guo Jinlong becomes secretary of the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee, leaving his former post as secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee. Born in 1947, Guo Jinlong is a native of Nanjing, in east China's Jiangsu Province. He graduated from the Physics Department of Nanjing University in 1969. Before this post transfer, Guo also had job experience in culture and education, as head of a county, director of a rural policy research office, deputy head of a provincial agricultural economic committee and first secretary of the CPC Committee of Tibet Military Area Command. According to the decisions, Yang Chuantang becomes secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, leaving his former post as deputy secretary of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee. Yang Chuantang, born in 1954, is a native of Yucheng, east China's Shandong Province. He studied at the Department of the Chinese at Shandong Normal University from 1981 to 1983. In his previous career, he had experience as a solider, a worker and secretary of CPC committees at various levels, from workshop to company, prefecture and province, and he once served as deputy secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee. Also in compliance with the decisions, Wang Taihua, born in 1945, is no longer secretary of the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee and will be transferred to another post.

Tibet China slams US resolution on "Tibetan political criminal"
2004-12-13 PLA Daily
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said here Friday a resolution recently passed by the US Senate without voting on releasing the so-called Tibetan political criminals is "completely groundless." Zhang Qiyue, the spokesperson, made the remarks in response to a reporter's question on China's stance on the resolution. According to the reporter, some "anti-China senators" raised the resolution in May, requiring China to release the "Tibetan political criminals," including Teazin Deley. Zhang said according to the Chinese judiciary department, Teazin Deley, also called Angag Tashi, is not a Tibetan political criminal, but the main perpetrator of an explosion on April 3, 2003, on the southeast side of Chengdu's Tianfu Plaza in southwest China's Sichuan province. He received a death sentence with a two-year reprieve for inciting the split of the country and scheming explosions, Zhang said, adding that this sentence was passed according to law by Chinese judiciary department. Zhang said the US Senate publicly voiced a grievance for these criminals and made "irresponsible remarks" on China's punishment on criminals. "It is confounding black and white and is absolutely groundless," she said.

Vice-Premier calls for sound construction of Qinghai-Tibet railway
2004-12-13 Xinhuanet
Various government departments and construction units should make concerted efforts to ensure construction safety and quality in the Qinghai-Tibet railway, Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said at a recent State Council meeting. "The year 2005 will be significant for the railway construction, as it matters great much to the completion of the entire project," Zeng said after listening to a report on building the railway. China launched the Qinghai-Tibet plateau railway project in 2001. With a total investment of 26.2 billion yuan (3.16 billion US dollars), the railway is scheduled to be put into operation in 2007. So far, the main body of roadbed, bridges, culverts and tunnels have been roughly completed, and related housing, electric power and telecommunications facilities have been launched, Zeng said. "The railway is expected to be completed ahead of schedule," he said. Till this month, 738 km of track has been laid, and it has extended to Gulu Town in Nagqu County in northern Tibet. The 1,142-km line runs at an average altitude of over 4,000 meters.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan separatist's plan goes nowhere
2004-12-13 China Daily
Saturday's "legislative" elections in China's Taiwan Province were crucial not only to the island's politics but also to cross-Straits relations. Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian had intended to reap the biggest gains from the polls. His hopes, however, were shattered by the election results. Before the election, Chen's pan-green camp of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union strived to to increase its influence in the 225-seat "parliament" and even wrest an absolute majority. Chen had repeatedly promised to use control of the "Legislative Yuan" to facilitate his pro-independence push. ( ) Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says Saturday's poll results fully demonstrated the unpopularity of Chen's policy. He adds that the leader's insistence on a separatist stance goes against the Taiwanese people's common aspiration for cross-Straits peace and stability. Though the opposition can take advantage of its victory to check and balance the pan-green camp, experts believe that Chen still has the executive power to introduce pro-independence policies. Li warns that Chen could still force through his separatist plans despite his failure to control the local legislature. ( ) Liu Guoshen, president of the Taiwan Research Academy of Xiamen University, says: "These radical separatist steps were introduced both as voting strategy to woo pro-independence voters and as concrete moves to edge the island closer towards independence." "Chen has been bent on de-sinifying the island, regardless of what it will cost the island and Taiwanese people." Resistance from within Chen's name change proposal has drawn widespread criticism from within the island. A number of government-run enterprises on the island fear huge economic losses if they are forced to drop "China" from their corporate names in favour of "Taiwan." ( ) Many Taiwan companies have "China" in their names as the island's formal title is "Republic of China (ROC)" -- which dates back to 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) regime fled to the island after losing the civil war. The DPP administration led by Chen, however, has been attempting to promote a separate Taiwanese identity different from China through the use of "Taiwan" in as many arenas as possible. Reactions from Washington Chen's political moves have also met with strong opposition from the United States. After Chen proposed his timetable for writing a "constitution," US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher pointed out on November 29 that Washington is opposed to any referendum that would change Taiwan's status or move towards independence. ( ) Washington's statements signalled the concern in the United States over this radical separatist steps, said Liu Hong, a researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies. "Given Chen's obstinate push for formal independence over the past four years, the United States has begun to feel the looming danger from his new separatist schemes," he said. If Chen is allowed to continue with his pro-independence pursuit, Washington fears that it would be dragged into a cross-Straits military conflict, which does not conform to the US national interests. The US worry has actually been expressed by President George W. Bush in his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the 12th Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Leaders Meeting in Santiago, Chile. ( ) Huge risks Xie Yu, another researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies, goes further to say that Chen's rebranding plan is doomed to failure because it violates the one-China policy recognized by the international community. "Chen has ignored the historical and political reality facing the island and underestimated the firm stance held by most of countries in the world on the one-China principle," the researcher says. "There is no way for him to break the one-China framework, no matter what attempts he may make." At present, the Government of the People's Republic of China is recognized by 192 nations as the sole legitimate government of China. These countries also respect China's territorial integrity and recognizes that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. By consolidating his political power on the island, Chen believed he could force the Chinese mainland to deal with him. "Even if his camp had won, Beijing would still not compromise its one-China principle to talk to Chen Shui-bian," Li Jiaquan says. ( )

Taiwan's Chen resigns as separatist party leader
2004-12-15 China Daily
Leader of China's Taiwan province Chen Shui-bian Tuesday resigned as chairman of the pro- independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the wake of its defeat in legislative elections. Chen's resignation was accepted at the party's Central Standing Committee meeting, which named DPP legislative whip Ker Chien-ming acting chairman until a new chairman is elected later. Before the meeting, Chen said he would "take full responsibility" for losing the elections, in which the opposition parties won a majority of Taiwan's new legislature in Saturday's vote. He said DPP had been "too overconfident and hasty" in the elections, but said he would persist in efforts to "make Taiwan a normal country." The incumbent Taiwan leader and his "pan-green" alliance are advocates of Taiwan's independence from China, a position the Chinese government strongly opposes.

Chen's stance a "threat" to peace
2004-12-16 China Daily
Beijing warned yesterday that Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian could still exacerbate cross-Straits tensions through his hard push for formal independence despite his party's election setback over the weekend. Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the relaxation of tensions depends on Chen's future stance rather than the election results. "The crux to the problem is that the Taiwan authorities do not accept that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China," he told a regular press conference. "The key to improving cross-Straits relations is (for them) to drop the pro-independence stance and stop all separatist activities." His comments were the mainland's first official reaction to Taiwan's "legislative" elections on Saturday, in which Chen's pro-independence coalition suffered a surprise defeat. ( ) "The election results showed that the separatist activities aimed at provoking the mainland go against the will of the Taiwanese people," Li said. "The pursuit of peace, stability and development remains the mainstream public opinion of Taiwan society." The spokesman accused Chen of stepping up his separatist push to worsen cross-Straits tensions. That, he said, poses the biggest threat to stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. ( ) Li warned that Chen's radical splittist steps will dig the grave for peace across the Straits and ultimately damage the island's social stability, economic development and the fundamental interests of Taiwanese people. "The Chinese Government and its people will not sit by if Chen Shui-bian forges ahead with his pro-independence timetable to change the status of Taiwan as part of China," he stressed. Li said the mainland has the greatest sincerity and will exert utmost effort to achieve peaceful reunification. But it will not tolerate anybody to split Taiwan from China in any form and has the determination, confidence and capability to defend its sovereign and territorial integrity, he added. While promoting peaceful reunification of China, Beijing does not undertake to renounce the use of force in case of Taiwan declaring independence. Asked whether Taiwan opposition figures will be invited to visit the mainland, Li said Beijing has an open attitude towards the issue. "We welcome anyone and any group from Taiwan to exchange views with us on how to develop cross-Straits ties and promote peaceful reunification of the motherland," he said.

Japan urged to repeal Lee visit
2004-12-17 China Daily
China strongly demanded Japan immediately repeal its decision to issue a visa to former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui, warning that if Tokyo allows the visit it will harm bilateral relations. "Lee Teng-hui is a symbol of aggressive forces of 'Taiwan independence'," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao yesterday at a regular media briefing. Japan said yesterday it would grant a visa to Lee as a private citizen for a "sightseeing trip." Liu, however, said the visit was by no means "private." The purpose of visiting Japan is to seek backing for "Taiwan independence" and create external conditions for speeding up his independence activities, said Liu. "Japan's agreeing to allow him (Lee's) visit is itself a challenge to China's unification efforts and is a type of support for and indulgence of Taiwan's 'independence forces'," Liu said. ( ) Then Japan's Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka openly admitted that Lee's visit was not merely a personal or humanitarian issue, adding that the fact Taiwan's so-called "foreign ministry" negotiated with the Japanese Government on the issue revealed its political nature. ( ) Asia-based observers believed the Japanese Government's decision to give Lee a visa would encourage those "Taiwan independence" elements. The Japanese Government claims Lee has promised he will not engage in political activities during his stay in Japan, but Lee's success in applying to visit Japan itself is widely seen as a political action.

 

Wirtschaft

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New court rules to better guard IPR
2004-12-16 China Daily
Judicial departments plan to lower the legal threshold for intellectual property rights crimes. By promulgating and enforcing a new judicial interpretation, what was once a simple intellectual property infringement may soon be a crime, said an official with the Supreme People's Court yesterday. At the same time, police departments are launching the "Eagle Programme," a year-long crackdown on crimes related to brand names or intellectual property. ( ) The new judicial interpretation touches on convictions and penalties, as well as the fight against online piracy and other sticky issues ( ) Considering society has entered the "information age," IPR protection has attracted wide attention around the world, said Hu Anfu, head of the Economic Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). ( ) Statistics from Hu's department show between 2002 and 2003 police cracked down on more than 2,000 IPR-related crimes, involving about 1 billion yuan (US$120 million). The annual growth rate of IPR related criminal cases surpassed 33 per cent, and the sums involved increased 29 per cent each year between 1998 and 2001. During the first half of this year, more than 500 cases were put on record, involving 260 million yuan (US$31.3 million). ( ) Meanwhile, "China is also the largest victim of cross-boarder IPR violations," said Zhao. "The intelligence and concealment of these crimes has increased the difficulty for police to crack down on these cases." According to Zhao, cases involving infringement of brands accounted for 80 per cent of IPR-related crimes; that is the reason that the MPS decided to launch the "Eagle Programme." Eagle Programme The one-year campaign will focus on food, sanitary products, medicine and agricultural materials. All of them can directly affect the safety of people, said the official. Police will also target serious cases that violate well-know brands owned by domestic and foreign companies, Zhao said. ( ) Sponsored by the MPS Economic Criminal Investigation Department, more than 200 participants, including economic criminal investigators at the provincial level, enterprise representatives, people from judicial, cultural, commercial administration departments attended the two-day event, which ends today.

China to abolish import licenses for all general goods
2004-12-17 Xinhuanet
China will revoke the practice of licensing imports of cars, key auto parts and compact disc manufacturing equipment beginning January 1, 2005, according to sources with Ministry of Commerce and General Administration of Customs. The move was made in accordance with its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Expect for three special commodities, all goods will be imported without import permits, said the sources Thursday. In 2005, China will reserve the rights only to restrict imports of controlled chemical products, chemicals that can be easily turned into narcotics, and ozonosphere-consuming materials through granting licenses. This is the fourth time China has canceled license granting for imported goods since its entrance to WTO at the end of 2001.

 

Nordkorea

Nordkorea DPRK condemns US "false propaganda"
2004-12-14 People's Daily
The Democratic People's Republicof Korea (DPRK) Monday condemned the US recent "false propaganda and psychological operation" and warned that the DPRK would reconsider its participation in the talks with the United States. "All of the US false propaganda is intended to give impression that dramatic crisis has occurred in the DPRK. The campaign aimed to slander the DPRK and finally realize a regime change. there have, in actuality, gone beyond the tolerance limit," said a spokesman for the DPRK's Foreign Ministry. Recently, foreign media reported that portraits of Kim Jong-il,the DPRK top leader, are no longer displayed in the DPRK, terming "there is confusion within its leadership." Meanwhile, the United States said "at least 130 army general officers and high-ranking officials deserted their units in the wake of the defection of ordinary people." "The United States seems to foolishly think that its mean psychological operation works on the DPRK and it has done something in its bid to tarnish the image of the DPRK and bring down its political system," said the spokesman. "Finding it impossible to topple the DPRK by force as it has a powerful nuclear deterrent force, the United States faked up 'the North Korean Human Rights Act' and adopted it as its policy to realize a regime change in it. It has spread sheer lies through such operation to destabilize its society as massively smuggling transistors and increasing the hours of broadcasting of Voice of Free Asia," said the spokesman. "It is, however, seriously mistaken," he said. "The DPRK's system is politically stable and is as firm as a rock."

Xu Qiliang meets DPRK guests
2004-12-17 PLA Daily
Xu Qiliang, deputy chief of the general staff of the PLA, met the foreign affairs delegation led by Kim Ri Ho, deputy director of the Military Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces of the DPRK on December 15 in Beijing. Xu Qiliang said, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK 55 years ago, the friendship between the two countries, forged and cultivated by the revolutionaries of the old generation of the two countries, has withstood the tests of the vicissitudes of international situation and has taken roots in the hearts of the peoples of the two countries. It is in the interests of the two countries to constantly strengthen and develop this friendly cooperative ties. The relation between the two militaries constitutes an important part of the relations between the two countries, and the Chinese side is willing to work together with the DPRK counterpart to promote further development of the ties between the two militaries. Kim Ri Ho said, the DPRK attaches great importance to consolidating and developing its friendly ties with China, and hopes that the two militaries would continue to enhance exchanges and cooperation.

 

Susanne Schuetz
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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