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
  4.4-8.4.05, No. 57  
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Foreign Policy

China opposed to timetable for Security Council expansion
2005-04-07 People's Daily
China supports reforms of the Security Council, but objects to setting a timetable for the process as proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya said on Wednesday. Wang made the remarks while addressing the 191-nation General Assembly, which was meeting to discuss the report presented by Annan in late March on reforming the United Nations. Wang said that the priority of the Security Council reforms should be given to increasing the representation of the developing countries in the council. "As the expansion of the Council involves the vital interests of all concerned, controversy surrounding the issue is therefore expected," he noted, adding that the interests and concerns of all regional groups and each country should be taken into account in the negotiations on the matter. "In the long-term interest of the United Nations as a whole, China is not in favor of setting an artificial time limit for Council reform and still less of forcing through any immature proposals lacking consensus in the form of a vote," he stressed. Wang said the consensus-seeking process should be characterized by democratic, in-depth discussions, patient consultations and a deliberate, orderly procedure. "Only a blueprint resulting from consensus can truly help strengthen the Security Council's authority and effectiveness and win broad trust and support from the general membership," he said. He said discussions should not be confined to the two council expansion models contained in Annan's report and China is open to all proposals as long as they are conducive to overcoming divergence and maintaining unity among the member states. Meanwhile, he warned that a hasty vote on immature proposals before September could jeopardize consultations on reforms of other areas and affect the drafting of the final document of the UN summit. "Security Council reform is only one part of the reform process of the United Nations and should not be allowed to eclipse equally important reform in other areas," he said. "We do not wish to see debate and controversy surrounding Council reform marginalize or even jeopardize consultations on other issues, particularly those concerning development." "We should especially guard against the possibility of such controversy causing a major rift among UN members, with the unfortunate consequence of compromising the drafting and consideration of the final document of the forthcoming summit." ( )

China assumes rotating UNSC presidency
2005-04-07 People's Daily
China's permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya says progress in major world issues will be a priority, as he assumes the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month. Wang said that under Chinese leadership, the Security Council will closely track events in the Middle East and Africa. Wang Guangya led consultations on Monday, ahead of passing the council's April work plan. He said that with the presidency, China will push the Security Council to be fair, pragmatic, democratic and transparent.

FM rebuts US threat of economic sanctions
2005-04-08 China Daily
China delivered a sharp rebuke yesterday to the US Senate's threat to impose economic sanctions if Beijing fails to change its current currency policy. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing the latest analysis by the International Monetary Fund showed that China's currency does not appear undervalued. "When determining whether the currency is or is not undervalued you do not only take into consideration bilateral trade but multilateral trade as well," Qin told the regular briefing. "China has trade surpluses with the United States yet the country is experiencing a big trade deficit with many of its Asian trading partners," he said, adding that the United States should adjust its economic imbalance by looking at its own reasons. China saw faster import increases last year while trade was basically balanced and tremendous reform work was done to improve the renminbi exchange rate mechanism. He said China is willing to settle any trade disputes with the United States through equal negotiations so as to push forward the healthy and stable development of the bilateral trade. A considerable part of Chinese exports are produced by China-based factories funded by overseas companies, including US firms. "Most of the profits go to foreign investors and the Chinese side typically takes a small part, although the production is based on consumption of Chinese resources and energy," said Wang Yuanhong, a senior analyst with the State Information Centre. ( )

Border row on agenda for Wen's India visit
2005-04-05 China Daily
Special representatives from China and India will meet for the fifth time to discuss their long-running boundary dispute before the start of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the country, Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie has said. And the disputed border regions between China's Tibet and northern India will also be on the agenda during Wen's visit to New Delhi, on April 9 to 12, Surie added. Wen started his eight-day tour of South Asia today, which will take him to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. In an interview with the China Daily, Ambassador Surie said: "The special representatives have met four times already, their efforts have progressed in a positive manner and we expect they will meet once again before Wen's visit." In accordance with the provisions of the Declaration of Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Co-operation between India and China, which was signed in June 2003, both China and India have appointed special representatives to deal with the issue of boundary settlement. China expects to make progress on the issue and "the two sides may reach a consensus during Premier Wen's visit," Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei told a Beijing news conference last Friday. Former Chinese Ambassador to India Pei Yuanying said the border dispute is a historical hangover which will be difficult to solve. In October 1962, the two countries fought a month long war over the disputed areas. According to the former ambassador, China and India are negotiating principles to determine sovereignty and the two sides may sign an agreement about those principles during Wen's visit. "There is an active trend in resolving the boundary issue now," he said, adding that high level exchanges and a willingness to talk showed bilateral ties were strengthening. There are reports that Premier Wen said a solution to the boundary issue was possible if the two sides showed mutual accommodation "while taking reality into account." Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie said he believes Premier Wen's forthcoming visit will provide a new milestone in bilateral relations, saying it will add to trust and understanding between the two countries. India and China are both potential power houses of Asia and there will be areas of competition as well as co-operation between the two sides, Surie said. "A certain amount of healthy competition is always good as it keeps us on our toes, but there is more than ample space in the world economy for both of us," he added. Premier Wen told Pakistani media yesterday that China values its trade with Pakistan and regards it as an important area that should be expanded. Talking in an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan before his visit to Southern Asia, Wen said that, despite volatile international changes, China and Pakistan have established an "all-weather, all-around co-operative partnership." Pakistani Ambassador to China Riaz Mohammad Khan said he intends to make the bilateral economic and cultural co-operation commensurate with the depth of the strong bilateral political relations. "I also desire to see development in our tourism linkages and people to people contacts through greater cultural exchanges," he said. Nihal Rodrigo, the Sri Lankan ambassador to China, heralded the commencing of direct flights between Beijing and Colombo, which will provide greater opportunities for travel between the two countries. Bangladesh and China are expecting to sign a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding during Wen's visit. "Among them, agreements on co-operation in agriculture and science and technology, as well as in combating crimes and smuggling will be foremost," said Ashfaqur Rahman, Bangladesh ambassador to China.

China to expand trade with Pakistan: Premier Wen
2005-04-05 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told Pakistani media Monday that China values its trade with Pakistan and regards it as pivotal area that should be expanded. Wen gave an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan before his visits to the South Asian countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Wen said China and Pakistan have established an "all-weather, all-around cooperative partnership" despite volatile international changes. "The Chinese government will make joint efforts with Pakistan under the guidance of the joint declaration signed by the two heads of state in 2003, expand cooperation fields, raise cooperation levels and make bilateral cooperation benefit the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples," he said. Wen said he hopes the two sides take measures to expand trade and make use of the strong compatibility of the two countries' industry and trade structure to discuss the establishment of free trade area. "The Chinese government will continue to encourage and support the two countries' private sectors to enhance cooperation, invest in each other and realize mutual benefits," Wen said. He said, "China and South Asian countries are close neighbors and developing countries. Pursuing peace and stability and promoting development are our common aspiration. "China sincerely hopes South Asian countries enjoy long-term stability, harmonious relations and economic development," Wen said, adding that China will support "all efforts that are conducive to peace, stability and development in the south Asia." He said China pursues peaceful development according to the principle of "building friendship and partnership" with its neighbors. "We are willing to enhance good-neighborly relations with South Asian and other Asian countries, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and join hands to promote the regional and world peace and development," he said.

Former Russian prime minister Primakov speaks highly of Russia-China relations
2005-04-04 People's Daily
Russia-China relations, which have been developing smoothly, will constitute a major stabilizing factor in the process of forming a multipolar world, former Russian Prime Minister Primakov said Saturday. Primakov, also honorary chairman on the Russian side of the Russia-China Friendship Committee for Peace and Development (RCFCPD), said in his speech at the prestigious China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing that the staunch support underscored specially by Russian President Vladimir Putin on China's Anti-secession Law represents a concrete embodiment of the strategic partnership between the two nations. In response to a question raised by students, Primakov also said the formation of a triangular strategic relationship among Russia, China and India will help maintain stability in the region. Primakov is currently visiting China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Qian Qichen, honorary chairman on the Chinese side of the RCFCPD, and his China trip, which began last Thursday, will end on Sunday.

Karzai meets with Chinese foreign minister
2005-04-04 Xinhuanet
Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in his fortified palace on Sunday. Briefing the development of the reconstruction process in post-Taliban Afghanistan as well as the achievements made during the last three years, Karzai said the Afghan government hopes to improve trade, culture and education cooperation with China. As the bilateral trade has been increasing his government welcomes Chinese companies to Afghanistan, said the president. Li congratulated Karzai on the achievements of the peace process and the reconstruction efforts made by his government. The Chinese government always encouraged qualified companies toinvest in Afghanistan, showing the willingness to explore further cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two countries, added Li. The Chinese minister also met with former king Mohammad Zahir Shah in the palace shortly after talks with Karzai. The former king expressed his gratitude to the Chinese assistance whenever needed when recalling the traditional friendship between the two countries and his personal good relationship with late Chinese leaders in the early years. Li thanked the former king for all his efforts in maintaining the friendship between the two countries. Earlier in the day, Li met his counterpart Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah on promoting further cooperation between the two governments. Abdullah reiterated the stand on the One China policy. Li, who started his two-day visit on the eve of the third Afghanistan Development Forum, is scheduled to deliver a speech atthe forum on Monday.

Japanese textbook distorts history, stirs fury
2005-04-06 China Daily
China urged Japan yesterday to "correctly view" history, after Tokyo approved a new edition of a controversial junior high school history textbook that critics say "whitewashes" Japan's past history of aggression. The Chinese Government expressed its strong indignation at the approval of the right-wing inspired textbook which "confounds black and white," said Vice-Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai. Qiao urgently summoned Japanese Ambassador Anami Koreshige yesterday afternoon and lodged solemn representations against the textbook , saying the essence of the issue is whether Japan can accurately view its history of militarism and aggression. "The textbook will be vehemently condemned by people from all Asian countries that have been victimized by Japan, including the Chinese," said Qiao, demanding the Japanese Government honour its commitments regarding history and calling for measures to offset any negative impacts it may have. According to the Foreign Ministry, Chinese ambassador to Japan Wang Yi delivered a similar representation to the Japanese Government in Tokyo yesterday afternoon. The Japanese Education Ministry yesterday approved the controversial book published by Fuso Publishing as one of eight that can be used to teach students aged 13 to 15 from April 2006. The book is an updated version of the one which triggered formal protests from Beijing and Seoul upon its release in 2001. The book was adopted in 2002 by only about 0.03 per cent of schools following objections from local education boards and teachers. The updated book refers to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre - in which some historians say at least 300,000 civilians and disarmed soldiers were killed by Japanese invading troops - as an "incident" in which "many" Chinese were slain. Japan's move is likely to spark protests and hurt the country's already strained relations with Beijing and Seoul over historic and territorial disputes, analysts said. "We all know that invading Japanese troops committed monstrous crimes against local people in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. I simply can't imagine why Japanese rightists try to deny and distort this historic fact in their textbooks," said Wu Jiao, a graduate student from the School of Foreign Studies of Nanjing University. "I don't think the rightists can deceive all the Japanese people," she said. More than 10 million Chinese have signed an online petition to oppose Japan's move to seek a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a number of public protests have broken out in cities. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday the Japanese side should "treat Chinese people's concerns over the issue correctly" and "handle historic issues closely related to Chinese people's feelings properly." He called on the Chinese public to express their will "in a reasonable way," and pledged that China would protect the lives and property of Japanese citizens in the country. Jiang Ruiping, a professor from Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, said he feared that strained political relations have affected the economic relationship of China and Japan. Trade growth between the two countries last year was lower than that between China and its other trading partners, such as the European Union, the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he said.

Japan urged to be prudent on East China Sea issue
2005-04-08 People's Daily
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang urged Japan to be prudent on the East China Sea issue at a regular press conference Thursday. He noted that China and Japan have not reached any agreement on boundary demarcations in the East China Sea or on exploration and exploitation of oil and gas resources there. He called for Japan to pay due attention to the fact, and not to take any action to complicate the situation. Qin said China always holds that the issue be addressed through dialogue and friendly consultation. "In a show of sincerity, China has proposed shelving the dispute and joint development of resources in the region, which is the only correct approach that conforms to the common interests of the two sides," Qin said. Qin also said that Japan should not try to impose its own proposition on China, and urged the Japanese government to act prudently and prevent worsening of the situation by taking any unilateral action.

China, Brazil to enhance military co-op
2005-04-06 PLA Daily - China and Brazil said here Monday they would enhance friendly cooperation between the two armed forces. "China will work with Brazil in this regard," said Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan at a meeting with visiting Brazilian Army Commander Francisco Roberto de Albuquerque. Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, said the China-Brazil relationship has entered a new phase since the heads of state of the two countries visited each other last year and reached an important consensus on building the strategic partnership. Albuquerque said the Brazilian military hoped to strengthen the all-round exchange and cooperation in various fields with the Chinese military in the future. China, Turkey agree to enhance ties between two armies
2005-04-06 PLA Daily - Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Liang Guanglie said here Monday that China desires to improve its cooperation with Turkey. In a meeting with Ibrahim Firtina, commander of the Turkish Air Force, Liang said China takes an "active attitude" in fostering ties with the Turkish army and that he believed relations between the two armies will reach a new level. Firtina said he hoped "substantial" progress will be made in promoting ties between the two armed forces. He also expressed his country's firm adherence to the one-China policy. Firtina arrived here Sunday for an official goodwill visit to China from April 3 to 7, at the invitation of Qiao Qingchen, commander of the PLA Air Force. The visit aims to promote understanding, friendship and cooperation between the two armed forces, particularly the two air forces, sources with the PLA air force said.

Colombia's president starts China visit
2005-04-06 Xinhuanet
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe Velez arrived here Wednesday morning, kicking off his state visit to China as guest of Chinese President Hu Jintao. This is Uribe's first visit to China after assuming presidencyin 2002. During his visit here, he is scheduled to meet or hold talks with top Chinese leaders and attend a signing ceremony of some cooperation accords between the two governments. Uribe's entourage includes some high-ranking officials and businessmen. Besides Beijing, he will also visit Shanghai, China's economic hub. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-Colombia diplomatic ties. Prior to his China tour, Uribe told the press that he hoped it would help further Colombia-China economic and diplomatic cooperation, saying his government attaches great importance to economic and trade cooperation with China, and welcomes more investment from China in petroleum, coal, textile and farm irrigation. The relationship has been solid in the field of politics thanks to the exchange of high-level visits and the two countries have supported each other in international affairs, said Uribe.

 

Innenpolitik

Fund earmarked to bar salary defaults to migrant workers
2005-04-04 China Daily
The Construction Bureau of central China's Henan Province has collected 150 million yuan (18. 07 million US dollars) in a guarantee fund designed to prevent cases of salary default to migrant workers. The establishment of the fund is part of the province's response to the central Chinese government's call for putting an end to a rampant phenomenon in the construction sector in which employers often fail to pay their transient workers as promised, so as to protect legitimate rights of migrant workers, said a local official. A regulation worked out last year by the provincial government stipulates that all builders must set aside two percent of their contract prices as guarantee fund for salaries of migrant workers. The guarantee fund will be managed by local authorities of construction, with its use being supervised by local departments of labor and social security. If a builder fails to pay migrant workers the full amount of salary on time, local construction departments will use the guarantee fund to pay the migrant worker's salary. Those builders who refuse to deposit money into the guarantee fund won't be allowed to continue building or given permits to start construction of their projects, the official said. By now, the system of the guarantee fund against salary default to transient workers has been in place in 18 cities of Henan, the country's most populous province, said the official.

China's poverty-stricken population down over 10 percent
2005-04-05 People's Daily
The year 2004 saw the highest decrease rate of China's poverty-stricken population in the past five years: people with a per capita income less than 668 yuan decreased 2.9 million or 10 percent; those with a per capita income of no more than 924 yuan decreased by 6.4 million or 11.4 percent, according to latest statistics from the Poverty Reduction Office of the State Council . Since the reform and opening-up to the outside world, China implemented large-scale, sustained and fruitful poverty alleviation through development, which received wide and high praise in the international community. However, China still has a long way to go, as there remain 36.1 million living under poverty line now. Those people who have just been lifted out of poverty will probably fall back upon changes due to their weak disaster-resistant ability. For example, in 2003, 14.6 million people were alleviated out of poverty, while 15.4 million plunged into poverty again again, which has never happened in nearly 20 years' poverty alleviation. Expert analyzes that there are three reasons for the slower decrease of Chinese poor population in the 21st century. First, it has become more difficult to provide adequate food and clothing for those remaining poor as they are mostly living in the areas with worse living and production conditions; second, there are some poor people, who have initially had adequate food and clothing, pushed back to poverty by disasters; third, the work in some areas is incompatible with the new changes in poverty alleviation through development. At the Conference on Scaling-Up Poverty Reduction held in 2004, China made a solemn pledge that it will basically meet the food and clothing needs of the poor population in 2010. The central government will input an extra 800 million yuan of poverty-relieving fund, adding it up to 13 billion yuan.

China wages "people's war" against drugs
2005-04-05 Xinhuanet
A senior secutiry official Monday vowed to launch a "people's war" against drugs, aiming at checking the sources of drugs, curbing the harmful influence of drug crimes and keeping the number of drug addicts from growing. "The nationwide campaign is to meet actual demand to deal with current tough situation of drug abuse in China, and is also a decisive strategy to win the initiative in fighting against drugs," said Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and State Councilor. Zhou, also minister of public security and director of the National Narcotics Control Commission, made the remarks at the commission's plenary meeting held here Monday. China made "major achievements" in drug control in 2004 with more cases solved and suspects arrested than in 2003, resulting in a large increase in the street price of narcotics, according to the commission. China cracked 98,000 drug-related cases in 2004, up 4.4 percent over the previous year, and seized 66,900 suspects, up 5.1 percent, according to statistics revealed at the meeting. Last year, China seized 10.8 tons of heroin in 2004, up 13.6 percent year-on-year; more than 3 million "head-shaking" pills, or ecstasy, an eight-fold increase; 2.7 tons of "ice" , down 52.9 percent; and 160 tons of chemicals for drug manufacture, up 119.8 percent. "Thanks to years of high-powered crackdowns, drugs have become more difficult to come by on the domestic market. Drug prices have risen significantly and the high incidence of drug-related crimes has generally been brought under control," said a commission official. But it was pointed out at the meeting that China still faces major challenges in the fight against drugs as the forms of drug crimes have become more diversified and covert while the country's anti-drug forces still lack necessary equipment and knowledge to track them. China had 791,000 drug addicts at the end of 2004, up 6.8 percent from 2003, involving 2,102 counties. Young people, farmers and the unemployed are three major groups of the drug addicts, according to the commission. Nearly 86 percent of Chinese drug users are addicted to heroin. The number of addicts to new kinds of drugs like ecstasy and ketamine hydrochloride is also increasing, from accounting for 2.5 percent of the total in 2001 to 9.5 percent in 2004. A detailed arrangement has been made for the nationwide campaign against drugs at the meeting, a source said. China's central authorities have attached great importance to the anti-drug work. Last year, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held a special meeting to discuss the anti-drug policy and the State Council issued a five-year layout of anti-drug activities. China now boasts a special anti-drug police force of about 17,000 members, and the central government has input hundreds of million yuan to support the drug control efforts over the past years. Freed prisoner shows legal system's flaws Legal experts believe the case of a man who spent 11 years in prison for a murder highlights loopholes in the law which should be plugged. She Xianglin, 39, from Central China's Hubei Province, has been released from captivity following the reappearance of his supposedly dead wife. He is demanding compensation and will be retried by the local court this week. The former security guard was convicted of killing his wife Zhang Zaiyu after a badly decomposed body was found. He said he was tortured into confessing. Zhang has now reappeared with a new husband and a son. Zhang went missing in 1994 and soon afterwards police found an unidentifiable female body near She's home. Although no DNA testing was carried out and there was no other evidence, police believed the body was Zhang's, and accused She of her murder. After several rounds of interrogation and beatings, She confessed. He was sentenced to death by local courts but the High People's Court of Hubei saw "quite a few doubtful points" and ordered a retrial which changed the sentence to 15 years in prison. Legal loopholes Li Guifang, deputy director of the Beijing-based Criminal Committee of the All-China Lawyers Association, said in an exclusive interview that She's case demonstrated the failure of the local legal system. "The police should bear the brunt of the responsibility, because they falsely identified the body, the major evidence in this case, and probably extorted a confession through torture," said Li. Prosecutors and courts were also to blame, he said. Although there was some doubt the body was Zhang's, local prosecutors started legal proceedings instead of investigating further. Local courts failed to clarify the truth even after the retrial. Academics say forced confessions are not unusual in China. "Although strictly forbidden by law, they are common in many places because the police are under great pressure from above to solve crimes," a law professor told Xinhua. Defendants' legal rights to a lawyer have also been denied by police in many situations, said Li Guifang of the lawyers association. "If a lawyer had been appointed in the first place, this case might have gone differently," he said. Judicial reform China's top law enforcement organs are taking actions to reform the old justice system to minimize the possibility of convicting the innocent. The Ministry of Public Security has initiated a nationwide campaign since 2004 to improve the police's capability of criminal investigation. The police were urged to strengthen their study of fundamental investigation knowledge, and improve their on-site investigation ability with the assistance of high-tech facilities, such as a DNA test. The Supreme People's Court is now considering retrieving the right to review the death penalty from the provincial high people's courts, so as to ensure a "fair and prudent" meting-out of capital punishment. Seeking compensation Finally out of the prison, She told reporters that he will demand compensation from the local courts and police according to the State Compensation Law. She received a medical examina-tion after his release, which showed he suffered from double-vision and a severe spinal disease, which made him hardly able to sit. Lu Dingbo, current vice-director of the Police Bureau of Jingshan County and the person who was in charge of the criminal investigation of She's case, expressed deep regret, but tried to defend himself by stating that there were no DNA examination facilities 10 years ago.

State council appoints new head of tourism
2005-04-07 Xinhuanet
Shao Qiwei, former vice-governor of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, has been appointed by the State Council as director of the China National Tourism Administration. Shao, whose hometown is Huzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province, was born in 1953. Since he started working in 1970, Shao has lived in Yunnan. He jointed the Communist Party of China in 1971. In May, 1998, he became the vice-governor of Yunnan and remained at the post till March. Xinhua News Agency quoted Shen Yueyue, vice-minister of personnel, as saying that Shao had done a lot of work in promoting tourism in Yunnan, which had gained remarkable results. Shao takes the place of He Guangwei, who had been the director since 1995. Meanwhile, the State Council made a few more personnel changes at several other government bodies. Liu Jinguo, Zhang Xinfeng and Liu De were appointed as vice-ministers of public security to replace Tian Qiyu and Zhao Yongji. He Xian was appointed vice-minister of personnel, replacing Dai Guangqian. Lu Chunfang were named vice-minister of railways, replacing Wang Zhaocheng. Liu Shijin was appointed deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council, replacing Lu Zhiqiang. Wu Hailong was appointed China's permanent representative to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency, replacing Zhang Yan.

 

Tibet

Tibet to tap China's largest copper mine
2005-04-07 People's Daily
Investors signed an agreement here Wednesday to set up the Yulong Copper Industry Joint-Stock Companyfor tapping a major copper mine in Tibet, southwest China. The copper mine, located in Yulong Township, Jomda County of Qamdo Prefecture, has 6.5 million tons of proved copper reserves, the country's largest. The joint venture has a registered capital of 625 million yuan (75 million US dollars) and is composed of five Chinese entities, including Qinghai West Mining Co., Ltd., Tibet Mining Development Corporation and Zijin Mining Group based in Fujian Province. Jin Shixun, deputy director of the Tibet Development and Reform Commission, said construction of the mine is scheduled to start at the end of September. The mine is expected to go into operation within three years, Jin said.

Earthquake jolts southwestern Tibet
2005-04-08 Xinhuanet
An earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale jolted Xigaze prefecture of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region at 04:04 hours (Beijing Time) on Friday, according to Chinese seismological observatories. No casualty or accurate damages has been reported yet, according to local government sources. The quake occurred at the areas between Zhongba County and the Ngari Prefecture, with the epicenter at 30.5 degrees latitude north and 83.7 degrees longitude east, which is about 110 kilometers from the Chinese-Nepalese border and 670 kilometers away from Lhasa, the regional capital, according to China Seismological Bureau. The regional seismological bureau will dispatch a work team to the quake-hit area, according to local government. An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale occurred in the areas on July 12, 2004.

 

Taiwan

No supplementary legislation for Anti-Secession Law under consideration
2005-04-06 Xinhuanet
A central government official clarified here Tuesday that the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, has no plan to make any supplementary legislation for the Anti-Secession Law it adopted last month. "According to our knowledge, the NPC holds that the Anti-Secession Law is both explicit and complete in its content, and therefore needs no supporting laws or regulations. The NPC has no such consideration at all," an official with the information division of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, China's cabinet, told Xinhua Tuesday. The official made the remarks in response to a recent press release issued by the Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan, which alleged that the mainland would continue to enact a law on state of emergency, as well as a dozen more relevant laws, to support the Anti-Secession Law. The official also quoted the NPC as saying that the Anti-Secession Law is "a special legislation" aimed at opposing and checking "Taiwan independence", maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, developing cross-Straits relations, and promoting the peaceful reunification of the motherland. The NPC adopted the Anti-Secession Law at its annual full session in March.

Taiwan residents protest against war shrine visit
2005-04-05 Xinhuanet
Indigenous groups from Taiwan have staged protests against a visit by a Taiwan party delegation to the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan. Indigenous groups from Taiwan have staged protests against a visit by a Taiwan party delegation to the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, where a number of convicted Japanese Class-A War criminals are honoured. 10 members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, led by its chairman Su Chin-chiang visited the shrine on Monday, to pay respects to Japanese soliders killed in past wars. The move provoked anger from members of the public in Taiwan and an Indigenous Taiwanese representative, Gao Jin Sumei, delivered a letter of protest to the party's headquarters. She warned its leaders not to forget Japan's wartime history, and make a rational judgement on Taiwan's future. "History can never be neglected, and the Japanese aggression is part of history," said Gao Jin Sumei. Taiwan was occupied by Japanese forces for 50 years from 1895 until its wartime defeat, and more than 20,000 people from Taiwan were forced to join the Japanese army during the Second World War, of whom only a third survived.

 

Economy

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Kuwait seeks to strengthen oil ties with China
2005-04-04 China Daily
Kuwait hopes the next few months will see a strengthening of its partnership with China's oil industry. That was the message from leading Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) official Jamal Al-Nouri at the opening of the company's Beijing office on Wednesday. "We are talking with every one of China's big oil companies, including Sinopec, PetroChina and CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp), on further co-operation, and this coming together is only a matter of months," added Al-Nouri, managing director of KPC's international marketing department. The Middle East corporation also hopes to participate in the long-term development of China's oil industry by establishing refining, petrochemical and infrastructure joint ventures. Al-nouri said he hoped the firm's permanent presence in the Chinese capital will help it strike "long-term oil supply contracts with China and establish joint ventures." China's second-largest oil producer Sinopec is already in talks with Kuwait over setting up more projects in both the upstream and downstream oil sectors, a deputy manager at the company's crude oil department told China Daily. The firm has imported crude oil from Kuwait since 1998 under a long-term supply agreement. Sinochem Corp, China's fourth-largest State-owned oil company, is in talks with the Middle East oil giant over further partnership opportunities, Wang Wei, general manager of the company's crude oil department, told China Daily. More partnership is also expected between China North Industries Corp (Norinco) - one of the country's largest trading enterprises - and the Kuwaiti oil corporation, as the two companies will soon sign a short-term oil supply agreement to import oil from Kuwait, Fu Chunhui, business manager of Norinco's West Asian department, told China Daily. However, Fu did not elaborate on the agreement, saying the negotiations are still taking place. The Kuwaiti oil corporation already has a joint venture in the South China Sea near the island province of Hainan with CNOOC, and has established companies to produce fertilizer and lubricant in China. KPC's aggressive expansion into China's oil sectors is based on the company's great expectations for the soaring growth in the county's oil demands. According to industry estimates, nearly half of global oil demand growth in the next five years is expected to come from Asia, with China accounting for 25 per cent of this increase. Despite being one of the world's largest crude oil producers, Kuwaiti oil only accounts for a minor proportion of China's crude imports. The world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States imported about 20,000 barrels of crude per day from Kuwait last year. Kuwait expects to "significantly" increase its crude oil supply to China through a host of partnership projects, said Al-Nouri. The Kuwaiti oil company has vowed to increase its daily crude production capacity to 40 million barrels by 2020, and also expand its crude exports.

EU mulls import restrictions on Chinese textiles
2005-04-07 People's Daily
If textiles from China begin swamping the European Union (EU), the EU's executive arm -- the European Commission (EC) -- might invoke import restrictions to protect EU industry, the EC said Wednesday. The measure is outlined in EC guidelines on what the Commission calls "safeguard actions" against Chinese textile imports. "The guidelines clarify under what circumstances it would consider safeguard actions against textile and clothing imports from China," the EC said in a statement. "China, and its dramatic potential to increase exports following the lifting of quotas from 1 January this year, has become a key concern for a number of EU member states and European textiles producers," European Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson, told a press conference. "My aim is to ensure a smooth transition to a post quota world without incurring avoidable damage to our industry and vulnerable developing countries," he said. Mandelson stressed that using safeguard measures is a last resort saying: "Adopting the guidelines does not automatically mean the EU would adopt barriers to Chinese imports." "It is important for both China and European industry that the use of any safeguard measures is objective, transparent and based on credible data," he said. The guidelines establish procedures and criteria for the objective and transparent use of safeguard proceedings. "By establishing when, and on what basis, action could be taken, the guidelines provide clarity and predictability for both China and European textile producers," said Mandelson. The guidelines establish alert zones for each category of Chinese textiles imports allowing for increases in China's current market share. To reach these alert zones Chinese exports will need to show a rapid and sustained rise over a defined period. If these thresholds are reached, the EC, acting on its own initiative or at the request of an EU member state, will undertake an investigation. Informal consultations with China will allow China to act to provide sufficient remedy. If no remedy is forthcoming, formal WTO consultations with the Chinese authorities would require China to limit textile exports in the affected categories. If this is still insufficient, safeguards can be invoked. Safeguards would take the form of quantitative import restrictions applicable for a year, extendible on reapplication. These measures can only be used until 2008. The guidelines also allow for emergency procedures in the case of a surge in imports of such a magnitude to threaten serious material injury to EU industry. In this case, formal consultation with China could be launched without a proceeding investigation.

World's largest nuclear engineering group stresses cooperation with China
2005-04-06 People's Daily
The France-based Areva Group, the world's largest nuclear engineering firm, will enhance its research and development in China so as to help solve the serious power shortages and environmental problems in the country, said its President Anne Lauvergeon Tuesday. Lauvergeon made the remark at an ongoing seminar on China-France economic cooperation. China's power shortage makes it necessary to rapidly develop nuclear power plants, and France, which has the most advanced nuclear power technology and equipment, has had fruitful cooperation with China in this field, she said. "Over 3,500 Areva employees are now working in China, and the group has worked out special technology-transfer plans for China," she said. China's rapid economic development has led to a severe power shortage problem. Power brownouts became frequent in many places last year. The state has already listed the nuclear power industry as a priority in its plans for high technology research and development, and China's nuclear power generation capacity is expected to triple to account for 4 percent of its total power output by 2020, according to sources with the State Development and Reform Commission. After more than 20 years of efforts, China now has the ability to build 300,000 kilowatt-level and 600,000 kilowatt-level nuclear power stations. It can also manufacture key equipment for one million kilowatt-level nuclear power stations. Electricity generated by nuclear power, however, still accounts for less than 2 percent of China's total electricity supply, compared to 77 percent in France and 20 percent in the United States. Chinese high-level officials have called for promotion of nuclear power international cooperation, in particular in project-related technology bidding and technical instruction. China first used nuke power technology from France in its Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in southern Guangdong Province, and later furthered cooperation with France in Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant, located in the same province. Hardly any carbon dioxide will be emitted during the nuclear power generation process, which is both cost-effective and safe, so the nuclear power technology is conducive to China's environmental protection, Lauvergeon said. The Areva group, with its services mainly focused on power generation and grid construction, will continue to make contributions to China's power industry, she said. The net profits of Areva reportedly rose 10 percent to 428 million euros (570.8 million dollars) in 2004, much of which were contributed by its successful oversea services.

CNPC begins development of largest condensed gas field in Xinjiang
2005-04-08 People's Daily
The China National Petroleum Corp. (NPC), China's biggest oil producer, has started to develop the country's largest condensed gas field, Dina, in the Tarim Basin of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The gas field will be developed into a major source of natural gas to transfer from western China to the energy-starved East, the China Land and Resources News reported. Located in the Kuqa County of Xinjiang, the gas field will produce 5.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas, accounting for 40 percent of the total gas to be transferred to eastern China. Meanwhile, the gas field is also expected to produce 300,000 tons of condensed oil and 500,000 tons of liquefied gas and other byproducts. At present, the corporation is conducting the feasibility study on the project before exploration and the work will be finished at the end of this year. The gas field will be put into operation at the end of 2006. China started to construct a massive project to transfer the abundant natural gas resources from western China to the energy-starved but industry-intensive eastern regions in July 2002. The gigantic 4,000-km pipeline, the longest in the country, went into commercial operation on Dec. 30 last year.

Beijing to see electricity price hike
2005-04-08 China Daily
Beijing will raise the price of electricity for government and industrial use during peak hours this summer by 5 per cent. The move is aimed at conserving energy, a much prized commodity across the country. It has been reported that thousands of firms will take a week off to try to avoid some of the extra expense. The peak hours for electricity are 8-11 am and 6-11 pm. Wang Haiping, spokesman and deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, announced the move yesterday at a press conference. But he said electricity prices from 11 pm to 7 am this summer will be 18 per cent cheaper than the lowest price last year. Some reports have said that using electricity in peak hours this summer will be more than 400 per cent more expensive than using it during non-peak hours. Last summer it was 300 per cent more expensive, sources said. Beijing still faces a contradiction between electricity supply and consumption, the official said. In summer there is often a consumption peak due to the massive use of air conditioners. It is predicted the capital city will consume 6-8 per cent more electricity than last summer. The city will be short of 1 million kilowatts during peak hours in the summer, the official said. The good news, however, is that electricity for family uses, buses, the metro and agriculture will not see higher prices, according to sources. Large-scale enterprises that consume a lot of electricity are encouraged to use energy-saving equipment and try to operate machines when electricity costs less outside the peak hours. It is reported that about 5,800 industrial enterprises will have a rest period for a week between July and August, during the peak. The municipal government will invest 2 billion yuan (US$240 million) in upgrading the electricity network. Emergency plans will be drafted to prepare for possible shortages this summer. ( )

Uganda becomes tourism destination for Chinese citizens
2005-04-05 People's Daily
Tourism officials from China and Uganda signed a memorandum Monday formally recognizing Uganda's status as one of China's approved tourism destinations. The memorandum was signed by director Shao Qiwei of China's National Tourism Administration and his Ugandan counterpart. Shao said the agreement will help expand Chinese consumers' options on outbound tourism to eastern Africa and boost Sino-African cultural and business exchange. Located in eastern Africa, Uganda boasts many scenic spots such as Elizabeth National Park and the source of the world famous Nile River in a land area of 240,000 square kilometers. More than 28.5 million journeys were made by Chinese citizens abroad in 2004. China has become the world's fastest growing outbound tourism source nation in the world. Chinese group travelers can now visit about 64 nations and regions.

Egyptian delegation to boost relations
2005-04-06 China Daily
Egypt's biggest ever business delegation to China will begin a visit on Sunday to enhance economic co-operation between the two countries. The 55-strong delegation will take in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong during its 10-day trip, said Aly El-Hefny, the Egyptian ambassador to China. The delegation, organized by the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt and the Egyptian Businessmen's Association, will also attend the China-Arab Co-operation Forum, to be held in Beijing next Tuesday and Wednesday. The delegation consists of government officials and entrepreneurs from the transportation, agriculture, tourism, information technology and textile industries. "China and Egypt complement each other in terms of their economic co-operation. We expect a number of contracts and letters of intent to be signed this time," El-Hefny told reporters on Monday. Large potential exists for oil and gas co-operation between the two countries. "Egypt is privatizing its oil industry, and Chinese firms can take the opportunity to enter the market," he said. The two countries have been doing business in the oil industry since 2002. Chinese oil giants, such as the China Petrochemical Corp and the China National Petroleum Corporation, already have a presence in Egypt. Meanwhile, Egypt is exporting its natural gas to countries like the United States and France. And it wishes to develop China as its new client, the ambassador said. Wael Hamed, first secretary of the embassy's economic section, said Egypt wishes to attract Chinese investment, in sectors like garments, food and handicrafts. "Egypt is a country for Chinese investors to make a profit," Hamed said. He explained that Egypt has signed many economic preferential agreements with fellow Arab and African countries. When a Chinese firm enters Egypt, it enters a greater market, extending to the whole Arab and African market. Egypt has a presence in China in the banking, food, tourism and carpet making sectors. The Oriental Weavers Company, a famous Egyptian firm, has already invested US$10 million in China.

 

Nordkorea

Top DPRK diplomat visits China: FM Spokesman
2005-04-06 People's Daily
Kang Sok Ju, first vice-minister of foreign affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), visited China from April 2-5, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced in Beijing Tuesday. Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Dai Bingguo held talks with Kang and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern including bilateral relations and the Korean Peninsula nuclear weapon situation, the spokesman said at a regular press conference.

US urges DPRK to return to six-party talks
2005-04-07 Xinhuanet
The United States on Wednesday renewed its call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the six-party talks. "We have no indication that North Korea has yet agreed to return to the table," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at a news briefing. "We reiterate we remain prepared to hold the talks with no preconditions, and we urge North Korea to return to the table for serious discussions so that international concerns about its nuclear programs can be resolved and so that North Korea can end its international isolation," Boucher said. The United States has said it remains committed to the six-party talks even though the DPRK declared on Feb. 10 to withdraw from the talks. Three rounds of the six-party talks have been held to try to resolve the nuclear confrontation between the United States and the DPRK. The six-party talks have been stalled since June last year as the DPRK accused the United States of adopting a hostile policy towards DPRK.

 

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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