SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  16.5-20.5.05, No. 63  
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Foreign Policy

China demands broad consensus in UN reform
2005-05-17 China Daily
China proposed broad consensus be reached on the United Nations reform by deepening negotiations on controversial issues, said Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan Monday in Beijing. Tang warned the lack of consensus could hinder the reform of other issues as well as the preparation for the UN summit slated for September this year. Tang made the remarks while meeting with Ali Alatas, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy. ( ) Citing the 60th anniversary of the UN this year, Tang said all the member states should seize the opportunity to push forward the UN reform to make headway in the development issue. UN reform should be practical and gradual, said Tang, adding that China has been supporting and positively promoting the reform in view of the increasing global threats and challenges facing the world. Alatas agreed the UN should attach greater importance to the development issue through reform and extensive consensus should be reached on the reform agenda. China, as an influential country, should further play its role in the UN reform, he said.

China opposes 4-nation resolution on UNSC
2005-05-18 Xinhuanet
China on Tuesday said the draft resolution circulated by Germany, Japan, Brazil and India on the UN Security Council expansion will be "detrimental" to the process of UN reform. "To take such a move hastily will only intensify contradictions," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan, citing that great divergence remains among UN member countries. Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, known as the G-4, on Monday circulated a draft resolution, proposing to give the four countries permanent seats in the Security Council along with two African countries. "There is still a very large gap between the positions of many countries and the core content of the draft resolution," Kong told a regular news conference. He said China hopes all relevant parties can start from the overall and long-term interests of the U.N. and its member countries, follow the stipulations and spirit of the U.N. Charter and carry out extensive and in-depth consultations, so as to push for a common consensus among all countries. Kong also reiterated China's stance on the UN Security Council reform, saying that China supports the reform of the Security Council. He called on the reform to be helpful in enhancing the authority and efficiency of the Security Council and to give priority to increasing the representation of developing countries. He also said the reform should give more opportunities to middle and small-sized countries to participate in the decision-making of the UN Security Council and should adhere to the principle of keeping balance among regions and take into account the representation of different cultures and civilizations. "Security Council reform is an issue concerning the future of the United Nations and the immediate interests of every country. Decisions should be made on the basis of extensive discussions and unanimous agreements," the spokesman said.

US to help China, India improve energy use
2005-05-17 China Daily
WEST POINT, Va - The United States must help fast-growing China and India become more energy efficient, and reduce its own dependence on foreign oil by finding alternative energy sources, US President Bush said on Monday. "It's in our economic interest and our national interest to help countries like India and China become more efficient users of oil," Bush said at a Virginia processing plant that makes "biodiesel" fuel out of soybeans. "That would help take the pressure off global oil supply, take the pressure off prices here at home," he said. Oil prices reached record highs in April, but have since slipped off the peaks. Surging demand for fuel in China and India, where economies are rapidly expanding, contributed to the price increase. High oil prices have hurt Bush's poll ratings, and he has been calling for more production to help push prices down. ( ) U.S. demand for oil is about 21 million barrels per day, compared with 7.4 million barrels per day projected this year for China, according to the U.S. Energy Department. India's oil consumption was 2.2 million barrels per day in 2003 and is projected to grow to 2.8 million by 2010, according to the department. Bush said he would ask leaders of the world's richest nations at a Group of Eight summit in July to help developing countries find "practical ways to use clean energy technologies" and be more efficient in energy use. China's thirst for crude oil exceeded expectations in 2004, contributing to tight global supplies. Although China's demand growth slowed in the first quarter of 2005, some analysts said this week that its crude-oil imports soared by 23 percent in April. "We must be better conservers. We must produce and refine more crude oil here in America. We must help countries like India and China reduce their demand for crude oil," Bush said. "And we've got to develop new fuels like biodiesel and ethanol as alternatives to diesel and gasoline," he said. Such alternatives, also including hydrogen, would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, he said. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Bush should urge oil companies and refiners to use more domestically produced biodiesel and ethanol. "The President's energy plan is a bad deal for American consumers and will do nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce our consumption or increase production here at home," Reid said. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an energy bill, while the Senate is still working on its version. ( ) Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi met with U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in Washington on Monday to discuss global energy issues. ( )

China to continue seeking long-term friendship with Cuba: Jia Qinglin
2005-05-18 People's Daily
China's top national advisor Jia Qinglin has said in Havana that China will continue to follow the principle of seeking long-term friendship with Cuba, Jia made the pledge Saturday when meeting with Raul Castro Ruz, first vice-president of the Cuban Council of State and of the Council of Ministers. China and Cuba, though in different continents, have formed a profound friendship during their exchanges by treating each other sincerely and sharing weal and woe, said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Jia said the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government attach great importance to Sino-Cuban relations and will stick to the principle of seeking long-term friendship with Cuba. China and Cuba have boosted their political trust and expanded fields of cooperation in recent years, Jia said, noting that Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Cuba in November last year has strongly pushed the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries toward all-around development. China appreciates and thanks Cuba's consistent and resolute support to China on issues such as the Taiwan question in which China's fundamental interests lie, Jia said. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cuba, Jia said, pledging that China will take this opportunity to implement the common understanding reached by leaders of the two countries and to push forward the cooperative ties. ( ) Jia arrived in the Cuban capital Thursday for a four-day official goodwill visit to the Caribbean country at the invitation of Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, president of the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba. ( )

Foreign media urged to take just attitude towards China
2005-05-17 Xinhuanet
International media should abide by the principles of objectivity and justice when they report news stories about China, said a senior official with the State Council Information Office (SCIO) here Monday. China is unsatisfactory about some foreign media's news coverage on China, which was biased and exaggerated, Zhao Qizheng, head of the SCIO, said at the Fortune Global Forum round-table meeting for cultural issues, which was held on Monday in Beijing. Some of the media took rumors as official information when they report on China, Zhao said. Some foreign media used to "exaggerate China's growth and help fabricating a theory of 'China Threat,'" and commentaries for suchpurpose were even more biased than related news, said Zhao. From ancient times to nowadays, China has never had the thoughts, needs and abilities to encroach on other peoples in the world, he said. "As for critiques about China's shortcomings, including those in human right issues, China would like to consult them, if they are accurate and well-intended," Zhao said. "But we are afraid that some media, out of negative considerations, attempt to dig out the so-called facts, yet inaccurate at all, to prove the conclusion that China is not good,which they've already kept in mind," Zhao said. He said that when he met some foreign friends, more of them expressed their hope for understanding the development trend of China's economy and what opportunities they could share from them. "The Chinese Government always encourages domestic media to cover China's progress and shortcomings and inspires them to tell the truth and let the readers to make their own judgment," Zhao said.

China 'sincere' about ties with Vatican
2005-05-18 China Daily
China said Tuesday it is sincere in its efforts to establish formal relations with the Vatican after a 50-year break, but Beijing insisted the Holy See consider Taiwan an integral part of China. Both China and the Vatican have expressed interest in recent weeks in forming diplomatic relations. China cut ties with the pope in 1951 and refuses to have any contact with Vatican that maintain official relations with Taiwan. The Vatican is the only European government that has official relations with Taiwan. "We are sincere about establishing ties with the Vatican," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. He also expressed hope that under Pope Benedict XVI, "the Vatican will create favorable conditions to normalize relations.""The Vatican must follow the decision of the international community to treat Taiwan as an inseparable part of China," Kong said at a regular news briefing. A former top Vatican diplomat, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told reporters in Rome that "if they give us the possibility, we're ready tomorrow" to normalize relations with Beijing.

China rejects US religious body's condemnation of China's religious situation
2005-05-18 People's Daily
China firmly rejects, as always, accusations from US religious bodies against its national religion policy, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan here Tuesday. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) once again took potshots at the religious situation in China and other developing countries in its 2005 annual report. When asked to make comments on this report, Kong said the USCIRF's interference with China's internal affairs undermined Sino-US relations in the name of religious freedom again and again and is unacceptable and doomed to fail. "The Chinese government, in accordance with relevant laws, protects the freedom of its citizens to believe in religion, and the Chinese people legally enjoy broad and sufficient freedom of religious belief. This is obvious to all," he said. China advised USCIRF to stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs, so as not to further harm its own reputation or cause obstacles in relations between the United States and other countries and for exchanges between the USCIRF and other relevant parties, the spokesman said.

Hu Jintao meets Kissinger in Beijing
2005-05-18 China Daily
China and the United States, under new historic circumstances, "should work to push their constructive and cooperative relations to a new high," President Hu Jintao said here Tuesday in a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "This will be achieved if the two sides always abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques, continue to expand common points of the interest, and properly understand and handle their disputes and concerns," said Hu, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Hu spoke highly of Kissinger's important contributions to the improvement and development of the China-US relations in many years, saying the new century has seen this relationship, in general, is "maintaining a momentum of positive growth." ( ) Voicing agreement with Hu's comments on US-China ties, Kissinger, the 82-year-old foreign policy expert who has witnessed meetings between eight US presidents and four generations of Chinese leaders, said the United States and China share extensive common interests. The US values and is working to develop a closer relationship with China, and willing to promote bilateral cooperation in various sectors, he said, adding that he visited many places on his current China tour and saw great changes taking place in the country. This visit has left him a positive impression over many aspects of China, he said, vowing to make even greater contributions to the growth of the US-China ties. Present on the occasion were Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing and Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Kissinger, who arrived in Beijing on May 10 for a goodwill visit at the invitation of China Institute for International Strategic Studies, was expected to leave Beijing for home shortly after the meeting. ( )

More aid to help Mideast peace process
2005-05-19 China Daily
China promised to extend aid to Palestinians to help establish lasting peace in the Middle East. Visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas received the pledge from Chinese leaders to provide economic aids health care and housing by the signing of five bilateral agreements yesterday in Beijing. Abbas, on his first three-day state visit to China since taking over from the late Yasser Araft in January, held talks yesterday with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. President Hu said the Chinese Government and its people supports the just cause of Palestinians, saying the way to establish an independent Palestinian state is to conduct political negotiations on UN resolutions, and resume the Road Map peace plan. He said China would continue to join hands with the international community to realize full and long-lasting peace. Abbas voiced his appreciation for China's support for his people in their "struggle for freedom" at both political and economic level. He said the two countries should further strengthen the contacts of high-level officials, enhance political dialogue and expand co-operation in various fields. He said though the implementation of the Road Map peace imitative in the Middle East still faces many obstacles, Palestine is fully ready to continue with peaceful negotiations to establish an independent state "peacefully co-existing with Israel." Yin Gang, an expert on Middle East issues, said to realize the interests of Palestinians through peaceful means has always been Abbas' belief. He said to build an independent state, Palestine needs practical financial assistance from the international community. Abbas also visited the Beijing urban planning centre earlier yesterday. Yin said: "The tour showed Abbas' desire and preparation to build and design his city rather than fight with Israel." Premier Wen Jiabao told the Palestinian visitor the two countries should expand human resources development and training, adding China is willing to help Palestine nurture even more professionals. Abbas said in an interview prior to his arrival that he hoped China could contribute more to settling Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In recent years, China has sent its special envoy Wang Shijie to the Middle East several times in an effort to move forward the peace process. Abbas will jet out to Pakistan today and will also go to Japan and India. As Palestinians prepare for July elections, their leader earlier told reporters he would contemplate a role for the radical Islamist movement Hamas in a future Palestinian cabinet, depending on the support it receives from voters.

FM express outrage at Diaoyu Islands claim
2005-05-20 China Daily
China yesterday denounced nearly 20 Japanese who have claimed permanent residency on the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan said China was "firmly opposed to" and "will never accept" such a move. The Japanese Government announced on Tuesday that 18 Japanese citizens have registered permanent addresses on the islands, a group of islets in the East China Sea. Kong said any unilateral action taken by Japan on the Diaoyu Islands "was a serious infringement on China's territorial sovereignty." He said the claim by the 18 for island residency was "illegal and invalid." Kong added: "China's stance on the Diaoyu Islands is clear and consistent." He noted that Diaoyu and surrounding islands have been part of the Chinese territory since ancient time, saying that "China holds indisputable historical and lawful evidence [of this]." At the FM press conference, Kong also urged Japan "to face up its wartime atrocities honestly." He was responding to the comment in Tokyo made by Japanese Ambassador to China Koreshige Anami who said he believed China would probably not support Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) even if Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stops his visit to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead -- including Class-A war criminals -- are enshrined. Kong said he hoped the Japanese leaders translate "their apology and remorse into practical actions to convince the Asian people and the world." On the reform of the UN Security Council, Kong said the draft resolution of the "Group of Four" had shown a big gap among the positions of many countries. "It is necessary to conduct thorough and democratic discussions and to listen to the voices from vast member countries, especially those developing countries," said Kong. ( ) Kong yesterday also reiterated China's opposition to the militarizing of space. Kong said he had seen reports that the US is not seeking to militarize space, that claimed the US Air Force was seeking presidential authority to undertake such a programme. He said China maintains the idea of adopting active precautious measures, including negotiations and drafting of the related international documents to guarantee the peaceful utilization of the space.

China, W. Australia agree on strategic cooperation in mineral resources
2005-05-20 People's Daily
Visiting Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and the premier of Western Australia agreed on Thursday to form a long-term strategic cooperative partnership between China and Australia's largest state in energy and mineral resources. Wu, who arrived in Perth earlier in the day at the start of a week- long visit to Australia, met Geoff Gallop, premier of Western Australia, for discussions on ways of promoting relations between China and the state, as well as their cooperation in energy and mineral resources. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, said Western Australia plays a pivotal role in the two countries' cooperation in energy and mineral resources, an area of vital importance to China-Australia trade and economic cooperation. China and Western Australia are highly complementary in economic terms and their cooperation has huge potentials and broad prospects, Wu said, adding that strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in energy and mineral resources is in keeping with the common interests of both sides. Wu said the purpose of his trip to Western Australia is to push for the establishment of a long-term strategic cooperative partnership in energy and mineral resources. Gallop said the relationship between China and Western Australia should be one of long-term strategic cooperation and his state is happy to become a long-term and stable supplier for the Chinese market. Western Australia, an important base for production and exportation of energy and mineral resources in Australia, is rich in resources and advanced in related industries and technologies. Recent years have witnessed steady growth in economic cooperation between China and Western Australia. China has become the second largest trading partner of Western Australia.

 

Innenpolitik

China, Finland hail judicial cooperation
2005-05-17 People's Daily
China and Finland held a celebration and a seminar in Shanghai Monday to mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of a judicial cooperation agreement. Judicial officials, including Chinese Minister of Justice Zhang Fusen and his Finnish counterpart Johannes Koskinen hailed the two countries' cooperation, vowing to further it. Following a memorandum on Sino-Finnish judicial cooperation signed in 1995, the two sides conducted 30 exchange and cooperation projects, 27 visits and 16 workshops and the two sides agreed to further cooperation on support to legislation, criminal law, prison control, prevention on cross-border crime and legal aid.

Child traffickers given death sentence in NW China
2005-05-20 People's Daily
Four people convicted of abducting and selling 19 boys were sentenced to death Thursday by the Kunming Intermediate People's Court in southwest China's Yunnan Province. Four others convicted of assisting the abductions were sentenced to 8 to 13 years in prison or to death with two years' probation. This is the convicts' first trail. According to the court investigation, the four child traffickers are Li Bifang, Jiang Chengpu, Yuan Guiyuan and Liu Weibing. The boys they abducted were all between two and six years old from Fuhai, a town within the city of Kunming. The convicts then sold the children in Puning, a city of south China's Guangdong Province. The crimes occurred between August 2003 and June 2004. On June 6, 2004, Li Bifang and Yuan Guiyuan were captured by local public security officers when they were reselling the children. After the abduction case was cracked by police, all the abducted 19 boys were returned to their parents.

China's family planning policy "misinterpreted"
2005-05-18 PLA Daily
China's family planning policy has been "misinterpreted" in the Western world, said a high-ranking official with the State Population and Family Planning Commission. At the roundtable on culture of the Fortune Global Forum, Zhao Baige, vice-minister in charge of the commission, said that the Western world simply considers China's family planning policy as a "one-child" policy. "Actually, the family planning policy is diversified according to different situations," said Zhao. Zhao noted that in cities, the policy is one child for one family, but in rural areas, the policy allows two children and in minority communities, there is no restriction to the number of children in one family. "On average there are 1.8 children for each family," said Zhao. Zhao noted that China has employed family planning policies for more than 20 years, and that they have had positive effects on resource distribution and on China's social and economic development. But they have also had some negative effects, like causing the disparity between the male and female population, as more boys than girls were born, typically in the countryside, she said. China has already mapped out a host of policies to ensure equality between men and women and the right of girls to receive schooling, the official said. Zhao said the country would continue to put forward policies for social insurance to cover more of the elderly population. Figures show that people above age 65 make up 7 percent of the country's total population.

China has new law to protect online copyright
2005-05-18 Xinhuanet
Online copyright will be protected in China when an administrative rule takes effect from May 30. The regulation was jointly created by the National Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Information Industry. The rule applies to services including uploading, storing, connecting or searching online literary, audio and video products in accordance with the instructions of the Internet content provider, without any content revision. Under the rule, when copyright owners notify the Internet service provider (ISP) that their copyrights have been violated, the provider should take measures to remove relevant copied content. ISPs that know about copyright violations but don't remove the violating content will face punishment. All income from the illegal act will be confiscated, and a fine of up to three times the illegal income will be assessed. If the illegal income proves difficult to calculate, the maximum fine will be 100,000 yuan (US$12,000). ( ) "Copyright violations on the Internet have been running rampant in the past few years, causing damage to the information industry," Xu Chao, an official of the National Copyright Administration, said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing. "Though there are no specific statistics on economic loss caused by the violations, such violations will impair relevant industries if not curbed." Sources from the National Copyright Administration said that a higher-level legal regulation will be worked out within two years. The administration is writing a draft to be submitted to the State Council for approval late this year. China has adopted two ways to protect intellectual property rights - through administrative and judicial departments. Therefore, administrative rules and legal regulations often work in parallel. ( )

Police chiefs to meet petitioners face-to-face
2005-05-19 China Daily
In the next three months, all of the 3,000-strong local Chinese police chiefs will receive petitioners face to face, aiming to address long standing accusations of police abuse within a certain time limit. It is the first time that so many police chiefs have been required to meet with petitioners face to face since New China was founded in 1949, sources with China's Public Security Ministry said. In Jiangsu Province, east China, all county-level police directors were required to receive petitioners from May 18 to 22, and 106 policemen were trained to ensure the qualified handling of letters and visits. In Chengdu, capital of southwestern China's Sichuan Province, seven leading officials of public security bureaus on Wednesday met with petitioners, even forgoing their habitual long noon naps. "The principle of the campaign is that every petitioner should be received by the bureau chiefs themselves, and all petitions should be resolved or clearly explained," said Sun Yongbo spokesperson for the ministry. Police chief are also asked to organize timely investigations and case reviews, so that petitions can be solved expeditiously. East China's Anhui Province tested a pilot program on April 23 in bracing for the larger campaign. The provincial public security chief, Cui Yadong, signed contracts with 17 city police heads to ensure the success of solving petitions. "I felt ashamed when the petitioners granted their sincere thanks to me, because most their problems could have been solved earlier if our police staff had paid enough attention," he said. The petitions submitted to public security organs are a "rain glass" that indicate China's social stability and a "mirror" reflecting the work of public security staff, said Sun. A senior Ministry of Public Security official admitted that to date, a large number of petitions about police malpractice have not been solved in time, causing petitioners to rush to higher level public security organs and even gather in the national capital, Beijing, to air their grievances. "In the past, some policemen were apathetic and indifferent or turned very brutal when handling petitions and even went so far as to refuse petitioners, causing citizens dissatisfaction and a large number of petitions to go unresolved," said the official. The revised state regulation on letters and visits, containing new detailed regulations and requirements on handling petitioners, went into effect on May 1. The central government has also launched a general nationwide campaign to clear up all illegal activity among police and judicial staff. "The new situation demands of the Public Security Ministry urgent resolution of current problems among policemen and public security organs," said Sun. According to the ministry, six kinds of petitions will precedeall others in priority. They comprise petitions on unjust investigations; extracting confessions through torture; bending the law for the benefit of friends and relatives; abuse of power severely infringing on people's interests; and illegal fines. The ministry has formed a supervisory group for oversight of the program. The performance of policemen in handling letters and visits from petitioners will be written into their work assessment records to serve as important information for their future promotion. "We hope that all petitioners who have suffered from the malpractice of policemen or police organs, can take this opportunity to register their complaints in their hometown police bureaus," said Sun.

Agenda outlined for developing western regions
2005-05-19 PLA Daily
Rural affairs, infrastructure and ecological development, cultivation of specialty industries, as well as a boost of social causes will be the main tasks of this year for the country's campaign to develop the vast western regions, according to the third plenary session of the leading group for development of western Chinese regions with the State Council held on Tuesday. Premier Wen Jiabao, who chaired the meeting, told participants to "carry out and implement in an unswerving manner" the strategies and arrangements laid down by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council about exploring the western regions. "It is imperative to develop west China in the light of scientific concept of development and advance the work in a down-to-earth manner," said the premier. Participants agreed that since the campaign was launched five years ago, strides had been made, notable results had been produced in this regard, with the presence of an unprecedented promising prospects in economic and social developments of western regions. Nevertheless, many problems and difficulties still remain in developing the country's western regions, so it will be an arduous task with a long process to develop the west, said the participants.  Education will be given priority for development, and substantial efforts should also be made to popularize the nine-year compulsory schooling among youngsters, including the implementation of a policy of exempting rural poor students from tuition fees, according to participants. In the meantime, greater efforts should be made to prevent infectious and endemic diseases, while it is also necessary to step up the construction of a public health service network in rural areas, they said. Moreover, the western Chinese regions were asked to expedite pace of reform and opening up to the outside world, to solve problems cropping up in the development process via reform measures, to seize the time to work out an overall plan regarding development of the western regions for the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010) and to improve the development of human resources and legal construction.

New anti-corruption method sparks debate
2005-05-20 China Daily
The Municipal Government of Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, issued a regulation in May requiring officials to report their extramarital affairs, with a belief that the stipulation could curb corruption. The new anti-corruption method has sparked wide debate in China. According to Marriage Law revision expert panel statistics, 95 percent of China's convicted corrupt officials had mistresses. In south China's economic-booming cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai, all the officials involved in the 102 corruption cases investigated in 1999 had mistresses. China's one of most notorious corruption cases also involved mistresses. Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, and his mistress Li Ping had conspired to take a bribe worth more than 40 million yuan for their planned marriage after divorcing their spouses. Cheng was sentenced to death and was executed in 2000. The regulation, which also give government permission to intervene in the relationship if official's family stability is affected, has sparked heated debate in Chinese legal community. Zhuo Zeyuan, a professor in the politics and law department under the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said the system of letting officials report marriage status will help put officials under public supervision. But the reporting should not infringe the fundamental interests of the official's spouse. Mo Jihong, a noted researcher of the Institute of Law Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the stipulation of letting officials reporting marriage status obviously violates citizen's privacy and China's Marriage Law, which said Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of marriage and divorce. Mo said the stipulation is not feasible; as no one is willing to voluntarily speak out their extramarital affairs. Wang Lei, an associate professor of the law college of Beijing University, argued that civil servants, especially senior ones could not enjoy full privacy, because their posts bring them too much power. If they failed to disclose enough personal information, general public would be afraid that they are too mysterious to be supervised. Although arguments existed, one fact is undeniable, that is, the Chinese government and academic society were more innovative than ever before in the field of creating new ways to prevent and control corruption. Last year, a national anti-corruption research group suggested the Chinese government establish a public account for officials nationwide to return bribes, after five-year-long research on corruption prevention and control strategy. The group held that the method could reduce cost in the fight against corruption and retrieve more illicit money. During recent years, the Chinese government beefed up its efforts of fighting corruption. In year 2003 and 2004 respectively, 13 and 16 ministerial-level officials were imprisoned for bribe taking. China's ruling Communist Party in 2004 published its first internal supervision regulations since 1949 to intensify the country's anti-graft campaign. The 47-article, 10,000-word Regulations of Internal Supervisionof the Communist Party of China (CPC) put all the party's 68 million members, including its leaders and top decision-making body, under rigid public supervision.

 

Tibet

Tibetan Antelope leads bidding race for mascot
2005-05-18 Xinhuanet
The Tibetan Antelope is leading the race in bidding for the official mascot of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, according to the latest internet survey released on Tuesday. The mascot, which will be announced on June 1st, has several candidates including the giant panda, the Chinese tiger, the golden monkey and the red-crowned crane. But the Tibetan Antelope is recognized by many as the best choice. The Tibetan Antelope lives in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau at an altitude between 4,000 and 5,500 meters above the sea level. The animal portrays the Olympic spirit very well because its speed can reach as fast as 100 kilometers per hour. As the hometown of the candidate Tibetan Antelope, Qinghai Province in northwest China is pulling out all the stops to get the plateau animal chosen. After submitting their application for the bid to the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 200, Qinghai has created six Tibetan Antelope designs. A special team was set up by the provincial government to lead the campaign in January 2005. They have been to many key cities across China to seek for more support to the bid, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Tibetan Buddhist scriptures discovered at Dunhuang
2005-05-18 Xinhuanet
A group of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures has been discovered at Dunhuang Database, in northwest China's Gansu Province. The brown papered Buddhist scriptures have been assessed by experts as precious cultural relics, written in the ancient Tibetan language. They are believed to have been translated by Xuan Zang, a renowned Chinese monk, during the Tang Dynasty, more than 1,300 years ago. They will be an important component of the international Dunhuang study, as well as the indispensable materials for the Tibetan research.

 

Taiwan

China objects to Taiwan join WHA as observer
2005-05-18 Xinhuanet
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said here Tuesday that China firmly objects to the Taiwan-related proposal made by San Tome and Principe to 58th World Health Assembly (WHA). The proposal, which suggests the WHA invite Taiwan to participate as an observer, was opposed by most of the 25 members of the general committee and ruled out of the conference's provisional agenda. "A very few countries take this opportunity to challenge the one-China policy and conduct secessionist activities," said Kong, adding that Taiwan is not qualified for the WHO's full or associate membership or an observer seat. ( ) However, he acknowledged, the central government cares much for the health of Taiwan people. The frequent cross-strait exchanges in medical and health fields along the years has demonstrated that China can take care of all its people. Some days ago, the Chinese Ministry of Health and the WHO signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Taiwan experts' technical exchanges with the WHO, according to which the WHO secretariat can invite medical and public health experts from Taiwan to participate in its technical activities, send staff or experts to Taiwan to study the health and epidemic situation there or provide medical and public health technical assistance.

More efforts needed for long-term cross-Straits stability: US expert
2005-05-19 China Daily
A United States expert on China said recent visits by Taiwan's opposition party leaders to the Chinese mainland have created a hopeful and dynamic situation, but that there is still a lot of work to be done by both sides for a long-term stability across the Taiwan Straits. Kenneth Lieberthal, a former special assistant to the president and senior director for Asia of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, said long-term stability and peace is beneficial for both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. "I think it is feasible and desirable, but not in hand," he said in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday on the side of the three-day 2005 Fortune Forum, which concluded Wednesday in Beijing. Lieberthal was positive about the historic visits earlier this month by Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Chairmen Lien Chan, and People First Party Chairman James CY Soong, two opposition party leaders in Taiwan. ( ) "I think the visits by Lien and Soong lay the groundwork for more economic cooperation across the straits and helped create a political environment to enable that kind of cooperation to occur, " he said. Lieberthal said a very clear effort is underway to move forward trade links, as there are procedures on the mainland side to open up the agricultural market, especially for products produced in central and southern Taiwan, and there are consideration for new policies being adopted for Taiwan students studying and seeking jobs on the mainland. The mainland has offered wider access to farm produce from Taiwan by offering zero tariff treatment to a variety of Taiwan fruits in a bid to alleviate sales difficulty faced with Taiwan fruit growers. Lieberthal, who made his first visit to China in 1976 and has traveled to the mainland and Taiwan at least several times a year in recent years, said the visits from the Taiwan politicians lay the groundwork for holding more talks in the future to develop an agreement he proposed for long-term peace and stability across the straits. "Any fundamental stabilization of cross-strait relations over the long term is good for the mainland, Taiwan, the region and the world," he said. "I think leaders on both sides of the straits, both in Taipei and in Beijing, want to see that occur."

 

Wirtschaft - Economy

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Jilin in running for nuclear power plant
2005-05-17 China Daily
Northeast China's Jilin Province could win the race to develop China's first nuclear power plant in a non-coastal region. A new nuclear power plant has already been given the go-ahead by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), according to Li Jinxiu, deputy director of Jilin Province's economic and trade commission. "And preparatory work has been taking place," said Li in a recent interview with China Daily. The plant, with a 5 million kilowatt capacity, will be based in Baishan, a city 370 kilometres from Changchun, the provincial capital. Power generated by the plant will not only supply the local market in Jilin, but also be sent to the regional grid for use by other provinces, said Li. From a long-term point of view, China will rely more on energy sources like nuclear power, said Xu Kuangdi, president of the China Academy of Engineering. He said that China would develop dozens of nuclear plants over the coming 15 years. The plan demonstrates the country's determination to develop more nuclear power to help cope with the energy demands. Other areas that could also become home to China's new nuclear power plants include provinces in central and western China, said Zhou Dadi, director of the NDRC's Energy Research Institute. He cited Hunan Province in Central China and Sichuan Province in the Southwest. ( ) China has nine working nuclear power plants, four of which are in Guangdong Province and five in Qinshan of Zhejiang Province for a total generation capacity of 7 million kilowatts. China is currently constructing a nuclear power plant in Lianyungang of East China's Jiangsu Province. The plant, with a capacity of 2 million kilowatts, is expected to come online in 2006, according to Ye Qizhen, chief designer of Nuclear Power Qinshan Joint Venture Company Ltd. Meanwhile, Paris-based Areva, the world's biggest reactor builder, Britain's Westinghouse Electric Company and Russia's AtomStroyExport are competing to win a US$8-billion contract to build four reactors, two of which are set for Zhejiang Province and the others for Guangdong Province. Ye said that related authorities were examining the bids and would decide the winner by the end of the year.

China to build wind farms offshore
2005-05-17 China Daily
BEIJING, China -- China has unveiled plans to make offshore wind farms a key part of its renewable energy program within two or three decades. The wind turbines, which would be built 50 kilometers (30 miles) out to sea, would be ideally situated to supply clean power to the populous and booming east coast area. "Offshore wind sites are close to the main electricity load centers in eastern China, so offer great potential for future energy supply," Shi Pengfei, vice-chairman of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, told a conference this month. "I am confident that in 20 to 30 years a very significant proportion of the wind power in China will be off-shore." China's top state planner, Ma Kai, said in April the country was looking for more varied energy supplies to reduce its reliance on coal such as nuclear, wind and hydro power. ( ) Sea winds could be harnessed to generate an estimated 750 gigawatts, although few projects were under way now, Shi said. This would be around 70 percent higher than the country's total installed generating capacity at the end of 2004 and maybe three times the potential of onshore sites. China aimed to have 20 gigawatts of wind-generating capacity installed by 2020, equivalent to around 1.0 percent of annual electricity consumption at that time, Shi said. At present the industry is limited by its high costs, with the price of power generated by a 100 megawatt wind project over two times higher than the equivalent from a coal generator. The majority of equipment -- around four-fifths -- is imported and few Chinese firms make larger turbines. However the government has set up wind power concessions to lure investment and know-how, guaranteeing a fixed price for power, as well as help with infrastructure like access roads. Shi said he expected the cost of wind-generated power to move closer to that from coal-burning plants when there is around 3000 MW of market demand, and the country has set a generating target of 4000 MW by 2010. Unlike European wind power leaders like Germany and Spain, China is not obliged under the Kyoto treaty to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. But the government is concerned by the effects of air pollution, much of it from coal-burning power plants, on health and is keen to boost clean energy. A senior government adviser said recently that acid rain affected around one third of the country.

Official: China not a threat to world energy security
2005-05-18 People's Daily
The Chinese government will abide by the basic policy of relying mainly on domestic energy supplies,not menacing world energy security, said Ma Kai, minister of the State Development and Reform Commission in Beijing Tuesday. Ma made the remark at the ongoing 2005 Fortune Global Forum. In 2004, 94 percent of China's energy consumption hinged on domestic supplies, he said. "China's development has not been and will not be a threat to world energy security." China is both a large energy consumer and producer, and its abundant coal resources are the crux of China's energy structure, he said. Coal makes up 76 percent of China's energy production and 68 percent of its consumption, he said. China still has a huge domestic potential in domestic energy supply with two thirds of hydroelectric resources, many more coal resources and other new sources of energy yet to be tapped in the country, he said. China is striving to set up an energy-saving society through technological innovation and industrial structure optimization, he said. "The fundamental solutions to China's energy problem are making economical use a priority and a combination of developing new resources and energy saving mechanisms," he said. ( )

Wu urges free trade agreement with Japan
2005-05-19 China Daily
NAGOYA, Japan: Vice-Premier Wu Yi stressed yesterday the significance of the Sino-Japanese economic relations and called for a bilateral free trade agreement for long-term and active ties. The bilateral trade and economic co-operation plays an important role in the Sino-Japanese relationship. "Such ties have been tremendously fruitful thanks to the marriage between Japan's advantages in finance, technology, equipment and managerial experience, and the extensive market and abundant labour force of China," Wu said at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Tokai Japan-China Trade Centre, an institution engaged in promoting bilateral economic exchanges. Wu noted the economic ties are growing both intensively and extensively and developing into a win-win situation, which serve as an essential foundation for an ever-lasting bilateral relationship. Stressing there are more reasons for co-operation than for competition in the future, Wu brought forward a six-point proposal. First, speeding up the building of the Sino-Japanese free trade agreement; second, actively pushing forward with the energy co-operation in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit; third, strengthening dialogue on strategies in various sectors, such as steel, shipbuilding, information technology, software; fourth, cementing technological co-operation featuring more technological transfer from Japan and joint research and development; fifth, expediting Japan's investment in backwater areas in China; last, expanding co-operation of middle- and small enterprises. Wu, who arrived in Japan on Tuesday on an eight-day visit, also met with Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa and Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kazuo Kitagawa. Agreeing with Wu, Nakagawa said up to 20,000 Japanese firms are running business in China, which demonstrates the importance of economic co-operation. Kitagawa promised Japan will make substantial efforts to facilitate the bilateral exchanges as the ties "are very significant."

China to expand foreign exchange trading system May 18
2005-05-19 People's Daily
China will begin trading eight new foreign currency pairs Wednesday, announced China's central bank Tuesday in Beijing. According to the central bank, the expansion of the forex trading system will not involve Chinese currency, renminbi, or yuan. Seven currencies will be paired against the US dollar beginning Wednesday: the euro, Australian dollar, British pound, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc and Hong Kong dollar. The eighth new set will pair the euro against the Japanese yen. At present, the yuan is paired in trading with four currencies: the US dollar, the Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen and euro. The expansion of the system has earlier raised intense speculation on whether China will appreciate the yuan on the same day. But the central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan last Friday denied the overseas media reports about the RMB appreciation. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed Monday that China will never yield to outside pressure on RMB exchange rate regime. Those overseas research institutions predicted the yuan's appreciation on May 18 due to inadequate knowledge about China's forex trading system expansion, said an unnamed official with the central bank. The expansion of foreign exchange trading system will improve the forex market among Chinese banks, said the official. The official did not mention the connection between the forex trading system expansion and the reform of RMB exchange rate regime. But Li Yang, director of the Institute of Finance of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that an effective forex market will be the prerequisite for the reform of RMB exchange rate regime. ( ) Chinese leaders have said on several occasions that there is no timetable for the exchange rate reform, and it is a complicated job and should be done step by step. "When we're to reform the exchange rate regime, we should take into full consideration the macro-economic climate, the bearing capacity of the country's financial system, the performance of the financial market and the impact on regional and global economies," Guo said.

US appoints special financial envoy to China
2005-05-20 Xinhuanet
The US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it appointed a special financial envoy to China in a bid to press China for its currency reform. US Treasury Secretary John Snow appointed Olin Wethington as his special envoy on China, a new position that will focus heavily on financial diplomacy with China's economic officials, said US Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto. It is the latest in a series of developments advanced by the US government over the past week to intensify pressure on China to change its currency and trade practices. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Monday that China regards the reform of the exchange rate of Renminbi (RMB) as an issue of sovereignty and will never yield to any external pressure to change it.

 

Mongolia

Mongolian president urges fair presidential election
2005-05-19 Xinhuanet
Mongolian President Nachagyn Bagabandy appeared on national television Wednesday evening, urging the General Election Committee (GEC) to provide all necessary means for a fair presidential election on May 22. The forthcoming election would show whether the GEC has learned a lesson from the previous parliamentary election, during which disagreements about the results occurred and some still haven't been solved yet, he said. Mongolia's presidential election will be held in four days' time and four parties have named their candidates. Several days ago, three parties released a joint statement, claiming the GEC is not running a clean election, urging a full resignation of the GEC members, re-forming the committee, and equal participation of all political parties.

 

Nordkorea

Seoul to again press Pyongyang on nuclear talks
2005-05-17 China Daily
South Korea will press North Korea for a second day on Tuesday to return to six-country nuclear talks when a rare high-level bilateral meeting resumes in the North's city of Kaesong, Seoul's top delegate said. In the first high-level meeting in 10 months, South Korea on Monday told the North that it was prepared to make a new and serious proposal if Pyongyang returned to stalled negotiations on ending its nuclear ambitions. Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo declined to elaborate on what the proposal would include, but said Pyongyang's pledge to return to the six-party talks would be a key requirement in normalizing brittle relations between the two. "To normalize relations, we will stress the point that North Korea must make the decisive move to return to the six-party talks at an early time," Rhee told reporters in Seoul before leaving for the talks. Pyongyang abruptly agreed at the weekend to meet for the bilateral talks, after breaking off all dialogue last July in anger at Seoul's secret airlift of 468 North Korean refugees from Vietnam and its refusal to let a delegation attend a memorial in the North Korean capital. North Korea asked for food aid and fertilizer on the first day of talks, and Seoul proposed to discuss the issue further at ministerial level in June. Rhee said on Monday that Seoul was prepared to make a new offer that would ensure substantive progress in the six-country talks. It would be different from a package of economic aid and security guarantees the South had offered in exchange for a pledge by Pyongyang to abandon all its nuclear programs. ( ) Urgency has been added to efforts to restart the six-way talks because U.S. officials fear the North may be planning a nuclear test. Rhee denied knowledge of a report that the North had asked China to arrange a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun quoted diplomatic sources as saying the message was conveyed by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing to Rice last week. Pyongyang was skeptical of another round of the six-party talks and was seeking direct bilateral talks with Washington, the sources were quoted as saying.

US warns DPRK against conducting nuclear test
2005-05-17 PLA Daily
US national security adviser Stephen Hadley warned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Sunday against possibly conducting a nuclear test, saying such an act could prompt the United States and its allies to take new punitive steps. "We've seen some evidence that says that they may be preparing for a nuclear test. We have talked to our allies about that. Obviously that would be a serious step," Hadley said in an interview with the "Fox News Sunday." "If there is a nuclear test, obviously that will be a defiance by North Korea of every member of the six-party talks, including China. And we think at that point we will have to have a serious conversation about other steps we can take," Hadley said. Hadley said the United States is still committed to the six-party talks aimed at realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. "The six-party talks continues to be the right forum, bringing together all those with leverage and influence on North Korea and a common commitment that there will not be a nuclear North Korea," Hadley said. US media has reported that White House and Pentagon officials are closely monitoring a recent stream of satellite photographs of the DPRK that appear to show rapid, extensive preparations for a nuclear weapons test. ( )

China denies arranging Rice visit to Pyongyang
2005-05-18 People's Daily
China Tuesday denied a report saying that the country is arranging a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Pyongyang and voiced objections to "five- party talks" that will exclude the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). A Japanese newspaper, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported Tuesday that the DPRK asked China to arrange a visit by Rice to Pyongyang in a bid to reach a breakthrough on nuclear and missile issues. "This report has a lot of imagination, but no truth at all," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular press conference. Kong also expressed opposition to the proposal of so-called " five-party talks," saying that he doesn't think it's a good idea, because "facts have proven that six-party talks are a realistic and effective way to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula." Recently both the DPRK and the United States made some positive signals, and China hopes the two sides can show more goodwill and release more positive signals to create favorable conditions for restarting talks, he said. "We hope the DPRK and the United States can make contact to enhance mutual trust and understanding," he said. "We'll welcome and encourage such contact, no matter when and where it takes place."

Inter-Korean talks to resume on Thursday
2005-05-19 Xinhuanet
High-level inter-Korean talks went into a one-day recess on Wednesday without a breakthrough in efforts to persuade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to multilateral negotiations on the nuclear issue of the peninsular, Yonhap reported. The two-day meeting, opened Monday at the DPRK's border city of Kaesong, will resume on Thursday. The border meeting, originally scheduled to end Tuesday, was extended into Wednesday after negotiations hit a snag, it said, adding that the two sides decided to recess the meeting and resume it a day later. The first inter-Korean meeting in 10 months was supposed to tackle bilateral issues, but South Korea made the nuclear issue a priority. South Korean officials say resolution of the nuclear issue is key to peace on their divided peninsula. In first-day talks on Monday, South Korea promised to present the DPRK with an "important proposal" that can lead to substantial progress in the nuclear issue if the DPRK comes back to the negotiating table, Yonhap reported, adding that the proposal may include massive economic assistance and more concrete security assurance for the DPRK. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon told reporters: "What we're going to do is to formulate a proposal that would be closer to a compromise among participating countries and that has sufficient room for each party to accept."

S.Korea to send 200,000 tons of fertilizer to DPRK
2005-05-20 Xinhuanet
South Korea plans to complete the shipment of fertilizer aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by mid-June in consideration of the imminent rice-planting season, South Korean officials said Thursday. In the just-ended working-level talks, South Korea pledged to give 200,000 tons of fertilizer aid to the DPRK, as part of its implementation of an agreement with the latter Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Chances are high that Seoul will provide additional fertilizer aid as the two sides agreed to continue to discuss the issue at the ministerial talks to be held in Seoul on June 21-24, the report said. The (South) Korean National Red Cross will be responsible for purchasing and transporting the fertilizer. The first shipment will be made via an inter-Korean road along the west coast Saturday, and thereafter by road and sea routes simultaneously, the officials said. South Korea sent 155,000 tons of fertilizer in humanitarian aid to the DPRK for the first time in 1999, and 200,000-300,000 tons annually in the following years, the report said.

 

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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