SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
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Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  23.5-27.5.05, No. 64  
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Foreign Policy

China, India troops to train jointly as ties warm
2005-05 -26 China Daily
The armies of India and China plan to hold unprecedented joint counter-terrorism and peacekeeping training programmes, the Indian army chief said on Thursday. General Joginder Jaswant Singh said the plans had been discussed with visiting Chinese chief of general staff, General Liang Guanglie, who began a six-day tour on Monday. Military ties between the two Asian giants have vastly improved and their soldiers have gone on joint mountaineering expeditions, played volleyball matches, exchanged gifts and shared meals on the frontier, Singh said. "The momentum given by the leaders of our two countries is being enhanced further by the two militaries," he told reporters, referring to the upswing in diplomatic ties between the world's two most populous countries. "On the roadmap of military-to-military cooperation in the future (are) exercises where both countries could carry out together to counter terrorism or on U.N. missions," he said on the sidelines of a defence technology conference in New Delhi. Indian army officers visited China to witness military exercises last year and Chinese officers were invited to see manoeuvres by the Indian army and air force this year, he said. During Liang's talks in Delhi, the two sides had agreed that their navies would hold joint exercises off the Indian coast, the second such drill after the two fleets conducted manoeuvres off the Shanghai coast in 2003. Ties between India and China were frosty for decades after the bitter war but since the late 1990s the rising Asian economic powers have gone about transforming it. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India last month and the two sides agreed on a roadmap to settle their longstanding border row. Although senior envoys of the two sides have been holding talks to end the row, analysts say resolving the row over the 3,500-km (2,200-mile) Himalayan frontier has a long way to go. Troops from the two countries still occasionally have stand-offs when they stray across the frontier. ( )

Are words of Japanese leader credible?
2005-05-26 People's Daily
Chinese cultural sage Confucius had this famous remark: "Promise must be kept and action must be resolute." Japanese leader's recent words and deeds turn out to be the opposite: he fails to live up to his promise and acts in an irresolute way. During the meeting of the leaders of China and Japan in Jakarta last month, President Hu Jintao put forward a five-point proposal in regard to the development of Sino-Japan relations, in which he said, "A correct understanding of and attitude toward history means turning reflection on the aggressive war into action and absolutely not doing anything again that hurts the feelings of the people of China and other related Asian countries." Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated that in the spirit of the five-point proposal set forth by President Hu, the Japanese side would actively promote Japan-China friendly and cooperative relations. On May 16 Koizumi reneged on his words, he openly indicated in his reply to a query raised by a Diet member, saying, "visit to the Yasukuni Shrine described as prettifying militarism is unexpected to me". Koizumi disclosed that in the future he would continue to pay homage to the Shrine and that "he would make appropriate judgment" on when he would go there. That is the first instance of Japan's recent act of failing to carry out its promise. In his five-point proposal, President Hu Jintao said, "It is essential to persist in properly handling differences between China and Japan through dialogs and consultation on an equal footing, actively explore solutions to differences, and avoid new interference with and impact on the general situation regarding Sino-Japanese friendship. Koizumi expressed his agreement to this. However, in the form of replying a query raised by a Diet member on May 17, the Japanese government disclosed: "The native place of 18 Japanese nationals is situated on Senkaku Islands, a territory under dispute with China, which is called in China as 'Diaoyu Islands and its attached islands'". The Japanese side is well aware that it is hard to make public the stealthy little trick of "changing native place" through normal channels, so it cannot but publish it in an irregular way. That is the second instance of Japan's recent act of eating its own words. In his five-point proposal President Hu Jintao stated, "It is imperative to correctly handle the Taiwan issue. The Taiwan question represents China's core interests and involves the national feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. The Japanese government has repeatedly indicated that it sticks to the one-China policy and does not support 'Taiwan independence'. It is hoped that the Japanese side would honor the aforementioned promise with its actual deeds." In his recent speech delivered in New York concerning inclusion of the Taiwan issue by Japan and the United States into the so-called common strategic goal, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura claimed, "This cannot be regarded as an extension of Japan's defense line to Taiwan, because Taiwan is originally the object included in the Japan-US security treaty, this is so far nothing inconsistent with Japan's policy toward Taiwan." That is the third instance of Japan's recent act of going back on its words. ( )

China, Uzbekistan agree further cooperation in regional security
2005-05-26 People's Daily
China and Uzbekistan signed a treaty on friendly and cooperative partnership Wednesday at the start of Uzbek President Islam Karimov's three-day state visit to China. "The signing of the treaty demonstrates the two people's common will and determination to keep traditional friendship. It also lays down a sound political and legal foundation for the long-term development of China-Uzbekistan ties," Chinese President Hu Jintao told his Uzbek counterpart during their official meeting. Hu said the Chinese government values its relations with Uzbekistan and will follow the treaty to enforce China-Uzbekistan traditional friendship and partnership and promote all-round cooperation to seek common development. The Chinese president also expressed appreciation for Uzbekistan's adherence to the one-China policy and its support to China's efforts for national reunification. "China respects the way that the Uzbek people's choose to develop their country and their efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territory integrity," Hu said. Karimov said the treaty indicates that the relationship between Uzbekistan and China has entered a new stage. "It lays down a solid foundation for the two countries to develop a new strategic partnership," Karimov said. China and Uzbekistan also signed 13 documents on economic and technological cooperation on Wednesday. Hu said the two countries should try to promote cooperation in the fields of oil, gas, mining, telecommunications, transportation and infrastructure construction. "China encourages and supports businesses from the two countries to increase exchanges and cooperation in trade and investment," Hu said, calling on related departments of both countries to create conditions. Hu also gave his word that China will support Uzbekistan to join the World Trade Organization. Karimov said Uzbekistan and China have witnessed rapid growth in economic and trade cooperation over recent years and they still enjoy great potential for cooperation. China and Uzbekistan are both members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional organization founded in 2001. In 2004, SCO launched a regional anti-terror agency in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. ( )

China sees no sign of N. Korea nuclear test
2005-05 -25 China Daily
China has no evidence to suggest North Korea will conduct a nuclear test, a senior foreign ministry official said on Tuesday, adding that the next six weeks would be critical for returning to stalled multilateral talks. Concern has been growing North Korea could conduct a test after it declared in February it had nuclear weapons and said this month it had removed fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, a potential precursor to a test. "We also saw some reports that North Korea is going to conduct a nuclear test, however there is no hard evidence proving that," Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang told Reuters. "If there would be such a nuclear test, it is a serious issue. If it does happen, China will make corresponding responses, but up to now there is no sign that it is conducting such a test," Shen said. Talks hosted by China, including North and South Korea, the United States, Japan and Russia and aimed at dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programs, have been stalled for nearly a year, but Shen said the next few weeks would be critical for deciding their fate. "I believe that May and June are a very crucial period," he said. Despite the long delay and worries over what Pyongyang says are its growing nuclear capabilities, Shen said there was positive momentum toward a return to the negotiating table. ( ) China, the North's old ally and the provider of most of its fuel and food aid, has been under pressure to do more to strongarm Pyongyang back to the table, but Shen said resuming talks was up to the United States and North Korea. "The key is the lack of mutual trust between the two sides, which is increasing over the years," Shen said. "It's like a hard iceberg -- it takes a long time to melt."

Sudan to expand economic co-op with China
2005-05 -23 China Daily
Visiting Sudanese Minister of External Affairs Mustafa Othman Ismail said that Sudan and China have good prospects for economic cooperation and that Sudan hopes to further expand cooperation with China in the fields of energy, minerals, communications and infrastructure construction. "China is the number one economic partner of the Sudan so far, and it's our pleasure to see investment from China," said Ismail at a press conference here Saturday. Ismail pledged that Sudan is devoted to economic and trade cooperation with China, noting that the country encourages Chinese enterprises to further integrate into the process of Sudan's economic construction, especially in the fields of oil and natural gas exploitation, textiles and public transportation. The Sudanese foreign minister also said that Chinese companies are welcome to invest in industries such as textiles, food processing, agriculture and animal husbandry. China and Sudan reached about US$2.521 billion last year, an increase of 31.3 percent over the previous year.

 

Innenpolitik

No human infection of avian flu in NW China province, official
2005-05-26 Xinhua News
No human infection of avian flu or unexplained pneumonia case has been detected in northwest China's Qinghai Province and health departments are going all out to prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu, according to a local health official. Emergency measures have been taken by the provincial health authorities after Ministry of Agriculture investigators confirmed on Saturday that migratory birds found dead in Quanji Township of Gangca County had been killed by the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, said Ai Keyuan, an official with the provincial health bureau. Health departments in the provincial capital Xining and at least four prefectures have been mobilized. They have stepped up infectious disease control and prevention by closely monitoring and screening all pneumonia and flu-like cases among human beings, fowls and livestock, Ai told Xinhua in an interview Wednesday. ( ) Qinghai Province took emergency measures by closing off some scenic spots to prevent people and poultry from contacting wild birds. Quarantine measures have also been adopted. The Ministry of Agriculture has told the public not to get too nervous but said monitoring for the epidemic and the early-warning system should be enhanced. The World Health Organization warned that the virus poses a great potential threat to humans if it develops the ability to spread easily from person to person.

Coal mine tragedies leave endless suffering
2005-05-26 Xinhua News
( ) In the small town with a population of 40,000 residents, some 164 mining households have lost their head breadwinners in accidents or diseases related to mining. Mainly relying on meagre subsidies, their lives are really hard," said Liu, as she calls out for public attention to those poverty-stricken families, even though these families make up only a small percentage of the residents there. Coal mining is dangerous and miners earn meagre wages in China. Only farmers in the poorest regions choose to earn cash as miners by necessity, turning to the mining work. Statistics indicate that most of them are from northern Sichuan, southern Shaanxi, mountainous regions of Jiangxi, Fujian and Henan provinces. Most of them have received no education, nor have their wives or family members."Once they die in accidents, their families will suffer and living conditions will deteriorate," says Liu, despite the mine's efforts to help these families out. ( ) With a total income of less than 700 yuan (US$87) per month, Cai had to make her eldest daughter drop out of high school last year to earn money for her younger sister and brother. The daughter has been persuaded by friends to go to work in Mianyang of Sichuan Province in Southwest China but has not been able to find a job there."My sister's lesson has shown us how difficult it is to find a job and I should be well prepared," says Cai's second daughter Li Ying, 17, who has been burning the midnight oil to prepare for the coming college entrance examinations. Still sharing a room with her 16-year-old brother Li Hong, she is confident that she will pass the examination next month and hopes to study journalism at a university. "My dad didn't live a single day of a happy life but I will try hard to earn a happy life for my mother," said Li Ying. "But the education fees are a headache for us." ( ) And statistics indicate that since 1949, a total of 400 miners of the bureau have perished in underground explosions, fires or floods. No statistics are available as to how many miners have died in accidents during previous decades in Jiangxi. But each day, an average of nearly 17 miners will die nationwide to satisfy 70 per cent of China's energy needs. "Some accidents cannot be avoided because current technology cannot help us fully understand the complicated underground situation," said Yi Guangjing, president of the Jiangxi Provincial Coal Mining Group. He added that most mines in his province mix coal, gas and oil. "The situation is prone to accidents." During his career, he has shed endless tears and been blamed several times because of deaths or accidents. "I'm trying hard to make fewer families fall into poverty in accidents, but it is hard."

China wants Games torch on Mt. Qomolangma
2005-05 -26 China Daily
China has high hopes for the 2008 Olympic Games -- 8,848 meters (8,850 meters to the west) high, to be exact. Beijing is investigating how to haul the Olympic torch to the peak of Mount Qomulangma and broadcast the event live during the pre-Games torch relay, a senior Olympics official said on Thursday. "We have organized a research team and they are assessing it," said Liu Jingmin, executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games, told Reuters. "It depends on the weather at the time and on when it will happen," said Liu, who is also vice mayor of Beijing. ( ) Logistically, taking the flame to the highest point on Earth is not a big problem, he said. "Going up may not be too complicated, but filming the whole thing will be very complex," he added. In 1999, China took a ceremonial flame to the top of Qomulangma, which straddles the China-Nepal border, during a sports competition among China's ethnic minorities. That torch was outfitted with a special oxygen tank to keep it burning in the thin air and an igniter to re-light the flame when gusting winds blew it out, but the experience showed it could be done. "The torch is not a problem," Liu said. Broadcasting the images live is another story, though. ( )

China reports 33,975 deaths for drug addiction
2005-05 -26 Xinhua News
The total number of deaths due to drug addiction reached 33,975 across the country, said an official with China's Public Security Ministry Thursday. Li Xianhui, division director of preventive drug education under the ministry, publicized the figure at a press conference Thursday. About 41 percent of the country's reported 89,067 HIV carriers contracted the disease through drug injection. This is much higher than the average 22 percent of the international society, according to Li. Drug addicts have been registered in 2,102 counties, accounting for 73.5 percent of the estimated total, said Li. By the end of 2004, there has been 791,000 drug addicts across the country, up 6.8 percent on a year-on-year basis, sources with the ministry said. Facing the tough situation, Chinese central government has launched a nationwide campaign to fight against the rampant drug crimes from this April. In the first four months this year, China cracked 24,000 drug related criminal cases and arrested 19,000 relevant suspects, and seized a total of 3,859 kilograms of heroin, 1,005 kilograms of " ice" and 198,000 pills of "ecstasy," said Yang Fengrui, deputy director of the office of the National Narcotics Control Commission, at Thursday's press conference.

Military leader calls for preventing crime in army
2005-05-26 People's Daily
A senior military leader has called for substantial efforts to prevent crime within the army, in a bid to promote safety, stability and modernization in the People's Liberation Army (PLA). General Xu Caihou, member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made this call while meeting a group of army representatives attending a national conference on public security Wednesday in Beijing. Also present was General Li Jinai, a CMC member and chief of the PLA General Political Department. Seven units and 14 individuals from the PLA and the Chinese People's Armed Police were awarded for their contribution to maintaining social stability. In his speech, Xu said the CPC Central Committee and CMC Chairman Hu Jintao are greatly concerned about social stability and stability of the army. Hu's instructions are of great importance for the army in preventing crimes and maintaining stability, he noted. The army is a major force for maintaining social stability in China, he said. The government should implement laws and regulations strictly and increase cooperation between the army and civilian departments. This will jointly ensure and promote stability of the society and the army.

Four-fifths of Yellow River polluted
2005-05 -26 Xinhua News
Nearly four-fifths of Yellow River are polluted, China News Service reported Tuesday sources with the Yellow River Conservancy Committee as saying. According to a water quality monitoring initiated in 1975, water quality of tributary better than the 3rd category, which is qualified for drinking water, breeding aquatics, fishery and swimming, accounted for 60 percent of the total length of the Yellow River in 1980s. By the end of 1990s, the percentage lowered to 40 percent. This March, a government report said as much as 72.3 percent of the water in the Yellow River has dropped below the 3rd category. It is estimated that the economic loss caused by pollution of Yellow River annually totaled about 11.5 billion to 15.6 billion yuan (about 1.39 billion to 1.89 billion US dollars). Since 1993, the Yellow River has witnessed more than 40 pollution incidents. Experts indicated that the rapid increase of the sewage, the unqualified discharge of waste water and the misuse of fertilizer all worsened the situation of the water body. In addition, such factors as the degeneration of the water, the decrease of precipitation and dilution of the water body also led to the degradation of the water quality. ( )

China forms minority education system
2005-05 -25 Xinhuanet
An education system catering to ethnic minority students has been proven successful in China, according to the country's ethnic affairs authorities. The system includes kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools, vocational training and universities. According to the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, by 2004, there were 21.35 million ethnic students attending elementary schools, high schools and colleges nationwide, up 13.48 percent from 1999. The numbers of those in middle schools and colleges reached 6.76 million and 807,300 the same year, up 31.47 percent and 69.31 percent respectively over those of 1999. The number of full-time ethnic minority teachers reached about 1.025 million in 2004, up 11.36 percent over that of 1999. "The ethnic education in China has showed a development trend that is rapid, healthy and coordinated with help and guidance from the governments of different levels," said the commission. The commission said that as compulsory education has spread through ethnic regions, the scientific and cultural qualities of the residents have improved dramatically. In 1985, China begun a nationwide program aiming to ensure nine-year compulsory education and eliminate illiteracy among the youth in the country's remote and underdeveloped areas. By 2004, 474, or 67.8 percent of all the country's 699 autonomous counties have realized the goals, said the commission.

Number of CPC members reaches 69.6 million
2005-05 -24 China Daily
The Communist Party of China (CPC) had 69.6 million members at the end of 2004, a net growth of 1.37 million over the previous year, the latest CPC statistics show. Among them, there were 12.96 million female members, making up 18.6 percent of the total; there were 4.41 million members from minority ethnic groups, accounting for 6.3 percent of the total, according to statistics of the Organization Department of CPC Central Committee. CPC members that had received senior high school education or above accounted for 56.6 percent of the entire team. CPC members that had received college education or above accounted for 27.3 percent of the team. The statistics also indicate that the party admitted 2.42 million new members in 2004, including 894 private businessmen. A total of 17.38 million people submitted applications to join the CPC in 2004, up 8.5 percent over the previous year, says an official with the department.

 

Nordkorea

Inter-Korean talks to be held on Seoul's June 15 delegation
2005-05 -23 PLA Daily
South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will hold talks on Tuesday to discuss details of the South's delegation for a ceremony in Pyongyang on June 15, the Ministry of Unification said Saturday. Under an agreement reached at the just-ended inter-Korean talks, Seoul will send the delegation to attend a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the historic summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young will head the delegation and also meet his DPRK counterpart in Seoul from June 21 to 24, the two sides said in a joint statement. "The South proposed on Friday afternoon to hold working-level meetings to prepare for the delegation and the North responded on Saturday morning," the ministry said. Tuesday's meeting is to be held in the border city of Kaesong of the DPRK.

 

Patrick Dreher
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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