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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
  27.6-1.7.05, No. 69  
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Foreign Policy

Czech PM concludes China visit
2005-06-28 Xinhuanet
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubekleft here Tuesday evening for his country, concluding a four-day working visit to China as guest of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Paroubek said Czech is ready to strengthen high-level communications with China and continue to expand cooperation with China in areas of trade, economy, investment, power industry and automobile manufacturing. He said Czech also wishes to enhance bilateral exchanges on culture and sports. Wen appreciated the Czech government for its adherence to the one-China policy and its opposition to "Taiwan independence". Paroubek said the Czech government holds a clear-cut stance on the Taiwan issue. It has always regarded the Taiwan issue as an internal affair of China. Wen said Sino-Czech relations have maintained a sound momentum over the past few years. ()Wen said at present, trade and economic cooperation between the two countries are growing steadily, while exchanges in the fields of culture, education, science and technology continually expand. The cooperation and exchanges have helped promote economic and social development of the two countries and further consolidate the foundation of bilateral relations, Wen said. Paroubek agreed with Wen's comment on bilateral relations. He said further developing political relations and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries are in the interests of the two peoples. ()

China, Denmark to bring bilateral ties to higher level
2005-06-29 PLA Daily
China and Denmark should seek common ground while tolerating differences, and bring bilateral relations to a higher level, said top Chinese official Jia Qinglin here Tuesday during a meeting with Danish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic and Business Affairs Bendt Bendtsen.It is normal that China and Denmark hold different views on certain issues because they have different history, cultural background and are at different level of development, said Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), or China's top advisory body. "So long as we hold the spirit of respecting each other, seeking common ground while tolerating differences, and handle the differences in a prudent and appropriate manner, our relationship would proceed smoothly and healthily," said Jia, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) China and Denmark established full diplomatic relations 55 years ago. () Danish investment in China added up to about 600 million US dollars by April 2005, mainly in areas of shipping, logistics, pharmaceuticals, furniture, aquatic products processing and environmental protection. "The Chinese Government pays great attention to developing a stable, friendly and cooperative relationship with Denmark, and will work jointly with the Danish side for that," Jia said. In addition, Jia said China appreciates Denmark's adherence to the one-China policy. ()

President Hu in Moscow for official visit
2005-06-30 China Daily
President Hu Jintao arrived in Moscow yesterday on an official visit, and is expected to join his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in stating commitment to a new, just and rational world order. The two leaders, who begin talks today, will also back a bigger role for the United Nations in world politics, sources at Zhongnanhai and the Kremlin said. The leaders will exchange views on crucial international issues, with their opinions to be reflected in a Joint Declaration on World Order in the 21st Century, which the two presidents will sign after their talks. "China is willing to deepen political mutual trust, enhance strategic co-ordination and promote substantial co-operation between the two countries," Hu said yesterday in a written statement released at Beijing Capital International Airport before the start of his four-day visit. International issues are expected to have a high priority during the talks. They will look at security and stability problems in different parts of the globe, including Central Asia, and will also discuss reform of the United Nations. () The joint declaration on world order, the first of its kind between China and another country, will define the countries position on promoting multilateralism and establishing healthy world political and economic order, according to a source from Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of China's central authorities. Trade will also be a dominant topic during Hu's visit. China and Russia are determined to increase their bilateral trade volume to US$60-80 billion by 2010 from US$21 billion last year. ()

EU starts probe into Chinese shoe imports
2005-07-01 China Daily
The European Union and China plunged into a second trade row on Thursday -- this time over shoes -- but Brussels said a deal was still possible over Beijing's surging footwear exports. The European Commission, in charge of trade policy in the 25-nation bloc, began an investigation into whether Chinese and Indian reinforced shoes were being sold in Europe for less than they cost to make, a practice known as dumping or predatory pricing. The EU sees China as the main culprit. Its share of the European market in the heavy-duty shoes worn by workers in the construction and catering industries is much bigger and has grown more quickly than India's. "If as a result of the investigation started today, it is demonstrated that predatory prices are practised then action will be considered," said European Commission trade spokeswoman Claude Veron-Reville. The EU could levy extra duties on shoe imports from the two Asian states if it found that the footwear was being dumped. The Commission wants to end the probe, requested by industry, within nine months and held out hope for a settlement. "A negotiated solution is still possible," Veron-Reville said. The Commission is also mulling a complaint against Chinese leather shoe exports. () China had a 19 percent share of the EU's safety shoe market in 2004, more than three times its 6 percent share in 2002, the Commission said. India had a 5 percent share in 2004, compared with 3 percent in 2002. Earlier this month, the Commission said there had been a year-on-year rise of 681 percent in imports of six categories of Chinese footwear -- excluding safety shoes -- in the first four months of 2005. Prices slipped 28 percent in the same period.

UN human rights high commissioner to visit China
2005-06-28 Xinhua
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour will visit China in August to attend the 13th workshop on human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Beijing on June 27. Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang told a press conference about the just-concluded China-Australia Human Rights Dialogue that during the upcoming workshop, China and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) will renew the "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation", which was originally signed in 2000. Besides Arbour, many other officials with the institutes from the United Nations mechanism will also be invited to visit China, Shen said. "China values the important role played by the UNOHCHR in human rights protection," Shen said, noting that the Chinese government has made sound cooperation with UNOHCHR in a series of projects of cooperation on human rights, with frequent exchanges maintained between the two sides.

China supports, keeps close eye on Iran-EU negotiation: FM spokesman
2005-06-29 People's Daily
China has always supported and kept its close eye on the nuclear issue negotiations between Iran and European Union (EU), expressing the hope that the two sides would reach a long-term solution to the issue soon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing on June 28. Liu said at a routine press conference that China has noticed some consensus reached between Iran and the EU, which includes the bilateral commitments to properly address the concerns of the two sides through negotiations. China appreciates the constructive attitude and diplomatic efforts made by the two sides, which will serve the common interests of the international community, Liu said.

China, EU ready to explore 'open skies'
2005-07-01 China Daily
China and the European Union (EU) are set to negotiate an "open skies" agreement to meet the growing demand for passenger and cargo air routes. Speaking at an EU-China aviation summit in Beijing yesterday, EU Vice-President Jacques Barrot said he has asked for a mandate from European transport ministers to discuss aviation deals with China. "The very issue on the agenda of the new UK presidency next week will, indeed, be a discussion about the commission's request for this global mandate," Barrot said. () Air China, whose international routes account for more than 50 per cent of its business, has been increasing its capacity on China-EU routes. It is operating 46 flights per week between China and EU members this summer. ()

Relationship between China, US and DPRK
2005-07-01 China Daily
China is looking forward to better relations between Washington and Pyongyang, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday in Beijing. According to Liu, Pyongyang's presence at an academic conference in New York this week is another sign of a thaw between the two sides, improving prospects for the restarting of nuclear talks. Liu said that both the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have signalled their interest in restarting the Six-Party Talks, a move China supports. "We would like to see the two sides continue to move forward to create more favourable conditions and atmosphere for the talks," he said. According to Liu, officials from the Chinese Embassy in the United States will also be joining the conference. On a less positive note, Liu complained about US interference in China's relations with Israel after reports that the Israeli Government had called off an arms deal with China after pressure from the Americans. ()

Japan-Taiwan fishing talks opposed
2005-07-01 China Daily
The spokesman also expressed China's strong opposition to talks between Japan and Taiwan on fishing issues. The Chinese Government is responsible for the protection of the legal rights of fishermen from both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, he said. Liu said there is already a fishing agreement between China and Japan, and Taiwan is part of China, so China and Japan should act in accordance with this agreement. If there were talks between Japan and Taiwan, Liu said, "It would violate the one-China principle and would not be in accordance with the rules of Sino-Japanese fishing industry agreements." Liu also expressed unhappiness with Japan, for forcing Chinese fishermen to leave the Diaoyu Islands, a territory belonging to China. He urged the Japanese Government to pay attention to the concern raised by the Chinese side and deal with the issue in a proper way. It is reported that Japan and Taiwan plan to hold talks on their maritime disputes on July 29. ()

 

Domestic Policy

China counters US criticism in IPR, citing efforts, progress
2005-06-29 Xinhuanet
China has arrested some 2,600 people in an eight-month-long crackdown on infringement on intellectual property rights (IPR), the government said Tuesday, urging the US to acknowledge the efforts and progress made. "China has made huge progress in the IPR protection since China and the US signed a memorandum on IPR in 1992," said vice commerce minister Zhang Zhigang, who is also office director of the State Work Group on Intellectual Property Rights Protection. "We have fully honored our commitments made at the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in 2004." He expressed "deep regrets" over the US government's action of putting China on a "Priority Watch List" in the IPR protection, saying it does not conform with facts. At the end of April, the US Trade Representative's office said in its annual report on copyright theft that the US government was putting China and 13 other nations on a priority watch list, which subjects the countries to special review of their efforts to deal with the theft of US copyrighted materials such as movies, music and computer software. Addressing a nationally televised news conference, Zhang said China has handled 24,189 trademark infringement cases and seized more than 167 million pieces of illegal audio-video products and pirated products since the country launched a massive crackdown on IPR violations last September. In addition, China has destroyed 24 illegal CD production lines and closed down 2,960 illegal printing workshops. () Citing a survey released by the US Business Software Alliance on May 18, Zhang said that losses incurred by piracy (or the value of illegal software) in Europe and the United States are the highest, with the per capita loss reported there far surpassing that in the Asia-Pacific region. "Therefore, the priorities in the global crackdown on piracy should first be the EU, then the United States and then the Asia- Pacific region. China does not deserve to be among the top priorities yet," said Zhang. He said the Chinese government is consistent and firm with its decision, attitude and stand on the IPR protection. () According to Zhang, China will prolong the one-year IPR protection campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in August, to the end of this year.

New justice minister, minister of labor and social security appointed
2005-07-01 People's Daily
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, appointed on July 1 Wu Aiying justice minister, replacing Zhang Fusen. Wu, former vice minister of justice, became the only female minister in the Chinese cabinet after Vice Premier Wu Yi left her post of health minister this April. Zhang was relieved of his official duty because he has reached the retirement age. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, appointed on July 1 Tian Chengping minister of labor and social security, replacing Zheng Silin. Tian was former secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in north China's coal-rich Shanxi Province. Zheng was relieved of duty because he has reached the retirement age.

Legislative discussion opens on reducing police rights
2005-06-27 China Daily
China's top legislators are considering reducing police powers to detain suspects in order to safeguard citizens' rights. The proposal was put forward by the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee as part of a draft law dealing with minor public order offences. The NPC Standing Committee discussed the draft for the second time as a weeklong session began on Sunday. Under the new draft, the police power to detain suspects for 36 hours and keep them in jail for 30 days, would be cut to a maximum of 12 hours detention and 20 days in jail respectively. According to Zhou Kunren, vice-chairman of the NPC Law Committee, the draft law on punishment for public order infractions and security administration sets out a framework in which police would be allowed to detain suspects for eight hours. A further four-hour extension would only be available if approved by a county level or higher public security department. () "Although most police officers fulfil their duties, there is some corruption among public security workers," he said. Under the draft law, police and public security officers would still retain the authority to warn, fine and detain those who commit minor offences including assault, falsifying documents and disturbing the public order. Those arrested and charged with violating the Criminal Law will be prosecuted. The agenda for today, day 3 of the NPC Standing Committee session, calls for legislators to examine State Council reports on the final results of the 2004 central budget and related audits They will also examine treaties on judicial assistance with Brazil and Latvia, as well as the extradition treaty with the Philippines, submitted by the State Council. A draft amendment to the law protecting women's rights will also be discussed today.

China plays a more active role in international human rights cause
2005-06-28 Xinhuanet
China and Australia approved the Human Rights Joint Technical Cooperation Program for 2005 to 2006 Monday in Beijing, and expressed their wish to cooperate in such fields as poverty relief, teenagers' rights, democracy in communities and ethnic minority affairs. Shen Guofang, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, said at the event that China-Australia human rights dialogue has moved into " an in-depth, practical and dynamic track of development". "The cooperation on the issue will not only help improve the human rights protection work in the two countries, but also enrich bilateral ties", Shen noted. Shen's view was echoed by Geoff Raby, Australia's Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who is heading the dialogue delegation. He said Australia highly values cooperation with China on international human rights protection, and China has achieved remarkable progress in the cause. According to Dong Yunhu, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, China has been playing a more active role in international human rights by promoting human rights dialogues and communication with foreign countries. In 2004 alone, China had human rights dialogues and consultations with Australia, Canada, Britain, the European Union, Norway, Germany, and Holland, strengthened communication in the field with such developing countries as Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Laos, and hosted a series of seminars and workshop on human rights issues. () With governmental exchange and cooperation in the field of human rights strengthened, China's non-governmental organizations also carried out wide-ranging communication with foreign counterparts. "A dialogue platform on human rights among government, non- government organizations and human rights organizations has been established, to make the rest of the world learn more about the achievements in China," Lin said.

China publishes first book on human rights by NGO
2005-07-01 People's Daily
China allowed the publication of the first report on human rights by a non-governmental organization (NGO) after the protection of human rights was enshrined in the Constitution. Titled "China's Human Rights in Action" and written by the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), the report discusses achievements China has made in protecting human rights. It records China's enshrinement of human rights in its Constitution last March, Premier Wen Jiabao's commitment to retrieve defaulted payment for rural workers, official measures to protect AIDS patients' rights and interests, and the nationwide crackdown on human rights infringement by government officials. But the report is not only laudatory. It also discusses human rights violations, such as in the case of Sun Zhigang, who was beaten to death while detained at the Guangzhou Police Holding Center for having no ID on him in March, 2003. By addressing China's human rights problems, the report both alerts China's government and judicial organs, and helps citizens become aware of their newly sanctified human rights, said scholars with the CSHRS. ()

Illegal hospitals closed
2005-06-28 China Daily
Beijing. A crackdown by health authorities in Guangdong has led to the closure of thousands of hospitals and clinics operating without correct licences, statistics released on Saturday show. On May 20, the Guangdong Provincial Health Bureau dispatched 40,000 investigators to 11,300 hospitals, in a large-scale campaign to bring an end to unlicensed hospitals. Up to June 25, 8,680 illegal hospitals and clinics had been closed, according to Huang Xiaoling, vice-director of the health bureau. Investigators confiscated 7.55 million yuan (US$900,000) in illegal income, and fined the hospitals over 3.6 million yuan (US$430,000). Tiancheng Hospital, located in the northern suburbs of Guangzhou, was one hospital to be closed. Covering thousands of square metres, the large hospital possesses all the equipment and treatment rooms necessary in a qualified hospital. But it did not have the required legal licence, and the majority of doctors on its staff had no medical certificates. A doctor surnamed Wu was caught practising without a medical licence. A doctor can take 3 per cent of the medical cost of a prescription, so doctors prescribed as much medicine as possible, according to Wu. According to the Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou, the court accepted and heard 31 cases brought against illegal hospitals and doctors in 2004, far more than the 2003 figure of 14. Some victims were injured or even died from malpractice at the hospitals and 80 per cent of the victims were pregnant women.

China's Internet users top 100 million
2005-06-29 China Daily
China's population of Internet users has surpassed 100 million, the government said Tuesday. China already has the world's second-largest population of people online after the United States, which has 135 million. The latest Chinese figure was announced by Xi Guohua, an official with the Ministry of Information Industry, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Last week, China's government threatened to shut down Web sites that fail to register with regulators in a new campaign to tighten controls on what the public can see online. China promotes Internet use for education and business but also tries to block its public from seeing material deemed pornographic or subversive. Authorities also are trying to tighten controls on what children can see online.

 

Economy

Zhou: Interest rates to stay 'relatively low'
2005-06-26 China Daily
People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the country will keep interest rates "relatively low" to help boost consumer spending and eliminate a trade surplus that has led to tensions with Europe and the U.S. "For the time being, we probably won't increase interest rates", Zhou, 57, said in an interview in Basel, Switzerland, where he's attending a meeting of central bankers at the Bank for International Settlements. Consumer prices "are stabilizing," easing pressure to raise rates, he said. China is trying to boost consumption and imports to reduce its $30 billion trade surplus so far this year, which the US and Europe say has been boosted by China's decade-old peg for its currency, the yuan. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said June 26 more time is needed before any changes can be made to the peg, which fixes the yuan at about 8.28 to the dollar. The People's Bank of China lifted its one-year lending rate by 27 basis points to 5.58 percent on Oct. 29, 2004, to curb pressure on prices. The Institute of International Finance in May forecast China's economic growth this year may match 2004's 9.5 percent. China's official target is a growth of 8 percent. "Raising interest rates isn't an effective tool to address overheating," said Qu Hongbin, a senior economist at HSBC Plc in Hong Kong. "The central bank has done a good job curbing lending and loan growth. As long as that continues, there's a good chance investment will slow. That's why Zhou's cautious about talking about raising interest rates." ()

China, Japan to tighten ties via financial talk
2005-06-28 Xinhua
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday that China and Japan had agreed to establish a bilateral financial dialogue mechanism and would discuss about details at the working level. "The two sides expressed the hope that the first ministerial dialogue could be held at the earliest possible time" after Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing met with his Japanese counterpart Tanigaki Sadakazu in Tianjin last Saturday, Liu told a regular press conference. In a bid to implement Chinese President Hu Jintao's proposals on promoting Sino-Japanese ties, the two finance ministers met on the eve of the Sixth Asia-Europe Finance Ministers' Meeting held in the northern China port city of Tianjin on Sunday, Liu said. To further promote financial cooperation between China and Japan, the two ministers agreed to enhance cooperation between the two finance ministries, which "will help promote prosperity in Asia and the world at large," Liu said. The two ministers agreed that China and Japan are increasingly dependent on each other in the economic field in the process of economic globalization, and are facing opportunities and challenges in economic development, Liu said. DPRK "Refugees" - When asked about persons who illegally cross the border from the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Liu said, "They are not refugees, therefore the convention on refugee is not adapted to those people." He said China's position on the issue is very clear, pledging that China will handle the issue in accordance with China's laws, international laws and humanitarian principles to maintain the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. "The facts have proved that China's methods on the issue is proper and effective," Liu added. Illegal Text Books- It is legal to hold textbooks for a Japanese school in northeastern Chinese city of Dalian, said Liu Jianchao. On April 25, Dalian Customs held temporarily 128 textbooks sent from Japan to the Japanese school in Dalian and found different colors were used for Taiwan and Chinese mainland on maps of 15 geography books. One-China policy is concerned with Chinese sovereignty and Chinese people's feeling, said Liu, noting that China is dealing with it in accordance with the relevant laws. Liu listed related laws the issue has violated, saying that 15 geography books will be returned back to Japan according to law.

 

Julie Kong
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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