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
  18.7-22.7.05, No. 72  
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Foreign Policy

China affirms 'no first use' nuke policy
2005-07-22 China Daily
China will not use nuclear weapons first in a military conflict, the foreign minister said Thursday as he tried to quell uproar over a general's remark that Beijing might use atomic bombs against U.S. forces in a conflict over Taiwan. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said China "will not first use nuclear weapons at any time and under any condition," according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Li said China has embraced that stance since it developed nuclear weapons in 1964, and it "will not be changed in the future." Li made the comments to a group of academics from the United States, Japan and China, Xinhua said. Beijing has been trying to reassure the United States and its Asian neighbors since Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, a dean at China's National Defense University, told foreign reporters last week that Beijing might use nuclear weapons if U.S. forces attacked China in a conflict over Taiwan. According to Xinhua, Li said the general's comment was "only his personal view." The State Department on July 15 criticized the remarks as "highly irresponsible" and asked for Chinese assurance that it did not reflect official thinking. Despite its efforts at diplomatic damage control, Beijing also has reaffirmed its insistence that it will not tolerate formal independence for Taiwan - a step the mainland has said could lead to war. Beijing said Saturday that the mainland would "never tolerate Taiwan independence" and would not allow "anybody with any means to separate Taiwan from the motherland." Li's comments came a day after Beijing angrily rejected a new U.S. government report that says growing Chinese military ambitions could threaten other Asia-Pacific nations. ()

EU chief: China's rise no threat to others
2005-07-17 China Daily
Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union Commission, said in Shanghai Saturday that China's development and growth should be regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat. Delivering a speech at a business school in Shanghai, Barroso said the whole world is increasingly aware of China's influence with its rapid economic growth over the past two decades. But China's rise is "an opportunity" rather than "a threat" to other countries, he said. Barroso arrived in Beijing Thursday morning for a five-day official visit. He said during his stay in Shanghai, he saw a modern, open and vigorous China. He said China's entry into the World Trade Organization is a landmark issue in the Chinese history. China's economy is rapidly integrating into the world economy and taking an increasingly bigger proportion in the world economy, he said He said the European Union will make contributions to China's development. Referring to the trade frictions between China and EU, Barroso said the EU hopes to solve all the disputes through contact and dialogue. In an interview with Chinese media, Barroso said it's natural for the EU and China to have frictions and differences given the extensive trade exchanges between them. () As long as the EU and China continue to have dialogue and consultation based on the principles of mutual understanding and mutual benefit, disputes between the two would be solved properly, he said. Referring to China's market economy status, Barroso said the EU recognizes China's economic achievements and the changes in the country's economic sector. But he noted that the two still have a great deal of technical work to do before EU recognizes China's full market economy status. Meanwhile, the EU official also urged China to pay more attention to the protection of its traditional culture and environment to maintain a long-term and steady development. ()

Sino-Switzerland trade ties to be enhanced
2005-07-17 China Daily
China is willing to strengthen consultation and cooperation with Switzerland in all fields, Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said in Beijing Friday. Switzerland is one of China's most important trade partners in Europe, while China has become Switzerland's second largest Asian trade partner next to Japan, Zeng said in his meeting with Joseph Deiss, a member of the Federal Council of Switzerland, in Beijing Friday. Zeng said China and Switzerland witnessed a sound development in bilateral relations and political trust in recent years, noting that China appreciates the Swiss government's adherence to the one-China policy. China attaches great importance to the unique role played by Switzerland in international affairs and is willing to join hands with the Switzerland to make more contributions to world peace and development, he said. China and Switzerland are mutually complementary in economy and have great prospects for cooperation. This year is the 55th anniversary for the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Switzerland.China is willing to take the opportunity to expand cooperation in fields of finance, high-technology, tourism and environmental protection, Zeng said. Deiss, who is also economics minister, expressed his appreciation for the achievements China has made in its reform and opening-up process. Switzerland will take active measures to expand bilateral trade and investment with China, he said.

China, Spain ink a dozen agreements
2005-07-22 People's Daily
China and Spain inked in Beijing on July 21 a dozen agreements to cement their cooperation in justice, industry, tourism, finance, seismological study, railway and civil aviation. Visiting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who arrived in Beijing Thursday on a three-day official visit to China, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao witnessed the signing of the agreements following their hour-long meeting. The two sides will strengthen political dialogue through a mechanism between foreign ministries of the two countries, according to an agreement. The two sides will each establish a cultural center in the other country.() Wen Jiabao highly praised the Spanish government's plan to strengthen relationship with China and other Asian-Pacific nations, adding that China attaches equal importance to its relationship with Spain. The Chinese premier proposed that the two countries should step up their cooperation in areas of politics, economy, science and technology as well as culture. The Chinese premier pledged that China would increase imports from Spain. China-Spain trade reached 7.2 billion US dollars last year, up 38 percent from a year ago. () Wen highly appreciated the Spanish government's adherence to one-China policy and its stance to oppose " Taiwan independence". () In addition, he said Spain would help promote the development of EU-China relationship.

Progress urged in Six-Party Talks
2005-07-22 Xinhuanet
China yesterday appealed to all parties to make substantial progress at the upcoming six-party nuclear disarmament talks, to be held in Beijing next week. "We hope all the participating parties will continue to show their flexibility and sincerity with a constructive attitude to push forward the talks to a final peaceful solution to the nuclear issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. Kong said China is expecting the new round of Six-Party Talks to proceed smoothly and achieve progress, a common aspiration of all the concerned parties as well as the international community. Kong could not guarantee any agreement would be reached but pledged that China would take a serious and responsible attitude to the discussions and work closely with all sides to make substantial progress. The new round of talks will begin at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing next Tuesday, the same venue as for the previous three rounds. Representatives from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan are expected to gather for the first time in 13 months after Pyongyang called off a boycott of the talks earlier this month. However, it has been reported that the DPRK said it expects little progress at the revived talks, criticizing Japan and the United States for raising the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang and alleged human rights abuses. () According to Kong, the Chinese delegation will be led by Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. The DPRK delegation will be headed by Vice- Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan. Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon will lead the ROK delegation, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will be chief representative for the US, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev will front his country's negotiators, while the Japanese delegation will be led by Sasae Kenichiro, director-general of the Asia and Oceania Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

China, Viet Nam eye border of peace
2005-07-19 China Daily -Boundaries, both land and sea, were of concern when President Hu Jintao met Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong yesterday in Beijing. The leaders vowed to speed up the survey and setting of the land boundary, and reaffirmed their desire to see results from joint exploration of disputed areas in the South China Sea. Hu and Luong also agreed to maintain normal fisheries co-operation in the Beibu Bay in an effort to build the China-Viet Nam border into one of peace, friendship and long-lasting stability. Hu said the land border issue between China and Viet Nam and demarcation in the Beibu Bay, were issues left over from history that were gradually being resolved, adding that he looks forward to the completion of the matter and a mere stone monument on the land border. () Hu suggested furthering the Sino-Vietnamese comprehensive co-operative relationship by enhancing high-ranking exchanges, expanding trade and economic co-operation and strengthening communication between the countries' people, especially the youth. The Vietnamese president said his country desired a faster development of co-operative relations in economy, trade, energy and transport. At present, China is Viet Nam's second biggest trading partner. Two-way trade this year reached US$2.5 billion in April after a record high of US$6.47 billion in 2004. Trade volume is expected to double by 2007, Luong added. Local observers said bilateral trade relations are expanding, with more Chinese businesses from inland and coastal provinces reaching out to Viet Nam, and Vietnamese businesses also looking beyond its borders. ()

Indonesian President to visit China
2005-07-22 People's Daily
President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will pay a state visit to China from July 27 to 30 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao, the Foreign Ministry announced in Beijing Thursday. According to the original arrangement, President Susilo was going to pay a state visit to China from July 13 to 16, but he delivered a speech on July 11 on postponing his visit to China and other countries due to a domestic emergency. Chinese spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a previous press conference that during President Susilo's upcoming visit, Chinese leaders will confer with him on expanding the friendly cooperation between the two sides, and a series of documents on economic and trade cooperation will be signed. China and Indonesia, as two good neighbors, have enjoyed good bilateral relations, with an exchange of high-level visits being more frequent as well as mutual understanding and trust continuously deepening. President Hu Jintao made a successful visit to Indonesia in April this year. During the visit, Hu sand Susilo signed a joint declaration on strategic partnership between China and Indonesia, pushing the Sino-Indonesian relations to a new high.

Shaath, Chinese envoy discuss Mideast peace process
2005-07-18 People's Daily
Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Shaath and Head of Representative Office of China to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Gong Xiaosheng discussed the Mideast peace process on Sunday. A statement issued by Shaath office said the two officials discussed the latest development in the Mideast peace process and the Chinese support to the Palestinians in their pursuit of independence. The statement said the meeting was held in honor of Gong who is to end his term as Chinese chief representative in the Palestinian territories. It said Gong reiterated China's determination to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights. The two sides also reviewed the bilateral ties between China and the Palestinians and discussed the coming Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank due in mid August. Shaath said the PNA had completed all the preparations for the Israeli withdrawal, the first time that Israel gives up land it occupied in the 1967 Mideast War.

China, Sudan militaries to increase exchanges
2005-07-20 People's Daily
Chinese and Sudanese militaries will increase exchanges and cooperation, said a senior Chinese military officer in Beijing on July 19. Liang Guanglie, chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), made the remark during his talks with his Sudanese counterpart Abbas Arabi Abdalla. Liang, also a member of China's Central Military Commission, said China and Sudan have witnessed steady development of friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1959. The two nations have conducted fruitful cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields, he said. Liang also expressed China's appreciation of Sudanese government's adherence to the one-China policy and its support to China on international issues such as human rights. Abbas said the friendly relations between the two armed forces have a solid foundation and he hoped to further deepen the exchanges and cooperation between the two nations as well as the two armed forces.

Red Cross establishes new office in China
2005-07-21 China Daily
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched its East Asia Office in Beijing yesterday, to further increase co-operation between China and the ICRC. The announcement followed the signing of two agreements between Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and visiting ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger earlier in the day. President Hu Jintao also met with Kellenberger, saying that the Chinese Government has always attached great importance to the role of the ICRC and has supported the Red Cross Society of China in ICRC activities. He said the Chinese Government and its people are willing to contribute more to protect the lives and health of people around the world. In response, Kellenberger said he is looking forward to solid co-operation with China in the humanitarian field to push forward the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. The new office in Beijing will help develop the ICRC's work in East Asia and will enable more sustained activity in China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Mongolia. The office's main functions and responsibilities in China are the promotion and implementation of international humanitarian law with the aim of fostering interest in and understanding of humanitarian issues and international humanitarian law. ()

 

Domestic Policy

Typhoon hits coastal areas, one million evacuated
2005-07-20 China Daily
More than 1 million people fled their homes along China's southeast coast as Typhoon Haitang slammed into the mainland yesterday after hammering Taiwan, killing four people. At 5:10 pm, the typhoon hit the coastal Chinese town of Huangqi in Fujian Province, with winds of 126-kilometres-per-hour reported in Lianjiang in Fujian. Heavy rain was falling over much of the province. State television showed villages awash with floodwaters that turned streets into rivers as well as soldiers delivering boxes of food to people living in temporary shelters. More than 1 million people were evacuated from their homes in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, China Central Television reported. One correspondent said the harsh winds felt like sand pelting his face. But the winds weakened as the typhoon moved inland towards the northwest and downgraded to a tropical storm late yesterday, Xinhua reported. The airport at Fujian's provincial capital, Fuzhou, was closed and flights diverted north to Shanghai or south to Xiamen, the agency said. More than 300 people trapped in their homes in Cangnan County in Zhejiang were rescued in the aftermath of Haitang, local officials reported last night.

4,052 caught trying to leave mainland illegally
2005-07-20 SCMP
The Public Security Bureau says 4,052 people were caught while attempting to leave the country illegally during the first half of the year. Xinhua quoted the bureau as saying that 397,000 people had been found in breach of exit formalities, while 95 had been arrested for organising illegal departures from the mainland. It did not provide a comparison with the same period last year. During the same period, mainlanders made 14.6 million trips out of the country, an increase of 9.6 per cent from last year. Top destinations were Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Russia, the United States, Thailand, Singapore and Australia.

PLA gets transparent shopping list
2005-07-19 China Daily
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) yesterday claimed to have saved 1.8 billion yuan (US$218 million) in the past three and a half years as increased transparency granted outsiders a rare glimpse of the workings of the Chinese military. PLA General Logistics Department sources said the army had spent more than 12 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion) on basic supplies last year, a 64 per cent increase over 2003. Reform started in November 2001, with procurement transparency aimed at making the army run more efficiently, the PLA Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese army, reported yesterday. Rules to better regulate material procurement have also been introduced, the report quoted an unidentified officer from the Quartermaster, Materials and Petro-Oil and Lubricants Department of the General Logistics Department as saying. The rules also cover the public bidding process for procurement. According to General Logistics Department regulations, all PLA material procurement information, except that involving military and commercial secrets, must be made public. ()

3 fake medicines found in Beijing
2005-07-18 Xinhuanet
Urgent warnings have been issued after three fake medicines were found in suburban areas of the capital. Beijing's municipal medication watchdog issued an urgent notice at the weekend to the city's pharmacies about household brands the cold medication Contac NT, the painkiller Fenbid and the antibiotic cefalexin. The counterfeit drugs were discovered in an investigation by the Beijing Municipal Drug Administration that was carried out at two township-level hospitals and two village clinics in the districts of Changping and Fangshan. Tests showed the medicines, which appear to be the same as the authentic ones, do not contain valid ingredients and do not meet the relevant national standards. There are no reports that the fake ones did harm to people's health so far. The batch numbers of the fake drugs are 04100672 for Contac NT, 04110509 for Fenbid, both of which are marked with the producer Tianjin Smith Kline&French Laboratories Ltd, and 0408091 for cefalexin allegedly made by the Beijing Taiyang Pharmaceutical Industry Co Ltd. But the two companies have proved they never produced these batches, according to the drug administration. Where they came from in the first place is still being investigated. The administration has ordered all the city's drug sellers, including hospitals, clinics and drug stores, to be on the alert against the blacklisted batches, and immediately seal them up if they find them. ()

No response to urgent appeals for bird flu data
2005-07-21 SCMP
China has not responded to urgent appeals by the World Health Organisation to share data from wild birds killed by avian influenza, an official said, as fears mounted that other birds might spread the disease when they migrate to South Asia, Australia or even as far as Europe. Authorities also have not responded to a WHO request to be allowed to visit the Xinjiang region, where there have been reports of a bird flu outbreak along the border with Kazakhstan, said Roy Wadia, a spokesman for WHO's Beijing office. Authorities had yet to release samples gathered in the western province of Qinghai, where at least 6,000 migratory birds have died, Mr Wadia said.

 

Tibet

Beijing pledge on next Dalai Lama
2005-07-19 SCMP - The Tibetan government says Beijing will choose the boy who will succeed the Dalai Lama according to the rules followed by Tibetan Buddhism for centuries. Government chairman Qiangba Puncog said if the spiritual leader, who has just turned 70, died in exile, Beijing would follow Tibetan Buddhist precedent to choose his reincarnation. "The choice has never been arranged by the Chinese Communist Party, but by the traditional rules of Tibetan Buddhism since the Qing dynasty," he said. In 1995, Beijing installed Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama after rejecting a boy chosen by the Dalai Lama. () Speaking in Hong Kong to mark Tibetan Week, Qiangba Puncog said the status of the Dalai Lama was not a religious issue but a political problem. "The key point is the Dalai Lama and his followers should really promise to give up Tibetan independence and safeguard our country's territorial integrity," he said. "The Dalai Lama's exiled government has set up a parliament and military troops. It has even expanded its separatist activities and made the Tibet problem an international issue." This made it too early to discuss the question of the Dalai Lama's homecoming. Qiangba Puncog said the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, had changed tack during negotiations with Beijing and broke off talks at the time of the former Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. He said the central government had sought to narrow the gap between richer urban and poorer rural areas in Tibet through education and improvements to infrastructure, such as the Qinghai-Tibet railway. "In order to build up a harmonious society, social stability and economic development are the most important elements," he said.

 

Taiwan

Ma Ying-jeou elected as new chairman of Chinese Kuomintang Party in Taiwan
2005-07-18 People's Daily
Ma Ying-jeou, an incumbent vice chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang Party (KMT) and Taipei Mayor, was elected as the new chairman of KMT in Taiwan Saturday. Ma defeated another candidate, Wang Jyn-pyng, an incumbent vice chairman of KMT, by winning 72.36 percent of votes in Saturday's election, to take over as head of KMT from retiring Chairman Lien Chan. Born in Hong Kong July 1950 to parents from Hunan Province on the Chinese mainland, Ma graduated from the Department of Law in Taiwan University, and then got the master's degree of law in New York University and doctor's degree of law in Harvard. He used to be the English interpreter for Chiang Ching-kuo, late leader of KMT in Taiwan. Ma was the vice secretary-general of KMT Central Committee between 1984 and 1988, and elected as Taipei Mayor in December 1998 and reelected in 2002. He was elected as the vice chairman of KMT in March 2003.

At least 58 injured as typhoon batters Taiwan
2005-07-18 Xinhuanet
At least 58 people were injured and over one million households were left without electricity when typhoon Haitang hit northern Taiwan Monday with torrential rain and wind gusting at over 230 kilometers per hour, according to reports reaching here from Taipei. The reports said most of injured were hurt by falling trees, billboards and broken glass. Some of them were motorcyclists who were hurt when they were knocked off their bikes by the gusting wind. Strong winds disrupted power supplies in the counties of Changhua, Pingtung, Yunlin, Tainan, Hualien and Ilan. Statistics show that as of Monday morning, more than 1.07 million households were without electricity. Continuing heavy rain caused considerable damage to crops in Kaohsiung County. The county government estimated that 1,132 hectares of farmland were flooded, with losses running at nearly 100 million new Taiwan dollars. Airlines using Taiwan's airports canceled more than 160 scheduled flights Monday, affecting the travel plans of some 12,000 passengers. Railway transportation island-wide has also been stopped since Sunday night. The typhoon, described as the largest to hit Taiwan in five years, spent seven hours off Hualien, eastern Taiwan, where it made a counter-clockwise 360-degree turn and then resumed its movement in a west-northwesterly direction. ()

Give back seized assets, lawmaker urges KMT
2005-07-22 SCMP
Taiwan's Kuomintang opposition party should return NT$40 billion ($9.7 billion) worth of assets it allegedly acquired illegally during decades in power, a ruling-party lawmaker said yesterday. The Democratic Progressive Party contends the KMT amassed most of its funds by seizing state property after the Nationalists took refuge on the island following their defeat by communist forces on the mainland in 1949. "The Nationalist Party should give the assets back to the state," said Democratic Progressive Party caucus head Lai Ching-the. The KMT denies any of its assets were acquired illegally.

 

Economy

China to keep Yuan basically stable this year
2005-07-21 Xinhuanet
In a press release issued after a meeting by heads of the bank and its provincial branches, the bank said it is one of its major tasks in the six months to deepen the reform of its foreign exchange administrative system, and push forward the reform of RMB exchange rate mechanism and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level. China must uphold the principles of independent initiative, controllability and gradual progress in pursuing RMB exchange rate reform in accordance with its own needs of reforms and development, the bank said. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the bank, made a speech at the two-day meeting, which concluded Tuesday in Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. On other major tasks it faces in the coming months, the bank said it will continue to implement its prudent monetary policy and maintain stable growth of money supply. The bank said China's economy has been in a good shape since early this year with new progress being made in economic restructuring. The economy is continuing to move to the envisaged direction of the macro-economic control, said the bank. But it warned the deep-rooted contradictions and problems that hinder the sustainable, rapid and healthy development of national economy have not yet been resolved. The bank called for close attention to the trend of economic development.

Zero tariffs for all HK produced imports
2005-07-19 China Daily
China's mainland is scheduled to implement zero tariffs on all products originating from Hong Kong from January 1, 2006.The move will mark the start of the third phase of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the two sides. The dropping of tariffs was revealed last week by Wang Liaoping, director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Department of the Ministry of Commerce. The official said that under the arrangement, an additional 300 categories of Hong Kong products, ranging from textile products, garments, and food to electrical products and machinery, would be covered by the zero-tariff agreement. All Made-in-Hong-Kong products will be tariff-free when being exported to the mainland. Wang said the two sides had reached an accord over the standards of origin of watches and clocks, a market in which Hong Kong is advanced, so that watch and clock products processed in Hong Kong would enjoy qualified tariff-free treatment. As for the service sector, the mainland is also to open more industries to Hong Kong investors in addition to the existing 26, such as logistics, distribution, advertising and tourism, which are already available. According to a survey conducted by Hong Kong authorities, its manufacturers, taking advantage of CEPA, are expected to double their exports to the mainland in 2005. The framework of CEPA was expected to help the two sides overcome the obstacles of tariffs as well as accelerate integration of the two economies, Wang said. Bilateral trade volume of the mainland and Hong Kong reached a record high last year after the arrangement was launched. The mainland's imports from Hong Kong reached some US$4.0 billion in the first four months this year, an increase of 14.3 per cent year-on-year. Exports to Hong Kong stood at US$33.7 billion, up 24.5 per cent over the same period of the previous year. ()

China urged to enhance protection of IPR in medical industry
2005-07-20 Xinhuanet
If China does not have a legal system to protect the intellectual property right (IPR) in medical and pharmacy industry, 60 percent of the newly introduced medicine will no longer exist, a senior official said here Wednesday. Zhang Qingkui, an official with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), showed his worry at a pharmacy IPR summit forum opened here Tuesday. To develop a new medicine usually costs 0.5 to 1 billion US dollars and 10 years on average, the information from the summit says, and among those new medicines show up in market, only three out of ten could survive. "The IPR protection encourages the research and development of new medicines," said Ding Jinxi, the professor with the China Pharmaceutical University (CPU), "However, China's IPR protection in this industry is relatively weak, especially the education of it." In a survey conducted by CPU in 22 pharmaceutical universities and institutions in east China's Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province and Shanghai shows that only two of them have set majors on medical IPR protection. "Only by strengthening the IPR protection could the medical and pharmacy industry to develop," said Ding Jinxi. The pharmacy IPR summit forum was sponsored by SFDA, vowing to improve people's awareness of IPR protection in the industry.

Registered jobless rate unchanged at 4.2%
2005-07-20 China Daily
China's registered urban unemployment rate remained unchanged from last year at 4.2 per cent in the first half of this year, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security said yesterday. There were 8.34 million jobless people in cities by the end of June, according to a report issued by the ministry. During the period, 5.95 million job opportunities were created, accounting for 66 per cent of this year's goal of creating 9 million new jobs set by Premier Wen Jiabao in March. "Creating a stable employment situation is not easy. It is a result of the government's active employment policy catering mainly to those having difficulties finding jobs," said Mo Rong, professor and deputy director of the ministry's Institute for Labour Studies. This year, the central government has allocated an additional 2.6 billion yuan (US$310 million) to urban employment, apart from funds subsidizing laid-off workers from State-owned enterprises (SOEs). The two funds total 20.9 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion), with money going on social insurance, employment centres, and re-employment training programmes.

China's Internet users reach 103 million
2005-07-22 China Daily
China is now home to the second largest population of Internet users of any country on the planet, according to a survey released yesterday. The number of Internet users in China has reached 103 million, second only to the United States. About 9 million Chinese became netizens in the first half of this year, an increase of 18.4 per cent over the same period last year, the survey issued by the quasi-governmental China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) revealed. However, while more than 67 per cent of the US population, about 135 million people, have access to the Internet, in China, the percentage is only about 7.9 per cent.The survey also suggests great potential for growth in online shopping - nearly 20 per cent of Chinese Internet users have shopped online at least once. Online trade volume in the first half of the year is estimated at 10 billion yuan (US$1.23 billion), with nearly half of that amount paid online, CNNIC engineer Wang Enhai said yesterday. Online games players spent a total of 4 billion yuan (US$493 million) in the six-month period on virtual items such as equipment, arms and identities. "The amazing development in China's Web industry should surely draw attention from foreign investors," analyst Lu Weigang said yesterday. Most of China's Internet users are well educated and have a hefty purchasing power, Lu said. ()

China purchases 20 Airbus planes
2005-07-21 Xinhuanet
Air China signed a contract with Airbus Thursday for purchasing 20 Airbus A330-200s. The planes are scheduled for delivery from May 2006. China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group (CASC) was also involved in this deal. Air China President Li Jiaxiang, CASC President Li Hai and Airbus President & CEO Gustav Humbert signed the contract at the Great Hall of the People. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero witnessed the signing ceremony. "These 20 A330-200 aircraft will help us expand our fleet and open new international routes, " said Li Jiaxiang, "A330-200 will also further strengthen our reliability, punctuality and efficiency, and improve our competitiveness in the global market." Air China's fleet now has 16 A319s, five A320s and six A340s. The selection of 20 A330-200s will further diversify its fleet. ()

 

Mongolia

Mongolia to strengthen cooperation with China in media
2005-07-22 People's Daily
Mongolia will strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of radio broadcasting, television and film, said Danzangiin Lundeejantsan, vice chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia, on July 21. Lundeejantsan made the remarks when meeting with Lei Yuanliang, deputy director of Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The bilateral relations between Mongolia and China have developed rapidly and it is important to carry out more cooperation in the fields of radio, film and television, Lundeejantsan said. Lei and the Chinese delegation arrived here Thursday for a four-day visit.

 

North Korea

DPRK denies reports about defecting assemblyman
2005-07-20 People's Daily
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) on Tuesday denied the media reports about its defecting assemblyman, saying the reports were "fabricated." A spokesman for the DPRK's Foreign Ministry said the reports by US and South Korean media was a "sheer lie," since there is no such institution in the North as the "marine industrial institute" where a self-proclaimed DPRK assemblyman said he had worked, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. "The statement allegedly made by him was full of lies," the spokesman said. South Korean and US media Monday reported, citing an unnamed official of the South Korea's intelligence agency, that a DPRK assemblyman "who recently defected" to South Korea "is seeking asylum." According the reports, the man said in his statement that the DPRK's "marine industrial institute," where he had worked. "Some unsavoury forces fabricated the issue of a renegade-deserter, a fiction, in a bid to mislead the public opinion. This is, however, nothing but a despicable and ridiculous plot to tarnish the image of the dignified DPRK," the spokesman said. "The DPRK cannot but maintain high vigilance and draw attention to the fact that the hostile forces are getting frantic in their false propaganda against it at a time when the north-south relations are making positive progress and the resumption of the six-party talks for the solution to the nuclear issue is near at hand," he added.

 

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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