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
  19.9-23.9.05, No. 81  
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Foreign Policy

China calls for talks on Iran nuclear issue
2005-09-23 People's Daily
China Thursday called for the early resumption of talks between Iran and the European Union (EU) to solve the Iran nuclear issue within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "The urgency at present is to resume negotiations between Iran and the EU at an early date," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. "The negotiations will help the two sides bridge their differences and finally secure a solution acceptable to all sides," said Qin at a regular news briefing. Qin urged the parties concerned to take a long-term vision, exercise restraint and continue diplomatic negotiations and settle the nuclear issue within the framework of the IAEA. "This is conducive to the regional peace and stability and to maintaining the mechanism of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," said Qin. ()The EU on Tuesday circulated a draft resolution to the 35 members of the IAEA Board of Governors. The draft would refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council. But the EU has backed away from its demand on Thursday. Iran resumed uranium conversion work in August, after rejecting the EU offer to give up its nuclear fuel activities in return for economic and technical incentives. Iran insists that it would never give up legal rights to produce nuclear fuel for fully peaceful purposes. The United States and the EU suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear program, a charge rejected by Tehran.

Chinese ambassador briefs IAEA on six-party talks
2005-09-20/22 People's Daily
The fourth round of six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue concluded in Beijing Monday afternoon with the adoption of a much-expected common statement. In the current round of talks, which comprises two phases, all parties reached a six-point consensus on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Chinese ambassador Wu Hailong Wednesday briefed the IAEA on the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, saying the common statement reached early this week laid a good foundation for pushing the talks forward. "The Joint Statement is the first substantial joint document reached since the six-party talks were launched," said Wu while addressing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors meeting. Wu said the document accommodates the interests and concerns of all parties, and is a "balanced, win-win document" which marks the entry of the six-party talks, hosted by China in Beijing and attended by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, into a new phase. "The positive results achieved in the six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear issue are testimony to the fact that dialogue and negotiation are fundamentally in the interests of all parties and are a realistic and effective approach resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula," he said. The ambassador also noted that the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula is "complex" and a thorough solution would involve a difficult process. "There is a long way for the six-party talks to go, and many difficulties and twists are sure to be encountered," he said. As for China's position on the issue, the ambassador said China hopes that "the parties continue to practice respect, flexibility and pragmatism to steadily build understanding and confidence, accumulate consensus and narrow the gap for a final settlement."

Chinese embassy astounded by Indonesian shooting on Chinese fishing vessel
2005-09-22 People's Daily
The Chinese Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday expressed astonishment and dissatisfaction over an Indonesian navy ship's shooting on a Chinese fishing boat allegedly poaching on Monday in the Arafura Sea off the Papua Island. The shooting killed one and wounded two crew members. The embassy had made serious representations to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Navy and expressed regret about the lateness of being informed over the accident, embassy sources told Xinhua. Meanwhile, the embassy confirmed that the Chinese boat was illegally fishing in Indonesian waters as all its documents were overdue. The incident happened at 10:50 a.m. local time and the navy fired 13 shots at the Chinese boat, which is now detained in Indonesia. Earlier on Wednesday, counselor of the Chinese embassy Yu Hongyao said China was dissatisfied with what the Indonesian Navy had done to the Chinese ship named Fuyuan 132. The Arafuru Sea is about 3,800 kilometers east of the capital city of Jakarta.

China, Russia hold military consultations in Moscow
2005-09-22 People's Daily
China and Russia held the ninth round of military consultations in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday, and exchanging views on regional security situation, terrorism combat and peace-keeping operations. During the two-day meeting, Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, discussed with his Russian counterpart Alexsandr Skvortsov a variety of international issues of mutual concern and ways of boosting the relations between the two armed forces. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, met with Xiong and told him the consultations are important in enhancing mutual understanding, broadening consensus and improving cooperation between the two armed forces. Xiong, for his part, said the two sides reached broad consensus in security situation both worldwide and within the region. He pledged to make joint efforts with the Russian side to further strengthen friendly cooperation between the two armed forces.

China, India to hold sixth meeting on border issue
2005-09-22 Xinhuanet
The special representatives from China and India are scheduled to hold their sixth meeting on border issue in Beijing from Sept. 26 to 27, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang here Thursday. China and India reached an agreement on the guiding principles concerning the solution of the border issues in the fifth round of meeting, which was held in New Delhi in April. ()

Egyptian PM meets Chinese envoy on Mideast peace
2005-09-20 People's Daily
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef on Monday met with visiting Chinese special envoy to the Mideast peace process Wang Shijie to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. "The Palestinian-Israeli issue is constantly developing and China's general goal in this respect is to help the two sides move ahead along the road to peace," Wang told reporters after the meeting. Wang said China appreciated the measures Egypt had taken to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that Egypt also valued China's role in helping achieve peace between the two sides. China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has long supported the Palestinian cause and now it also supports the Mideast peace process, said the Chinese envoy, adding that the Egyptian side hopes China can play a bigger role in this field in the future. Wang arrived in Egypt on Sunday as part of his regional tour which has already taken him to the Palestinian territories, Israel and Jordan. He will leave on Tuesday for Morocco, the last leg of his trip.

Singapore President meets Chinese Vice Premier
2005-09-20 People's Daily
Singapore President S.R. Nathan on Monday met with visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, saying that the city state is willing to share China's development experience and promote bilateral cooperation in various fields. During their meeting, Wu noted that bilateral relations between China and Singapore have been enhanced significantly since the diplomatic relationship between the two countries was established 15 years ago. Regarding Singapore as China's most important economic and trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) , Wu said that the two countries have been cooperating not only in promoting their respective economies, but also in international and regional affairs, especially in strengthening the China-ASEAN relationship. ()

UN warned on abuse of intervention right
2005-09-20 China Daily
UNITED NATIONS - China warned the West on Monday against any attempt to abuse the right to intervene in the countries where humanitarian crisis occur. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing insisted in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that the authorization of the Security Council was required for any action to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis. "We are against any wilful intervention on the ground of rash conclusion that a nation is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens," Li said. Li also expressed opposition to any attempt to change the definition of the right to self-defense in international law to allow for pre-emptive action against new threats such as terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. "We do not support the reinterpretation or revision of the provisions in the U.N. Charter relating to the right of self-defense," he said. A United Nations summit last week approved the principle that the international community has a "responsibility to protect" civilians where governments are unable or unwilling to do so. The aim was to prevent repetition of the massacres in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. China, a veto-bearing permanent member of the Security Council, has been the major power prudent on allowing UN intervention in Sudan's Darfur region or censure of the human rights record of Zimbabwe. It also opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq with Russia, France and Germany. ()

UN examines China's report on protection of children's rights
2005-09-21 People's Daily
The United Nations, on Monday and Tuesday, reviewed the second periodic report of China on how China is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As one of the 192 states parties to the Convention, China is obliged to present periodic reports to the Committee on its efforts to comply with the provisions of the treaty. China's first periodic report was presented in 1995. During the two-day review, the Chinese delegation was on hand throughout the day to present the reports and to answer questions raised by experts of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In opening remarks to the Committee, Sha Zukang, permanent representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said it had been the consistent policy of the Chinese government to give priority to children and to guarantee their rights to life, development, protection and participation in society. In recent years, the medical care and health conditions for China's children had markedly improved, priority was given to basic education and to narrowing the gap among different regions, and between rural and urban areas, and the government put emphasis on the protection of the rights and interests of children from special groups, said Sha. Although China has made remarkable progress in all aspects of the protection of children's rights and interests, the Chinese ambassador said it was undeniable that China, a developing country which was constrained by social and economic development and other factors, was still faced with multiple, formidable difficulties and challenges in the protection of children. Committee experts raised questions related to adoption, birth registration, child pornography, trafficking in children, the family-planning policy, and so on. () The Committee will release its final, written concluding observations and recommendations on the report of China towards the end of its three-week session, which will conclude on Sept. 30.

UN rights body demands access to Panchen Lama
2005-09-23 SCMP
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has demanded independent access to Tibet's young Panchen Lama, who has been under house arrest by China for the past decade. During an examination of a report on China, the president of the committee of independent experts, Jacob Egbert Doek, said Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, now 16, had been "taken from Tibet to China against his will and those of his parents". Repeated demands for an independent person to visit Gedhun had been refused by Chinese authorities, Mr Doek said, adding that such a visit would allow "the claims of the Chinese authorities about the well being of this child" to be confirmed. "In view of the refusal of the authorities to allow such an independent visit, it would seem that something is wrong," he said, again asking Beijing to permit a trip. The Chinese delegation, led by Beijing's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Sha Zhukang, told the committee that the child and his family "do not wish to be disturbed by foreign visitors because that could have negative effects". Gedhun was a Tibetan child like any other, who was in secondary school and received good results, the Chinese delegation said.

Chinese vice president meets British Princess Anne
2005-09-21 People's Daily
Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong met with visiting British Princess Anne in Beijing Tuesday, calling for the two sides to make further efforts to push forward China-UK relations. Zeng expressed his appreciation of the contributions made by the British royal family, saying the princess's China visit will further improve the bilateral friendly exchanges and cooperation. China and the United Kingdom witnessed good momentum of growth in bilateral relations in recent years and progress has been scored in various fields of cooperation, the Chinese vice president said, noting that China and the UK will host the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games respectively, which offers opportunities for the two sides to consolidate cooperation. "I hope the Beijing and London Olympic Games will become two of the most wonderful sports events with their own characteristics", Zeng said. Princess Anne, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, agreed with Zeng's views on the current UK-China relations, expressing her belief that the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 will be a successful one and the UK is willing to strengthen exchanges of experience and cooperation in concerned fields. The two sides also exchanged views on issues of children protection, education and social welfare. Princess Anne arrived in China on Tuesday, kicking off her first China visit from Sept.20 -24, at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Luxembourg plans to establish consulate-general in Shanghai
2005-09-21 Xinhuanet
Luxembourg plans to establish a consulate-general in Shanghai, said visiting President of the Parliament of Luxembourg Lucien Weiler here Wednesday. "We determined to establish it in Shanghai next year so as to further promote the economic and trade cooperation with China," hesaid during a meeting with Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The trade volume between China and Luxembourg from this Januaryto July reached 1.5 billion US dollars, which is equal to the total of the trade volumes in 2004. Weiler said Luxembourg hopes its economic and trade cooperation with China "would be better" in the years to come. Wu expressed welcome to the establishment of the consulate-general, saying the foreign ministries of the two countries have started handling this matter. He said Sino-Luxembourg relations have maintained good momentum for development although the two countries have different situations. He stressed the two countries could further cooperation in the areas on finance, iron, and satellites. The Chinese top legislator also said the NPC would like to promote legislative and supervision cooperation with the Luxembourg parliament, as well as the exchanges between the parliament leaders and special committees. ()

 

Domestic Policy

National holiday travellers to reach 370 million
2005-09-22 Xinhuanet
About 370 million people will travel around the week-long national holiday from Oct. 1 to 7, according to transport ministries here Thursday. The Ministry of Communications said about 330 million people will travel by roadways, up three percent year-on-year. The ministry said it had urged local transport departments and companies to ensure a safety transport during the holidays.

Past natural disaster tolls will remain in the past
2005-09-23 SCMP
Beijing will not revise or offer new information about death tolls from past natural disasters despite no longer considering the numbers state secrets, a senior official said yesterday. The announcement last week the figures were now declassified sparked hope the central government might finally disclose the number of people who died in the Great Famine, from 1959-61. But Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs Jia Zhibang said that was not on the agenda. "As for the figures of natural disasters in the past, we will not make any revision," Mr Jia said. "Some of these have not been publicised, while some have." () The central government has always denied human error played any part in the Great Famine and refers to it as "three years of natural disasters". A report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences put the death toll at 15 million, but some scholars estimate it could have reached 80 million. The national death toll from natural calamities this year, up to Tuesday, stood at 1,630, Mr Jia said. In that period, 13.35 million people were displaced and 1.45 million houses destroyed by natural disasters including floods, droughts, typhoons and hailstorms, with total economic losses estimated at 163 billion yuan. ()

172 affected in Fujian cholera outbreak
2005-09-20 Xinhuanet
A total of 172 cholera cases have been found since August in East China's Fujian Province, the highest number in recent years. So far, there have been no deaths since the first case was found on August 12 in Fuzhou, capital of the province. The reported 172 cases include 137 in Fuzhou, and sporadic ones in a few other coastal areas, according to statistics from the Health Department of the Fujian provincial government. Up to now, 83 patients have recovered and been released from hospital. All other patients are in a stable condition. The incidence of the disease is higher than the same period in recent years, said health officials. Most patients said that they had eaten seafood in some small roadside restaurants. An initial investigation by the province's health and epidemic prevention departments agreed that the outbreak was caused by seafood, especially shellfish. The departments have been inspecting more than 100 kinds of seafood in the province in order to confirm the cause of the disease. To stop the disease spreading further, quarantine and inspection stations have been requested to enhance sanitation supervision for seafood in the markets and shut down restaurants without business licences. Meanwhile, the provincial health department also required relevant hospitals to strengthen the monitoring of diarrhoea cases and other suspected cases, and report disease updates to superior departments. ()

Officials fired for forced abortions
2005-09-21 Xinhuanet
Officials in Shandong Province were sacked and detained for forcing pregnant women to undergo abortions and for sterilizing couples. The dismissals and detentions were seen as a government push to improve official accountability. Yu Xuejun, spokesman for the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the authorities had launched an investigation after receiving complaints of forced abortions and sterilizations by family planning officials in Linyi City, Shandong Province this year. "According to the results of a preliminary investigation, some persons concerned in a few counties and townships under jurisdiction of Linyi did commit practices that violated the law while conducting family planning work," Yu said on the commission's Web site. "Currently, the responsible persons have been removed from their posts. Some of them are being investigated for liabilities and some have been detained," Yu said without giving a figure for officials sacked and detained. Yu urged commission staff to learn a lesson from the case and "correct any infringements on citizens' rights." China, now the world's most populous nation with 1.3 billion people, adopted the family planning policy more than two decades ago to slow down the population growth. Tuesday's admission of official wrongdoing came after a blind man surnamed Chen accused Linyi officials of forcing couples with two children to be sterilized and forcing women pregnant with a third child to undergo abortions. According to sources close to Chen who requested anonymity, Linyi police took into custody and beat up family members and neighbors of couples who had fled to avoid the forced procedures.

1,000 bombs unearthed, 281 with chemicals
2005-09-21 SCMP
A Japanese team working in Heilongjiang province has dug up another 1,000 bombs - including 281 with chemical payloads - abandoned by retreating imperial troops at the end of the anti-Japanese war, Tokyo officials said. The wartime bombs were found in a residential area of Yichun. No one was injured as residents had been evacuated before the site was excavated. The operation to clear the area was completed this month by a 30-strong team from Japan and about 100 Chinese workers, a Japanese government official said. Japan would dispose of the chemical weapons, with China getting rid of the rest, he said. Japan has vowed to clear China of all the estimated 2 million chemical ordnance it left behind after the war in the next two years.

 

Economy

Central bank to gradually lessen forex role
2005-09-23 China Daily
China's central bank will "gradually" lessen the degree to which it intervenes in foreign exchange markets, but is not certain the country's yuan currency is undervalued, a senior central bank official said in an interview published on Thursday. Gradually the (People's Bank of China) will carry out fewer and fewer interventions in the foreign exchange market and let the market decide," Hu Xiaolian, deputy governor at the central bank, told the publication "Emerging Markets." "The frequency and level of such interventions will be gradually decreased," she said. But Hu, who is also China's foreign exchange chief, added: "We think it's still an open question as to whether the (yuan) exchange rate is undervalued." In July, China ditched a decade-old policy of pegging the yuan to the U.S. dollar, revalued it by 2.1 percent and moved instead to a managed float. ()

 

North Korea

N. Korea asks UN to end humanitarian aid
2005-09-23 China Daily
North Korea said on Thursday it asked the United Nations to end all humanitarian aid because the country's food production had improved and the United States was politicizing the issue. Reuters reported. North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon told news agency reporters he made the request to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a meeting on Wednesday, saying a better harvest had eased the humanitarian situation. "We requested him to end humanitarian assistance by the end of this year," he said. "Particularly the United States attempted to politicize humanitarian assistance, linking it to the human rights issue."

 

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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