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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
  3.10-7.10.05, No. 83  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese, Bangladeshi leaders exchange congratulatory messages on 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties
2005-10-04 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao exchanged congratulations with his Bangladeshi counterpart Iazuddin Ahmed Tuesday on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two countries. In his message, Hu said the relationship between China and Bangladesh has registered all-round development in the three decades with both sides politically trusting each other and economically benefiting each other. It has turned into a model for nations with different social systems and cultural backgrounds to get along friendly. The Chinese government and people are ready to work with the Bangladeshi government and people to deepen the traditional friendship between the two sides, expand cooperation for mutual benefits and promote common development, Hu said. For his part, Ahmed said he believed Bangladeshi-China cooperation will be strengthened continuously in the future. It is in the interests of the peoples of the two countries and contributes to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

 

Domestic Policy

Typhoon Longwang kills 65, dozens missing
2005-10-05 Xinhuanet
The death toll from Typhoon Longwang in East China's Fujian Province reached 65 last night. Fifty armed police officers swept away in a landslide have been confirmed dead, while a further 36 officers are still missing, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The officers were in a training school barracks in Fujian when the violent floods struck on Sunday night. After 40 hours of searching by more than 7,000 soldiers and rescuers, 50 bodies had been found by yesterday afternoon. Of the 15 others killed by the typhoon, five died in landslides, five were swept away by floods and the remaining five were drowned. Apart from the havoc triggered by the typhoon, flooding has struck or is threatened along major tributaries of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers after sustained heavy rains since September 24. Around 79,000 people along the Weihe River in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province and 24,000 people near the Hanjiang River in Central China's Hubei Province have been evacuated, according to Xinhua. Flooding, which has already struck along the Weihe River, the biggest tributary of Yellow River, is said to be the most severe since 1981. Water levels along the tributary have exceeded danger levels, according to provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters. The water level at the Lintong measuring station was nearly 36 metres, the highest reading since 1961 and 1.58 metres above the danger level. On the Hanjiang River in Hubei Province, observers at the Danjiangkou Reservoir recorded a flow of 30,700 cubic metres per second, the highest since 1983. ()

Road accidents kill 133 during National Day holiday
2005-10-05 China Daily
At least 133 people were killed in 71 road accidents in China during the first four days of the weeklong National Day holiday beginning Oct. 1, the police said Tuesday. According to the Ministry of Public Security, 31 traffic accidents and 44 deaths were reported in the country from 12 a.m. Oct. 1 to 12 a.m. Oct. 2, and the figures were 32 and 68, and eight and 21 in the following two days, respectively. The number of people injured in the accidents is yet to be known. As most of the accidents took place on roads to tourist destinations, the traffic police in many places have taken measures to control the number of private cars heading for major tourist resorts to ensure smooth traffic flows in the scenic areas.

Flooding forces huge evacuation in Shaanxi
2005-10-07 Xinhuanet
About 286,000 have been evacuated from flood-hit regions in Shaanxi Province in Northwest China along the banks of tributaries of the Yangtze River and Yellow River the country's top two rivers. The provincial civil affairs department said that a total of 3.16 million people in the province have been affected by the floods along the Hanjiang River, tributary of the Yangtze River and Weihe River, tributary of the Yellow River. More than 45 counties in the province have been hit by the flood caused by continuous rainfall since late September. The flood in the Weihe River is said to be the most severe since 1981. Meanwhile, people in East China's Fujian Province have started reconstruction work following Typhoon Longwang, which claimed 65 lives and left 36 missing. Longwang, which landed in Fujian Sunday night and swept over the province for 10 hours, destroyed 5,500 houses, affected the normal lives of 3.71 million people, forced 186 highways in the province to close and 2,125 enterprises to stop production. In an effort to speed up the reconstruction work, the local government held emergency meetings and sent special working teams to different places to provide disaster relief. So far, almost all the telecommunication cables and stations damaged by Longwang have been restored thanks to timely repair work by local departments. Most of the scenic spots, roads and railways in the province have reopened. By yesterday, over 200,000 people had been evacuated to safe places and traffic in Fuzhou, capital of the province, had returned to normal. Walls of almost 50 schools in Fuzhou collapsed during the disaster, and local educational department organized rescue work to ensure students' safety. ()

454 officials punished for mining disasters
2005-10-01 Xinhuanet
Five ministerial officials head the list of 454 officials the Ministry of Supervision has disciplined for their involvement in 27 catastrophic coal mine disasters, it was announced on Friday. Since 2001, the ministry has solved 27 of the 36 cases of severe colliery accidents it has handled, each of which caused the death of more than 30 miners, said Li Zhilun, head of the nation's supervision watchdog. Besides the five ministerial officials, 60 heads of department (under a provincial government level) and 151 officials at the county level received punishment, Li said. "An additional 140 have been transferred to judicial departments for relevant disciplinary action," he added. Li's remarks appeared amidst a nationwide campaign to crack down on officials' illegal holding of stocks in coal mines investments regarded as a major factor in many accidents. Because of these business connections, blind eyes have often been turned to unsafe mines. As of Thursday, at least 300 officials in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region were confirmed to have withdrawn 33 million yuan (US$4 million) in investments from collieries. In addition, 497 officials in 27 provinces withdrew their investments by last week, Xinhua reported. ()

Second manned space flight set on October 13
2005-10-06 China Daily
China will launch its second manned space flight at 11:00 am (0300 GMT) on October 13. We expect (to launch the flight) on October 13 if weather permits," said Jiang Jingshan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering who was involved in the first flight. The launch date for Shenzhou VI could change according to weather conditions, Jiang said on local radio. He said two astronauts have been selected to orbit Earth for five days, expanding on the 21-hour flight of Shenzhou V which circled Earth 14 times in 2003. Jiang did not disclose the names of the astronauts who are expected to conduct experiments in the flight module and an orbital vehicle that will remain in space for months after the astronauts return to earth. The Shanghai Morning Post reported last month that Zhai Zhigang and Nie Haisheng were the likely candidates to be chosen to pilot the flight. It also reported the Shenzhou VI would take off from the Jiuquan launch center in northwest China's Gansu Province and is expected to land in the vast grassland in Inner Mongolia. The entire rocket, including the return capsule and an orbiting vehicle, has reportedly been assembled and is standing at the Jiuquan launch pad. China's first man in space Yang Liwei, who became a national hero and received rock star treatment after his Shenzhou V flight, was named as sole astronaut of the inaugural manned flight only hours before the launch. China, the third country to put a man in space following the former Soviet Union and the United States, hopes to launch a mission to probe the moon by 2007 and land an unmanned vehicle on it by 2017.

China calls for healthy international arms control
2005-10-06 People's Daily
The international community should strengthen co-operation to promote the healthy development of international arms control, disarmament and the non-proliferation process, says a top Chinese official. All three are at a crucial point, according to Hu Xiaodi, the Chinese ambassador on disarmament affairs. He was speaking at the general debate of the First Committee of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. On the one hand, he said, international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation still play an important role in safeguarding world peace and stability. But multilateral arms control and the disarmament process are also facing difficulties and challenges, he added. "It is the common and vital task of the international community to address these new threats and challenges, promote the healthy development of international arms control, disarmament and the non-proliferation process and build a new century of peace, justice, democracy and prosperity," Hu stressed. He called on the international community to implement new measures. These include security concepts focusing on equality, trust, mutual benefits and co-operation, and preserving the regime of international arms control. Other measures would be disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and a strengthening of multilateral arms control and disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Hu also said efforts should be made to resolve problems in those areas by political and diplomatic means within the existing framework of international law. He added that a multilateralism path should be followed to achieve common security. Hu stressed that China has always adopted a responsible attitude regarding international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, and said the nation promotes them. ()

Protesters demand freedom for leaders
2005-10-07 SCMP
Workers laid off by a steel plant in Chongqing continued a sit-in outside the municipal government headquarters yesterday to protest over the detention of eight of their leaders and the closure of the factory. One woman protester said they would not leave until their leaders had been released. "Many workers, including elderly people and women, are now kneeling down in front of the police office asking them to free the leaders," the woman worker said last night, adding that she would return and join the sit-in this morning. "We are protesting peacefully but the authorities have deployed over 1,000 policemen to drive us away and take away our leaders." The mass protests began in August after laid-off workers at the Chongqing Special Steel Plant claimed they had been told to stand down without compensation. The steel plant, formerly one of the mainland's top steel producers, had employed more than 18,000 people at its peak. But in July, the company declared bankruptcy after incurring debts of more than 4 billion yuan. On August 12 more than 2,000 laid-off workers reportedly occupied one of the main roads in the city, paralysing traffic. The protesters backed off about a week later when Chongqing officials said they would hold negotiations with the workers. However, the negotiations failed to yield a result and the workers resumed the protest last Tuesday. They claimed the factory was still refusing to pay each worker the 2,000 yuan in severance payment they were demanding. A 41-year-old woman alleged corrupt senior managers were to blame for the factory's failure. "These cadres spent 50 per cent of the company's revenue on their salaries and welfare," she said, adding that her family had worked for the factory for more than 50 years. "We all joined the company when we were kids but now we've got nothing at the end." ()

 

Taiwan

Chen offers arms brief to lawmakers
2005-10-04 SCMP
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian yesterday offered to brief the legislature to seek support for the controversial NT$380 billion ($88.7 billion) special arms budget in the face of mounting US pressure to complete the deal. But the opposition said this would be unnecessary and Mr Chen was no more of an expert on the deal than the defence minister. Speaking at a forum attended by political party leaders, including Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou, Mr Chen said cross-strait peace could be achieved only when Taiwan had the military capacity to match threats from the mainland. He said the island should rapidly upgrade because the balance had tilted towards the mainland. "[Mr Chen] is willing to deliver a report in the legislature on the arms deal that is related to national security and cross-strait peace. I am also willing to personally brief chairman Ma and other opposition leaders on this case," he said. If this happened, Mr Chen would become the first president to deliver policy in the legislature. Under the constitution, only the premier - who is appointed by the president - is obliged to deliver government policies to legislators and be queried by them. Mr Chen made a similar offer last September, but that lapsed after opposition legislators asked him to answer questions as well. Huang Yi-chiao, head of the opposition People First Party (PFP), said his party found Mr Chen's offer unnecessary. ()

 

Economy

Snow expected in Beijing for talks
2005-10-06 Xinhuanet
US Treasury Secretary John Snow will be in Asia next week for high-level talks in Japan and China including a meeting of the Group of 20 nations, the US Treasury said. Snow's week-long tour will start in Tokyo next Monday and Tuesday where he will hold talks with Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki on Japan's nascent economic recovery as well as regional economic issues. Snow will then travel to Shanghai for three days to meet senior Asian and US banking leaders based in the region. He will also visit the stock exchange and a new office for foreign exchange trading in China's financial hub. The US Treasury chief plans to witness the progress of China's economic reforms away from its booming coastal cities during a visit to the inland city of Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern Sichuan Province, before returning to Beijing for the G20. Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 club of major developing economies and rich nations are to hold talks on October 15-16 in Xianghe County, some 50 kilometres east of the Chinese capital. The G20 meeting is expected to be joined by US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who is scheduled to travel with Snow back to Beijing on October 16 for the annual talks of the Sino-US Joint Economic Commission. ()

US caution urged on textile issue
2005-10-07 People's Daily
A spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce Thursday urged the US Government to take a cautious and appropriate manner in handling the Sino-US textile trade issues. The statement was given after the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) announced Wednesday it had accepted petitions from the US textile industry to launch investigations into whether quotas should be imposed on 21 categories of clothing and textile imports from China. The spokesman said the move by the US side is against relevant rules of the World Trade Organization and expressed China's resolute opposition to it. CITA announced on Wednesday that it had accepted for review 13 textile and apparel safeguard petitions covering 21 categories. Nine of those petitions are reapplications for safeguards that previously have been implemented by the US Government, but are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The other four petitions are new cases. The spokesman expected the US Government would make a decision from the perspective of overall bilateral interests. The final decision will be made by January unless the US Government asks for further time to complete its investigation. While opposing the acceptance of new petitions, the spokesman also welcomes a decision by the United States to delay a finding on whether to set limits on four kinds of Chinese textile imports. CITA announced on September 30 that it is extending until November 30, 2005, the period for determination on whether to request consultations with China regarding imports of cotton and man-made fibre sweaters, cotton and man-made fibre dressing gowns, and robes, men's and boys' wool trousers, and knit fabric. "The US has not hesitated to use the textile safeguard mechanism as being permitted under China's WTO accession agreement; however, we are seeking a longer-term solution that will permit the orderly development of textile and apparel trade," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and CITA Chairman James C. Leonard III in a statement. "We have made progress in our consultations with the Chinese Government and will meet again soon to continue those consultations. Today's action demonstrates our intent to consult in good faith, but we will not accept a bad deal for the US industry." Negotiators from the United States and China reported progress last week in their fifth round of talks on reaching a comprehensive agreement to limit Chinese textile exports. Further talks are expected this month.

Japan ready to resume talks with China
2005-10-05 China Daily
Japan has proposed to China that working-level talks on undersea oil and gas deposits in a disputed area of the East China Sea resume on Oct. 19, Japan's trade minister said Tuesday. Shoichi Nakagawa gave no other details of the proposed talks, which would be the fourth round between the two sides in the past year. A ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Japan had not yet received a reply from China. The last round of talks ended inconclusively last week. "Japan wishes to deal with the issue in a calm way," Nakagawa later told a parliamentary committee. The two countries have been feuding over claims to undersea oil and gas deposits in the area and the delineation of their exclusive economic zones there. The clash is part of the overall troubled relationship between Japan and China. While economic ties between the two countries are extensive, territorial disputes and clashes over Japan's attitude toward its record during World War II continue to hamper political and diplomatic relations. Last month, Japan lodged a protest against China after Tokyo said it had confirmed that Beijing was extracting natural gas from the Tianwaitian oil field in the East China Sea. China said that it was within its rights to continue new gas drilling activity in the area. In the discussions held last week in Tokyo, Japan urged China to stop developing the disputed gas fields and called for joint Tokyo-Beijing exploitation of natural resources in the area. China said it would respond to Japan's proposals at the next meeting. Nakagawa also hinted that Tokyo would protect any Japanese companies that begin exploration in the region from a Chinese threat. "If a private company were to start activities in the area," Nakagawa said, "then the Japanese government has a responsibility to make sure it can carry out its work safely." ()

 

North Korea

Kim Jong-il inspects newly completed China-aided glass factory
2005-10-05 People's Daily
Kim Jong-il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), inspected the newly established Tae-an Friendship Glass Factory, which was built with aid from China. The factory, seen as "a symbol of the DPRK-China friendship", covers hundreds of thousands of square meters and owns a big production capacity. All the main production processes and auxiliary facilities are equipped with the latest technologies. Kim expresses the satisfaction that the glass factory had been completed in a short span of time due to the high-pitched drive waged by builders of the two countries. He said DPRK people feel grateful for Chinese people's disinterested and fraternal friendship, and will cherish the great friendship. The factory, situated on the bank of the Taedong River, was designed with a daily capacity of 300 tons of float glass.

 

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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