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
  21.11-25.11.05, No. 90  
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Foreign Policy

FM: Bush's visit advances Sino-US ties
2005-11-22- Xinhuanet
US President George W. Bush's three-day visit to Beijing offered him an opportunity to know more about China and the importance of Sino-US ties, Chinese officials said. "President Bush's visit has greatly increased mutual understanding, deepened mutual trust and strengthened co-operation between China and the United States," Yang Jiechi, vice-minister of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told China Daily yesterday. "Frequent exchanges of visits between top leaders of the two countries are conducive to expanding common interests and promoting a win-win situation of mutual benefit." () During his 40-hour stay in Beijing, Bush held talks with President Hu Jintao and met with Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday. After being told by Wen that China needs to create about 25 million job opportunities each year for its 1.3 billion people, Bush said he completely understands it is not easy to manage such a large and populous country as China. "We have a complex relationship, and it's a really important relationship," Bush said, according to the transcript posted on the website of the White House. "I mean China is a big, growing, strong country. And it's very important for me to maintain a good working relationship with the leadership here." Yang revealed that both sides have already started preparations for President Hu's scheduled visit to the United States early next year.

US denies new containment policy against China
2005-11-24 People's Daily
US State Department's deputy spokesman Adam Ereli announced on Nov. 21 at a press conference that the editorial carried on New York Times on Nov. 19, which says the Bush administration adopts a new containment policy against China, misinterprets Washington's China policy. While answering questions from Xinhua, Ereli said that the United States acknowledge China's status as a rising power and it is better to regard China as a partner in many fields than as a rival. The United States welcomes China to enter the international system, playing an active and constructive role in maintaining world security and prosperity. Ereli noted that the speech President Bush delivered in Kyoto, Japan and that by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in front of the National Committee on United States-China Relations in New York could help further understand US China policy. Ereli added that some actions, decisions as well as policies do have aroused US attention and the US government stands for a settlement of such issues through constructive dialogs. While delivering a speech on US-China relations on Sept. 21, Zoellick pointed out that China has undergone rapid economic development and people around the world feel the existence of China everyday. He said the United States wishes to intensify cooperation with China and hopes China adapt itself to the international rules that have come into being in the past century but also embrace challenges in the new century along with the United States and other countries.

Chinese premier to visit 5 countries in Europe, Asia
2005-11-25 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia from Dec. 4 to 15, Foreign Ministry announced Thursday. Premier Wen will also attend the ninth Summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ninth ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea Summit and the First East Asian Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular press briefing. Wen was invited by French Prime Minister Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin, Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Liu said.

Mongolian president to visit China
2005-11-23 Xinhuanet
President Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia will pay a state visit to China from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said here Tuesday at a routine press conference.

Chinese FM holds talks with Argentine counterpart
2005-11-25 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks Thursday with Rafael Bielsa, foreign minister of Argentina. The two officials exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Both said they would further carry out the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries on establishing and developing China-Argentina strategic partnership. They also vowed to work together to promote bilateral friendly cooperation in various spheres. Bielsa is in China for a working visit from Nov. 23 to 25 at the invitation of Li.

China pledges to minimize impact of river pollution on Russia
2005-11-24 Xinhuanet
China pledged on Thursday it will try its utmost to minimize the impact of northeast China's Songhua River pollution on the neighboring Russia, including intensifying monitoring and water quality control measures. "China is very concerned about the possible hazards to Russia and has informed its neighbor several times of the pollution," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a press conference. "Both have pledged to cooperate closely to handle the pollution." At another press conference Thursday, a senior official with China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said the Chinese side will keep informing the Russian side of what it has learnt from our monitoring. "The two sides are making specific arrangements for opening a hotline for the matter," said Zhang Lijun, deputy director of SEPA. He said the polluted water in the Songhua River, which reached Heilongjiang provincial capital Harbin on Thursday morning, is expected to flow into the Heilongjiang River (called the Amur River in Russia) on the Sino-Russian border in around 14 days judging from the current flow speed. Experts estimate that around 100 tons of pollutants containing benzene has flown into the Songhua River, caused by a Nov. 13 explosion at an upstream chemical plant of the Jilin Petrochemical Company under the China National Petroleum Corp. It has compelled cities along the river to suspend water taking from the river for various periods. Harbin, a city of more than 3 million residents, stops drawing water from the Songhua River for four days starting Wednesday. Zhang said as the polluted water flows downstream, the densityof pollutants has markedly subsided. Some has deposited and some has been absorbed along the way. The pollutants, stretching around 80 kilometers long, will be further diluted after they pass Harbin in around 40 hours as several major tributaries are to join the Songhua River. The content of nitrobenzene in the polluted water exceeded the national safe standard by 29.9 times and that of benzene 2.6 times when it passed Zhaoyuan from Nov. 20 to 22. When the polluted water flowed further downstream, the content of nitrobenzene was reduced further to only about 10.7 times of above the national standard and that of benzene 0.08 times of the national standard, he said. Measures already taken by the local governments include blocking the entry of pollutants, discharging more water from two reservoirs to dilute the pollutants, organizing experts to study control measures and enhancing monitoring work, part of the environmental emergency response mechanism activated shortly afterthe explosion. Chinese leaders have shown keen concern over the incident. Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered the environmental department and regional governments to take effective measures to guarantee the safety of potable water, beefing up monitoring work and providing accurate information. The State Council has dispatched an expert group, headed by director of the National Bureau of Production Safety Supervision and Administration Li Yizhong, to Harbin to handle the accident.()

China congratulates Germany on formation of new govt
2005-11-23 Xinhuanet
China congratulates Germany on the official establishment of a new government under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said here Wednesday. Merkel was elected the first female chancellor in Germany on Tuesday by winning 397 votes from the 612 parliament members. Liu said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has sent a congratulation message to Merkel for her assumption of office. "Merkel said that the new government would carry on German government's positive policy toward China. We highly appreciates that," Liu said. China and Germany have maintained sound relations over the past years, he said. During Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Germany earlier this month, the two countries reached extensive consensus on expanding their cooperation in various fields, Liu said. "China believes both itself and Germany are influential countries in the world and their respective regions, they have broad fields and great potentials of cooperation," Liu said. China is willing to make joint efforts with Germany to further strengthen Sino-German ties, he said.

FM spokesman: 2nd phase of 5th round of 6-party talks unlikely next week
2005-11-23 People's Daily
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing Tuesday that it's unlike to kick off another session of six-party talks next week due to time and technical reasons. Liu made the remarks at a regular press conference held here Tuesday. All the involved parties to the talks have agreed, after the first phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks, to hold a second one as soon as possible, he said, yet the specific time for it needs to be set in the light of more consultations among the parties. Liu stressed that China would keep close contact with the other five parties and listen to their opinions and suggestions. He said the all opinions and suggestions of the involved parties would be taken into consideration on deciding how to push forward the next session of the talks and implement the joint document. ()

Protest lodged over Nagoya consulate attack
2005-11-22 China Daily
China has lodged a protest with Japan over an incident last week in which a self-proclaimed rightist sprayed a fire extinguisher at the Chinese Consulate in Nagoya, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. China demands a "severe punishment" for the man who sprayed the 10-storey building in Nagoya's Naka Ward on Friday, Liu Jianchao said at a press briefing. China also wants Japan to take more measures to protect Chinese institutions and citizens in Japan, he said. "We strongly denounce this act of destruction by a Japanese rightist," Liu said. Measures to protect Chinese interests in Japan should "prevent this kind of thing from happening again," he said. The suspected sprayer, 24-year-old Yoichi Mishina of Gifu Prefecture, allegedly said he belonged to a rightist group and wanted to express opposition to the consulate, which was set up in October. No one was hurt in the attack. The consulate in the Japanese industrial center is expected to facilitate trade with China, particularly between Toyota Motor Corp.'s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture and its partners in China. It also will look after 4,000 Chinese students in Nagoya. Rightists have blared messages at the consulate from sound trucks on other occasions.

Chinese naval fleet leaves Pakistan
2005-11-24 Xinhuanet
A Chinese naval fleet left the southern Pakistani port of Karachi on Thursday morning following a three-day friendly visit to Pakistan. The Chinese fleet of a Shenzhen missile destroyer and a Weishanhu ocean supplier was piloted out of the Karachi port by a Pakistani destroyer. Those present at the sent-off ceremony by the shipside were Pakistani Comcoast Rear Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed, Chinese Consul General in Karachi Sun Chunye and Military Attache at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad Li Mengyan. During their stay in Karachi, the Chinese navy visiting group, led by Rear Admiral Han Linzhi, received warm welcome by their Pakistani counterpart and the local people. The group visited the museum, the shipyard, the training base and the college of the Pakistani navy. The group also laid a wreath to the tomb of the Pakistani founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistani naval officers visited the Shenzhen missile destroyer and the Weishanhu ocean supplier and had a get-together on the Shenzhen missile destroyer on Tuesday. The two navies had friendly games of football and basketball. After leaving Karachi, the two navies are to hold their first-ever joint exercises in the Arabian sea, mainly in areas of search and rescue.

Chinese ship sinks in Vietnam, 13 missing
2005-11-25 Xinhuanet
A Chinese cargo ship sank in Vietnam's sea waters, leaving 13 Chinese sailors missing, while nine others rescued, according to the Chinese General Consulate in the country's southern Ho Chi Minh City on Friday. The ship Anjin carrying 5,000 tons of steel and cast iron departing from Shanghai city for Singapore sank 135 nautical milesoff southern Vung Tau coast on Nov. 22 due to strong winds. Two petroleum services ships operating nearby rescued nine sailors. The nine people have been taken to the southern city of Vung Tau. After being informed about the accident, the consulate has done rescue and assistance works. Its officials visited the rescued sailors on Thursday. Rescuers are searching for the 13 missing people.

UN torture rapporteur visits China's prisons, praising openess
2005-11-23 Xinhuanet
Manfred Novak, the special rapporteur on torture of the UN Human Rights Commission, arrived in China on Monday for a visit which will last until Dec. 2, spokesman Liu Jianchao with Foreign Ministry said at yesterday's regular briefing. Liu told the regular press conference that the rapporteur on torture is a special procedure under the UN Commission on Human Rights, and China attaches importance to Novak's visit to China. Manfred Novak, the UN Human Rights Commission's special rapporteur on torture, said Beijing had offered him freer access to detainees than the United States was prepared to give him on a recently scrapped trip to Guantanamo Bay. Aside from prisons in Beijing, Nowak will visit Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region before going onto Urumqi and Yining in the Uyghur Muslim-populated Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Liu expressed the hope that Novak's visit can further increase mutual understanding and strengthen bilateral cooperation. It is believed that through joint efforts, his visit can achieve the desired results on the basis of mutual respect, Liu noted. Nowak arrived in Beijing Monday for an unprecedented trip after receiving government assurances it would cooperate with him and allow him unannounced visits to prisons and private talks with prisoners. "I'm very grateful to the Chinese government that they did invite me and also that they accepted my terms of reference," he said on the BBC. "I see this as an opening up of governmental policy in relation to UN special procedures and I had very good first meetings (on Monday) with the officials from the ministries of foreign affairs and justice." The visit by Nowak, who is the first special rapporteur on torture to visit China, comes after years of negotiations between the UN and China on allowing unfettered access to prisons, private talks with detainees and no retaliation on prisoners. Nowak said that the terms of reference for his visit to China were better than what the United States had offered on a proposed visit to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where prisoners from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being held. "It was made clear by the Pentagon that they would not be willing to accept my terms of reference, so there was no other option than to finally cancel the mission," Nowak said. ()

 

Domestic Policy

70% of rivers, lakes polluted in China
2005-11-24 People's Daily
China has 70 percent of its rivers contaminated and 75 percent over-enriched, according to information from a symposium in east China's Jiangxi Province Wednesday. Currently, most of China's rivers are menaced with shrinkage, disfunction, contamination and other problems like a decrease of swamps, said Chen Bangzhu, director with the population, resources and environment committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the First National Inland Lakes Symposium Wednesday. The worsening conditions of these endangered rivers are caused by a booming economy, the expansion of population and irrational development, Chen acknowledged. Apart from that, other causes also contribute, such as lack of supporting laws, inadequacy of concerned surveillance departments. Without scientific guidance, some rivers are polluted with illegal discharge of waste and overuse of fertilizers. A ready consequence looming ahead is a shortage of fresh water and frequent floods and droughts. Inland lakes are important resources. The Tai Lake area in Jiangsu Province, for instance, known as an area teeming with fish and rice, nurtures 3 percent of China's population with its 0.4 percent of the country's territory.

China confirms new human bird flu case
2005-11-23 Xinhuanet
China's Ministry of Health on Wednesday confirmed another human case of H5N1 bird flu in east China's Anhui Province. This is the third confirmed human case of bird flu reported in China. A 35-year-old woman farmer surnamed Xu in Xiuning County of Anhui developed fever and pneumonia-like symptoms on Nov. 11 after contacts with sick and dead poultry. She died on Nov. 22. Tests of the woman were H5N1 positive, said China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The ministry has reported the new confirmed case to the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the WHO Beijing Office. It has also informed Hong Kong, Macao and some other countries. China on Nov. 16 confirmed first two human cases and one suspected case of H5N1 bird flu. The two confirmed cases involve a nine-year-old boy in Xiangtan County of Hunan Province, central China, and a 24-year-old woman farmer in Zongyang County of Anhui Province in the east. The boy has been discharged from hospital after recovery. The woman died on Nov. 10. The boy's 12-year-old sister, who had similar symptoms as her brother and died on Oct. 17, was reported at meantime as a suspected human case. "There is no proof of human-to-human transmission of bird flu in the world so far," Chen Xianyi, head of the contingency office of the Ministry of Health, told Xinhua in an interview. China has reported 24 bird flu outbreaks this year and has culled millions of poultry and intensified prevention and control efforts. Vice Minister of Agriculture Yin Chengjie said Monday that China is facing a "severe" situation in fighting bird flu. The government vowed last week to vaccinate all its 14 billion poultry to fight the epidemic. On Tuesday, the State Food and Drug Administration approved its home-made human bird flu vaccine for clinical test, saying pre-clinical trials show the vaccine is fairly safe and effective. The country "will step up efforts in order to resolve this bird flu issue," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Tuesday's news briefing.

Woman dies of bird flu, vaccine trials 'within days'
2005-11-24 China Daily
As China reported its third case of human bird flu yesterday, the only company in the nation approved to test a vaccine for humans said that clinical trials on volunteers would start in days. () Meanwhile, a new bird flu outbreak was reported in Miquan of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Ministry of Agriculture said last night. More than 2,000 chickens were killed by the deadly H5N1 virus on November 15. So far 84,000 poultry have been culled to curb the spread of the disease. As fears of person-to-person transmission grow with each new case of human or poultry infection, Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd said it would be the first company in Asia to begin human testing after it won fast-track State approval for the trials on Tuesday. The State Food and Drug Administration, the country's drug watchdog, has approved the first phase of trials, company spokesperson Lu Zhenyou told China Daily. It might take at least a year before the "pandemic influenza vaccine" finishes its two-phase clinical trials, Lu said. Sinovac and a group of experts were putting the final touches on the clinical trial plan involving 100 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60, Lu said. Pre-clinical trials have proved the vaccine is safe and effective, experts at the drug regulator said. When approved, the vaccine will first be used on high-risk groups such as veterinary and laboratory workers and poultry farmers in afflicted regions, Lu said.

Xinjiang reports 7th outbreak in 10 days
2005-11-25 People's Daily
Northwest China yesterday reported an outbreak of bird flu the seventh in less than 10 days as the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would send a team to an eastern Chinese province where a woman was confirmed killed by the infection. The latest outbreak struck a family farm in Turpan city of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and killed 11 birds on November 17. The deaths were caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, the Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday, citing test results from the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory. The seven outbreaks reported since November 15 make Xinjiang the most-afflicted area in the country, experts said. Three of the outbreaks occurred in or around Urumqi, the regional capital, according to the ministry's website. The ministry and the local government were handling the latest outbreak in accordance with emergency plans, officials said. Veterinary workers culled 5,180 poultry within a 3-kilometre radius of the outbreak site in line with standard practice, the ministry said in a statement. The WHO, in response to Wednesday's report that a second person had died of H5N1 in Anhui Province, yesterday said the organization would most likely send an investigation team there next week. The WHO has already secured permission to investigate the first human death in the province a 24-year-old woman farmer in Zongyang County earlier this month. "Now that the second case occurred, it's very likely this will be also part of the Anhui mission," Roy Wadia, a WHO spokesman, said last night. ()

Coal mine flooding accident traps 17 in N. China city
2005-11-25 Xinhuanet
Seventeen miners were confirmed trapped underground in a coal mine flooding accident that occurred on Thursday morning in Wu'an City, north China's Hebei Province, local government sources said on Friday. At around 10 o'clock on Thursday morning, Gaocun Coal Mine at Shangtuancheng Township of Wu'an City was flooded when 17 miners were working underground. The accident trapped all the 17, who might manage to escape to a higher ground in the laneway of the shaft. Rescuers said the workers still have chance to survive. The coal mine is a legitimate one with its owner holding a certificate for mining, government sources said. The rescue work is still underway.

"Snakeheads" more cunning: officials
2005-11-22 Xinhuanet
More than 4,000 people who tried to illegally exit or enter China were arrested in the first half of this year, prompting authorities to signal their concern about human smugglers, called "snakeheads", who are becoming more and more cunning. During the first half of 2005, statistics indicated that the exit and entry administration departments arrested 4,174 people in illegal attempts to enter or exit the country, and nabbed 95 suspects who organized, transported and helped illegal emigrants. The figure for 2005 is expected to be higher than that of the previous year, which witnessed the seizure of 5,975 suspects in total. "High intelligence, international collaboration and migration in groups are the three major traits of current illegal immigration crimes in China," Cui Zhikun, director of the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration of the Ministry of Public Security, said yesterday. To effectively combat illegal immigration, the director told reporters that China has set out to share information and co-ordinate work with its counterparts in the United States, France, Britain and the International Organization of Police. The economic gap serves as a driving force behind illegal immigration, said Cui, adding that Chinese emigrants mainly select European and American countries as their destinations. Illegal immigrants commonly use fake visas and passports after leaving the border with genuine ones. People also immigrate illegally by taking advantage of tours and work opportunities outside of the country and by studying abroad, according to Cui. The ministry also publicized yesterday several major illegal immigration cases that have been uncovered so far this year. ()

China may revise 'green card' procedures
2005-11-23 China Daily
Procedures for granting permanent-resident status to foreigners akin to the "green card" in the United States may be revised, a senior official said yesterday. "We've heard complaints that the existing requirements for foreigners to get permanent residence in China are too stringent, and we're studying possible changes," Cui Zhikun, director of the Bureau of Exit-Entry Administration of the Ministry of Public Security, said in Beijing. He declined to reveal details, only noting that any change would not take place in the next few months. According to stipulations implemented since last August, foreigners eligible for permanent residence are those who: hold senior posts in China make large direct investment in China made outstanding contributions or are of special importance to China live in China with their families for more than five years. Holders of permanent-residence cards are allowed to live in the country for any length of time and travel in and out without visas. Bureau figures show that only 687 foreigners of the 1,835 who applied were granted permanent residence. There are about 260,000 foreigners holding stable jobs, according to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. ()

China to revise patent Law
2005-11-24 Xinhuanet
China's Patent Law will see its third round of changes as the country seeks to iron out problems in the legislation and patent system, a move that is being called "imperative," and timely, reported Thursday's China Daily. The amendment also aims to meet the challenges from new developments after it joined the World Trade Organization, according to Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Tian said research on the amendment has begun early this year, and the National People's Congress will announce the revised sections next year. "I hope the amendment can be completed by 2008," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. Changes in the past four years have brought about many new problems to the Patent Law and even the nation's patent system, Tian said. The revisions are also expected to better balance the interests of patent holders and the public, and to safeguard national interests and economic security, said the paper. The sections that are likely to be revised will include how to simplify patent application and examination procedures, whether to adopt international standards in granting patents, and how to improve patent protection and infringement judgment standards. SIPO also suggested adding some rules in the Patent Law to protect China's biological and genetic resources. According to Tian, the strategy will cover all aspects of Intellectual property right, including patent, trademarks and copyrights.

26 laws on environmental protection enacted
2005-11-21 Xinhuanet
China's top legislature, or the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), has approved 13 international conventions on environmental protection and enacted 26 laws in this respect over the last 20 years. The figures were released from an on-going international forum on environmental protection legislation and sustainable development, sponsored by the NPC's Environment and Resources Protection Committee. Mao Rubai, chairman of the NPC's Environment and Resources Protection Committee, said China would further improve the legislation on environmental protection in the future so as to promote sustainable development. He noted that the legislation objectives will be shifted from the protection of certain aspects of the environment to the protection of the whole ecological system. Recycling economy, biological diversity. resources saving and poisonous waste disposal will become the legislation focus in the future, Mao said. Officials from a dozen countries including China, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany and Australia, attended the forum.

Poll: 1 in 8 of young is Net addict in China
2005-11-23 China Daily
If you are happier in the virtual world rather than in the real one, if you feel frustrated or at a loss when you can't access the Net, and if your cyber life intrudes on your work, study or personal relationships, beware: You are an Internet addict. According to a major survey released yesterday, more than 13 per cent of Chinese youths and young adults are addicted to the Internet. The poll, however, did not give the number of addicts. At the end of July, the number of Chinese Web-surfers was 103 million, including 15.8 per cent under the age of 18, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. The latest survey, conducted by the China Youth Association for Network Development (CYAND), interviewed people aged 13-35 in 30 major Chinese cities 26 provincial capitals and the four municipalities. CYAND is a group associated with the Communist Youth League of China, and promotes healthy Internet usage among the young. About 22,500 valid replies were collected from schools, Internet cafes or through the Internet since August, making the survey the biggest of its kind in the country. The survey shows 17 per cent of male Internet users are addicts, compared with 10 per cent for females. Most addicts are aged 13-17, and they are either junior high school or vocational school students, or the jobless. For example, 23.2 per cent of junior high school students are considered Internet addicts. Government employees, on the other hand, are the least addicted, accounting for only 9 per cent of their group. About 42 per cent of addicts are attracted to online games while the figure for non-addicts is only 24 per cent. Only 35 per cent of addicts use the Net to get information, while the figure is 52 per cent for non-addicts. Beijing high school student Xiao Lin is a typical addict, according to criteria devised by CYAND. ()

 

Tibet

Panchen Lama holds worship ceremony in Tibet
2005-11-21 People's Daily
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, held a worship ceremony at Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, located in Xigaze, Tibet, on Sunday after his 20-day closed-door religious retreat. The 11th Panchen Lama, dressed in a white cassock and a red crown drawing the images of five buddhas of the Tibetan Buddhism, presided the ceremony, which started at 10:45 a.m. After chanting the Tibetan Buddhist scripture, the 11th PanchenLama lit a fire before his throne. He threw the offerings into the fire and added butter oil to the fire to make it burn well in the hope of dispelling all diseases and devils. The ceremony lasted for 90 minutes and many senior lamas attended it. The 11th Panchen Lama will study the Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and give blessings to pilgrims by touch their heads in the next few days.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan to start first ever "three-in-one" election
2005-11-22 Xinhuanet
The "Central Election Commission" of the Taiwan authorities on Tuesday announced a candidate list for the island's election of county heads, county councilors and village heads. It is the first time for the island to put the election of county heads, county councilors and village heads in one election. The election will be held in December. The so called "three-in-one" election aims to economize election costs, according to the Taiwan authorities. Statistics offered by the "Central Election Commission" showed that the Taiwan authorities spent more than 13.1 billion New Taiwan dollars (409 million US dollars) holding a total of 21 elections over the past ten years. Although three elections integrated in one, the island's election atmosphere is still crazy. News of the election, candidate introductions and election analysis are frequently seen on local newspapers and TV programs. Candidates' photos and posters with their competition slogans were put up along the streets. There are also reports of corruption. At present, 12 candidates are sued for being suspected of taking bribes for more votes.

Vatican 'would find a way' to keep ties with Taiwan
2005-11-23 SCMP
A senior Vatican official, whose visit to Taiwan prompted speculation that the Holy See may soon break ties with the island, said yesterday the Vatican would not abandon Taiwan even if it opens an embassy on the mainland. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, a former Vatican foreign minister, said the Holy See would find an "appropriate way" to maintain ties with Taiwan. "When religious freedom is realised in China, then the Holy See is ready to change the nature of relations with Taiwan," Cardinal Tauran said in Taipei. "If and when the normalisation [of relations with China] happens, the Holy See will not abandon Taiwan," said Cardinal Tauran, who is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian during his week-long stay. He did not elaborate, but added the Holy See never took the initiative to break diplomatic relations with its allies. "The Pope is the father of the Catholic family, he will not abandon the sons and daughters of his family in Taiwan. This does not make sense," Cardinal Tauran said. Last month Pope Benedict's top diplomat said the Holy See was always ready to end relations with Taiwan and return its embassy to Beijing, but that China must respect religious freedom and treat the Vatican fairly.

 

Economy

China to triple trade volume with Africa, double investment
2005-11-24 People's Daily
Visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Huang Ju announced an ambitious plan Wednesday in Madagascar to triple China's trade volume with Africa to 100 billion US dollars in five years by encouraging imports, and at the same time double its direct investment in the continent. These efforts are intended to "beef up economic cooperation and promote common development" with Africa, Huang told an economic forum attended by Madagascan Prime Minister Jacques Sylla and more than 300 business people from the two countries. With solid foundations of traditional friendship and smooth development of bilateral ties, especially the rapid increase of trade in recent years, China is eyeing a new era of cooperative relations with Africa, Huang said. He put forward a package of proposals on Sino-African economic cooperation at the meeting sponsored by commerce and trade ministries of the two countries. Huang said China will continue to work with African countries to optimize trade structure and encourage its companies to increase import from the continent, striving to lift its current annual trade volume with Africa from more than 30 billion US dollars to 100 billion US dollars in five years. He also said China will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Africa, and double its total amount of direct investment in the next five years. China will also work for more cooperation in financial services with African nations to better facilitate investment and trade. ()

Australia, China to start full talks on FTA, says Australian trade minister
2005-11-23 People's Daily
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Mark Vaile said on Tuesday in Canberra that Australia and China are ready to engage in full talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) after negotiators for both countries effectively working through preliminary issues. Vaile made the statements when addressing the Australia-China Business Council in Perth, capital city of the state of Western Australia. He said the two countries are moving closer to a free trade deal after working through several difficult areas. Australian Associated Press quoted Vaile as saying that although negotiations, which started earlier this year, were at an early stage, they had progressed well. "We have gained a better understanding of how each other's trade and investment regimes work," he said. "For our part, it has taken us some time to understand fully how the Chinese system works in the areas that most interest us. The Chinese regulatory environment is complex and opaque," he said. "We are now, however, in a position to talk in more detail about the shape of a possible final agreement," he said. "We will then be able to move on to detailed market access negotiations," he said. However, Vaile cautioned that a full deal could still be some time off. He also mentioned that Australia is looking to get better tariff rate quotas on agriculture and lower tariffs, better customs procedures on manufactured goods.

China denies ordering bullet trains
2005-11-23 People's Daily
The Ministry of Railways Tuesday denied that China will order 60 high-speed trains from a Japanese consortium after a Japanese news agency reported that China was close to sealing a deal. "We also learnt of the news from the media report," said a press official from the railways, refusing to comment further. Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported on Monday that China is moving closer to placing an order with a Japanese consortium for 60 high-speed trains for a new railway system after doing the same with a German group earlier this month. The Japanese high-speed trains will be modelled after East Japan Railway Co's "Hayate" Shinkansen trains, and their orders will be placed with the six-company group, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the Japanese news agency quoted an anonymous industry source as saying. The article said Kawasaki had no immediate comment on the reported deal, the value of which was not specified. The Hayate-model bullet trains, which run in northern Japan, were introduced in 2002 and operate at a speed of about 275 kilometres per hour. China is preparing for the construction of 2,000 kilometres of high-speed rails by 2020, and competition for the projects is becoming increasingly fierce among Japan's Shinkansen, France's TGV and Germany's ICE trains with the most advanced high-speed rail technology available in the world. Germany-based Siemens AG last week won a contract to supply 60 high-speed trains to China and put the value of its deal at 669 million euros (US$785 million) during a state visit to Germany by President Hu Jintao.

Boeing signs US$4b deal for 70 aircraft
2005-11-21 China Daily
US aerospace giant Boeing yesterday signed a mega deal worth US$4 billion to supply 70 aircraft to eight Chinese airlines, one of the biggest purchases in China's civil aviation history. The signing coincided with a three-day visit by US President George W. Bush to Beijing, which ends today. Insiders say the order will help increase Boeing's dominance over European rival Airbus in the world's fastest-growing major aviation market. The aircraft manufacturer will deliver the single-aisle 737-700 and 737-800 models to eight major Chinese airlines between 2006 and 2008, said Boeing China spokesman George Liu. The signing in Beijing is part of a broader deal to supply 150 737 aircraft, but the agreement on the other 80 planes will be after 2008 and has not yet been finalized, Liu told China Daily. The companies to receive the 70 aircraft are Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines. Since China bought the first Boeing B707s in the 1970s, the total number of the US maker's aircraft serving Chinese airlines has reached 534, or two-thirds of China's fleet, said Yang Guoqing, vice-minister of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) at the signing ceremony. China is expected to become the world's second largest aviation market only after the United States in two decades in terms of the number of passengers and tonnes of cargo flown. Boeing has forecast that the country's aviation industry will need more than 2,600 new planes quadrupling its current fleet worth US$213 billion over the next 20 years. The US company claims it holds around 62 per cent of China's aviation market while Airbus is reported to hold a 28-per cent share. Airbus signed a US$1.5 billion deal on September 6 to supply China Southern Airlines with 10 A330 jets; Earlier in July, Air China signed a contract to buy 20 A330s for US$3.1 billion. China is in a rush to build and expand its airports and fleets to cope with growing passenger traffic. ()

 

Mongolia

Bush visits Ulaanbaatar
2005-11-24 UB Post
MONGOLIA offers the world an example of successful transition from communism to freedom, according to U.S. President George W. Bush's televised address to the people of Mongolia on Monday. On the final leg of his Asia trip, Bush paid a four hour visit to Mongolia at the invitation of his counterpart in Ulaanbaatar, President N.Enkhbayar. () The two presidents reaffirmed the friendship between their countries and promised to define guiding principles for the international relationship. They also committed to expanding the framework of the two countries' partnership, which they have said is based on shared values and common strategic interests. Bush encouraged Mongolia's progress toward becoming a mature and stable democracy that respects human rights, civil liberties, and a free-market economy led by the private sector. Bush congratulated the people of Mongolia for becoming eligible for the Millennium Challenge Account, and he said he looked forward to assisting as Mongolia continues to bring about reform. Corruption was one of the specific reforms that Bush mentioned during his visit. Mindful that rule of law, good governance, transparency, and public sector accountability play major roles in building democracy and prosperity, the two presidents welcomed Mongolia's recent ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption. Bush cautioned, however, that Parliament must now pass laws to implement the convention. The presidents agreed to work together to facilitate Mongolia's participation in regional and international political, economic and financial structures. They also agreed to enhance their cooperation against all forms of organized, transactional crime, including human trafficking, counterfeiting, money-laundering and terrorist financing. Bush welcomed Mongolia's support for the Proliferation Security Initiative, designed to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and its commitment to sign and ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The two leaders reviewed the work being conducted under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, and they expressed hope that it will lead to a closer relationship in economics and trade. Recognizing the potential threat to human health posed by avian flu and other forms of influenza, Enkhbayar and Bush agreed on the importance of cooperating in the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. They also underscored their strong commitment to fight terrorism, which they believe undermines international peace and security. Bush applauded Mongolia's participation in the stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he drew attention to Mongolia's peacekeeping commitment to the Multinational Force in Iraq. The presidents agreed to continue working to advance Mongolia's contribution to international peace-support efforts. They also agreed that establishing a free, democratic Iraq is important to democracy, peace and stability in the Middle East, and that the United Nations should play a leading role in the process. The two leaders underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation and, in this context, agreed on the need to pursue reform in the United Nations as a means to improving its effectiveness. Bush and Enkhbayar also emphasized the importance of implementing the September 2005 Joint Statement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, issued by the members of the Six Party Talks. The two presidents affirmed the value of educational and cultural exchanges to enhance understanding between Mongolians and Americans, and they agreed to promote people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation. ()

Inflation to hold at 7 percent
2005-11-21 Mongol Messenger
On November 17 parliament adopted the basic guidelines for the 2006 monetary policy 2006, aiming to maintain inflation at its current level, keep the financial sector stable, and support economic growth and macro-economic stability. Macro economic indications and price of minerals (the major exports) are predicted to be relatively high next year.Therefore parliament accepted that monetary, budget, financial and economic conditions to hold inflation stable were settled and that the guidelines would hold inflation at 7 percent, the Mongol Bank prediction. The bank said that it would in 2006 continue its firm 2004 policy on monetary policy to reduce the growth of money supply.

 

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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