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
  6.2-10.2.06, No. 101  
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Foreign Policy

Pakistan's Musharraf to visit China
2006-02-09 China Daily
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will visit China this month as part of events to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the two nations establishing diplomatic ties, the foreign ministry said. Musharraf will hold talks with President Hu Jintao and other top Chinese leaders during his February 19-23 visit, ministry spokesman Kong Quan said on Thursday. "This is a very important state visit because China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors. We share an all-weather friendship and all dimensional cooperation," Kong said. Several agreements will be signed, Kong said, but he did not elaborate. The visit follows Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's trip to Islamabad in April last year, when 20 military, trade and other agreements were signed. Besides attending a large scale gala event in Beijing to mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of ties, Musharraf will visit the south-western Chinese province of Sichuan, Kong said. ()

Foreign Minister meets French counterpart
2006-02-08 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing here on Wednesday met with French National Assembly Speaker Jean-Louis Debre and Foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy. During talks with Debre, Li spoke highly of the frequent exchanges of visits between Chinese and French parliaments, saying they contributed to deepening political trust, rapid development of economic cooperation and cultural activities between the two countries. The visits also played an active role in boosting friendship between the two peoples and nations. He hoped that increasing numbers of French parliament members could visit China. Debre said France and China have good relationships at both government and parliament level. The Chinese Year in France and the French Year in China helped the French people to know better both China's history and its modern culture, he said. The French speaker also said he and French National Assembly would continue to do their best for the development of French-Chinese ties. During the talks between Li and Douste-Blazy, held later Wednesday, both sides agreed to put into effect the consensus reached between Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Jacques Chirac, and continue to promote cooperation in the fields of railways, energy and aeronautics. Also on Wednesday, Li talked with Brigitte Girardin, French Minister for Cooperation, Development and French-speaking Communities, over African development issues. On Tuesday, Li telephoned Ganonese Foreign Minister Jean-Ping to exchange views over bilateral ties, the Sino-African relationship and reforms of the United Nations. Li also met with his Senegalese counterpart Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, who stopped off in Paris on his way to a visit of Cuba.

China, Norway willing to expand cooperation
2006-02-07 People's Daily
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo on Monday, with both sides expressing their common will to expand cooperation in various fields. Stoltenberg appraised the current bilateral relations, saying the rapid growth of the Chinese economy was improving people's living standards in China and offered greater opportunities for the two countries to deepen cooperation. He hoped the two countries could begin cooperation in the energy sector, as well as in the worldwide anti-poverty campaign and in efforts to improve healthcare. Li also affirmed the solid development of two countries' ties, citing fruitful exchanges and cooperation in the political, commercial, cultural, educational, sci-tech, and polar region research fields. He said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the Sino-Norwegian relationship and hopes to learn from Norway's successful experience in its concerted social and economic development. In a separate meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, Li proposed that the two sides increase exchanges at governmental level as well as in social circles. He also called for an expansion in cooperation in fishery and shipbuilding. In the cultural field, Li said the Chinese side will actively cooperate with Norway to facilitate the activities of "Ibsen Year", due to be held in China. Stoere, on his part, reiterated the Norwegian government's adherence to the one-China principle. While talking about the attack on the Norwegian embassy in Damascus, Li said different religions and cultures should respect one another and coexist peacefully while the safety of diplomatic missions should be ensured in accordance with international law. He urged restraint of relevant sides to avoid new violence.

Merkel says Germany-China relations very good
2006-02-05 People's Daily
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that Germany-China relations are very good and Germany is willing to take more responsibilities in the international battle against terrorism. Merkel made the remarks Saturday at the 42nd Munich Conference on Security Policy, which opened on Friday with the official theme as renewal of transatlantic relations. The German Chancellor addressed the conference with a report on Europe's relationship with the United States. When asked if Germany could push cooperation with China for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, Merkel said that Germany and China enjoy very good relations. German media noticed that Merkel made herself not long ago the first government leader that proposed the "six-party talks" on Iran's nuclear program. In her speech at the conference, Merkel said that transatlantic relations remain the shared foundation of value for Europe and the United States, who also need to find partners in security in other regions. More than 300 delegates including government leaders, defense ministers and senior security officials attended the three-day conference. The topics include the future role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Iran's nuclear issue and fight against global terrorism. Munich Conference on Security Policy is an annual event dubbed the "Davos Forum" in the field of security.

Pentagon plays up 'China threat' for funds
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
Chinese military experts on Thursday reproached a US defense review playing up "China's military threat", recently issued by the U.S. Department of Defence, saying it is designed to secure a larger defense budget. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Pentagon's new guidelines, said China has "the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that over time offset traditional US military advantages." The 92-page-long QDR report devoted three paragraphs to China's military issues and the countermeasures the United States should take, mentioning "China" or "Chinese" 15 times. "This is the first time the United States has singled out China in its defense report as 'an emerging power that has the greatest potential to militarily challenge the United States', though senior U.S. officials have expressed similar views on various occasions earlier," said Yao Yunzhu, a research fellow with the Military Academy of Sciences of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). "The report for the first time explicitly refers to Russia, India and China as emerging strategic rivals, but more attention was given to the so-called 'China military threat'," said Peng Guangqian, a major PLA general and also a research fellow with the PLA Military Academy of Sciences. Noticeably, U.S. President Bush submitted a budget report for 2007 to the Congress on the same day as the QDR report was officially submitted, proposing a record defense budget of 439.3 billion US dollars. "If the additional spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is taken into account, the US defense budget for 2007 will hit a record high of 500 billion dollars," Peng said. "That is almost equal to the sum of the defense spending of the rest of the world." He said the fabrication of "foreign threats" by the United States reflected the Pentagon's deep-rooted style of "making enemies" and that its real intention is to secure additional defense funds to help its arms industry fish for more profits. Compared with that of the United States, China's defense expenditure is "small", experts said. Deng Hongzhou, a military expert involved in drafting the white papers on China's national defense, said China's defense expenditure has increased with economic growth since the 1990s, but the proportion it takes in China's national budget is decreasing. Official statistics show that China's expenditures for national defense totaled 244.656 billion yuan (about 30.20 billion U.S. dollars), about 7 percent of the U.S. defense budget. The military expenditure per capita of the United States is 60 times that of China's. ()

FM spokesman: China notices U.S. reiteration of the one-China policy
2006-02-06 Xinhuanet
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Beijing Sunday that China noticed the United States repeated its stance to stick to the one-China policy and opposed the so-called "Taiwan Independence." On Jan. 29, Taiwan authority leader Chen Shui-bian proposed the abolishment of the "National Unification Council (NUC) and the National Unification Guidelines" and talked of "applying for United Nations membership under the name of Taiwan." A U.S. Department spokesperson on Jan. 30 repeated the one-China policy, saying the United States opposes unilateral changes to the status quo across the Taiwan Straits. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said that Chen's remarks again proved his unchanged "Taiwan Independence" separatist stance and "exposed the dangerous direction" of the Taiwan authority to stimulate "Taiwan Independence" separatist activities and to undermine cross-Straits relations. "We hope the U.S. side and the international community will keep alert to the danger and severe damage caused by the so-called 'Taiwan Independence'," Kong said when asked for comments. "(We hope they will) support the Chinese government to strike against the 'Taiwan Independence' separatist activities, promote the peaceful and stable development of cross-Straits relations and jointly keep peace and stability across the Straits and in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister meets with Japanese officials
2006-02-10 People's Daily
Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon. Dai, who arrived earlier in the day to attend the fourth round of China-Japan strategic talks, expounded China's principled stance on the current Sino-Japanese relationship. He also met with Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki and Senior Vice Foreign Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki in the day.

DPRK-Japan talks conclude, no major progress
2006-02-08 People's Daily
The bilateral governmental talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Japan concluded here Wednesday without any major progress achieved. The talks, started on Feb. 4, are in a three-track format covering such topics as the abduction issue, normalization of diplomatic ties, and security issue. Diplomats from both countries formed three groups carrying out discussions of these topics respectively. Vice Director of the DPRK Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department Kim Chol Ho and Deputy Chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kunio Umeda met on Sunday to air their views and stances on the abduction issue. Both agreed to continue the talks on the issue despite great differences between the two sides. Koichi Haraguchi, Japanese ambassador in charge of the Japan-DPRK normalization talks and his DPRK counterpart Song Il Ho talked about the normalization of diplomatic ties on Monday, but no full consensus was achieved. Tadamichi Yamamoto, Japanese ambassador in charge of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and Jong Thae Yang, deputy chief of the DPRK Foreign Ministry's U.S. affairs department held talks mainly covering the nuclear and missile issue on Tuesday morning. Then Kim Chol Ho and Kunio Umeda picked up the abduction issue again on Tuesday afternoon and still made no major progress. This new round of inter-governmental talks is held after an interval of more than three years. The previous round was held in Malaysia in 2002. Previously, the two countries held a meeting in Beijing on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 last year, during which they agreed to set up three working groups on history, security guarantee and abduction issues.

China calls for early resumption of six-party talks
2006-02-10 People's Daily
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday called on the participating countries of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue to make further efforts and reopen the negotiations at an early date. Spokesman Kong Quan told a regular press conference that all concerned parties, namely China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, have kept "conducive" and "positive" contacts in recent months. "We hope that all sides will further their efforts and properly deal with the difficulties and obstacles in the progress in a bid to realize an early resumption of the talks," Kong said. The first phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks was held in Beijing last November. Kong conceded that the U.S. financial sanction against the DPRK has become a "new impediment and complicated factor" in the talks. The United States froze the U.S.-based assets of eight DPRK companies last October, accusing them of proliferating weapons of mass destruction. Pyongyang refused to resume the talks under the US financial sanctions.

China hopes Russia's invitation to Iran to help break nuclear stalemate
2006-02-10 People's Daily
China hopes that Russia's invitation to Iran to establish a joint-venture in uranium enrichment will help break the current stalemate on the nuclear issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said on Thursday. Kong told a press conference that China supports Russia's proposal and has always backed every effort to enhance the international treaty of nuclear non-proliferation. He added that China hopes the international society can reach an agreement through talks on a level playing field to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy by all countries. Russia's top nuclear energy official Sergei Kiriyenko said on Wednesday that a high-ranking Iranian delegation will visit Russia on February 16 to discuss the proposal. Iran may become the first state to be involved in uranium enrichment on Russian territory. Kong said China looks forward to a positive outcome to the talks. As part of international efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear dispute, Russia has proposed that uranium enrichment - the most sensitive part of the nuclear energy process - be carried out under a joint-venture within their borders. Iran resumed research on uranium enrichment last month and announced it had ended all voluntary cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This included impromptu UN inspections of its nuclear sites and suspension of uranium enrichment after the IAEA voted last week to report the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council. Uranium enriched at low levels can fuel nuclear reactors, but if enriched further can be used for nuclear weapons.

China hopes Cyprus issue be resolved fairly, reasonably: FM Spokesman
2006-02-10 People's Daily
China deems the Cyprus issue should be resolved fairly and reasonably, and in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing Thursday. Kong told a press conference that China is very concerned about the Cyprus issue, adding the Chinese government has always called for full respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. He said the legitimate rights and interests of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots should be guaranteed. "Any solution should take into account the interests and concerns of both parties," added Kong. Kong pointed out that China supports what the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has done to accelerate the process for resolving the issue. Cyprus has been divided into the Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish Cypriot north since 1974. The latest UN-led efforts to reunite the island failed in April 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a UN reunification plan in a referendum, which was approved by the Turkish Cypriots in the north.

China: Next UN Secretary-General should be Asian
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
China deems the next UN Secretary-General will be chosen from an Asian country, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan here Thursday. Kong told a news conference that the next UN Secretary-General should come from an Asian country since an Asian has not held the post for 34 years. At present, some Asian countries have offered candidates, Kong said, expressing his hope the countries would hold friendly consultations so as to reach consensus. The UN secretary-general Kofi Annan winds up his second term this December. Under the UN Charter, a new secretary-general is nominated by 15 member states of the UN Security Council and is confirmed by the 191-nation General Assembly. ()

PM's visit 'won't focus on Myanmar politics, rights'
2006-02-10 SCMP
Myanmar's political and human rights situation will not be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Lieutenant-General Soe Win visits Beijing next week, China's Foreign Ministry indicated yesterday. "Different countries should explore their own road of development that suits their national reality," spokesman Kong Quan said, when asked if the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Myanmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would be discussed. "What happens in Myanmar is Myanmar's internal affairs and should be solved by the Myanmese government and people themselves." China is one of Myanmar's strongest and most loyal allies, as well as one of its biggest trading partners.

Beijing appeals to EU to lift arms ban, again
2006-02-10 SCMP
Beijing has called on the European Union to lift a 17-year-old arms embargo imposed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. "The European arms embargo has been outdated for a long time," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. He appealed to the European Union to lift it "at an early date". The embargo was imposed after the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.

China concerned about crimes against nationals in S. Africa
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
More than 40 armed robbery cases against Chinese citizens or overseas Chinese occurred in South Africa last year, leading to eight fatalities. Three Chinese business people were killed by armed robbers in South Africa within 36 hours since last weekend, while another onewas murdered earlier this year. The surge of crimes and murders against Chinese citizens or overseas Chinese living in South Africa has aroused public concerns across China, and the Chinese business people with business activities in Africa are calling on both governments to take more effective measures to guarantee their personal and property safety. "If our personal safety cannot be guaranteed, how can we continue to carry out business there?" the general manager of a Chinese import and export company with business interests in South Africa told Xinhua on Thursday on condition of anonymity. According to Ren Haijin, general manager of Zhejiang Metals & Minerals Import-Export Corp. based in east China's coastal province of Zhejiang, his company has been conducting business activities in South Africa for many years, with an annual trade volume of more than 10 million U.S. dollars. "We are very concerned about the recent attacks, and we fear that the poor security situation in South Africa will have a negative impact on our business there," Ren said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan on Tuesday asked South Africa to "take substantial measures" to protect life and property safety of Chinese citizens living there. He also urged South African police to strengthen investigation on those cases and punish the criminals. Huang Ping, deputy director of the consulate department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, summoned on Thursday Vusi. B. Koloane, South Africa's minister plenipotentiary to China, to make representations on behalf of the Chinese government. ()

 

Domestic Policy

New human infection found in Fujian
2006-02-09 People's Daily
The Ministry of Health last night announced another human infection of the bird flu, bringing the total number of reported cases to 11. The latest case was a 26-year-old female farmer in Zhangpu County, East China's Fujian Province. She fell ill on January 10, showing symptoms of fever and pneumonia. Her samples later tested positive for H5N1 virus at China Disease Prevention and Control Centre. The woman is now in stable condition after treatment, according to a notice on the ministry's website. The ministry has already reported the case to the World Health Organization, Hong Kong and Macao health authorities and some neighbouring countries. The most recent case before this one was reported on January 23. Six of the 11 human cases have died. Health workers did not find any evidence of the bird flu epidemic in the area where the Fujian woman lived, the ministry said. Earlier, China confirmed the first outbreak of bird flu in nearly a month, which killed about 15,000 poultry in North China's Shanxi Province. The Ministry of Agriculture said late on Tuesday night that the virulent H5N1 strain was discovered at a farm in Yijing Town of Yangquan city on February 2 and 3. The outbreak has been brought under control after local authorities implemented contingency plans, the ministry said. Veterinary workers would have vaccinated all poultry near the site of the outbreak by today, local officials said yesterday. "In addition to culling 187,745 poultry within 3 kilometres from the affected areas, we are giving shots to 230,000 head of poultry mainly chickens within a 5-kilometre radius," Jin Aiyin, an official with the Yangquan Agricultural Bureau, said. Since May 2005, the Chinese mainland has reported more than 30 outbreaks of fatal bird flu among poultry. All but one have been lifted from quarantine isolation, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. In Hong Kong, a 20-month-old boy who visited Sichuan Province during Lunar New Year and showed symptoms of respiratory infection on February 4 has tested negative for H5N1. The Hospital Authority said in a statement yesterday that the boy was still in isolation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was in stable condition. Hong Kong's Acting Deputy Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Vincent Liu told a radio programme yesterday that the government has decided to amend laws to ban people from raising backyard poultry. The risk of cross contamination between wild birds and poultry has risen because of an increasing number of local birds and poultry testing positive for the H5N1 virus, he explained.

Illegal privately-operated public services shut down
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
China's Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) said on Thursday that it closed 752 privately-operated public service providers and handled 2,225 cases of illegal operations in them last year. "This will help the sector to promote a healthy and trustworthy image in society," said Sun Linwei, an official with the MCA said. There are 146,000 privately-operated public service providers in China. These institutions, such as private schools and museums, are involved in fields of education, public health, science and technology, culture, law and civil affairs. "The credibility and self-discipline of these institutions play very important roles in their daily operations," Sun said. The MAC launched a campaign last February, urging these institutions to set up regulations, release key operation information and establish or improve their financial systems in order to earn their clients' trust. By the end of last year, Sun said, 117,000 of these institutions finished setting up regulations and 19,900 of them released their annual work reports and financial status to the public.

Six officials nabbed in drug scandal
2006-02-08 China Daily
Six senior officials from the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) have been accused of bribery and taken into custody by the procuratorial department in Beijing. Xicheng District People's Procuratorate is questioning Cao Wenzhuang, 44, director of the Department of Drug Registration, and a number of other administration officials, the Beijing Times reported yesterday. The administration refused to comment on the report. All six suspects were arrested on January 12 at an annual conference of the national food and drug administration in a northern suburb of the capital, the newspaper said. It is not yet clear what sums of money are involved, as the cases are still under investigation. The judicial detention of the officials followed an order delivered by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which is the top watchdog of the Chinese Communist Party. Insiders say the arrests follow the detention of a private businessman who has not been identified as investigations are ongoing suspected of offering bribes to drug administration officials. This is the second time senior SFDA officials have been arrested since Hao Heping, former director of the Department of Medical Devices, was detained last June accused of taking bribes. The Xicheng District People's Procuratorate, which has finished investigating the case against Hao, is ready to indict him. Though there are a series of pharmaceutical enterprises involved in Hao's case, sources say the Cao investigation could be even more complicated. Mismanagement in the testing and approval of new drugs has been cited as one of the major factors that has led to skyrocketing prices of medicines and huge profits in recent years, experts say. Shao Mingli, the new SFDA director, has repeatedly criticized loopholes in the examination and approval procedures for new drugs, reported the Beijing-based Caijing Magazine, which was published on Monday. The SFDA dealt with 10,009 new drugs in 2004, while just 148 medicines were approved in the United States. Both Cao and Hao have worked as secretaries to Zheng Xiaoyu, who retired as the head of the SFDA in May last year, the magazine said. In the first 11 months of 2005, China handled 258,700 medicine-related cases involving drugs worth 430 million yuan (US$53.75 million). Over the same period the authorities banned 114,000 unlicensed manufacturers, demolished 461 illegal factories, withdrew 66 operation licences and imposed criminal penalties on 34 people, sources at the SFDA said recently.

Ex-party chief jailed over killing of villagers
2006-02-10 SCMP
A former mainland party chief who hired gangsters to beat to death six villagers protesting over inadequate land compensation was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. He Feng, who was party secretary of Dingzhou in Hebei province, appeared in the Intermediate People's Court in Handan, along with 26 co-defendants. Four of the other defendants were sentenced to death, while another five received life sentences for their roles in the mob attack on June 11 last year, which left more than 100 villagers injured. It was not clear what sentences were handed to the remaining 17. In the attack, several hundred armed gangsters descended on 300 farmers who had refused to surrender 25 hectares of their land to an electronics factory at Shengyou village in Dingzhou. Families of five of the six people killed attended the trial, but were not allowed to take notes or record the proceedings. Relatives of the victims were annoyed with the verdicts, saying He, who instigated the attack, escaped real punishment. "He Feng should be shot because he planned the attack. How come the people who were only doing what they were told got death sentences?" asked a relative of one of the injured victims. He said all relatives of the injured were stopped from attending the trial. "More than 60 of us driving to the trial were stopped by `traffic congestion' on a bridge about 6km from the court," he said, adding that they had been prevented from boarding public buses. "We all know this was a deliberate arrangement by the government. It was ridiculous that so many trucks suddenly appeared on the bridge. The local government seemed to be afraid that too many villagers would attend the trial." Fallout from the clash has spread further than Dingzhou. A video recording of the mob attack, filmed by protester Niu Zhangzong , was posted on The Washington Post website, while the editor-in-chief of the Beijing News, which broke the news on the mainland, was sacked. However, there has been some good news for the villagers, with the government deciding not to go ahead with the seizure of their land. Meanwhile, there is confusion over the fate of 11 villagers from Yongjiang in Gansu province who were jailed for up to 5-1/2 years in May. ()

Beijing plans to build 3 more subway routes
2006-02-10 Xinhuanet
Beijing has mapped out plans to build three more subway routes to provide faster traffic links between the city center and the outer areas. Construction will start before 2010 on Huangcun Subway Route linking the downtown areas with Huangcun, a satellite city in southwestern Beijing, No. 15 Route, a light rail route to Shunyi District in the northeast, and No. 11 Route running through the southern part of the city, said sources attending a meeting Thursday on Beijing's communication work in the coming five years. The planned No. 11 Route will be connected with two new routes whose construction will probably start later this year -- the No. 9 Route and a light rail track to Yizhuang, a booming economic and industrial zone southeast of the city. Between now and 2010, Beijing will complete and put into operation four new subway routes, including a route to the Olympic village in the north and a subway line to the Capital International Airport. By the end of 2010, some 270 kilometers of urban railroad will be operative in Beijing. Besides underground and light trail routes, Beijing will complete a high-speed urban road network consisting of 380 kilometers of high-speed road and 1,400 kilometers of trunk roads. By then, a car drive between any two places on the Fifth Ring Road will take less than an hour.

Beijing plans to speed up Olympic construction work
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
Beijing Olympic organizers said here Thursday that they would speed up the Olympic construction work and complete the basic structure of major projects by 2006. "Our emphasis will be on the new venues, and the basic structure of them as well as the Olympic village, media village and National Conference Center will be completed by this year," Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008Olympics (BOCOG), said Thursday morning in a presentation to the 118th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Liu said the construction of the 14 new Olympic stadiums has all started and other major projects including the Olympic park have been getting under way smoothly. Meanwhile, four rail lines in a total length of 115 km and 22 roads connecting with the Olympic area have started construction in full scale, Liu said. The BOCOG has announced previously that they would complete most of the constructions in 2007 and make sure the venues are in position for the testing events. To gain more experience and test the completed venues, Liu said China will host a number of testing events including the World Softball Championships and the International Sailing Regetta this year. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will start in 911 days.

 

Taiwan

Beijing: Chen Shui-bian is a troublemaker
2006-02-08 China Daily
Beijing Wednesday called Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian a troublemaker and saboteur of cross-Straits ties and Asia-Pacific peace and stability. Chen's "Three Proposals" in the Lunar New Year speech fully indicated that he sticked to his Taiwan Independence stance and attempted to realize the Law Independence of the island through "constitutional" changes, said Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs office of the State Council at a press conference. Chen Shui-bian proposed on Jan. 29 the termination of the "National Unification Council" (NUC) and the "National Unification Guidelines", the application for United Nations membership under the name of Taiwan and finalization of the island's new "constitution" in 2006 and a referendum on it in 2007. The proposals are in open violation of his former promises, noted Li, adding that this once again showed that Chen is the troublemaker and saboteur of cross-Straits ties and Asia-Pacific peace and stability. On May. 20, 2000, Chen promised not to declare Taiwan independence, incorporate the "two states" idea into its constitution, change the so-called country's name or to hold a referendum on Taiwan independence, and not to abolish the "NUC" and the "National Unification Guidelines." Chen's remarks also drew strong criticism from main political parties and media in Taiwan. Ma Ying-jeo, chairman of the Kuomintang Party, said on Jan. 29 Chen has declared twice before that he will not abolish the "NUC". If he breaks his promise, his credibility will be in doubt, Ma said. "A price will be paid for dishonest actions." People First Party Chairman James Soong on Feb. 3 said Chen's remarks show he will pursue its "Taiwan independence" guidelines in the following two years of his term. Chen's remarks proved that he tried to salvage his power in the Democratic Progressive Party at the cost of provoking tension between the two sides across the Taiwan Straits, according to Soong. Chen is hoping to transfer the focus of the common people, aiming to mask his image of corruption and failure in governing, Soong added. The Taiwan-based "Central Daily", published on Feb. 3 predicted Chen's remarks will have two possible results: one is that Chen's remarks will not be paid attention to and the other is that his remarks will force Taiwan into a blind alley. The editorial of the United Daily News on Jan. 30 said it is quite sure that Chen Shui-bian has no credibility. On the same day, a senior journalist of the China Times said in his new analysis that Chen has embarked on an explicitly antagonistic road. ()

 

Economy

China to monitor petrochemical industry for pollution
2006-02-08 China Daily
China is to conduct environmental assessments on 127 petrochemical plants following a series of serious pollution disasters, the state environmental bureau said. The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) has started to carry out environmental risk assessment on those plants along rivers and in areas with dense populations or nature reserves. "The chemical industry is an obvious area were hidden dangers could result in both regional and structural environmental problems," SEPA vice director Pan Yue said in a statement on its website. The 127 plants, with some 450 billion yuan (55.7 billion dollars) in investment, were considered key plants in the industry, he said. Already 21 of the plants have been cited for violating environmental protection regulations and faced punishments and further monitoring for compliance, Pan said. SEPA, once seen as a powerless agency with little clout in implementing environmental policy, has been given new life since the government of President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao came into power in 2003. Pan said a recent toxic spill in the northeast province of Heilongjiang also spurred the administration into action. The benzene spill on the Songhua river in November resulted in public water supplies to four million residents of Harbin, while threatening Russian water supplies down river. "Recently, a series of serious environmental emergencies, most notably the Songhua river pollution incident, has resulted in great losses to public health, social stability, economic growth and even to our diplomatic efforts," Pan said. Tuesday's statements came a day after SEPA pledged to establish a public disclosure system on environmental disasters after announcing that 45 pollution incidents, including six major disasters, had occurred in China since the Songhua river spill. A combination of rapid economic development and continued population growth means China is putting unsustainable pressure on its water resources.

Ban proposed on new cigarette factories
2006-02-09 Xinhuanet
China will not approve any new cigarette factories including joint ventures as part of efforts to reduce consumption, a senior diplomat announced in Geneva on Tuesday. The government will also put existing tobacco production under strict control through taxes and industry reorganization, said Sha Zukang, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations Office in Geneva, at a tobacco control conference of the World Health Organization (WHO). Officials from more than 110 countries gathered in Geneva on Sunday, as part of a two-week conference on implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which aims at curbing tobacco use among the world's 1.3 billion smokers. The conference is expected to make decisions in technical, procedural and financial matters relating to the implementation of the FCTC. In November 2003, China joined the treaty, which was passed by WHO in May 2003 and became effective in February 2005. "The Chinese Government will follow the relevant stipulations of the convention to improve its related laws and regulations, strictly control smoking in public spaces and strengthen regulation of tobacco production and business activities," Sha said. China will continue to impose strict restrictions on tobacco advertising, forbid selling cigarettes to minors and ban the use of automated cigarette-selling machines, according to Sha. China also aims to host a tobacco-free Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, he added. Beijing's Olympic organizers have promised to adhere to the common Olympic practice of not accepting sponsorship from tobacco and strong liquor producers. China has established a legal framework for tobacco control and public health development that includes statutes and government decrees on tobacco monopolies, advertisement, protection of minors and hygiene management in public places. But the challenges remain tough. China has about 350 million smokers and that number is growing, according to official estimates, making it an attractive market for tobacco multinationals but also a focus of international health concern. The China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates smoking-related diseases kill about 1 million people in China every year. ()

 

Mongolia

New PM inducted
2006-02-08 UB Post
In the January 25 plenary session of parliament, 55 of the 66 MPs present voted to accept Miegombyn Enkhbold as Mongolia's 23rd prime minister. President N. Eknhbayar called for maintenance of social stability and asked all parties in parliament, and especially the MPRP and DP, to negotiate the new government. He said that the parties should not fan the situation but leave aside political manoeuvres and work for stability. Enkhbayar advised that if no party had a parliamentary majority, the only right way was to negotiate on a new government under the Constitution. The president recommended that the new government prioritise poverty, unemployment, increasing wages and salaries, stable development and progress, and that they should aim to double the successes of the previous government and try not to repeat its mistakes. Asked by E. Bat-Uul whether he would accept that 15 DP members, against their party's decision to be an opposition, had agreed to join the new government, Enkhbold said that he had not yet received an official application on the matter. "The MPRP has asked all parties to work together to form a new cabinet," he said. "If members accept the initiative, they will not regret it." To a question from S. Lambaa on whether the law had been broken when the previous government was ousted, Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj said that there had been no violation or breach of the law. Before voting, ten MPs addressed recommendations to the prime minister. Bat-Uul demanded that there be no interference in the internal affairs of other parties and that the requests of some DP members be denied. L. Gundalai and B. Batbaatar proposed an increase in child benefit and R. Amarjargal advised no repetition of the mistakes of the previous government, when the formation of a cabinet was, he said, a deal. N. Bayartsaikhan pointed to the importance of the restoration of social stability, while M. Zorigt (CWP) called for a shadow government without delay and said E. Bat-Uul had been nominated as shadow prime minister. The new prime minister told parliament, "The government will be formed very shortly and I will demand that all cabinet members act responsibly and work hard. They will face many problems, especially on wages, salaries, pensions and benefits." He promised action against corruption and a 20-30 year policy for national development. Outgoing Prime Minister Ts.Elbegdorj handed Enkhbold the state seal, and the new prime minister then called on the president and the speaker

New cabinet formed
2006-02-08 Mongol Messenger
The January 27 plenary session of parliament opened at 7pm to discuss the formation of a 'government of national unity' and closed early in the morning of January 28 after appointing 16 cabinet members. The appointment of the prime minister and 17 cabinet members was first debated by standing committees and put before a special session of parliament on January 25. On January 17, MPs agreed to only 16 of the 17, with an unchanged cabinet structure, after debate and questions to the prime minister and each individual candidate. Z. Enkhbold wanted to know how the MPRP had negotiated with the other political parties to form a government. Enkhbold said, "We sent requests to all parliamentary parties, and the Motherland and Republican parties expressed their positions. We also addressed the Party of the People and other parties." He added that there were also talks between the MPRP group and MPs. B. Munkhtuya asked how the new government, and especially the prime minister, was trying to ensure gender equality. The prime minister replied that the parties had nominated the candidates, but that the MPRP would support laws to ensure gender equality.
Other candidates elected as ministers were:
Construction and Urban Development: J. Narantsatsralt, 62 of 67 votes.
Defence: M. Sonompil (DP), 62 of 68 votes.
Education, Culture and Science: O. Enkhtuvshin (MPRP Tradition, Innovation, Democracy,
Justice faction coordinator), 66 of 69 votes.
Foreign Affairs: N. Enkhbold (MPRP), 56 of 59 votes.
Roads, Transport and Tourism: Ts. Tsengel (MPRP), 64 of 67 votes.
Social Welfare and Labour: L. Odonchimed (MPRP), 67 of 67 votes.
Finance: N. Bayartsaikhan (MPRP), 65 of 67 votes.
Fuel and Energy: B. Erdenebat (Motherland), 41 of 63 votes.
Industry and Commerce: B. Jargalsaikhan (RP leader), 51 of 56 votes.
Health: L. Gundalai (POP), 57 of 60 votes.
Justice: D. Odbayar (MPRP), 54 of 55 votes.
Food and Agriculture: D. Terbishdagva (MPRP), 56 of 59 votes.
Cabinet Secretariat chair: Su. Batbold (MPRP), 54 of 57 votes.
Professional Inspection: U. Hurelsukh (MPRP), 58 of 61 votes.
Minister who retained their posts were D. Terbishdagva. U. Khurelsukh was previously Minister for National Emergency Management. Su. Batbold was previously Industry and Commerce Minister. Motherland Party general secretary N. Chuluunbaatar stood for the National Emergency Ministry, but failed by one vote in a tied poll (30:30 or 50%:50%). The law says that one of the new ministers may take up these duties until the prime minister resolves the problem within seven days. The new cabinet contains no female ministers. Prime Minister M. Enkhbold said, "I believe this government will be able to fulfill the tasks entrusted to it by parliament. Cabinet will take into consideration suggestions and proposals from MPs." Closing the session, Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj said that the main political parties were represented in cabinet and ministers should now work vigorously to meet the demands and interests of the nation. "Three people who contested the presidential election have been included in the new cabinet. Now you have an opportunity to fulfill what you promised the people," he added.

 

Julie Kong
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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