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
  10.4-13.4.06, No. 110  
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Foreign Policy

Bush meets Chinese Vice Premier
2006-04-13 Xinhuanet
U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday in Washington that the success of the 17th meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) would help reduce trade frictions between the two countries. During a meeting in the White House with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, who had just co-chaired the 17th JCCT meeting, Bush praised the Chinese side's efforts to solve the problems in U.S.-China trade. He said he looked forward to the upcoming visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, adding that he expected to exchange views with Hu on U.S.-China relations and other major issues of common concern. Bush also reaffirmed his persistent position on the Taiwan issue. On her part, Wu said that the 17th JCCT meeting had achieved constructive results through both sides' concerted efforts, which would be conducive to the settlement of bilateral trade disputes and would consequently promote the healthy development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade cooperation. She told Bush that during the meeting, China had agreed to conditionally resume beef imports from the United States, and Chinese entrepreneurs had also signed a number of business contracts with their U.S. counterparts. ()

Hu to visit US for boosting Sino-US relations
2006-04-11 Xinhuanet
Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay his first state visit to the United States this month in a bid to boost the steady development of long-term China-U.S. relations. Hu will visit the United States from April 18 to 21, stopping in Seattle and Washington D.C., and giving a speech at Yale University, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday. Hu will meet U.S. President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials for in-depth discussions on China-U.S. relations and other international and regional issues of common concern. The goal of the visit was to enhance exchanges and mutual trust and expand consensus and cooperation so as to jointly promote constructive and cooperative relations, according to Liu. "This visit will represent one of the key milestones in the broad and complex undertaking that both countries work together to contribute to international growth and stability in ways that benefit both countries," the U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said earlier. "The key to Hu's visit lies in whether he will succeed in laying a framework for the steady and positive development of China-U.S. relations," said Yuan Peng, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. Both China and the United States were deeply concerned with key international issues over which they had some disputes, friction and differences. "Hu's visit will be a good opportunity for China and the U.S. to narrow or eliminate the differences," Liu Jianchao said in reply to a question on China-U.S. disputes on trade and protection of intellectual property rights. Analysts said Hu's visit would help create a better atmosphere for China-U.S. relations which were maturing. Yuan said Hu would exchange views with U.S. leaders on sensitive, complicated and tricky issues. "The meeting itself is much more significant than reaching a specific agreement." "China-U.S. relations have gone beyond the era when breakthroughs could only be achieved through a summit meeting," Yuan said. ()

Premier Wen's Asia-Pacific tour 'fruitful'
2006-04-10 China Daily
Premier Wen Jiabao wound up his four-nation Asia-Pacific tour following an official visit to Cambodia on Saturday, which Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said was "fruitful" and "rich in content." The eight-day visit also took Wen to Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand. During the visit, Wen attended the inauguration of the China-Pacific islands economic development forum in Fiji. This is the first visit by a Chinese premier to the South Pacific. A total of 70 bilateral or multilateral diplomatic activities took place and 59 agreements and documents were signed during the tour. The premier's visit has elevated the level of bilateral relations between China and the four nations, Li told reporters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the end of Wen's visit on Saturday. "It helps promote the mutually beneficial partnership with Australia and New Zealand in key areas and build a platform for friendship and co-operation with the Asia-Pacific Islands," Li said. Premier Wen held "pragmatic and constructive" discussions with the leaders of Australia and New Zealand for co-operation in trade, energy and mineral resources. He also agreed to seek common development through equal consultations, Li said. In addition, uranium-rich Australia agreed to export the resource to China for the peaceful use of nuclear energy during Wen's visit to the country. China has reached a consensus with Australia to achieve "substantial progress" in the talks of the establishment of the free trade area within one or two years, Li said. At Wen's last stop, China and Cambodia signed 11 new agreements in areas including health, telecommunications, fighting transnational crimes and preserving Cambodia's famed 800-year-old Angkor Temples, a major overseas destination for Chinese tourists. China also offered US$600 million in new aid and loans for two new bridges and other projects in Cambodia. During their talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, Wen and his Cambodian counterpart vowed to establish a comprehensive partnership. Wen stressed that China supported the integration process of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and backed ASEAN in playing a leading role in the East Asian co-operation process. Responding to his Chinese guest, Hun Sen said his country is ready to work with China to deepen the co-operation between China and ASEAN. Wen's Asia-Pacific tour looks to the future of bilateral relations with related countries and is conducive to increasing understanding and support from the international community for China's peaceful development, Li said.

Chinese premier meets with Georgian president
2006-04-12 Xinhuanet
Economic and trade cooperation between China and Georgia will progress with their joint efforts, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Wednesday. Wen said in a meeting with visiting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that both countries should enhance cooperation in agriculture, science, technology and transport, and create conditions to attract cross investment. China and Georgia enjoy a traditional friendship and have witnessed stable growth of cooperation since forging diplomatic ties in 1992, he said. The Chinese government valued its relations with Georgia, and respected Georgia's domestic and foreign policies, he said, noting that the Chinese government was ready to work with Georgia for the development of bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits. Saakashvili said Georgia and China had witnessed rapid growth of bilateral relations and positive achievements in economic and trade cooperation. Georgia took a positive view of China's development, the president said, acknowledging that his country was ready to learn from China's experience of reform and opening-up. Georgia would join in China to increase bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, skills development, telecommunications, electric power, transport and tourism, and to promote the growth of mutually-beneficial cooperation.

China sees military, economic measures on Iran counterproductive
2006-04-12 People's Daily
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya said Tuesday that military and economic measures on Iran's nuclear issue are counterproductive. Wang, who is also the current president of the UN Security Council, told reporters that military and other economic measures that were considered would certainly prove to be counterproductive. "We still believe that negotiations and diplomatic solution is the best way out of it," he observed. Wang reiterated also that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the best place to discuss Iran's nuclear issue, and hoped Wednesday's visit to Iran by the head of the IAEA Mohammed ElBaradei will bring fruitful results. Recently, mass media quoted unidentified current and former U.S. officials as reporting that the Pentagon and CIA planners have been exploring possible targets, such as the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, Iran. An article published by the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine reported the Bush administration was considering using tactical nuclear weapons against underground nuclear sites. However, U.S. President George W. Bush rejected on Monday the reports of plans for military strikes on Iran as "wild speculation," saying that force is not necessarily required to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

New Japanese ambassador in Beijing
2006-04-11 China Daily
New Japanese Ambassador Yuji Miyamoto, 59, began his appointment in Beijing yesterday. Miyamoto said at a reception last week in Tokyo that the two countries have no choice but to maintain stable and friendly relations. Japanese foreign ministry press secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi said one of the initial steps Miyamoto has to take is to encourage more young people to visit and spend considerable time in each other's nation. Taniguchi told reporters in an earlier press briefing that Miyamoto is one of the most experienced in terms of Japan's China policy and overall diplomatic policies, one of the best-qualified people that his ministry can send to China. Miyamoto headed the China division of Japan's foreign ministry 14 years ago and had stints in the United Kingdom and the United States before serving as a minister in the embassy in Beijing. He was then appointed to be the ambassador of Myanmar and later became the ambassador in charge of Okinawa affairs about one and a half years ago. Another reason for the attention on Miyamoto is his background as a member of the so-called China School, a group of Japanese foreign ministry officials who underwent Chinese language training. China's former top press minister Zhao Qizheng reportedly spoke highly of Miyamoto's spoken Chinese as "standard Mandarin with almost no accent." Zhao said he used to have quite a lot of business contacts with Miyamoto and described him as a good liaison as he knows about Chinese culture as well as its national condition. Zhao said Sino-Japanese relations are facing difficulties at the moment and Miyamoto should pay attention to the dissatisfaction China expressed when some Japanese leaders failed to adopt a correct attitude towards matters of history. Researchers say that although Miyamoto's appointment partly reflects the Japanese Government's expectations for the improvement of the Sino-Japanese relations, he cannot be expected to make any breakthroughs as long as Japanese leaders persist in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, where Class-A war criminals are worshipped. Jin Xide, an expert on Japan at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that although Miyamoto is knowledgeable about China, he is a policy carrier rather than a decision maker and his influence is limited. Being a small cog in the Japanese Government's huge equipment, he can only do his best to develop bilateral relations within his authority, Jin said. "His duty is to report the actual facts of Sino-Japanese relations to the Japanese Government and put forward reasonable suggestions," he said. The Japanese Government announced that Miyamoto would succeed Koreshige Anami, who has served as ambassador to China for five years, in February after a cabinet meeting. Miyamoto has maintained a low profile since the announcement as Japanese media have reported that Miyamoto feared to be classified as too close to the Chinese side. It has been reported that conservatives in Japan can easily regard those "China experts" as weak in dealing with China issues.

No timetable for establishing Sino-Vatican diplomatic relations: official
2006-04-13 Xinhuanet
China has no timetable for establishing Sino-Vatican diplomatic relations, said a senior Chinese official in charge of religious culture communication on Wednesday, refuting rumors that the two sides plan to enter such relations before 2008. Qi Xiaofei, vice president of China's Religious Culture Communication Association made the remarks when answering the question at a press conference on the First World Buddhist Forum, which is scheduled to be held between April 13-16 in Hangzhou and Zhoushan of East China's Zhejiang Province. The official, also deputy director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs of China, said that China has definite principles on promoting normal relations with Vatican that no one is allowed to interfere in China's internal affairs or try to create "two Chinas". During an interview with Xinhua, he urged Vatican to take concrete action by showing sincerity to improve Sino-Vatican relations "We have two clear and consistent principles on handling Sino-Vatican relations. Vatican must sever the so-called 'diplomatic relations' with Taiwan and recognize the Chinese government as the sole legitimate government of China and not interfere in our internal affairs in the name of religion," he reiterated.

 

Domestic Policy

First World Buddhist Forum opens in east China city
2006-04-12 Xinhuanet
The First World Buddhist Forum opened Thursday morning in the scenic city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province. Liu Yandong, vice-chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said at the opening ceremony that governments and peoples should exert concerted efforts to make religions play an active role in building a harmonious world. Tung Chee Hwa, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, read a congratulatory letter from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the forum. More than 1,000 Buddhist monks, experts and politicians from 34 countries and regions have come to attend the event lasting from April 13 to 16. The monks will pray for world peace on April 15 in nearby Zhoushan City.

Police official denies conflict with farmers
2006-04-12 SCMP
Police officers are not engaging in direct conflict with farmers, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday, adding that the Public Security Bureau only deals with threats to social security. Asked yesterday about growing confrontations on the mainland between police and villagers protesting about land disputes, ministry spokesman Wu Heping said: "There is no issue about conflicts between farmers and police because the task of the bureau is to maintain social stability and social order."The bureau can only deal with security issues and criminal offences. We are mainly protecting social order and administration." Last April, about 1,500 police officers and government officials faced up to 30,000 villagers angered by appropriation of their land for factories in the Zhejiang village of Huaxi. And, in December in Shanwei, Guangdong, police shot dead at least three protesters in riots linked to a land dispute. In the first quarter of this year, Mr Wu said the bureau investigated 926,000 criminal cases, a figure on a par with the same period last year. He said property crimes rose 1.6 per cent, but the number of violent crimes dropped significantly. Compared with the same time last year, the number of unlawful killings dropped 12.4 per cent, bombings were down by 7.8 per cent and figures for arson attacks had declined by 15.3 per cent. The number of people killed in violent crimes dropped by 8.6 per cent last year. Meanwhile, Mr Wu lashed out at authorities in the Heilongjiang city of Jiamusi for failing to prevent the deaths of at least six children at the hands of a suspected serial killer in the past year. Jiamusi police arrested 32-year-old Gong Runbo last month on suspicion of luring the children from an internet cafe to his home, where he allegedly raped and killed them. He was charged this week. "Students were missing, so the schools demonstrated a management problem," Mr Wu said. "And our country has a clear ban on juveniles going to internet cafes, but these children were there, and no one reported or provided information on this. The suspect rented a house, so what about the management of rented houses?"

Falun Gong lies slammed by hospital
2006-04-13 China Daily - Hospital officials in Northeast China have lashed out at rumours made by the banned Falun Gong that it had detained followers of the cult, harvested their organs and incinerated their bodies, saying "the accusations are sheer lies." Officials of the Liaoning Thrombosis Treatment Centre of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine in Shenyang, in Liaoning Province, said yesterday their hospital lacks the required facilities to conduct organ transplants and has no basement to house the Falun Gong practitioners. "These accusations are fabricated," said Zhang Yuqin, the hospital's deputy director, in a meeting with reporters organized by the State Council Information Office in Beijing. Falun Gong followers overseas have spread the rumour through its media the Epoch Times and Minghui website since March 8, saying that more than 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners were imprisoned at the so-called concentration camp in Sujiatun District of the city, and many of them were cremated and their organs harvested. Later, they changed their wording by saying the "concentration camp" was established in a small hospital, that is, the hospital Zhang works at. Zhang said the hospital, with only 300 beds, does not have enough space for 6,000 people, nor does it have a "basement" or " incinerator." "Their lies about a concentration camp are sheer fabrication, and the organ harvesting rumour is utter nonsense," she added. Zhang has been working for the hospital since 1990. She said the hospital specialized in thrombus diseases, with treatments that combined Western medicine with the use of traditional Chinese herbs. The hospital annually treats nearly 300,000 patients from China and abroad. A hospital in Seoul has established friendly ties and exchanged experts with the Sujiatun hospital since 1997, according to Zhang. The Chinese Government banned the Falun Gong as a cult in July 1999 because of illegal acts undertaken by the cult. The cult has spread false accusations in the public arena and used international IP calls and mobile phone messages to spread their doctrines. A US consular official in Shenyang visited the hospital on March 22, claiming to be interested in traditional Chinese treatments for thrombosis, and was given a full tour of the facility, said Zhang Xu, another hospital official. Media such as Japan's NHK, Hong Kong's Phoenix TV and Takung Pao newspaper have visited the hospital to look at the facilities, said the official. "Seeing is believing. We welcome national and international media to our hospital," he said. Zheng Bin, deputy head of Sujiatun District where the hospital is located, denounced the rumour as "groundless" at the news conference. Zheng said the hospital had some Falun Gong followers as patients, but none were in detention.

Man dies after torture in custody: rights group
2006-04-12 SCMP
A Shanghai man detained and beaten in custody for taking part in a nationwide hunger strike has died from his injuries, a rights group and fellow activists said yesterday. Du Ronglin, a businessman who had been protesting over forced eviction from his home, died on March 19, two days after Shanghai police released him, China Rights Defenders said in a statement. Du had been detained on February 22 for taking part in a hunger strike called by Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng earlier that month to protest over police brutality against human rights activists, the group said. After Du was released, he died at a Shanghai hospital, it said.

716 die of infectious diseases, food poisoning in March
2006-04-10 Xinhuanet
The number of Chinese dying of infectious diseases rose to 704 in March, while 12 died of food poisoning, the Ministry of Health announced Monday. The top five killer diseases in March were tuberculosis (TB), hydrophobia, AIDS, hepatitis B and epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, accounting for 86.45 percent of the total fatalities, says the ministry's monthly epidemic report. TB, hepatitis B, bacterial and amebic dysentery, syphilis and gonorrhea accounted for 87.21 percent of the total incidents of infectious diseases, the report says. The ministry reported in March that 536 people were killed by infectious diseases in February with TB the main killer. The ministry said 29 incidents of food poisoning occurred in March, affecting 666 people, 277 fewer than the same period last year.

12 killed, 32 injured in traffic accident in Hunan
2006-04-12 Xinhuanet
At least 12 people were killed and 32 others injured as their bus fell off a steep in central China's Hunan Province Tuesday, local government said Wednesday. The accident happened at about 7:50 a.m. Tuesday when a passenger bus suddenly overturned into a 20-meter-deep ravine in Suining County of Shaoyang City, which is about 400 km southwest to the provincial capital of Changsha. Nine were killed on the spot and three others died after rescue efforts failed. It is still unclear how many people were onboard when the bus was swerved off the cliff. All the injured people are receiving medical treatment, and the five badly injured, including the driver, are in a critical condition. Local officials have rushed to the site of the accident to deal with the aftermath. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

Illegal explosives store suspected in hospital blast
2006-04-12 Xinhuanet
Police are seeking a hospital administrator who allegedly kept an illegal explosives store suspected as the cause of a blast that killed 31 people in north China on Monday. Police have found large quantities of detonators and fuses at the blast site in Yuanping, Shanxi Province. They said explosives might have been stored in the basement of a two-storey building, which housed a five-room garage on the first floor and 17 accommodation rooms on the second floor. Initial investigations found that Wang Jinsheng, an administrative officer at Xuangang Coal and Electricity Company staff hospital who previously operated private coal mines, moved dozens of boxes into the garage 10 days before the blast. Wang held the keys to the garage, and he disappeared at the time of the blast. Police have issued a nationwide arrest warrant for him. However, the cause of the blast is yet to be officially confirmed and is still under investigation. Sources with Xuangang Coal and Electricity Company told Xinhua said it was estimated that the boxes allegedly held more than a ton of explosives. They also suggested that Wang bought the explosives when he was running private coal mines. Rescue teams wound up their work on Wednesday afternoon after recovering 31 bodies. The explosion took place at about 2:25 a.m. on Monday. Patients at the hospital, many of whom were injured, have been transferred to Yuanping People's Hospital and Yuanping Railway Hospital. The explosion destroyed the two-storey building and several small houses nearby. The blast damaged buildings within a one-kilometer radius, causing serious damage to a five-storey medical staff building nearby. Many of the 200 villagers living nearby were also injured, said a rescue team member.

 

Taiwan

President Hu to meet Lien Chan at forum
2006-04-12 Xinhuanet
The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT), or the Nationalist Party will hold a forum on economic and trade affairs between the mainland and Taiwan on April 14 and 15 in Beijing. The forum was the implementation of the five common aspiration and prospects reached by Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and then KMT Chairman Lien Chan in April last year, said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, here on Wednesday. The forum was originally scheduled for last December in Taipei. But it had to change venue and time for reasons known to all, Chen said. The forum, at the joint sponsorship of a research center of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and a research fund of the KMT, will focus on cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges and opening direct transport links. About 500 people, including KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan, four vice-chairmen of the KMT, officials of the New Party and the People First Party (PFP), as well as business people, officials and scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, will attend the forum. Hu Jintao will meet with Lien Chan during the forum. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Lien Chan will deliver keynote speeches at the opening ceremony. "The convention of the cross-Strait forum on economic and trade affairs is essential and pressing, as cross-Strait economic cooperation and exchanges have been developed for more than 20 years," said Chen. An estimated 68,000 projects on the mainland are funded by over 50,000 Taiwanese companies with a contractual investment of more than 90 billion US dollars. Direct and indirect cross-Strait trade is worth approximately 500 billion US dollars annually and the Chinese mainland is Taiwan's biggest export market and largest trade surplus source. The booming economic and trade cooperation created new issues that required to be solved through cross-Strait talks, Chen said. With economic globalization and regional integration, the cross-Strait economy faced both opportunities and challenges, and authorities should remove obstructions and grasp opportunities, Chen said. Since the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) raised the "three direct links" -- direct mail, transport and trade links -- in 1979, direct mail and trade links had developed well, while the direct transport had failed to progress, Chen said. "Realizing direct transport across the Taiwan Strait is in compliance with the wishes and common interests of the people across the Strait. Direct transport across the Strait is a necessity for up to four million Taiwan compatriots to travel, do business and visit relatives on the mainland, is the necessity for mainlanders to travel Taiwan and will help reduce the transport costs of Taiwan produce sold on the mainland," Chen said. Civil airlines had resolved technical issues of the direct transport link, which needed only the approval of Taiwan authorities, said Chen, adding that "The direct cross-Strait transport was set to be one of the major issues to be discussed during the forum." ()

 

Tibet

No protests during Hu's US visits, Dalai Lama urges
2006-04-10 SCMP
Tibet's exiled leadership has asked supporters to refrain from staging demonstrations on the sidelines of the president's visit to the US next week, citing the delicacy of continuing talks. Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the government in exile, said any protests against President Hu Jintao would jeopardise the talks and embarrass the Dalai Lama, who is scheduled to be in the US at the same time. Earlier this month, Beijing said it was possible the Dalai Lama could visit the mainland if he agreed to stop pursuing Tibetan independence.

 

Economy

IPRs 'not a factor' behind trade surplus
2006-04-12 China Daily
Senior officials of ministries and agencies directly dealing with intellectual property rights (IPR) were at a press conference yesterday to address questions on China's IPR protection but Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai ended up doing most of the answering. Is China really getting tough with IPR offenders? Will China's campaign to protect IPRs help narrow the trade surplus with the United States? Will the crackdown on IPR infringements affect China's economy? A smiling Bo answered: China will go all out to bolster IPR protection, even though it affects jobs. "As far as I know, at least 300,000 law-enforcers and other people are involved in IPR protection in China," he said, adding that between 2000 and 2005, 13,000 people were arrested for IPR violations. In Beijing, for example, the local authorities have banned the sale of 48 famous brands at the Silk Street shopping mall a landmark known for inexpensive branded goods to help stamp out counterfeit products. Other cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou are also taking tough measures to protect well-known brands, including closing down markets with poor records, he said. "The Chinese Government has been resolute in implementing all these measures even though it has not been easy because they affect a host of jobs." Bo said IPR protection has become a national policy of China. "We understand how important IPR protection is to China's future development," Bo said, adding the country's top leadership is committed to building China into an "innovation nation" in 15 years, and IPR protection is closely interwoven with the effort. "IPR protection is something initiated by the Chinese Government itself for the country's development, rather than because of outside pressure," Bo said. "Even if our foreign friends do not say anything about China's IPR protection, we'll still go all out." Bo refuted the claim by some in the United States that China's IPR problems affect US exports. "I think they have largely exaggerated the trade problems caused by IPRs." It is, in fact, US curbs on high-tech exports that contribute to the trade imbalance, he said. Over the past two years, US high technology exports to China grew only half as fast as the European Union's, which in turn were slower Japan's, he said. Bo said 58 per cent of China's US$760-billion exports last year were manufactured by overseas-invested enterprises. China's overall trade surplus of about US$100 billion would be downsized to only US$20-30 billion if that is factored in, he said. "The main factors affecting the US-China trade balance don't actually include IPRs. Rather, they are structural and based on the competitiveness of our companies," he said.

China to buy 80 Boeing jets
2006-04-12 China Daily
Boeing Co. said Tuesday it had struck a tentative agreement to sell China 80 narrow-body 737 airplanes. The deal is valued at $4.6 billion (euro3.8 billion) at list prices, although customers typically negotiate big discounts. It is expected to be finalized with individual Chinese carriers in the next few weeks. The agreement is in addition to 70 airplanes China agreed to buy from the Chicago-based jetmaker in November, as part of a planned 150-plane purchase. It was announced amid high-level meetings between Chinese and U.S. officials, and comes a week before Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit the United States. His trip includes a tour of Boeing's Everett, Washington. plant. In December, China agreed to buy 150 of rival Airbus SAS' jets, in a deal valued at more than $9 billion (euro7.4 billion) at list prices.

 

Mongolia

Civil movements picket
2006-04-12 Mongol messenger
On April 4 leaders of the Healthy Society Civic Movement (HSCM), My Mongolian Earth and Radical Reform (RR) announced a demonstration with the Green Party. They said that on the opening day of parliament's spring session they wanted to protest against any stability agreement with Ivanhoe Mines for the Oyu Tolgoi deposit and were demanding that parliament dissolve itself. The protesters gathered in Sukhbaatar Square at around 11am on April 5 and marched to the back of Parliament House, calling for Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj and Deputy Speaker D. Lundeejantsan to accept their list of demands. In the afternoon, State Structure Standing Committee chairman D. Dondog and MP Z. Enkhbold met RR head S. Ganbaatar, HSCM coordinator O. Magnai and Mongolian Democratic Union reform group member D. Sukhbaatar. They demanded that the president and government resign, claiming that they had assigned two ministers to reach an Oyu Tolgoi stability agreement. Dondog said that the cabinet minutes read that the two ministers had been only assigned to make preparations for a stability agreement, and that the cabinet would then take the issue to a parliamentary debate. He said that, as there was no agreement, there were no grounds to bring down the government. The protest representatives said that Dondog did not represent the speaker and declared they would continue the protest. Some stayed at Parliament House, hoping to meet the speaker, but without success, as he sent a message that he did not meet street people Others blocked the road in front of the post office at around 4pm, and said, "The leadership has not accepted our demands, so we are continuing our protest." "We erected a ger behind Parliament House, but it was seized. We will stay here until our ger is given back." "We will stop protesting when the government is dismissed and parliament prorogues. If necessary, we will take further steps, such as blocking the railway." At 5.30pm on April 5, protestors led by Magnai went to the Chingeltei District Police Department to get back their ger. The police refused to return the ger until the demonstrators seized it, minus the door. During a minor battle for possession of the ger, demonstrators threw stones, which broke a police car window. At around 8.30pm they erected the ger, without roof or door, in Sukhbaatar Square. It was occupied by at least ten protesters, including Hero of Labour D. Gantomor. Magnai said, "We will protest until our demands are met. Over 50 have said they will go on hunger strike." By the evening of April 6, there were three gers (one for the SAPU/ Bombogor protest) and three tents in the square, with about 20 occupants. By Saturday morning, April 8, there were four tents, four gers, a small marquee and hundreds of involved or interested Mongolians, with huge banners being prepared, attacking government and Ivanhoe. In the square itself there were no police, but in surrounding streets there were dozens of police in groups of three or four. Organizers J. Batzandan said, "We will not slacken our protest, and Mongolians support us. We will achieve our goals." An anti-corruption bill suggests an independent watchdog organisation under the prosecutor's office, appointed by the president. The Civil Will Youth Union protests the provisions and is collecting signatures on a survey, which they plan to present to Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj. On April 11, there were seven gers and a small marquee, and the CWYU tents had gone. The huge police presence nearby had been heavily reduced.

Opinion survey on anti-corruption
2006-04-12 Mongol Messenger
With parliamentary debate pending on an anti-corruption bill, the Civil Will Youth Union (CWYU) is collecting signatures on a survey from tents in Sukhbaatar Square. CWYU said it would collect for one week, during which time it hopes to have 30,000 signatures. General secretary G. Ganbat said, "After collating the results, the public position on corruption will be clearer, and we will hand the results to parliament." "We hope this will affect how MPs debate the bill." On the first day, 1,300 responses were collected, with 1,225 supporting an independent anti-corruption organisation and 19 against. Asked who should head the corruption watchdog, 661 opted for DP leader Ts. Elbegdorj and 614 for Civil Will Party leader S. Oyun. President N. Enkhbayar was con- sidered unsuitable for the post by 956, while 806 voted against MPRP leader M. Enkhbold and 727 against Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj.

Shadow cabinet
2006-04-12 Mongol Messenger
On April 9, the Civil Will Party Political Council Meeting has proposals to the Democratic Party its candidates for the shadow cabinet. They are: MP S. Oyun (Deputy Prime Minister), Ts. Gankhuyag (Finance), MP M. Zorigt (Fuel and Energy), M. Khurelsukh (Social Welfare and Labour), M. Tumenjargal (Construction and Urban Development), Ch. Bazar (Environment), D. Olziisaikhan (Health), G. Altan-Och (Professional Inspection) and R. Lkhagvadulam (Education, Culture and Science). The Democratic Party has yet to make its own proposals about the appointment of shadow ministers.

Eight die in snowstorm
2006-04-12 Mongol Messenger
A group of 40 people aged between 13 and 50 became lost, and eight (two from Khentii, six from Sukhbaatar) died when eastern aimags were struck by a 12-hour snow/dust storm with winds of up to 28m/second in the night of April 6-7. On April 9 the government sent a message of sympathy to the families of the dead. The storm affected nine soums of Sukhbaatar, Khentii and Dornogobi aimags, taking 27,000 animals from four villages in Khentii Aimag and 8,700 animals in Sukhbaatar Aimag. Roofs peeled off, windows were broken and communications were cut, while workers were assigned by the deputy aimag governors to take immediate steps. On April 6, a sand storm brought nine freight trains to a halt between Airag railway station and Sainshand-Zamyn-Uud. Sand dunes 20 metres wide and 400 metre long shifted, and four passenger trains arrived late in Ulaanbaatar. On April 9, Duut soum (Khovd Aimag) and some Gobi-Altai Aimag soums were affected by snow and dust. The Hydrology, Meteorology and Environment Monitoring Agency warned that the storm will continue for some time, with wind speeds of up to 21 m/second, reaching 30m/ second in Gobisumber, Dornod and Sukhbaatar aimags. The government has ordered immediate rescue and repair action.

 

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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