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
  17.4-21.4.06, No. 111  
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Foreign Policy

Hu, Bush discuss trade, security
2006-04-21 China Daily
U.S. President George W. Bush, welcoming President Hu Jintao to the White House, said on Thursday his nation intends to "build a relationship that is candid and cooperative" with China. President Hu, receiving a 21-gun welcome and a full military honor guard solute, reciprocated by talking to a massive audience of government officials from both countries that he has come " to enhance dialogue, expand common ground, deepen mutual trust and cooperation, and promote an all-around growth of constructive and cooperative China-US relations in the 21st century". () Hu and his wife, Liu Yongqing, arrived at the White House in a limousine in bright spring sunshine, greeted by Mr Bush and the First Lady Laura Bush. Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld were among the greeting team. "The United States and China are two nations divided by a vast ocean, yet connected through a global economy that has created opportunity for both our peoples," Bush said. "The United States welcomes the emergence of a China that is peaceful and prosperous and that supports international institutions. Bush said that as stakeholders in the international system, the two countries share many strategic interests. He noted that bilateral trade had grown to US$285 billion last year, with US exports to China rising a remarkable 21 percent. He said that the United States welcome China's commitments to increase domestic demand, to reform its pension system, to expand market access for US goods and services, to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights and to move toward a flexible market-based exchange rate for its currency, the yuan. Mr Bush also solicited help in his welcome address from China to "deepen our cooperation in addressing threats to global security", including the Iran and North Korea nuclear disputes. He said that the countries will continue to cooperate to fight avian flu and other pandemic diseases, to cooperate to respond to natural disasters, to cooperate to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. On Taiwan, the US president said that his country will maintain the one-China policy. "We oppose unilateral changes in the status quo in the Taiwan Strait by either side. We urge all parties to avoid confrontational or provocative acts. And we believe the future of Taiwan should be resolved peacefully," Bush said. For his part, President Hu Jintao said that he wished to convey to the great American people the warm greetings and best wishes of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. He mentioned that in mid-19th century, several dozen thousand Chinese workers, working side by side with American workers and braving harsh conditions, built the great railway linking the east and the west of the American continent. "In our common struggle against fascist aggression over 60 years ago, several thousand American soldiers lost their lives in battlefields in China. Their heroic sacrifice still remains fresh in the minds of the Chinese people," Hu said. The Chinese president that Chinese people has much respect for American people. "The Americans are optimistic, full of enterprise and drive, down to earth and innovative." In just over 200 years, they have turned the United States into the most developed country in the world and made phenomenal achievements in economic development and science and technology." Both China and the United States are countries of significant influence in the world, Hu said. "Mutually beneficial and win-win China-US economic cooperation and trade benefit our two peoples and promote the economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. This has become an important foundation for China-US relations." ()

Hu Jintao: China's growth contributes to world peace
2006-04-21 China Daily
Washington -- Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao told US business and political leaders that China's future growth will require a peaceful environment, and, its growth will only contribute to regional and world peace. "China must pursue a path of peaceful development if it is to meet the goal of modernizing itself," Hu said Thursday in a speech delivered at the dinner hosted by some friendly organizations, including the US-China Business Council, the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chinese top leader said that China's decision is deeply rooted in its historical and cultural tradition. "The path of peaceful development embodies the national trait fostered in the Chinese culture over several thousand years and accords with the lofty pursuit of the Chinese people who love and value peace." Such a decision also conforms to the trend of the times and is in keeping with human progress, said Hu, noting that China plays a "responsible and constructive role" in promoting world peace and development. He put forward six-point proposal to advance China-US relations, which is believed by leaders of the two countries to "have gone far beyond bilateral context and become increasingly global in importance." Hu made the speech after hosting summit with US President George W. Bush, during which the two leaders agreed that there are many strategic interests between the two countries. Hu's proposals include:
* Increase understanding, expand common ground and build long-term and stable constructive and cooperative China-US relations.
* Seize opportunities, be creative, consolidate and expand the foundation for bilateral economic co-operation and trade.
The two countries should encourage companies to build strong business ties and explore new opportunities in such sectors as telecommunication, environmental protection and services and strengthen strategic consultation on energy. China will continue to honor its World Trade Organization accession commitments, expand market access, strengthen protection on intellectual property rights and increase import from US. While US should take positive steps to promote the growth of business ties.
* Adhere to principle, honor commitment and properly handle the question of Taiwan in accordance with the three China-US Joint Communiques.
China will continue to make every effort and work together with Taiwan compatriots with every sincerity to ensure the peaceful and stable development of cross-Straits relations and China's peaceful reunification. But China will never allow the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces to split Taiwan from China under any name or in any form. China appreciates US Government's commitment on one-China policy and opposition to "Taiwan independence" and urges it to honour its commitment.
* Maintain close consultation, take up challenge and strengthen communication and coordination on major international and regional issues.
China is ready to deepen anti-terror co-operation with US on thee basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit, work with US to uphold international non-proliferation regime, properly address the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means and negotiation and continue to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through the six-party talks.
* Draw on each other's strengths and strengthen friendly exchanges between the two peoples.
The two countries should step up co-operation in science and technology, culture and education, increase exchanges between media and think tanks, between provinces and cities as well as among young people.
* Respect each other, treat each other as equals and view differences in a proper context and manage them properly.
China will continue to reform its political structure, develop socialist democracy, expand citizens' orderly participation in political affairs and ensure that people exercise democratic election, democratic decision making, democratic management and democratic monitoring in accordance with the law. China will keep advancing human rights in the course of its social development and the Chinese people fully enjoy freedom of religious belief as provided by law. Due to different national conditions, it is normal for China and US to disagree on some issues and they should seek common ground while shelving differences and conduct consultations on an equal footing. "Hu's speech is very good, especially on the economic side," said Michael Green, an expert from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, which is one of the hosts of the dinner. China has made concrete efforts to push bilateral economic and trade relations, including the purchase of US commodities as well as the promise of reforming the Renminbi exchange rate regime, said Green in an interview with China Daily after the speech. US has higher expectation on China in security sector, hoping China to play a bigger role in resolving nuclear issues of Iran and on Korean Peninsula, said Green.

Japan urged to respond positively to Hu's remarks
2006-04-18 Xinhuanet
China on Tuesday once again urged Japan to make a "positive" and "well-meaning" response to President Hu Jintao's remarks on Sino-Japanese ties and work to restore normal bilateral relations. "The current status of the Sino-Japanese ties isn't in accord with the basic interests of the people of the two counties, nor does it meet the expectations of the international community. They should be changed as soon as possible," Chinese top political advisor Jia Qinglin said at a meeting with a delegation of the Japanese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, led by former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. Jia recalled Hu's remarks on March 31 in a meeting with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations in Beijing, saying that the remarks provided direction on improving bilateral ties. "President Hu's remarks fully demonstrate China's positive attitude and sincere goodwill," said Jia, who is also chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The relationship between China and Japan has chilled in recent years due to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including about a dozen major World War II criminals. Leaders of the two neighboring countries have halted exchanges of visit for over four years, ever since Koizumi began paying homage to the controversial war shrine soon after he took office in 2001. At his March meeting with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations, Hu said the Chinese government values the Sino-Japanese relations and regards it as one of the important bilateral relations in the world, and China has made unswerving efforts to improve the ties. Hu also offered talks with Japanese leaders as soon as they make an unequivocal decision to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. "We hope the Japanese side will make positive and well-meaning responses with concrete measures and join hands with China to put bilateral ties back on track and move toward healthy and stable development as soon as possible," Jia said. Jia also highlighted China's economic and trade cooperation with Japan, saying that the two countries, as key trading partners, should take further steps to expand cooperation to enhance the bilateral economic ties. Hashimoto said the political relations between Japan and China were currently difficult, but the will of the people of both countries for bilateral friendship remains unchanged. He said the purpose of his delegation's visit was to exchange views on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation with relevant Chinese departments in a bid to make positive efforts to improve bilateral ties. The Japanese delegation was invited by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. After its arrival in Beijing on Sunday, the delegation has called on China's Ministry of Commerce and State Development and Reform Commission. On Wednesday, the Japanese delegation will head to east China's Anhui Province. They will end up their China tour on Friday after travelling to Shanghai.

China urges restraint in solving Iran nuclear issue
2006-04-20 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang urged restraint and flexibility in resolving the Iran nuclear issue through negotiations on Thursday. "There is still room for resolving the issue through negotiations, and we hope all parties concerned will continue to make efforts for the proper solution of the issue through negotiations," Qin said at a regular press conference. He said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai attended a six-nation meeting on the Iran nuclear issue in Moscow on Tuesday and expressed China's concern about the current situation. Representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany attended the Moscow meeting. Qin said China held that room still exists for negotiations in resolving the issue and the international community should not give up efforts. All measures taken should be conducive to creating necessary conditions for the solution of the issue through negotiations, he said. China has all along supported the early resumption of talks between the European Union and Iran, Qin said, adding China welcomes the three European countries and Iran to hold dialogue in Moscow. China hopes such dialogue would build trust between the two sides and promote the peaceful solution of the issue, he said. Qin noted that following the visit to Iran Cui visited Russia and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The two sides exchanged views on the Iran nuclear standoff and other issues related to bilateral relations, he said. The two sides agreed to strengthen contacts and cooperation in the Iran nuclear issue to jointly promote the peaceful solution to the issue, Qin said, adding China will continue to support Russia in playing a role in this regard.

Indonesian vice president visits south China
2006-04-20 Xinhuanet
Visiting Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kalla said on Thursday that Indonesia would enhance cooperation with China in joint efforts to achieve prosperity in Asia. During his meeting with Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng, Yusuf expressed admiration for the remarkable achievements made by the South China's boomtown and special economic zone neighboring Hong Kong. China could provide good technologies to other nations, Yusuf said, hoping to learn from China's development. Yusuf and his delegation, consisting of ministers of transport, trade, energy and mineral resources, visited Suzhou Industrial Park in East China's Jiangsu Province on Thursday morning before leaving for Shenzhen. Yusuf learned about the successful experience of the industrial park in attracting foreign investment, service works and favourable polices. Besides Suzhou and Shenzhen, Yusuf visited China's economic hub Shanghai. He will attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) to be held in South China's Hainan Province between April 21 and 23.

Finnish prime minister to visit China
2006-04-18 Xinhuanet
Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will pay an official visit to China from April 25 to 28, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced Tuesday. Vanhanen will make the visit as a guest of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao,the spokesman told a regular news conference.

Egypt's PM praises cooperative relations with China
2006-04-20 People's Daily
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef on Wednesday praised the cooperative relations between Egypt and China. Egypt appreciates China's support for Egypt and for the Arab cause, Nazef told visiting Chinese State Councilor Hua Jianmin. "Egypt is willing to work with China to deepen the friendly cooperative relations between the two countries," said Nazef. "We hope to further develop strategic cooperation with China." Hua, on his part, noted that Egypt was the first Arab and African country to establish diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China. "Bilateral relations have come to a new stage since 1999 when the two countries decided to build a strategic cooperative relationship," said Hua, adding that economic ties between China and Egypt had great potential for development. He also said that China and Egypt had both placed great emphasis on bilateral relations since they first established diplomatic relationship in 1956, noting that Beijing and Cairo had much common ground as regards to regional and international issues and shared many common interests. "China appreciates Egypt's precious support for China over some major issues and China also shows sincere support for Egypt over its just causes," said Hua. In addition, he said that China was willing to further strengthen cooperation with Egypt in various fields. Nazef and Hua later witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Egypt and China over personnel and executive cooperation. Earlier in the day, Hua also met Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and other senior Egyptian officials. Hua arrived at Cairo Tuesday at the invitation of the Egyptian government.

China to set up effective system for IPR protection
2006-04-20 Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has reiterated his confidence in China's ability to fight piracy, stressing that IPR protection is as important as protecting productivity. "China will establish an effective system for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection with strict law-enforcement and strong supervision," Wen said during his visit to an ongoing IPR protection exhibition held at the Chinese Military Museum in Beijing. Wen said China's efforts will focus on four aspects: enhancing law enforcement, improving administrative supervision, broadening international co-operation and fostering IPR protection awareness among the public. The exhibition is open to the public from April 16 to 23. Hundreds of counterfeit goods are on display and there are booths highlighting the protection of trademarks, copyright and patents from different government departments and domestic companies. "The exhibition shows Chinese government's determination to fight piracy," Wen said, adding that the government is firm on IPR protection and it meets the needs of China's modernization drive and is the country's commitment to the international community. On the same day, a press conference was held in Beijing by several law enforcement and IPR departments of the central government to show China's progress in fighting piracy in 2005.Wen's comments coincide with President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States where the issue of piracy is a hot topic at present. Meanwhile, in Washington, visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to step up protection of intellectual property rights at aluncheon attended by hundreds of government and business leaders on the second day of his visit to the United States. "We will continue to improve the legal system for IPR protection, step up law enforcement and crack down hard on IPR infringement to protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign IPR proprietors in China in accordance with the law," Hu said.

China, UNDP agree on rural technology transfer project
2006-04-20 Xinhuanet
The Chinese government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have agreed on a project to provide innovative technologies and expertise to poverty-ridden rural areas in China. With three million U.S. dollars from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and one million U.S. dollars from UNDP, the four-year project, titled "Alleviating Rural Poverty through Innovative Technologies Transfer," will set up technical task forces to introduce to farmers both better technologies and innovative organizational methods for farmers to receive tailor-made technological services to increase their income. MOST Vice-Minister Liu Yanhua said, "The UNDP is the first international organization that helps China to develop and enhance technical task forces to extend technologies to rural China." Nanping City, southeast China's Fujian Province, piloted a scheme in 2002 to send technical experts to help rural people raise their earnings with appropriate technologies. Since then, 598 counties in 24 provinces nationwide have followed suit. Khalid Malik, UNDP resident representative in China, said, "We hope that the project will help generate new job opportunities in local communities and allow agriculture technology experts from government agencies, academies, research institutes, and other organizations to participate more effectively in lifting farmers out of poverty."

 

Domestic Policy

China confirms 12th human bird flu death
2006-04-20 China Daily
A 21-year-old man in China's central province of Hubei died on Wednesday of H5N1 bird flu, the Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, quoting local health authorities. Xinhua identified the victim as a migrant worker surnamed Lai who worked as a security guard in the provincial capital Wuhan. He returned home last month to attend a funeral and developed symptoms of pneumonia on April 1, it said. Lai was the 12th Chinese to die from the virus since the first death in November of last year. China has recorded 17 cases of human bird flu infections. Epidemiologists fear that bird flu could mutate to a form where it could pass easily among humans, potentially triggering a pandemic in which millions could die.

Premier Wen sets goals for environment protection
2006-04-19 China Daily
Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the nation to view environment protection from a strategic perspective while warning of a worsening ecological situation in some regions. Targets set for economic growth were easily met in the country's 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) but major environment protection objectives set for the same period were not achieved, and new problems have emerged, said Wen at a two-day national conference on environmental protection that ended in Beijing yesterday. It was the highest-level meeting on environment issues and is usually held only once during a premier's five-year term. Of the 20 environmental goals set for the 10th Five-Year Plan, eight have not been achieved, the State Environmental Protection Agency said last week. The unfulfilled goals include reducing discharges of sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and industrial solid waste, and improving wastewater treatment. Wen blamed "lack of awareness, insufficient planning, illogical industrial structure and a weak legal framework" for the severe environmental problems in some places. According to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), energy consumption per unit of GDP will be cut by 20 per cent, major pollutants reduced by 10 per cent and forest coverage rise to 20 per cent from 18.2 per cent. To fulfil the targets, the government focus should be put on both environment protection and economic growth, and the latter should not be at the cost of the former. Wen set priorities for environmental protection strengthening water conservation, controlling atmospheric and soil pollution, enhancing ecological protection, improving the economic structure and boosting the environmental technology and protection industry. He vowed that environment protection would be a factor in assessing officials' performance. He asked local governments to release information on energy consumption and pollutant emissions every six months, control emissions and step up environmental assessment of construction projects. Protective policies on exploitation of resources should be implemented, and legal and supervisory systems should be established, he said. An editorial published in today's People's Daily hails the conference as a "milestone in China's environmental protection history."

Two major S. China cities warn of unqualified drinking water sources
2006-04-19 Xinhuanet
Two booming cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province warned of unqualified drinking water sources, which failed to meet national standards in this regard. Ammonia nitrogen, Fecal coliforms, biochemical oxygen demand, and total nitrogen were cited as major pollution indices for the drinking water sources in the two cities, according to a report issued Monday on the environmental situation in Guangdong last year and in the period of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-2005). The quality of all drinking water sources in 19 other cities of the province met the national standards last year, said the report, published by the Guangdong Provincial Environment Protection Bureau. Guangdong has altogether 66 drinking water sources, covering all of its 21 cities, said Chen Guangrong, deputy director of the bureau. In general, 87.5 percent of the drinking water sources in the province met national standards last year in terms of water quality, Chen said. "It indicated 19.7 percentage points higher than that of 2004 and the overall situation is positive," Chen said.

Expert warns safety issue in dairy industry
2006-04-19 Xinhuanet
A Chinese economist has urged the country's dairy companies to pay more attention to the safety of dairy products, which has hindered further development of the country's dairy industry. "Many safety issues relating to domestic dairy companies have been exposed in China in recent years," Zhan Yunhua, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, told the International Conference on Livestock Services in Beijing. Zhang, quoting a survey of Chinese dairy consumers, said that about 44 percent of Chinese consumers doubt the quality of the dairy products and 45 percent do not believe dairy producers can have a better control over a safe dairy supply chain. Zhang said the safety issue will have a great influence on the growth of China's dairy industry, and he urged the government to improve the food safety administration system to create a better environment for the domestic dairy companies. Many Chinese dairy companies have applied for different kinds of food safety certificates in recent years, but sometimes these certificates are just for show and lack creditability, said Zhang. The dairy industry has a bright future in China. It is expected that China's dairy output will rank third in the world by 2020, following India and the United States. Currently, China's top three dairy giants, Yili Group, Mengniu Group and Bright Dairy and Food Group, have a 50 percent share of China's dairy market.

 

Taiwan

Lien Chan on far-sighted thought of Hu Jintao
2006-04-18 Xinhuanet
Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan on Monday expressed admiration on the far-sighted thought of Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on promoting cross-Strait relations. Lien made the remarks while meeting with Lu Zhangong, secretary of the CPC's Fujian provincial committee, in Fuzhou, capital of eastern Fujian Province. Lien arrived here to worship his ancestors in his hometown Zhangzhou City. On Sunday, Hu highlighted peace and development across the Taiwan Straits in a speech when meeting with Lien, who headed a Taiwan delegation to attend a cross-Strait economic and trade forum held in Beijing from April 14 to 15. "Peace and development should be the theme of cross-Strait relations, and the common goal of compatriots both on the mainland and in Taiwan," Hu said. "There are two goals in my mainland visit. One is to attend the forum, which achieved fruitful progress in strengthening cross-Strait economic exchanges and cooperation, and the other is to worship my ancestors," Lien said. It is delightful to visit Fujian, he said, calling for further exchanges, especially in sectors of economy and trade, between Fujian and Taiwan.

 

Tibet

No death reported in Tibet's earthquake areas
2006-04-20 Xinhuanet
No deaths have been reported in an earthquake that jolted Baingoin County of Tibet Autonomous Region early Thursday, a local official told Xinhua over the phone. The quake, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale, flattened some houses in the epicenter area but no casualties have been reported,said Sigyai, head of the Publicity Department of Baingoin County Committee of the Communist Party of China. The State Seismological Bureau said the earthquake hit Baingoin County at 5:05 a.m. with the epicenter being 31.5 north latitude and 90.3 east longitude, about 30 km from the county town of Baingoin. Sigyai said the quake affected eight of the ten towns in Baingoin County, of which Jiaqun town suffered the most serious damages. Reports from Jiaqun town show that a grain depot and some buildings in a local school collapsed. And cracks were seen on thelocal government office building and some residential buildings of local herdsmen and farmers, Sigyai said. Sigyai said Baingoin county government had sent rescuers to the quake-affected areas. A county of 36,028 people, Baingoin is located in the hinterland of the highlands in northern Tibet and covers 30,000 square km.

 

Economy

Booming economy sparks warning
2006-04-20 China Daily
China's booming economy grew 10.2 percent in the first quarter, picking up from last year's already breakneck pace to spark a fresh warning the pursuit of growth for its own sake could lead to problems. The expansion in the first three months, announced by the National Bureau of Statistics, came on the back of massive increases in investment in factories, bridges and other fixed assets. NBS spokesman Zheng Jingping said the growth rate, after 9.9 percent last year, was "relatively fast" but still within a normal range. "It is fundamentally normal but it is at the upper end of the potential growth range and we need to take note of it," Zheng told a press conference. Fixed asset investment in the first quarter was up 27.7 percent from a year earlier, the NBS said. That compared with 25.7 percent growth for all 2005. Zheng said rapid growth in fixed asset investment and bank loans were "prominent problems" that have to be addressed, echoing President Hu Jintao's weekend warning on the risks of too high a growth rate. "If the economy develops too fast because of naked pursuit of growth, we will be punished by the laws of economics and the laws of nature," Zheng said. "The lesson of big ups and downs is vivid in our minds and we should avoid the one-sided and blind pursuit of speed." President Hu is currently on a crucial US visit being dominated by China's emergence as an economic powerhouse and the trade and currency issues being thrown up as a result. China's economy expanded 9.9 percent in 2005 and the government, hoping to switch the focus to domestic consumption away from exports, had earlier set a more modest goal of about 8.0 percent growth for 2006. At the same time, Zheng also argued that China, still a developing nation, needs fast growth to help lift millions out of grinding poverty. "In solving poverty and subsistence issues, we need relatively fast economic growth," he said. Some analysts made the same point, saying that fast growth rates were natural for an economy at China's stage of development. "A 10 percent growth rate is inevitable, It's just like the growing process of a baby. Its necessary," said Chen Xingdong, Beijing-based chief China economist with BNP Paribas Peregrine. Other data such as inflation suggested no signs of overheating. The consumer price index rose 1.2 percent in the first quarter. In urban areas, prices increased 1.2 percent and in rural areas they were up 1.1 percent. Inflation in 2005 came in at 1.8 percent. China's industrial output, from sweatshops to its massive factory floors across the vast nation, climbed 16.7 percent in the first quarter, largely in line with previous figures and suggesting no imminent break out. The figures indicated again, however, that China's economy continued to be driven by the twin engines of investment and exports, while consumers in the world's most populous country remain cautious spenders. Exports increased 26.6 percent in the first quarter, the NBS said, reflecting China's status as the factory of the world. Retail sales, the main indicator of consumer spending, rose 12.2 percent but that figure, while impressive by most nation's standards, does not reflect the real potential of the Chinese consuming public, analysts say. China's 1.3 billion people instead continue to put too much money in the bank because of a weak social safety net and fears for the future.

Illegal banks, forex firms closed
2006-04-21 SCMP
Police have closed 47 underground banks and illegal foreign exchange businesses dealing in more than 100 million yuan. Officers seized 31 million yuan in cash during the crackdown last year, the China News Service quoted sources from the Ministry of Public Security as saying. More than 2,000 ATM cards, bankbooks and deposits worth 170 million yuan were also confiscated. The crackdown was mounted because illegal currency exchange activities were expanding and the value of transactions through underground banks was rising. "This has not only seriously disturbed the order of China's financial market, but has also become a channel for capital to leak out and for pseudo foreign capital to come in. This poses a threat to the country's economic security," the report said, referring to domestic funds channeled out of the country and then back as foreign capital. On the mainland, investment in the form of foreign capital often attracts benefits such as tax breaks. The report said public security agencies had established close co-operation with the People's Bank of China and the foreign exchange authority to step up the crackdown on illegal foreign exchange activities. A government-funded study found that underground banking accounts for more than 28 per cent of new lending on the mainland, or about 800 billion yuan a year. The study, by a group of Central Finance and Economics University academics, showed that 90 per cent of such lending was going to the securities and futures markets.

 

Mongolia

First case of Mongolian transmitted HIV/AIDS reported
2006-04-19 UB Post
Mongolian health officials officially confirmed the nation's 19th case of HIV/AIDS last week. The news sparked grave coverage in local media because the case represents the first reported Mongolian-to-Mongolian transmission and comes less than a week after the 18th reported case. Officials reported that the latest case is a middle aged male business owner who is married. The man contracted the virus after having unprotected sex with a Mongolian prostitute. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Health appealed to the general public to be aware of the dangers of unprotected sex. The ministry claimed that the latest cases of HIV/AIDS reflect a growth in the atrisk population to include middle aged and working professionals. The Mongolian Students' Union appealed to youth to get a voluntary blood test. On April 16 the union organized a street march of students that ended at the National Research Center of Communicable Diseases where over a hundred students got a blood test. The march was joined by members of the Minii Ger TV reality show. The center's Red Ribbon clinic remained open during the weekend to accommodate the requests for blood tests. The test is free of charge. Mongolia's first reported case of HIV/AIDS was announced in 1992. Ministry of Health officials have estimated that there may be over 1,000 undiagnosed cases in the country at present.

Civil movements burn effigies, start hunger strike
2006-04-19 UB Post
Multiple civil movements continue to protest on Sukhbaatar square against the current government. The pending stability agreement with Ivanhoe mines, corruption, the 2006 budget revisions and the SAPU trade center victims have remained as the main issues of protest. On Friday April 14, the Democratic Party under the leadership of Ts.Elbegdorj announced that they would also object to the current government and boycott parliamentary sessions. The party's 20 members of parliament walked out later that day. In a live TV interview, Elbegdorj was quoted as saying, "Our laws were unsustainable, we tried to make our laws very attractive for foreign investment. That is how we appealed to foreign companies. However now this is just the opposite. All countries know that Mongolia has lots of mineral resources. Currently all the companies come by themselves. We don't need to attract anymore foreign investment because they are arriving on their own interests. Now we need to improve our environmental laws, as well as our mineral resource and mining laws. We can take and receive foreign investment while still improving our laws. We need to stand firmly on our laws and enforce them." In the prior weeks the civil movements had set the date of April 18, for when they expected answers from the government, and said they would take extreme measure if there demands weren't met. On April 17, President N. Enkbayar addressed Mongolia on a UBS Television interview and discussed some of the pressing problems that Mongolia is facing. The President had the following to say about the state of corruption within the current government: "There are some journalists who are slandering me. For example in the newspapers they are saying I have taken bribes/corruption of Tg20 or 22 million. I am a Mongol person. I also grew up during those hard times. I studied and was trained during those difficult times, but also gained my knowledge during those times. I know what it is like. I'm not working to try and find money. I wasn't running towards the money, the people who are working together with me also don't have these thoughts to get money and become rich. Those people, including myself, always work for our state. Regrettably some people don't understand that we only work for the state, and they still slander us." However follow up questions and discussion were absent from the hour interview. By the afternoon a crowd of 3,000 descended upon Sukhbaatar square and the government house carrying effigies of President Enkhbayar, Prime Minister M. Enkhbold, Speaker of Parliament Ts. Nyamdorj and Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines Robert Friedland. With a truck carrying the leaders of the civil movements as well as all the flags, the protesters marched around Sukhbaatar before settling behind the government house. The effigies were piled onto a 60 gallon oil drum, doused with gasoline and lit ablaze to chants of, "Resign! Resign!" After the crowds dispersed some of the protesters retired to their gers on Sukhbaatar to start the hunger strike. Some news sources stated that up to 500 could possibly take part in the strike, however only 17 official hunger strikers were recorded on Wednesday morning, excluding the two pregnant women who were participating in the strike, but were urged not to by doctors on the scene. On the morning of April 19, protesters were seen erecting signs that contain the home, work and cell phone numbers of the 76 members of the Mongolian Parliament. The current government has stated that it will answer the protesters demands before April 27.

Government of Japan Contributes US$ 1 million to UNICEF Mongolia in the prevention and preparedness of Avian Influenza
2006-04-19 Mongol Messenger
President sees city future Uul District to meet the daily demand from 40,000 homes. City staff told the president that rubbish is an increasing problem for the city, which has 11 dumps. The president was shown round a new dump in Bayangol District's 20th khoroo. They said that most Ulaanbaatar rubbish has been going to the Ulaanchuluut dump in Songinokhairkhan District, which until recently had rubbish to a depth of 18 metres covering 18 hectares. JICA is helping cover the rubbish with soil, and has so far covered eight hectares. The staff said that the dump will be soon be unable to accept any more rubbish, and a new site has already been The Government of Japan has contributed US$49,108,860 as grant assistance to UNICEF for emergency assistance for Avian and Pandemic Influenza Prevention and Preparedness in Asia and Africa. Eleven countries that are considered high-risk for avian influenza - Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria and Niger - will benefit from the donation of the Government of Japan. As part of the contribution from the Government of Japan, UNICEF Mongolia has received US$ 1,040,022 for the prevention and preparedness for Avian Influenza. The funds will be used in close collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders such as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, NGOs and INGOs and will be used specifically for advocacy, social mobilization and programme communication. Mr. I. Yasuyoshi, Ambassador of Japan informed that last December, at the ASEAN+3 Meeting, Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan announced that Japan would contribute US$ 135 million to prevent and fight avian and human influenza. He also mentioned that UNICEF in cooperation with other stakeholders would make valuable contribution to prevent people from this disease in Mongolia. Mr. P. Dash, Head of the National Emergency Management Agency, said that a national strategy on the prevention and preparedness of Avian Influenza has been finalized and the funding of 40 billion tugrug is required for the implementation of the national strategy. He emphasized that the funding from the Government of Mongolia would not be sufficient and donors support is greatly needed. He thanked the Government of Japan for being the first donor in this area. Mr. Richard Prado, UNICEF Mongolia Representative emphasized in his speech that, "behavior change communication that underscores the importance of personal hygiene, social participation and mobilization remain the most costeffective strategy to prevent Avian Influenza globally, in the absence of any clear vaccine or cure to stave off human to human transmission. ()

 

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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