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
  5.6-9.6.06, No. 118  
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Foreign Policy

President Hu Jintao to attend CICA summit
2006-06-08 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the second summit of the member states of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in Almaty of Kazakhstan on June 17. Hu is invited by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced at a regular press briefing Thursday in Beijing. The CICA, a forum aimed at increasing security in Asia, was first proposed by Nazarbayev at the 47th UN general assembly in 1992. Its 17 members include China, Russia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Palestine. The first ever summit of heads of states of the CICA member states took place on June 4, 2002, resulting in the creation of a new security forum for Asia.

Chinese premier to visit African countries
2006-06-08 Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda from June 17 to 24, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced on Thursday. Liu Jianchao said Wen will pay the visits at the invitation of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Mahmoud Mohamed Nazef, Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-nguesso, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. This will be Premier Wen's second visit to Africa, said Liu, adding Wen will hold talks with leaders of the seven countries and exchange views in depth on promoting bilateral relations, Sino-African ties and other issues of common concern, based on the spirit of deepening friendship, enhancing mutual trust, expanding cooperation and common development. "Wen's visit will be China's another important act in its diplomacy toward Africa, following the publication of African policy documents early this year and a successful visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to three African nations in April," said Liu. He said Wen's visit is aimed at further consolidating and developing traditional China-Africa friendship, expanding cooperation of mutual benefit and establishing and developing a new strategic partnership between China and Africa. "I believe the visits will further strengthen the friendship and cooperation between China and the seven African countries and promote the development of Sino-African friendly and cooperative ties," said Liu.

China, EU agree to maintain close communication on Iran
2006-06-07 Xinhuanet
China and the European Union (EU) have agreed to maintain close contact on how to peacefully resolve the Iran nuclear issue through negotiations, according to a press release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The consensus was reached between Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana when the two talked on the phone on Wednesday evening, said the foreign ministry release. "Solana briefed Li about his talks with the Iranian side on the nuclear issue during his recent visit to Iran," the release said. Solana went to Tehran on Monday to present Iran with a package of incentives, which was agreed last week by the five UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- as well as Germany, in exchange for Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment.

Presidents of all SCO members to attend 2006 summit
2006-06-08 Xinhuanet
China on Thursday confirmed that presidents of all the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states will attend the organization's summit slated for June 15 in Shanghai. Presidents of Mongolia, Pakistan and Iran, three SCO observers, will also attend the summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing. On the sidelines of the summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao will hold bilateral meetings with presidents of the SCO members and observers, including Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Liu said. The spokesman said China had discussed Iran's nuclear issue with the country in the past and will continue to do so in the future to improve mutual understanding. "China will continue to make positive efforts to help peacefully solve the Iran nuclear issue through negotiations," Liusaid when asked whether the nuclear issue will be raised at the meeting between Hu and Ahmadinejad. India, another SCO observer, will send its Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora to the summit, Liu said. Liu also confirmed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Executive Secretary Vladimir Rushailo of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Deputy Secretary-General Wilfrido. V. Villacorta of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will attend the summit as guests.

DPRK FM winds up 8-day China tour
2006-06-06 People's Daily
Paek Nam Sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), left Beijing Tuesday morning, concluding his 8-day visit to China. During his stay in Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with Paek respectively. As guest of his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, Paek held talks with Li on bilateral ties, Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and other issues of common concern. Paek's China tour came at a time when the six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue remained stalled since the last round of meeting was held in Beijing last November. The last round of talks, involving China, DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan, ended up with a Chairman's Statement, in which the parties concerned agreed to resume the talks as soon as possible. But as Washington imposed financial sanctions on Pyongyang for alleged counterfeiting and money laundering. Until now, there has been no signs that the talks will be resumed soon. Paek also spent three days in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, a boom area in south China, which DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visited in January. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Paek's visit to Guangdong is helpful to enhancing mutual understanding and exchanging experience on economic development.

China urges measures to prevent outer space weaponization
2006-06-09 People's Daily
Weaponization of the outer space could pose serious threats to the world, so measures are urgently needed to prevent this from happening, a senior Chinese diplomat said in Geneva Thursday. "It is in the interest of all countries to protect the humanity from the threat of outer space weapons," Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Cheng Jingye told a plenary session of the UN's Conference on Disarmament (CD). According to the ambassador, the deployment of weapons in outer space would bring unimaginable consequences. "The outer space assets of all countries would be endangered, mankind's peaceful use of outer space threatened, and international peace and security undermined," he said. Cheng stressed to the 65 member states of the CD that "prevention is far better than facing the consequences." "It is true that so far there are still no weapons in outer space, but this should not become our excuse for sitting idly by," he said. "The history of the development of nuclear weapons constantly reminds us that once outer space weapons become full-fledged, how difficult it would be to control them and to prevent their proliferation, let alone to eliminate them," he warned. "We simply cannot afford to delay actions and wait until the deployment of outer space weapons and an arms race in outer space become a reality. The price would be too high," he added. Cheng said the effective way to prevent outer space weaponization was to conclude a new international legal instrument. "There is a sound basis and the conditions are ripe for negotiating such a legal instrument," he said, noting that there has been growing awareness and broad ground on the importance of prevention of an outer space arms race. The ambassador recalled that in 2002, seven countries, namely Russia, China, Indonesia, Belarus, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Syria, jointly presented a working paper to the CD. The working paper, in a form of a treaty, puts forward detailed proposals on all composing elements of a new legal instrument on outer space security, he said. The CD is focusing talks this month on prospects for launching negotiations on prevention of arms race in outer space. The United States and Britain are almost alone among the CD's 65 member states in opposing the start of the negotiations.

China criticizes Japan's challenge on trial against war criminals
2006-06-08 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Thursday dismissed Japanese claims that the trial against Japanese war criminals from World War II was unjust. "Any attempt to challenge this just trial will be unpopular and cannot succeed. Instead, it will be strongly condemned by the international community and the majority of the Japanese people," said Liu. A foreign journalist asked Liu to comment on reports that free booklets in Chinese and Korean will be handed out to visitors of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which say the trial, planned by the United Nations, that found the Japanese war criminals guilty, was one-sided. More than two million Japanese war dead including 14 Class A war criminals are honored at the shrine. "The trial by the International Military Tribunal for Far East against the Japanese war criminals has upheld justice and safeguarded the dignity of man," said Liu. The trial had handed the criminals deserved punishments, the spokesman said.

China blasts U.S. statement on "Tiananmen incident"
2006-06-07 Xinhuanet
China opposes the United States's rude interference into China's internal affairs by issuing a statement on the 1989 "Tiananmen incident", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Wednesday. "The U.S. statement is a groundless criticism and attack on China," Liu Jianchao said in a statement. The U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Sunday issued a statement on the "Tiananmen incident".

Google investigates blocking complaints
2006-06-07 SCMP
Internet giant Google is investigating complaints that mainland Web users have been unable to use its search engine, but said it was too early to say if the service has been blocked. Google China public relations manager Cui Jin confirmed yesterday that the company has received complaints that the service was not accessible on the mainland. Internet users in main cities on the mainland have circulated messages saying they could not log on to Google.com, although the censored Chinese version - Google.cn - was accessible. The denial of access to the uncensored version was initially linked to Sunday's 17th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown - a sensitive date which often prompts authorities to tighten control over the media, such as censorship of the internet. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders watchdog issued a statement last night condemning the "unprecedented level of internet filtering in China, which means Google.com can no longer be accessed in most provinces". The group also accused Google of bowing to pressure for online censorship on the mainland. "It was only to be expected that Google.com would be gradually sidelined after the censored version was launched in January," it said. "Google has definitely joined the club of western companies that comply with online censorship in China." In April, Google's chairman and chief executive, Eric Schmidt, defended the company's decision to censor content provided through Google.cn. "We must comply with the local law," Mr Schmidt said in Beijing. "We believe that the decision to follow local law in China was absolutely the right one." American internet companies have been criticised by politicians and free-speech advocates for agreeing to central government demands to filter content seen by Beijing as politically sensitive, such as references to Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen crackdown.

 

Domestic Policy

China invests heavily in environmental protection: white paper
2006-06-06 People's Daily
The Chinese government invested 111.9 billion yuan (14 billion U.S. dollars) in environmental protection between 2001 and 2005, a government white paper said Monday. Of the total input, 108.3 billion yuan (13.5 billion dollars) from treasury bond proceeds was mainly used to control the dust storm sources threatening Beijing and Tianjin, to protect natural forests and to turn cultivated farmland back into forests or pastures, says the white paper. The white paper titled "Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005)" was issued by the Information Office of China's State Council, or the cabinet. This part of money also went to the control of pollution around the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam area and its upstream, as well as pollution on the Huaihe, Liaohe and Haihe rivers, Taihu, Dianchi and Chaohu lakes, for commercial reuse and recycling of sewage and garbage, and wastewater reclamation. Since 1998, the State has focused investment from treasury bond proceeds on environmental infrastructure construction, bringing along a large amount of social investment, the white paper says. Between 1996 and 2004, the investment in environmental pollution control reached 952.27 billion yuan (119 billion dollars), amounting to one percent of the gross domestic product for the same period. In 2006, expenditure on environmental protection was formally itemized in the State's financial budget, according to the white paper.

'China should expand military spending'
2006-06-06 China Daily
"In the past 27 years, China has achieved remarkable success and progress in the construction of its economy. However, very few people are aware that China's development in the area of national defense has lagged behind its economic growth significantly, resulting in the emergence of an uncoordinated development between its national defense and its economy," said Hu Angang, a renowned expert in national scenarios in China and a professor from Tsing Hua University, expressing his worries regarding the situation. The basic national scenario for China is that it has a large population and a vast territory, with a 9.6-million-square-kilometer land area and a 3-million-square-kilometer ocean area. It borders over ten countries and its borderline extends to tens of thousands of kilometers, while its coastline is 18,000 km in length. If China wants to meet the minimum requirement of national defense construction and national security, it should spend at least two to three percentage points of its GDP on national defense. From 1992 to 2002, China's expenditure on national defense only took up 1.6 to 1.62 percentage points of its GDP. Among the seven big countries with over 3 million square kilometers of land area in the world, China's expense on national defense is considered relatively low. In the interview with Hu Angang, he indicated that China's national defense will be greatly reinforced and its goal of strengthening military power with science and technology will be realized, if China can gradually increase its proportion of GDP spending on national defense to a reasonable and appropriate rate. China can increase its proportion of GDP spending on national defense in two steps: first, raise the current ratio from 1.6 to 2% and second, make it reach 2.5%. As far as China is concerned, such a ratio would be basically appropriate but it would be regarded as moderate or low based on an international standard. This economist said that China's economy has maintained rapid growth since 1996, and its proportion of fiscal revenue as well as total government revenue in relation to its GDP has clearly gone up. He added that China possesses the conditions and is now capable of offering necessary and timely compensation to the army for its contribution in the past 20 years to protect the overall situation of national economy construction. It is necessary and possible for China to spend more on national defense to fortify national defense construction and accelerate modernization of its national defense. This is not only in tune with China's core national interests but also a boost to economic growth.

Gorges cofferdam gone with a bang
2006-06-07 China Daily
It took less than 13 seconds yesterday for nearly 200 tons of explosives to tear down the Three Gorges cofferdam, built in 2003 to enable construction of the main dam. Li Yong'an, in charge of the 4 pm directional blast, declared the demolition a success. The explosion blew away the upper 30 metres of the cofferdam, which is 140 metres high and 8 metres wide at the top. The under-water part was left intact because it will not affect the water flow of the Three Gorges Dam. The blasted parts of the temporary dam flew in the direction away from the main dam and fell at the foot of the remaining cofferdam, so posing no threat to the main wall which is about 100 metres away. Debris from the explosion was measured at 180,000 cubic metres. Fish stocks were driven away about three hours before the explosion, Xinhua News Agency reported. Biologists used special devices to create high-pressure electric pulses in water to dispel fish schools near the cofferdam, including such rare species as Chinese sturgeon, river dolphins and mullet. The explosion did not affect other parts of the Three Gorges Project, said Li, general manager of China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation. "The rising water volume after the blast will not have any geological impact," said Li. ()

Over 60% of land use in China illegal
2006-06-07 China Daily
In a drive to rein in the building boom, the Ministry of Land and Resources has called for prompt investigations into developers suspected of breaking land laws. The National Bureau of Statistics' latest figures reveal that China saw 1.8 trillion yuan (US$222 billion) invested in development in cities and towns in the first four months of 2006. Among the investments, "a large quantity of funds has been put into land projects, including many illegal acquisitions," said a ministry official at a national conference on land law enforcement. In some places, the number of illegal acquisition cases account for 60 per cent, or even 90 per cent, of the total land use since September 2004, said the official. Local land resources departments were ordered to deal with at least three illegal land acquisition cases in June, ministry officials said. A total of eight cases should be handled by the end of the year. Major officials in charge of land resources at local level could face punishment for their failure to supervise the situation properly, ministry officials added. An investigation conducted by the ministry in 2005 showed that the number and total area of illegal land acquisition cases accounted 63.8 per cent and 52.8 per cent respectively of newly-allocated construction projects in 70 districts in 15 cities. The fact that many industrial projects are transferred from the east to the west helps increase the number of large-scale illegal land acquisition cases in western China in a "step-by-step way," officials said. ()

55 dead as storms continue in S. China
2006-06-08 China Daily
As powerful storms continue to lash southern China the latest reports confirm at least 55 people have been killed and a further 12 are missing. Since the end of May southern provinces have been beset with floods and landslides, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. The brunt of the damage has been borne by Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Chongqing. "At least 378,000 people have been evacuated and relocated because of the heavy rain," said Li Baojun, an official in charge of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, in a phone interview. Fujian Province in East China is the hardest hit, with 28 deaths reported since the end of May, he said. Two other provinces, Guangdong and Guizhou, have reported 11 deaths each. The continuous rain has caused the biggest flood of the past two decades on the Minjiang River in Fujian Province. It has also led to a direct economic loss of 2.19 billion yuan (US$274 million) in the province, affecting more than 1.6 million people. Storms will continue to batter the regions because of the collision of cold and warm air currents, the Central Meteorological Office warned yesterday. And the Fujian Provincial Meteorological Station has issued the highest warning possible for the coming days. It said the storms would continue for at least two more days, with some parts of the province receiving at least 100 millimetres of rainfall every 24 hours. Trains and planes were both hit by the foul weather yesterday. Six trains on the Yingtan-Xiamen Railway between Jiangxi and Fujian provinces were forced to stop in the morning, after the track bed collapsed in several places due to the heavy rain. The Nanchang Railway Bureau, which runs the route, sent several thousand workers to the sites. It was expected to be reopened by 8pm last night.

China reports new bird flu case
2006-06-07 Xinhuanet
China has discovered a new H5N1 bird flu case in poultry in the western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said on Wednesday. The case was identified after domestic poultry at a farm in Xinjiang's Hetian County died of an unclear illness. The dead poultry were confirmed to have been infected with the bird flu virus on Wednesday after testing at the national bird flu laboratory. The MOA has sent expert teams to Hetian to control any possible outbreak. An emergency mechanism has been launched and the local veterinary departments have set up examination stations to disinfect people and vehicles into and out of the affected area.

Minorities 'unfairly targeted' in crackdown on hawkers
2006-06-08 SCMP
Members of ethnic minorities in Guangzhou say municipal enforcement officers are targeting them in a crackdown on illegal street hawkers launched after a bloody clash at one of the city's many Xinjiang restaurants last week. City officials warned Tibetan hawkers on Huanshi Donglu to pack up their wares on Monday, saying a "big operation" would begin the next day. "Leave quickly. Leave quickly. We've just received orders. There will be a big operation tomorrow. It's against minorities," one officer said, waving his order papers at two Tibetan hawkers on the footpath outside the Baiyun Hotel. The hawkers say the action is related to a standoff on June 1, when municipal enforcement officers injured a Uygur man while trying to clear a footpath. Friends of the man armed with axes and sticks confronted the officers. Riot police and firemen were called in. Restaurant manager Abdul Raxit took a policeman hostage with a knife and threatened to blow up five gas canisters. The standoff was resolved through negotiation. The same day, a female street vendor attacked three enforcement officers with a knife after they told her to pack up her goods. Both Mr Raxit and Tibetan hawker Nyima Yamtse, 28, said authorities were targeting their minority groups. "They came straight for my restaurant. They did not give us any notice and they did not bother to explain to us or to talk to us ... why did they do this to us? Are we Xinjiang people not human beings?" Mr Raxit asked. Mr Yamtse, who came to Guangzhou two months ago, said there were 300 Tibetan hawkers in Guangzhou and 400 in Shenzhen and Dongguan . "We do as the Hans do but they do not hit out at the Han hawkers. As soon as we appear, they come after us." [...] "We are not here to get rich, just to earn enough to fill our stomachs, but the city officials won't give us a chance," Mr Yamtse said. The Tibetans are pleading with the government to give them time to make enough money to buy tickets home. "All we are asking is to do business for one hour after 8.30pm when it would be less disruptive. We also want them to help us recover our security deposit," Mr Yamtse said. Gao Fei , a section chief at the Minority and Religious Affairs Supervision Bureau, said minorities wanted an excuse to cry victim. [...] The Municipal Administration Office, which set up a special 300-man squad last week to handle illegal hawkers, declined to comment on the operation.

Sleeping villagers hit by wall of water as riverbank breaches
2006-06-09 SCMP
A massive wall of water swamped 11 villages in Fujian province early yesterday after a river burst its banks, leaving an unknown number of residents dead or injured. The disaster in Hetian township, Changding county, happened at 3am when floodwaters from the Bashili River swept through the villages, home to more than 3,500 households. More than 16,000 people were evacuated. The area had received more than 91mm of rain in two hours, Xinhua said. Torrential rain continued to pound the southern province, leaving an official death toll of at least 25, not counting any fatalities from yesterday's disaster, according to Xinhua. Another five people are listed as missing. Rescue teams were sent to the township but Xinhua quoted sources from the province's flood-control authority as saying the number of dead and injured and economic losses would be hard to determine because most people were sleeping when the disaster happened. The water was two metres deep in some residential areas, Xinhua said. Three schools in the area suspended classes. In Nanshan, another township in Changding county, six villages were also under water yesterday, Xinhua said. Elsewhere in Fujian, heavy rain affected 2.9 million residents in six cities, Xinhua said. Some 28,400 buildings have collapsed and 472,000 people evacuated. () More than 7,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers and police have been deployed in rescue and flood control operations. More heavy rain was expected last night.

 

Taiwan

KMT seeks Chen's recall
2006-06-08 China Daily
Taiwan's largest opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday decided to seek the recall of "president" Chen Shui-bian amid a swirl of corruption scandals embroiling his wife and son-in-law. Tseng Yung-chuan, director of KMT Central Policy Committee, said the party's Central Standing Committee had approved a proposal to call for a "parliamentary" vote to strip Chen of office. "We can't wait two years to end Taiwan's fear," Tseng said, referring to the time left in Chen's second and last four-year term, which ends in 2008. "We must solve it at once." "(Chen's) honesty has been cast into doubt from a legal standpoint. He has abused his power and broken the law," he added. A referendum to recall Chen would require the support of two-thirds of Taiwan's 225-seat "parliament" before it can be presented to the island's voters for approval. The KMT and its ally, People First Party (PFP), hold 113 seats, while independents have another 12. Following the KMT meeting held in Taipei yesterday afternoon, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou explained why his party had decided to press forward with the issue. "For the past week, we have called on 'president' Chen to take responsibility with the least cost to society, and resign voluntarily," he said. "But we have found that he put the interests of the party above those of society." The KMT leader denied that the proposed recall is a power struggle between his party and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), saying "it's honesty versus corruption, competence versus incompetence." Xu Shiquan, vice-chairman of the Beijing-based National Society of Taiwan Studies, said the KMT decision to seek the ouster of scandal-hit Chen reflects the will of the people. "As a growing number of people support Chen's removal, Ma, who used to oppose the recall move, came to recognize it was time to change course and put more pressure on Chen and the DPP," he told China Daily. The latest Taiwan media survey suggests that 44 per cent of local people want Chen to resign over the scandals, a jump of about 10 percentage points in two weeks. Xu predicted that the KMT faces an extremely difficult mission to oust Chen, because of the high threshold for the "parliamentary" vote as well as the DPP's determination to defend Chen. "But things may change soon if new developments in the scandal prove Chen to be a purely negative asset that threatens to drag the DPP into disaster," the researcher said. "By then, it cannot be ruled out that some DPP 'lawmakers' may abandon Chen to either press for his resignation or throw their weight behind the opposition." Chen has come under growing opposition pressure to resign after his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was detained last month on suspicion of insider share trading.

 

Economy

IPR protection strengthened, EU told
2006-06-08 China Daily
China is ready to further collaborate with the European Union on protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said yesterday. The country has strengthened the enforcement of IPR protection laws and launched campaigns against violations at wholesale and retail markets, Bo said while meeting European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. "IPR claim centres are being set up across the country to help protect the interests of foreign companies," he said, adding that the nation is willing to strengthen co-operation with the EU in this sector. Mandelson welcomed China's progress in IPR protection; and said protection and enforcement of IPRs are "probably the most important issue in Europe's relations with China." Landlords of Silk Street, a major Beijing retail market, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on IPR protection with European fashion and sportswear brands to crack down on infringements. According to the memorandum, if a vendor is found selling counterfeit goods, the landlord will suspend its operation; and its lease will be terminated if the offence is repeated. On a separate topic, Bo criticized the European Commission's anti-dumping duties on Chinese leather shoes. He said the commission was not justified in denying market economy status to Chinese footwear exporters; and expects fair treatment in the final ruling of the anti-dumping case. According to European media, Mandelson noted consultations with China on an auto tariff dispute are complete, and said: "I think there will be a period of reflection on China's part and further informal discussions, I hope, before we determine the next steps." Together with the United States, the EU filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, alleging that the tariffs unfairly forced carmakers to use locally-made parts in cars assembled in China. Mandelson called the discussions with Bo "very encouraging," but urged China to further open its markets to Europe because he believes it is one way to narrow the trade imbalance between the two economies.

FDI estimate up to US$72b
2006-06-09 SCMP
Beijing has raised its estimate of foreign direct investment inflows last year by US$12 billion to US$72.4 billion, a 19.42 per cent increase over the level seen in 2004, according to Vice-Commerce Minister Ma Xiuhong. Ms Ma said the previous FDI estimate released in January did not include data for foreign direct investment in banking, insurance and securities. She also said the time was ripe to unify tax rates for local and foreign companies. Quoting finance and tax officials, the official media said on Monday that a new draft of the Corporate Income Tax Law could be approved as early as March. Foreign firms pay an average of 15 per cent in corporate income tax, compared with 33 per cent for domestic firms.

Chinese cabinet okays draft anti-monopoly law
2006-06-08 China Daily
The cabinet yesterday gave in principle approval to a draft anti-monopoly law which would provide a free and fair competitive environment to all enterprises. A statement from an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao said the draft law, after revision, will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, for deliberation. "Monopoly is not an offence in itself. The trouble arises when monopolies wield their dominant status to curb competition," said Huang Yong, an anti-monopoly consultant at the Ministry of Commerce, adding that the law does not specifically target multinationals. The draft law contains articles regulating monopoly agreements, abuse of dominant market status and large-scale consolidation. It defines "monopoly" as a single operator controlling half or more of an industry's overall market share, or two operators colluding to hold two-thirds, or three holding three-quarters. While multinationals are reluctant to publicly discuss the proposed anti-monopoly law, in private, many executives are extremely attentive to every detail in the draft, said Lester Brown, a Beijing-based lawyer at law firm Allen & Blake LLP. "Some foreign-invested businesses have become a little uneasy about the law in the wake of a State Administration for Industry and Commerce report in 2004, which warned that foreign business giants were building monopolies in China," said Wang Xiaoye, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who participated in the drafting of the law. According to the report, some transnational companies have been using their dominant positions in technology, brand recognition and capital and management to suppress competitors and maximize profits on the Chinese mainland. For instance, Kodak and Fuji account for about 75 per cent of China's film and bromide-paper segments. The report lists a number of industries where free competition may be threatened by multinationals, including software, photosensitive material, mobile phones, cameras, tyres and soft packaging. "Though the law may not be to the advantage of multinational companies, China needs a comprehensive and enforced set of competition laws to become a fully developed economy," said Wang, adding that China is still very supportive of overseas investment. ()

 

Mongolia

Mining meeting
2006-05-31 Mongol Messenger
A meeting was held at parliament House on May 25 on mining laws and environmental regulations. Among those present were representatives of the Presidential Office, World Bank, UN, SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, MRPA (Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority) and the State Professional Inspection Office. Industry and Trade Minister B. Jargalsaikhan, Social Welfare and Labour Minister L. Odonchimed, Professional Inspection Minister U. Khurelsukh and Environment Minister I. Erdenebaatar reported on policy and issues. Mongolia has signed to about 20 conventions on mining and the environment and has about 30 laws and more regulations. At present, over 1,000 mining licences and about 6,400 exploration licences have been issued for 44 percent of Mongolia. Khurelsukh said that some mining companies were carrying out rehabilitation, but not enough was being done. MP Ts. Damiran spoke on the min- erals bill, which he said limited a licence term to 30 years with a possible five-year extension. He said that licences would not be auctioned but issued by tender. The meeting also discussed environment, health, safety and sustainable development.

Torture still happens...
2006-05-31 Mongol Messenger
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) 2006 report alleges that in Mongolia, there are increasingly frequent violations of human rights, including torture, and the report was last week discussed by MPs. The human rights sub-committee and the justice standing committee agreed to submit the report for debate at a plenary session. The report lists complaints placed before the NHRC and meeting with detainees and their lawyers, alleging beatings and other inhumane treatment during investigation. The report says that during an inspection of the Darkhan-Uul detention centre, ten of the 87 detainees complained of being beaten by investigators. They said that they were not given food or drink, and not allowed to sleep or given access to toilet facilities. The NHRC report claims that it was common for investigators to deny detainees a change of clothing and not to allow visits from their family or legal representation. An appendix lists examples, including that of D. Enkhbat, suspected of involvement in the murder of MP and Infrastructure Minister S. Zorig. The NHRC claimed to have established that D. Enkhbat in May 2003 was given an injection to render him unconscious, brought from France to Mongolia and detained in a secret place. NHRC head S. Tserendorj said that he has applied to the General Intelligence Agency (GIA) for information, but was told that the information was restricted. He applied to parliament, without success. He argued, "This bringing a person someone secretly across borders is classed as torture, because he was given an injection to make him unconscious and unable to communicate with others." Enkhbat's lawyer asked NHRC special reporters and attorneys L. Sanjaasuren and S. Enkhbat to meet Enkhbat, and the made a video of the meeting and allegations of 'rendering,' which was broadcast on Channel 25 TV. Sanjaasuren was then accused of disclosing a state secret, as he was a former GIA staffer, and was gaoled for 18 months. The NHRC claims that the criminal procedure law allows the authorities to arrest, detain and indict on a wide range of grounds. They include accusations of tax offences, selling bad quality products, violation of rules on land ownership or of traffic safety. NHRC also believes that the time in detention allowed by the law before a case goes to court is too long. Preliminary detention can be for as long as 30 months for an accusation of a serious crime, 18 months for youth. Tserendorj claiming that detaining a person whose guilt or innocence has not been tested for such a long period endangers life and health, and is the same as torture and illicit pressure. NHRC checked on Gants Khudag detention centre and those in seven aimags last year. Of the 1,338 prisoners, 17 percent had been in gaol for up to a year, 8 percent for two years and one percent for more. They document allegations of weight loss, ill-health and even deaths. The report claims that the gaols are unhygienic, lack sunlight or ventilation, are damp, and have no clean water. In July 2005, 1,009 people were in the Gants Khudag pre-trial detention centre, which was designed to accommodate 670. Nationally, there were 431 gaol cells, only 41 of which had windows; none had ventilation. NHRC alleged torture, cruelty and inhumane treatment by all legal organisation workers, including police and criminal investigators, adding that there was insufficient equipment for investigation and examination. The committee MPs agreed a proposal to look into criminal law amendment to conform with the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Mongolia is a signatory, and to cut the allowed term of pre-trial detention.

By-election in September
2006-05-31 Mongol Messenger
On May 25, the plenary parliamentary session approved a September 3 date for the by-election for the 46th constituency after Democratic Party MPs walked out of the session. The DP members wanted the by- election on July 9, but under new procedural rules, they were counted as having voted in the negative. DP council head and MP L. Gansukh said that the vote violated the constitution and election law, which says that a by-election must be conducted within 45 days of its announcement, and added, "We will petition the Constitutional Court." The by-election is for parts of Huvsgul Aimag and has been caused by the death of MP O. Enkhsaikhan, who was elected in 2004. The by-election budget was agreed at Tg12 million.

 

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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