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
  19.6-23.6.06, No. 120  
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Foreign Policy

China wants 'new partnership' with Africa
2006-06-23 People's Daily
China wants to build a "new type of strategic partnership" with Africa, Premier Wen Jiabao said as he continued his visit on the continent. Wen announced Beijing's plan of expanded influence while wrapping up a visit to South Africa before the next leg of a seven-nation African tour which saw him traverse the continent from Cairo to Cape Town. "The Chinese government, guided by the principle of sincerity, friendship, equality, mutual benefit and common development, is committed to building a new type of strategic partnership with Africa," Wen told a Sino-South African business forum in Cape Town. "To accomplish this we will ... enhance political equality and mutual trust, promote win-win economic cooperation, cultural exchanges and maintain close cooperation in international affairs," the Chinese leader said. Trade between China and Africa reached around 40 billion dollars in 2005, a rise of 35 percent from a year earlier and almost four times higher than in 2001. Wen's visit -- the third high-level Chinese diplomatic trip to Africa in less than six months -- follows visits earlier this year by Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and President Hu Jintao. Wen promised steps to expand economic and trade ties and help Africa by offering zero-tariff treatment for some exports and increased aid and debt relief, while at the same time helping to build infrastructure. "We take the concerns of some African countries on trade deficit and textiles seriously and are working to address these issues," said Wen. South Africa and China on Wednesday penned a landmark trade deal which will restrict Chinese textile imports to South Africa and cushion the blow to an already beleaguered industry. "The fact that we signed a textile agreement is proof in our relations that we are willing to walk an extra mile," South Africa's Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told the forum. "We hope that we can save some of the jobs and some of the industry," she said. South Africa and China also signed a peaceful nuclear cooperation pact which local officials said would include closer work on the development of pebble bed modular reactors -- seen by South Africa as the answer to its own growing quest for new energy resources. While in South Africa, Wen concluded a major deal with the African country's petroleum giant SASOL which will see a second phase study on the mainland to probe the possibility of an 80,000 barrel-per-day chemical plant which turns coal into oil. A second similar deal was concluded Wednesday. Wen and his entourage left South Africa for Tanzania on Thursday morning, sources said, after which he will travel to Uganda.

China's visit very fruitful: Afghan president
2006-06-23 Xinhuanet
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Thursday in Kabul described his visit to the People's Republic of China and meeting Chinese leaders very fruitful. "I am very happy of the outcome of my visit to China. It was a very fruitful visit as we signed 11 agreements including agreement on good neighborhood and enhancing cooperation in the field of trade and economy," Karzai told journalists at his fortified palace after return from Beijing. Describing China as a great neighbor of Afghanistan, Karzai said that enhancing relations with China is important for the progress of his war-torn nation. "Afghanistan wants to learn from China's fast progress in all fields. China's economic progress can be an example for Afghans," Karzai added. Matters pertaining cooperation in war on terror and extremism, Karzai added, also came under discussion during his stay in Beijing with Chinese leaders. Afghan leader, who attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, also expressed his support to the body saying Afghanistan favors any entity in the region that could benefit it. Earlier a statement of Afghanistan Presidency issued Wednesday said that Beijing would grant 10 million U.S. dollars to the post- war country this year. To help increase Afghanistan's export to China, the Chinese side announced that it would grant zero-tariff treatment to 278 items of Afghan exports to China as of 1 July 2006, joint statement of the two governments issued in Beijing during Karzai's visit said. To support Afghanistan's national reconstruction, the Chinese side will train 200 Afghan professionals in the coming two years and will offer 30 government scholarships to Afghanistan annually starting from 2007, the joint statement added. The two sides also agreed to establish China-Afghanistan Comprehensive and Cooperative Partnership in order to consolidate their traditional friendship and broaden cooperation in all fields. During his stay in China, President Karzai also met with business leaders of the two countries and briefed them on trade and investment opportunities in Afghanistan. The two sides, according to the joint statement, emphasized that strengthening cooperation in national defense, security and police affairs is an important part of their bilateral relationship.

Hu to attend dialogue with G8
2006-06-21 China Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend a meeting of dialogues between the Group of Eight (G8) and developing countries in St. Petersburg in July at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced at a regular press conference here Tuesday that China maintains that the developed countries and the developing nations should collectively respond to the global challenges as equal partners in order to achieve a win-win outcome. According to Jiang, the dialogues will cover issues relevant to energy security, education, the development of Africa and the prevention and control of communicable diseases. The Chinese side hopes that the meeting will advance the positive progress of international cooperation in the relevant spheres in compliance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, seeking common ground while reserving differences, and making active, substantial efforts and conducting cooperation so as to attain the win-win outcome. Acknowledging both China and the G8 are important members of the international community and that China remains to be a developing nation, Jiang said China is willing to enhance dialogue and cooperation with G8.

Japan's main opposition party head to visit China
2006-06-23 China Daily
The leader of Japan's main opposition party is planning to visit China next month at the invitation of the Chinese government, a party official said Friday. Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi invited Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, to Beijing during a meeting at the party's Tokyo headquarters on Friday, DPJ official Toshiaki Oikawa said. Oikawa could not confirm a report by Kyodo News agency that Ozawa is expected to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, saying that officials are still working on details of the trip. Ozawa's possible meeting with Hu comes amid chilled ties between the two Asian countries over territorial disputes and visits by Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, to a war shrine criticized as a glorification of militarism. Although relations seem to be improving, the two countries' leaders haven't had a face-to-face summit since 2001. Speaking after his meeting with Ozawa, the Chinese ambassador said Beijing welcomes Ozawa's visit and would like to continue exchanges between China's ruling Communist Party and the DPJ, according to Kyodo.

China to continue to promote all human rights
2006-06-20 Xinhuanet
China has made important contributions to the cause of human rights, and it will continue to make efforts to promote all human rights, a senior government official said here on Tuesday. The Chinese people once suffered greatly from aggression by imperialist powers, fighting among warlords, turbulence and poverty, and that is why they are keenly aware of the value of peace, development and human rights, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Addressing the inaugural session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Yang said the Chinese government had made great efforts to promote human rights and big progress had been made. "The founding of the People's Republic brought about a fundamental change in China's destiny, ushering in a new era when the people have become masters of the country," he said. "Then in 1978, the country embarked on a path of reform, opening and modernization, and in a short space of 28 years, China has completed a journey that took many countries more than 100 years," he said. The official said that since 1978, China had made two quantum leaps - from languishing under poverty to freedom from want and then to moderate prosperity. "As a result, the Chinese now enjoy unprecedented freedom in movement, employment, access to information, beliefs, the choice of way of life, etc.," he said. Yang said China gave high priority to realizing the value, rights and freedoms of the people and raising the quality of their life, their development potential and happiness index. Greater efforts are also being made by the Chinese government in light of China's move to promote social justice and protect disadvantaged groups, improve democracy and the rule of law, and advance political reform in an active and prudent manner. "We have solemnly put the provision that 'the State respects and protects human rights' into the fundamental law of the country- the Constitution," Yang said. "Acting on this constitutional principle, the Chinese government will continue to promote all human rights, honor its international human rights obligations and conduct human rights dialog and exchanges with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect," he added. The first session of the Human Rights Council started on Monday and will last until June 30. Ministers and high level delegates from more than 100 countries will address the session, expressing their view on human rights promotion and the future work of the Council. The 47-member new human rights body has taken the place of the former 53-country Human Rights Commission, which accomplished much in promoting the human rights cause but in recent years suffered eroding credibility. "It is incumbent upon all the U.N. member states, particularly the newly elected members of the Council, to demonstrate political commitment and exert real efforts to make the Council both dynamic and effective," Yang told the session. China hopes the new Council will go further than its predecessor along the right track and make greater contributions to improving human well-being, he said. He added that China was ready to work with other Council members in a responsible and constructive manner, with a view to formulating a fair set of rules of procedure. China also wants to explore feasible working methods through consultation to enable the Council to get off to a good start.

 

Domestic Policy

China's population to peak at 1.5 billion in 2030s
2006-06-23 People's Daily
China's population will peak at 1.5 billion in the mid-2030s, experts predict. According to a research report released yesterday, the population will begin to gradually drop after reaching the peak. Meanwhile, the number of new-born baby boys will continue to outstrip that of baby girls, with 119 boys for every 100 girls, according to the national population development strategy research report. The ratio has remained stable, with a national census six years ago yielding roughly the same figure, but is still worrying, according to the report. The internationally recognized normal ratio is 103-107 of one sex against 100 of the other. But in China, for every 100 new born baby girls, there were 109 baby boys in 1982 and 111 in 1990. Foetus gender identification and non-medical abortion, which continue despite being illegal, are blamed for the unbalanced gender figures. A draft of a revision to the Criminal Law, which was discussed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress late last year and this April, proposes that those who help identify the gender of a foetus for non-medical purposes face criminal charges. Approved by the State Council, the report aimed to investigate population development trends, as well as the relationship between population, the economy, resources and the environment. More than 300 scholars, including 11 academicians, spent two years compiling the report, which also involved more than 70 governmental departments and organizations. Their research won an award yesterday at a national conference on population and family planning. "China has now entered its fourth birth peak," said Jiang Fan, vice-director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, yesterday. The previous three peaks occured in 1949, 1962 and 1987. China's population stood at 1.307 billion in late 2005, according to census figures. The research report urged the government not to change current population policies. In the coming 30 years the average fertility rate will be about 1.8 children for every woman, it said. "A higher or lower fertility rate is not beneficial for economic and social development in China," it added. China's labour forces will become the largest in history in the next 30 years, said Chen Li, director of the national population development strategy research project.

Beijing spells out rules on promotion - Provinces warned to adhere to guidelines when selecting next party leaders
2006-06-21 SCMP
The provincial party apparatus must follow Beijing's edicts in selecting the next generation of party leaders, Communist Party organisation chief He Guoqiang said. The remarks by Mr He, carried in the People's Daily yesterday, came as party officials hurried to make arrangements for the promotion of a new generation of officials in the second half of the year. Most provincial party committees are scheduled to hold their meetings later this year to endorse the promotion of new leaders. Provincial secretaries who have reached retirement age or have fallen out of favour will step down. The new provincial leaders - many of whom will become governors and mayors in spring next year - will represent the provinces in a crucial party congress next year when a new generation of the top leadership will be announced. In a video conference held on Monday, Mr He reminded the provincial cadres that they must follow three broad principles - science, democracy and the system - in selecting new leaders. The three principles - in contrast to the past when party chiefs often monopolised the decision-making process - have been a basic emphasis for the party for more than a decade. "The series of regulations and documents issued by the party central on personnel arrangements has great significance for our work in selecting provincial cadres for promotion," Mr He was quoted as saying. "All local authorities must strictly adhere to the relevant regulations and rules and conscientiously implement the various requirements in the generation-change work," the organisation boss said. Mr He was referring to rules such as the retirement age for provincial and local leaders, cadres' tenure and party discipline regarding issues such as corruption. Observers have been watching the generation change closely, monitoring any signs of the emergence of new rising stars or the sidelining of outgoing leaders. State television reported that ailing Vice-Premier Huang Ju had made another public appearance, receiving participants in a banking meeting in Beijing on Monday. Mr Huang suffers from cancer and only partially resumed work last month. Liu Xutao, a political scientist with the National School of Administration, said it was natural for Mr He to make the reminder, but expected many new provincial leaders would still share similar backgrounds or come from the same interests groups. "Under a one-party system, leaders will only promote candidates who they deem are reliable," Mr Liu said. Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics and Chinese affairs at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the reform of personnel matters would only be successful if the central and local governments increased transparency of the appointment and dismissal system.

China to amend budget law
2006-06-16 Xinhuanet
China will amend its decade-old budget law to more closely regulate the use of government funds not covered by the budget, which are estimated to be 300 billion yuan to 400 billion yuan (about 50 billion U.S. dollars) a year. "A lack of effective regulations means the improper use of such funds has become a hotbed for illegal activities and corruption," said Yu Guangyuan, an official with the Budgetary Work Commission of the National People's Congress, China's legislature. He said most economic crimes committed by leaders of state-owned enterprises and civil servants involved the illegal use of government funds outside the budget. While budgeted funds are under strict supervision, extra-budgetary funds are easier to be manipulated as they are not attached to specific line items in a budget. According to Yu, amendments to the budget law will be submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for deliberation in August this year. They are expected to be approved at the annual NPC session next year. "The amendments will require finance departments to produce more scientific budgets. It will also likely stipulate that any surplus be transferred to next year's budget," said Yu. He said that if a government needs to use a budget surplus within the budget year, finance departments may be required to file a report to the people's congress. According to Yu, the amendments should empower auditors to examine the final financial statements of the government. They should also include stipulations that enhance examination and supervision of government budgets by the People's Congress. In 2005, the central government's budgetary surplus was more than 160 billion yuan (about 20 billion dollars).

Official held in widening Olympic graft probe - Second-in-charge of venue construction for Beijing Games has been detained
2006-06-23 SCMP
An Olympic construction official has been linked to an apparently deepening graft investigation that has already brought about the downfall of a former Beijing vice-mayor, but Beijing Games organisers were silent on the issue yesterday. Officials from the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog) said they were aware of a report in Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po that the head of the Beijing 2008 Project Construction Headquarters, Jin Yan - second-in-charge of Beijing Olympic venue construction - had been taken away to assist the graft investigation. However, they had been ordered not to comment. An official from Mr Jin's office refused to give more details yesterday, saying: "I don't know much about it." If the Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po report is true, Mr Jin would be the second senior Beijing official detained by central disciplinary officials to help in the investigation of former vice-mayor Liu Zhihua . A Bocog official said Mr Jin did not hold any official post in the organising committee. Games organisers had previously been quick to distance themselves from Liu. "We are not authorised to make any comments. You should contact the Beijing municipal government or the Engineering and Construction Office for the Olympics," the official said. Bocog says the Beijing municipal government is in charge of construction of the Olympic venues and the appointment of key posts in charge of Olympic-related projects. Liu was sacked from the Beijing People's Congress because of corruption and for "living a decadent life", Xinhua reported earlier. The 57-year-old vice-mayor had been responsible for Beijing's construction, housing, transport and sports activities before his downfall. He was also in charge of the Engineering and Construction Office for the Olympics. Reuters reported yesterday that Liu, believed to be a protégé of former president Jiang Zemin , was removed by order of President Hu Jintao. Meanwhile, the online edition of the China Securities Journal confirmed that Beijing Capital Land chairman Liu Xiaoguang was taken from Beijing's international airport for questioning last Friday. A company spokesman denied the 51-year-old was involved in any irregularities or crimes. "There is no conclusion [of the investigation]. We have to wait for the result, although we don't know how long it will be," the Journal quoted the spokesman as saying. The company said on Wednesday that its business activities were continuing as normal and the group director believed its financial status would not be affected as Liu Xiaoguang was co-operating with the investigation into the vice-mayor's activities.

No evidence shows spread of H5N1 among humans: expert
2006-06-21Xinhuanet
A senior Chinese health official has moved to allay fears of a human bird-flu pandemic, saying there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, but he did warn that the evolution of the virus was unpredictable. Suspected cases of human-to-human transmission in Indonesia have set off international alarm bells. Six family members from a remote farming village on Sumatra died after testing positive for the H5N1 virus -- the world's largest reported family cluster. Shu Yuelong, director of the National Influenza Center under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said suspected cases of human-to-human transmission had also been reported in Vietnam, Thailand and other countries. But there has been no conclusive evidence showing that H5N1 had evolved into a human-to-human transmission virus, Shu was quoted by China Population News as saying. Both epidemiological and etiological evidence was needed to determine whether a virus could be transmitted between humans, Shu said. The H5N1 virus had acquired the ability to infect and kill mammals, but the number of human infections was still small, Shu said. Research of the National Influenza Center showed the virus extracted from Chinese bird flu patients was genetically different from those in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. No trace of human influenza had been found in the gene of the virus extracted from Chinese patients of bird flu, Shu added. The H5N1 virus remained mainly a virus of birds, but experts fear it could change into a form easily transmitted from person to person and sweep the world. So far, most human cases can be traced to direct or indirect contacts with infected birds. The virus has killed 130 people around the world since 2003, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Some 200 million birds have died or been culled. So far, China has recorded 19 human cases of bird flu with 12 deaths. More than 30 outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in China since last October. The latest outbreak occurred in north China's Shanxi Province, said sources with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Chinese government should review the strategies and effects of the bird flu control efforts of the past two years and improve them to cope with the epidemic, which was still a serious threat, said Chinese bird flu control expert Liu Xiufan. "When, and to what extent, the current avian influenza virus could evolve into a human pandemic is unpredictable. We should do our best to reduce the risk of a human pandemic influenza breaking out and make necessary preparations before such a risk becomes reality," said Liu. Some changes in the H5N1 strain have taken place recently. It had increased its virulence in ducks, and the available vaccines were ineffective in protecting poultry, said Liu. ()

Death toll in Sichuan landslide rises to 11
2006-06-18 Xinhuanet
A landslide on Sunday in southwest China's Sichuan Province has left at least 11 people dead, six injured and forced 544 people to evacuate their village, local officials said. The accident occurred at 1:50 a.m. at Shiji Village in Kangding County of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Nearly 100 cubic meters of rocks fell in the slide, smashing 12 houses and hitting 40 others in the village, according to Wang Yingping, director with the county's disaster-relief office. More than 50 heads of livestock were killed by the falling rocks, which also destroyed some farmlands and forests and cut roads, electricity and water supply in the village. A total of 116 households were evacuated with help from rescuers amid fears of a new landslide. Heavy rains that have been pouring in the region for a month likely triggered the landslide, according to Tian Long, head of the county's press office. All the injured have been hospitalized and three of them were in serious condition, doctors said. Disaster-relief workers were helping to resettle local residents.

Toll of E. China chemical plant blast rises to 16
2006-06-21 Xinhuanet
Death toll in a chemical plant blast in east China's Anhui Province has risen to 16, after two missing were confirmed dead, the provincial work safety administration said on Wednesday. Among the 24 injured people, four with slight injuries have left hospital, but the three seriously injured people are still in critical condition despite doctors' intensive efforts, the administration said. The blast occurred at 3:09 p.m. last Friday at a workshop of the Dun'an Chemical Co., Ltd. in Dangtu County of Anhui. The two-story workshop complex was razed to the ground. Initial investigation shows the blast was ignited in the emulsification process of the powder at the workshop of the plant that produced explosives for such civilian uses as mining. The investigation also found that since 2005, the company had kept producing emulsified explosives beyond its designed capacity, according to Chen Shuo, deputy director of the administration. Ten bodies of the victims have been identified while identification for the remaining six is still under way, said Chen. Police have detained two people, Wang Yong and Wang Zijun, president and general manager of the company, who were suspected to be responsible for the fatal blast.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's Ma urges A-Bian to resign
2006-06-22 China Daily
The leader of Taiwan's biggest opposition party ripped into Chen Shui-bian on Wednesday, saying in a TV speech that Chen should resign because his incompetence and corrupt family were dragging down the island. The verbal assault by Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou came one day after Chen gave a two-hour televised address defending himself against a campaign to recall him. Ma, a likely "presidential" candidate in 2008, said that Chen's speech failed to restore the public's faith in him. "We cannot allow Chen to continue. It's negative for Taiwan," said Ma, a Harvard-educated lawyer and the popular mayor of Taipei. The opposition leader said his party didn't want to launch the recall campaign, but it could no longer stand by and watch Taiwan's decline. He said Chen has mismanaged the economy and has damaged relations with the U.S. Ma said the Nationalists would like to see Chen finish his term but the party just can't stand by and watch the island continue to decline. "We don't want to see Taiwan keeping going around in circles," he said. Ma spoke after the "Legislature" finished its first day of debates on whether to hold a referendum on recalling Chen because of alleged family corruption and incompetence. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party and its allies boycotted the debates, which will continue the rest of the week. "Lawmakers" plan to vote next Tuesday on whether to hold the recall referendum. It's not expected to pass because the opposition, which has a slim majority, needs a two-thirds majority to approve it. Chen's troubles began last month with allegations that his son-in-law, Chao Chien-min, was involved in insider trading. Chao, a physician, was arrested on May 24 and the probe continues. Chen - a former lawyer and fierce debater - said in his TV speech that he felt heartbroken that his son-in-law was involved in the investigation. But he pledged that his son-in-law wouldn't receive preferential treatment as the investigation continues. Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, has also been accused by the opposition of accepting gift vouchers from the Sogo department store. Chen denied the allegations and repeated a promise that he'd resign if his wife is found guilty. Nationalist leader Ma said that Chen didn't clearly explain why the first lady was innocent. He noted that Chen said that she didn't "directly" accept the gift vouchers. "What does it mean when he says she didn't directly receive the gift vouchers?" Ma said. "Did she accept them or not?"

 

Economy

Top minds in heated debate on RMB, trade
2006-06-23 China Daily
A heated debate broke out yesterday over the effect of the renminbi's value on the Sino-US trade imbalance. Renowned Chinese economist Justin Yifu Lin and leading US trade expert Nicholas Lardy argued over whether the currency's value should be increased to help reduce China's exports to the US. Lardy, a senior fellow of the Washington-based Institute for International Economics, said "the US dollar has been overvalued and China's currency has been undervalued for a long time." Addressing a seminar in Beijing, he said he didn't think the renminbi's value was the most important factor influencing trade between the two nations, however he still urged China to appreciate the currency. He also claimed the US export licence system which China has bitterly complained about is not a major factor in the imbalance. But his claims were rejected by economics professor Lin. Lin, who is based at Peking University's China Centre for Economic Research, said an appreciation of the renminbi would not necessarily benefit the US economy. Many of the goods exported by China, he pointed out, are no longer produced in the US, and if the US turns to other countries for them it will risk paying higher prices. Lin said the current deficit was caused by the different configurations of industries in China and the US, with the former producing low-tech products and the latter high-tech products and services. Appreciating the renminbi may not dampen Chinese exports, warned Lin. Some Chinese supplies are not easily replaced by supplies from elsewhere, he argued, and if the demand remains the American deficit could even expand. Lardy did accept that the trade imbalance was caused by China being the final point in the Asian supply chain, with a large proportion of exports to the US not actually produced by China. For example, 60-70 per cent of the value of China's manufacturing products is imported first and then exported after assembly. While for electronic appliances, the ratio is as high as 90 per cent, he said. But Lardy defended the US export licence system, saying: "It's very common to hear from Chinese officials that the export licence system is a cause of the bilateral trade imbalance, and I don't think this is a likely significant factor." He quoted figures demonstrating that the US Government has approved, on average, 80 per cent of applications for technology exports to China, and the value of the products and technologies that have failed to earn government approval account for only a small portion of exports. In 2005, he said, the value of unapproved technologies was about US$12 million, or 0.3 per cent of the bilateral trade. But Lin insisted that Lardy underestimated the negative significance of US export regulations on China, which he saw as a trade barrier. Despite the relatively small number of applications that were actually turned down, the system may have had a wider impact on potential export applicants, Lin pointed out. "If the US treated China as equally as its partners Japan, South Korea and others, I think US exports to China would soar," said Lin. His words follow a promise from US Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security David H. McCormick in late May that the US would "update" its export policies to China, and look for ways to reduce the administrative burden on civilian trade. Yesterday's seminar was arranged by the China Development Research Foundation, an organization affiliated to the central government. Lardy is in the country talking about the ideas in his latest book, "China: the Balance Sheet," recently published by the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Institute for International Economics. He will continue his tour at the weekend when he takes part in a Sino-US economic forum in Tianjin.

Mainland firms to build plants abroad to ensure power supply
2006-06-20 SCMP
China has signed agreements to build power plants in Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and import electricity from them. Experts said more companies were expected to invest abroad and transmit power back to the mainland in order to acquire cheaper resources internationally. They also warned that the projects could see neighbouring countries suffer from worsening pollution. Liu Zhaoshao , chief economist of the State Grid Corporation, told a recent energy forum that it was negotiating with relevant parties and the deals were pending final approval from the National Development and Reform Commission, according to Xinhua. In Mongolia, the preliminary plan is to build three power plants with an installed capacity of 3.6GW each. The first plant will begin operation by 2010. Most of the supply will go to Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, while only a small part will serve Mongolia. The State Grid Corp will build the transmission lines, while the construction of the plants may be carried out by Mongolian companies. The project in Kazakhstan will follow a similar pattern, while the power plants in Russia will be built by Russia. Tang Ming, a chief economist with the Asian Development Bank, said it was natural for companies to seek cheaper resources globally. When asked if China was moving its pollution problem to its neighbours, Mr Tang said the phenomenon was decided by "the different development stage each country is at". "Every country has different requirements in environmental protection. In the three nations, the requirements are not as high as in developed countries," he said. Tsinghua University professor Li Dun warned that moving a pollution source from one nation to another did not help reduce the problem. "If the companies consider costs globally, they should consider the environment globally too. It's like vowing not to cut domestic trees while cutting trees from other places. This is definitely not how a responsible company acts," Professor Li said.

 

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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