SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  10.7-14.7.06, No. 123  
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Foreign Policy

President Hu opposes moves that raise tension
2006-07-12 China Daily
President Hu Jintao said yesterday that China opposes any action that may aggravate tension on the Korean Peninsula after Pyongyang's missile tests and urged for a dialogue to solve the crisis. He made the remarks when meeting Yang Hyong-sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), who is in Beijing for a five-day visit marking the 45th anniversary of a friendship treaty. Hu said China, as a close neighbour of the DPRK, is seriously concerned over its test-firing of a barrage of missiles last week, which he described as "new complicated factors" on the peninsula. "We have long been committed to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and insisted on a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation," he said. "We oppose any action that may worsen the situation on the Korean Peninsula," he told Yang. Responding to Hu's comments, Yang said his country is ready to work together with China to "safeguard peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region." Hu stressed that China would make joint efforts with other sides "to overcome current difficulties and create favourable conditions" to promote the Six-Party Talks. Also yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu described a Japan-drafted UN resolution urging sanctions against Pyongyang as "overreaction." "China thinks the draft resolution is an overreaction to the DPRK's missile issue. If approved, it will escalate the contradictions and increase tension in the region," she told a regular press briefing. "The draft resolution will undermine peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, hurt the efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks as well as lead to a split in the UN Security Council." Japan formally presented a draft resolution on Friday, seeking sanctions against the DPRK. The draft, co-sponsored by Britain, France and the United States, invokes Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes sanctions or even military action. But Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that Japan would wait a while before it pushes for a vote on the matter. Asked how long Japan would wait, Abe said the country would not push for a vote for at least a few days. China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York that a resolution imposing sanctions would "not calm down the situation," and urged other members of the UN Security Council to be flexible. China on Monday introduced a draft UN Security Council presidential statement on the missile launches on July 5 by the DPRK. The draft statement, which is supported by Russia and does not carry the weight of a resolution, calls for the concerned parties to work together on the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, China's top negotiator to the Six-Party Talks, is in Pyongyang as part of a delegation led by Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu on a goodwill visit, which is widely expected to help push for the resumption of the six-nation talks.

China warns against intensifying DPRK crisis: FM
2006-07-13 Xinhuanet
China on Thursday called on all parties to positively contribute to a resolution of the tensions caused by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) missile tests, rather than intensify the crisis. "China supports a prudent and proper reaction from the UN Security Council in a bid to prevent the escalation of tensions and create conditions to resolve the issue through diplomatic efforts," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said. China and Russia introduced a draft UN Security Council resolution Wednesday, calling for the early resumption of the six-party talks on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Unlike the Japanese draft, the joint Chinese-Russian proposal does not make sanctions mandatory and does not invoke Chapter Seven of the UN charter, which can authorize sanctions or even military action. Jiang said the draft showed the two permanent members taking steps to ease the tension. China always held that UN action should be conducive to maintaining the peace and stability of the northeast Asia, promote the resumption of the six-party talks and enhance solidarity in the Security Council, she said. "We are opposed to the Japanese draft which cannot help to realize these goals," she said. Japan formally presented a draft resolution on Friday, seeking sanctions against the DPRK. Jiang said China had been making positive efforts to ease tensions. ()

Chinese President to attend G8 summit in Russia
2006-07-12 China Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 17 at the invitation of his counterpart Vladimir Putin, Chinese foreign ministry said. "At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Hu Jintao will attend the outreach session of the G8 summit to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 17," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Hu was expected to participate in discussions focusing on energy, security, prevention and control of epidemic diseases, African development and other topics, she said. On July 16, Hu will also hold a group meeting with the leaders of India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and the Republic of Congo, she told journalists at a regular briefing. She did not say where the group meeting would take place. However, the leaders of India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico are also expected to attend the summit. As G8 leaders prepare to meet this weekend, there is speculation over whether their exclusive club should become the G11 by integrating the important emerging economies of Brazil, China and India. "When we were deciding on who would be invited to participate in the summit, the Russian president's position was that it was pointless to discuss energy security without India and China," said Igor Shuvalov, a top aide to President Vladimir Putin, ahead of the Saint Petersburg meeting. "They exercise a great influence on price growth, are leading consumers of energy resources, and have developing economies," Shuvalov said. Although China is not a formal member of the G8 group of industrialized nations, Hu attended the last two summit meetings in Scotland and in France in 2005 and 2004 respectively. Last year, China overtook Britain and France as the world's fourth biggest economy, and India is posting comparable growth with its population of more than one billion. The G8 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

New measures to boost ties with Africa
2006-07-10 China Daily
China will launch a series of new measures to improve co-operation with African nations, ahead of November's China-Africa summit. Announcing the measures at a summer reception at the Foreign Ministry for African diplomats in Beijing on Saturday, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said they would deepen the substantive co-operation between China and Africa. Li called for joint efforts to make the upcoming third ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Co-operation Forum a "grand" and "pragmatic" gathering. He said leaders from China and Africa will discuss establishing and developing a new China-Africa strategic partnership at the Beijing summit. Li also congratulated his audience on the success of the seventh African Union (AU) summit in Gambia's capital Banjul on July 1-2, adding that China will continue to support the AU's efforts to promote peace and development in Africa. China's friendly gestures received a warm response with diplomats from 43 African countries at the reception. Nolana Ta Ama, Togo's ambassador to China and also the head of African diplomatic missions, expressed his appreciation for China's support and assistance for African nations' independence, peace and development. He also spoke highly of China's policies, which have facilitated all-round China-Africa friendship within the framework of the China-Africa Co-operation Forum. Ndumiso N. Ntshinga, South Africa's newly-appointed ambassador to Beijing, said the China-Africa friendship is embedded in a long history of exchanges. He said the two share similar historical experiences and development challenges and "should learn from each other to work out a win-win situation." Senkoun Sylla, premier councillor with the Guinea Embassy, told reporters he hoped China could be more involved in his nation's economic development. He described China as one of the best friends, which has been helping his country with many development projects. As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Africa, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have visited 10 African countries in the first half of the year. They reached a broad consensus with African leaders on the promotion of China-Africa co-operation, and reiterated that the desire to enhance solidarity and co-operation with African countries has always been an important component of China's foreign policy. Of the 53 African countries, 47 have established diplomatic ties with China.

China calls for relaxation of Japan's residue standards
2006-07-14 Xinhuanet
The Chinese government reiterated its call for Japan to relax its strict new standards for chemical residues on farm produce when it comes to import of "high-quality" Chinese farm products. An unnamed Chinese Ministry of Commerce official said agricultural exports to Japan had dropped markedly since the implementation of the Positive List System for Agricultural Chemicals Residues on May 29. In a Sino-Japanese economic conference on Thursday, Chinese officials repeated concerns and urged Japan to establish a negotiation mechanism as soon as possible. Figures from Chinese customs show that in June, exports of farm produce to Japan fell 18 percent from the same month last year to 596 million U.S. dollars, leading to a 1.2-percent decline in total produce exports. "The Positive List System is related to not only food safety, but also fair trade," the official said. It directly involved thousands of Chinese enterprises and millions of farmers, and the government was involved in negotiations on the issue with Japan, the official said. Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai held talks in Japan in May with his Japanese counterpart Toshihiro Nikai to express concern about the system and hope that Japan would ensure normal bilateral trade, he said. China had suggested that Japan give special treatment to Chinese enterprises exporting "high-quality" farm products, reduce examination procedures and times, and offer technical assistance to China. The official expressed hope that an agreement would be reached as early as possible on the principle of ensuring food safety and trade stability to ensure the steady and healthy development of bilateral trade.

6th round of East China Sea talks conclude
2006-07-10 China Daily
China and Japan yesterday agreed to set up a communication mechanism to deal with technical and maritime affairs after the conclusion of the sixth round of talks to resolve the dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea. The two sides acknowledged the importance of maintaining stability in the East China Sea and exchanged views on joint development proposals. Hu Zhengyue, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs, and Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau headed the delegations for the two-day talks in Beijing. The third meeting in the past four months reflects the importance the two governments attach to the issue, Hu said ahead of the talks. Sasae said Tokyo hopes to improve and develop bilateral ties by resolving the East China Sea issue. In the previous rounds of talks, he said, the two sides had gained a better understanding of each other's position; however, major differences remain. "Thus we need joint efforts to mend the rift and show our wisdom in facing the challenges," he said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry admitted lack of agreement but described the latest round of talks as "conducive" and "pragmatic," saying the two sides would continue with the process. Reports quoted unnamed sources from the Japanese Embassy as saying that the two sides have also agreed to set up a sub-group of oil and gas development experts from both countries to explore the issue. The first round of talks was held in Beijing in October 2004 and the last round in Tokyo in May, in which the two sides agreed to boost efforts to settle the issue through joint development of the area. However, they differ greatly on development plans. Huang Xingyuan, a counsellor with the Chinese Foreign Ministry who had been stationed in Japan for five years, told China Daily it is normal that there are disagreements; what is important is that the two sides are sitting down for talks to handle the difficulties and challenges and did not give up on their efforts. He said both the governments have expressed willingness to improve their relationship and believes that the territorial disputes would be finally resolved. In another development, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan met a Japanese delegation of young members of parliament on Saturday afternoon in Beijing. Tang appealed to the legislators to become the "driving force" in promoting Sino-Japanese friendship and play a positive role in realizing steady development of bilateral ties. They were in Beijing for a Sino-Japanese friendship forum.

China, Switzerland agree on closer military exchanges
2006-07-13 Xinhuanet
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan on Thursday met with visiting Commander of the Armed Forces of Switzerland Christophe Keckeis, agreeing on closer military exchanges. "The military relations between the two countries have kept a sound momentum of development," Cao told Keckeis Thursday afternoon. China would like to make joint efforts with Switzerland to promote the high-level visits and exchanges in specialized fields, said Cao, also state councilor and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. Echoing Cao's remarks, Keckeis said he hoped Switzerland-China military exchanges and cooperation would be stepped up through his China visit. Cao and Keckeis also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern. Keckeis arrived Beijing Tuesday for his first China visit, as guest of Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Liang Guanglie.

 

Domestic Policy

256,000 evacuated due to approach of typhoon Bilis
2006-07-14 Xinhuanet
East China's Fujian Province has evacuated 256,000 people on the sea to safe places on land as typhoon Bilis is approaching. Up to now, all the 42,000 ships on the sea in Fujian have been called back and all fishermen on ships returned to land, according to the Fujian Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Friday. The headquarters ordered fishermen and ships on the sea to return to land as quickly as possible starting July 12. According to the provincial meteorological station, typhoon Bilis arrived in the Taiwan Straits around 3:00 a.m. Friday and is moving northwestward at a speed of 15 km to 20 km per hour. Bilis is forecast to land the coast between Putian City and Xiapu County in Fujian between noon and afternoon Friday, according to the provincial observatory. The provincial observatory forecast that typhoon Bilis would bring strong winds measuring 10 to 11 degrees on the Beaufort Scale on the sea off northern Fujian Province and would bring force seven to nine gales in coastal areas in central and northern Fujian. The observatory also forecast moderate to torrential rains in coastal and inland areas of the province in the coming three days. Local people were warned of possible mountain torrents, landslide sand flooding caused by typhoon Bilis. Influenced by Bilis-triggered strong winds and heavy rains, 14 flights were called off at the Changle International Airport based in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, since Thursday night. Resumption of the cancelled flights will depend on weather conditions, airport sources told Xinhua.

Factory chlorine leak affects 164 in Ningxia
2006-07-11 China Daily
More than 160 people who suffered chlorine poisoning were in stable conditions yesterday after emergency medical treatment in four hospitals in Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. A quantity of liquid chlorine leaked from Ningxia Xin'erte Chemical Company at about 8 pm on Sunday, giving off a poisonous gas. The private firm is mainly involved in the production of triclene, which has liquid chlorine as its raw material. It is located in Xixia District, an urban area of the city where a number of residential blocks are concentrated. "We are still looking for those who might be affected by the chlorine leak accident and seeking the cause of the accident," according to a Yinchuan municipal government official, who did not want to be identified. Xinhua News Agency reported that the gas came from liquid chlorine leaking from a broken pipe at the factory. According to the local official, the leak has since been controlled by firefighters and the firm has been ordered to close while an investigation takes place. A total of 164 people were affected. Yao Chengli, director of Yinchuan No 1 People's Hospital, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that 44 people have been treated at the hospital. The remaining residents affected by the gas received emergency treatment in three other hospitals in the city and were all in stable conditions, said Xue Saifeng, deputy director of Ningxia Health Department. Li Xiansheng, an official at Xixia District Environment Protection Bureau, told China Daily yesterday that his bureau had tested the air quality around the company and found it was safe. A separate chemical leak occurred on Sunday morning in Baoji in Shaanxi Province, Northwest China. Firefighters were called to a factory at about 7 am when 5 tons of hydrochloric acid began to leak. Crews spent about 7 hours at the scene, and no injuries were reported. Zhou Yi, an official with Baoji municipal government, said the accident was caused by a broken pipe on a tank containing the hydrochloric acid. Heavy rain had caused the tank's foundation to sink, which broke the pipe, he added.

New case of foot-and-mouth disease reported in northwest China
2006-07-12 Xinhuanet
A new outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) has been reported in northwest China's Qinghai province, the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on its website on Tuesday. Cattle at three farms in Zhoulong village of Qinghai's Henan county began showing symptoms of the illness on July 1, and 51 cattle had been affected by July 6. On July 7 the affected cattle were diagnosed with Asia-1 FMD by the National Foot and Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory. Measures to close off infected areas, disinfecting, culling and non-harmful disposal have been taken jointly by the ministry and the Qinghai provincial government. Currently, the disease is under control, with a total of 212 cattle culled, the ministry said.

China investigates possible 2003 bird flu death
2006-07-11 Xinhuanet
China is conducting lab tests to confirm whether a man died of bird flu in 2003, the Ministry of Health said on Monday. A letter published by eight Chinese scientists in a June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine said that the bird flu virus was isolated in a 24-year-old man who died in Beijing in 2003. The ministry has made contact with the eight scientists, said Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the ministry. The man, who became ill with pneumonia and respiratory disease on November 2003, died four days after being hospitalized. Since China was then experiencing the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the case was suspected a SARS case, but lab tests were negative for SARS. However, the cause of his death was not clear, Mao said. Doctors and scientists conducted studies on the specimens taken from the man over a period of two years, and compared the virus isolated from the man's samples with influenza A (H5N1) viral strains from China and other countries. Their findings suggest that the man might have died of the bird flu, Mao added. "In accordance with World Health Organization and China's diagnostic standards for human avian influenza, parallel laboratory tests are needed for further confirmation," he said. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting the tests, and the ministry will keep the WHO updated, added Mao. China reported its first human bird flu case in November, 2005. Up to now, China has reported 19 cases, among which 12 have died.

Anhui vice-governor held on graft charge
2006-07-12 China Daily
Anhui Vice-Governor He Minxu is being investigated for corruption by the Party's disciplinary body, a leading newspaper reported Tuesday. He, 51, was detained on June 22 for allegedly accepting bribes as well as dereliction of duty in handling a riot in Chizhou city last June, said Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald. He was Chizhou's Party chief at the time of the riot before becoming vice-governor shortly afterwards, it said. No comment was available from the Party discipline inspection commissions at either the central or provincial level. It is the latest in a series of corruption cases involving senior officials in the past month. Beijing Vice-Mayor Liu Zhihua, who was in charge of Olympic construction projects, was removed from his post last month. Wang Shouye, former deputy commander of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, was expelled from the national legislature on charges of economic crimes late last month. "Lack of effective supervision is partly to blame for high-ranking officials becoming corrupt," said Ren Jianming, a professor on anti-corruption at Tsinghua University. A well-formulated legal and supervision system has to be established if the issue is to be forcefully addressed, he said. Official figures show that courts sentenced six ministerial-level officials last year. During an inspection tour last weekend in Qingdao, Shandong Province, Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, called for enhanced Party-building and an anti-corruption drive in State-owned enterprises. Wu urged that investigations be stepped up in corruption cases including those involving embezzling State assets and commercial bribery and called for increased supervision to stem the menace. .

Provincial official jailed for taking bribes
2006-07-12 People's Daily
Wang Xingyao, former director of communications department of eastern Anhui Province, was jailed for 10 years on Tuesday for accepting bribes and failing to account for his assets. The sentence was handed down by the Intermediate People's Court of Bengbu City at the initial trial held on Tuesday. The judges found Wang accepted bribes totaling 135,300 yuan (17,100 U.S. dollars) from a construction company in southern Guangdong Province and he had more than 840,000 yuan (106,300 U.S. dollars) in assets for which he could not properly account. The court also ordered the seizure of 150,000 yuan (18,900 U.S. dollars) of Wang's assets. Wang, 56, served as vice mayor of Ma'anshan City before he was appointed director of the provincial communication department. He was arrested in December 2004 on corruption charges.

700b yuan in bets flow offshore - Ministry to build on success of World Cup crackdown in fight against gambling
2006-07-14 SCMP
The Ministry of Public Security is ramping up efforts to wipe out gambling on soccer after a series of high-profile busts of online betting rings during the World Cup Finals. According to some estimates, the equivalent of €10 billion ($98.97 billion) was bet around the world on the month-long event, with more than 60 per cent of stakes placed by punters from mainland China and Southeast Asia. Peking University's China Centre for Lottery Studies estimates 700 billion yuan in bets by mainlanders flowed overseas last year, 10 times the income generated by state lotteries and close to the tourism industry's total revenue last year. Observers suggest gambling is rampant because mainland lotteries have failed to satisfy market demand and the criminal penalties for betting have been relaxed. The Ministry of Public Security and the General Administration of Sport launched a nationwide crackdown on football-related gambling in March, an effort that reached its peak during the World Cup tournament. Guangdong police busted 50 cases of gambling on soccer during the World Cup, seizing 123.5 million yuan and freezing 28.5 million yuan in bank deposits. Guangzhou police said their campaign netted 14 suspected members of two gangs responsible for organising online football gambling. One of the suspected bookmakers accepted 13 million yuan in bets over the course of the tournament. Shenzhen police also claimed to have arrested 53 people in 15 cases of football gambling during the World Cup, confiscating 260,000 yuan in stake money and freezing 20 million yuan in bank accounts. Last month, Guizhou police said they arrested nine agents of two gambling websites based in Taiwan and Macau that had operated for a decade. Beijing police also detained the key mainland agent for an overseas gambling operation on July 1 after months of investigation. Police found one of the agent's representatives received 17 million yuan in stake money in June, while another took in 180 million yuan in January and February. Beijing police did not detail how the sites operated, but said they targeted business owners, white-collar workers and medium- or high-ranking officials. Xu Hu , deputy head of the ministry's Public Security Administration Bureau, said officers prevented 16 billion yuan from flowing overseas last year, while in the first five months of this year, 546,000 people had been detained. Wang Xuehong, of the China Centre for Lottery Studies, said the state operations could not meet the demands of people with a desire to gamble. "The development of the domestic lottery industry is slower than abroad. People's interest could not be fulfilled, so their money drifts overseas," said Professor Wang. An amendment to the Criminal Law last month extended the maximum sentence for running casinos from three to seven years.

Protestant preacher jailed for seven years
2006-07-10 SCMP
A prominent minister with an unofficial Protestant church has been jailed for 7-1/2 years, a US-based Christian group reported yesterday, a hefty punishment reflecting the government's continuing crackdown on unsanctioned religious activity. Zhang Rongliang was sentenced on Tuesday in a court in Zhongmou county, Henan province. He was detained in December 2004 and accused of obtaining a passport under false pretences and illegally crossing the border, the China Aid Association said. According to the charges, Zhang travelled to the US, Australia, Egypt and Singapore for world mission conferences on a passport obtained fraudulently, the group said. Over the years, Zhang, 55, has set up one of the largest networks of Protestant churches operating outside state control, surreptitiously preaching in villages and fields of central China since the 1970s. China Aid says Zhang's two congregations - the Fangcheng Mother Church and China for Christ Church - are among the country's largest underground church networks, with an estimated 10 million members. Zhang has spent almost 12 years in prison and labour camps, where he also converted fellow prisoners. Last year, he was admitted to hospital for diabetes and high blood pressure. In 2004, police searched his apartment and confiscated digital video discs, publicity material, and photographs revealing contacts between his church and foreign groups. His lawyer said that when one court was ready to dismiss the charges for a lack of evidence, the case was transferred to another city, raising questions about whether authorities were just shopping for a conviction. "We are deeply disappointed by this extraordinarily harsh verdict," said Bob Fu, president of China Aid.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan leader's son-in-law charged with insider trading
2006-07-11 People's Daily
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's son-in-law was indicted yesterday on charges of insider trading. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year jail term for Chao Chien-ming, a doctor at the prestigious Taiwan University Hospital, local television stations said. Chao was arrested in May on suspicion of using insider information to profit on the purchases of shares in property company Taiwan Development Corp. The 34-year-old physician, who is in custody, and Chen's daughter, Chen Hsing-yu, have three children. Lin Bang-liang, a chief prosecutor at the Taipei District Court, told reporters that Chao is suspected of making 29.49 million New Taiwan dollars (US$912,000) from the insider trading scheme. Among the other defendants reportedly named in the case are Chao's father, Chao Yu-chu, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of insider trading and breach of trust, and five other businessmen. The case against Chao Chien-ming is among a series of high-profile corruption allegations involving Chen's family and inner circle. Amid the cascade of scandals, Chen's public approval ratings have plunged to around 20 per cent. He has apologized for the turmoil caused by his son-in-law but has refused to step down despite mass protests launched by Taiwan's main opposition parties. Last month, Chen survived an unprecedented motion in the opposition-controlled "legislature" aimed at ending his "presidential" term two years early. If it had been passed, the recall motion would have triggered an island-wide referendum on whether to oust Chen before his second term ended in May 2008. The opposition Kuomintang and People First Party insist that Chen has to take responsibility for the string of corruption scandals implicating his family and close aides. Local newspapers said Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was due to be questioned before the end of the month in connection with claims that she allegedly received, and then sold, 5 million New Taiwan dollars' (US$156,000) worth of store vouchers in exchange for lobbying favours. The report came after Huang Fang-yen, a close friend of Chen's family, said for the first time that he had received 1 million New Taiwan dollars' (US$30,000) worth of SOGO department store vouchers. Chen has denied that his wife did anything wrong and has pledged to quit office if she is found guilty of any offence.

 

Economy

World Bank gives loan of $1.455b to China in past
2006-07-13 Xinhuanet
From July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, the World Bank promised to give loan worth 1.455 billion U.S. dollars for support of 11 projects in China, the Ministry of Finance announced Thursday. The World Bank consented to loan 400 million dollars to support three agricultural projects in China, 648 million dollars for four urban construction projects, 300 million dollars for two transportation projects, 87 million dollars to support one energy project and 20 million dollars for a technological assistance project. Besides, another 98 million dollars worth of grant will be transferred to China thanks to the World Bank's mobilization, the Ministry of Finance said. Since China resumed its legal seat in the World Bank in 1980, the bank has promised to offer loan totalling 40.6 billion U.S. dollars to China, according to the ministry.

1b yuan loan plan aims to help laid-off workers - Trade unions join forces with a bank to set up credit scheme
2006-07-11 SCMP
China's trade unions are joining forces with a bank to provide 1 billion yuan of loans to help laid-off workers return to work. China News Service said yesterday 250,000 laid-off workers were expected to benefit from the All-China Federation of Trade Union's "small business credit plan for nationwide workers". Liu Haihua, the trade union's deputy director in charge of labour security, said yesterday that it was negotiating with China Development Bank on ways to introduce the plan soon. Ms Liu said the service would target laid-off workers and existing small and medium-sized enterprises, because the central government was keen to encourage capable people to expand their businesses and create more jobs. The report did not give a launch date for the plan, but stressed that the union's branch offices would continue to carry out comprehensive measures to help laid-off and needy workers to return to work. The measures include small business development training courses, mini-business credit loans, vocational training and employment centres offering job referral services. Han Meng, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the programme had social and economic significance because it would be the first time the trade union had launched such a comprehensive credit programme for laid-off workers. "The small business credit loan has been a mature development model in our mainland society. But in the past, it was merely driven by local trade unions and street committees with fragmentary funding," Professor Han said. He said the rapidly growing number of newsstands, breakfast stalls and bicycle repair booths had been incubated under the programme. Professor Han said the programme could be traced back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when millions of urban young people returned from rural areas after the end of the Cultural Revolution's "up to the mountains and down to the villages" campaign. "The small business credit plan alleviated the high unemployment problem in urban areas in that critical period," he said. "I think it could work again today because we are facing the same problem." Hu Xingdou, an outspoken sociologist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the credit plan would create a lot of social property and increase government income. "Advancing employment is a government's obligation because it not only helps the poor seek a better life, but also brings stability and harmony to our society," Professor Hu 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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