SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
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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
  24.7-28.7.06, No. 125  
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Foreign Policy

FMs agree to approach Pyongyang
2006-07-27 People's Daily
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) agreed yesterday to seek dialogue with Pyongyang at a regional security conference in Malaysia to discuss the country's missile and nuclear programmes. The agreement at a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his ROK counterpart, Ban Ki-moon, came amid Pyongyang's silence about returning to the stalled Six-Party Talks, aimed at resolving the security standoff on the Korean Peninsula. "We agreed that it's necessary for the participants of the Six-Party Talks to meet in a six-way or other formats on the sidelines of the security conference," Ban told reporters after one-on-one talks with Li. The conference, set for today and tomorrow, brings together the foreign ministers of 25 countries and the European Union, including all six countries involved in the nuclear talks - China, Japan, the ROK, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Russia and the United States. The meeting, called the ASEAN Regional Forum, marks the first time that the six countries have gathered since the DPRK test-fired seven missiles on July 5. It was hoped the six nations could meet on the sidelines of the forum to revive their negotiating process. But hopes of such a meeting have faded as Pyongyang refuses to join a six-nation meeting. Pyongyang "is now at a crossroads," ROK top nuclear negotiator Chun Yung-woo said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. "What kind of attitude DPRK is taking at the regional forum is very important to the DPRK's future," he said. Pyongyang has boycotted the talks since November in protest of a US crackdown on its alleged financial wrongdoing. Pyongyang demands the US lift financial restrictions against it. The DPRK's missile tests earlier this month prompted fresh calls to resume the Six-Party Talks in hopes of persuading it to disarm in exchange for economic aid and security assurances. The DPRK delegation, led by Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, is scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur today. Paek is to meet with Li one-on-one tomorrow, according to an ROK official. He was also expected to meet one-on-one with Ban, his ROK counterpart. Ban said a five-party meeting without Pyongyang is unlikely because some participants think that it may give a "perception of isolating the DPRK." He said Li also expressed reservations about holding a meeting without the DPRK. "We cherish the Six-Party Talks, their channel and framework," Li said after meeting his ASEAN counterparts. "Conditions are ripe for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Asked if five-party talks were an option if the DPRK did not want to take part, Li said: "All my colleagues in the meeting room now are supportive of the resumption of Six-Party Talks. None of them is supportive of your idea."

Chinese foreign minister meets Japanese minister in Kuala Lumpur
2006-07-27 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said here Thursday to promote the improvement and development of the China-Japan relations and push forward the bilateral exchange and cooperation in various fields is the common objective of China and Japan. Li made the remarks when meeting with Japanese foreign Minister Taro Aso as a sideline of his participation of ASEAN's Post Ministerial Conference. Li said under the current international and regional situation, the importance of the China-Japan relations has exceeded the spectrum of bilateral relations, and the two countries are facing many common challenges and problems in safeguarding regional peace, stability and development. The Chinese minister said China hopes that the two countries will make unremitting joint efforts to break the political impasse in the China-Japan relations. Aso said to push forward Japan-China friendly relationship in the spirit of three political documents is a mutual understanding of the two countries. He said it is very important for the two countries to strengthen exchange and cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology, culture, youth, political parties, congress and safety. Meanwhile, both sides should enlarge common interests in areas of environment protection, energy and Northeast Asia cooperation. The Japanese minister said Japan will strictly adhere to its commitment about the Taiwan issue in the Japan-China communique and does not support "Taiwan independence". ()

China evacuates 170 citizens from Lebanon, including 37 from HK
2006-07-26 Xinhuanet
China has altogether evacuated 170 citizens from Lebanon, including 37 Hong Kong compatriots, since Israel launched the massive assault on Lebanon on July 12, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday night. Through the cooperation of the Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies to Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Israel, the evacuation is almost completed and only several Chinese citizens choosing to stay in Lebanon for various reasons, an official from the Department of Consular Affairs said in anonymity. The remaining officials in the Chinese Embassy to Lebanon, including Ambassador Liu Xianghua, will be always ready to give the remaining Chinese citizens emergent assistance at any time, the official said. According to the Chinese Embassy to Lebanon, some of those remaining people are living in comparatively safe place. Some have married local people and don't want to depart from their families. Some were hired by local people and prefer not to quit their jobs. The official also urged those remained to provide their ways of contact to the embassy so that the embassy may help them in emergency. The Chinese government always attaches highly importance on the protection of overseas Chinese. The Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies to foreign countries have handled nearly 30,000 issues concerning consular protection in 2005. In April and May this year, China evacuated some 243 and 325 Chinese nationals, including Hong Kong compatriots, respectively from the unrest-hit Solomon Islands and East Timor.

Chinese contribution to UN peacekeeping missions
2006-07-27 China Daily
The Chinese victim, Du Zhaoyu, was a lieutenant-colonel in the People's Liberation Army and had a postgraduate degree. He was sent to Lebanon in January as one of three Chinese UN observers. Du was previously the secretary to the military attache in the Chinese Embassy in India. He was born in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province; and was the father of a 1-year-old son. An 182-member Chinese engineering battalion, including a mine-sweeping company, an engineering company, a logistics company and a field hospital, started its peacekeeping mission in Lebanon in late March this year. There are nearly 2,000 peacekeepers with UNIFIL, which began its mission in 1978 following UN resolutions. Wan Dong, an official at the Ministry of National Defence, said eight Chinese military personnel including Du have died in the UN peacekeeping mission since 1990. Since 1978, more than 250 UNIFIL military or civilian personnel have died on duty. Wang said China has sent about 5,600 personnel to 15 UN peacekeeping missions since 1990, contributing the most troops among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. China now has more than 1,400 soldiers serving in UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sudan.

China favours Asian candidate
2006-07-26 China Daily
China firmly supports electing an Asian as the next United Nations (UN) secretary-general, believing the countries will maintain their solidarity to select a competent, prestigious and widely accepted leader of the world body. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks yesterday after the UN Security Council held its first straw poll on candidates in New York. "This poll is not designed to take any decision, but rather is planned to test what response the members of the UN Security Council might have on the official candidate," Liu said in a statement. He said China also supports the consultation among the UN members, including members of the Security Council, to smoothly elect Kofi Annan's successor. Wu Miaofa, former counsellor of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations, said he hoped the Security Council would submit the final candidate to the General Assembly in September or October. If so, it will allow the new secretary-general preparation time before taking up the post at the beginning of next year. Wu said more candidates could enter the race based on their own assessment of the vote as it is open to all qualified people until the final decision. With all the talk of regional rotation, he said other candidates from Asian countries were still possible. Wu said he personally preferred to see the secretary-general come from a small or medium-sized Asian country. "As the majority of the 192-member UN are small and medium sized nations, that kind of secretary-general will be more representative and universal," he said. Wu said that as United Nations' role has been strengthened in the recent years, the international community, especially developing countries, have pinned high hopes on the organization. "Thus the election of the United Nations' secretary-general," he said, "is one of the most important diplomatic things in the world."

WHO invited to test 'first' H5N1 victim
2006-07-026 SCMP
Beijing has invited the World Health Organisation to send experts to take part in retrospective tests on a possible first human H5N1 death discovered on the mainland. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not yet started laboratory tests on samples taken from a 24-year old soldier who died in December 2003 to confirm whether he was infected with bird flu, according to CDC director Wang Yu. Dr Wang said after a press conference on hepatitis B vaccinations yesterday that the authorities did not want to start the tests before the WHO experts arrived. Controversy erupted after the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from eight mainland scientists late last month saying a patient who died in 2003 was infected with bird flu - two years before the first confirmed H5N1 death on the mainland. The Ministry of Health said it would investigate the case and would be able to confirm it only after parallel tests by the CDC. Dr Wang said yesterday the WHO would send two experts to participate in the parallel tests - an international expert based on the mainland and an expert from Hong Kong. When asked why the CDC had been sitting on the samples that caught international attention for more than a month, Dr Wang said: "The international community and the WHO are so concerned about the case and that is why we invite WHO experts to take part in it. "We did that in other cases before. And it is a case that happened in the past and it does not matter [if we wait until the experts come]." A source close to the team said the experts would arrive in Beijing soon and test results should be available in the near future. One of the experts was from the Hong Kong Department of Health's public health laboratory services, he said. In previous press conferences, the Ministry of Health maintained it was conducting tests on the samples and results were pending. While giving away little information about the case, the ministry said earlier that the eight scientists had applied for funds to continue to study the case of the soldier, who had shown symptoms similar to Sars. It said the scientists' study lasted more than two years and they concluded after comparing his samples with others that the patient had contracted bird flu. The mainland reported its first human H5N1 case in November last year. ()

 

Domestic Policy

Typhoon Kaemi kills 32, 60 missing
2006-07-28 China Daily
The death toll from rainstorms triggered by Typhoon Kaemi has risen to 32 in China's south and east, state media said on Friday. More than 60 are missing. Kaemi weakened to a tropical depression shortly after landing on China's southeastern coast on Tuesday, but the heavy rains it brought soaked five provinces, affecting 6 million people and forcing the evacuation of 1.3 million, state television said. The hardest hit is the eastern province of Jiangxi, where six were killed when flash floods along a mountainside swept away a military barracks in the early hours of Wednesday. Another 38 officers, soldiers and family members are still missing. A further 17 villagers died and 15 went missing in floods and landslides in Jiangxi's mountainous south, where rivers overflowed and thousands of houses collapsed, Xinhua news agency said. Power, communications and roads were also disrupted. The rain is expected to stop in the area on Saturday, but it will be followed by a three-day heatwave, prompting officials to warn against possible epidemics, Xinhua added. Five people, including two young girls, were also killed by floods and landslides in the neighbouring southern province of Guangdong, Xinhua said. Three were missing in Fujian province, where Kaemi made its China landfall. In the central province of Hunan, streets in the city of Chenzhou were flooded and at least three people were reported missing on Thursday. The four provinces are still reeling from damage caused by Tropical Storm Bilis, which has killed 612 since it struck China on July 14 with days of downpours. Tropical storms and typhoons frequently strike Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that lasts from early summer to late autumn. But China's storms have been particularly deadly this year, claiming more than 1,000 lives, Xinhua said. By Wednesday, the rains had destroyed half a million houses, damaged 3.3 million hectares of crops and caused economic losses totalling 74 billion yuan ($9.28 billion), it said.

Relief under way after quake kills 22 in Yunnan
2006-07-24 China Daily
Relief efforts are in full swing in Southwest China's Yunnan Province where 22 people were killed and more than 100 injured after an earthquake struck on Saturday. About 6,000 homes reportedly collapsed in the quake which measured 5.1 on the Richter scale that hit Yanjin County in Zhaotong City at 9:10 am. The county was returning to normal yesterday afternoon, with power supply and train services largely restored. "Most victims were killed by collapsing homes and falling rocks," Li Jiangren, deputy director of the publicity department of the Yanjin county government, told China Daily on the phone. "Of the injured, eight are in serious condition in county hospitals." At least five aftershocks measuring 2 on the Richter scale rattled the area yesterday, Beijing News said. Apart from the 6,000 buildings destroyed in the affected area, more than 9,000 buildings are in danger of collapse and 38,000 were damaged by the quake, which shook 13 townships in the region. The epicentre was about 90 kilometres from Yunnan's Zhaotong city, Xinhua news agency said. Houses in Yanjin, situated in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau with a population of 350,000, were mostly built on land vulnerable to earthquakes, Xinhua said, citing seismological experts. Chen Li, who was working on an expressway construction site when the temblor hit, told China Daily on the phone: "We heard a big sound like thunder or fireworks. Then rocks fell from the hills and houses were shaking. It all happened in four or five seconds. Then someone shouted 'earthquake.' People ran out of buildings and went to the streets." But by yesterday, power supply in the disaster areas was mostly restored, making rescue efforts easier, said Tian Rongping, administrative director of the Zhaotong municipal government. The Neijiang-Kunming railway, a major railway line linking Yunnan to Guizhou, Sichuan and Chongqing municipality, resumed service yesterday morning, Liu Zhenfang, deputy director of the Kunming Railway Bureau, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. ()

30 years on, memories of quake still shake them
2006-07-28 China Daily
When Hao Haizheng was admitted to Hebei Polytechnic University two years ago, Tangshan was just the name of a city to him. But unlike other second-tier Chinese cities, it is associated with one terrible event. "My knowledge of the Tangshan Earthquake came from my high-school textbooks and what my parents told me," said the sophomore at the university's Resources and Environment School. He was instantly able to picture what he had learned when he came face to face with the old library on the campus. "I could sense it was only the tip of the iceberg. But I was truly shocked to the core." The campus in downtown Tangshan was only 4 kilometres from the epicentre of the 1976 earthquake. The 4,049-square-metre library, completed only days earlier but not yet in use, suffered a blow that was symbolic of both the loss and tenacity of this old industrial town. The western part of the reading area, which was a three-storey structure, became a pile of debris. Had there been people inside, they would have had no chance of surviving. The eastern part, a slightly taller and independent structure, suffered only cracks. As for the four-storey stack room on the north side, the first floor became rubble while the remaining three floors shifted sideways 1 metre but did not fall apart. But even this site, which was listed as one of the key remains of the earthquake as early as 1980 and was elevated to the status of national historical relic this year, cannot tell the full story of what Tangshan survivors went through that July morning. Tan Pengru, 75, considers himself one of the lucky ones. A girder fell onto his chest and legs, but in an ensuing jolt, not only was it bounced off, but his own body was tossed outdoors through an opening in the wall caused by the first tremor. "As I lay on the street, I felt like I was caught in a tidal wave. Flashes of blue lightning flared across the sky, roads heaved up and down and buildings were like boats in an ocean," he recalled. People were stunned into silence, not knowing what had happened. It took quite a while before they started screaming and yelling for help. With daybreak, Tan and other survivors saw the enormity of the catastrophe. "I lost a 3-year-old daughter. But I had a neighbour - a big family with 24 members, only two survived. What do I have to complain about?" One week later, Tan walked down Victory Street on crutches. The four-lane street was lined with dead bodies, barely leaving room for a bicycle path. Sometimes, the corpses were stacked into piles, and in between them, survivors were cooking their meals in makeshift stoves, oblivious to the horror and the stench that permeated the air. There was also a short period of lawlessness when food and clean water were extremely scarce. "We had airdrops of food, but people had to fight for them. There was occasional violence," he sighed. Fortunately law and order was quickly restored with the help of the army that was pouring into the city and mounting a mammoth rescue effort. Tan, a tall, thin man, used to work at a public security department, "but I have many hobbies, including singing Peking Opera, practising calligraphy and qigong. Good health and enjoying life is the most important thing to me." Tan and his opera buddies formed a club in the early 1980s. Now they sing three times a week, in parks or simply on sidewalks when stores are closed in the evening. "I don't want my twilight years to be haunted by terrible memories. I want to live at peace with what happened on that night," he said outside the local VW dealer on Monday night, before launching into a grand aria in his shaky but powerful voice. Sun Mengcui was 25 when the quake brought the roof crashing down onto her, leaving her permanently paralyzed. "I was not married yet, and of course I suffered depression," said the clerk of a retailer 45 kilometres from downtown Tangshan. But fate intervened again. She met her husband and he proposed to her. They got married in 1981 and have a daughter. "I live a normal and happy life. My family takes good care of me," she said outside the Tangshan Earthquake Museum while her son-in-law pushed her wheelchair. Across the street from the ruins of the old library stands a new 20,000-square-metre one, donated by Hong Kong tycoon Run Run Shaw. "The episode of suffering and misery is behind us," said Tan. "And the bravery and self-sacrifice of rescue workers has been an asset and an inspiration. But above all, it shows that human spirit can never be wiped out." As time goes on, the loss has crystallized into a set of numbers. "The quake killed 1,257 in our university, including 313 teachers and staff and 414 students. There were 72 families that were totally wiped out," said Hao Haizheng, rattling the numbers off quickly. ()

China details new laws of official abuse and torture
2006-07-27 Xinhuanet
China's highest criminal prosecution body has issued new regulations detailing official abuses of authority, which it hopes will stamp out torture of criminals and criminal suspects. The regulations issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) on Wednesday outline 42 offences of abuse of office with criteria by which prosecuting authorities could launch investigations.

The offences include:

  • divulging state secrets;
  • releasing detainees without proper authority;
  • abusing authority in company registration and establishment;
  • failing to properly collect taxes;
  • illegally issuing logging and tree-felling permits;
  • selling land-use rights below value;
  • improperly recruiting public servants;
  • aiding and abetting fugitives;
  • extracting confessions through torture, collecting evidence by violent means and abusing detainees.

SPP Vice President Wang Zhenchuan said the SPP had previously lacked detailed standards and criteria by which to determine if an official was abusing their authority or office. "The new regulations detail circumstances in which officials can be considered to be abusing their power," Wang said. For example, the previous regulations prohibited law enforcement and judicial officers from using "brutal means" to extract confessions and torture was defined by whether it caused "serious results". But prosecutors had no practical guidelines to determine what constituted "brutal means" or "serious results". The new regulations detail eight criteria for the crime of torture, including beating, binding, freezing, starving, exposing suspects to severe weather, severely injuring suspects, and directly or indirectly ordering others to use torture. Wang said the new regulations would help prosecutors determine if an official had committed an offence and if an investigation was required. "The human rights of criminals suspects will be better protected with these regulations," he said. The SPP also disclosed that around 8,000 officials were on the prosecutors' files for investigation of abuse of office allegations. Sixty to 70 percent of allegations related to "economic" offences. The regulations also clearly define "official" and "state worker" as people working for central or local governments, judicial and law enforcement bodies, the armed forces, national or local people's congresses, political consultative conferences, and the Communist Party of China.

Contamination of drinking water getting worse
2006-07-24 Xinhuanet
Health threats to China's drinking water are increasing because of the serious contamination of many of the country's water sources. At a symposium on potable water safety and health, a group of Chinese experts on Monday urged the government and enterprises to introduce more high-end technologies to protect people from drinking polluted water. The symposium is being held concurrently with a national water pollution prevention conference organized by the State Council. The deterioration of the general water situation on the Chinese mainland means that most of the source water for Chinese waterworks is polluted to some extent. According to E Xueli, a researcher with China Disease Prevention and Control Center, for economic and other reasons, more than 90 percent of Chinese waterworks are still using outdated technologies developed at the beginning of the 20th century. "Those waterworks can handle physical and microbial pollution but not chemical pollution," he said. "China's waterworks can only filter out 30 percent of the organic substances in the water treated. People drink the other 70 percent," warned Wang Zhanshen, a professor with the Tsinghua University. China must deal with potable water problems in a scientific and pragmatic way, spreading water health knowledge and mobilizing society to promote water safety, Wang said.

Bogus military medical bodies sell fake drugs
2006-07-28 Xinhuanet
China's armed forces health department on Thursday published a list of 16 bogus military medical institutions advertising fake drugs, in the latest attempt to crack down on drugs fraud. "These bogus military institutions advertised fake drugs in newspapers, magazines and on websites, posing a serious threat to public health and to the image of the People's Liberation Army," said the Health Department of the PLA general Logistics Department. Military medical institutions were prohibited from advertising any drugs by law. "All drugs ads in the name of military institutions are fraudulent," the department said. The military health department and State Post Bureau have jointly issued an order banning military medical institutions setting up post boxes in order to block channels for mail-order fake drugs. In May, seven people forging subscriptions, seals, receipts and drug labels purporting to come from military medical institutions were seized in Beijing. Fake drugs worth of 150,000 yuan (18,750 U.S. dollars) were confiscated in the largest such case of fraud yet.

Journalist dies after police beating
2006-07-26 SCMP
A journalist has died after being beaten by a police chief in Guizhou province, one of his colleagues and a human rights group said yesterday. Xiao Guopeng, an editor at the Anshun Daily newspaper, was punched and knocked to the ground by police official Pan Dengfeng, another editor said. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, which reported the death last week, said it might have been linked to an article written by Xiao that was critical of police. The centre said Mr Pan started beating Xiao in public, with the policeman ignoring the calls of an angry crowd to stop. Xiao, 39, died at a hospital from a brain haemorrhage, the centre said. The editor of the paper said the case was under criminal investigation. "The suspect, Pan Dengfeng, has been formally arrested. This is a criminal case. It is now under judicial procedure," he said. A police officer at Anshan city's Xinchang township confirmed Pan no longer worked there.

Paralysed land activist's injuries were self-inflicted, officials say
2006-07-28 SCMP
Investigators have concluded that a land rights activist who said he was paralysed after assailants broke his neck inflicted the injury on himself, his son said yesterday. "We cannot accept this decision," said Fu Bing, whose father, Fu Xiancai , was injured three weeks after giving an interview to a German television station.Fu Xiancai said in an interview broadcast on May 19 by ARD television that he had been threatened and beaten for complaining about inadequate state compensation awarded to people - including himself - who were forced to relocate as a result of the Three Gorges Dam project. After the interview, on June 8, he said he was called to the Zigui county Public Security Bureau in Hubei province and criticised for his television appearance. He says he was attacked in a quiet area after leaving the police station. On Wednesday, the head of the Zigui county Public Security Bureau's forensics department and another county official told Fu Bing that forensic experts had concluded that the injuries were self- inflicted. Investigators refused to release other details, but said they found no other footprints at the scene, indicating that his father was alone, the son said. A man who answered the phone at the Public Security Bureau yesterday said he was "unclear" about the case. Authorities told the Fu family not to appeal against the decision or file a new complaint, Fu Bing said. "My father was beaten with a wooden stick, first on his thighs, then repeatedly on his neck. He was beaten until he fell to the ground and lost consciousness. His body went numb," he said. "He is very upset about the results of this investigation. He will definitely appeal." Fu Xiancai underwent an operation last month that may enable him to use a wheelchair, but doctors have said he will not walk again. The German government has demanded an investigation and punishment for those responsible. The German embassy in Beijing gave Fu 60,000 yuan to help pay for the surgery.

 

Taiwan

Two Taiwanese spies under house arrest: report
2006-07-26 SCMP
Two Taiwanese intelligence officers who went missing on the China-Vietnam border are believed to be under house arrest in China, a report on Wednesday quoted intelligence sources as saying. Colonels Chu Kung-hsun and Hsu Chang-kuo of the military intelligence bureau went to Vietnam on May 25 for a four-day mission but went missing after meeting a Chinese national security officer, the Taipei-based China Times reported. The paper cited unidentified intelligence sources as saying that the agents were believed to have been nabbed on the border and later put under house arrest in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi. It said the Chinese officer gained the trust of the colonels after trading intelligence information with them on the internet and then requested the face-to-face meeting in Vietnam to trap them. Chinese intelligence authorities have denied any involvement and did not know of the colonels' whereabouts, according to the report.

 

Tibet

"One country, two systems" not possible for Tibet: article
2006-07-28 Xinhuanet
An article, recently published on the website of China Tibet Information Center, condemns Dalai Lama's attempts to refute the current political system in Tibet, insisting that "one country, two systems" is not possible for Tibet. The signed article, written by Yedor, has analyzed the "middle way", advocated by Dalai Lama in recent years, pointing out that any endeavor to destroy and change the current political system in Tibet runs counter to the Constitution and law of China. Dalai Lama has said Tibet should achieve "high-level autonomy" or "real autonomy" according to the "one country, two systems" principle, and the scope of "autonomy" should be larger than that for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. Meanwhile, he argues that "a Tibetan government should be set up in Lhasa and should have an elected administrative chief and possess a bicameral legislative organ and an independent judicial system". In November 2005, the Dalai Lama said in the United States: "The Central Government should take care of defense and foreign affairs, because the Tibetans have no experience in this regard, but the Tibetans should have full responsibility for education, economic development, environmental protection and religion". This is obviously different from what he claims for Tibet to work "within the framework of the Chinese Constitution" in his advocacy for the "middle way", says the article. The white paper entitled National Regional Autonomy in Tibet issued by Chinese government in 2004 made it clear that, unlike Hong Kong and Macao, Tibet is not faced with question related to the exercise of sovereignty and the possibility of re-introducing another social system. Any endeavor to destroy and change the current political system in Tibet runs counter to the Constitution and law of China. It is known to all that the "one country, two systems" refers to the fact that the mainland follows the socialist system while Hong Kong and Macao continue to follow the capitalist system they had followed before, the article says. However, no capitalist system existed in Tibetan history; what was followed in the region was a feudal serfdom featuring temporal religious administration, says the article. In its own "constitution of Tibet in exile", Dalai Lama advocates the reintroduction of the old system featuring "temporal religious administration". According to the system, Dalai Lama is the government and religious leader enjoying the final say on major matters, says the article. When Dalai Lama fled overseas, his government in exile continued to follow the old system, with the role of chief Galoon, or "premier", of the government in exile continuing to be assumed by a high-ranking lama. "These are the people who are advocating the 'one country, two systems' approach for Tibet. What they can do? Only restore the feudal serfdom, and nothing else," the article adds.

 

North Korea

Beijing lets North Korean refugees go to US
2006-07-26 SCMP
Beijing has for the first time allowed North Korean defectors to seek asylum in the United States in what is believed to be an attempt to express its dissatisfaction over Pyongyang's recent missile tests. The trio left for the United States on Saturday after breaking into a US consulate in the northeastern city of Shenyang in May, according to South Korea's Chosun newspaper South Korea's Yonhap news agency said it was the first time China had allowed North Korean defectors to seek asylum in the US. Beijing previously allowed North Korean defectors in high-profile cases to seek asylum in other countries, mostly in South Korea, via third countries. The report coincided with confirmation from US officials that the Bank of China had frozen North Korea-related assets in its Macau branch. Although the bank freeze only came to light this week, one US official said it pre-dated Pyongyang's July 4 missile tests and did not reflect a post-test attempt by China - Pyongyang's chief patron - to increase pressure on the North to return to six-country nuclear negotiations, as the US has demanded. The story was first reported by Yonhap, which quoted a South Korean legislator as saying suspicions Pyongyang printed fake Chinese currency prompted the Bank of China to freeze all of its North Korean accounts. Two US officials said the US had been told the freeze affected the Macau branch. "We don't know how much," one official said. "I think it's a significant step forward for China but I think like everything else, the question is are they willing to put the same kind of scrutiny on what's going on in the mainland accounts as well," he said, referring to North Korean accounts held by mainland banks. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, chair professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong, said he believed that by sending the North Koreans to the US, Beijing was expressing its dissatisfaction over its neighbour's recent missile tests. It was also a way to put pressure on North Korean leaders to return to the six-party talks. "I think China will probably continue to exert pressure on Pyongyang and there may well be delays in sending food aid and energy supplies to Pyongyang," Professor Cheng 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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