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
  21.8-25.8.06, No. 129  
Startseite / Homepage   Archiv / Archives
Foreign Policy

Roundup: China, Venezuela sign eight agreements to boost ties
2006-08-25 Xinhuanet
China and Venezuela on Thursday signed eight agreements on a range of issues, including two on expanding energy cooperation, pointing to stronger ties between the two countries. In the two agreements, the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and the PDVSA, the state-owned Venezuelan energy company, agreed to jointly develop Venezuelan oil fields, according to China's Foreign Ministry. Other agreements, involving trade, energy, infrastructure construction and tourism, were signed after Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. "I'm very satisfied with the cooperation with China in the oil and petrochemical fields," Chavez told reporters after the ceremony, vowing to increase oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels per day in the near future. During talks with Hu, Chavez said Venezuela would make concerted efforts with China to implement their proposals and strengthen cooperation in bilateral and multi-lateral areas so as to develop the bilateral strategic partnership. Venezuela hoped to expand cooperation in energy, railway construction, telecommunications, agriculture, tourism, culture and education, and develop the bilateral high-level mixed committee into an important platform for enhancing cooperation, Chavez said. As this year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Sino-Venezuelan strategic partnership, Hu also offered a four-point proposal. The first was to strengthen high-level exchanges and expand strategic consensus. The Chinese side would work with Venezuela to expand exchanges and cooperation between governments, legislatures and political parties and strengthen dialogue, consultation and coordination on major issues of common concern, Hu said. The second was to deepen reciprocal cooperation and speed up common development. The Chinese side will join Venezuela in improving the functions of the bilateral high-level mixed committee, implementing cooperative projects, and exploring cooperation in railway construction, shipbuilding, oil machinery manufacturing and high technology, Hu said. He also pledged that China would encourages enterprises to invest in Venezuela and welcome Venezuelan businesses to China. China would work with Venezuela to explore their potentials and expand cooperation for better economic and social benefits, Hu added. The third point was to enhance cultural exchanges and mutual understanding with expanded cultural, education, science, technology, media, and tourism exchanges. The fourth was to strengthen international cooperation, especially coordination in international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Organization of American States, Hu said. Hu said Sino-Venezuelan relations had grown comprehensively and deepened with frequent exchanges of high-level visits, increasing political trust, substantial progress in cooperation, and sound cooperation in international and regional affairs. ()

China, Vietnam agree to accelerate joint oil exploration at Beibu Gulf
2006-08-25 People's Daily
China and Vietnam are to accelerate oil and gas exploration and extraction in border waters of the Beibu Gulf, says a joint statement released on Thursday evening. The joint communique states that during Vietnamese leader Nong Duc Manh's visit to China from Aug. 22 to 26, the two countries have reached a series of agreements on borders, trade, investment, loans and sub-regional economic areas. China and Vietnam have agreed to take further steps to settle disputed borders. Both sides speak positively about joint naval patrols and the implementation of border and fishing treaties in the Beibu Gulf, which separates northern Vietnam from southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong and Hainan provinces. The two countries agreed to steadily advance negotiations on settling borders in the waters outside the mouth of the Beibu Gulf and actively discuss joint development of the area. They also agreed to abide by the consensus reached by their leaders and continue consultations on issues concerning the South China Sea, where they agreed to maintain stability and study and discuss joint development and cooperation. Both countries agreed to accelerate land border surveys and erection of mere stones, pledging to complete the work and sign a new border control document by 2008. Both countries have decided to boost bilateral trade to 10 billion U.S. dollars before 2010, with China promising to firmly support Vietnam's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Bilateral trade reached 8.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2005. In the first half of this year, trade volume jumped 19.3 percent year on year to 4.57 billion U.S. dollars. On the other hand, the two countries pledged to actively encourage and support enterprises to develop long-term cooperation in infrastructure, human resources, energy and mineral processing. China and Vietnam have signed agreements on economic and technological cooperation, as well as Chinese loans for the construction of a coal-fired power plant in northern Vietnam. The two countries vowed to step up efforts to set up sub-regional economic areas, including the China-ASEAN free trade zone and economic corridors along the Mekong River. Vietnam reiterated its firm adherence to the one-China policy and support for China's reunification. "Vietnam is diametrically opposed to any separatist activities for 'Taiwan independence'," the communique says. Vietnam voiced full understanding and support for the passage of China's Anti-Secession Law and welcomed moves toward reconciliation across the Taiwan Strait. "Vietnam will have nothing but unofficial trade and economic contact with Taiwan and will never ever develop official links with Taiwan," the communique says. The two countries agreed to maintain the tradition of exchange of visits by high-ranking officials. China is the first country that Nong Duc Manh visited since he was re-elected as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party in April. Manh has invited Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit Vietnam and to attend the unofficial meeting of APEC leaders in November. Hu, also the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), accepted, the communique says.

NKorean leader Kim may visit China next week
2006-08-24 China Daily
An Internet news site specializing in North Korea claimed Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Il may visit China next week, and a news agency said Beijing had invited Kim to visit amid speculation that the North Korea may be preparing for a nuclear test. The Daily NK Web site cited an unidentified person in China saying that high-level North Korean military officials were on a visit to China to prepare security arrangements for Kim's trip, scheduled for around Monday. The person was quoted as saying that the trip may be related to the North Korea's alleged preparation of a nuclear test, and that the Chinese leadership may have invited Kim to dissuade him from a nuclear test. The report quoted another individual in Japan, speaking of an intelligence report that Kim may visit China around late August, and that the trip may be aimed at informing China of the North Korea's plan to conduct a nuclear test. Meanwhile, a report from South Korea's Yonhap news agency said China had invited Kim to visit "as soon as possible." The report, citing an unidentified North Korea watcher in the Chinese city of Shenyang, said Beijing hopes the visit would resolve tensions over the North Korea's recent missile launches. Fears about a possible North Korean nuclear test have grown recently after news reports last week cited U.S. officials saying suspicious activity had been observed at a possible underground nuclear test site. That comes after the North Korea test-launched a series of missiles last month over international objections, drawing UN Security Council sanctions. South Korea's Unification Ministry, which monitors the North, had no information on any possible Kim trip. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. Earlier this week, Chinese President Hu Jintao spoke by telephone with U.S. President George W. Bush about North Korea and the nuclear impasse. North Korea has claimed it has nuclear weapons, but hasn't performed any known test to confirm it has successfully engineered an atomic bomb. The North Korea has stayed away from six-nation talks on its nuclear program since November in anger over the U.S. blacklisting a bank where the Pyongyang held accounts due to its alleged complicity in counterfeiting and money laundering.

New U.S. treasury secretary to visit China next month
2006-08-25 Xinhuanet
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will pay his first visit to China next month after taking office in July, an official told Xinhua on Thursday. Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said she could confirm that Paulson will visit Beijing in September, but declining to give more details. McLaughlin, also deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said the United States is trying to promote further relations with China. "The U.S. relationship with China may be the single most important economic relationship of the 21st century," she said. "Continuing to develop a constructive and mutually-beneficial economic relationship with China now is vitally important since the decisions we take in the next few years will guide the U.S.-China relationship over the next generation - and the shape and pace of global growth for years to come," she added.

Chinese official told Japan shrine visits block ties
2006-08-20 China Daily
China's relations with Japan would remain at low ebb as long as Japanese leaders continued visiting a Tokyo shrine for war dead, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Sunday. State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told the honorary leader of Japan's opposition Social Democratic Party, Doi Takako, that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Tuesday visit to the Yasukuni Shrine had "seriously affected the improvement of China-Japan relations", the Xinhua news agency reported. Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. Koizumi's visit on the anniversary of his country's World War Two surrender drew swift condemnation from Beijing, Seoul and other regional capitals. Tang said the deadlock of Sino-Japanese political relations lies in that the Japanese leaders insist to visit the Shrine which honors Japanese "class A" war criminals. Koizumi's visit severely harms the feeling of the people victimized by Japanese militarist aggression and damages the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations, he said. Koizumi visited the shrine every year since he took office as prime minister in 2001. Tang said the Chinese side will continue to work for breaking the deadlock of Sino-Japanese relations. Tang said the two countries should seek to put relations "back onto a normal development track". He said he hopes that the Japanese side can follow historical trends and the willing of the peoples of the two countries, remove political barriers and push Sino-Japanese relations, together with China, back onto a normal development track. Tang said he highly appreciates Doi for her long-term work on improving Sino-Japanese friendship and hopes that she can make more efforts in this aspect. Doi was former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan and also former speaker of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996. She visited China many times and Chinese former President Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao had met with her. Doi said to abide by the three political documents between the two countries is the foundation of maintaining a healthy and stable bilateral relationship. Correctly understanding history is important both to Japanese-Chinese relationship and Japan's development, she said. Relations between the two countries have been chilled by Koizumi's visits. Soon after Koizumi's sixth visit on August 15, Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing "strong protests" against the move Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Miyamoto Yuji and lodged strong objections. In Beijing more than 30 Chinese citizens gathered outside the Japanese embassy on the morning of August 15 to protest against Koizumi's visit ().

Foreign embassies expand in China
2006-08-22 Xinhuanet
Foreign embassies in China are being squeezed for space and more and more are purchasing land to build larger diplomatic compounds as the number of foreign diplomats stationed here increases, according to a recent report by the Global Times. The report cited the embassies of Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea, saying that staffs at those embassies in China have rapidly increased. The ROK embassy for example now has only slightly fewer employees working here than at its embassy in the United States. The United States, which is building a new diplomatic compound in Beijing's Chaoyang district, employs more than 700 people who work in 11 different buildings in Beijing. Its current embassy was built in 1979. The new U.S. embassy, being built at a cost of 275 million U.S. dollars with 40,000 square meters of floor space, is said to be the largest U.S. embassy in the world, according to previous reports. Reports said that Japan and the ROK will also build new embassies in Chaoyang district. But an official with the Japanese embassy refused to confirm it when inquired by Xinhua. The Global Times quoted a source with the German embassy in China saying that more German diplomats were coming to China as the countries exchanges and trade expand. The economic section of the German embassy has been expanding rapidly and the embassy has recruited many financial and banking experts as well as people specialized in transportation and communications, the source said. The report also quoted officials from the French embassy in China, saying that the embassy was also recruiting staffs to enhance its ability to better understand China. Meanwhile, more countries are setting up embassies in China. In 2005, Jamaica, Georgia and Tonga opened embassies in Beijing. China has diplomatic ties with 169 countries.

 

Domestic Policy

China's death toll from typhoon Saomai rises to 441
2006-08-19 Xinhuanet
The death toll in China from typhoon Saomai rose to 441 on Saturday after the discovery of five more bodies in Fuding city in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian. One of the body was recovered in a ship that was salvaged from the seawaters off Shacheng harbor on Saturday afternoon, Vice Mayor of Fuding Chen Yuyin said. Rescuers have so far retrieved four vessels in Fuding, and the local government has appealed to the Fujian provincial government and central authorities to assist with salvage operations. Salvage ships from the Shanghai wrecking bureau will arrive in Fuding within days, which will make it possible to retrieve four or five sunken vessels every day, the vice mayor said. The typhoon has sunk 952 ships and damaged 1,594 others at Shacheng harbor, according to Fujian provincial headquarters of flood control and drought relief. Saomai, the eighth typhoon to strike China this year, slammed into Cangnan County of Zhejiang Province at 5:25 p.m. Aug. 10 and moved to Fuding a few hours later. It has claimed 246 lives in Fujian, 193 in Zhejiang and two in Jiangxi. More than 16.9 million yuan (2.11 million U.S. dollars) of money have been distributed for relief to typhoon victims in Fuding, officials with the local bureau of civil affairs said Saturday evening. Daily necessities including instant noodles, bottled water, rice, quilts, and biscuits have also been distributed to the victims. All the injured are treated by local hospitals for free and the local government has distributed 78,700 yuan (nearly 10,000 U.S. dollars) worth of drugs to people affected by the typhoon, officials said. Fuding has so far received more than 15 million yuan (1.9 million dollars) of donations, officials said.

Corruption fuels rise in emissions
2006-08-21 SCMP
Corruption and slow construction of pollution-control facilities are to blame for a rise in emissions during the first half of the year, according to a top environmental official. During an interview with Xinhua published yesterday, the director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa), said there was a conflict between the pursuit of economic growth and environmental protection. "It is clear that the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection is coming to a head," Zhou Shengxian said. "There is rampant fraud in the project approval process, with many projects passing their environmental assessments without fulfilling the necessary criteria." Mr Zhou said in some counties, only 30 per cent of projects had their pollution-control measures checked before they were awarded construction licences. And nearly half of firms failed to implement the required pollution-control measures during construction. A government probe into projects with at least 100 million yuan of investment during the first six months showed that almost 40 per cent had violated pollution-control procedures, said Mr Zhou. "Monitoring new projects for pollution control and preventing fraud in approvals will be the priority for environmental officials in the second half of this year," he said. According to Mr Zhou, emissions of major pollutants in 17 provinces rose in the first six months, while emissions of sulfur dioxide increased by 5.8 per cent compared with the same period last year. In the same six-month period, official figures showed investment in coal mining and processing rose 45.7 per cent. Mr Zhou said the construction of pollution-reduction facilities was lagging, with almost half this year's coal-processing projects failing to install desulfurisation equipment. China discharged 25.49 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide last year, making it the world's top emitter. Nearly 85 per cent was of industrial origin, coming mainly from the mainland's large number of coal-burning projects. Mainland officials have promised a 10 per cent reduction in total sulfur dioxide emissions by 2010."The responsibility of curtailing pollutant emission rests on the shoulders of the local governments," Mr Zhou said, adding that officials who ignore environmental protection would "pay the price". Mr Zhou's remarks come after Premier Wen Jiabao last week blasted Inner Mongolian officials for defying central government directives on power plant construction. Meanwhile, Mr Zhou said two advisory committees had been set up to help the central government formulate policies on environmental issues. He said the committees, with 86 experts, showed that democratic principals were being included in decision making. "China is facing a great number of environment challenges and this is a time when democracy in policy- making is vital. And the era of Sepa monopolising the decision-making process is set to end."

Chinese researcher for NY Times jailed 3 years for fraud
2006-08-25 SCMP
A Chinese researcher for The New York Timeswas acquitted on Friday on charges of revealing state secrets but was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years in prison. Zhao Yan, 44, was detained in 2004. The government has not released details of the charges, but the case is believed to stem from a Times report on then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin's plans to relinquish his post as head of the military. The case came amid efforts by President Hu Jintao's government to tighten controls on Chinese media. Dozens of reporters have been jailed, often on charges of violating China's vague secrecy and security laws. Zhao was acquitted of the secrets charge because the court concluded that "prosecutors did not provide sufficient evidence" to support it, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Zhao denies the fraud charges, said his chief lawyer, Mo Shaoping. Another defence lawyer, Guan Anping, said he didn't know whether Zhao would appeal the conviction handed down by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court. The executive editor of The Times, Bill Keller, said in a statement: "If the verdict is what it appears to be, we welcome it as a vindication. We have always said that to the best of our knowledge, the only thing Zhao Yan committed is journalism." Zhao was detained after The Times reported in 2004 that Mr Jiang was preparing to step down from his last major post as chairman of the body that runs China's military. The ruling Communist Party treats such information as important secrets. Zhao's family has not been allowed to meet with him since he was detained two years ago, Mo said. Zhao's case was dismissed in March in an apparent effort to minimize strains with Washington before President Hu Jintao visited the United States. The charges were later refiled and Zhao stood trial in June. Zhao could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted of "disclosing state secrets to foreigners." The court fined Zhao 2,000 yuan on the fraud charge and ordered him to repay 20,000 yuan that he was accused of obtaining fraudulently, Xinhua said. Jerome Cohen, an American expert on Chinese law who advised The Times, said the case was a rare example of a Chinese court acquitting a defendant on such politically sensitive charges. Mr Cohen said the fraud charge appeared to have been added only to justify holding Zhao after the legal period for investigating the secrets charge had expired. "Now conviction on the fraud charge helps to 'save face' for the law enforcement agencies," said Mr Cohen, a New York University law professor. "But that conviction is subject to serious challenge concerning the evidence and the procedures in the case as well as the severity of the sentence for what was at most a minor transgression." Zhao's lawyers have complained that authorities violated Chinese regulations by failing to release him after the case was initially dismissed. Before joining The Times' Beijing bureau, Zhao was an investigative reporter for Chinese publications and wrote about complaints of official corruption and abuses in the countryside.

Blind mob organizer sentenced to imprisonment
2006-08-25 China Daily
The People's Court of Yinan County, in east China's Shandong Province, Thursday sentenced Chen Guangcheng to four years and three months in prison on charges of willfully damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic. The sentence was passed in a public court session. Xinhua was provided with a document by the court that provided only the following details of the proceedings. The document says, Chen was upset with workers who were sent to carry out poverty-relief programs in East Shigu Village, in Shuanghou Town of Yinan County. It says on February 5, 2006, Chen (who is known to be blind) rushed to the office of the village committee and damaged doors and windows. The court document says Chen was given guidance by his wife Li Weijing and others. Following this incident, the court document says Chen then went to the home of Chen Guangyu and instigated Chen Guanghe, Chen Guangdong and Chen Gengjiang to damage and smash cars belonging to the Shuanghou Police Station and the town government. The court document does not indicate if any of the other individuals had been charged or convicted. The court document says Chen Guanghe and Chen Guangdong also instigated other villagers to damage government cars, and they chased and beat officials from the town government. Using clubs and stones, the mob smashed the windows of three cars from the police station and the town government, overturned the cars in roadside ditches, and beat police officers from the Police Bureau of the county, according to the document. It goes on to say that on the evening of March 11, Chen Guangyu, who was then drunk, claimed he was beaten by some people, and he attacked the office of the village committee and damaged things in the office. Later, at about 6:00 pm, according to the document, Chen Guangcheng organized a group of people, including Chen Guangyu, Chen Guangjun and Yuan Weijing, under the excuse of seeking justice for Chen Guangyu. They interrupted traffic in the Yinghou Village section of the National Highway 205. The document says Chen Guangcheng stood in the middle of the road to stop vehicles and directed the mob, including Chen Guangjun and Chen Guangyu to yell out and stop traffic. It goes on that police arrived to reopen the road, and to try to persuade Chen Guangcheng to desist from leading the mob and stopping the traffic. Chen refused to comply and continued to direct the mob to block vehicles. The document says the mob stopped the traffic for three hours and delayed more than 290 vehicles, including an ambulance carrying a pregnant woman to hospital. The court document says Chen's rights were completely protected, and his two lawyers expressed their views in full.

Henan reports 437 cases of encephalitis, 14 deaths
2006-08-25 China Daily
A province in central China reported 437 cases of encephalitis in July, with 14 deaths, a news Web site said Thursday. The infections were in Henan province and the outbreak appears to have passed its peak, said Sina.com, one of China's largest news portals. The brief report did not give details on the cases or say what caused the outbreak. Encephalitis is typically a mosquito-borne disease that causes an inflammation of membranes around the brain. Symptoms include high fever, seizures and headaches. Last week, the northern province of Shaanxi reported seven deaths from the disease, while at least 19 people in the neighboring province of Shanxi were killed in an outbreak also in July. Another 65 people have been infected in Shanxi, state media has said.

 

Taiwan

Chen seeks temporary respite from row with Palau visit
2006-08-24 SCMP
Scandal-plagued Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian will head to Palau at the end of next week, hoping to temporarily leave behind a political tempest that might bring him down. During an inspection of troops on the outpost of Quemoy yesterday, Mr Chen announced he would lead a delegation to Palau on September 3 for a summit with leaders from the South Pacific island nation and five other Taiwanese allies from the Pacific. "Through the head-of-state visit, [I] hope to strive for a broader international presence for Taiwan," the embattled president said. He has come under increasing pressure to resign over corruption allegations tied to his son-in-law, wife and former chief aide. Mr Chen, who is also being investigated over alleged embezzlement of NT$36 billion (HK$8.5 billion) in state funds, was expected to return to Taiwan on September 6 after visiting Palau and Nauru, with transit stops in the US territory of Guam, government sources said. A spokeswoman for a campaign to oust the president, started by a former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Shih Ming-teh, asked Mr Chen to cancel his trip and face the growing demands for his resignation. "Avoidance will not solve the problem," said Ho Teh-feng, spokeswoman for the "One Million People Campaign to Depose Ah Bian". More than 1 million people have so far donated more than NT$177 million to pledge their support for and participation in the anti-Chen campaign. Ms Ho said the campaign office would decide within days the timing of an indefinite, round-the-clock sit-in protest in front of the Presidential Office, which she had earlier said could be held as early as Sunday. She asked Mr Chen and his supporters to stop smearing Mr Shih, who has become a target of attack over his integrity and trustworthiness since he kicked off his campaign on August 14. The anti-Shih rhetoric turned vitriolic yesterday with a former aide of Mr Shih, Wang Hsing-nan, now a DPP legislator, questioning the virtue of the ex-chairman in both his prison and private life. In a letter published by a local daily, Mr Wang identified Mr Shih as a timid man who had sought mercy and a pardon from then Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek despite having been imprisoned for a total of 25 years for seeking political freedom and democracy. Mr Wang also criticised the former chairman as a womaniser who had been beaten by his girlfriend over an affair with another woman. Author-turned-legislator Li Ao, however, called the criticism highly immoral, saying many political prisoners had been forced to make confessions or write statements against their will. "It is a shame for those who have nurtured and made political gains from their pro-democracy predecessors to make such attacks on Shih," he said. In a meeting with a group of German lawmakers in Taipei, Mr Chen said he would not lock Mr Shih up for staging a protest against him. He said as long as the sit-in was held in line with the law, no one would be imprisoned. "There is no need for [Mr Shih] to write a letter to me to seek a pardon." Meanwhile, several dozen members of a group promoting the rights of prostitutes demonstrated outside Mr Chen's office yesterday, demanding his resignation. They burned a portrait of Mr Chen to protest against the president for turning a blind eye to the plight of prostitutes, one of whom recently committed suicide because of financial problems.

KMT applies for visit by Chen Yunlin
2006-08-22 China Daily
Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday officially filed an application for the visit of Beijing's top official on cross-Straits affairs to the island next month. The China News Agency (CNS) reported that the application was submitted to the "immigration office" under Taiwan's "ministry of interior" by the KMT think-tank "National Foundation for Policy Research." The application covers a 66-member delegation led by Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Chen, also minister of the Taiwan Affairs office of the State Council, was invited by the KMT to attend a planned cross-Straits agriculture forum in Taipei in mid-October. If approved, he would be the highest-ranking mainland official to visit the island since 1949. The CNS report said the mainland delegation consists of government officials, heads of relevant trade associations and agricultural firms and experts on cross-Straits studies. Among the mainland participants are representatives from some of the largest trade and agricultural firms such as the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives and fruit companies from Shanghai, Changchun and Wuhan, according to the report. "Some delegation members are expected to sign agreements of intent with local farmers' groups to buy Taiwan's agricultural products," the report said. The KMT think-tank yesterday also published the schedule for the high-profile event, which is to run on October 22 and 23. The mainland delegation will then go to Taiwan's central and southern regions on October 24 and 25 before leaving on October 26. The KMT think-tank urged the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to facilitate the planned visit of Chen to the agricultural forum so as to open a new era for cross-Straits relations. "We hope the DPP administration will consider future cross-Straits ties from a macro view and consider Taiwan's agricultural development from the standpoint of local farmers," it was quoted as saying by the CNS. Early this month, the Taiwan Affairs Office also asked the DPP administration to positively handle Chen's planned trip in a pragmatic way and offer necessary convenience. The pro-independence DPP administration turned down Chen's planned visit to Taipei for a forum on cross-Straits economy and culture in mid-December last year. In a related development, Zheng Lizhong, executive vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, yesterday met a delegation of Taiwan's federation of industries headed by Chairman Preston W. Chen. Zheng encouraged more Taiwan entrepreneurs to invest on the mainland to help promote closer cross-Straits economic co-operation.

Tibet

Dalai Lama attacked with new ferocity
2006-08-23 SCMP
A new attempt to undermine the Dalai Lama's status as religious leader of Tibet appears to be under way, with mainland officials and media issuing unusually strong criticism of him. Tibet watchers appear surprised by the severity of the campaign, especially as it comes at a time when the central government is engaged in quiet negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan religious leader fled his homeland 47 years ago, setting up his government in exile in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala. "It's a major policy shift," said Robbie Barnett, professor of Contemporary Tibetan Studies at Columbia University. But he said the policy was "logical" from a Chinese point of view. "Even if it seems paradoxical, it could be in Beijing's interests to malign the Dalai Lama at the same time as claiming to negotiate with him - the attacks weaken his standing with his base and they could put pressure on him to make yet more concessions," he said. The attacks, which he said were related to the party's anger over the Dalai Lama's continued hold over Tibetans, had been co-ordinated across the spectrum of the state media, Professor Barnett said, including the People's Daily, Xinhua, the English-language China Daily and the Tibet Daily. The campaign "clearly has high-level central endorsement". Kate Saunders, of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: "The leadership of the Tibetan Autonomous Region is showing high levels of hostility to the Dalai Lama, not to mention seeking to undermine his credibility as a religious leader. There is no doubt that this approach has the support of the party elite." On July 18, the China Tibet Information Centre under the State Council Information Office posted a signed commentary on its website titled "On the `middle way' of the Dalai Lama". The article criticised the Dalai Lama's "middle way" approach, under which he has called for autonomy for Tibet similar to that given to Hong Kong and Macau, saying it was a "swindle", and that "nothing stands between his high-level autonomy and Tibetan independence". The article appeared on the websites of the People's Daily, Xinhua, the China Daily and other sites soon after. Ms Saunders said the article was unusual in that it went into so much detail and appeared in so many different publications and websites. Some of the harshest statements were made by Tibetan party secretary Zhang Qingli in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. Xinhua quoted some of the comments in an article titled "Dalai Lama short of religious leader", which in turn appeared on other websites, including the People's Daily and China Daily. The article was accompanied by a large colour photo of the Dalai Lama, normally forbidden on the mainland, which showed the typically smiling Tibetan religious leader with what appeared to be an angry scowl. Mr Zhang, a hardliner and the previous commander of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary organisation, referred to the Dalai Lama as "unworthy" of being called a religious leader, accusing him of trying to "ally himself with anti-China forces and publicise his separatist beliefs which deviate from the practice of religion". The article also repeated an earlier quote by Jampa Phuntsok, chairman of Tibet, describing the Dalai Lama as "a politician in Buddhist robes and Italian shoes", words originally spoken by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Professor Barnett said a diatribe against the Dalai Lama that appeared in the Tibet Daily on July 12, titled "Must realise the reactionary nature of the Dalai", contained language he had not seen in five or six years. Woeser, a well-known Tibetan writer, said the language used to attack the Dalai Lama was reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s. "It made me feel like the Cultural Revolution was coming back," she said. Ms Saunders said the nature of the campaign was surprising because it was the first time in recent years that the Communist Party challenged the Dalai Lama's religious status, rather than his position as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile. Ms Saunders said the last time there were such attacks against the Dalai Lama was in 1987, when they set off massive unrest in Tibet. According to a knowledgeable source, the Tibetan government has required all government employees in Phenpo, a county in Tibet, to write 5,000- or 10,000-character critiques of the Dalai Lama, the length determined by the writer's position in the government. The order was "more or less unheard of". On May 10, Mr Zhang reminded Tibetan government employees to avoid religious rituals or practice. Meetings were held in work units to study the speech. Recent months have also seen a crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals. In January, Gendun, a teacher of Cham dancing, was sentenced to four years in prison after giving talks on Tibetan culture and history. Tibetan scholar Dolma Gyab recently reportedly received a 10-year prison sentence after an unpublished manuscript was found at his home. On July 28, officials of the United Front Department, which among other responsibilities also oversees Tibetan affairs, shut down two blogs by Woeser. Her books were already banned in China. Ms Saunders said the above incidents "reflect a continued trend of the repression of literature or cultural expressions that the party views as a threat to its own supremacy". Communist officials are clearly worried about incidents this year, which seem to repudiate Communist Party claims that the Dalai Lama's popularity is fading among Tibetans. Mr Zhang told Der Spiegel that "the market for him here in Tibet is shrinking". The most telling incident came in January, when thousands of Tibetans from around the world, including many from the mainland, flocked to India to attend a religious ceremony held by the Dalai Lama, where he made an emotional call for Tibetans to stop the use and sale of fur from wild animals. In what probably surprised the Dalai Lama as much as communist officials, Tibetans throughout China immediately started burning animal furs and traditional costumes that use fur. Nervous Chinese officials banned the burnings and arrested several Tibetans. While the speech was environmentally correct and had no political intent, Mr Barnett said Chinese officials saw it as a "deliberate attempt" to interfere in Chinese affairs. He said they argued that the Dalai Lama "should know how effective his words are". "From this government officials saw the strength of the Dalai Lama," said Woeser. "They were furious." Official paranoia was not assuaged last month when an estimated 9,000 Tibetans - some travelling hundreds of kilometres - arrived at the Kumbum Monastery in the Amdo region of Qinghai province after a rumour spread that the Dalai Lama would make an appearance in the area, which is near his birthplace. "They [Chinese officials] are surprised that there is still so much feeling in support of the Dalai Lama, even though he doesn't seem to be organising this," said Professor Barnett. Officials in Qinghai tried to play down the incident, according to Reuters, saying that only 300 people were there.

 

Economy

Regulators closely follow the trail of dirty money
2006-08-25 China Daily
The authorities last year cracked down on more than 50 money-laundering cases involving more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion), the central bank said yesterday in a report. The release coincides with the second reading of the draft anti-money laundering law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The law, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to plug the legal loopholes in anti-money laundering with clearer definitions of such activities and penalties. It will also help build an efficient regulatory structure to detect, monitor and prevent money laundering, experts said. The number of cases busted last year was the same as in 2004, but the amount involved was much higher two-and-a-half times the 4 billion yuan (US$500 million) then. Most of the cases unearthed last year were major crimes, the report said, adding they were mainly concentrated in coastal areas and provinces in the northeast and southwest, such as Yunnan, Shandong, Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Heilongjiang. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) also transferred 2,790 suspected cases involving 32.78 billion yuan (US$4.1 billion) to the police last year; as did the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which referred 405 cases involving US$1.24 billion. The central bank report, which has been released for the second year running, also highlighted some challenges the country faces, citing specific cases to illustrate the channels, impact and trend of such illegal practices. A major channel is transactions through illegal money exchange vendors or underground banks, or qianzhuang as they are called in Chinese. Financial regulators joined hands with police to crack down on 47 illegal money changers and lenders last year and arrested 165 suspects, with money involved amounting up to 10 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion). As for the draft anti-money laundering law, a source close to the matter said if there were no major objections during the current debate, it is possible the draft is sent for a third reading this year before final approval. Xiang Junbo, vice-governor of PBOC and head of its Shanghai headquarters, said that in addition to the law, three anti-money laundering regulations targeting the banking, securities and futures, and insurance sectors will be released in the second half of the year expanding the fight to the latter two sectors. Most of the information on suspected dirty money is first submitted to the anti-money laundering monitoring and analysis centre of the PBOC. Apart from regular reports from commercial banks, rural credit co-operatives and other banking institutions, the public can also report on suspicious activities to the centre. Last year, the centre received 283,400 reports on suspicious renminbi funds and around 2 million suspicious foreign exchange transactions. Money laundering is already an offence under China's criminal law. The State Council, China's cabinet, has also issued regulations governing cash management, penalties for financial irregularities and illegal financial organizations. It is mandatory for individuals to use their real names for opening deposit accounts. Apart from underground banking and illegal foreign exchange bureaus, money laundering cases mainly involve embezzlement of public funds, drug smuggling, and illegal lotteries. ()

China pummels banking irregularies
2006-08-21 Xinhuanet
A total of 421 Chinese bank officers accused of serious crimes were transferred to judicial departments in the first six months of the year. The figure was revealed here Monday by the China Banking Regulatory Commission. 689 of the 1,559 staff members who received administrative punishment were managers. The commission said in a Monday press release that 480 irregularities involving a total of 520 million yuan had been uncovered from January to June. The number of irregularities was 89 less than the first semester of 2005 and 240 less than the second semester of 2005. From January to June, Chinese banks recorded an aggregate outstanding balance of non-performing loans of 1.28 trillion yuan, 43.51 billion yuan less than the end of last year. The proportion of non-performing loans went down 1.1 percentage points over the same period to 7.5 percent. Along with the tougher inspection of irregularities, China's banking watchdog also took a series of measures to enhance capital support for agriculture, small enterprises and individual consumption. Personal consumption loans by Chinese financial institutions surged to 2.34 trillion yuan from January to June, up 10.9 percent or 136.4 billion yuan year-on-year. The credit extended by major financial institutions to small enterprises reached 3.25 trillion yuan, about 217.9 billion yuan more than the same period last year. Bank loans for agriculture stood around 1.30 trillion yuan in June, up 20.6 percent or 183.7 billion yuan year-on-year.

 

Mongolia

A religious visit is on
2006-08-24 UB Post
The Dalai Lama, spiritual head of Tibetan or Vajrayana Buddhism which is followed in Mongolia also, is now on an eight-day visit to Mongolia. He arrived late on Monday evening on a MIAT Mongolian National Airlines flight from Tokyo, Japan and was greeted at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport by representatives from the Indian Embassy, officials from the Gandantegchenlin Monastery, and a small group of around 30 individuals. There was no representative from the Mongolian Government which is treating the visit as a private one. China refers to the Dalai Lama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, as a Tibetan separatist and does not approve of any Government according him any formal temporal status. On MondayAir China delayed its flight to Ulaanbaatar for reasons of .poor weather., even though it was a bright and sunny day. When the Dalai Lama was last here, in 2002, the Chinese kept railway links with Mongolia closed for over two days. Associated Press has quoted a senior lama as saying that the high- ranking clergy decided at a meeting to keep the visit a low-key affair so as not to upset China. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said on Tuesday that the Dalai Lama .is not merely a religious figure, but a political exile who over a lengthy period has engaged in splittist activities and hurt national unity. China is resolutely opposed to any country offering him a stage to engage in the above- mentioned activities.. On August 8, Xinhua press agency quoted Zhang Qingli , a Communist leader in Tibet , as saying that the Dalai Lama.s .visits abroad are merely for the purpose of scraping together anti-Chinese elements and propagandizing and peddling his Tibetan independence thinking.. On Tuesday, thousands of Mongolian Buddhists, curious onlookers, and tourists were present at Gandantegchenlin, the center of Buddhism in Mongolia, when he arrived there for worship and to interact with lamas, many of whom have been to Dharamsala in India for religious training. This is the place where the Dalai Lama has his .government- in-exile. He left Tibet for India in 1959. At the G a n d a n t e g c h e l i n g monastery meeting, when the Dalai Lama arrived, the crowd cheered and there was widespread rejoicing among the lamas, old and young, dressed in their traditional saffron and maroon robes. He shook hands in greeting and touched people on the forehead in blessing. His speech of about 20 minutes stressed on the need to maintain family values in leading a good and righteous life. Later, there was a rush to touch the chair on which he had sat. The Dalai Lama, who was taken from the airport to the Ikh Tenger Presidential Compound outside of Ulaanbaatar and where he will be staying, has a busy schedule in Mongolia, much of which has been kept secret and subjected to unannounced changes. He will take part in numerous private and public teaching sessions. The biggest of these have been scheduled at the Central Stadium, which can accommodate thousands. The Mongolian Ministry of ForeignAffairs issued a statement on August 21 saying the Dalai Lama.s visit was .at the invitation of G a n d a n t e g c h e n l i n Monastery.. His several earlier visits, too, had been .through religious channels. and he had restricted himself to .only religious activities.. The statement expressed the hope that since the Dalai Lama .did not attempt to make any political activities in the past when he was in Mongolia. and this visit will (also) be similar.. A spokesman for the Office of the President said there was no official meeting planned between President N.Enkhbayar and the Dalai Lama, but a private meeting was more than likely. Since 1979 the Dalai Lama has made seven trips to Mongolia. The honorific itself is Mongolian and means .the ocean of wisdom. It was a Mongolian emperor who appointed the first Dalai Lamas to the exalted status.

Thai visit cements bond
2006-08-24 Mongol Messenger
In honour of the 800th anniversary of Great Mongolian State, Thailand's Foreign Affairs Minister Kantati Suphamongkhorn paid a three-day working visit to Mongolia on August 17-19. After arrived in Mongolia, the Thai minister met with Prime Minister M. Enkhbold. During the meeting, Prime Minister M. Enkhbold requested Thailand's support for Mongolia's push to join the APEC and ASEM and further ASEAN and East Asian cooperation activities. Thailand wanted Mongolia to support the Asian representative that Thailand will nominate to the UN General Secretary. Both parties expressed their satisfaction at the stable, friendly relationship between the countries.

 

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.
 
Page created and hosted by SinOptic Back to the top of the page To SinOptic - Services and Studies on the Chinese World's Homepage