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
  4.9-8.9.06, No. 131  
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Foreign Policy

China to seal sweeping deals with Europe in premier's visit
2006-09-07 Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's European visit will boost China-Europe partnership with the signing of numerous comprehensive deals in a number of trade sectors, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday. "During the visit, Wen and the European leaders will witness the signing of cooperative deals on trade, investment, energy, education, Olympics and youth exchanges," Li Ruiyu, who is in charge of European Affairs at Foreign Ministry, told a news briefing on Wednesday. The briefing came ahead of Wen's trip to Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Tajikistan from Sept. 9 to 16. Wen will visit the four countries at the invitations of Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Akilov. He will meet with leaders of those countries and exchange views with them on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, Li said. Wen will also attend the ninth China-EU Summit and the sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held in Helsinki, capital of Finland. Finland is the current holder of the rotating EU presidency. The Chinese premier will announce that China will host the seventh ASEM in 2008, Li said ().

Beijing urges EU to scrap arms ban - Issue raised ahead of premier's trip to the Asia-Europe Meeting in Finland
2006-09-07 SCMP
Beijing yesterday called on the European Union to lift its 17-year-old arms embargo ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's weekend departure for the Asia-Europe Meeting in Finland. However, the issue was unlikely dominate the talks, according to a Finnish diplomat. Li Ruiyu, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry's European Department, said at a briefing yesterday the mainland's call to lift the ban was aimed at eliminating political discrimination rather than seeking an increase in arms sales. "The EU's arms embargo on China is a legacy of the cold war," he said. "The EU side has many times confirmed that it would make efforts to lift the arms embargo."We certainly hope the EU will honour its commitment about scrapping the ban and make the political decision at an early date, which will be conducive to further development of Sino-EU relations." But Mr Li refused to say whether Mr Wen would raise the topic at the annual meeting in Helsinki, at the start of his week-long, four-nation tour starting on Saturday. Mr Wen will visit Finland, Britain and Germany, then head to Tajikistan next Thursday to attend the annual meeting for prime ministers of the six-member Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. The arms embargo, which was imposed on Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, has been a central issue in every high-level visit between the mainland and EU countries for years. Beijing was optimistic the ban would be lifted last year after winning the backing of several major EU countries, such as France. But the issue proved to be a setback for President Hu Jintao and Mr Wen when they visited Europe late last year, diplomatic analysts said. The arms embargo was not expected to be a main focus of the summit, Finland's ambassador to Beijing, Antti Kuosmanen, said recently. Finland holds the EU presidency. Rather, trade and economic issues, especially growing trade rifts between the mainland and the EU, were expected to dominate the meetings, he said. The EU has been the mainland's biggest trading partner for the past two years, with total trade in the first half of this year at US$121 billion, up 21 per cent, according to Mr Li. "Given the scale of the China-EU trade, it is normal that we encounter problems," he said. The EU imposed temporary tariffs on leather shoe imports from the mainland early this year and accused Beijing of imposing discriminatory tariffs on imports of foreign car parts. Beijing and the EU would also seek to enhance co-operation on energy and climate change, Mr Li said. Meanwhile, Mr Wen will avoid Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during the meeting because of Mr Koizumi's controversial visits to a war-linked shrine in Tokyo, according to another Foreign Ministry official Chen Xu. But Beijing would seek to improve ties after Japan elected a new premier later this month, Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said. "We want to use the power change as an opportunity. We hope [Japan] will act accordingly once a new cabinet is formed," Mr Wu told Japan's Jiji Press news agency.

China to strengthen economic, trade cooperation with Japan: Premier Wen
2006-09-06 People's Daily
China and Japan are important trading partners, and to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations is in the interest of both sides, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday. Wen made the remarks when meeting with a delegation from the Japan-China Economic Association, led by President Chihaya Akira and advisor Mitarai Fujio, who is also chairman of the Japan Business Federation. The sustainable, sound and fast development of the Chinese economy and the opening-up to the outside world provides good opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in economy and trade, Wen said. China welcomes Japanese businesses to actively participate in China's economic development and make new contributions to the development of China-Japan relations, he said. Wen also called on the two countries to properly handle bilateral relations, saying the China-Japan relations are important for both sides, and the two sides should approach them from a strategic and long-term point of view. He said China is willing to work with the Japanese side abiding by the principles of the three Sino-Japanese political documents, including the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, continuing to adhere to the principle of taking history as a mirror and looking into the future and eliminating political obstacles as soon as possible, so the Sino-Japanese relations develop in a sound and stable way. Chihaya Akira and Mitarai Fujio agreed with Wen by saying China and Japan have good opportunities in trade cooperation. They hope the two countries can exchange experiences, strengthen cooperation and push forward the bilateral trade relations. They also called for the two countries to strengthen cooperation in such fields as environmental protection and energy conservation.

US negotiator in China to push Six-Party Talks
2006-09-06 China Daily
The US chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon from Tokyo, seeking fresh co-operation with Asian counterparts to bring Pyongyang back to the table. Christopher Hill, US assistant secretary of state, last night held talks with Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, the top delegate on the Chinese side, and is scheduled to meet with assistant foreign ministers Cui Tiankai and He Yafei today. The two sides will talk about the ways to resume nuclear talks as well as bilateral relations, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang yesterday. According to the schedule, Hill will fly to Southwest China's Chengdu today and head to Guangzhou on Friday before going to Shanghai on Saturday. He will then head to Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, the last leg of his new round of shuttle diplomacy. Hill's last visit to China was in July, after Pyongyang drew international attention by test-firing several missiles. His current visit to the region comes amid concerns Pyongyang could be considering conducting a nuclear weapons test. Hill was quoted as saying that he had no new information on a possible test by Pyongyang, but warned such a move could further destabilize the region. Meanwhile, reports of a possible trip to China by Kim Jong-il, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, were rejected by Qin."As far as I know there is no such arrangement for him to visit," Qin told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing. Newspapers from the Republic of Korea said Kim may have crossed the border into China yesterday, which would coincide with Hill's visit, to discuss the possibility of resuming the talks. The speculation came as the United States has continued to ask China to put pressure on Pyongyang to return to the negotiation table. The spokesman yesterday explicitly reiterated China's opposition to sanctions. "China is opposed to sanctions, which will achieve exactly the opposite of what we want," Qin said. He said China insists that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be brought about through diplomatic dialogue. He said the six-nation talks are an effective mechanism to solve the issue, urging all concerned parties to show sincerity and flexibility to push the talks forward. The last round of the Six-Party Talks ended in November without agreement. The parties involved signed a declaration in September 2005 calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. The talks have since been stalled with Pyongyang refusing to return unless Washington lifts financial sanctions. In another development, Qin announced that Zhang Yan, director-general of the Arms Control and Disarmament Department of the Foreign Ministry, would attend a meeting on the Iran nuclear issue in Berlin on Thursday. He said China believes the meeting will help promote the international community's efforts to resume talks on the Iranian nuclear issue and achieve the goal of a peaceful solution.

China urges peaceful settlement of Iranian nuclear issue
2006-09-08 Xinhuanet
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday that China holds the position of peacefully settling the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiations and dialogues. "China has never changed such a policy," Qin told a regular press conference when asked to make comments on whether China will alter its stance over the Iranian nuclear issue. Zhang Yan, director-general of the Arms Control and Disarmament Department of China's Foreign Ministry, will attend a meeting on the Iran nuclear issue in Berlin on Sept. 7.

China, Germany hold forum to debate expanding relations
2006-09-05 People's Daily
China and Germany should iron out their cultural differences so as to consolidate their partnership, according to officials and experts from both countries. Although the two cultures have influenced each other, their variations in language, location, history and ideology have led to many cultural differences, said Zhao Qizheng, vice-chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). "If these differences cannot be handled properly, they will develop into obstacles in bilateral exchanges," said Zhao yesterday at the opening session of the second China-Germany Dialogue Forum. Dozens of officials, foreign affairs experts, media workers and entrepreneurs took part in the two-day forum, which was sponsored by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs and Siemens. The forum, initiated last year in Germany to promote mutual understanding, also tackled topics like renewable energy, innovation and legal affairs. Zhao, also former Minister of the State Council's Information Office, cited language translation as an example. For instance, the Chinese word xuanchuan, which means communication, publicity, introduction and description, is a neutral or commendatory term. But when it is translated into "propaganda", it has strong negative meaning, which inevitably leads to misunderstanding, said Zhao. "In the era of globalization, we need people who are good at going beyond cultural differences to build a harmonious world," he said in the speech. On relations between China and Germany, participants of the forum believed that Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Germany will consolidate the partnership, especially in the economic sector. Germany is now the largest trade partner of China in Europe, and bilateral trade volume reached US$63.2 billion last year. In the first half of this year, it jumped 24 per cent year-on-year. Eberhard Sandschneider, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, said that the visit will have a "strong impact" on the economy. He said Germany also cares about such issues as the growing competition from China as well as how to exploit China's huge market. Besides economic affairs, Germany is also paying increasing attention to China's growing role in world affairs. For example, China is playing an irreplaceable role in solving the nuclear issues in Iran and the Korean Peninsula, according to Sandschneider.

 

Domestic Policy

China reports severely polluted cities
2006-09-05 Xinhuanet
More than a half of Chinese cities suffer from air pollution and over one third have no centralized sewage treatment facilities, according to a report by the state environment watchdog. The report, issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) on Monday, rated air pollution the major environmental problem for urban areas after assessing last year's environmental conditions in 509 cities. According to the report, air quality in only 44.9 percent of cities was above Grade II, a national standard indicating a clean and healthy air environment. However, the figure was 12.6 percentage points higher than the figure for 2004. Forty-three cities, down by 9.9 percentage points, were put on SEPA's black list, with air quality below Grade III, meaning they suffered serious to very serious air pollution. North China's Shanxi Province, the country's largest coal supplier and most polluted region, has the dubious distinction of having 16 cities on the list. Neither Beijing nor Shanghai appear on the list. The report found that only 22.94 percent of sewage was treated in the cities surveyed and less than 20 percent of household garbage was handled properly. It said 178 cities examined had not built any sewage treatment facilities and 130 cities had not been equipped with garbage disposal plants. SEPA urged these cities to raise investment in environmental protection and step up construction of related infrastructures. It required the cities to improve sewage handling and recycling capability and develop effective ways of treating sludge and hazardous liquid produced from sewage and garbage disposal plants. Otherwise it would be difficult to realize the environmental goal of having at least 70 percent of sewage and 60 percent household garbage effectively treated in cities set in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan, said the report. It called for local governments to play a leading role in improving urban environment with officials' evaluation closely linked to their performance in pollution control. Local governments should also pay more attention to problems like noises, floating dust, vehicle emission and pollution by catering industry, which the public has complained about a lot, it said.

Lead poisoning of villagers probed
2006-09-08 SCMP
A team of investigators has been sent to Gansu province by the mainland's environmental watchdog to investigate how hundreds of people came to suffer lead poisoning. Xinhua said the five-member team from the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa) arrived in the Gansu capital, Lanzhou, yesterday afternoon. They were scheduled to travel to several villages in Longnan's Hui county, where 354 people, including 146 children, have been diagnosed with lead poisoning. A Gansu Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau spokesman confirmed that the bureau's discipline and inspection team leader, Yang Hua , was accompanying the team to Hui county, about 600km from Lanzhou. "It's a long way [to Hui county], so Mr Yang and the five Beijing investigators headed for the poisoned villages as soon as they arrived," the spokesman said from Lanzhou. Before his departure, Mr Yang said it was not certain that the victims had been poisoned by a now closed lead smelting plant in Hui county's Shuiyang village, Xinhua reported. "Lead poisoning can be caused by many factors. Hui county has many lead and zinc mines, so maybe its underground water is contaminated [by the metal]," Mr Yang was quoted as saying. In Shuiyang, 24-year-old mother Cheng Mei said that in addition to the water contamination, villagers believed the air had been polluted by the lead industry. "Before the plant was shut down, everyone found it difficult to breathe when they got up in the morning because there was a pungent smell in the air," Ms Cheng said. All her family members had had blood tests earlier this week in the Shaanxi city of Xian and were waiting for the results. "I am just worried about my one-year-old son's results because he is so young ... I also told my husband to have a test even though he is working in another province." Ms Cheng said almost all the villagers who went to Xian for tests had returned home, with just a few parents staying on in the city to take care of their sick children. "The parents [still in Xian] also have to wait and pass on blood test results to hundreds of villagers."

China's new ambassador to DPRK
2006-09-07 Xinhuanet
China has appointed a new ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday. Liu Xiaoming replaces Wu Donghe as China's envoy to Pyongyang. President Hu Jintao issued the nomination after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, has approved it.

Blind activist appeals conviction
2006-09-04 SCMP
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng has appealed against his conviction for intentionally damaging property and organising a mob to disrupt traffic, with his lawyer citing unlawful trial procedures. The Linyi Intermediate People's Court in Shandong was expected to receive notice of the appeal today and a hearing would be held within a month if it was accepted, said Li Jingsong , one of Chen's lawyers. Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in jail on August 24 by a court in Yinan, which is administered by Linyi city. His family has denounced the verdict, saying the activist was under house arrest at the time of the riot. Chen, 35, had been under house arrest since August last year after releasing a report on the brutal measures adopted by Linyi authorities to enforce the one-child policy, including forced late-stage abortions. The verdict was handed down a week after the Yinan court tried Chen in the absence of three members of his defence team. His original lawyer, Xu Zhiyong, was prevented from representing Chen when he was detained over theft allegations on the eve of the trial. Two local lawyers who had not met Chen or been involved in the case were appointed to represent him despite his objections. At issue in Chen's appeal was the use of coercion to obtain distorted evidence from witnesses, according to another defence lawyer, Li Fangping . "What the court did was unlawful. They shouldn't have replaced Chen's defence lawyer without his consent," he said. Li Jingsong said Chen had initially refused to appeal because he was angry about the handling of his trial. "In the end he agreed to appeal and demands to be represented by lawyers from Beijing," he said. More than 100 members of human rights and religious bodies from over 30 countries sent a letter to President Hu Jintao last week protesting against the treatment and trial of Chen.

Military officers for crash punished
2006-09-07 China Daily
China has punished nearly a dozen military officers in connection with a plane crash in June that killed all 40 people on board, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday in an apparent sign of growing accountability. Three People's Liberation Army officers, including the deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, Jiang Jianzeng, were given demerit points, a penalty considered a disgrace that damages prospects for promotion, Xinhua news agency said, citing the Central Military Commission. Another was sacked and one demoted, Xinhua said, adding six more were given either warnings or demerit points. The cause of the June 3 crash of the military transport plane in the eastern province of Anhui was blamed on a loss of control due to components of the plane being frozen. Xinhua said several military officials were also punished for negligence after 48 people were killed and another 60 injured in flash floods which washed away a barracks in July. The deputy head of the military corps was sacked and being investigated by military prosecutors, Xinhua said. The head of the corps was demoted and another five received demerit points or serious warnings.

Minimum wages rise in labour shortage - Guangdong one of several areas acting to increase salaries of migrant workers
2006-09-05 SCMP
At least five provinces, municipalities and cities, including Guangdong, have raised minimum wages in a move widely believed to be aimed at boosting migrant workers' salaries. The increases went into effect from the start of the month in Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Gansu and Liaoning's capital, Shenyang. () Guangdong has five categories of minimum wages, each related to a type of administrative area, and in Guangzhou the monthly minimum rose from 684 yuan to 780 yuan. In the Pearl River Delta cities of Dongguan , Zhongshan , Zhuhai and Foshan , the minimum monthly pay rose from 574 yuan to 690 yuan. () Professor Cheng predicted that only about 20 per cent of the Hong Kong companies in the delta could survive by upgrading their industrial structures and the rest would move on or die in three to five years because the province was phasing out labour-intensive industries. "The minimum wage increase is only a way of supporting the [industrial adjustment] policy and the province will certainly come up with more measures in the future to protect the environment and labour," he said. Professor Cheng said the increase would help to ease the labour shortage in Guangdong. ()

 

Taiwan

Top official's Taiwan visit cancelled
2006-09-08 China Daily
Beijing's top official on cross-Straits affairs was forced to cancel a planned visit to Taiwan yesterday, due to Taipei's refusal to allow him to attend an agricultural forum. The decision came as organizers of the event yesterday decided to relocate its venue from Taipei to a mainland city. It was the second time in less a year for Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to refuse a visit by Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. He had accepted an invitation from Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) to attend the cross-Straits agricultural forum, which is scheduled to run on October 22 and 23. If approved, Chen, also head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, would have become the highest-ranking mainland official to visit the island since 1949. "It has obviously become impossible for the agricultural forum to be held in Taipei as scheduled despite our utmost efforts," said Tseng Yung-chuan, director of the KMT's central policy committee, apparently referring to the DPP administration's refusal to approve Chen's visit. "We deeply regret this." Following a 2-hour meeting with Chen yesterday afternoon, Tseng said both sides agreed to move the agricultural forum to the mainland upon the advice of the KMT. "It will be held in mid- or late October in the mainland," he told a press briefing. "But the exact date and venue for the event will be decided through further consultation" between the KMT and the Taiwan Affairs Office. Chen expressed his disappointment with the DPP administration's intention to hinder his visit to the island, which he said was aimed at helping promote Taiwan's agricultural development. "I myself have been really longing for a chance to go (to Taiwan), but it seems now we have met with some difficulty," he told reporters. "As we all have seen...it is time for us to reconsider." Tseng blamed the change mainly on the DPP administration's deliberate and indefinite delay in approving Chen's planned visit. The KMT officially filed the application for the visit of Chen with the island's "immigration office" on August 20. But the "mainland affairs council," the island's top policy body towards the mainland, asked for government talks with Beijing to arrange Chen's visit. Beijing, however, has refused to enter talks with the pro-independence DPP administration unless it embraces the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China. In a statement issued late last night, the Taiwan Affairs Office also accused the Taiwan authorities of "unreasonably setting hurdles to foil the plan to hold the forum in Taipei." "We regret that the Taiwan authorities have persistently raised various political conditions to delay and block such an exchange that is conducive to improving and developing cross-Straits relations," the statement said. A similar request from the KMT for Chen to visit last December was also turned down. The upcoming forum is the second one organized by the KMT and CPC, with the last one hosted in Beijing in April to focus on cross-Straits economy and trade.

 

Economy

World Bank report ranks China 4th for reforms
2006-09-07 China Daily
China has been ranked the fourth-best reformer in terms of the ease of doing business in 175 economies, following Georgia, Romania and Mexico. The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, which produced the ranking, praised the nation for speeding up economic reform. "China has picked up the pace of its reforms, like speeding business entry, increasing investor protections and reducing red tape in cross-border trading, during the past year," Caralee McLiesh, an author of the report, said in a video conference yesterday. The report Doing Business 2007: How to Reform said China had reduced the time taken to register a business from 48 to 35 days and cut the minimum capital required from 947 per cent to 213 per cent of income per capita, making it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses in the country. China has also established a credit information registry for consumer loans, the report said. Now 340 million citizens have credit histories, improving their access to credit. Meanwhile, amendments to the company law have strengthened investors' protection against insider trading and new online customs procedures have made trade easier by reducing the time it takes to import and export by two days, the report said. "The recent adoption of the corporate bankruptcy law, though not included in the measurements for this year's report, is another indication that China is making significant reforms," said McLiesh. The reforms helped China up 15 places from a year earlier in an overall ranking on the ease of doing business. The country now comes in 93rd in the overall ranking. The ranking is based on 10 indicators: starting a business, dealing with licences, employing workers, registering property, enforcing contracts, getting credit, trading across borders, protecting investors, paying taxes and closing a business. "China still has a long way to go to upgrade its ranking," said McLiesh. She highlighted two areas the government needs to further improve to make doing businesses easier. One is a further relaxation of regulations surrounding starting a business and licensing. Businessmen still need to complete 13 procedures and spend 15 days applying for a business licence. And the new company law requires a minimum capital of 30,000 yuan (US$3,750), which is still quite expensive, as most countries do not have minimum capital requirement for start-ups. The other is a simplification of the tax system. According to McLiesh, China's tax regime is relatively complex and not transparent. A unified, simple and transparent tax system would be easier for businesses to comply with. China is also relatively weak in investor protection and legal infrastructure. In the report, Singapore was ranked as the easiest place to do business, followed by New Zealand and the United States. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ranked fifth, up from sixth last year. The report said Hong Kong has made reforms including improved investor protection through greater availability of company documents, simplified documentation and electronic filing of trade manifests. While more reforms are needed on property registration and dealing with licences, to provide a better business environment.

Pollution eats up 3 percent of economy
2006-09-08 China Daily
Air, water and solid-waste pollution caused 511.8 billion yuan (US$64 billion) worth of damage across China in 2004, accounting for 3.05 percent of the year's gross domestic product, according to the country's first "green GDP" report. Pan Yue, a vice director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday that the total represents "only the tip of the iceberg." "This marks only the beginning of our efforts in 'green' GDP calculation," Pan said. "Our formula is still not complete, and we have to keep working hard to improve it." The report was released jointly by the SEPA and the National Bureau of Statistics. The "green GDP" calculation system is based on the cost of using five natural resources - land, minerals, forest, water and fisheries - and the cost of environmental pollution and ecological damage. "Owing to technological limitations, we calculated only the cost of 10 of 20 types of environmental pollution this time," said Pan, noting the cost of underground water pollution and soil pollution was not included. "If all the factors are taken into account, you can imagine how serious the loss caused by environmental pollution actually is," Pan said. The report calculated the 2004 cost of water pollution to be 286.3 billion yuan, air pollution 219.8 billion yuan and solid waste pollution and pollution accidents 5.7 billion yuan. ()

 

Mongolia

Electronic Secret History
2006-08-31 UB Post
The joint working group of Mongolian and foreign scholars has now finished work on preparing the first- ever electronic version of the Secret History of Mongols. It will be available in both Latin and Mongolian Cyrillic scripts, and also in the traditional Mongolian script. Most of the events recorded in the history have been illustrated by pictures, and music too has been incorporated. .Mongolian Secret History . A Comprehensive Electronic Creation. consists of the three following sections. 1. A Comprehensive Electronic Creation DVD. 2.An illustrated version where the story is told through more than 300 pictures. These required long and intensive research, and the pictures painted and chosen give an accurate representation of all facets of daily and national life in Mongolia in the 13th century. 3. An audio CD where State Merited G.Ravdan reads the text with appropriate musical accompaniment. The language of both text and music incorporates the flavor of Mongolian speech in the 13th century. The general director of the total project, State Merited Kh.Damdin, said, .This electronic production will prove very useful in many ways. Apart from allowing Mongolians, particularly the younger generation, a chance to know their real history, it also offers a great scope to everybody to learn English. It is like a very good film without any actor and actress.. The SilkRoad Network Company has been intimately involved in the project, planned as a wonderful manner of celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire. The electronic version is likely to be issued in other languages such as Japanese, Korean, French, and German. The product should be on sale soon, though its price has not yet been determined.

EU envoy talks of positive relations
2006-08-31 UB Post
Talking to the media at the conclusion of his visit to Mongolia on August 29 and 30 Serge Abou, EU Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia, expressed his happiness at the very positive way in which relations between Mongolia and the EU had developed recently. He said, .This is demonstrated by our opening of the EU Technical Office and the first-ever EU Troika Mission in June 2006. We estimate that more EU officials and technical staff have visited Mongolia in the past two years than in the 10 years prior to that.. Abou was received by the Prime Minister, as well as by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of ForeignAffairs and Ministry of Food and Agriculture. At these meetings the Ambassador stressed the benefits that heightened cooperation brings, noting that Mongolia would now be eligible for duty free access to the EU market under the GAP+ scheme, and that the EUwould help with training to allow the country to benefit effectively from this opportunity. Ambassador Abou also emphasized the importance of cooperation programs for animal health and livestock marketing that are currently being worked on. He noted that the EU was very happy to introduce this scheme under theALA (Asia and Latin America) Program, which replaces the EU.s TACIS program in Mongolia. Abou also made clear that it was not just g o v e r n m e n t - t o - government cooperation that mattered. He promoted the idea of an active EU- Mongolia Chamber of Commerce. He also wanted individuals and institutions to submit projects for consideration to the Asia- wide and Thematic Program, for instance on investments for business cooperation and higher education. Mongolian scholars can also participate in the upcoming Framework Program to foster cross-country research in a wide spectrum of areas, including agriculture in arid areas, desertification etc.

Japanese Parliamentarians Visit
2006-08-31 UB Post
A group of 10 Japanese parliamentarians led by Mr. Tetsuro Yano, the Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party, recently visited Mongolia and the Four Seasons Gardens. The Honorable Mr. Yano has long been involved in Japanese-Mongolian relations, having first visited Mongolia when he represented Japan as Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Fifth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies held in Ulannbaatar in September 2003. Mr. Yano has previously served as the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vice-Minister of Defense and other major posts in the Japanese government. Mr. Yano.s visit was a follow-up to the successful visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on August 10-11. During his visit, Prime Minister Koizumi declared a .Comprehensive Partnership. between Japan and Mongolia. Mr. Yano and his delegation met with the Prime Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhbold and other dignitaries to discuss how to implement Japanese development and investment programs, and to plan activities for 2007, which is the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Mongolia. Part of the discussions also focused on infrastructure and city planning. Mr. Yano led the group of 10 parliamentarians on a visit to the Four Seasons Gardens, a private sector project being developed by the Suruga Mongol Corporation. This project is making large contributions to the development of infrastructure in Ulaanbaatar, as a major road . the .Four Seasons Gardens Avenue. . will connect the Four Seasons Gardens with major thoroughfares in Ulaanbaatar, and will serve as an important transport link for the City. Construction is expected to be completed in 2008.This was Mr. Yano.s second visit to Four Seasons Gardens, and he stated that he was pleased with the tremendous progress in construction since his last visit in April 2006. He said that he hoped that the success of Four Seasons Gardens would lead to further foreign investment in Mongolia, and wished the project great success.

Dalai Lama preaches education
28.08.2006 Mongol Messenger
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Danzanjamts 14th arrived in Mongolia for the seventh time to pay a visit from August 21 to 28. He stressed the importance of education when he made his teachings to the Mongolian people, monks and clergy and believers. On the morning of August 22, His Holiness The Dalai Lama - who was in Mongolia at the invitation of the Centre of Mongolian Buddhism, the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, local monasteries, temples and believers - was met by Khambo Lama of the Gandantegchinlen Monastery D.Choijamts, Buddhist dignitaries, lamas and monks, followed by the ceremonial sounds of religious trumpets, horns and wind instruments. Standing on a special podium in the square in front of the Janraiseg Buddha's Statue, the Dalai lama addressed the crowd with the following words: "Mongolians and the Tibetans are people closely bound to the sacred ties of religious teachings and doctrines. I am very happy to come to this country every time since I first visited Mongolia in 1979.

Bringing Chinggis on screen
2006-09-07 UB Post
Guit in Delgerkhaan sum of Khentii aimag went back more than 800 years on September 3 when filming for the all-Mongolian movie Chinggis Khaan began there. It is an ambitious project hoping to present the father of the nation not just as a warrior-hero but as a total human being. Money for the production has come from public contribution after national passions were stirred by the conditions set by foreign film makers wanting to make a film on Chinggis to mark the 800th anniversary of his founding of a Mongolian State. Based on the novel by S. Jargalsaikhan, the film features almost the Who.s Who of the Mongolian film industry. It is directed by L. Erdenebulgan. Ts. Tomorbaatar plays Chinggis Khaan, P. Tserendagva is Jamukha, O. Enkhtuul Mother Oelun, I. Odonchimeg Queen Borte-Ujin, Ts. Tuvshintogs Boorchi, D. Byambatsogt the shaman Tiv Tenger, and B.Jargalsaikhan Khasar. All these top artists are lodged in 33 gers. The film, when complete, will be a trilogy.The present work is only on the first part. It started a bit later than planned because of financial problems and will continue without a break until November. It should be shown in theaters towards the end of this year or in early 2007. Depending on the state of finances, shooting for the next two parts will start after that. Artists and technicians from Inner Mongolia are actively cooperating with the Mongolian team. .They have brought for our use the costumes featured in the Chinese film on Chinggis Khaan. This gift from their heart in recognition of our common tradition has been a very thoughtful gesture., noted D.Dorjsuren, the second director of the film, who will also be playing Daitsetsen, father of Queen Borte. T. CHIMGEE was at the location and took forUBPost. these pictures of some of the first scenes that were shot.

 

North Korea

N Korea bans mainland tourists
2006-09-04 SCMP
North Korea has banned almost all mainland tour groups, citing a need to fix its roads and railways, travel agencies said yesterday. North Korea's National Tourism Administration issued the notice to mainland tour organisers in the middle of last month, said an executive of Guotai Travel Agency in Dandong, Liaoning province. "All tours have been suspended apart from business and trade groups, and groups made up of ethnic Koreans from China," the executive said. An official from Zhongqing Travel Agency, also in Dandong, confirmed North Korea's decision to suspend tour groups. "They said it was because of maintenance of railways and roads," the official said. However, an official from the China International Travel Service gave a different reason, saying North Korea had explained the quota for mainland tourists had been used up for this year. "It's our experience that North Korea suspends tours regularly, every two or three years," he said. Last time was in summer 2004 when mainland state media said it was due to unspecified "domestic circumstances" in North Korea. Pyongyang has been under international pressure since test-firing seven missiles that splashed down in the Sea of Japan on July 5. Washington has stepped up pressure on Beijing to take stronger action after the launches and urge Pyongyang to return to six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programme.

 

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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