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
  5.2-9.2.07, No. 153  
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Foreign Policy

Nation boosts political, economic ties with Zambia
2007-02-05 China Daily
Lusaka - China and Zambia will boost political and economic collaboration, strengthen dialogue and increase people-to-people and cultural interaction, said a joint communique issued yesterday. The document, signed by Zambian President Levy Patric Mwanawasa and his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, said the two sides also agreed that their joint efforts will focus on infrastructure, agriculture and mining. It said Zambia recognizes China as a market economy. [...] A day earlier, Hu announced a package of measures designed to boost bilateral relations. They include: Cancel debts in the form of interest-free government loans that were due by the end of 2005. Open up the Chinese market by increasing zero-tariff items from 190 to 442. Set up an economic and trade zone in Zambia. Build a stadium in the city of Ndola, which could help turn Zambia into a major host of sports events in Africa. Build an agricultural technology demonstration center, two rural schools, a hospital, and an anti-malaria center. Offer 117 Chinese government-funded scholarships between 2007 and 2008 and train more professionals for Zambia. Hu yesterday also met Kenneth Kaunda, former Zambian president and an old friend of China. Quoting a Chinese proverb, "Those who drink water will never forget the people who dig the well", [...] Hu also met Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, speaker of the national assembly, yesterday. Zambia is the fourth leg of Hu's eight-nation African tour, which has taken him to Cameroon, Liberia and Sudan. He will also visit Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and the Seychelles.

2007-02-05 People's Daily Online
China launched an economic and trade cooperation zone in the Zambian capital of Lusaka on Sunday, the first of its kind established ever by the country in Africa. [...] The zone, located in Zambia's Copper Belt Province, is aimed at forming a production chain with Chambisi Copper Smelter as the core enterprise. The construction of the zone is expected to boost the development of Zambia's light industry and the sectors of construction materials, home electrical appliance, pharmacy and food processing, increase the country's exports and create job opportunities for locals.]

President Hu makes four-point proposal to promote Sino-Namibian relations
2007-02-05 Xinhuanet
Windhoek - Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed here Monday that China and Namibia strengthen cooperation in politics, economy and international affairs and increase people-to-people exchanges in an effort to uplift bilateral ties. Hu, [...] made a four-point proposal on promoting bilateral ties during talks with his Namibian counterpart, Hifikepunye Pohamba. The four points are as follows: -- Enhance political exchanges and boost political mutual trust. The leaders of the two countries keep frequent exchanges of visits to communicate and exchange ideas on bilateral ties and major issues of common concern. -- Expand cooperation in economy and trade with an aim to achieve mutual benefit and a win-win outcome. China will encourage and support competent enterprises to invest in Namibia and explore ways of cooperation with their Namibian counterparts in infrastructure, agriculture and other sectors. China will also try to adjust its foreign trade structure so as to gradually achieve a balance in bilateral trade with Namibia. -- Increase people-to-people contacts and promote bilateral cooperation in education, public health, culture and tourism. China has decided to provide assistance to Namibia in building schools and hospitals in rural areas. It will also increase government-funded scholarships for Namibian students and train more professionals for the Southern African country. -- Continue to support each other in international affairs through close cooperation and coordination. The two sides continue to maintain close cooperation in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations in order to safeguard the common interests of the developing countries. [...] After the talks, Hu and Pohamba witnessed the signing of five documents on bilateral cooperation in economy and technology, human resources training, education and tourism. [...]

China, South Africa pledge to develop ties from strategic perspective
2007-02-06 Xinhuanet
China and South African agreed on Tuesday to view and develop bilateral ties from a strategic perspective and push forward their strategic partnership based on equality, mutual benefit and common development. Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki held talks here on Tuesday afternoon, at which they reached broad consensus on future development of bilateral relations. Hu said China firmly stood alongside the South African people during their struggle against apartheid and that the Chinese-South African ties have enjoyed fast, multi-facet and all-round growth since the two countries established diplomatic ties 10 years ago. [...]. Hu expressed China's appreciation for South Africa's adherence to the one China policy and its support for China's reunification cause. During the talks, Hu put forward a five-point proposal for further promoting China-South Africa ties, including ways of boosting political mutual trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation, increasing people-to-people contacts and intensifying multilateral cooperation. [...] He also proposed to explore ways to expand cooperation in vocational training, Chinese language teaching, infrastructure, mining, energy, information technology and crackdown on crimes. [...] On international issues, Hu proposed that both countries enhance multilateral cooperation and safeguard common interests and said bilateral cooperation should also be enhanced within the framework of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations. [...] Economically, China is one of South Africa's most important partners; politically, the consultation and cooperation with China is an asset to South Africa in meeting various challenges, he [Mbeki] stressed. China's attention to and cooperation with Africa is of great significance for the rejuvenation of the African continent, he said. [...] After the talks, Hu and Mbeki witnessed the signing of five documents on bilateral cooperation in economy and technology, plant quarantine and other fields. [...].

Hu: China pursues peaceful, harmonious development
2007-02-07 Xinhuanet
Pretoria, South Africa - Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said here on Wednesday that China's development is peaceful, open, cooperative and harmonious in nature. [...] The president added that China is dedicated to peace, development and cooperation. [...] The Chinese, as a peace-loving nation, are ready to work with the African people to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity, he said. "We believe in cooperation and harmony among nations, and we hold that the strong and the rich should not bully the weak and the poor," said the president. Hu said that for more than 100 years in China's modern history, the Chinese people were subjected to colonial aggression and oppression by foreign powers and went through similar suffering and agony that the majority of African countries endure. Because of this, he said, the Chinese people are most strongly opposed to colonialism, oppression, and slavery of all manifestations, and have the most profound sympathy for all other nations in their pursuit of independence, happiness and their aspirations. [...] The Chinese government sees great value in the exchanges between Chinese and African youth and is committed to strengthening these exchanges, he added. Hu said China, which currently provides 2,000 government scholarships for African students each year, will double the number in the next three years. [...]

Chinese, Mozambican presidents pledge to uplift bilateral ties
2007-02-08 Xinhuanet
Maputo - Chinese President Hu Jintao and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza held talks here on Thursday and pledged to advance the relations between their two countries to a new high. During the talks, Hu said China and Mozambique have developed a profound traditional friendship and have had fruitful cooperation in economy and trade, culture, education and health in their 31 years of diplomatic relations. [...] To uplift the bilateral relations, Hu proposed that China and Mozambique enhance the exchanges of high-level visits and political mutual trust, deepen their economic cooperation, strengthen the cultural and people-to-people interactions and boost their coordination in international affairs. Guebuza said the Chinese government and people have given vital support to the Mozambican people when they faced difficulties, and the two countries have cemented their friendly relations since the independence of Mozambique. He reiterated that Mozambique adheres to the one China policy. [...] Guebuza hoped that Mozambique will learn from China's experience in social and economic development and enhance its cooperation with China in infrastructure, agriculture, education, tourism and exploitation of natural resources. After the talks, Hu and Guebuza witnessed the signing of eight documents on bilateral cooperation in economy, technology, agriculture, education and sports. Later in the day, Hu met with Eduardo Mulembwe, president of the Mozambican parliament. At the meeting, Hu stressed that the two countries should further bolster their economic and trade links and strive to achieve common development. [...]

Pact with Slovakia to beef up ties
2007-02-06 Xinhuanet
China and Slovakia signed agreements in Beijing Monday to strengthen cooperation in education and agriculture. The agreements were signed during Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico's five-day visit to China, his first after assuming office in September. Fico will visit Southwest China's Sichuan Province, too. Premier Wen Jiabao said the trip has shown that the Slovakian government attached great importance to its relations with China. He expected the two countries to maintain dialogue at various levels and enhance cooperation in the fields of investment, technology, information and tourism. [...] The Slovakian government will, as always, adhere to the one-China policy and support China's reunification cause, he said.

2007-02-08 People's Daily Online
[...] Fico said economic issues were at the top of his cabinet's agenda, which was one of the reasons he was visiting China. [...] Chinese-Slovak economic cooperation has been growing in recent years. [...]Slovakia exports metallurgical products, raw materials, chemical products and healthcare technology to China. It imports Chinese textiles and garments, leather products and household appliances. "There is room for Slovak exporters to enhance their commercial relations with their Chinese partners in such fields as road construction, electrical equipment technologies for oil and gas equipment," Fico said. [...] Fico was on a five-day visit to China, his first since he took office in September, and his fifth since 1999. [...]

Top legislator meets Cyprus parliament leader
2007-02-07 Xinhuanet
Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo met here Wednesday with visiting Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, vowing to promote the bilateral ties to "a new level". Wu highlighted the strong growth of the bilateral ties in the recent years based on mutual respect and mutual trust. China highly values ties with Cyprus, and will make efforts to promote the pragmatic cooperation in fields such as economic and trade, Wu said, expressing his appreciation to the understanding and supports offered by Cyprus on the Taiwan issue. Wu also spoke positively on the ties between the two parliaments, saying that closer friendly exchanges and cooperation between them will help boost bilateral relations. Echoing Wu's view on the bilateral relations, Christofias expressed his appreciation to China's domestic and foreign policies. Christofias pledged he would generate more contribution to the development of the bilateral relations. Christofias arrived in Beijing on Tuesday at the invitation of Wu. Besides Beijing, he will also visiting Hunan province in central China.

Chinese foreign minister to visit India, Japan
2007-02-06 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to India and Japan from Feb. 11 to 17, a foreign ministry spokeswoman announced on Tuesday. Li will visit at the invitation of Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and Japanese foreign minister Aso Taro, according to spokeswoman Jiang Yu. During his stay in India from Feb.11 to 14, Li will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hold talks with Mukherjeeon China-India ties and other issues of common concern, Jiang said. Li will also attend the opening ceremony of China-India Tourism and Friendship Year. [...]. During Li's stay in India, a meeting will be held for the foreign ministers of China, India and Russia. "The three ministers will exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern... in particular, they will discuss economic cooperation," the spokeswoman said. "Their meeting will help the three countries expand consensus and boost cooperation," Jiang said. On Li's visit to Japan, the first since 2004, the spokeswoman said Li will hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso. His other schedules are still being discussed by the two countries, she said. China-Japan relations have improved since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China in October last year. Abe's landmark visit was widely seen as a "turning point" in China-Japan relations. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations and will be a year of sports and cultural exchanges for the two countries. Li's visit was expected to pave the way for Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Japan visit in April.

 

Domestic Policy

Beijing tightens media grip with penalty points system
2007-02-09 SCMP
The Communist Party's propaganda department has set up a points-based penalty system for the print media in a stepped-up effort to tighten its grip on the sector ahead of a crucial party congress this autumn, according to sources. Media outlets will be allocated 12 points each and subject to closure if all their points are deducted. [...]It is not known how the severity of a wrongdoing would be determined, but each penalty would attract a 1, 3, 6 or 12-point deduction, sources familiar with the process said. The propaganda department and the government's media regulator jointly make discretionary decisions about whether to punish media outlets found to have violated central directives or the party line. Penalties range from internal warnings and the removal of senior executives or officials in charge, to the closure of the publication. [...] Beijing recently tightened restrictions on freedom of expression and shut down publications that displayed signs of boldness in what propagandists said were steps needed to ensure a harmonious social environment ahead of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party. The event will see a reshuffle of the top political leadership and set the development agenda for the next five years. The introduction of the points system also highlights Beijing's increasingly strict media controls as it prepares to host the 2008 Olympics. [...]The party's propaganda department recently imposed a rule requiring media to seek approval for coverage of politically sensitive topics. [...] Since last year, officials have shaken up newspaper editorial staff and clamped down on internet blogs and chat forums amid a rising number of public disturbances. [...].

Chinese vice president highlights importance of theory study
2007-02-09 People's Daily Online
Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong on Wednesday ordered ministerial and provincial officials to study the latest Communist theories and base their work on the wisdom drawn from these theories. Zeng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, delivered the speech at the closing of a high profile seminar in Beijing, attended by provincial and ministerial heads all over the country. The six-day seminar focused on studying the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, the predecessor of Hu Jintao as Chinese president and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. Jiang's best-known theory is known as the "Three Represents", meaning that the CPC must always represent the development requirements of China's advanced social productive forces, the progressive course of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. Zeng said the "Three Represents" summarized China's experiences in socialism development and serves as a theoretical guide for the current central leadership to draw up key policies. During the seminar, ranking officials had read, contemplated, and debated the theories and now it is important to apply the theories in their daily work, Zeng said. He said Chinese Communist officials should spend more time on theory study, continue to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and use the most recent Communist theories to guide their work. Zeng said the enhanced theory study will create a sound climate for the 17th CPC National Congress, the important Party meeting slated to open in the second half of this year. Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan also attended the closing ceremony.

Chinese NGOs increase to 346,000 last year
2007-02-04 Xinhuanet
China saw the number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) increase to 346,000 by the end of last year, 8 percent more than the previous year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Last year, civil affairs departments at various levels worked out a set of rules regulating NGOs according to local situations, the departments provided special guidance to NGOs that are dedicated to the development of particular industries, the rural economy and charity activities, said Zhang Weilin, an official with the ministry. Since September last year, NGOs had participated in 211 projects supporting the rural development, involving a total investment of 5.5 billion yuan (688 million U.S. dollars), Zhang said. Since 1978 when China initiated the policy of reform and opening-up, the country has witnessed a steady increase in the number of the NGOs, which are called "civilian organizations" in Chinese officials. Civilian organizations have served as "helpful assistants" to the government in many areas including poverty reduction, environmental protection, education, health and employment. Jiang Li, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, said the ministry would strengthen supervision of NGOs and map out measures this year to clean up illicit fee collections, false reporting and corruption among them. Earlier reports said that the ministry has started to formulate methods of evaluating the structure, business, financial status and social influence of NGOs. Currently, most of China's NGOs are small and do not have a standard operation, which result in a limited role in social affairs and inadequate trust from the public.

China puts new navigation satellite into orbit
2007-02-03 Xinhuanet
Xichang, Sichuan - China successfully put a navigation satellite into orbit early Saturday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province. [...] It is China's fourth Beidou (Big Dipper) navigation experimental satellite in orbit. The previous three were sent in space on Oct. 31, 2000, Dec. 21, 2000 and May 25, 2003 respectively. Experts said the Beidou satellite navigation experimental system is operating well and has played a significant role in cartography, telecommunications, water conservation, transportation, fishery, prospecting, forest fire monitoring and national security. [...] Experts said China is establishing the Compass Navigation Satellite System on the basis of the Beidou satellite navigation experimental system. The compass system will in 2008 fully meet the demand of satellite navigation for clients in China and neighboring regions. The Compass Navigation Satellite System will gradually extend to be a global satellite navigation and positioning system after network building and experiments, experts said. The compass system will be mainly used for economic purposes, providing efficient navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security, among others. China is one of the several countries in the world capable of developing such a system on its own. The system can help clients know their location at any time and place with accurate longitude, latitude and altitude data. The satellite and carrier rocket were developed respectively by the China Academy of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which are under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The launch represents the 95th flight of China's Long March series of rockets.

Official: Don't spit at the Olympics
2007-02-09 China Daily
No spitting and get in line. That's the message Beijing municipal officials are trying to get across 18 months before the Olympics open in China's capital. "Everyone will be fined for spitting," read the headline in Thursday's Beijing Daily Messenger. In a city of 15 million, jumping ahead in line is common. So is spitting and littering, which officials hope to restrain in an effort to improve the city's image. Officials have announced a range of measures including "punishment and reward" programs to improve conduct. One campaign for "civilized behavior" kicks off Sunday in the Wangfujing shopping area, located just east of Tiananmen Square. This will be the first "Queuing Day," which will take place on the 11th of each month. The 11th was picked because the two numbers, 1-1, resemble two people lining up. Spitting could start to become costly. People spitting could be fined up to 50 yuan, or $6.50. In Beijing, 50 yuan is the daily income of a Chinese college graduate. [...]

 

Human Rights

Aids activist 'prevented from taking trip to US' - Doctor who won human rights award allegedly placed under house arrest
2007-02-06 SCMP
An Aids activist is under house arrest in Henan amid government efforts to prevent her from collecting a human rights award in Washington sponsored by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a friend of the recipient said yesterday. Gao Yaojie, 80, is widely respected for her efforts to expose the plight of HIV/Aids victims in Henan who contracted the disease after selling their blood. On Sunday she was prevented from boarding a flight from Zhengzhou to Beijing, where she planned to apply for a US visa, said fellow activist Hu Jia. [...] The US embassy in Beijing said officials had raised concerns on the issue with the mainland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There were no ministry representatives available for comment. [...]. Dr Gao was one of the first to blow the whistle on the scandal in Henan, where tens of thousands of people contracted HIV in the 1990s by selling blood to unsanitary health clinics. She has been awarded a number of international prizes for her efforts to improve the life of the Aids victims, but she has been unable to collect the awards herself. [...].

 

Taiwan

Chen reshuffles top posts in surprise move
2007-02-07 SCMP
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has approved a large-scale government reshuffle in a surprise move observers said indicated he is reconsolidating his grip on power. Chiou I-jen, secretary-general of the island's National Security Council, will swap posts with Mark Chen Tan-sun to once again serve as President Chen's secretary-general. Shi Hwei-yew, deputy director of the National Security Bureau, will replace Hsueh Shih-ming as the bureau's chief. The Presidential Office gave details of the appointments yesterday, just hours after President Chen announced the changes on Monday night. A changeover ceremony would be held today, signalling that the president was anxious to have Mr Chiou back in his fold ahead of the legislature election scheduled for December and presidential election in March next year, analysts and lawmakers said. They said the latest changes also signalled that Mr Chen had once again taken the reins of the government, eight months after he was forced to delegate some powers to Premier Su Tseng-chang under mounting pressure for his resignation over a series of scandals linked to him, his family and government. [...] Analysts said the reappointment of Mr Chiou as secretary-general was aimed at improving the chances of Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party in the elections. Mr Chiou is known for adopting cutthroat election strategies. Political analyst George Tsai Wei, from the Institute of International Relations, said it was important for Mr Chen to ensure the DPP could win the legislative and presidential elections to save himself from prosecution after he stepped down in May next year when his present four-year term ended. If the DPP wins the elections it is expected to change the law, to protect Mr Chen.

Growing mainland power spooks Taiwan: Top military official seeks closer ties between island and US, Japan
2007-02-08 SCMP
A senior Taiwanese official said mainland China's recent test of an anti-satellite weapon signaled Beijing's clear intention to militarise space and should spur a stronger security alliance among Taiwan, the United States and Japan. Joseph Wu, chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, a Cabinet-level agency responsible for relations with Beijing, said the mainland would use satellite-killing technology if Taiwan and the mainland should go to war. The central government has indicated willingness to work with other countries on an agreement to prevent an arms race in space. But Mr Wu on Wednesday said the January 11 destruction of an old Chinese weather satellite by a warhead launched from a ballistic missile "demonstrated that China has the full intention to expand its military power, even to try to militarise the use of space" and should "send a signal that is very clear to any countries who are concerned about a possible future conflict between Taiwan and China". Besides the United States and Taiwan, China also had Japan in mind when it chose January 11 as the date for the test, Mr Wu told an audience at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank. The test coincided with a trip to Europe by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cautioned Europe's leaders that lifting an arms embargo against China could threaten security in Asia. Mr Wu also noted that it came as Mr Abe's conservative government upgraded the Japanese Defence Agency to a full ministry, which raised worries about the state of postwar pacifism in China's traditional rival, Japan. "We need to consider a possible stronger alliance between the United States and Japan, and stronger and closer co-operation in security matters between Taiwan and the United States in order to deal with a multi-pronged East Asia," Mr Wu said. [...]

 

Economy

China hits EU imports with tariffs
2007-02-06 Xinhuanet
The Chinese government imposed anti-dumping tariffs on potato starch imports from the European Union Monday after a one-year investigation. China's commerce ministry yesterday said it would begin to levy punitive duties of between 17 percent and 35 percent. [...] In December 2005, 17 Chinese starch manufacturers from Heilongjiang, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region filed a petition to the commerce ministry against their EU rivals. They claimed that the European players were selling potato starch to China at below cost. The commerce ministry launched an investigation last February covering all imports for 2005. After a six-month investigation, the ministry decided last August to impose primary tariffs on imports from the European Union. German, French and Dutch companies responded the charge. "It is China's first dumping charge against an agricultural product," the ministry said in a statement on its website. [...] An agricultural institution in Yunan Province said local farmers would have suffered losses of some 120 million yuan if the anti-dumping charge had not been imposed. Zhou called on Chinese firms from other industries to defend their interests in accordance with World Trade Organization rules. Chinese companies are subject to the most anti-dumping tariffs worldwide, yet seldom impose duties on foreign rivals. Zhou said his commission was formed to handle the potato starch case and for "the whole industry in China united together".

China voices pity about U.S. consultation proposal on subsidies at WTO
2007-02-03 Xinhuanet
It's a pity for the United States to seek consultation process at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China's industrial subsidies, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Saturday. Actually the two countries have kept bilateral contact over the issue all along, the spokesman said. China is deliberating the consultation proposal from the United States, the spokesman said. The United States on Friday formally asked for a consultation process at the WTO over China's industrial subsidies. The U.S. government has filed a complaint with the WTO, alleging that China is using government support to help its companies compete in world markets, thus creating an unfair playing field, trade sources in Geneva said. By filing the complaint, the United States asked for a consultation process with China in Geneva, which is the first stage of the dispute settlement procedure of the world trade body. The consultation will usually last two months once it is started. If it fails, a WTO panel of experts will be formed to handle the dispute.

US is at crossover point in China trade: Paulson Top economist Fan Gang claims dispute over countries' imbalance is inevitable
2007-02-08 SCMP
The US appears to have reached a "crossover point" in trade with China after years of steadily rising deficits, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said. [...]Trade data due out next week is expected to show the US trade deficit with China hit a record somewhere near US$230 billion last year, compared with US$39.5 billion 10 years ago. The explosive growth in the deficit has led to calls in Congress for the Bush administration to be tougher on trade with China. Many American lawmakers in particular believe that China unfairly manipulates its currency to give Chinese companies an unfair advantage in international trade. Mr Paulson noted US exports to China grew by 33 per cent last year, while imports from China rose 19 per cent. A People's Bank of China adviser defended Beijing's exchange policy yesterday, saying that a modest, gradual appreciation of the yuan would be in the interests of China and the global economy. The dispute over the trade imbalance between China and the US was inevitable and adjusting China's foreign exchange rate could not solve it, Fan Gang , a member of the central bank's monetary policy committee, said in an online interview on Sina.com. "Global imbalances are an international problem, not just China's. The other side needs to solve the problem too," he said, citing the US financial deficit and America's low savings rate as adding to the imbalances. Dr Fan, a leading mainland economist, said the recent rise in the yuan was not a response to US pressure for the currency to be allowed to appreciate. He said the relatively modest appreciation of the currency was designed to meet China's economic needs. The yuan has risen by about 4.7 per cent since the central government scrapped the currency's peg to the US dollar and made a one-off 2.1 per cent appreciation against the greenback in July 2005. [...] Its appreciation has accelerated this year, with the currency rising 0.6 per cent against the US dollar last month. [...]

Tax rebates given for parts imports
2007-02-09 China Daily
Imports of parts and materials used to make advanced equipment will be given tax rebates a move expected to cut the trade surplus and optimize the industrial structure. The policy applies to imports by 16 industries, such as large power-generating plants and transmission equipment, the State Administration of Taxation announced on Wednesday, adding that it would help upgrade the manufacturing sector. [...] The policy is expected to help increase imports in the 16 sectors to balance the country's trade with key partners, such as the United States and the European Union, which are major providers of such parts and equipment. [...]The new rule requires companies to convert the savings from tax rebates into State equity and use the funds on R&D and innovation. An enterprise wholly owned by the State or with State shareholding should use the rebates to increase State equity stake. Non-State-owned firms including public companies will have to bring in the State as a shareholder if they choose to avail the import tax rebate. The policy will mainly benefit the power-generation, petrochemical and coal liquefaction sectors. Sheet steel plants, coal mining equipment, large ships and offshore drilling rigs, high-speed trains, electronics and aircraft manufacturing will also be covered. China's trade surplus increased more than 74 percent year-on-year to $177.5 billion in 2006, leading to friction with trade partners such as the United States and the European Union. [...]

Premier Wen urges faster growth of service industry
2007-02-07 Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday that the service sector should take a leading role in the national economy by creating more jobs and promote healthy development by reducing pollution and saving energy. The government discussed the service sector and futures trading at an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen on Wednesday. China will open the service sector to foreign competition. Private capital will be encouraged to invest in the sector, according to the meeting. Economically developed areas should set up regional logistics hubs, while central and western regions can leverage their traditional strengths to improve resource allocation. The country should build more infrastructure to beef up services in underdeveloped rural areas. The government vowed to launch favorable policies on various fronts including tax and land, and to structure the market. The draft rules on futures trading management approved by the meeting expanded the scope from commodity futures to financial and stock option business.

China's int'l patent filings rise sharply in 2006
2007-02-10 Xinhuanet
China is making more use of the international patent system, with its patent applications rising sharply in 2006, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said on Wednesday. China made a total number of 3,910 international patent applications in 2006, an increase of 56.8 percent compared with the previous year, said the UN agency overseeing international property. [...] By applying for international patents through WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty, companies can seek protection for an invention in a large number of countries at once. Worldwide patent applications rose 6.4 percent to a record number of 145,300 in 2006. According to WIPO, the United States remains the world's largest international patent filers, with just under 50,000 applications in 2006, accounting for 34.1 percent of the world's total applications. Those followed the United States in terms of total patent application numbers were Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea, France, Britain, the Netherlands and China. [...] "Innovation has been traditionally dominated by Europe and North America. New centers of innovation - in particular in northeast Asia - are emerging and this is transforming both the geography of the patent system and of future global economic growth," he [Gurry, WIPO' deputy director-general] added.

China to allow more foreign banks register locally
2007-02-08 China Daily
Shanghai - China is expected to allow another 20 foreign banks to incorporate locally this year, opening its massive banking market wider to foreign players and intensifying competition in the world's fourth-largest economy. [...]. Banking industry sources close to the plan told Reuters on Thursday that China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was expected to approve the local incorporation of another 10 foreign banks as early as next month. The CBRC is also expected to give the go-ahead to another 10 foreign banks in the second half of this year, taking the total number of foreign banks to receive the approval to about 30, the sources said. Those expected to receive the green light in March include JPMorgan , Deutsche Bank , South Korean lender Hana Financial Group and Singapore's Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp. , the sources told Reuters. JPMorgan and Hana confirmed they had applied to CBRC for local incorporations, but did not say when they expect to win the approvals.[...] The nine which have already received the approval in December are Standard Chartered , Bank of East Asia , HSBC , Hang Seng Bank , DBS , Bank of Toyko-Mitsubishi, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Citigroup Inc. and ABN AMRO .

 

 

North Korea

6 nations resume nuclear talks amid hopes for progress
2007-02-08 Xinhuanet
The six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue resumed on Thursday afternoon in Beijing, focusing on the first steps towards denuclearization of the peninsula. [...] After the last session of the talks which ended in December with no breakthrough, the parties have been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity to restart the talks. [...] A plenary session was held after the opening ceremony, in a "frank and practical" atmosphere, according to sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The six delegation heads reiterated their willingness and determination to pursue the six-party talks, resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and in a peaceful manner, according to the sources. The six top negotiators agreed to strive to reach consensus on the initial steps of the implementation of the Sept. 19 joint statement, the sources said. Under the joint statement, signed during the fourth round of talks in 2005, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees. [...] It is hoped that this phase of meetings will end before the Chinese lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 18, which is an important festival for China, the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK). But the meetings will continue as long as necessary, he said. [...] According to Qin, the establishment of working groups will be discussed during this phase of meetings. [...] US chief negotiator Christopher Hill said the six parties are "coalescing around" some themes, and "we hope we can achieve some kind of joint statement here". It is expected that the Chinese side will circulate a draft later Thursday or early Friday in this regard, Hill told reporters after dinner. Hill said if the United States and the DPRK can agree on what they discussed today, "it will be a clear sign that we are moving along the path and a clear sign that we will move towards full implementation of the September statement". But he is still a little cautious about the prospect of an agreement, saying "it is not easy to achieve these actions. because the first step of a journey is often a difficult step".

 

Mongolia

Zorig Foundation and SDC Grant Scholarships
2007-02-08 UB Post
The Zorig Foundation.s view is to get competent cadres, who will hold the key to the future stability and success of Mongolia. It is an experienced non-governmental organization which has issued scholarships since 2000 to less-well-off students for study at local universities and institutes. Scholarship has been granted to around 460 students. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has implemented this scholarship program for education from 2005 with the Zorig Foundation. The scholarship objective is to contribute to the success of study through support for students who are socially active leaders but have financial problems and educate students by supporting civic participation. A feature of the scholarship program is to implement independence in students through operating in a small project. 25 teams, all consisting of students, have accomplished small projects that are helpful for the social life. For the projects three projects had been declared the best on February 6. In first, team 16 made assistance for a senior institution in Batsumber soum, Tuv aimag while training the institution staff. Second was team 14, who organized training for the children of the State Children Institution in Ulaanbaatar, helping increase the library fund. In third place, team 13 implemented some activity inVerbist Caring Center and also organized .We Are Santa. festival, dedicated to the poorest children.

Immigration Office Announces Amnesty
2007-02-08 UB Post
The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced a one-month amnesty from February 5 to March 1. N. Udaanjargal, Head of the Ministry of Justice and HomeAffairs Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizenship stated: .the Immigration Office has announced the one-month amnesty for migrants in Mongolia in order to set up a database. On the other hand, this is an act of humanity. Most of the foreigners who are overdue a visa are Asian and Russian people, so the Immigration Office announced the amnesty month for the Asian countries. Lunar New Year holiday. Foreigners, who are living illegally in Mongolia, can take a legal visa or document for this month. They have to submit: a petition to request a visa, two passport sized photos, application form; and would pay a fine Tg100,000-300,000 per individual and Tg600,000-1 million per organization as a result of breaching immigration rules, informed the Immigration Office. The exit visa's fee is US$23 while Tg5,000 is required to get an entry visa into Mongolia, plus all the documentation and fines to get a legal visa for an individual, added Udaanjargal to UB Post on Tuesday. According to the Ministry of ForeignAffair.s research about 10,000 people have the black stamp per year in Mongolia for transgression. The immigration office would grant permanent residence rights to foreign citizens who have been living long-term illegally in Mongolia during this month, said the Immigration Office. The Ministry is also studying an idea to grant electronic cards to immigrant foreigners.

New Ministers Appointed by Parliament
2007-02-08 UB Post
D. Demberel (MPRP), Member of Parliament, has been appointed as a Minister of SocialWelfare and Labor by all 58 members attending the session on Tuesday. And D. Tuya (MPRP), Member of Parliament, has been appointed as Minister of Health by 96 percent at the same Parliament session. They were appointed as candidates for the posts of the Ministers by Administrative boards of MPRP and discussed and supported at the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science on the previous day. Members of Parliament supported the resignation of L. Odonchimed, Minister of Social Welfare and Labor on Thursday, February 1 at the session after an introduction read by M. Enkhbold, Prime Minister, and B. Erdeneburen, MP, initiated the conclusion of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science. The former Minister of Social Welfare and Labor, Odonchimed, had remained in his position until then but stated that he stepped down from the post of Minister of Social Welfare and Labor of his own volition. The Democratic Party faction in parliament claims that the minister violated the rules governing the use of money in the state budget, by withdrawing Tg4.4 billion in 2006 from the Children.s Money Fund to meet the claims of newly-wed young couples. [...] OnJanuary 4, parliament voted overwhelmingly to remove Health Minister L. Gundalai, with 43 of the 50 Members of Parliament in attendance supporting the action. Prime Minister M. Enkhbold had informed Gundalai about his decision to replace him at a Cabinet meeting on December 29. In a letter submitted to parliament, the Prime Minister said that during Gundalai.s tenure as Minister of Health he had caused international cooperation to stagnate. [...]

 

Mirjam Müller
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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