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
  16.4-20.4.07, No. 162  
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Foreign Policy

Wen's two-nation visit successful in promoting economic ties: Chinese FM
2007-04-14 People's Daily Online
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to South Korea and Japan is a great success in strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation and promoting the economic and trade ties between China and the two countries, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Friday. […]Economic and trade cooperation is an important component of developing an all-round partnership of cooperation with South Korea and a mutually beneficial strategic relationship with Japan, for both nations are China's important trading and investment partners, Li told Chinese reporters. During his talks with leaders and entrepreneurs of both countries, Wen put forward proposals to further develop the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, underlining the focus on areas like energy saving, environmental protection, telecommunication and high-tech. Wen also elaborated on China's policies concerning the enterprise income tax, intellectual property rights protection and investment environment. Wen's proposals have drawn positive responses from both countries, Li said, adding that Wen's introductions on China's policies, which were regarded by both countries' entrepreneurs as fair and reasonable, helped enhance mutual understanding. During his two-day visit to South Korea, Wen called for an active implementation of a development layout of medium- and long-term economic and trade cooperation, and an early signing of an investment protection agreement between the two countries, according to Li. Wen also said the two sides should push forward the joint study of building a free trade zone, properly handle each other's concern on economic and trade issues, and achieve the goal of increasing the bilateral trade volume to 200 billion U.S. dollars at an early date. […]During his three-day visit to Japan, the Chinese premier and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe jointly launched a high-level economic dialogue mechanism. The mechanism, which is of historic significance, signals the upgrade of bilateral economic cooperation and will play an active role in expanding economic cooperation between the two countries, Li said. The foreign minister also said the two nations pledged to take advantage of the mechanism to increase policy communications on major regional and international economic issues, and boost cooperation in a wider range of areas. […]

Foreign military attaches visit SW China
2007-04-19 Xinhuanet
A group of 51 military attaches and deputy military attaches from 44 countries arrived in southwest China's Chengdu for a visit to Chengdu Military Area's Special Force on Wednesday. Invited by China's Ministry of National Defense, they will visit military sites and institutions in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, and learn about local economic and social development. "The Chinese army has become more open in the past few years. We would like to improve our relations with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) through this kind of visit," said Col. Michel Vandermaelen, Belgian military attache in Beijing, who is also head of the group. Major General Zhang Bangdong, director of the foreign affairs office of the Ministry of National Defense, said the visit provided a good communication channel for foreign military officers to learn more about the Chinese army. "The special forces are always kept strictly secret in every country. This time we have shown our confidence and transparency by inviting foreign officers to visit," Zhang said. The major task of the force includes special operations, combat, counter-terrorism, maintaining social stability and disaster relief. The Special Force in Chengdu has taken part in many military exercises, including a joint counter-terrorism exercise in Pakistan last December. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense invites foreign military attaches to visit places outside Beijing each year, aiming to enhance their understanding of China's armed forces and national conditions, and to cement the friendship between foreign military attaches and Chinese officers and soldiers.

Chinese, German defence ministers hold talks in Beijing
2007-04-18 Xinhuanet
Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan held talks with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung here on Wednesday, agreeing to further develop relations between the two armed forces. "The relationship has continuously deepened with the smooth development of relations between the two countries," said Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor. […] Jung said Germany supported the one-China policy and hoped to see a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan issue. The two also touched on international issues, including the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the Iran nuclear issue and the Darfur issue, according to the Chinese Defence Ministry. […] This is Jung's first visit to China since his appointment as Defence Minister in November 2005. He will conclude his two-day official visit on Thursday.

China, Pakistan sign 13 agreements
2007-04-17 Xinhuanet
China and Pakistan on Tuesday signed 13 agreements on cooperation in fields such as space, telecommunications, education and legal assistance, vowing to raise the strategic partnership "to a new level." […] The source provided no further information of the 13 agreements. The two sides agreed to actively implement the China-Pakistan free trade agreement and a five-year plan for economic and trade cooperation, pledging to accelerate negotiations on service trade cooperation and encourage the mutual investment from the two business communities. They agreed to expand exchanges in cultural and humanitarian fields to consolidate the traditional friendship, and to cement cooperation in campaigns against "East Turkistan" separatists and cross-border crime. They would also intensify coordination and communication on multilateral issues in an effort to safeguard stability and promote the development in South Asia, the source added. […] As a guest of Wen, Aziz arrived here on Monday, kicking off an official visit to China from April 16 to 20. […]

Beijing urged to save rare timber
2007-04-18 SCMP
Global environmental group Greenpeace has warned the Chinese government that its international reputation could be further tarnished if it does not take action to tackle the rampant smuggling of timber from Indonesia. In its report Merbau's Last Stand released yesterday, Greenpeace highlighted the species' bleak future due to over-logging and claimed that mainland traders still engaged in the illegal importation of the logs from Indonesia despite the mainland and Indonesia signing a pledge in 2002 to crack down on the practice. Greenpeace forest campaigner Liu Bing said an undercover investigation on the mainland revealed several ways that Chinese timber importers managed to sneak in merbau timber from Indonesia, including claiming the timber was from Malaysia which does not have significant reserves of the trees. Merbau is a slow-growing species that used to be found as far away as Tahiti, but now exists only in large quantities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It takes up to 80 years to mature. Citing Chinese Customs statistics, Greenpeace said China had emerged as the biggest timber product importer, accounting for 50 per cent of global tropical log trade, and its imports of merbau timber products in 2004 accounted for about a quarter of its overall tropical log imports for the year. […]

Militaries of China and Japan work to set up 24-hour hotline
2007-04-17 SCMP
Japan and China are working to set up a 24-hour hotline between their armed forces to make emergency contact easier, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. According to the newspaper, the hotline would aim primarily at preventing incidents such as confrontations between ships and aircraft provoked by intrusions into each other's waters or air space. Official agreement to launch the hotline would be reached at a bilateral meeting of defence officials set for September. A Japanese Defence Ministry spokesman in Tokyo said the issue was being investigated but declined further comment. Japan has a similar agreement with South Korea, but the Yomiuri said China had yet to establish such a system with any other nation.

 

Domestic Policy

Authorities gear up for IPR Day
2007-04-16 China Daily
The National Working Group for IPR Protection will today publicize the country's Top 10 IPR Protection Events of 2006 as well as the 10 best cases of IPR protection at customs last year. The announcements are just part of a series of events to boost nationwide awareness of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, ahead of World Intellectual Property Day on April 26. On Saturday morning, authorities across the country oversaw the destruction of more than 42 million smuggled, pirated or simply illegal books, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, software and other electronic media in a bid to crack down on counterfeiters. Coordinated events were held in 31 provinces and regions, including Beijing, Guangdong, Tianjin and Guangxi, sources with the General Administration of Press and Publication said. On April 24, the Summit Forum on China's IPR Protection 2007 in Beijing is expected to attract more than 800 local senior officials and scholars on intellectual property, as well as representatives from international organizations including the World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization. […]In addition, China's 4th IPR Protection Publicity Week, which runs from Friday until April 26, will comprise a host of activities and events designed to increase awareness of the need for intellectual property rights and also crack down on those who abuse them. […]Other events include an IPR protection essay contest, an online survey on IPR protection to solicit public opinion, and a quiz between staff at IPR reporting and complaints centers. In Beijing, the protection of the Olympic logo will be a key element of the campaign. […]. The Action Plan on IPR Protection for 2007, released earlier this month, details 276 measures in 10 areas such as institutional building, publicity, training, international cooperation and services for right holders. This year it will draft, formulate and revise 14 laws, regulations, rules and administrative measures on trademark, copyright, patent and customs protection, as well as seven judicial interpretations and guidelines. Fourteen dedicated campaigns including Fight Piracy Every Day, a crackdown on pirated textbooks and teaching supplements are currently ongoing.

Guangdong top in IPR lawsuits
2007-04-17 SCMP
Guangdong courts handled the highest number of civil and criminal cases involving intellectual property rights (IPR) violations in the country last year, with nearly 3,000 new cases heard. Announcing the total yesterday, the Guangdong Intellectual Property Office also said the province began to promote the use of legal software in businesses last year. […]Mainland media have reported that more than half of the country's IPR violations - mainly piracy of books and DVDs, illegal internet downloads and counterfeiting of brand-name products - were concentrated in the past few years in six provinces and cities, namely Guangdong, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing and Shanghai. […]

Security boost successful in cutting unrest, provinces say
2007-04-17 SCMP
China's major provinces have claimed a dramatic fall in crime, protests and mass riots due to significant government investment in strengthening public security. At a national public security meeting in the northwestern city of Xian, Shaanxi, yesterday, top party officials from 13 provinces and Beijing exchanged know-how on increasing security personnel and upgrading technology to safeguard social stability. […] The number of "mass incidents" - a euphemism for protests and riots - in Shaanxi dropped by nearly 27 per cent last year, after more than 300,000 were named to head security control centres set up around the province's vast countryside. Surveillance had also been widely deployed, with 69 per cent of areas above the village level installing remote screen monitoring systems, said Dong Lei, the province's deputy party chief. "We aim to achieve all day and all-weather monitoring capability," said Mr Dong. The Communist Party is perennially worried about social unrest - fuelled by corruption, illegal land grabs and a rising gap between the rich and poor. With a key party congress slated for later this year and the 2008 Olympic Games looming large, the central leadership has apparently geared up its efforts to ensure a stable social environment. […]

Riot police told to curb use of force - Bloody crackdowns 'inflame anger'
2007-04-18 SCMP
Top public security officials have hinted that the long-standing practice of using violence to crack down on protests and mass riots will be changed, state media reported. Vice-Minister of Public Security Liu Jinguo told a national public security meeting in Xian, Shaanxi province, that using force to handle protests and riots could inflame such situations. "When handling mass incidents, we should co-ordinate relevant agencies to calm down the situation and maintain social order. Any inappropriate handling by public security authorities that would inflame public anger and worsen the situation must be avoided," Mr Liu said during the two-day meeting, which was broadcast live on the official website www.chinapeace.org.cn. Concerned that so-called mass incidents will threaten social stability and its grip on power, the Communist Party often resorts to force to placate crowds and restore order. But this approach tends to backfire and escalate already chaotic situations. Last month a protest in a village in central Hunan province started peacefully but rapidly degenerated into a bloody clash after police armed with batons and electric prods attacked farmers demonstrating against bus fare rises. The confrontation ended with at least one junior high student killed and dozens of police cars turned over and burned. "We must resolutely clean up public security agencies' own behaviour so it won't lead to unstable situations," Mr Liu said. The vice-minister also suggested strengthening the front-line police force, which involved mobilising 85 per cent of public security officials to perform duties on the village and community levels. […] Deputy procurator-general Huang Shuxian said local party leaders who failed to maintain social order would be punished. Top security chief and Politburo member Luo Gan made a speech at the meeting urging provincial security bosses to intensify the public security campaign to "create a sound social environment for the 17th Party Congress". […]

China launches "Compass" navigation satellite
2007-04-14 Xinhuanet
China on early Saturday morning launched a navigation satellite, part of the country's "Compass" navigational system, which is expected to provide services to customers all over China and neighboring countries by 2008. The carrier rocket, Long March 3-A, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 4:11 a.m., and sources with the center said that the satellite had "accurately" entered its orbit, at the height of 21,500 km. The "Compass" navigational system is mainly designed for the country's economic development, providing navigation and positioning services in transportation, meteorology, petroleum prospecting, forest fire monitoring, disaster forecast, telecommunications and public security, among others.With more satellites to be sent into orbits in the coming years, the system will cover China and its neighboring countries by 2008, before being expanded into a global network of navigation and positioning. […]

China to send WHO H5N1 virus samples
2007-04-20 China Daily
China is preparing to send the latest samples of human bird flu virus to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said Thursday. The announcement came days after the WHO complained China was not sharing samples of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus since May 2006 even after several requests. "As requested by the WHO, we will send two recent samples of the virus and one from a Beijing patient who was infected in 2003," an MOH official surnamed Ma said. Five new cases have been reported in China, apart from the 2003 one that came to light only last year, since it last shared a bird flu virus sample with the WHO. […]Though it's not mandatory for member states to share virus samples with the WHO, China has always sent them to the world health body. It has already sent six samples of the human bird flu virus, along with all the relevant information, to WHO's designated laboratories. Two of them were dispatched in December 2005 and the others in May 2006. […]

Shortage of funds delays Yangtze detour project
2007-04-18 SCMP
The project to divert the Yangtze River to quench the capital's thirst will not be finished by 2010 as originally scheduled, says Water Resources Minister Wang Shucheng. The postponement of the central route for the South-North Water Diversion Project was mainly because of funding shortages and rising costs, Mr Wang said. "Apart from price rises for materials, the money needed for pollution control and water and soil conservation, which used to be listed as separate items, has been considered part of the project's total budget," he said. […]Mr Wang's ministry is the main supporter of the project - costing hundreds of billions of yuan - despite growing fears over its effectiveness, the environmental impact of worsening pollution and water shortages in the Yangtze region, and the relocation of about 250,000 people. The minister dismissed such concerns, saying the project was necessary to address shortages in the north. The south-north project was a must given the appalling pollution in the north and the serious overuse of underground water in the region covered by the Yellow, Huai and Hai rivers, said Mr Wang.

China succeeds first artificial snowfall in Tibet
2007-04-18 Xinhuanet
China has succeeded in creating artificial snows for the first time in the northern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, the local meteorological department said. The Tibet meteorological station forecast a favorable weather change in the afternoon of April 10 and performed a successful artificial snowfall operation in Nagqu County in northern Tibet where the altitude is about 4.500 meters above sea level. "The first artificial snowfall proves it's possible to change the weather through human efforts on the world's highest plateau," said Yu Zhongshui, an engineer with the meteorological station. The precipitation was measured at 2.2 mm and the accumulated snow on the ground reached one cm after the artificial snowfall."To launch artificial precipitation can help alleviate drought on the grassland in northern Tibet," said Yu. […]

Activist's sentence is upheld
2007-04-18 SCMP
Shanghai activist Mao Hengfeng, who spoke out against the one-child policy, has had an appeal against a 2-1/2-year jail term turned down after a 10-minute court session, the New York-based group Human Rights in China said. Mao was sentenced in January for "intentionally destroying property". She had broken two lamps when she was detained ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary last year. Only the court's judgment was read at the hearing.

Court jails son of Uygur activist
2007-04-18 SCMP
A court in Urumqi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, jailed Ablikim Abdiriyim, a son of exiled Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer, for nine years yesterday, for instigating and engaging in secessionist activities in the region, Xinhua reported. He was also deprived of political rights for three years. The London-based human rights group Amnesty International said last month that Ablikim was reported to be ill from beatings suffered in detention and was being denied access to medical treatment. It also said he had been tried secretly and charged with subversion. Ms Kadeer, a Muslim ethnic Uygur and mother of 11, was once a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference but fell from grace and was arrested in 1999 while on her way to meet US congressmen who were visiting Xinjiang. Another of her sons was jailed for seven years for tax evasion in November. Yet another son was convicted of tax evasion but spared a jail term and a daughter has been placed under house arrest.

Guangdong finds more cases of blood trading
2007-04-18 SCMP
Guangdong's health department says it has uncovered more cases of blood being illegally traded in the province, after cracking down on illicit sales in Jieyang last week. Department spokesman Feng Shaomin said people involved in the deals abused a loophole in the law regulating blood donations. But he declined to identify the areas in which the trade occurred, saying only that they were in impoverished areas and not in cities in the Pearl River Delta. Health department vice-director Liao Xingbo, who lead visits by an inspection team to several cities, said he found no blood sales in Qingyuan, Shaoguan, Zhaoqing and Heyuan . The inspection was triggered by the discovery of rampant blood sales in Jieyang, where the head and deputy head of the blood-collection station and health bureau section chief have been suspended and three others detained. Sun Yat-sen University professor Ai Xiaoming, who has researched illegal blood sales in Henan, warned of a replay of the Aids epidemic in Henan province and called for all Jieyang residents to be screened for HIV for their own protection. "The authorities are ignoring the threat of Aids. If we test all Jieyang residents to see how many have hepatitis A, B and HIV, then we will know how good the blood quality is," Professor Ai said. Unsanitary blood collected in the 1990s infected tens of thousands of people in Henan with the HIV virus. Jieyang officials have said they strictly screened the blood and had only discovered one case of Aids in the illegal batches so far. But Professor Ai said she found it hard to take the officials at their word, saying only time would tell how many Aids cases Jieyang had. However, an international Aids expert, who asked not to be identified, said he did not think Jieyang's situation was similar to Henan's, where blood was collected from several donors at the same time and mixed. The plasma was then extracted and the remaining blood re-injected into the donors.

 

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics tickets go on sale
2007-04-15 China Daily
More than seven million very affordable tickets are now on sale for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) announced on Sunday. About 75% of the tickets will be sold domestically and the rest will be available to the overseas public. Late last year, BOCOG announced that ticket prices for the Games will be in keeping with its efforts to host Games accessible to the broadest spectrum of people. […]BOCOG will initiate a three-phased ticketing process for domestic sales. In each phase, residents on the Chinese mainland will be able to order tickets through the official ticketing website (http://tickets.beijing2008.com), calling the BOCOG ticketing call centre (+86-10-952008), or through designated Bank of China branches. For overseas sales, the process will be determined in each country and territory by its National Olympic Committee and its ticketing agent.

Olympics progress 'considerable' but pollution and traffic an issue
2007-04-20 SCMP
Games preparation in Beijing has made "considerable progress" in the past six months, but the environment and traffic still stand out as potential problems, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation said yesterday at the close of their eighth visit to the 2008 host city.

 

Taiwan

FM spokesman: Taiwan not eligible to join WHO
2007-04-15 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang blasted Taiwan leader's attempt to gain membership in World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday, saying the island is simply "not eligible" to join the UN agency. Qin was responding to a question concerning Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's application for Taiwan's membership in WHO. Chen sent a letter to WHO chief recently, requesting the island be admitted as WHO member under the name of Taiwan. "WHO is a UN specialized agency, whose membership is only open to sovereign states," Qin said, adding Taiwan is simply not qualified to join it or apply for its membership. In recent years, Taiwan authority time and again tabled Taiwan-related proposals on World Health Assembly conference, but all suffered frustrations, Qin said. "Whatever ways the Taiwan authority takes, its schemes of making use of health issues to serve "Taiwan independence" activities are doomed to failure," Qin said. Taiwan had sought observer status in the WHO over the past 10 years, but has never succeeded.

Taiwanese envoy to US hits first obstacle
2007-04-17 SCMP
Taiwan's new envoy to the US has arrived in Washington only to be greeted by a snub from the administration of President George W. Bush, which has backed down on supporting the island's bid to join the World Health Organisation. Joseph Wu Jau-shieh, the first envoy from the pro-independence, ruling Democratic Progressive Party, received a warm welcome on Sunday. But his mission to improve US-Taiwan ties and promote Taiwanese interests has been marred by Washington's refusal to support President Chen Shui-bian's bid to join the WHO. Mr Wu is a former head of the Mainland Affairs Council, the island's top mainland policy planner. Just before Mr Wu arrived in Washington, the US State Department said it was the US' set policy not to support Taiwan's bid to join international organisations where statehood was required for membership. It said on its website that the US had always encouraged Taiwan to seek "meaningful participation in international organisations" and that the people of Taiwan "should enjoy the same rights as others do in the world". But Washington can only support Taiwan's "meaningful participation" as an observer of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, rather than join the WHO as a full member, it said. The State Department's comments came after Mr Chen wrote to WHO Director-General, Hong Kong's Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, last Wednesday saying he was applying for the island to join the global health body in the name of "Taiwan". Mr Chen's secretary-general, Chiou I-jen, said it was time for the island to change tack and go ahead with its application to join the WHO in the name of Taiwan. The use of the name Taiwan is considered politically sensitive because it implies the island has independence status - something Beijing vehemently opposes and warns would lead to a military attack by the mainland. The State Department, however, said the US did not support Taiwanese independence and opposed any unilateral changes to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, by either Taiwan or the mainland. In response to his first perceived challengers in the US, Mr Wu, said he would do all he could to seek US support and understanding. "I will try my utmost to improve communication with the US and to tell them that it is unfair for Taiwan to be excluded from the world health body," he said.

Taiwan's military acts to plug leaks
2007-04-17 SCMP
Taiwan's military is fighting a battle to stop defence secrets being leaked. The effort was launched after local media yesterday reported in detail the planned route of an unmanned spy plane that would be used by the military in a live-fire drill during the island's annual Hankuang exercises, due to start later this month. The United Daily News published a route chart to illustrate how and where the plane would fly, including its altitude and other details. The chart also listed where President Chen Shui-bian would stand in the review pavilion. The exposure of the plane's route came as the island yesterday began five days of computer-simulated war games to test the military's combat-readiness in the event of a mainland attack. The leak is embarrassing to the defence ministry, which has been troubled by similar revelations of military information in the past month. Defence ministry spokesman Wu Chih-fang said an investigation into the incident had been ordered and the military's Institute of Science and Technology had been asked if it accidentally leaked the information. The institute is responsible for the spy plane's participation in the live-fire drill, to be held in the northeastern county of Ilan. The United Daily News quoted military sources saying the mainland apparently hacked into computer networks to obtain the route map. The ministry declined to comment. Last week, the ministry admitted the personal computers of two officers had been hacked, resulting in the leaking of the Yushan operation - an evacuation drill involving the president and top government officials in the event of a mainland attack, and their handling of the crisis. The officers, who were working overtime, had taken the information home to do further work. The defence ministry later barred officers from taking military information home with them. Meanwhile, the United Daily News also said Taiwanese intelligence had intercepted "valuable" information in cyberspace concerning the so-called "A B file", which records the details of senior government, party and military officials kept by the mainland authorities. The daily quoted the sources as saying the intelligence authorities were checking whether those records were authentic as there was a possibility that some or all of the information could be fabricated. The daily also reported that the US was sending a military delegation to observe the Hankuang war games in Taiwan to assess combat and defence capabilities.

Island's investors greet formal opening of first national chamber
2007-04-17 SCMP
The first national-level Taiwanese chamber of commerce formally opened yesterday to help give investors from the island greater legal protection. […] The chamber aims to help resolve business disputes and defend the rights and interests of thousands of Taiwanese investors who have poured about US$100 billion into the mainland since the 1980s, lured by a common language and culture and by low labour costs. But it has come under harsh criticism from independence-leaning politicians in Taipei, who view the chamber as a Beijing front for winning hearts and minds in Taiwan. Mr Chang, who runs a hiking gear company in Guangdong, said he had already talked about the chamber and its role with the Taiwanese agency that negotiates with the mainland in the absence of formal ties. […] But many Taiwanese businessmen at the ceremony were unwilling to talk about the potential political meaning of the new body. […] Chen Yunlin, head of the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office, made the usual admonishments against Taiwanese independence at the event but also reminded the island about its increasing economic reliance on the mainland.

 

Economy

Dialogue key to resolving IPR disputes
2007-04-18 China Daily
China Tuesday called on its trading partners to engage in dialogue to resolve disputes on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection amid reports that Japan is considering joining the United States in filing a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Wang Ziqiang, spokesman for the National Copyright Administration, said yesterday that piracy and counterfeiting are global problems and countries need to address them through talks rather than filing complaints at the global trade body. […]Japanese media reports said Tokyo had received a request from the United States - and is considering it - to join consultations between Beijing and Washington as a third party. It is expected to decide this week. […]Meanwhile, the country's largest trade partner - the European Union - said it will not join the United States in the action against China. […]

EU not to join U.S. in WTO case against China
2007-04-17 Xinhuanet
The European Union will not join the United States in its WTO action against China over piracy, the EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Monday, saying dialogue was preferred. "At the moment, I have decided that the European Union should be an observer of the case rather than a party to it, " Mandelson said at a luncheon party hosted by Guan Chengyuan, Chinese ambassador to the EU. The U.S. government announced its decision last week to file two cases with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China over the issues concerning intellectual property rights (IPR) and accession to China's publication market, a move criticized by China as contrary to the mutual understanding about properly solving trade disputes. "I, as you know, favor dialogue over WTO cases. Dialogue is my preference," Mandelson told Xinhua. The EU trade chief cited the negotiated solution to the Sino-EU trade row over textiles in 2005 as a success model. Mandelson himself led the talks with China, which helped to avert a looming trade war between the two trading partners with a mutually beneficial compromise. While acknowledging that the Chinese government has made efforts to better protect IPR and combat piracy, Mandelson urged China to do more in law enforcement and implementation of bilateral agreements in order to relieve the concern of EU investors. "I have come under some pressure to join the United States in this case ... it is possible that the events may force me to rethink this decision," Mandelson warned. Chinese ambassador Guan Chengyuan agreed with Mandelson that dialogue, instead of legal complaints, is the best solution to trade disputes, pointing out that China's efforts should be recognized. "It is our consistent approach to solve problems through dialogue and consultation, which is beneficial to the promotion of bilateral economic and trade relations," Guan said.

Brazil ambassador opposes quotas on China imports
2007-04-19 China Daily
Brazil's ambassador to China said on Wednesday he opposes restrictions on imports from the Asian giant, even though some Brazilian manufacturers have called for quotas on fast-rising Chinese imports. "It's necessary to avoid simplistic solutions, like championing protectionism, which is an ineffective tool in a globalized world," Luis Augusto de Castro Neves said in a statement released at a China-Brazil conference in Sao Paulo. "This wouldn't accomplish anything," he added. Brazil could run an annual trade deficit with China of about $2 billion this year, some analysts say. It would be Brazil's first trade deficit with China since commerce between the two nations started booming seven years ago. Total trade between the two countries is expected to rise 37 percent to $22 billion. Along with Russia and India, they make up the BRIC group of fast-growing developing countries. Brazilian industry leaders have asked their government to apply safeguards against Chinese goods, such as shoes, textiles and toys. Brazil sells mainly soy, iron ore and steel to China, while China sells a broad range of manufactured goods. Instead of threatening sanctions, Brazil's government has tried to persuade China to invest in stalled Brazilian infrastructure projects. […]

US, China make no progress on currency problem
2007-04-17 China Daily
China had no new proposals Monday to resolve a dispute between the two countries involving China's currency system, a Bush administration official said Monday after daylong talks. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been pushing China to move more quickly to allow its currency to rise in value against the US dollar as the administration seeks to ward off a protectionist backlash in Congress over America's record trade deficits with China. Clay Lowery, assistant Treasury secretary for international affairs, said China offered no new proposals at Monday's annual meeting of the US-China Joint Economic Committee on how it might accelerate increased valuation of its currency. "We heard the same thing today that we have heard before," he told reporters. This year's discussions, at which a number of other government agencies including the Federal Reserve and State Department participated, took place among lower-level deputies rather than top officials. While China has expressed unhappiness over recent trade actions taken by the United States against China, Lowery said those issues did not come up during the meeting and were not the reason that China decided to send lower-level officials. Both countries are preparing for the second round of new high-level talks known as the "Strategic Economic Dialogue" which Paulson began in China in December. The next meeting will be May 23-24 in Washington.

Mega import deals with US likely soon
2007-04-18 China Daily
China is likely to ink mega import deals, possibly amounting to $12 billion, with the United States during the second Sino-US strategic economic dialogue next month, in a move to narrow the trade gap. The talks, which will be co-chaired by Vice-Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, are the highest-profile dialogue mechanism over economic issues between the two. […]Though there's no official word on the possible procurement spree, if it does materialize, it will be seen as the latest move by China to cut its trade surplus with the US that totaled over $144 billion in 2006. […]Chinese enterprises last year signed about $16 billion in import deals with their US counterparts on products ranging from soybean to aircraft during President Hu Jintao's visit to the US. […]

China's new regulations on futures trading comes into effect
2007-04-16 Xinhuanet
China's new regulations on futures trading came into effect on Sunday, extending its coverage from commodities futures trading to financial futures and option contract trading. The new regulations, issued by the State Council on March 16 this year, will lay a legal foundation for the introduction of stock index futures, foreign exchange futures and option and other financial derivatives, which will provide financial institutions with much-needed tools to hedge risks. Objectives in a commodities futures trading include farm produce, industrial products, energy sources and related index product, while a financial futures trading involves securities, interest rates, exchange rates and related index products. The regulations no longer prohibit financial institutions from doing futures trading or raising funds and offering securities for futures trading. Seeing that securities dealers, fund management companies and commercial banks will become the major participants in the financial futures market, futures companies are considered as financial institutions in the regulations. According to the regulations, the Chinese futures market is required to improve its risk control system by setting up a guarantee fund and an interest compensation mechanism for futures investors. The regulations prescribe a series of measures to strengthen the supervision of the futures market in order to ensure its stable and healthy development, said Shi Jianjun, vice president of the China Futures Association. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the country's securities market watchdog, has the authority to carry out investigations into the market participants and examine their transaction and financial data and bank accounts. Fan Fuchun, vice chairman of the CSRC, said last month that China is likely to launch the trading of stock index futures in the first half of 2007. Simulation trading was started in October last year to test the trading system at the Shanghai-based China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFE), which was inaugurated in September 2006 to become the country's first financial derivatives exchange. China's futures market, composed of Shanghai Futures Exchange, Dalian Commodity Exchange and Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange and CFFE, turned over a record 21 trillion yuan (2.69 trillion U.S. dollars) last year. Commodities traded on the country's futures market include corn, soybean meal, sugar, zinc and natural rubber.

China takes new tack in forex management
2007-04-17 China Daily
Chinese individuals may be allowed to make direct purchases of foreign stocks, funds and bonds as the country adopts a new strategy in foreign exchange management strategy, the China Securities Journal reported Monday. Ba Shusong, vice director of the Finance Institute of the Development Research Center under the State Council, told the journal that for decades China has encouraged companies to export in order to earn foreign exchange but provided far fewer incentives for imports. […] The world's fourth largest economy saw its foreign exchange reserves hit 1.2 trillion US dollars at the end of March, up 37 percent year-on-year, with the increase in March more than doubling to nearly 45 billion dollars. The government began to allow local residents to purchase overseas investment products through banks, insurance and fund management companies last year and expanded the annual cap on foreign exchange purchases by individuals from 20,000 US dollars to 50,000 US dollars. Stimulated by the prospects of a rising yuan and a buoyant stock market, however, many Chinese people have exchanged foreign currency for yuan, which has further increased the pressure on government foreign currency reserves. "In the absence of suitable overseas investment channels, few Chinese are willing to hold foreign currency," Ba said. Since March, several high-ranking officials including deputy chief of the central bank Wu Xiaoling and director Hu Xiaolian of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange have emphasized the need to give Chinese individuals more flexibility in the way they use foreign currency assets.

Nation to build uranium reserve
2007-04-19 China Daily
China plans to set up a strategic reserve of natural uranium to ensure that the emphasis on nuclear power development is backed by a "stable and reliable" fuel supply. The reserve will be built by "sparing no effort" in identifying and exploiting domestic uranium deposits, while seeking international collaboration at the same time, according to the latest national nuclear industry development plan for years up to 2010. Slightly more than 1 percent of China's total electricity needs are met by nuclear power plants but this is set to surge to 4 percent by 2020, as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on coal-fired, polluting plants, according to official sources. […]A nuclear fuel cycle starts with the mining of uranium and ends with the disposal of nuclear waste with used fuel as an option for nuclear energy, according to the World Nuclear Association. "Toward that end, we must step up prospecting and excavation of uranium ores, while conducting research on recycling of used fuel," the official, who preferred not to be named, told China Daily. The official declined to specify the amount of uranium China needs to process to reach the anticipated nuclear power generation capacity of 40 gigawatts by 2020, or about five times the installed capacity in 2005. But with the country planning to construct three nuclear power plants each year over the next 10 years, the production capacity of various processes of the nuclear fuel cycle will have to increase by four to six times by then, according to the plan. Key areas that would be scoured for natural uranium include the Yili Basin in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China and the Ordos Basin in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in North China, according to the national plan. The official said the State reserve, plus a system of commercial stockpiles in enterprises, will take shape by 2010. China will also seek natural uranium resources overseas, the plan says. Over the past few years, China has imported uranium from countries such as Australia and Niger in Africa, said Han Xiaoping, executive vice-president of China5e.com, a top energy website in China. The national plan also says the country will strive to push its research on nuclear science closer to advanced global levels. It will also step up handling of radioactive waste and phasing out old nuclear facilities to ensure the safety of workers and the environment.

McDonald's, KFC to establish unions
2007-04-20 China Daily
McDonald's and KFC, both of which have been heavily criticised recently for underpaying their part-time workers in Guangdong, are to set up trade union branches across the province. […] "Also, Yum! Brands Inc (the operator of KFC)'s Guangdong branch has approached the local trade union federation for guidance on setting up trade unions." Kong said that an inter-regional committee of trade unions might be established for both McDonald's and KFC. […] Kong said that the recent controversy over underpaying by the fast-food giants was not the reason for their move. "The federation has been promoting the trade union organization to foreign-funded enterprises across the province since earlier last year and several have since set them up," Kong said. He said that all of the province's 325 foreign-funded companies would be obliged to establish union branches by the end of the year. […]

Regulator clears banks
2007-04-20 China Daily
The headquarters of the first batch of locally incorporated foreign banks passed the Shanghai Bureau of the China Banking Regulatory Commission audit for providing renminbi services to local residents yesterday. HSBC, Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of East Asia are ready to authorize its branches and sub-branches to roll out various renminbi products for local customers.

 

Mongolia

UK visit for President
2007-04-18 Mongol Messenger
President N. Enkhbayar visited the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on April 16-18 at the invitation of UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He held talks with the Prime Minister and met Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw; the Trade and Investment Minister Ian McCartney and head of the Mongolian in the British parliament J. Grogan and other officials. During the visit, the delegates discussed bilateral relations and cooperation and other issues. The President met leaders of well-known mining, refining, investment and banking and financial companies and shared views on developing relations and cooperation with Mongolia's comprehensive national development policy. The Foreign Affairs Ministry's European Department director, Sh. Odonbaatar said April 13: “The visit aims to strengthen mutual trust of Mongolia and Great Britain, strengthen relations and raise Mongolia's international position and reputation. The President's visit to the UK, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and influential member of the European Union and NATO, is a concrete step to implement purposes of Mongolia's foreign policy on developing relations and cooperation with highly developed and democratic countries.” […] It is the second visit by a Mongolian head of state following former President P. Ochirbat's official visit in

Erlian Consular office upgraded
2007-04-18 Mongol Messenger
A branch of the consular office of Mongolia in the Chinese city of Hohhot in Erlian has been upgraded to a new Consular Office and was opened on April 7. The branch, established a decade ago, has been the main city for travel by Mongolians and Chinese. The Foreign Ministry's Neighbour Countries Department head Kh. Ayurzana said that as the rank of the office has been improved, activity of the office would cover three aimags and one city of Inner Mongolia and it create possibilities to expand activities. More than 600,000 Mongolians travel to China each year and 400,000 of them pass through Erlian. During the opening of the Consular Office, the working groups discussed border control, tourism and transport issues and pledged to renew an agreement on Auto transport built in 1991 within this year. They agreed to allow companies with special permission to transport coal, zinc and oil to the depth of the territory and large passenger buses to cross the border without queuing from May 1 because micro vans and cars contribute to traffic jams. They discussed Gants mod and Gashuunsukhait border points in Omnogobi Aimag, Bichigt in Sukhbaatar Aimag, Bayankhoshuu and Ovdog in Bayankhongor Aimag and Bulgan in Khovd Aimag and create appropriate infrastructure to function permanently. The Chinese constructed Bulgan border checkpoint and plan to open it permanently this year. There are 12 border checkpoints functioning periodically.

Nuclear power cooperation possibility
2007-04-18 Mongol Messenger
A Russian delegation, led by the head of the Federal Agency of Nuclear Energy (Rosatom), Sergey Kiriyenko, visited Mongolia on April 13. They met Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar; Prime Minister M.Enkhbold and other government officials on April 13 and discussed possibilities of cooperation in the nuclear power sector. Mr Kiriyenko said: “Nuclear energy development is a key issue for our Agency particularly as we pay more attention to uranium issues as the main source of nuclear power plants. Russian companies are interested in possibilities of cooperation in the nuclear power sector with Mongolia. It requires 5 years to construct a largescale nuclear power plant and two to three years for a small-scale one. Russia is ready to assist Mongolia to construct any nuclear power unit.” Mongolia's President said his country was ready to cooperate with Russia for environmental protection. “It is possible to cooperate with Russia and Kazakhstan on uranium issues,” he said. Prime Minister, M. Enkhbold received Mr.Sergey Kiriyenko and they exchanged opinions on nuclear energy, on April 13. Mr. Kiriyenko proposed a possible nuclear energy project to construct a joint plant, based on several small uranium deposits whose reserves have been identified along the border region of Mongolia and Russia. He said that it would be important to prepare Mongolian nuclear specialists o to carry out the project. The Prime Minister said Mongolia and Russia had established inter-governmental negotiations on cooperating in using nuclear energy for peace purposes in Ulaanbaatar in 2000. He said Mongolia was ready to cooperate with Russian organizations and companies including ROSATOM, Renova, Techsnabexport and Atomstroiexport in this sector with preparation of specialists; a joint study and other technical cooperation. He said the two countries could cooperate in exploration and mining and processing of uranium ore. Among the meeting participants were Russian ambassador to Mongolia, B.A. Govorin; Renova group president V.F. Vekselberg; Techsnabexport general director B.A Smirnov; Gazprombank vice-president S.S Ivanov; Atomstroyexport president S.I. Shmatko; Mongolian Food and Agriculture Minister and Mongolian- Russian intergovernmental Commission chairman, D. Terbsihdagva; Mongolian Ambassador to Russia, L. Khangai and Deputy Minister Industry and Trade, Ya. Sodbaatar.

 

Mirjam Mueller
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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