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
  29.5-1.6.07, No. 167  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese FM says meeting with EU leaders "constructive"
2007-05-29 People's Daily Online
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Monday described his meeting with the EU leaders as "constructive and fruitful," saying that both sides should push forward the strategic partnership based on common interests. China and Europe have "a vast potential to tap" in bilateral relationship, Yang told reporters after meeting the EU Troika, which includes German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, the EU foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner. […]

China expresses "strong dissatisfaction" with U.S. military report
2007-05-29 People's Daily Online
China on Monday expressed its "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to a report by the U.S. Defense Department on China's build-up of its military strength. "The report exaggerates China's military strength and expenditure with ulterior motives," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a written statement. "It disseminates the 'China threat' theory, severely violates norms of international relations and wantonly interferes with China's internal affairs," she said. "As a peace-loving country," Jiang said. […] "We urge the United States to adhere to the one-China policy and the three joint communiques, oppose 'Taiwan independence', stop selling weapons and sending any wrong signals to Taiwan secessionists," Jiang concluded.

China, Thailand sign deals to enhance strategic cooperation
2007-05-29 People's Daily Online
China and Thailand on Monday signed two agreements to promote bilateral strategic cooperation. The Joint Action Plan on China-Thailand Strategic Cooperation and the Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees in Higher Education were signed after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with visiting Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont. Wen said the action plan would set detailed goals for future cooperation and have a positive effect on China's relations with other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). […]

China, Australia's top legislators satisfied with bilateral relations
2007-05-30 Xinhua
Top legislators from China and Australia have expressed their satisfaction with the development of relations of their countries. At a meeting with Speaker of House of Representatives David Hawker here on Tuesday, Sheng Huaren, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), said the overall Sino-Australian relationship is assuming a sound development trend, which is marked by a deepened economic and trade cooperation. Sheng, who is on a six-day visit to Australia at the invitation of the House, is attending an exchange conference under a bilateral parliamentary mechanism scheduled on Wednesday. […]

China opposed to more sanctions against Sudan
2007-05-30 People's Daily Online
China said yesterday that it opposed expanded sanctions against Sudan as the United States unveiled tough new restrictions against the African country and pushed for another UN resolution on Darfur. "Imposing new sanctions only makes the problem more difficult to resolve," China's recently-appointed special envoy to Africa Liu Guijin told a news conference after a fact-finding trip to Sudan. […] In brief remarks at the White House yesterday, US President George W. Bush followed through on a threat made six weeks ago to pursue tougher action against Sudan. Bush directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consult with Britain and other allies on pursuing new UN Security Council sanctions against Sudan. […]

Closer Asia-EU ties 'must' for energy security
2007-05-30 People's Daily Online
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi yesterday called for closer partnership between Asia and the European Union (EU) to ensure energy security. Speaking at the eighth Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers, which concluded in the German city of Hamburg yesterday, Yang said international cooperation is one of the most important ways of ensuring energy security. […] He said at the two-day meeting where top diplomats from 45 Asian and EU countries had gathered: "Climate change is a problem caused by development, and it should be dealt with on a common principle but different levels of responsibilities." […]

Hu to attend outreach session of G-8 Summit
2007-06-01 Xinhua
At the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the outreach session of the G-8 Summit held in Germany and pay a state visit to Sweden from June 6 to 10. ; Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made the announcement at a regular press conference on Thursday. Jiang said Hu will attend a multilateral meeting of leaders of the five developing countries participating in the session on Jun. 8, and besides, he will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of some countries to the session, adding detailed schedule is still under discussion. Hu will pay a state visit to Sweden from Jun. 8 to 10, the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Sweden since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1950, according to Jiang. […]

Japan puts relations at risk - FM
2007-06-01 China Daily Online
The Chinese mainland warned Japan on Thursday it was putting relations at risk by allowing former Taiwan "president" Lee Teng-hui to visit, as Lee courted more controversy by suggesting he might go to a Tokyo war shrine. Lee could earn yet more wrath if he goes to the Yasukuni Shrine, which many in Asia see as a symbol of Japan's wartime militarism. Although Japan says Lee's 11-day stay is for tourism only, Beijing suggested that the trip would hurt ties already strained by issues stemming from Japan's World War Two aggression and disputes over borders and energy resources. The aim of Lee Teng-hui's visit to Japan is to push forward Taiwan independence and to undermine Sino-Japan relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news conference. […]

Russia in talks to build China gas pipeline
2007-06-01 China Daily Online
Russia is in talks to build a gas pipeline to China which should be partially completed in the next five to six years and is interested in investing further in the country's energy sector, Russia's energy minister said on Thursday. "We will go about developing infrastructure for supplies of natural gas and crude oil to China," Viktor Khristenko, Russian minister of industry and energy, told Reuters in an interview. Russia was also interested in investing in oil production, refining and marketing in China in addition to gas distribution. He said Moscow wanted to build gas pipelines from gas fields in eastern and western Siberia. Decisions would be made based on the development of the Chinese gas market and restructuring of its energy markets as a whole. […]

 

Domestic Policy

Bird-flu soldier was in Fujian, says WHO
2007-05-29 SCMP
The People's Liberation Army soldier who has been confirmed as having contracted the H5N1 bird flu strain was serving in Fujian province, according to the World Health Organisation's Beijing office. "It has been officially confirmed by the Health Ministry to us," spokeswoman Joanna Brent said. The Ministry of Health also told the WHO it would make the news public, but it would probably take "a couple of days" as "military information is involved", Ms Brent said. […]

Death sentence a warning to others - Zheng's penalty shows corrupt officials will pay the ultimate price, state media say
2007-05-30 SCMP
The old Chinese saying "killing the chicken to warn the monkey" could summarise the severity of the death sentence meted out to former national drug chief Zheng Xiaoyu yesterday, and the state-controlled media made sure that message was heard loud and clear. Soon after the sentence was announced, Xinhua, People's Daily and a portal run by the State Council Information Office all posted commentaries lauding the sentence, saying it underscored the determination of the authorities to stamp out corruption at a senior level. […]

Corrupt drugs chief to appeal against his death sentence
2007-05-31 SCMP
Disgraced drug chief Zheng Xiaoyu, the fourth senior official to be sentenced to death for corruption charges since the Cultural Revolution, is planning an appeal, according to state media. But a Beijing lawyer who has represented many victims of medical negligence said it would be virtually impossible for Zheng to escape execution because of his guilty plea and the size of the bribes he accepted. […] Zhuo Xiaoqin, the Beijing lawyer who is also a consultant to the Ministry of Health, said the prospects of a successful appeal against the death sentence were slim. […] If Zheng loses his appeal, he will become the first senior official to be executed for corruption since Hu Jintao became president. […]

Local gov't urged to ensure pork supply
2007-05-30 Xinhua
The General Office of the State Council has urged local governments at all levels to ensure the continuity of pork supplies amid concerns over soaring pork prices. […] According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in April live pigs nationwide were priced 71.3 percent higher than a month earlier, and pork 29.3 percent higher. […] The notice required city mayors to take charge of the pork price hike and make better regional cooperation to ensure a steady supply of meat. Local governments should monitor pig production and focus on the quality, price and quarantine inspection of pork to maintain an orderly market, said the notice. […]

Internet police block media watchdog website within hours
2007-05-31 SCMP
The mainland's internet police took between five and eight hours to track the new location of Reporters Without Borders' Chinese-language website and block it, the media freedom group said yesterday. The site, www.rsf-chinese.org, was launched on May 3 but mainland access was quickly denied, the media watchdog said. The group moved it three weeks later, only to see it closed. […]

One-child policy sparks more rioting in Guangxi - Anger over birth-control fines spreads across region
2007-05-31 SCMP
More riots have broken out in the Guangxi over local authorities' rigid enforcement of the one-child policy, residents of the south-western region said yesterday. Hundreds of residents of Rongxian county, in the east of the region, stormed and smashed several government offices on Tuesday. […] The riots mainly took place in two rural towns in Rongxian - Yangmei and Lingshan - although small-scale unrest was also reported in eight other towns. […] A Yangmei resident denied the Xinhua report and said they were inspired by similar riots in nearby Bobai county two weeks ago. […]

Surprise as toxic chemical plant in Xiamen is put on hold
2007-05-31 SCMP
In a surprise turnaround, authorities in Xiamen, Fujian province, yesterday put on hold plans to build a toxic chemical factory in the city. The decision came just two days before a planned public protest outside government headquarters by residents worried about its environmental and health impact. […] Many residents dismissed the news as an attempt by officials to defuse opposition days before the highly sensitive anniversary of the June 4 democracy protests 18 years ago. […]

Another 80 mln yuan alloted to drought-hit areas
2007-06-01 Xinhua
China's government on Thursday pledged another 80 million yuan (10.4 million U.S. dollars) to help fight a widespread and prolonged drought that has left nearly 9 million people short of drinking water. The central government has launched an emergency mechanism on drought relief to offer timely financial support to affected areas, according to the Ministry of Finance. The drought triggered by continuous high temperatures and lack of rain in most parts of northern China since early March also affected 14.93 million hectares of arable land, 25 percent up from the annual average, and 7.52 million head of livestock. Gansu and Qinghai provinces and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region were among the most severely hit areas. […]

Conduct of civil servants put under scrutiny
2007-06-01 Xinhua
China's civil servants are on notice to be on their best behavior -- at home and at work -- or face the sack under a new regulation coming into effect on Friday. Officials' private lives and public performance will be closely scrutinized under the country's first regulation to systematically stipulate administrative punishments for disreputable conduct. […] The 55-article regulation issued by the State Council in April stipulates that officials who engage in corruption, organize "superstitious" gatherings, use drugs, engage in the sex trade or fail to fulfill their duties can be demoted or fired. […]

China forced to step up diversion of Yangtze River to tackle Wuxi water crisis
2007-06-01 People's Daily Online
China has stepped up the diversion of the Yangtze River to dilute water polluted by blue-green algae in a lake that provides drinking water for millions of people in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.

Plant. […] The water supply from Xiaowanli Tap Water Company in Wuxi, an economically dynamic city 128 km from Shanghai with a population of more than 5 million, has not resumed after supply was halted on May 22 when the Taihu lake started to stink with a blue-green algae bloom. […] Initial investigations show the water level of Taihu Lake is at its lowest in 50 years this summer due to continuous high temperatures and lack of rainfall, which have led to an excess of nutrients in the water. […]

Press official hails 'remarkable' crackdown on internet porn
2007-06-01 SCMP
The mainland's top press official has hailed the "remarkable" achievements of the central government's campaign to rid the internet of "unhealthy" content, and called for a stepped-up effort to "purify the internet" for the country's young people, Xinhua reported. More than 200 million "harmful" pieces of information have been filtered since the start of this year, Press and Publication Administration director Liu Binjie said. […]

New rights law a 'gift' for children
2007-06-01 SCMP
The revised Protection of Minors Law coming into effect today is "a festive present for the mainland's 300 million children", Vice-Premier Wu Yi said in an article published yesterday in People's Daily. This revision of the 1991 law will "provide a better legal framework for the safeguarding of minors' rights" and their healthy development, Ms Wu said, calling for nationwide support and promotion of the new law. She said that despite huge improvements made since 1991, the nation still faced many challenges in the protection of minors, including problems such as the increasing number of migrant workers' children in cities, rural children separated from parents and ever-younger delinquents. Although the new law addresses many of these problems, one drafter said the legislation still fell short of providing a complete solution, given the complexity of the problems. […]

Activist tortured by police, claims wife
2007-06-01 SCMP
Tai Lake anti-pollution warrior Wu Lihong has been tortured by Yixing police since he was arrested in April on blackmail charges, his wife and lawyer alleged yesterday. Wu's Beijing lawyer, Zhu Xiaoyan, said she was only allowed to see her client for the first time on Wednesday, even though Wu had been in custody for more than six weeks. […] Wu, 39, has spent large sums over the past 16 years collecting evidence of pollution from about 2,000 chemical factories in Yixing which are contaminating Tai Lake, the third-largest freshwater lake in China. […]

Guidelines to protect hepatitis-B carriers
2007-06-01 SCMP
Two central government agencies have issued guidelines targeting workplace discrimination against 120 million hepatitis B carriers. The ministries of health and labour and social security have banned employers from imposing compulsory hepatitis B tests on job applicants unless these are required by regulations. The guidelines also subject medical facilities to confidentiality clauses. Employers often have had little regard for equality in the workplace, and discrimination against hepatitis B-positive workers has been rampant due to rudimentary legislation. […]

 

Taiwan

Frank Hsieh named as DPP's presidential candidate
2007-05-30 SCMP
Former Taiwanese premier Frank Hsieh Chang-ting was yesterday officially named as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's candidate for the presidential election in March. Mr Hsieh, who has called for better relations with the mainland, vowed to continue the independence-leaning DPP's rule in Taiwan and safeguard the island's sovereignty in the face of military threats from Beijing. […]

Taiwan's Ma fails to bring legislative leader Wang onto election ticket
2007-06-01 Xinhua
Wang Jin-pyng, leader of Taiwan's legislative body, on Thursday declined Ma Ying-jeou's invitation to run as his deputy in the 2008 Taiwan leadership elections. Announcing his decision, Wang said after a meeting with Ma that he still expected to work with Ma in the election campaign. […]

 

Tibet

Abbot forced to step down for not condemning Dalai Lama
2007-06-01 SCMP
The mainland has forced the head of a Buddhist monastery in Tibet to step down after he refused to sign documents condemning the Dalai Lama, Radio Free Asia reported. The abbot, 70, said he had been ordered to denounce the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as part of a "re-education campaign" of monks at Dungkyab monastery. "I saw the government documents. It was written that the Dalai Lama should be thoroughly criticised and his splittist behaviour should be condemned," Khenpo Tsanor said. "I spoke out loudly and refused to sign. I declared that I would not sign even at the cost of my life or risk of imprisonment." Officials asked him to step down in mid-May.

 

Shanghai

Xi Jinping elected party chief of Shanghai
2007-05-29 Xinhua
Xi Jinping was elected secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Shanghai Municipal Committee on Monday. Xi, born in June 1953, was elected to the post at the first plenary session of the Ninth CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. Xi was appointed to the post by the CPC Central Committee in March this year. Former party chief of Shanghai Chen Liangyu was removed from his post in September 2006 due to a corruption scandal. […]

 

Economy

Largest gasfield discovery may be declared
2007-05-29 China Daily Online
PetroChina, the country's top oil and gas producer, is soon expected to announce China's largest natural gas discovery, which may surpass Sulige and Puguang gasfields in terms of reserves, according to industry experts. "PetroChina is to announce a major natural gas discovery that's even richer than our Puguang gas field. The new gasfield is also located in Sichuan Province," a source in Sinopec told China Daily yesterday. The new find, known as Longgang gasfield, has two to three times the reserve of Puguang, run by Sinopec, said Han Xuegong, a senior consultant with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), PetroChina's parent company. […]

Foreign businesses warned of illegal food imports
2007-05-29 Xinhua
A senior official for food-export supervision has warned foreign businesses not to import illegally-exported products from China. The warning follows recent reports of some poor-quality Chinese products entering foreign markets. Li Yuanping, director general of the Bureau of Imports and Exports Food Safety, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said China imposes tight controls on food exports. [… ] Food export companies have to be registered with AQSIQ, maintain high safety standards, and are subject to rigorous inspections by CIQ officials. […] But some importing countries, such as the US, do not require that the imported products come from officially-registered plants and accompanied by official certificates, which makes illegal imports possible, he [Li Yuanping] said.

Stamp duty rise tips markets into downturn - Mainland stocks plunge is just the start, analysts say
2007-05-31 SCMP
Mainland stock markets had their biggest falls in three months yesterday after the government unexpectedly tripled the stamp duty paid on share trades - its most decisive action yet to cool months of frenzied speculation that has sent the bourses to record highs. At one point the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down as much as 7.37 per cent from Tuesday's record closing high of 4,334.8, but rallied to end 6.5 per cent down, at 4,053.088, its lowest close since May 21. The fall was the biggest since February 27, when the main index dropped 8.84 per cent. […] Like the Shanghai index, the Shenzhen Composite Index also fell heavily, closing down 7.19 per cent or 92.988 points, at 1,199.454. […]

China, India to advance feasibility research on regional trade arrangement
2007-05-31 Xinhua
Chinese and Indian trade officials will meet in Beijing next month to discuss the viability of initiating a regional trade arrangement, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Wang Xinpei said on Wednesday at a regular press conference. According to Wang, both sides will discuss "cargo and service trade, investment and trade liberalization" during the two-day consultation beginning on June 4, the fourth of its kind since March 2006. The two countries plan to complete a joint feasibility research on regional trade arrangement by October and then decide whether or not to start free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations. […] The first four months have seen foreign trade between China and India surge by 56.8 percent year-on-year, the highest among all the major trade partners of the world's fourth largest economy, to 11.4 billion U.S. dollars, according to customs statistics. […]

Central bank plans to speed up financial innovations
2007-05-31 China Daily Online
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said it would speed up financial innovations, according to its China Financial Markets Development Report 2006 released yesterday. The central bank will expand by creating new products in inter-bank markets and steadily develop the short-term financing bonds market. […]
2007-05-31 People's Daily Online
China needs a legal framework to strengthen the supervision over the financial market, the central bank said in a report released on Wednesday. […] Laws were required as soon as possible to improve transparency on transactions, information disclosure, mergers and acquisitions of listed companies and securities firms, according to the report. […]

China blames Panamanian merchants deaths from tainted medicine
2007-06-01 Xinhua
China on Thursday blamed Panamanian traders for falsifying documents on a Chinese chemical product that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Panamanian people who had taken tainted medicines. "The Panamanian merchants are mainly responsible because they changed the scope of use and shelf-life of this product," said Wei Chuanzhong, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The product, "TD glycerin", an industrial solvent, was made by the Taixing Glycerin Factory, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, and sold by state-owned Beijing distributor CNSC Fortune Way to Spanish firm Rasfer in 2003. Investigations showed that Taixing used a confusing product name, "TD glycerin", which was easily misinterpreted as glycerin, and failed to clearly indicate the product ingredients, which included toxic diethylene glycol. […]

Forex reserve to have more Euros
2007-06-01 China Daily Online
China plans to increase the ratio of Euros in its foreign exchange holdings given the stability in the European Union (EU) economic growth and in the value of the European single currency, said a central bank vice governor on Thursday. However, China has no plans yet to reduce the proportion of US dollar assets in its coffers, Wu Xiaoling told an economic forum in Brussels, the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post reported Friday. […]

China blasts U.S. paper duty
2007-06-01 Xinhua
The United States' decision to impose anti-dumping duties on gloss paper imports from China, South Korea and Indonesia on Wednesday will hurt trade relations and won't help American paper manufacturers, analysts say. The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Wednesday that it made a preliminary decision to impose duties of 23.19 percent to 99.65 percent on Chinese imports of gloss paper, used in cataloges and premium magazines. It is a second blow to Chinese gloss paper exporters in two months. On March 30, the Department of Commerce announced anti-subsidy duties of 10.90 percent to 20.35 percent, which are expected to take effect in August. […]

 

North Korea

China urges proper solution to DPRK funds issue
2007-06-01 Xinhua
China on Thursday called for proper solution to the frozen funds issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) with consideration of all parties' concerns. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met with visiting U.S. representative Christopher Hill on Wednesday to discuss issues related to the six-party talks including the DPRK funds held by the Macao-based Banco Delta Asia, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Hill arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to exchange notes and information with the Chinese envoy to the six-party talks. Saying he had "a good exchange" with the Chinese side, Hill said the discussion touched on "where we are in the six-party talks process". […]

 

Mongolia

Chinese aid strengthens defence
2007- 05 - 30 Mongol Messenger
President N. Enkhbayar received Chinese delegates led by Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of People's Republic of China Colonel-General Lyan Guanle on May 27. The President said: “Cooperation between Mongolia and China has been developing in recent decades; bilateral cooperation in defence in particular, occupies an important position. […] He emphasized that Mongolia aims to have a compact and skilful army and that cooperation must be expanded by Mongolia in the current globalization period. […]

Human trafficking attacked
2007- 05 - 30 Mongol Messenger
The Mongolian Students' Union has organized a month-long campaign: ‘Against human trafficking', targetting vulnerable students who look for jobs susceptible to human trafficking, to contribute to their tuition fees. The union has requested support from the Asian Foundation to reduce risk in human trafficking and released its summer action programme to the press on May 18. The union believes that the most reliable method to stop human trafficking and reduce victim numbers is prevention. In the campaign, groups and individuals in the age range of human trafficking target will be shown in a public documentary. The union launched the campaign on May 21 in Parliament House and promoted it through more that 20 universities; institutes; […]

News in Brief
2007- 05 - 30 Mongol Messenger
Mongolia's President, N.Enkhbayar pays an official visit to the Republic of Korea at the invitation of President Roh Moo-hyun from May 28 to 30. The heads of state discuss expansion of bilateral ties in political; economic; cultural and humanitarian sectors and cooperation in the international arena in the spirit of goodwill and cooperation, declared by both countries in 2006. The President plans to meet the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Korean Mongolists and Mongolian citizens residing in Korea and to address a Mongolian-Korean business meeting. During the visit, documents are expected to be signed on bilateral collaboration in economic, scientific and humanitarian areas.

N-EAsian Civil Society Conference Begins
2007-05-24 UB Post
N keeping with the recent trend to emphasize intra- regional cooperation, a civil society conference was inaugurated on May 24 in Ulaanbaatar to consider and take decisions on promoting non-violence and nuclear non-proliferation in North- East Asia. The regional steering committee of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC) will discuss such issues as launching civil society forums to promote its goals, establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the region, and offering support for Mongolia.s efforts to institutionalize its nuclear- weapon-free status. […]

 

Irene Frei
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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