SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
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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
  25.6-29.6.07, No. 171  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

SCO member states to increase defense cooperation (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-27
Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will make fresh efforts to cooperate in national defense and security in a drive to deal with an array of challenges, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said here Wednesday(…). The meeting (…) discussed the security status in Central Asia, and the priority of cooperation among SCO members. (…)In the joint communique, the ministers agreed that terrorism, separatism, extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international crime pose severe threats to regional and international peace and stability, although the global society is making efforts to safeguard peace. (…) They also applauded Russia's contributions in organizing the Peace Mission 2007 anti-terrorist military exercise among the armed forces of SCO members (…). ^ top ^

Pakistani envoy arrives in Beijing for security talks (SCMP)
2007-06-26
A top Pakistani official has arrived in Beijing for talks on strengthening anti-terrorist co-operation. Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao arrived for meetings with his mainland counterparts, a Pakistani embassy spokesman said in Beijing. Xinhua said the minister would meet Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang and other security officials. (…) The visit comes days after six Chinese women were kidnapped from an alleged brothel in Islamabad and briefly held by radical Islamic students as part of an anti-vice campaign. ^ top ^

EU gets wake-up call on mainland's role in Africa (SCMP)
2007-06-28
The European Union should launch an enhanced "partnership of equals" with Africa this year in areas from trade to aid to meet a rise in the mainland's influence in Europe's former colonial backyard, its executive commission says. The goal is to better position Europe in the quest for energy and other resources also sought by the mainland as its economy surges ahead. (…) Africa is also a front in the behind-the-scenes ideological battle between the west and the mainland. Western officials cite the mainland's reluctance to back tougher UN sanctions against Sudan - one of its oil suppliers - as undermining efforts to halt violence in Darfur and as proof Beijing places interests before values in its foreign policy. They also suspect the mainland of assiduously courting African capitals to win their backing in the United Nations and its new Human Rights Council to guard against attempts to censure it over its human rights and democracy record. ^ top ^

Vice premier: China to enhance int'l cooperation in IPR protection (Xinhua)
2007-06-27
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said Tuesday China attaches great importance to intellectual property protection and will enhance international cooperation on the issue. (…) It is the first time that the symposium has been held in Asia and it would have a far-reaching influence on Asia and all developing countries, said Wu. ^ top ^

Sudanese president meets Chinese envoy for Darfur (Xinhua)
2007-06-23
Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir held talks in the Presidential Palace on Saturday with visiting Special Representative of the Chinese Government Liu Guijin in which they exchanged views on the bilateral relations between the two countries, the Darfur issue as well as other problems. (…) Al-Bashir noted that the Chinese government had been exerting enormous efforts and continuously playing a constructive role for helping resolve the Darfur issue, adding that the appointment of a special representative for Darfur proved again the concern of the Chinese government over the issue. (…). ^ top ^

Mongolia vows to persist with Chinese policy toward Tibet (Xinhua)
2007-06-27
The chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia Danzan Lundeejantsan said Tuesday that Tibet is an inalienable part of China and Mongolia would persist with the Chinese policy toward Tibet. The speaker said this when meeting Tsering Dolkar, Vice Chairman of Tibet's People's Political Consultative Conference of China in Ulan Bator. (…). ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Hu's policy speech prepares ground for political theory (SCMP)
2007-06-27
President Hu Jintao has made a major push to leave his mark on the Communist Party's constitution at the party congress later this year, analysts say. He delivered a keynote speech to elite party members on Monday, giving policy directions on the country's economic and social development over the next five years. Mr Hu, speaking at the Central Party School, outlined a series of strategic ideas put forward by the party leadership since the last party congress five years ago, highlighting his pet concepts of "scientific development" and a "harmonious society", Xinhua reported. (…) "The meeting has set the tone for the 17th Party Congress, where the country's previous reform path will be evaluated and new modes of development will be asserted," said Mao Shoulong, a political science professor at Renmin University. "Scientific development" - Mr Hu's catchphrase for sustainable, energy-efficient economic development instead of breakneck growth at the expense of the environment - and "building a harmonious society" - which essentially means reducing income disparities to ease social tension - were likely to become the new party theory to guide the country's development from 2007 to 2012, Professor Mao said. (…) Mr Hu's political model, compared with that of his predecessor Jiang Zemin, is considered to be more advanced because it is concrete and focuses on overall and balanced development. (…). ^ top ^

Journalists welcome revision of rules on reporting emergencies (SCMP)
2007-06-26
Mainland journalists have cautiously welcomed a revision to the draft law on emergency management which has dropped a controversial clause prohibiting unauthorised media reports on emergencies. The revision of the draft law, which is going through a second reading at a National People's Congress (NPC) session, indicates that the central government is gradually realizing that strong media scrutiny is an effective anti-corruption tool. "It represents a small victory for all news media workers in the mainland," said a journalist who works for a US newspaper's Shanghai office. The revised version also omits a provision that would have allowed local governments to "monitor relevant emergency coverage". It still calls on local governments to "disclose information and developments of sudden incidents in a unified, accurate and timely manner". (…). ^ top ^

Coal reserve proposed in law change (China Daily)
2007-06-29
The country will set up a strategic coal reserve to ensure energy security, according to a legislative amendment being drafted. Building a strategic coal reserve is on the top of a list of 10 articles proposed to be added to the current coal law, Huang Shengchu, president of the China Coal Information Institute (CCII) affiliated to the State Administration of Work Safety, told China Daily yesterday. (…) Of the four strategic oil reserve bases, the first two - both located in East China's Zhejiang Province - are already operational with a capacity of 5 million tons each. Oil will be stored in the two other bases - one in Huangdao of Shandong Province and another in Dalian, Liaoning Province - this year or in the first half of next year(…). The issue of a coal reserve is surely worth discussing because of the importance of energy supply to the economy(…). According to one revision, the threshold for mining license application is raised to improve safety. Articles on coal product processing and industry planning will also be revised to serve the goal of sustainable development, he added. The country's annual coal output reached 2.3 billion tons last year. Exports were 63 million tons; and imports, 38 million tons. Coal currently accounts for 70 percent of the country's energy consumption. ^ top ^

China amends draft new labor law (Xinhua)
2007-06-28
The draft labor contract law, which is likely to be adopted by China's national legislature when it ends its weeklong session on Friday, has been revised to punish government officials for abuse of office and dereliction of duty. Officials abusing their authority or neglecting their responsibilities, resulting in harm to the interests of workers, will face administrative penalties or criminal prosecution if the actions are serious enough, according to the revised draft. Lawmakers lambasted officials involved in the forced labor scandal in north Shanxi Province during their fourth deliberation on the draft, which resulted in the revision, said Yang Jingyu, chairman of the Law Committee, on Thursday. The officials' actions directly harmed the legal rights of workers and caused social disquiet, so the labor contract law, which aimed to protect workers, should contain provisions to tackle the problem, according to members of the NPC Standing Committee. (…). ^ top ^

China's courts recruit more staff for death penalty reviews (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-23
China's courts will hire 1,900 more staff for open court trials for second instance death sentence cases, according to a source with the Supreme People's Court (SPC). "Over the past year, the SPC has been recruiting personnel for local courts where case numbers are high," the unnamed SPC official told an inspection team of the National People's Congress, the parliament, in a working report. According to China's Criminal Procedural Law, since July 2006, open court sessions are obligatory when a second instance case is defended by a people's procuratorate. (…) Since 2005, Chinese media have exposed several errors of judgement in death sentence cases and have criticized courts for a lack of caution (…). ^ top ^

City admits to being a hub for drugs trade - Guangzhou seen as top smugglers' target (SCMP)
2007-06-26
Guangzhou authorities have admitted for the first time that the city has become an international distribution hub for illegal drugs. Guangzhou customs deputy director Chen Jianwen said yesterday that Guangzhou's prosperous economy and good transport links made it "a good consumer and wholesale market for drugs". (…) Guangdong police said yesterday that 110,000 people in the province were addicted to heroin, about one-seventh of the national total. ^ top ^

More than 1,000 officials disciplined for corruption in first five months (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-25
More than 1,000 Chinese officials above the county level have been punished for corruption during the first five months, up 2.4 percent over the same period last year, Monday's Procuratorial Daily said. Prosecutors across China have investigated a total of 12,622 corruption cases, involving 15,045 people, the newspaper said, quoting sources with the Supreme People's Procuratorate. (…) By April, China had dealt with 21,889 cases of commercial bribery involving 5.3 billion yuan (676 million U.S. dollars) since it started an anti-corruption campaign in 2005, according to official statistics. ^ top ^

Slave cases spark crackdown on illegal labour (SCMP)
2007-06-28
Beijing has launched a two-month nationwide crackdown on illegal labour following the outcry over slavery scandals in Shanxi and Henan. Jointly enforced by nine ministries, the campaign will target illegal labour in small kilns, coal mines and workshops in rural areas, according to a notice posted on a government website yesterday. (…). ^ top ^

Illegal kilns used over 50,000 labourers (SCMP)
2007-06-26
(…) Shanxi vice-governor Fan Duixiang told the National People's Congress Standing Committee yesterday that the provincial government has inspected 3,347 brick kilns, of which 2,346 had been operating illegally. The kilns had hired 53,036 workers illegally. "There are mainly three problems. Owners of illegal brick kilns lured migrant workers with [empty promises] of high salaries; restricted their workers' freedom; and used child labour illegally," Mr Fan told the NPC Standing Committee. Mr Fan said there were more than 100,000 migrants working in 8,760 small brick kilns, mines and refineries under investigation. (…). ^ top ^

Petitioner killed in confrontation with police (SCMP)
2007-06-28
One petitioner was killed and another injured when police tried to prevent 10 petitioners from travelling from Liaoning province to Beijing to complain about alleged illegal land requisition, a human rights group reported yesterday. Police were holding the eight other petitioners, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said. (…) According to the centre's report, the petitioners wanted to complain to central government authorities in Beijing about a lack of compensation when local officials seized their farmland for the construction of a development zone. The incident came as top officials again are reminding local cadres to handle properly any petitions). ^ top ^

Police detain eight Protestant leaders, says overseas group (SCMP)
2007-06-28
Police have detained eight leaders of the unauthorised Protestant church movement on charges of violating rules on religious activity, an overseas monitoring group reported. The detentions, the latest reported in an ongoing campaign of harassment against underground church groups, came earlier this month in Shaanxi and Shandong provinces, the China Aid Association reported. (…). ^ top ^

Industrial raw materials found in food (China Daily)
2007-06-27
A nationwide inspection of the food-production industry has uncovered the use of a wide range of illegal ingredients in the processing of foodstuffs, the top quality watchdog said Tuesday. Industrial raw materials, such as dyes, mineral oils, paraffin wax, formaldehyde and the carcinogenic malachite green, have been used in the production of flour, candy, pickles, biscuits, black fungus, melon seeds, bean curd and seafood. Some processors also use recycled or expired food in their operations, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. "These are not isolated cases," Han Yi, director of the administration's quality control and inspection department, said at a press conference. (…). ^ top ^

Map shows gap in China's rural services
2007-06-29
China's banking regulator has drawn a map of financial services in rural areas to guide institutions to invest in regions with inadequate coverage. The map, available at China Banking Regulatory Commission's website yesterday, covers all the basic economic and financial data of more than 30,000 towns, over 2,000 counties, 31 provinces and municipalities across the country. "It shows the imbalance of financial resources between rural and urban areas, and rural financial services need an urgent improvement," a CBRC official said. (…)The map is expected to provide detailed information for financial investors as well as for the regulator itself to better adjust its entrance requirement policies for rural financial institutions. (…). ^ top ^

State Council passes Chongqing development plan (Xinhua)
2007-06-27
The State Council, China's cabinet, on Wednesday passed a plan for urban and rural development of southwestern Chongqing municipality until 2020. The plan mainly aims to strengthen Chongqing's role as a central city in the southwest and promote overall, balanced and sustained development of the Three Gorges reservoir area. Future growth of Chongqing will be based on balanced development of urban and rural areas, better protection of its cultural and ecological environment and proper use of its natural resources, according to the plan. (…) The development environment in Chongqing had changed greatly due to the Three Gorges project and the massive population relocation, according to the State Council. (…). ^ top ^

22.72 million people nationwide affected by floods (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-28
According to statistics from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, as of June 15th, this year's flooding has brought devastation to 1.224 hectares of farmland and 22.72 million people, 128 deaths, and has been the origin of a direct economic loss of 8.92 billion Yuan. The situation has been especially devastating since June, due to serious flooding in southern China. A population of 14.24 million people has become victims of flooding. (…). ^ top ^

China minimum land bank to stay in effect (Xinhua)
2007-06-26
The authorities will not allow the amount of arable land in the country to shrink to less than 120 million hectares, a top land official said on Monday while announcing the launch of a nationwide land-use survey. Addressing a "National Land Day" ceremony yesterday, Land and Resources Minister Xu Shaoshi said conservative land-use would be a key part of economic development and social stability. Xu warned that the amount of arable land was shrinking due to relentless construction and a poor land-use system. The most recent national survey, released in October, showed that the country's arable land had dwindled to 121.8 million hectares, representing a year-on-year decline of 307,000 hectares. (…). ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

A-level English pass rate at a 12-year low (SCMP)
Jun 29, 2007
The pass rate of Hong Kong students sitting the A-level English exam has dropped to the lowest level in 12 years, figures revealed yesterday. This year's pass rate was 4.3 percentage points below that of 1996 and 0.6 percentage points down from last year. The drop continues a decline that began in 2005, when students who entered secondary school in 1998 - when mother-tongue education was introduced - sat their A-levels. But some educators played down the significance of the drop, noting that more students were sitting the exam and the number passing had in fact increased by 2,500. (…). ^ top ^

New Mainland and HK economic agreement signed (Xinhua)
2007-06-29
The Chinese central government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) signed here Friday Supplement IV to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), aiming to further open the mainland market to Hong Kong. The agreement was signed by Henry Tang, secretary of Finance of HKSAR government, and Vice Minister of Commerce Liao Xiaoqi, witnessed by HKSAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai (…). ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chinese mainland calls for weekend, regular cross-Strait flights (Xinhua)
2007-06-27
The Chinese mainland hopes to establish weekend and regular charter flights between the mainland and Taiwan as soon as possible, in addition to the charter flights offered during major festivals, a mainland official said. (…) The spokesman (…) called for the resumption of negotiations on mainland tourists' visits to Taiwan on Wednesday and blamed the Taiwan authorities for putting obstacles against opening Taiwan-bound tourist routes to mainland residents. ^ top ^

US lawmakers slam limits on visits by Taiwanese officials (SCMP)
2007-06-28
US lawmakers, accusing the administration of kowtowing to Beijing, called for an end to restrictions on visits to the United States by high-level Taiwanese officials. The demand was adopted by the foreign affairs committee of the House of Representatives and now goes to a full vote in the lower chamber of Congress. A parallel resolution is to go before the Senate. The US government is wary of hosting top-level Taiwanese officials for fear of offending Beijing. The resolution's sponsor in the House, Republican Steve Chabot, said it was time to send a clear message to Beijing over Taiwan, which the US is legally bound to defend in any military conflict. ^ top ^

KMT officially backs Ma's presidential bid - Party nominates ex-chairman as candidate (SCMP)
2007-06-25
Taiwan's Kuomintang yesterday officially nominated Ma Ying-jeou and former premier Vincent Siew Van-chang as its candidates for president and vice-president for the March election. After accepting the nomination yesterday during the party's one-day national congress held in Taoyuan, outside Taipei, Ma vowed to respect the spirit of Taiwan's constitution. (…) "Once the KMT regains power, I will solemnly announce the non-hostile, but dignified way with sovereignty in mind" in dealing with the mainland, he said. (…) ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's first anti-monopoly law imposes national security checks on acquisitions of domestic firms (Xinhua)
2007-06-24
China's top legislature on Sunday read for the second time the draft anti-monopoly law which requires foreign purchases of Chinese companies to go through checks to ensure there is no negative effect on China's national security. (…) What's more, foreign companies have begun to acquire major state-owned enterprises or companies with famous brands in recent years, arousing concerns about China's economic security. (…) China will strengthen examination and supervision of foreign merger operations affecting major enterprises in sensitive sectors and issue policies to improve the system for admitting foreign invested industries by the end of 2010, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). (…). ^ top ^

China expresses regret and serious concern over new trade rules of US (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-28
Wang Qinhua, director of the Department of Mechanical, Electronic and Hi-Tech Industries under the Ministry of Commerce, said that the Commerce Department of United States officially published the "Revisions and Clarification of Export and Re-export Controls for the People's Republic of China (PRC); New Authorization Validated End-User; Revision of Import Certificate and PRC End-User Statement Requirements" on June 19th. (…) This action seriously affected the confidence of enterprises in both countries to develop high-tech trade. China expressed regret and grave concern over this measure. China holds the right to further comment on the new regulations and prepare to take the necessary measures. Wang Qinhua said that after the new regulations are implemented, US enterprises will lose many potential trade opportunities because of the export control policy on China and will pay a high price. (…). ^ top ^

Imports to hit $1trillion by 2010 (China Daily)
2007-06-29
China is trying to bolster imports to more than $1 trillion by 2010 - up more than 25 percent from $792 billion last year - in an attempt to balance trade, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday. The projected 2010 imports figure is almost equal to the country's total trade volume in 2004. To restructure the country's exports and narrow its widening trade surplus with major trade partners - which hit $177.5 billion last year - the government has adopted a range of measures to curb exports. In the latest and boldest move yet to rein in exports, the country announced that it will eliminate or cut tax rebates for more than 2,800 export items effective July 1. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese gov't to allocate 6.5 bln yuan to tether pork prices (Xinhua)
2007-06-23
With the dramatic rise in pork price, the Chinese government has said that it plans to spend 6.5 billion yuan (850 million U.S. dollars) this year to contain pork prices. The massive government allocation, including 3.8 billion yuan from the central government, will be mainly used for a soon-to-be-established insurance scheme that will cover female pigs against illness and natural disasters, said sources with the Ministry of Finance. (…) A spike in the price of pig feed and cases of blue-ear disease among the nation's swine has seen pork prices surge dramatically this year(…). Food prices have climbed this year, pushing China's inflation rate to 3.4 percent in May compared with a year earlier. ^ top ^

China proposes US$ 200b for new investment agency (China Daily)
2007-06-27
China's government unveiled plans Wednesday to inject US$200 billion into a company meant to invest part of its foreign reserves abroad, giving the first official sign of the size of what will be one of the world's richest investment funds. China announced plans for the company in March in an effort to make more profitable use of its US$1.2 trillion in reserves, which now are kept mostly in US Treasurys and other safe but low-yielding securities. (…) The fund is expected to avoid politically sensitive deals by taking minority stakes in companies instead of pursuing corporate takeovers, an official involved in the Blackstone investment, Jesse Wang, told The Associated Press in May(…). Financial analysts say the company also is expected to entrust money to other private equity funds or securities firms to invest in foreign stocks and other assets. Chinese authorities say the investment company is modeled in part on Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings, which invests in banks, real estate, shipping, energy and other industries in Singapore, India, China, South Korea and elsewhere. ^ top ^

Oil reserves to be ready in 1 year (China Daily)
2007-06-28
The last two of the first four strategic oil reserve bases in China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, are expected to kick off operations within a year, according to two State-owned oil giants. An official from China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec Group, told China Daily it would start to fill crude oil into a base in Huangdao of East China's Shandong Province by the end of this year. (…) A source from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), parent of Hong Kong- and New York-listed PetroChina, said a base under construction in the northeastern port city of Dalian will be filled with oil as early as the first half of 2008. Both bases will be able to stockpile more than 3 million tons of crude oil. The first two bases, both located in East China's Zhejiang Province, are already operational with a capacity of 5 million tons each.(…) The four bases are not enough to ensure China's energy security if there is an interruption in petroleum supplies, experts say. By contrast, the United States, the world's top oil user, has a strategic petroleum reserve of 94 million tons. (…)

Wahaha, Danone torn over statements (China Daily)
2007-06-25
French food and beverage giant Groupe Danone SA yesterday called on Chinese drinks maker Wahaha to ensure the smooth operation of their joint ventures as the long-simmering tensions between the two companies could hurt sales. Danone, which owns 51 percent of the 39 joint ventures it has with its estranged partner Wahaha, also expressed shock yesterday at Wahaha's decision to reveal information from the joint ventures' board meetings, which ended on June 21. The information should have been kept confidential.(…) The feud surfaced as Zong Qinghou, founder of Wahaha, rejected Danone's bid to buy out some of Wahaha's assets, while Danone alleged that some companies linked to Zong's family are selling Wahaha-branded products identical to those marketed by their joint ventures. (…)

China's dairy production ranks third in the world (People's Daily Online)
2007-06-25
China overtook Russia and Pakistan to rank third in the world after India and the United States in the production of dairy products in 2006, Monday's China Securities Journal reports. China's production of dairy products grew 15 percent to reach 32.9 million tons in 2006, said Liu Chengguo, director of the Dairy Association of China. Liu attributed the rapid development of the country's dairy sector to a fast growth in the sector's processing capacities. Both industrial output and sales revenue of major dairy processing companies in 2006 were seven times the 1998 figures, standing at 107.4 billion yuan (14.1 billion U.S. dollars) and 104.1 billion yuan respectively, according to Liu. (…) There was also a significant rise in the consumption of dairy products in recent years as the consumer market expanded from large and medium-sized cities to towns and villages, Li noted. (…) ^ top ^

Millionaires becoming a yuan a dozen on sizzling mainland (SCMP)
2007-06-29
The ranks of mainland US-dollar millionaires grew 7.8 per cent to 345,000 last year as more people benefited from double-digit economic growth and soaring stock markets. A report by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini said a flurry of initial public offerings by mainland companies helped create the new millionaires. Hong Kong saw a 12.2 per cent increase in the number to 86,618 - the 10th fastest growth in the world. (…) ^ top ^

China inaugurates free-trade harbor area in Dalian (Xinhua)
2007-06-28
China inaugurated a harbor area with preferential tax rates on Thursday in the northeastern city of Dalian, a major step towards forming a free trade zone between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). (…) "It will remove tariffs for foreign cargo and offer tax rebates for domestic cargo. It will also exempt businesses from value added taxes and consumption taxes if they trade with each other," Zhang said. (…) ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

PLA helps ensure security for Games (China Daily)
2007-06-29
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) yesterday pledged to help handle any emergencies such as terrorist attacks to ensure the success of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. "Preventing and fighting terrorist activities are our top priority," Tian Yixiang, director of the PLA Command Team for Beijing Olympic Security Work, told military attaches from 54 countries. The command team will also keep a close eye on East Turkistan separatist forces, Taiwan secessionists and Tibet 'independence' activists, Tian said, adding: (…). ^ top ^

BOCOG announces biggest torch relay (China Daily)
2007-06-25
The organizers of the 2008 Olympic Games have announced that they will recruit 21,880 torchbearers for the torch relay, making it the biggest in the Games' history. (…) Zhang said BOCOG had set no limits on the gender, career, nationality or health of the participants, though they would have to be older than 14. (…) Chinese Taipei can also kick off its selection of 120 torchbearers for the Beijing Olympic torch relay if it returns to the written agreement reached by Beijing organizing committee and Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, officials said. (…) The Beijing Olympic flame will be lit in March in Greece before kicking off its 130-day journey, which will cover 137,000 km, including the world's highest peak, Mount Qomolangma. ^ top ^

 

North Korea

Watchdog's inspectors set to visit nuclear plant (SCMP)
2007-06-28
North Korea will allow UN inspectors to visit the reactor at the centre of the nation's nuclear programme today, in their first on-site inspection in nearly five years, the head of an inspection team said yesterday. The four-strong UN team flew into North Korea on Tuesday, saying they were unsure if they would be allowed to visit the Yongbyon reactor, which produces the raw material for bomb-making plutonium. (…) The last time UN inspectors were in North Korea was in 2002, but they were kicked out in December that year at the start of a crisis that led directly to the regime testing its first ever nuclear weapon last year. Under a February accord, the North has promised to shut down and seal the Yongbyon plant under UN supervision in return for energy aid and diplomatic concessions. (…) Under the terms of the February accord, the North must eventually abandon the Yongbyon reactor. (…). ^ top ^

Japan rejects U.S.-proposed timing for six-party ministerial meeting (Xinhua)
2007-06-26
The Japanese government has rejected a U.S. proposal to hold a foreign ministerial meeting in the process of the six-party talks in late July, citing Japan's upper house election slated for the same period. The Cabinet made the decision out of concern ahead of the parliamentary election since it will be hard to achieve significant progress on the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s past abductions of Japanese nationals during the talks, Kyodo News said. The six-party talks on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue involves China, Russia, the United States, Japan, South Korea and the DPRK. Japan has been insisting that the abduction issue be put onto the agenda of the talks. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Country Mourns 15 Dead in Copter Crash (UB Post)
2007-06-21
The people of Mongolia are yet to come to terms with their grief and gloom at the death of 12 firefighters and three members of the crew in a helicopter crash in the mountains of Selenge province. The Russian- made Mi-8 had crashed on Thursday morning but it took three days to locate it and the official announcement of the tragedy was made only on Sunday night. This said that 14 persons, 12 of them firefighters and the other two members of the crew, had died in the crash. (…). ^ top ^

 

Joel Baumgartner
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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