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
  14.7-20.7.07, No. 174  
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Table of contents

Beijing Olympics

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Foreign Policy

Hu urges global effort to resolve Darfur issue (China Daily)
2007-07-20
President Hu Jintao yesterday called on the international community to "seize the favorable opportunity" to solve the Darfur issue. He made the remarks while meeting Sudanese First Vice-President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Beijing. Hu urged greater international efforts to help the Sudanese government improve the humanitarian and security situation in the Darfur region. (…) He welcomed the agreement reached among the Sudanese government, the United Nations and the African Union on sending a hybrid force to the Darfur region. "Facts show that the trilateral talks are an effective mechanism to solve the Darfur issue," said Hu (…). ^ top ^

Ex-diplomat says spies abducted Chinese national in New Zealand (SCMP)
2007-07-20
A former mainland diplomat claims Beijing spies kidnapped a Chinese national from her home in New Zealand two years ago and took her back to the mainland by ship. Chen Yonglin, who defected from Beijing's consulate in Sydney in 2005 because of his sympathy for the Falun Gong, said he would ask New Zealand authorities to investigate the alleged abduction. Mr Chen claimed earlier that Beijing ran a vast spy network in Australia. Beijing has denied the allegation. Mr Chen said he contacted New Zealand's security intelligence service and expected to speak to a staff member before leaving the country today. He said his information was from a "reliable source" inside the mainland's Ministry of Public Security. ^ top ^

Vatican to be tested by Beijing's new bishop - Pope's letter unheeded in choice of new leader (SCMP)
2007-07-19
The mainland's official Catholic church has nominated a candidate to lead the Beijing diocese in a move described by an observer as a test of the Vatican's ability to appoint bishops in the nation. The nomination follows a vote at the capital's diocese on Monday and comes at a sensitive time, just three weeks after Pope Benedict expressed his hope in a letter to mainland Catholics that the Vatican and Beijing could agree on a way to appoint bishops. Father Joseph Li Shan , 42, from Beijing's St Joseph's Church, was chosen after receiving 74 of 93 votes from a group of priests, nuns and laymen. (…) Father Li's predecessor, Bishop Fu, was not recognized by the Vatican as a legitimate bishop because he was unilaterally ordained by the patriotic association in 1979. The mainland's eight to 12 million Catholics are split between the government-sanctioned church and an underground church loyal to Rome. ^ top ^

China's special envoy meets with Israeli FM (People's Daily)
2007-07-19
Visiting China's special envoy on Middle East issues Sun Bigan met in Jerusalem with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday. During the meeting, the two exchanged views on bilateral ties and the situation in the Middle East. Sun expressed his hope that Israel and the Palestinians could restart the peace talks based on relative UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace" as soon as possible, thus to advance the Middle East peace process. For her part, Livni expressed her appreciation of the development of Israeli-Chinese relations and the important role China has played in promoting peace in the Middle East as well as other international issues. Sun arrived in Israel earlier on Wednesday, starting his second visit to Israel in three months. He is also expected to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday. On Friday, Sun will travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. ^ top ^

China willing to push international cooperation for Internet IPR protection (People's Daily)
2007-07-19
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi expressed the hope that China wishes to improve the cooperation with other countries and learn from their advanced experience to promote the protection of IPR (intellectual property right) on the Internet. (…) The Chinese government has always paid great attention to the IPR protection work and has achieved great progress in recent years, Wu said in the letter. "Better IPR protection will not only enhance China's international competitiveness as well as economic and technological power, but also help create a sound environment for China's opening up and international exchanges," Wu said. ^ top ^

Cape Verde recognizes China's market economy status (Xinhua)
2007-07-17
Cape Verde on Monday recognized China's market economy status and pledged to boost economic and trade ties with China. Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo and Cape Verde Minister of Economy, Development and Competition Jose Brito signed a memorandum of understanding on Cape Verde recognizing China's market economy status in the country's capital Praia. (…). ^ top ^

CNPC to import 30 bln cubic meters of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the country''s largest oil producer, announced Tuesday that it will import 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year through the planned Central Asia Gas Pipeline for 30 years from Turkmenistan. Witnessed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, CNPC signed the Amudariya River gas production sharing contract and gas sales and purchase agreement with The State Agency For the Management And Use Of Hydrocarbon Resources of Turkmenistan and Turkmengas here on Tuesday (…). ^ top ^

EU official to visit China for cooperation on consumer product safety (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will travel to China next week for closer cooperation on consumer product safety, her spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Helen Kearns told reporters that it is both in Europe''s and in China's interests to improve cooperation on consumer product safety, while stressing the safety issue is not for compromise from the EU's perspective. Kearns said Kuneva's visit is intended to ensure the current cooperation framework is functioning well, but she downplayed the possibility of any new deal to be signed. (…) Since 2006, the EU has been relaying information to China of unsafe products of Chinese origin which were reported on the European market under the bloc''s alert system. The EU wants China to use the information to take corrective action at the source, addressing the responsible manufacturer directly, it said (…). ^ top ^

Belarusian leaders meet Chinese finance minister on economic ties (Xinhua)
2007-07-17
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky met separately with Chinese Minister of Finance Jin Renqing in Minsk on Monday to discuss bilateral economic ties. According to a member of the Chinese delegation, they explored ways to further enhance the Chinese-Belarussian friendship and to deepen trade and economic cooperation. Sidorsky and Jin also attended a signing ceremony of two inter-governmental agreements, under which China will provide preferential loans to Belarussia, especially for the reconstruction of the Minsk 2nd Power and Heating Plant.. ^ top ^

Schwarzenegger favors proposal for non-stop flights to China (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he favored a proposal for non-stop air services to China from two major Californian cities. Schwarzenegger made the remarks after United Airlines submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation Monday to add daily, non-stop services from San Francisco and Los Angeles to China in 2008 and 2009. "China's more than 1 billion citizens represent an important market for Californian products and services," Schwarzenegger said in a statement e-mailed to Xinhua. (…). ^ top ^

China writes off debt of 2 million USD for Zanzibar (China Daily)
2007-07-14
The Chinese government on Friday wrote off for the Zanzibar government a debt of 15 million RMB (about 2 million U.S. dollars). Signing the debt write-off note were Zhang Hongtie, Chinese consul-general in Zanzibar, and Khamis Mussa Omar, principal secretary in the Zanzibar ministry for finance and economic affairs. (…) China has been assisting the Indian Ocean archipelago in such fields as agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, education, public health, housing, information, culture and sports. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

CPC recruits almost 12 mln members in 5 years (Xinhua)
2007-07-16
The Communist Party of China (CPC) recruited 11.85 million members from 2002 to 2006, an average of 2.37 million per year, according to the organization department of the CPC Central Committee Monday. (…) Statistics from Shandong University showed that 91.9 percent of undergraduates had applied for Party membership, of whom 13.5 percent were admitted. Meanwhile, 40 percent of graduates were admitted. (…) Figures from the organization department indicate that 2.86 million employees or employers of private enterprises and 810,000 self-employed people had been recruited by the end of 2006. (…) The CPC also started to establish a migrant member network both in urban and rural areas to improve the management of "migrant" Party members. The CPC has more than 70 million Party members. (…). ^ top ^

Old guard criticises Beijing's reforms (SCMP)
2007-07-17
Retired senior cadres and old-school Marxist scholars have published an open letter to Beijing's top leadership, attacking the country's reforms as having gone badly off track - in a sign of escalating ideological warfare between the Communist Party's liberal and conservative camps ahead of a key party congress this autumn. The group's open letter, addressed to President Hu Jintao and the party's Central Committee, was published on the conservative website Mao Zedong's Flag yesterday, one day after the liberal-leaning journal Yanhuang Chunqiu ran a cover story calling for political liberalization. Among the 17 party members who put their names to the letter were former ministers, retired diplomats and army officials, and academics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the State Council Development Research Centre and top universities and think-tanks. ^ top ^

Lin Biao included in celebration of military (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
Marshal Lin Biao, who was handpicked by late Chairman Mao Zedong to succeed him as China's leader, but who died a "traitor", has been resurrected as a military hero in a new exhibition at Beijing's Military Museum. Lin's portrait is included among the "10 Marshals" who are lauded as the founders of the Chinese armed forces in the exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Lin, officially denounced for his "treacherous" plot to overthrow Mao, is shown with his nine peers in a display rarely seen since his death in September 1971. Jiang Tingyu, a senior researcher at the Chinese People's Revolution Military Museum, said: "With objective thinking, we decided to put the picture of Lin Biao together with the other nine marshals. We have to show history as it was." (…). ^ top ^

CPC promotes democracy by open elections (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
About 15,000 members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) ascended to leading positions through open elections from 2003 to 2006, according to the Party's central organization department. More than 390 were prefectural-level cadres and about 3,800 worked at leading positions at county level, revealed the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. It showcased the Party's endeavors to build a permanent in-house democracy mechanism, said the department. The Party (…) had granted non-Party members of the public a say in the elections, the department said. Other methods, including door-step surveys and publication of survey results, appraisals of work performances in probation and secret voting by all members of local Party committees, had also been employed and promoted in the elections for better assessment of the candidates, it said. (…). ^ top ^

One gets death in kiln slavery scandal (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
One man was sentenced to death, another to life imprisonment and 27 were given jail terms from 18 months to nine years yesterday for their role in the Shanxi kiln slave labor scandal. Shanxi Provincial High People's Court officials held a televised press conference to announce the verdicts a day after 95 local Party and government officials were punished for dereliction of duty in the same scandal. (…) Some law experts, however, see the punishments as "lenient" compared to the heinous nature of the crimes and severe violation of human rights and human dignity. "The courts have failed to punish all the evil doers for their roles," said Wu Ge, chairman of human rights committee under the All-China Lawyers Association. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese official urges foreign media to stick to truth in reporting (People's Daily)
2007-07-19
China's top quality control chief urged foreign media to stick to the truth in reporting during an interview with CCTV on Wednesday, a second time in a few days for him to lash out at some foreign media exaggerating China's food safety problems and stirring consumer panic. Li Changjiang, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine also stressed again that Chinese exports, especially food exports, are absolutely well guaranteed in terms of safety. His remark came after a Chinese rubber company was cleared of the accusation of producing unsafe tires exported to the United States, which were previously held responsible for a traffic accident that killed two in Pennsylvania last August. (…) However, he also acknowledged that there were problems in the country's food safety, and some enterprises, small ones in particular, were found to have used food additives or non-food materials. Food safety problems actually exist in many countries, and we need more cooperation from other countries to improve the food safety, Li said. ^ top ^

Party leaders to be more media savvy (People's Daily)
2007-07-17
Party leaders of the future will be better equipped to face the media, well versed in international affairs and more efficient managers, thanks to an enhanced training program, a senior official said yesterday. The program is part of the Communist Party of China's three-year focus on "governance capability and global vision" of its promising leaders, said Li Peiyuan, director of the bureau of senior officials training of the CPC's Organization Department. Officials in some schools are getting considerable "public relations training" to be more media savvy. Cadres will be trained in psychology, too, to help them better cope with stress. (…) According to the 2006-10 National Cadre Education and Training Plan released earlier this year, the country wants to train 500 provincial-level, 8,800 department-level and about 100,000 county-level officials every year . (…). ^ top ^

Beijing: Classrooms for migrant children (SCMP)
2007-07-18
The education commission will provide classrooms for children of migrant workers in a move to narrow the disparity between the urban and rural population, Xinhua reports. Classrooms will be built for 63 registered schools for migrant children. The policy was to rectify last year's effort to shut down substandard private schools for migrant children and move them to government-funded schools. That plan backfired due to a lack of space. ^ top ^

Lifting of 50b Yuan in debts gives rural schools fresh start (SCMP)
2007-07-19
The central government will free the country's rural schools from the weight of their massive backlog of debts so they can have a fresh start to implement the programme that provides students with nine years of free schooling, the Ministry of Education said in an online statement. According to a government report, the schools have amassed a staggering 50 billion yuan in debts since the late 1980s in efforts to realise the free education programme. But experts say that the figure could actually turn out to be much higher. National People's Congress Standing Committee vice-chairman Lu Yongxiang said in a report late last month that the debt had been incurred mainly through bank loans, unpaid construction bills, unpaid wages to teachers and money borrowed "from society", according to the Beijing News. (…) Experts say some of the reasons for the high drop-out rate are impoverished schools, the need for children to help their families, students' inability to catch up after poor early education in villages and long commutes for rural students. ^ top ^

Activist held over Xiamen rallies (SCMP)
2007-07-19
Mainland police have arrested Xiamen resident and Diaoyu Islands activist Li Yiqiang on suspicion of organising last month's white-collar demonstrations against a planned toxic chemical plant in the city, his family said yesterday. Li is the first person known to have been arrested over the June 1 and 2 protests, despite the government's later decision to put a "temporary halt" to the project. (…) His family received the formal police arrest warrant a month later but has been unable to bail him out of jail. (…). ^ top ^

Openness urged on pollution death toll (SCMP)
2007-07-18
A senior US lawmaker has urged World Bank president Robert Zoellick to release mortality figures on the effects of pollution on the mainland. In a letter to Mr Zoellick made public on Monday, Barney Frank, the Democrat chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded the bank's efforts to investigate the effects of the mainland's pollution problems. But he said he had been troubled to read that mainland officials had suppressed estimates of the number of deaths caused by pollution each year. […]. ^ top ^

Villagers killed in clash over medicinal fungus (SCMP)
2007-07-18
At least six people were killed and more than 100 injured in an armed conflict between two Tibetan groups over the right to collect a valuable medicinal ingredient in Sichuan, a rights group and local people said yesterday. The incident happened on Friday when villagers from Dengpo and Sangdu in Daocheng county clashed over the collection of Chinese caterpillar fungus on a bridge in the county after the local government refused to mediate in their dispute, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said. It said some villagers in Dengpo had attacked Sangdu residents with semi-automatic rifles and hand grenades and caused six deaths and 110 injuries. More than 1,000 Sangdu villagers had gathered outside the county government office on Saturday to demand officials catch those responsible for the attack, the rights group said. (…) Because the boundaries of the two villages are not clear, both sides have complained to the county government about fungus poaching by the other side in the past. The rights group said farmers from the two villages had visited the county government office again on Friday to seek its help in solving their dispute, but their pleas had been rejected. (…). ^ top ^

Pig disease remains a big challenge (China Daily)
2007-07-16
Blue-ear pig disease remains a severe challenge to China's Yangtze River valley although the outbreak has been basically put under control, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) warned in an emergency notice. Latest MOA figures revealed that 39,455 pigs or 27.5 percent of infected animals in 586 epidemic areas died by July 10. Since the start of this year, the outbreak had hit 25 provinces on the mainland. "With temperature and humidity staying high during the season, it's impossible to rule out the possibility of aggravation in some areas," the notice said. (…) Huang Hai, assistant Minister of Commerce, said on Saturday that the price of pork would hover on a high level in the latter half of the year, because short supplies could hardly be eased in a short period of time. (…). ^ top ^

China punishes 1,500 officals involved in land misuse (People's Daily)
2007-07-13
The Chinese government has punished 1,488 officials involved in illegal land development affairs, the Ministry of Supervision said in Beijng Friday. At a briefing on nationwide actions to combat land use malpractice connected with industrial parks, the ministry said that 927 of them had been given Party disciplinary sanctions and 561 administrative penalties. About 22,300 cases of illegal land use have been identified and so far half of them have been dealt with, the source said. Inspectors found that 24,900 sq km of land had been illegally allocated to various industrial parks, almost two thirds of the total land given to them. Keen to notch up impressive economic development and revenue figures, some local governments were happy to give land to developers, ignoring the central government's policy to slow down investment in fixed assets. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese sentenced to six months in prison for burning national flag (People's Daily)
2007-07-16
A Chinese man has been sentenced to six months in jail in northwest China's Qinghai Province, for burning the national flag. The man, surnamed Zhao, got into a fight with two students in a middle school in Datong County on April 5. When Zhao chased the two students into their dormitory building, he was driven out of the school by teachers. Bearing a grudge against the teachers, Zhao returned to the dormitory building, entered the teachers' room and destroyed a number of objects there. He then went to the school playground, lowered the national flag and burnt it. Zhao was sued by the school and sentenced to six months in prison by a local court for insulting the national flag. (…). ^ top ^

ADB offers 200 mln USD loan for road project in SW China (People's Daily)
2007-07-19
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced on Wednesday that it will offer loans of 200 million U.S. dollars to fund a road project in southwest China. The loan will fund part of the Eastern Sichuan Roads Development Project, which is estimated to cost 1.42 billion U.S. dollars. According to the ADB, the project will serve the poverty-stricken areas in the mountainous periphery of Sichuan province by connecting two major cities, Chongqing and Xi'an. It will involve the construction of a 143-kilometer four-lane toll expressway across mountainous terrain and upgrading of 430 kilometers of local roads that serve poor counties and townships. (…). ^ top ^

Unauthorized Protestant Bible school raided, US group says (SCMP)
2007-07-20
Authorities in Jiangsu have raided a holiday Bible school organized by an unauthorized Protestant church group, detaining 10 people, an overseas monitoring group said. About 150 children were attending the "Harmony Express" camp in Jianhu on July 11 when county officials, police and representatives of the official church arrived, the China Aid Association reported. Police broke up classes, while two underground church workers were treated for concussion and cuts to their heads, the US-based association said. It said the children were allowed to leave, but church property, including computers and video equipment, was removed. ^ top ^

Students to dance without partners: SGAS official (China Daily)
2007-07-15
The State General Administration of Sports (SGAS) has planned to re-compose the group dances, which will be introduced into schools this September, to calm the parents who have been worried that the dances would encourage young love, a Shanghai-based newspaper reported. Yin Guochen, a SGAS official in charge of the mass sports was quoted by the Oriental Morning Post as saying that the new dances would let students dance by themselves or in large groups. (…). ^ top ^

Worst thunderstorm in 115 years hits Chongqing (SCMP)
2007-07-19
More than a dozen provinces and municipalities have been hit by torrential rains in the past few days, with at least 44 people dead or missing in the southwestern city of Chongqing, state media reported. Chongqing has seen its worst thunderstorm in the past 115 years, with more than 40,000 lightning strikes, serious flooding and landslides. Air, road and rail traffic have been brought to a halt, Xinhua said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier Wen inspects flooded areas (Xinhua)
2007-07-14
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked the nation to be prepared for a further worsening of the flood situation as the country enters the main flood season. Wen, accompanied by Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, flew to seriously flooded Fuyang of Anhui Province in east China early Saturday morning to inspect disaster-relief work. Over the past two weeks, the whole valley of China's Huaihe River has been hit by the most serious floods since 1954, with heavy losses to life and property. (…) He expressed thanks to the villagers for their contribution and promised that the government will compensate villagers in the buffer zone for their losses. (…). ^ top ^

Official fired for not fighting floods in E.China (China Daily)
2007-07-15
A Party official in east China's Anhui province has been removed from office after absenting himself from the fight against floods, sources with the local government said Sunday. Zhang Yunbin, former Party secretary of Zhenxing Village, Runhe Township of Yingshang County, was deprived of his post, after county discipline officials found him "not directing work at the flood front," an official with the county discipline inspection committee said. On Thursday night, discipline officials went to the village, where they saw the village deputy Party secretary directing farmers to stack sand bags to prevent flooding. Zhang was absent and his cell phone was turned off. (…). ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet region head accused of interference (SCMP)
2007-07-18
A veteran Tibetan communist has accused regional-government hawks of closing the door on talks with the Dalai Lama and misleading Beijing about the exiled Buddhist leader's influence, sources said. Phuntso Wangye, who led Chinese troops into Tibet in 1951, wrote to the State Council noting that Premier Wen Jiabao said in March the door for dialogue was "always open" as long as the Dalai Lama recognised Tibet and Taiwan were inalienable parts of the mainland, and abandoned "splittist" activities. Phuntso Wangye accused Qiangba Puncog, chairman of Tibet's regional government, of trying to close the door on dialogue, sources close to him said yesterday. Qiangba Puncog had dismissed Phuntso Wangye's call for the Dalai Lama to return home. Phuntso Wangye wrote that thousands of Tibetans each year risked death crossing the Himalayas to see the spiritual leader in India, the sources said. (…). ^ top ^

China to invest 20b yuan for eco-protection in Tibet (Xinhua)
2007-07-15
China plans to invest more than 20 billion yuan (about 2.63 billion U.S. dollars) to protect the eco-system on the Tibet plateau, said a local official on Sunday. The plan covers a dozen projects listed under the 2006-2003 program on protection and construction of eco-system on the Tibet plateau, a main part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, dubbed the "roof of the world", said the official with the development and reform commission of the Tibet Autonomous Region. These projects include construction of nature reserve, protection of natural forest, restoration of grassland and pasture, harnessing and prevention of desertification and prevention of geological disasters. The plan, to be approved soon, will last for about 20 years. (…). ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Beijing 'can't control war with Taiwan' (SCMP)
2007-07-19
Beijing appears to have too much confidence in its ability to manipulate the scale of a war with Taiwan, a US intelligence officer says. Lieutenant-Colonel Lonnie Henley, a specialist on East Asia for the office of the Director of National Intelligence, told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that mainland officials were increasingly studying the concept of "war control" to evaluate scenarios if fighting were to break out with Taiwan. "Their confidence in their ability to modulate the intensity, scope and pace of the conflict is probably misplaced, and that is dangerous for all concerned," Colonel Henley said. Beijing has threatened war if the island tries to move towards formal independence. While Washington shifted its recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, it has pledged defensive weapons for Taiwan and has hinted it would provide military backing if the island were attacked by the mainland. Colonel (…). ^ top ^

Amnesty sees 10,000 go free early in Taiwan (SCMP)
2007-07-17
Taiwan has freed about 10,000 prisoners under a controversial clemency bill that critics say is aimed at winning votes in the legislative and presidential elections early next year. Those freed yesterday were mostly drug users, burglars and other petty criminals who had already served at least half of their jail terms, meeting the requirements of a clemency bill signed by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, according to Vice-Interior Minister Lee Chin-yung. (…) The opposition KMT questioned the pardon's timing, saying it was yet another election gimmick by Mr Chen to sway voters ahead of the legislative election set for January and March's presidential poll. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Tightening expected on surging economy - Economists say 11.9pc growth in the second quarter, an 11-year high, will prompt more controls from Beijing (SCMP)
2007-07-20
Economists expect the imminent announcement of a fresh round of economic tightening measures following yesterday's release of stronger-than-expected data for the first half of the year. The mainland's annual economic growth rate surged in the second quarter to an 11-year high of 11.9 per cent, while the inflation rate rose to a near three-year high of 4.4 per cent last month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. […]. ^ top ^

Food price rise a major driving force for 1st-half CPI (China Daily)
2007-07-19
Price hike for foodstuff, mainly grain, meat and fowl and eggs, contributed significantly to the rise of China's consumer price index (CPI) in the first half of this year, Li Xiaochao, spokesman with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), told a press conference Thursday. The major inflation indicator rose 4.4 percent in June compared with a year ago, or up 0.4 percent on the previous month. This helped jack up CPI for the first half of this year by 3.2 percent on the same period of last year. (…) According to Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the China office of Asian Development Bank, continuous CPI rises at a high level will have little influence on rich people, but affect low-income earners. Zhuang believed the central government will take strong measures to maintain economic and social stability (…). ^ top ^

China's pork prices soar 74.6% (Xinhua)
2007-07-16
The wholesale price of pork in China surged 74.6 percent in June compared with the same month last year, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced on Monday. The ministry, however, did not provide the average wholesale price last month. The wholesale prices polled by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) in 36 large and medium-sized cities averaged 18.57 yuan per kilogram on July 11, up nearly 30 percent from the 14.25 yuan on May 11. The average retail price for lean pork has exceeded 22 yuan per kilogram. The price hikes in feedstuff and the outbreaks of the blue ear disease are mainly blamed for the pork price surge. According to the MOA, the prices of rice, wheat and corn rose 7.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year. Meanwhile,39,455 pigs or 27.5 percent of the pigs that contracted blue ear disease in 586 epidemic areas, had died by July 10. (…). ^ top ^

Corn won't be used for bio-fuel in 5 years (Xinhua)
2007-07-17
China will shift its dependence from corn to sorghum, cassava and sweet potato plants to make bio-fuel in the next five years. Part of the government's efforts to develop bio-fuel without harming general food supply and security, the shift will ensure a healthy supply of corn both as food and fodder. Cassava and sweet potato both are high-yield plants, and though edible, they are not used as staple food. So their use as raw material, as opposed to that of corn, won't create any artificial shortage of food products. (…) Considering the rising prices of corn and the threat to food security, the State Council, or the country's cabinet, ordered the bio-fuel industry to shift from food to non-food material in mid-June. (…). "The country will gradually replace petroleum with ethanol as the main fuel for its chemical industry," Xiong said. (…). ^ top ^

Gulf group to build $5bn city near Beijing (China Daily)
2007-07-18
A consortium led by Gulf Finance House, the Bahraini Islamic investment bank, unveiled plans on Tuesday to build a residential and industrial city in China worth up to $5bn. China Energy City will be developed on 13 sq kms in Yanjiou, near Beijing, offering facilities such as a branch of a planned Qatar-based energy exchange, a science park for energy education courses and a Sino-Arab business school, offering business education in English, Chinese and Arabic. Esam Janahi, chief executive of GFH, said growing demand in China for Gulf crude oil was a key factor in his company's decision to invest. With more than 50 per cent of that oil supply expected to come from the Middle East, China is an attractive commercial opportunity for Middle East energy companies, said Mr Janahi, who is partnering with GFH sister company Gulf Energy and China's Long Juan Co. (…). ^ top ^

Overseas firms 'can bid' in the largest gold mine (People's Daily)
2007-07-18
Domestic, as well as overseas, companies can bid for the exploration rights of China's largest potential gold mine. The gold deposit in Yangshan, Gansu Province, has at least 160 tons in proven reserve, Xiong Bilin, deputy director of National Development and Reform Commission's industry department, said yesterday. The company with the latest and best technology that can ensure minimum wastage of the precious metal is likely to win the bid. (…) The gold deposit could be more than 200 tons, said a People's Daily report earlier, and is in a convenient area with a national highway passing near it. The NDRC website says gold deposits, with 50 or more tons of reserves, have also been discovered in Zhaishang in Gansu and Damoqujia and Jinchang in Shandong and Heilongjiang provinces. China produces 224 tons of gold a year, but last year it consumed more than 400 tons. (…). ^ top ^

US meat products banned (China Daily)
2007-07-16
China has suspended the import of tainted meat products from seven US companies, including Tyson Foods Inc, the world's largest meat processor. The products that included the main ingredients of some Chinese delicacies such as pig ears and chicken feet contained salmonella, feed additives and veterinary drugs, says the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) website (www.aqsiq.gov.cn). The other US companies on the ban list are Sanderson Farms Inc, Intervision Foods, AJC International Inc, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp, Van Luin Foods USA Inc and "Thumph Foods", which most likely is Missouri-based Triumph Foods. (…) In late June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would not allow three types of farm-raised fish, as well as shrimp and eel, from Chinese suppliers to enter its market till the companies prove they didn't contain any harmful residue. AQSIQ chief Li Changjiang called the move "unacceptable", saying China, too, detects many substandard food products from the US every year. (…). ^ top ^

Expert urges against buying luxury sedans (China Daily)
2007-07-15
Stop buying foreign luxury sedans! An auto industry expert told the Chinese people Saturday, worrying about a blind, extravagant trend in car purchasing and ignorance to more economical, homegrown brands. Many Chinese people are considering cars as a symbolic of their social status and vying for buying luxury, especially foreign-made sedans, said Guo Konghui, honorary dean of the Automobile Engineering College of Jilin University, at a forum at an on-going international auto fair held in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, a major base of China's auto industry. (…) Guo urged the Chinese people to stop the luxury trend and encouraged them to buy more low-emission, environment-friendly cars, especially domestic brands, in a bid to build an energy-saving society. (…). ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Time running out for Olympic-standard air (SCMP)
2007-07-20
Beijing remains under heavy pressure to fulfill its annual air quality goals, with fewer than half the targeted annual number of "blue sky days" in the first six months of the year. Keen to shed its reputation for air pollution before next year's Olympic Games, Beijing is aiming this year for 245 days of blue sky, or days with reasonable air quality. But the city has a lot catching up to do after it recorded only 110 days in the first six months of the year, according to Beijing Statistics Bureau spokeswoman Yu Xiuqin. (…) "The clean-up campaign will now put a priority on the car sector," she said. "We are going to replace all vehicles with substandard fuel efficiency or with poor exhaust systems. A fuel recycling plan is also in the pipeline. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese marine police stage anti-terrorist drill for Olympics (People's Daily)
2007-07-13
The popular seaside city of Qingdao in east China's Shandong province was the theater Friday of a maritime anti-terrorist drill for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The drill, involving more than 800 marine police and 27 naval vessels, was held in the closed sailing venue area set aside for the 2008 Olympic Games. A team of terrorists, riding on a motorboat and armed with guns and bombs, "hijacked" an oil tanker and two hostages and tried to break in to the venue. The marine police immediately dispatched naval vessels to counter and capture the terrorists. (…). ^ top ^

 

North Korea

Nuke talks hit snag, extended by a day (China Daily)
2007-07-20
Chief delegates to the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue yesterday failed to set an expected deadline for Pyongyang's next denuclearization steps, pushing negotiations into a third day. (…) The six negotiators met in the morning as well as holding several rounds of bilateral consultations in the afternoon. However, prospects appeared dim for getting Pyongyang to commit today to a specific deadline to declare all its nuclear programs and disable its nuclear facilities. Washington had said it hoped the DPRK would do so by the end of the year. Despite that, US chief negotiator Christopher Hill said that working groups will probably meet next month to discuss technical details on how to proceed before a deadline is set. (…) In a further blow to the disarmament process, the DPRK slammed Japan for raising at the six-nation talks the issue of Japanese that the country has admitted to abducting - warning that it could pose "another crisis" in the drawn-out negotiations. If Japan continues to refuse to participate in aid being offered for DPRK's denuclearization, "the nuclear issue on the peninsula will remain unsettled for an indefinite period," the DPRK Foreign Ministry was quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency. (…) Despite the apparent setbacks, Chun Yung-woo, the ROK's chief negotiator, said the countries reached a "consensus" on sideline meetings for working groups on technical details of the DPRK's disarmament. Based on those results, the sides believe a firm deadline for the declaration and disabling could be established, Chun said. ^ top ^

Baradei says DPRK shuts down all five nuke facilities (People's Daily)
2007-07-19
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed El Baradei said here on Wednesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had shut down all its five nuclear facilities, adding it was a very good and positive step. The IAEA had verified that all the five nuclear facilities had been shut down and proper measures had been in place, including sealing some of the facilities, he told reporters after attending a public lecture organized by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia. Yet, the IAEA chief stressed that it was just the first step and the journey to a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue of the Korea Peninsular was still far. (…).^ 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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