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
  28.7-3.8.07, No. 176  
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Table of contents

North Korea- Six-Party Talks

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

German chancellor to visit China, Japan in late August (People's Daily)
2007-08-03
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will start to visit China and Japan on Aug. 26, the German government press office said Thursday. (…)Merkel has said she expected to talk with the leaders of the two Asian countries about issues including climate change, nuclear security and the role of emerging economies like China on the global stage. (…). ^ top ^

Hu stresses value of Sino-US dialogue (People's Daily)
2007-08-02
President Hu Jintao reiterated the importance of maintaining stable and mutually beneficial Sino-US economic relations, urging the two sides to make full use of the strategic economic dialogue (SED) to address issues of common concern. Hu said the development of bilateral economic ties have not only brought tangible benefits to the people of both countries but have also been engines of global growth. (…) Calling Paulson an old friend of China, Hu said the two sides should ensure that the SED is coordinated well with other Sino-US negotiation mechanisms to promote cooperation. (…) Paulson joined other top Bush aides in a letter on Tuesday to congressional leaders to head off several trade-focused bills that are aimed at pressuring China to revalue the currency to ease the trade imbalance. (…). ^ top ^

Six nations gather for war games in Urals (SCMP)
2007-08-02
Mainland and Russian fighter planes, tanks and troops will take part in military exercises next week in a display of power that Moscow and Beijing say is directed against terrorism in Central Asia. But State Duma deputy and Russian Defence Committee member Andrei Golovotyuk said Russia also wanted to counterbalance Nato and US influence in the region, adding credence to international speculation that the war games are a sabre-rattling exercise. […]. ^ top ^

China welcomes UN resolution on deploying "hybrid" force in Darfur (Xinhua)
2007-08-02
China on Thursday said it welcomes the United Nations Security Council resolution on deploying a UN-African Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping force in Sudan's western region of Darfur, and expects concerned parties will "smoothly" implement the resolution. "China welcomes the Resolution 1769 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council, which authorized the deployment of a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao in response to press. (…). ^ top ^

U.S. lawmakers unveil legislative package to expand engagement with China (Xinhua)
2007-08-02
A group of U.S. lawmakers from the House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled a bipartisan legislative package designed to expand U.S. engagement with China and increase American competitiveness in the global marketplace. The package, U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda of 2007, comprises of four bills which propose legislation to expand America's diplomatic infrastructure in China, boost support to small- and medium-sized American businesses exporting to the China market, increase funds for Chinese language instruction in the United States and build new cooperative energy ties between the U.S. and China, the lawmakers said at a press conference held in the Capital Hill. (…). ^ top ^

Eurasia regional groups to promote cooperation: official (People's Daily)
2007-08-01
The CIS Collective Security Agreement Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will soon sign an agreement to promote cooperation, a senior official said on Tuesday. "Both the CSTO and the SCO have a wide range of activities, and security issues should be resolved together," the Interfax news agency quoted CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying. The pact will specify all areas of cooperation between the two regional groups, including cooperation in security, Bordyuzha said. He added the two organizations should work together in rebuilding Afghanistan and preventing the Taliban from retaking power. (…). ^ top ^

Iran urges cooperation within SCO (PressTV.ir)
2007-08-01
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister has called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's observer members to expand their cooperation. Mahdi Safari made the remark at a meeting with SCO Secretary General, Bolat Nurgaliev, in Beijing, IRNA reported. The Iranian official called on SCO observer members to broaden their cooperation within the framework of specialized committees. (…) Iran is prepared to share its experience in campaign against drugs, terrorism and extremism as well as its technological know-how with the SCO member states, the official added. (…). ^ top ^

China, Australia hold dialogue on human rights (People's Daily)
2007-07-31
China and Australia held the 11th dialogue on human rights here on Monday, which covered the issues of human rights protection and the rights of ethnic groups, women and children. During the dialogue, the two sides also announced to continue their decade-long technical cooperation under the Australia-China Human Rights Technical Cooperation program since 1997, which aims at improving human rights in China at a practical level. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, who co-chaired the dialogue with his Australian counterpart Peter Grey, said the dialogue was conducted in a "positive", "candid" and "constructive" manner which helps improve the further exchange and cooperation in the field. (…). ^ top ^

Peru, China to negotiate FTA early 2008 (Xinhua)
2007-07-28
Peru and China will begin negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the first months of 2008, Peru's Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Mercedes Araoz announced on Friday. (…) Since technical committees from both countries have already held talks, "the possibilities to sign an FTA with China are very high," Araoz added. (…). ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Delegates chosen for 17th Party Congress (SCMP)
2007-08-03
The Communist Party has completed its election of more than 2,000 delegates to this autumn's 17th Party Congress, which will see a major reshuffle of top officials and set the stage for development over the next five years, state media reported yesterday. (…) According to names published by Xinhua last night, there were some familiar faces among the delegates including Deng Pufang and Deng Nan, the son and daughter of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. But former president Jiang Zemin was not among the delegates listed by Xinhua. In an editorial to be published today, the party mouthpiece People's Daily hailed the election as a triumph of "democracy within the party". (…). ^ top ^

Subsidies to plug widening pay gap - Pre-congress flow of benefits pledged (SCMP)
2007-08-03
Beijing has rolled out more policies to appease low-income groups overwhelmed by the widening wealth gap, with all government apparatus busy orchestrating a "harmonious atmosphere" to ensure success at the 17th Communist Party Congress this autumn. A State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao pledged yesterday to loosen purse strings to provide affordable housing for urban low-income groups as well as raise monthly pensions for retired state-owned enterprise staff in the next three years. Spending more to assuage the grievances of the ordinary people struggling to meet basic needs such as housing, medicine, education and food has become a policy priority because the government hopes it will help paint a rosy picture for the party congress. (…). ^ top ^

Nearly 2,000 Chinese officials confess wrongdoings (Xinhua)
2007-08-02
Nearly 2,000 officials have confessed their wrongdoings since China's disciplinary watchdog urged officials to own up to their misconduct on May 30, China's disciplinary watchdog confirmed on Thursday. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China issued a set of regulations targeting official corruption that took effect on May 30, urging officials who have traded power for money to confess their crimes before the end of June in return for leniency. During the one-month period, 1,790 persons voluntarily reported their misconduct, involving 77.89 million yuan (10.2 million U.S. dollars), Gan Yisheng, CCDI spokesman, said at a press conference. (…). ^ top ^

Official: China 'prudent' in using death penalty (China Daily)
2007-08-02
China is very prudent in its use of the death penalty to punish economic criminals, the Communist Party of China's disciplinary watchdog said on Thursday. "We are very prudent in using the death penalty to execute perpetrators of economic crimes and the number of death penalties handed down to economic criminals is very small," Gan Yisheng, spokesman for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said at a press conference. (…) Gan's remarks came when a journalist from Agences France Presse questioned the severity of the punishment given to Zheng Xiaoyu, who was executed on July 10 for corruption during his tenure as director of China's State Food and Drug Administration. (…) "The fact that China keeps the death penalty is due to its national conditions and cultural background. There is nothing to be criticized," he said. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese Army issues rules on attracting scientists, technicians (People's Daily)
2007-07-03
The Authorities recently issued the regulations on attracting and preserving high-level scientists and technicians to serve in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), as part of the current military personnel reform. The document, which was approved by Hu Jintao, chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), contains 17 measures aiming at attracting top scientists and technicians. (…). ^ top ^

PLA budget to rise with the economy: President Hu (People's Daily)
2007-08-02
China will increase defense spending progressively and commensurate with the growing economy, President Hu Jintao said yesterday. "We will gradually increase input in national defense as the economy grows, and continue to modernize national defense and the armed forces in a way that serves the interests of our national security and development," said Hu, also chairman of the Central Military Commission. He was speaking at a grand rally marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (…). ^ top ^

Ousted Shanghai boss 'is not immune' - Chen Liangyu awaits his fate 'in good health' (SCMP)
2007-08-03
The ousted Communist Party boss of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, was in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges and his health was good, a top disciplinary official said yesterday, a week after Chen was removed from all party and government positions. In September, Chen was removed from his position as the top leader of the mainland's commercial capital and his seat in the all-powerful Politburo of the ruling Communist Party for his role in the embezzlement of more than 3 billion yuan from Shanghai's pension fund. More than 20 government and state company officials were implicated. […] Analysts see the ousting of Chen, a key member of the "Shanghai faction" headed by former president Jiang Zemin , as part of a power struggle within the top echelons of the party ahead of this autumn's 17th Party Congress. President and party chief Hu Jintao had used the anti-corruption campaign to get rid of Jiang loyalists and promote his own men to fill vacancies. (…). ^ top ^

TV watchdog clamps down on commercials with sexual content (SCMP)
2007-08-03
The mainland's TV watchdog has banned commercials with sexual content in an effort to tighten control over the small screen and "create a healthy environment" ahead of National Day and this autumn's 17th Party Congress. The decree from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) follows a series of orders in the past year banning illegal, fake and vulgar commercials, and called for harsher treatment of TV commercials. […]. ^ top ^

Vow of media freedom `not met' (SCMP)
2007-08-02
Beijing has failed to live up to its pledge to ensure full media freedom ahead of next year's Olympics, with harassment of foreign reporters still common, a survey of foreign journalists found. But despite the problems, the situation is better than before January 1, when the government relaxed reporting regulations, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China said. Of 163 respondents to its survey, 95 per cent said they did not think reporting conditions met international standards. ^ top ^

Censors clamp down on food safety reports - Stick to sports and lifestyle, newspapers told (SCMP)
2007-07-31
Mainland censors are tightening their grip on the media and limiting negative news reports, especially on food safety, following the punishment dished out to Beijing Television for a bogus report about the sale of cardboard-stuffed buns. The Publicity Department of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee, the city's top censorship body, has ordered a popular tabloid, the Beijing Daily Messenger, to scrap its political and social pages and instead cover entertainment and lifestyle stories. […] Other newspapers under the control of the Beijing propaganda authorities like Beijing Youth Daily and Beijing Evening News have also been warned against running negative news, even negative reports reprinted from newspapers in other regions. […] Reporters with New Beijing News and Beijing Times, the only two newspapers in Beijing not controlled by the municipal propaganda department, said they had not received an official notice but had been lectured about safeguarding the authenticity of news reports. […]. ^ top ^

Websites asked to crack down on 'fake news' (SCMP)
2007-08-02
A top propaganda official asked more than 20 major mainland websites to make positive coverage of this autumn's key party congress their top priority, Xinhua reported. Speaking at a Chinese Internet Association conference yesterday in Beijing, Cai Mingzhao , a deputy director of Information Office under the State Council, urged internet media to crack down on "fake news" to create a sound environment for the 17th Party Congress. "Good publicity for the party congress is the primary task for all internet media," Mr Cai told representatives from top domestic news portals, including sina.com, sohu.com and baidu.com. To gear up for "the most significant event for the country and the Chinese people", internet media should organise their staff to study President Hu Jintao's keynote speech at the central party school in late June to "strengthen their political sense". (…) The Propaganda Department also issued a circular warning news organisations that they would be "harshly dealt with" if found to carry fake news. ^ top ^

China completes construction of second highway in Xinjiang desert (People's Daily)
2007-08-02
China completed on Wednesday the construction of a second blacktop highway across the Taklamakan Desert in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The 424-km highway runs from Aral, a city in central Xinjiang, and ends in the Hotan prefecture in the south of the region, traversing the Taklamakan Desert. Construction of the road began in June 2005 with an investment of 790 million yuan (105 million U.S. dollars). Around 180 km was built by the People's Armed Police Force. (…) It is the world's longest desert highway at 522 kilometers. The Taklimakan Desert, China's largest desert, is in the center of the Tarim Basin, south of the Tianshan Mountains. (…). ^ top ^

Another 31 people, including four gov't employees, jailed in China's forced labor scandal (Xinhua)
2007-08-02
Thirty-one people have got sentences ranging from one year and a half to five years imprisonment in a forced labor scandal disclosed in early June in north China's Shanxi Province. Four government employees in Hongtong County and Yongji City were sentenced to two to three years in prison after local courts convicted them of power abuse and dereliction of duty, according to the Shanxi Provincial Higher People's Court. The four included two local industrial and commercial department employees, one policeman and one labor and social security worker. Twenty-seven others, including brickyard managers and foremen, were sentenced to up to five years in prison for using child labor and beatings, the higher court said. (…). ^ top ^

600 Guilin tour guides held after protest over pay (SCMP)
2007-07-31
More than 600 tour guides from the Guangxi tourism destination of Guilin have been detained for demonstrating to demand government help to improve their working conditions. […] The protesters urged the government to intervene, cancel all cheap tours offered at less than cost price and to insist travel agents pay the guides basic salaries. Several thousand regular and city police used force to break up the protest at 11pm, the protester said. […] Guilin's propaganda office and police declined to give details about the protest or the detentions. […]. ^ top ^

Rally highlights how scams keep the travel industry ticking along (SCMP)
2007-07-31
The Guilin protest has exposed one of the dark sides of the mainland travel industry, which often survives by offering travellers heavily discounted tours at the expense of their guides. Most tour guides in Guilin receive no basic wages, but need to pay up to 40 per cent of the cost of a package as a fee to the travel agency to make up for the agency's discounts to the traveller. The guides have to pay the money up front and then try to recoup the cost through commissions from shops. […]. ^ top ^

69 coal miners rescued after 3 days (China Daily)
2007-08-01
All 69 Chinese coal miners trapped underground by flood waters for more than three days emerged in broad daylight blindfolded, soaked but safe on Wednesday. The miners had been trapped in the Zhijian colliery in Shanxian county in the central province of Henan since Sunday morning when a flash flood caused by heavy rain surged through an old shaft. (…). ^ top ^

Managers covered up deadly mine accident (SCMP)
2007-07-31
At least nine people drowned in a flooded coal mine in Shanxi's Xiangning County in an incident that was covered up by mine managers for nearly a month. The casualties did not come to light until the Shanxi Provincial Work Safety Administration received an anonymous tip-off that the Liziping Coal Mine had been flooded on July 5, Xinhua reported yesterday. Mine managers did not report the deaths to authorities, but an initial investigation by the administration revealed that at least nine colliery workers had died in the incident. […]. ^ top ^

Protesters battle police over brewery's pollution of water (SCMP)
2007-07-30
Seven people were arrested and 20 injured after clashes broke out in Shiyuan, Sichuan province , on Friday between armed police and thousands of protesters angry about a brewery polluting drinking water, says a Hong Kong-based human rights group. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said yesterday that residents of Shiyuan fought a "violent and bloody" battle with police at about 7pm after they took to the streets demanding that Hong Kong-listed China Resources (Shifang) Breweries immediately stop releasing effluent into rivers nearby. A local source confirmed the report yesterday, saying villagers were angry at both the factory and the local government. […] The source said she had heard a rumour that the factory had paid the government "compensation" for polluting local water sources. So far the local government has made no comment on this. […]. ^ top ^

China floods kill 652 people, cause loss of 52.5 bln yuan (Xinhua)
2007-07-30
Floods, landslides and mudflows triggered by torrential rains have killed 652 people in China by Sunday, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. The floods, mainly in south and east China, caused 52.5 billion yuan (6.9 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, the office said. It added that the floods also brought down 452,000 houses, affected 119.15 million people and 7.87 million hectares of crops. The office said that water levels of the swollen Huaihe River have been above the warning line for more than 20 days and the situation would maintain for around a week even with no more rainfall (…). ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

158 countries, organizations confirmed to attend Shanghai World Expo (Xinhua)
2007-07-31
A total of 158 countries, regions and international organizations have confirmed their participation in the 2010 World Expo to be held in Shanghai, China, by Tuesday. Yang Xiong, deputy mayor of Shanghai and member of the organizing committee for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, told a news conference here Tuesday. The organizing committee forecast that more than 200 countries, regions and international organizations are expected to attend the 184-day event. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Morale worse than before the handover, say civil servants (SCMP)
2007-07-30
Nine out of 10 civil servants say staff morale has worsened since the handover, a trade union survey shows. About a quarter said the situation of civil servants was "more pessimistic" than 10 years ago. The Confederation of Trade Unions, which carried out the survey, attributed the gloom to an increasing workload arising from management reforms over the past decade. […] "Over the past 10 years, the civil service has shrunk from 190,000 to 160,000. But the demand for public service has not reduced," he said. With the five-day week requiring most employees to work longer hours during the week, Mr Lam said colleagues were more stressed as a result. He also said recruiting contract staff would affect service quality. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Fifth group of 192 central officials arrive in Lhasa for Tibet service (People's Daily)
2007-07-31
One hundred and ninety-two officials from China's central government and state enterprise headquarters have arrived in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, to help the region's development. Together with 661 local officials from 17 provinces and municipalities, they are the fifth group of officials from elsewhere to serve in Tibet since the central government started to dispatch central and local officials to the autonomous region in 1995. (…) The 853 officials this month include political officials, professional and enterprise management experts. ^ top ^

Panchen Lama vows to work for harmonious country, world (People's Daily)
2007-07-30
The 11th Panchen Lama vowed to contribute to a harmonious China and world while visiting a Tibetan Buddhist center in north China. The living Buddha and leader of Tibetan Buddhism paid a four-day visit to Chengde city in Hebei Province from last Thursday to Monday. (…) "I would like to maintain the tradition of former Panchen Lamas who loved the country as well as their faith and worked hard for the unification of the country and harmony among the people," he said. (…). ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan plans mass rally in support of its UN bid (SCMP)
2007-08-03
In defiance of a fresh United Nations snub, Taiwan plans to stage a massive march next month in support of its bid to join as "Taiwan" and a referendum on the same issue. The march comes despite opposition from the United States, which reportedly plans to punish the island over the referendum by downgrading transit treatment for President Chen Shui-bian during his upcoming visit to Central America. The march will be sponsored by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and held in Kaohsiung on September 15, three days ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, DPP secretary-general Lin Chia-lung said yesterday. (…) But Washington is unhappy about the referendum, saying it will intensify cross-strait tensions as the mainland viewed it as the first step to an independence vote. Beijing has said it will attack the island if it declares independence. (…). ^ top ^

Taiwan rejects reports it may lose ties with Honduras (SCMP)
2007-08-02
Taiwan yesterday rejected reports that there could be a change in its relations with Central American ally Honduras, whose president was said to have expressed interest in diplomatic ties with the mainland. "We see no possibility at all over any switch of ties as our relations with Honduras are very firm," Foreign Ministry spokesman David Wang Chien-yeh said. The Associated Press had quoted Wang Xiaoyuan, the mainland ambassador to Costa Rica, as saying that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Rosales was interested in building ties with the mainland. (…). ^ top ^

Taiwanese medical visas for mainland patients (SCMP)
2007-07-31
Taiwan is to allow mainlanders to apply for medical visas for treatment on the island beginning tomorrow as part of the government's efforts to increase medical revenue. According to the Mainland Affairs Council, mainland patients should contact qualified Taiwanese hospitals, which will help them apply for permits to stay for up to three months for five categories of treatment. […] The Health Department has designated 10 hospitals to provide the service. Hospital officials are upbeat about the new service, seeing it as a way to increase revenue. […] According to government estimates, the "medical tourism" programme is expect to attract some 100,000 mainland and overseas visitors to the island in three years. It is supposed to net NT$7 billion (HK$1.67 billion) in revenue and create 3,500 jobs. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Paulson: China committed to yuan reform (China Daily)
2007-08-02
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday he was assured that China is committed to currency flexibility and more financial reforms, but Beijing offered no specific changes that could help assuage US congressional ire over China's huge trade surplus. (…) Officials said they plan to lift a 10-month-old moratorium on new Chinese-foreign joint-venture securities brokerages in early autumn, instead of December as originally planned, Paulson said. The secretary, Washington's point man on China, is trying to avert drastic action by congressional critics who are pressing for punitive measures over Beijing's currency policies and multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States. Also Wednesday, congressional efforts to pressure Beijing took a step forward when a Senate committee approved a bill that would require the administration to pursue currency manipulation cases before the International Monetary Fund. (…). ^ top ^

China urges accommodation to "emissions of subsistence" by poor countries (People's Daily)
2007-08-02
"Emissions of subsistence" and "development emissions" of poor countries should be accommodated while the "luxury emissions" of rich countries should be restricted, a Chinese diplomat said Wednesday. "Adapting to climate change is as important as mitigating climate change," Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, told an informal debate of the UN General Assembly on climate change. Stressing the principles of equity and "common but differentiated responsibilities," Liu urged developed countries to "shoulder in good faith their historical and present responsibilities." (…) Although the Chinese economy has maintained a momentum of steady and fast growth in recent years, over 20 million rural people and over 22 million urban residents still live in poverty and the development of rural and urban areas and among different regions is imbalanced. "To improve the living standards of its 1.3 billion people, China's 'development emissions' may inevitably increase," Liu said. (…). ^ top ^

Mainland bull run of records 'unstoppable' (SCMP)
2007-07-31
Shanghai shares scaled new heights yesterday, boosted by investor confidence that higher corporate earnings would support resurgent stock prices. The jump in mainland stocks came as markets across Asia-Pacific recovered from a United States-triggered fall last week. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 95.41 points or 2.2 per cent from Friday's record close to 4,440.77. The Shenzhen Composite Index climbed 28.48 points or 2.29 per cent to 1,274.93, shy of its record high of 1,275.26 set on June 19. […]. ^ top ^

China's top economic planner initiates food price probe (People's Daily)
2007-08-03
China's top economic planning agency said Thursday it has ordered local pricing authorities to launch investigations into prices of major food products. The probe came after recent price increases at some fast food restaurants and of instant noodles triggered consumers' complaints. The investigations will mainly cover grain, edible vegetable oil, pork, beef, mutton, and poultry, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a circular. (…) Analysts said the probe indicated the government's intention to maintain price stability. (…). ^ top ^

Fast food catches up with pork's rising price (SCMP)
2007-07-31
Mainlanders are in for another round of food price rises next month, when some domestic fast-food chains increase their menu prices to cover the rising costs of pork and other ingredients. The news came as the National Development and Reform Commission called on local governments yesterday to refrain from raising price limits for the rest of the year. […] Mao Shoulong , a political science professor at Renmin University, said adjustments in food prices were normal given the mainland's robust economic growth. But the issue had become a political matter because of its potential to cause grass-roots discontent. Professor Mao said food-price inflation, always a political issue on the mainland, would be on top of the government's agenda in the run-up to the 17th Party Congress in October. ^ top ^

Measures urged to boost pig farming (China Daily)
2007-07-28
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for measures to boost pig farming as short supply has led to continued pork price hikes, causing concerns among consumers and the government over a possible spillover effect on inflation. Wen urged local governments to leave no stone unturned in enhancing the enthusiasm of pig breeders when addressing an executive conference of the State Council on Wednesday. The country's pig production fell dramatically in recent months on pig breeders' dampened enthusiasm due to rising feedstuff costs and low price in past few years, and also the massive pig culling after the outbreak of blue-ear disease in some regions. The short supply of live pigs kept driving the pork price higher. (…) Wen said it's of great importance to increase pig production, which would help stabilize the pork price and satisfy the meat demand of the public. (…). ^ top ^

Illegal charges add fuel to house prices (China Daily)
2007-07-29
Land authorities in six Chinese cities including Beijing have illegally charged 1.1 billion yuan (US$146.7 million) on enterprises so far this year, adding fuel to the nation's soaring housing prices. This was discovered by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planning body, during examinations of charges on businesses in Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Jinan, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Xi'an, the Beijing News said Saturday. (…). ^ top ^

Asian firms worried over low export orders (SCMP)
2007-07-30
A clouded outlook for export orders and a tight market for skilled labour are the key growth constraints worrying mainland and Hong Kong companies. In a survey by accounting firm Grant Thornton of about 7,200 companies from 32 countries - including 300 on the mainland and 250 in Hong Kong - 50 per cent of mainland companies identified a shortage of export orders as the factor that worried them most while 36 per cent of Hong Kong respondents voiced the same concerns. Grant Thornton's principal and head of risk management Patrick Rozario said mainland companies were concerned that overseas buyers may cut down orders as a result of increasing production prices. "The yuan has risen 8 to 10 per cent against the US dollar, while the costs of land, labour, raw materials and energy are also rising," Mr Rozario said. […]. ^ top ^

FDI grows 50% in western China (China Daily)
2007-07-27
In the first half this year, growth in overseas investment accelerated significantly in central and western China and especially in the western areas, with an 51.93 percent increase in actually utilized foreign direct investment (FDI), 39.76 percent higher than the national average, said Ma Xiuhong, Deputy Minister of Commerce, at the 4th International Investment Promotion Forum. Regional disparity has hindered China's sustainable development. Some studies suggested that central and western China have lagged behind eastern areas by eight years in terms of economic development and 10 years in terms of living standards. (…). ^ top ^

 

North Korea

Japan, China discuss North Korean nuclear disarmament (China Daily)
2007-08-01
Foreign ministers from Japan and China discussed ways to achieve further progress in North Korea's nuclear disarmament but remained far apart in settling a territorial dispute in the East China Sea, an official said Wednesday. (…) The two foreign ministers are in Manila to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia's largest security conference. Both China and Japan are participants in six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program. But American negotiator Christopher Hill's visit to North Korea in June opened a separate direct channel between Pyongyang and Washington, complicating the roles of other participants in the negotiations. Still, China and Japan will continue to make important contributions to the six-party process as it moves into a new stage following last month's shutdown of North Korea's Yongbyon reactor, Sakaba said. (…) He said Chinese and Japanese leaders would meet in Sydney, Australia, later this year, but that there was still no final decision on plans for a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Beijing by the end of 2007, and a reciprocal visit by President Hu Jintao to Tokyo in the spring of 2008. (…). ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Swiss vice president visits Mongolia (Mongol Messenger)
2007-07-25
On July 16, Prime Minister, M.Enkhbold received Swiss vice president and Minister of Interior Pascal Couchepin, during his official visit to Mongolia by invitiation of the Health Minister D. Tuya. The vice president said the completed Swiss Development Cooperation leadership programs implemented in Mongolia had been more successful than other countries. As Swiss environment minister, he was also interested in the impact of global warming on Mongolia's climate and natural resources. ^ top ^

Troops Train to Keep Peace (UB Post)
2007-08-02
The 4th annual military training exercise, jointly sponsored by the Mongolian Armed Forces and the U.S. Pacific Command, began on August 1 at the Tavan Tolgoi (Five Hills) Training Camp, 60 km west of Ulaanbaatar and will conclude on August 16. (…) Over 1,000 military personnel from nine countries, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Tonga, South Korea, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the USA, are taking part in the field exercise. Russia, China, Malaysia and Japan are participating as observer states. (…).

The ins and out -government survives (Mongol Messenger)
2007-08-01
Although the MPRP-led government has managed to survive, government resignation–related events continue. On July 25, the Democratic Party council in parliament made a statement that they would not support any issues submitted by the government, because they considered the government, led by M. Enkhbold, had resigned. Prior to the day the DP statement was released, the Government had survived, because the DP Council's proposal to dismiss the Government was rejected in a ballot by 46 of the 73 members, or by 63 percent of the MPs present at the plenary session on July 24. The DP Council, whose 28 members submitted the resolution bill, considered that there were enough grounds to dismiss government, including the April Mi-8 helicopter crash; the November 2006 train crash; the 15 ministers overspending their 2006 state budget; the Fuel and Energy Minister's misuse of funds for solar energy units for herders and the earlier Mi-8 helicopter crash where MPRP MP, Ts. Bataa abused his position during the flight. However, the MPRP group in Parliament and cabinet members considered the government should continue activities normally without being targets for politicization. (…)

 

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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