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
  4.8-10.8.07, No. 177  
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Table of contents

Beijing Olympics

North Korea- Six-Party Talks

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Foreign Policy

Pact with Pakistan to protect Chinese (China Daily)
2007-08-08
Pakistan and China have signed an agreement to protect Chinese nationals from extremists' attacks in Pakistan. The agreement acquires special significance after some Chinese nationals were targeted by extremist organizations recently. A joint task force comprising senior Pakistani Interior and Foreign Ministry officials and Chinese diplomats in Pakistan will be set up to ensure greater security for Chinese nationals. (…). ^ top ^

Gore calls on Beijing to go green (SCMP)
2007-08-08
The mainland could cut its carbon emissions without jeopardising economic growth if it used new technologies that did not emit greenhouse gases, former US vice-president Al Gore said yesterday. Mr Gore used the mobile phone industry as an example of a business that did not need to burn fossil fuels such as oil and coal. "There are ways to leapfrog the old, dirty technologies," Mr Gore told the Global Brand Forum in Singapore. The mainland is concerned that cutting emissions would cripple development. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese president to attend SCO summit (China Daily)
2007-08-07
Chinese President Hu Jintao will begin a three-nation tour to Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia from August 14 to 18, during which he will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit(SCO) in Bishkek and observe the SCO joint anti-terrorism military drill in Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said here Tuesday. ^ top ^

Shanghai bloc in final planning for joint exercise - Peace Mission 2007 ready to roll (SCMP)
2007-08-10
Military leaders from the mainland, Russia and four central Asian nations met in Xinjiang yesterday at the start of a joint anti-terror military drill involving a total of 6,000 troops and 36 aircraft. Dubbed "Peace Mission 2007", final planning for the drill between members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) began in Urumqi , Xinjiang's capital, yesterday. The main exercises will be carried out in Chelyabinsk, Russia, from tomorrow until next Friday. Xinhua said chiefs of staff from the mainland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were involved in yesterday's strategic talks. […] On the threats to security in the SCO region, General Baluyevsky cited terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, organised crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring information security "(…). ^ top ^

China protests playing "national anthem of the Republic of China" (Xinhua)
2007-08-04
China has lodged a stern representation to Japan for playing the "national anthem of the Republic of China" at Asia men's basketball championship. An official with the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned an official of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and lodged a stern representation in this regard, said a press release from the ministry. "This has seriously violated the spirits enshrined in the three political documents including Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, and relevant rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about Chinese Taipei's taking part in competitions," said the press release. "China expresses strong protest and demands the Japanese side to immediately take effective measures to remove the vile influence and avoid similar events from happening again," it said. The Japanese organizing committee and Asian Basketball Federation have extended formal apology to China, said the press release. ^ top ^

China, U.S. agree on initial framework on food safety co-op (Xinhua)
2007-08-04
China and the United States have agreed on an initial framework of the memorandum of food safety cooperation, China's top quality control agency said here Saturday. The framework covers the safety system on food imports and exports, cooperation on the supervision mechanism and regulation standards, information exchange and the ministerial meetings mechanism, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). (…). ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Party wants faster path to reform, says report (SCMP)
2007-08-08
The Communist Party will accelerate democratic reforms after this autumn's key party congress in an effort to tackle entrenched corruption by officials, according to the latest edition of a party-sponsored journal. "Proactively and steadily pressing ahead with political-system reforms ... will help resolve problems embedded in China's current power structure," said Outlook, a weekly news magazine published by Xinhua. (…) The effective solution lay in developing a democratic political system which endorsed the rule of law and citizens' greater participation in politics. "After the 17th Party Congress, China's socialist democratic political reforms will move faster," it concluded, saying this was a "consensus" view among top political analysts from official think-tanks. (…) Analysts say the "consultative democracy" doctrine is likely to find a place in Mr Hu's keynote address to the party congress. ^ top ^

CPC members better represented by delegates to upcoming Party congress (Xinhua)
2007-08-05
Almost 30 percent of the delegates elected to the upcoming 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) are from grass-roots, which makes it the best represented congress compared with the previous three ones. Among all the 2,217 delegates to the congress, 28.4 percent are grass-roots members from all walks of life, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee said here Sunday. (…) Among the finally elected delegates, women accounted for 20.1 percent and ethnic people made up 10.9 percent. About 93.3 percent have received higher education and 70.4 percent are younger than 55 years old. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president wishes Inner Mongolia better future (People's Daily)
2007-08-09
Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong on Wednesday in Hohhot urged people of all ethnic groups in Inner Mongolia to sum up experience and work harder to strive for a prosperous future. The region should take its 60th founding anniversary as a new starting point to realize sustainable economic and social development, improve the system of ethnic autonomy in the region and improve people's life steadily " Zeng said at a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the autonomous region. (…) Zeng, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, called on the region to take a scientific approach to development and strike a balance between economic development, urbanization and environmental protection. The region should draft more regional laws and regulations to protect the rights of ethnic minorities and train a contingent of ethnic cadres, he said. (…). ^ top ^

Govt pours $1b on drug, food safety (China Daily)
2007-08-09
China will spend 8.8 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) to improve food and drug supervision, the industry watchdog announced yesterday. The money will mainly be spent on building or upgrading infrastructure which will be in place by 2010, State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said. Yan also announced that the SFDA will hold press conferences every two weeks to brief the media on the food security situation. During the first regular briefing on July 11, Yan admitted the country's food and drug situation was unsatisfactory and vowed to improve it. (…). ^ top ^

New rules on death case appeals (SCMP)
2007-08-09
The Supreme People's Procuratorate has ordered prosecutors to examine appeals against the death penalty based on six issues. The order was part of new procedures to have appeals considered in court. Among the issues that prosecutors will have to consider are evidence collection, the conditions of the original trial and whether the execution should be suspended, the Procuratorate Daily reports. ^ top ^

More cash for 40m retirees of State firms (People's Daily)
2007-08-06
The government is to increase the level of pensions and housing subsidies for poor families in a bid to bridge the widening income gap. A State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday pledged to increase pensions for more than 40 million retirees from State-owned enterprises over the next three years. (…) It said the increases over the next three years would exceed the rises made between 2005 and 2007 to "further ease social tensions caused by the income gap". (…). ^ top ^

Central officials raise minimum living grant by 15 yuan a month (SCMP)
2007-08-08
The central government has raised the urban minimum living allowance for low-income families by 15 yuan a month from 330 yuan to help deal with the rising cost of living, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday. Local governments could offer a rise of more than 15 yuan if they could afford it, the ministry said, and the increase should be implemented by the end of this month. "Low-income families have suffered most from the price hikes of daily commodities such as pork," said Li Liguo , deputy minister of civil affairs. ^ top ^

Crude family planning slogans ban (SCMP)
2007-08-06
The mainland's top family planning agency has cracked down on crude and insensitive slogans used by rural authorities to enforce population limits, state media said yesterday. Slogans such as "Raise fewer babies but more piggies" and "One more baby means one more tomb" have been forbidden and a list of 190 acceptable slogans issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, Xinhua reported. Such slogans are often found painted on roadside buildings in rural areas. […]. ^ top ^

China cracks down on interactive media scams (China Daily)
2007-08-09
China's media watchdogs have launched a crackdown on interactive programs on TV, radio and the Internet that raise money from their audiences through telecoms scams. The Ministry of Information Industry (MII) said the campaign would focus on eliminating programs, such as fortune-telling, horoscopes and gambling, that lure participants into costly interactive services. Interactive services, such as TV and text messaging, have become cash cows for many Chinese media organizations. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese transport official gets life jail for corruption (People's Daily)
2007-08-07
A former transport official in southwest China's Yunnan Province, who had fled to Singapore and later extradited back to China, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for corruption. Hu Xing, born in October 1958, former deputy director of Yunnan Provincial Transport Department, allegedly abused his power to take more than 40 million yuan (5.3 million U.S. dollars) in bribes, including an apartment valued at 247,000 yuan, according to earlier reports. (…). ^ top ^

Senior Chinese law official punished for abortive Finland trip (People's Daily)
2007-08-07
The Communist Party of China has demoted a senior law enforcement officer who led a ten-strong delegation to Finland on a forged official invitation only to be refused entry. Xu Wenai has been removed from his post as vice procurator-general of east China's Anhui province for wasting public money on the abortive journey, which resulted in the Chinese official being deported the day after their arrival in Finland. (…) The scandal emerged after the delegation had to return to China on Nov. 21 last year after they were refused entry to Finland for providing a fake Finish government invitation on Nov. 20, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the CPC. The CCDI investigation found the delegation also changed the route of business travel and added the number of destination countries. (…) "Government officials must practice a frugal working style and wasting public funds is prohibited," the notice said. (…). ^ top ^

Income disparity getting worse: Report (China Daily)
2007-08-09
China's Gini coefficient, a standard measure of a country's overall income inequality, rose to 0.473 in 2004 from 0.4 in 1993, according to a report by the Asia Development Bank (ADB) released yesterday. It is the latest figure for assessing income disparities and crosses the international warning line of 0.4. A coefficient of between 0.3 and 0.4 is generally deemed normal, but the larger it is, the more serious the inequality. (…). ^ top ^

China bans imports of cloven-hoofed animals, related products from UK (People's Daily)
2007-08-07
China has banned imports of cloven-hoofed animals and related products from the United Kingdom in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in southern England, said a circular jointly issued by China's Ministry of Agriculture and top quality watchdog on Tuesday. The prohibited items - including dairy products, which were shipped on July 8 or after will be returned or destroyed, while those shipped out of the U.K. before July 8 will go through strict inspections before being accepted. (…). ^ top ^

Macau prepares for another large protest on heels of May violence (SCMP)
2007-08-09
Macau's traffic chaos and other social problems are poised to be aired in another large protest in the city following the violent Labour Day rally in May. Motorcyclists are expected to lead a demonstration on October 1, when a controversial traffic law takes effect. Growing public anger over the city's traffic jams looks set to boost the turnout. Several interest groups behind the Labour Day rally have indicated they will join the protest, although their demands may differ from those of the motorcyclists and commuters. On May 1, more than 6,000 people took part in the city's most violent protest in decades, which left 21 police officers and dozens of demonstrators injured. (…) New measures may be announced by the chief executive today to ease public discontent. In his previous appearance in the legislature in April, Mr Ho announced policies aimed at cooling the property market and boosting public housing but the measures failed to prevent a large turnout for the rally. ^ top ^

Call to abandon wooden chopsticks (China Daily)
2007-08-10
Restaurant owners and patrons should abandon the use of disposable chopsticks for the good of their health and the environment, an official with the China Cuisine Association (CCA), has said. Bian Jiang, its secretary-general, recently called on restaurant operators to phase out one-use cutlery, especially wooden chopsticks, in preparation for next year's green Olympics. The country produces and discards more than 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks every year, at a cost to the environment of about 25 million trees, Bian said. (…). ^ top ^

China's white dolphin likely extinct (China Daily)
2007-08-08
China's rapid industrialization has likely made extinct a species of fresh water dolphin that had been on Earth for over 20 million years, Chinese and British biologists said Wednesday. Scientists from China, Japan, Britain and the United States failed to find the white dolphin, known as the baiji, during a six-week search of its natural habitat in the Yangtze river last year. "This result means the baiji is likely extinct," Wang Ding, co-author of the survey and one of the world's leading experts on the species, said. The dolphin was a victim of devastating pollution, illegal fishing and heavy cargo traffic on the Yangtze, Wang said. The findings mean the baiji is likely the first mammal to become extinct in more than 50 years. (…) ". ^ top ^

Drought leaves 1.27 mln people short of water in China (Xinhua)
2007-08-05
About 1.27 million people living in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are suffering from water shortages due to continuous drought, local flood control and drought relief officials said on Sunday. Statistics showed that 1.27 million people and 849,000 heads of livestock in 49 cities and counties across the region are short of water. Meanwhile, a total area of 6.4 million mu (about 430,000 hectares) of crops have been affected, with 1.67 million mu (about111,300 hectares) of fields having no water at all to grow rice. (…). ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai World Expo to start ticketing next year (People's Daily)
2007-08-05
Tickets to Shanghai World Expo will be put on sale as of Sept. 9 next year, with the benchmark price being set at 160 yuan. Chen Xianjin, deputy director of Shanghai World Expo Affairs Coordinative Bureau, said the actual prices of tickets would be fluctuating above or below 160 yuan, the benchmark price, in accordance with timing and style visitors choose to go by group or on their own. (…). ^ top ^

Party chief insists Shanghai will reap rewards from Expo (SCMP)
2007-08-06
Shanghai's Communist Party chief says the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will be good for the city, dismissing speculation that the economy will suffer after the event. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 1,000 day countdown to the Expo, Xi Jingping told state media yesterday that the 184-day convention, together with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, would in fact serve as a major catalyst for economic growth. Responding to concerns that the economy would lose its momentum after the two events, Mr Xi said the economy would not suffer as it was buoyed by other forces. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetans attack state religious interference (SCMP)
2007-08-08
Beijing's attempt to manipulate the centuries-old Tibetan practice of searching for reincarnations of holy monks is stoking anger in the region, a member of Tibet's parliament in exile said. The State Administration of Religious Affairs posted new regulations on its website last week banning reincarnations of "living Buddhas" who failed to seek state approval. "It's most silly and preposterous. It will lead to friction and dismal failure," said Khedroob Thondup, a nephew of the Dalai Lama. The regulations targeted his 72-year-old uncle, who was still the most important influence in Tibetan life, he added. "No Tibetan will recognise a Dalai Lama appointed by Beijing," he said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

US to sell 60 missiles to Taiwan (SCMP)
2007-08-10
The US has decided to sell up to US$125 million worth of Harpoon missiles to Taiwan in a deal certain to annoy the mainland. The Pentagon has notified the US Congress of the possible sale of 60 Harpoon Block II anti-ship cruise missiles, which will be used by some of the 150 F-16 A/B fighter jets that the US sold to the island in 1992. The Defence Security and Co-operation Agency said on Wednesday that the proposed deal was valued at an estimated US$125 million. "The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic security in the region," it said. (…) The new deal is expected to draw protests from Beijing, which has warned other countries against arming the island. (…). ^ top ^

Beijing rejects Taiwan's choice of Apec envoy (SCMP)
2007-08-06
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has been forced to name a new envoy to the Apec summit in Australia next month after Beijing objected to his first choice, Taiwanese media reported yesterday. Mr Chen had wanted former vice-premier Tsai Ing-wen to represent him at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Sydney on September 8 and 9, the Taipei-based China Times said. But Beijing voiced its objection and Mr Chen will propose a new candidate, it said. The newspaper cited a national security official saying "the reason Beijing opposed Tsai was that she was the architect of the `special state-to-state' theory". This theory was used in 1991 by then president Lee Teng-hui to define the relationship between the mainland and Taiwan. Beijing regarded the theory as a move towards independence for the island. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Shanghai hits fresh high (People's Daily)
2007-08-06
The Shanghai stock market soared through the psychological barrier of 4500 points, led by financial stocks, to close at a new high of 4560.77 on Friday. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 3.47 percent, or 153 points, with 543 out of 902 stocks closing higher. Turnover on the Shanghai exchange amounted to 173.67 billion yuan. (…) According to Shanghai Securities News, capital invested in the stock market increased 74 billion yuan in July, despite fears of tightened liquidity. Until the end of July, total capital invested in the stock market amounted to 1.08 trillion yuan, a new high. (…). ^ top ^

Chery, Fiat to form joint auto venture (China Daily)
2007-08-08
China's fast-growing Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. and Italy's Fiat Auto have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up a joint auto manufacturing company, Chery said on Wednesday. The joint venture to be built in Wuhu, east China's Anhui Province, will produce Fiat and Alfa Romeo models as well as Chery group vehicles. The MOU was signed on Tuesday, one day after the two sides announced an agreement for Chery to supply Fiat with 100,000 engines a year. The joint venture is expected to produce 175,000 vehicles annually starting from 2009, according to a statement on Chery's website www.chery.cn. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland reports booming trade with Taiwan, HK, Macao (Xinhua)
2007-08-07
The Chinese mainland saw its trade with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao continue to rise in the first half of the year, said sources with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC)on Tuesday. Trade volume across the Taiwan Straits rose 10.1 percent year-on-year to 55.3 billion U.S. dollars in the January to June period, with the mainland's exports up 15.1 percent to 11 billion dollars and imports up 9 percent to 44.3 billion dollars. By the end of June, the island had invested an accumulative 44.6 billion dollars on the mainland, taking a 6.2-percent share in the total investment the mainland received from overseas. With a 40.5-percent share and direct investment totaling 290.3 billion dollars, Hong Kong maintained its position as the biggest investor on the mainland. (…)The mainland's exports to Macao rose 28.1 percent to 1.2 billion dollars, while imports were down by 9.2 percent to 130 million dollars. ^ top ^

McDonald's to raise employees' wages in Chinese mainland (Xinhua)
2007-08-07
McDonald's will raise 95 percent of employees' wages in its 815 restaurants in mainland China from September 1, according to McDonald's China. "This is the first time McDonald's has raised its staffs' wages in such a large scale since it entered mainland China 17 years ago," said Jefferey Schwartz, CEO of McDonald's China, on Monday. (…) In April, the fast-food giants, including McDonald's and KFC, were criticized for underpaying their part-time employees by up to 40 percent lower than the local legal minimum wage of nearly one U.S. dollar per hour in more than 10 cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Taiyuan, an official of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions said. (…). ^ top ^

Staff work overtime at toy factory, despite export ban (SCMP)
2007-08-10
One of two Guangdong factories at the centre of a US toy recall was still in production yesterday, despite a central government ban on the export of its goods. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said this week that it had withdrawn export licences for the two factories, Hansheng Wood in Dongguan and Lee Der Industrial in Foshan. The watchdog said the factories should stop all exports and ensure product quality. […] Xinhua reported that Lee Der's paint supplier had provided "fake" lead-free paint. Hansheng staff yesterday claimed they were continuing to work overtime to fill toy orders. "We have not heard about the recall issue," a factory worker said. "But we still need to work overtime, about two or three hours per day. "I don't know if the toys have excessive lead or not. But sometimes my eyes and skin are uncomfortable when I work in the plant." A Hansheng factory manager said the authorities had withdrawn only the export licence but it was allowed to keep producing toys. […]. ^ top ^

China's CPI to rise less than 4 percent this year (People's Daily)
2007-08-06
The rise of China's consumer price index (CPI) is likely to be kept under four percent this year, as food price hikes will be quickly restrained in the second half of the year, according to Yao Jingyuan, chief economist of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Yao said the inflation of food prices have only resulted from an "adjustment within the nation's economical structure". "Despite the price rises of pork and a few other food products, current overall supply far exceeds total demand and consumer prices are not likely to keep rising," he said. (…). ^ top ^

Question mark over Angola project, says Hangxiao Steel (People's Daily)
2007-08-07
Hangxiao Steel Structure said in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday that the 34.4 billion yuan construction project, which it was to undertake in Angola, has run into rough weather as a result of an unexpected delay. The company's shares plunged 5.93 percent to close at 23.3 yuan when trading resumed after a one-week suspension. (…). ^ top ^

Lenovo to sell $199 PC to rural market (Xinhua)
2007-08-06
Lenovo Group Ltd. said Friday it will sell a basic personal computer aimed at China's vast but poor rural market and priced as low as US$199. Lenovo's announcement follows rival Dell Inc.'s bid to boost its presence in China's booming market with the unveiling in March of a low-cost personal computer meant for novice Chinese users. (…) The new PC goes on sale later this year at prices of 1,499 to 2,999 yuan (US$199-US$399), Chen said. (…) Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, announced in March that it will sell a basic desktop PC designed for China and priced at US$223-US$515. Chen denied that Lenovo was responding to Dell's initiative. (…). ^ top ^

Company signs US$634m deal to build railway in Mauritania (SCMP)
2007-08-06
Sudan's Danfodio Holding and the mainland's Transtech Engineering have signed an agreement to build a US$634 million railway linking Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott, with southern phosphate deposits at Bofal. The deal for the 430km line will run close to the Islamic republic's southern border with Senegal. The proven reserves of the phosphate, often used in fertilisers, at Bofal are around 165 million tonnes. The government forecasts an annual production of 2 million tonnes over 30 years. Transtech and its parent company, China Railway Engineering, one of the world's largest railway builders, won a US$1 billion contract earlier this year to build a 700km railway in Sudan connecting the capital, Khartoum, with Port Sudan. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Foreign media enjoy greater access in China: FM (People's Daily)
2007-08-07
Upon the start of the one-year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China is confident that foreign media will have better access to reporting on the Games and China itself. "We look forward to receiving journalists from across the world here in Beijing in 2008. I am sure the foreign press in China will enjoy an even better working environment and have more access to information in the future," Liu Jianchao, director-general of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, told press in an interview recently. (…). ^ top ^

Police jostle reporters at protest on press freedom (SCMP)
2007-08-07
Police roughed up journalists at a rare protest yesterday in Beijing, staged by a press freedom group that accuses the central government of failing to meet promises for greater media freedom one year ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. On a pedestrian bridge outside the headquarters of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog), members of Reporters Without Borders unfurled posters depicting the Olympic rings made from handcuffs. The Paris-based group said the mainland continued to restrict press freedoms and lock up journalists, political dissidents and activists who published on the internet - despite pledges to liberalize made when bidding to stage the games. (…) Yet, police in uniform and plain clothes swarmed the pedestrian bridge and roughed up journalists covering yesterday's protest, seizing identity documents and refusing to allow them to leave the scene. (…) Journalists were allowed to leave after about two hours, with no explanation from police about why they were detained. (…) ^ top ^

China practices artificial rain reduction for sunny Olympics (Xinhua)
2007-08-09
China held a rain reduction drill here Wednesday to ensure that the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games next year will not be interrupted by rain. Three planes carrying 30 technicians flew for about 3 hours within a 80 km-radius area about 8,000 meters high above Hohhot, capital city of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, spreading silver iodide and 2,800 kg of diatomite into the clouds. (…) The drill, overseen by weather authorities of Beijing and Inner Mongolia, was just part of the rain reduction program to be launched if needed next August, a month when Beijing is prone to rain. In addition to rain blocking above the venue area, cloud seeding will be made between 15 km to 120 km away to induce rainfall before it moves to the site of the event. Rockets would be fired to disperse clouds in case of thunderstorms and other weather conditions that are too risky for piloted flights. (…) ^ top ^

Don't mix sport and politics, says Bocog - Uphold the Olympic spirit: Games official (SCMP)
2007-08-07
A top Bocog official says the organisers of next year's Beijing Olympics remain "absolutely opposed" to attempts to politicize the Games, as Amnesty International criticized the central government for its sluggish progress in improving human rights on the mainland. In a report released yesterday, Amnesty warned that time was running out for Beijing to honor its promise to promote human rights as part of the Olympic legacy. "Unless the Chinese authorities take urgent measures to stop human rights violations over the coming year, they risk tarnishing the image of China and the legacy of the Beijing Olympics," Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan was quoted as saying yesterday in reports from London. Amnesty's report assessed four key areas of human rights relating to the Olympics: the death penalty, detention without trial, human rights activists and media freedom. It concluded that, despite improvement in some areas, the overall picture remained bleak.(…). ^ top ^

Accept torch route, Taipei told (SCMP)
2007-08-07
Taiwan should accept an earlier consensus on the Olympic torch relay route proposed by Beijing, Jiang Xiaoyu , executive vice-president of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said yesterday. (…) "We hope the Chinese Taipei Olympic committee and Taiwan authorities would put politics aside, keep other interference out and respect a written consensus on the proposed route." But in Taipei, Taiwanese Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien said it was Beijing who should be blamed. (…) Ms Lu said the torch relay route announced by Beijing was meant to make the island the "first stop in Chinese territory", which Taipei was unlikely to accept. She was referring to the mainland's plan to have the torch pass from Taiwan to Hong Kong and then Macau, both special administration regions of the mainland. But she said Taiwan would not boycott the Olympic Games unless the national dignity of the island was at stake. (…). ^ top ^

US lawmakers call for boycott (SCMP)
2007-08-09
US legislators introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for a Games boycott unless Beijing "stops engaging in serious human rights abuses", a Congressional aide said. Backed initially by eight Republican lawmakers, the resolution also wants Beijing to "stop supporting serious human rights abuses by the governments" of Sudan, Myanmar and North Korea. The House foreign affairs committee is expected to debate it when lawmakers return from recess early next month. ^ top ^

Two more detained for protests against Beijing's Tibet rule (SCMP)
2007-08-09
Police detained two more foreigners in Beijing yesterday for using the Olympic spotlight to campaign for an end to Beijing's rule of Tibet , rights groups said. Eight foreign Tibet activists are in mainland police custody, after six others were picked up on Tuesday for unfurling a "free-Tibet" banner on the Great Wall just outside Beijing. Canadian Lhadon Tethong, the executive director of US-based Students for a Free Tibet, and Paul Golding of Britain were taken into custody as they left their hotel. "Lhadon sent a very quick text message saying they had been detained," said Matt Whitticase, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Students for a Free Tibet and the Free Tibet Campaign. ^ top ^

No Olympic glory without human rights, Beijing told - Intellectuals urge change, offer ideas a year ahead of Games (SCMP)
2007-08-08
The "One World, One Dream" slogan for next year's Beijing Olympic Games would be empty rhetoric if authorities made no serious efforts to address human rights concerns, dozens of prominent intellectuals said in an open letter yesterday. With a year to go until the Games, 40 liberal scholars, writers, lawyers and activists from the mainland have signed a mildly worded letter entitled "One World, One Dream and Universal Human Rights". The letter appeared on an overseas Chinese-language website, www.boxun.com, and was circulated on the internet. It called for seven measures to be taken to "end human rights violations surrounding the preparations for the Olympics". (…) ^ top ^

 

North Korea

Fuel shipment to N Korea aims to ease nuclear tensions (SCMP)
2007-08-06
Beijing is to provide energy-starved North Korea with 50,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil this month as part of a nuclear disarmament deal Pyongyang reached with regional powers in February, the Yonhap news agency reports. The oil consignment is part of the second stage of the disarmament deal reached between the two Koreas, the mainland, Japan, Russia and the United States. In this stage, Pyongyang is to receive 950,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil in exchange for permanently disabling its nuclear plants and providing a complete inventory of its atomic arms programme. Beijing decided to ship the oil to ease tension before the nuclear discussions, even though North Korea had not disabled its reactor nor provided an inventory, sources said. The two Koreas are due to hold energy-aid talks this week. ^ top ^

Korean troops exchange fire along border (China Daily)
2007-08-06
North and South Korean soldiers briefly exchanged gunfire along their border Monday, the office of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. North Korean soldiers fired several shots toward a South Korean guard post in the eastern part of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula. South Korean soldiers immediately returned fire, a statement said. No South Korean soldiers were hurt. It was unclear if anyone was hurt on the northern side and comment there was not immediately available. (…) The shooting comes a day ahead of working-level talks to agree on the details of an aid-for-disarmanent deal with Pyongyang in the truce village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas. (…) Such incidents occur every few years. In July 2006 soldiers from the two Koreas exchanged fire along the heavily fortified border. (…)

Chinese, S. Korean FMs discuss peninsula situation by phone (People's Daily)
2007-08-10
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his South Korean counterpart Song Min-soon held phone talks late Thursday on the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula. At the request of the South Korean minister of foreign affairs and trade, the two ministers exchanged views on the second Inter-Korean summit slated for Aug. 28-30 and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Yang stressed that China, as always, supports both the South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in efforts to improve relations through dialogue. (…)

 

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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