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
  8.9-14.9.07, No. 182  
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Table of contents

Hongkong

Beijing Olympics

North Korea- Six-Party Talks

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Foreign Policy

Top adviser: China to work with Japan to promote ties (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
China's top political adviser Jia Qinglin said here Wednesday that China will work with Japan to push forward the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at a meeting with Yohei Kono, speaker of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Diet. (…) The Chinese side will work with the Japanese side to seize the opportunities to strengthen friendly exchanges, enhance political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, expand common interests, follow the spirit and principles enshrined in the three Sino-Japanese political documents including the joint statement, and properly handle major sensitive issues such the historical one, noted Jia. (…) Kono said the Japanese Diet and people from all communities hope for and support the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation with China. Kono voiced his understandings of China's position on the Taiwan question. On Japan's political changes, Jia said this is Japan's internal affairs. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese envoy: China, U.S. share almost the same stance on Darfur issue (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
China and the United States, at the governmental level, share almost the same stance on the Darfur issue, China's special representative for Darfur said here on Tuesday. "The U.S. government appreciates the positive efforts made by the Chinese government on the settlement of the Darfur issue and has also given us an appropriate remark," Liu Guijin, who has just ended a visit to Washington, told reporters at the UN Headquarters. It is only on some specific issues that the two sides have different perspectives and have some differences in viewing the priorities, he said. (…). ^ top ^

China, Peru launch FTA talks (China Daily)
2007-09-07
President Hu Jintao met with Peruvian President Alan Garcia on Friday and the two leaders agreed to launch bilateral free trade area (FTA) negotiations. Their meeting took place in Australia's largest city of Sydney on the sidelines of the 15th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.(…) Following their meeting, the two leaders attended a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding on strengthening economic and trade ties. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese president Hu Jintao meets Philippine president Arroyo (People's Daily)
2007-09-10
Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Sunday that China is willing to maintain its close cooperation with the Philippines to further develop strategic cooperation between the two countries. Hu made the remarks during his meeting with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the sidelines of the 15th Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese, Uzbek leaders meet on bilateral ties (People's Daily)
2007-09-10
Chinese and Uzbek leaders have met in the Uzbek capital city of Tashkent to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views on cooperation between the two countries' parliaments and issues of common concern. A Chinese delegation headed by He Luli, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), paid a five-day visit to Uzbekistan at an invitation of the nation's Supreme Assembly on Sept. 6-10. (…) Halilov stressed that his country supports China's stance on the issues of Taiwan, Tibet and combat against "East Turkistan" separatist forces. (…). ^ top ^

Beijing needs to deliver on food safety promises, EU official says (SCMP)
2007-09-13
Beijing has shown a will to overhaul food safety controls after international concern about tainted goods, but it has to deliver on promised reforms, the EU's health chief said yesterday. European Union Commissioner for Health Markos Kyprianou said he had come away from talks with officials encouraged that they were committed to stopping unacceptable chemical residues and other risks in fishery products, honey, peanuts and other farm exports. But he said Beijing now had to make good on promised improvements to its quality controls or face more scrutiny, possibly even product bans. (…) The EU health chief said he pressed officials to ban tobacco sponsorship for Formula One racing. Shanghai hosts an F1 race and allows cigarette makers to promote at it. "The risks are being broadcast back to Europe," he said. ^ top ^

Serbian foreign minister says "historic" visit to China successful (People's Daily)
2007-09-14
Visiting Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Thursday in Beijing that his visit to China was a historic one and the visit was successful so far. "This is a historic visit, because this is the first time in history that the Foreign Minister of Serbia is visiting China...I hope this will help open a new chapter in the relationship between our two nations and two peoples, which has been a history of friendship, understanding and mutual support," said Jeremic at a press conference. He said he had a very successful day Thursday, having the chance to meet with Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. (…) He confirmed that the President of Serbia Boris Tadic will visit China in 2008 but said the specific date was yet to be set. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese FM meets special envoy of SPDC chairman of Myanmar (People's Daily)
2007-09-14
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Thursday with U Nyan Win, special envoy of Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar. Yang and U, who is also foreign minister of Myanmar, exchanged views in depth on bilateral relations and issues of common concern, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Party paper urges political reform (SCMP)
2007-09-12
An influential Communist Party newspaper has urged greater political liberalization to sustain the country's rapid economic growth, adding more suspense to the lead-up to next month's crucial party congress. The Study Times, a weekly published by the Central Party School, suggested yesterday that political change and economic change should proceed hand in hand. (…) A rare degree of boldness in political discussion is often allowed ahead of the party congress, with the central leadership seeking to cast themselves publicly as progressives who are open-minded about ways to improve governance and reduce corruption. The article did not go as far as endorsing western-style multiparty democracy. (…) Speculation has been rife about whether the central party leadership will introduce competitive elections for the politburo at the party congress. ^ top ^

Intellectual property online (SCMP)
2007-09-13
The mainland's first online forum for the sale of intellectual property was set up on Tuesday, the Beijing Times reports. The China International Copyright Trade Centre's website will develop archives in five areas - print, video, photos, music and software. Owners can choose several ways of selling their intellectual property - fixed price, by auction or pay-per-download. ^ top ^

Beijing vehicle ban cut pollution 20pc, scientist claims (SCMP)
2007-09-12
The results of last month's four-day city-wide partial vehicle ban showed a 20-per-cent cut in Beijing's air pollution, according to a scientist advising the city government on its campaign to clean up its hazardous polluted air ahead of the Olympics. Meanwhile, Hebei province , which borders Beijing, has announced an overhaul of its air quality monitoring standards, the first substantial move by the Olympic host's neighbours in a long-discussed joint campaign to tackle pollution woes ahead of the Games. Peking University environmentalist Zhu Tong said scientists had submitted to authorities a report based on data collected during the August 17 to 20 trial, which saw more than 1.3 million vehicles, or about 40 per cent of the city's vehicles, taken off the roads. […]. ^ top ^

Officials' assets to be made public (Xinhua)
2007-09-14
A national system will be set up "in due time" which will require civil servants to declare personal assets as a deterrent to corruption, Qu Wanxiang, vice-minister of supervision, said on Thursday. "We will start it after a thorough review," Qu told a press conference before the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention was unveiled. (…) He said that the country's financial system is not sophisticated enough and bank accounts are not always opened under real names. (…) Tsinghua University professor Ren Jianming said an asset-declaration system should be a crucial part of the country's corruption prevention strategy, and should be implemented in a "gradual and careful" manner. (…). ^ top ^

Police chief pledges sound social environment for Party congress (China Daily)
2007-09-12
China's police chief pledged on Tuesday to promote social harmony and create a sound social environment for the forthcoming 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). China's 1.8 million police forces will further carry out the ongoing crackdowns on organized crimes, murders, gun- and explosives-related crimes, robberies, economic crimes, and drug-related crimes, said Zhou Yong, State councilor and minister of public security, at a national teleconference of police departments. The police will also check on fire prevention, traffic safety and public security, he said. (…). ^ top ^

China sets up national bureau of corruption prevention (Xinhua)
2007-09-13
China announced here Thursday the establishment of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP). "The founding of the bureau is to meet the need to effectively prevent corruption in China," said bureau head Ma Wen at a press conference Thursday. Ma, who is also Minister of Supervision, said the bureau will focus on supervising and regulating the use of power and adopt effective measures to prevent the abuse of power. (…) "The bureau won't step in the investigation of individual cases as it doesn't have the power," said Qu Wanxiang, deputy head of the bureau. Qu said the bureau has been assigned the task to push forward transparency of government information at various levels, which he said is the way to "prevent corruption at its root". (…) The bureau will, under the framework of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, offer help to developing countries on corruption prevention and work to win technical support and other sorts of help from foreign countries or international organizations, Qu said. (…). ^ top ^

Corrupt bank official, man who killed relatives executed (SCMP)
2007-09-12
Mainland media yesterday reported the execution of two men for murder and corruption. Ning Jingzhong was executed for the murder of six relatives in Henan in March. Wen Mengjie, formerly of the Agricultural Bank of China (SEHK: 3988)'s Beijing office, was executed for accepting bribes worth 10.73 million yuan, and embezzling a further 4.32 million yuan between 1999 and 2004. Provincial courts must have approval from the Supreme People's Court before executions. ^ top ^

China's official crimes drop by 5% annually (Xinhua)
2007-09-14
Corruption cases involving Chinese officials accepted by procuratorial organs have declined by about five percent a year since 2003. Wang Zhenchuan, Deputy Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), said on Thursday that official corruption was declining after increasing strikes on official crimes. Reports from informants to procuratorial organs had also declined gradually, Wang added. (…) More than half of the official corruption cases were embezzlement of public funds involving more than 60,000 officials and bribery concerning 40,000 officials from 2003 to 2006. (…) Among the discharged officials, 11,223 held positions at county level or above, including 29 provincial and ministerial officials. (…). ^ top ^

China launches new project to support poor students get through education (Xinhua)
2007-09-13
Poor students in China now have one more choice to obtain bank loans to be used as their tuition fees of higher learning institutions. The government has launched a new pilot project to provide poor students with loans to help them get through their education. The new pilot project enables poor students to obtain loans from banks at their hometown, and has been carried out in provinces of Jiangsu, Hubei, Gansu and Shaanxi, and Chongqing Municipality, said an official with the Ministry of Education, which joined with the Ministry of Finance and the China Development Bank to launch the project for student loans. By Sept. 7, more than 33,000 students from the five areas had signed loan contracts, amounting to 560 million yuan (75.7 million U.S. dollars) in total, according to the China Development Bank. (…) About four million students at 1,800 colleges and universities and 16 million students at 15,000 secondary vocational schools would benefit from the financial aid scheme. (…). ^ top ^

Beijing drafting new laws to create greener business environment (SCMP)
2007-09-10
The central government is planning to finish drafting new rules and laws needed to create a more environmentally friendly business environment within the next four years, according to the deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa). Speaking at a forum, Pan Yue said Sepa would next year also announce policies on how to use business incentives to curb pollution. (…) Mr Pan said a mechanism should be created to centralise the management of forests, water, grasslands and land because the existing fragmented approach was inefficient. […]. ^ top ^

Macau urged to plug terror and crime loopholes (SCMP)
2007-09-12
A major international study into the possibility of money laundering and terrorist financing in Macau is urging action to plug potential legal loopholes in the city's booming casino sector, warning of "substantial risks". A 300-page report prepared by the intergovernmental Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering calls for Macau police and gambling authorities to conduct a sweeping risk assessment to bring the former Portuguese enclave up to international standards.(…) "The legal framework for the reporting of suspicious transactions remains fragmented, incomplete and potentially contradictory ... for casinos/gaming concessionaries," the report states. […]. ^ top ^

Forest plan deferred to save farms (SCMP)
2007-09-12
Beijing has suspended an eight-year-old scheme that encouraged farmers to plant forests because of fears that it was eating too heavily into the mainland's dwindling farmland. A State Council circular said the target of turning 1.07 million hectares of arable land into forest during the remainder of the 11th Five-Year Programme (2006-2010) would be put on hold to ensure farmland would not fall below 120 million hectares by 2010. The mainland had 121.8 million hectares of land suitable for crops last year, just 1.8 million hectares more than the amount that is widely believed it needs to feed its population. (…). ^ top ^

Censors chop 30 minutes from Ang Lee's award-winning movie (SCMP)
2007-09-12
Censors are to cut 30 minutes of sex scenes from Venice Film Festival Golden Lion award winner Lust, Caution for mainland audiences, bringing its running time down to a little more than two hours. (…) "Authorities told me there is no film-rating system," Lee said. "Children are able to watch any films on the mainland." News of the cuts renewed the debate about adopting a film-rating system. (…). ^ top ^

Farmers earn more, but still lag behind (China Daily)
2007-09-14
The gap between the incomes of rural and urban residents is continuing to widen despite an increase in farmers' incomes, a senior agricultural official said yesterday. Vice-Minister of Agriculture Yin Chengjie said the per capita net income of farmers has increased by more than 6 percent for three consecutive years, the first time since 1985. Last year, farmers' average per capita net income was 3,587 yuan (US$480), up 7.4 percent on the previous year. (…) But their incomes are still behind those of urban residents, Yin said. "The ratio of urban and rural residents' income was 3.28:1 last year, up from 3.21:1 in 2004, and the difference in per capita income has reached 8,173 yuan," he said. (…) Ministry figures showed at least 210 million rural labourers have migrated to cities or townships last year. In the first six months of this year, the number of migrant workers increased by 8.6 million, a year-on-year growth of 8.1 percent. (…). ^ top ^

China traffic accidents leave 22 dead, 13 missing, dozens injured (Xinhua)
2007-09-14
Twenty-two people are dead, 46 are injured and 13 are missing after three traffic accidents Wednesday and Thursday in central and southwestern China. A van carrying 31 people plunged into the Liuba River around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday in Gonggashan Township, Kangding County, capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, Sichuan province. Eight people died, six were injured, and 13 passengers are missing, according to the provincial administration of work safety. (…) In another accident in the same province, a bus with 38 passengers aboard veered off a highway and overturned on Wednesday afternoon in Yuechi county, while attempting to avoid two vehicles parked ahead. Eight people were killed and 30 were injured, according to hospital and government sources. (…) On Wednesday, a bus carrying 22 passengers veered off a village road and plunged down a 150-meter-deep valley around 6:40 a.m. in Sangzhi county, Zhangjiajie city in central Hunan province. Four died at the scene and two others died on their way to hospital. (…). ^ top ^

China to introduce compulsory tests for every batch of blood products from 2008 (People's Daily)
2007-09-12
China will begin compulsory testing on every batch of blood products from January 1, 2008, as one of its latest moves to tighten supervision of blood and biological products, according to the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). "Every batch of blood products must pass the compulsory test before being put on the market or being imported," said SFDA spokeswoman Yan Jiangying Tuesday. “(…)We hope this new measure can help us to root out possible virus contained in the blood such as HIV," she said. In addition, SFDA will continue to send inspectors to China's 33 blood products manufacturers and 33 vaccine manufacturers to strengthen supervision of the quality of blood and biological products. (…)^ top ^

China's suicide rate among world's highest (People's Daily)
2007-09-11
China has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, particularly among rural women, an expert on suicide prevention said yesterday. Yang Fude, vice-president of Beijing Hui Long Guan Hospital, said China is the only country where suicides among women outnumber men. "It is also one of the few countries where rural suicides outnumber urban suicides," he said on World Suicide Prevention Day. Recent statistics show more than 287,000 people end their own lives every year on the Chinese mainland. (…) Half of the suicides on the mainland are of women in rural areas, who commonly drink pesticide to end their lives. They may do so because of family disputes, low-educational levels and restricted social communication. (…) "Compared with Western countries, suicide in China is an escape from immediate problems and not related to mental issues as much," Yang said. (…) Currently, the country has just 19 professional suicide intervention institutes registered nationwide.(…). ^ top ^

Ministry to inspect six major hospitals (SCMP)
2007-09-11
The Ministry of Health will launch a three-month inspection of six "big hospitals" in a bid to curb corruption in the health sector and improve efficiency, its spokesman Mao Qunan said yesterday. Mr Mao did not name the hospitals, but said they were directly under the ministry's management. The inspections undertaken by six groups of officials would last until November and target management, financial affairs and official misconduct. Special attention will be paid to drug purchasing procedures. […]. ^ top ^

Act now in HIV battle or pay later, UN Aids fighter warns (SCMP)
2007-09-11
Mainland authorities need to speed up efforts to combat the spread of HIV/Aids by giving freer rein to NGOs and enrolling the help of companies, the UN's chief Aids fighter says. Peter Piot, the head of UNAids, gave Beijing high marks for opening up official policy towards Aids, once stigmatized as a disease of the west. But a gap between centrally made rules and implementation by local authorities was impeding prevention efforts, threatening the mainland with an even bigger human and financial toll, Dr Piot said. "It's act now or pay later," he said. "Given the fantastic economic development and the social transformation that is going on ... delaying or being slow in implementing the policies will result in the spread of HIV." (…) Dr Piot said he hoped companies could become more involved in prevention efforts - especially those employing migrant workers on building sites, at home or abroad. (…). ^ top ^

Two-thirds Chinese have negative opinion of country's new rich (Xinhua)
2007-09-11
Despite the fact that the growing number of China's new rich are making a fortune through hard work, the wealthy people in general are still deemed "socially unacceptable" by the general public. Two-thirds of respondents labelled the country's new rich "low" in terms of overall "quality", an online survey jointly conducted by China Youth Daily and media portal Sina.com. said on Tuesday. About 67 percent of the 3,990 respondents said China's rich were of "low" or "very low" quality while only four percent thought highly of them, it said. What the respondents find most unacceptable about the rich are the often illegitimate ways they accumulated wealth and arrogant behaviour after being rich, the survey said, without giving figures. (…). ^ top ^

Pro-Vatican bishop dies in detention, says rights group (SCMP)
2007-09-12
Han Dingxiang , a Catholic bishop repeatedly detained over his loyalty to the Vatican, has died in police custody aged 71, according to The Cardinal Kung Foundation, a US-based human rights organisation. It said Han died on Sunday while being treated in a hospital for an unspecified illness and was cremated within six hours. Ordained a priest in 1986, Han was appointed bishop of Yongnian Diocese in Hebei province in 1989 and had been under house arrest or detention for nearly eight years, it said. (…). ^ top ^

Outraged monks save historic building (SCMP)
2007-09-14
Angry monks have saved one of Beijing oldest Buddhist temples from disappearing under the bulldozers of a housing authority and won a commitment for the rebuilding of parts already demolished. On Tuesday last week workers arrived in the western yard of the Tang dynasty Fayuan Temple in southern Xuanwu district and began demolishing rooms built onto two large temple halls in the yard. The rooms had been home to families who had recently been evicted. The workers had been sent by the Niujie House Administrative Bureau to "renovate dilapidated buildings". But because of the cost and skills required to renovate historic buildings, "renovate" often in effect means "substantially demolish and rebuild in brick". Shocked by the demolition, monks protested and tried to stop any further damage, spiriting away ancient beams and delicate paintings before the workers could damage them further. (…) The temple leadership made desperate appeals to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage and other authorities and eventually won their case. "District authorities have received protests from Fayuan Temple," Li Xianren , project manager from Beijing Xuanwu District Land and House Administration Bureau, said yesterday. Demolition would be halted and the buildings restored in the original style, he said. (…). ^ top ^

China ordains successor to bishop (BBC News)
2007-09-10
China's state-controlled Catholic church has ordained the "automatic successor" to one of the bishops. Paul Xiao Zeijiang was ordained as Catholic coadjutor, or assistant bishop, in Guizhou province on Sunday. (…) Reports from Rome said the candidate had the approval of both the Vatican and supporters of the Pope in China. (…) Relations between China and the Vatican have been strained in recent years due to Beijing's insistence that the official Patriotic Church has the right to appoint bishops without Rome's approval. The Vatican excommunicated two bishops last year for being illegally ordained. (…) However, Pope Benedict XVI has sought to improve relations between China and Rome, and sent a letter to Chinese Catholics last month, urging reconciliation between the two groups. (…). ^ top ^

Premier Wen urges quicker development in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that Xinjiang should develop at a quicker pace to benefit people of all ethnic groups in the northwestern autonomous region. The government discussed the economic and social development in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen on Wednesday. "Xinjiang is in the best period of development with rapid expansion of its economy, marked improvements in living standards, social stability and ethnic harmony," said Wen. "But we should also be aware that the development task in Xinjiang remains arduous," he added. Xinjiang should take advantage of its natural resources such as oil, gas and coal, to build itself into an energy development center and an agricultural processing base, he said. More water conservancy works, roads and public service facilities should be built to upgrade agricultural and urban infrastructure, he said, adding that environmental protection should not be ignored. Xinjiang should try to achieve a balanced development between all its parts, improve the lives of farmers and herdsmen and promote trade with central Asia countries, he said. ^ top ^

Beijing police confiscate illegal explosives ahead of Party congress (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
Police have launched a crackdown on illegal explosives in Beijing in a run-up to the national congress of the Communist Party of China slated for mid-October. Police would comb areas with concentrations of small illegal collieries, rented and abandoned houses and underground markets with explosive detection devices and sniffer dogs, said Tang Yunli, deputy chief of the social security administration department of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. The campaign started in Malan village, Mentougou District, where police confiscated more than 500 grams of black powder and dozens of fireworks from villagers' homes on Wednesday morning. The village is surrounded by hundreds of illegal small coal mines, all of which have been shut down. (…)

1M babies with deformities born a year (China Daily)
2007-09-13
Later age pregnancies and unhealthy lifestyles are behind the country's rising number of birth deformities, health experts have warned. At least 1 million babies are born with defects in China each year, an incidence rate of 60 out of every 1,000. "The rate is three times that of developed countries," Professor Li Zhu, director with the National Center for Maternity and Infant Health said. (…) The late childbearing trend has become one of the major factors behind congenital defects, Li said. (…) Couples have the right to abort a pregnancy if defects are detected, Li said. "While it's indeed a life, doctors won't recommend abortion unless lethal defects are found." Li also called for people to have premarital health checks. (…) To redress the situation, many local governments have started to offer free checks.

 

Shanghai

Shanghai skyscraper sets record for sky-high rents (Xinhua)
2007-09-14
The Chinese mainland's tallest building is setting an altitude record for pre-completion rents. Shanghai World Financial Center managers are asking future tenants to pay between 1.70 and 1.96 U.S. dollars per square meter per day for space in the tower. The high end of the range is 40 percent more than Shanghai's previous record, which was set months ago by Park Place, an upscale development in downtown Jing'an Temple area. (…) The 101-story, 492-meter-high Shanghai World Financial Center, located in Pudong's Lujiazui finance and trade zone, is scheduled for completion in 2008. (…). ^ top ^

Efforts for Pompidou centre in Shanghai continue (SCMP)
2007-09-13
French diplomats and Pompidou centre officials are still lobbying authorities to open a Pompidou museum in Shanghai despite project delays, Alain Seban, the president of the cultural centre, said yesterday. Le Monde newspaper reported earlier this week that plans for a Pompidou museum in Luwan district had yet to gain approval. Named after late French president George Pompidou, the centre in the heart of Paris houses Europe's leading collection of modern art, a public library, a centre for music research, bookshops, performance halls, a restaurant and cafe. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Corruption not a major problem in HK: Tong (SCMP)
2007-09-14
Hong Kong still did not have a serious problem with graft, Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming said on Friday. Mr Tong was speaking to reporters about latest corruption cases in the territory. “There were only 183 cases of corruption being pursued by the ICAC between January to August this year,” he said. Of these cases, only three were from listed companies and 11 senior executives had been arrested and charged. Other 127 people being charged were the senior executives, professionals and consultants from other companies,” he said. But Mr Tang emphasised that with the increase of numbers of the mainland companies going public in Hong Kong, it makes the ICAC task more difficult in tackling corruption. “Over 100 companies from China went public in Hong Kong in last year and Hong Kong now has more than 1,200 listed companies,” Mr Tong said. “As these companies were registered and operate outside the borders of Hong Kong, if they were found to be corrupt, we will have used more time and effort to check and investigate them. This makes things more complicated and it will take longer to charge the corrupted companies,” he said. Mr Tong also encouraged people to report to the ICAC if they suspect or find any people involved in corruption or bribery. “From January to August this year, the number of the reported cases has risen to 7.3 per cent as compared to last year. This reflects the confidence of the people towards ICAC,” he added. The ICAC was set up in the 1970s to combat graft in the territory following some high profile corruption cases involving police and officials. Over the last 30 years, Hong Kong has become one of Asia's least corrupt cities. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chen branded reckless traitor over UN bid (SCMP)
2007-09-13
Beijing yesterday slammed Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian's latest push to hold a referendum to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan as "provocation". Branding Mr Chen a schemer and a traitor, mainland Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi said he must bear the "serious consequences" if he took his own course in pushing for independence. "If Chen Shui-bian obstinately and recklessly takes dangerous moves irrespective of warnings and denouncement of the international community, he must shoulder all serious consequences," Mr Li said, without specifying what he meant by "serious consequences". (…) Thomas Christensen, US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, on Tuesday reinforced the message that Washington did not back such a move. Mr Christensen said Mr Chen's referendum plan was "needless provocation". (…) Shanghai announced last week it would hold air raid drills, sounding sirens in four districts and one rural county on Saturday to test the city's readiness against potential attack. (…). ^ top ^

New hurdle to inclusion of Taiwan in torch route (SCMP)
2007-09-10
Taiwan and the mainland have failed to sign an agreement on the passage of the Olympic torch to Taipei, but the two sides will make last-ditch efforts to iron out their differences to ensure the flame arrives on the island. (…) Tsai Chen-wei, chairman of Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee headed to Beijing on Friday, hoping to strike a deal with the mainland's Olympic committee for the passage of the torch to Taiwan, but failed after Beijing raised a previously undiscussed issue, according to Chen Ming-tong, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC). (…) Taiwanese media, quoting unnamed sources in Beijing, said the mainland had demanded that no Taiwanese flags or emblems could appear in areas within 24km of the torch route, and the island's anthem could not be played within the same radius. (…). ^ top ^

Taiwanese hold candlelight party against Chen Shui-bian (Xinhua)
2007-09-10
Taiwanese protesters wearing red T-shirts held a candlelight party in Taipei Sunday evening to show opposition to the island's leader Chen Shui-bian. Shih Ming-teh, former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), joined the protest at 8 p.m., saying the red T-shirt protesters had opened a new leaf for the anti-corruption campaign in Taiwan. A protest attended by hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese took place on the same day last year after some of Chen Shui-bian's family members were implicated in a series of scandals. ^ top ^

Chen tries 'dollar diplomacy' in Africa (People's Daily)
2007-09-11
The recent meeting between Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and a few African countries was just another example of Chen's "dollar diplomacy", a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. "The meeting was calculated to conduct secessionist activities in the international arena and intensify 'dollar diplomacy' for personal and political interests of the Taiwan authorities," said Jiang Yu. " (…) Guo Zhenyuan, an expert at the China Institute of International Studies, said Chen's "diplomatic juggling" has done little to expand Taiwan's "international space". "The basic reason is that Taiwan authorities' secessionist activities go against the global trend," he said. ^ top ^

US and Taiwan plan US$2bn arms deal (SCMP)
2007-09-13
The Pentagon announced possible military sales to Taiwan worth more than US$2.2 billion dollars (HK$17.1 billion) on Wednesday, including a dozen P-3C Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft and SM-2 anti-aircraft missiles. The Defence Security and Co-operation Agency said the sales would help maintain “political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region.” (…) The sale would serve US interests “by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and enhance its defensive ability to counter air threats,” the agency said. (…). ^ top ^

 

Economy

WB: China can "absorb" shock (Xinhua)
2007-09-13
The World Bank Wednesday said China has the capacity to absorb the impact of the recent international financial market turmoil if it spreads to its robust economy. It also said China has not been affected by the global financial problem triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States though some of the emerging markets have already been reeling from a credit squeeze. (…) The World Bank said the country's domestic economic climate remains buoyant, with profit and credit growth being high, investment remaining strong and consumption becoming more robust. Though inflation has risen, it's largely because of higher food prices, it said. ^ top ^

HKEx chief urges single China market (SCMP)
2007-09-14
Hong Kong and the mainland should develop a single China market that could challenge the trading power of exchanges in New York, Tokyo and London, the chairman of the local bourse said yesterday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning chief Ronald Arculli outlined an ambitious blueprint that would include a single listing and trading platform covering Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Shanghai. (…). ^ top ^

Pork prices have CPI over a barrel (People's Daily)
2007-09-12
Inflationary pressure continues to build with the consumer price index - a key gauge of inflation - surging 6.5 percent in August, the highest since December 1996. The upward spiral, driven mostly by an 18.2 percent surge in food prices, followed the indicator's rise to a 10-year high of 5.6 percent in July, from 2.2 percent in January. (…) Prices of pork and other meat surged 49 percent; cooking oil, 34 percent; and eggs, 23.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. Prices of non-food products rose 0.9 percent, the bureau said. Inflation for the first eight months reached 3.9 percent, and economists and government organizations forecast that the CPI for the whole year will surpass 3 percent, the target set by the central government. (…) The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planner, said all food demand except pork can be satisfied, and "we see no threat of severe inflation." International standards set annual price hikes of 5 percent as a benchmark of high inflation. (…). ^ top ^

Overseas-funded companies top 610,000 in China: commerce ministry (People's Daily)
2007-09-10
China had approved the establishment of more than 610,000 overseas-funded companies by the end of July, with actual use of overseas investment totalling 720 billion U.S. dollars, said an official of the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday. (…) So far, more than 480 of the world's top 500 businesses have set up companies in China. (…). ^ top ^

Summer Davos concludes with hope, suggestion and appeal (People's Daily)
2007-09-10
As the curtain of three-day Summer Davos meeting in Dalian of northeastern China is lowered, participants are loaded with hope while voicing suggestions and making appeals. Held in a developing country which has stunned the world with sustained economic miracle over the past three decades, the global meeting of the World Economic Forum surely had focused its heated topics on China's economic expansion. Unexpected by the participants, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pointed out China's economic hike was shadowed by problems such as unstable factors, imbalances and the lack of sustainability.(…) China announced the ambitious goal of reducing the energy consumption of per unit of its GDP (gross domestic product) by 20 percent and pollutant emission by ten percent during the 11th Five- year Plan (2006-2010). (…). ^ top ^

Mainlanders may start direct investment in HK in October (China Daily)
2007-09-13
Individual investors from the Chinese mainland are likely to be able to start trading in Hong Kong shares next month, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday. There is little chance the government will launch the scheme this month as many issues need to be improved, the newspaper cited an unnamed authoritative source as saying. The project could begin as early as the week after the National Day holiday that lasts from October 1 to 7, the source added. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange announced on August 20 that mainland individuals would be able to trade directly in HK shares through the Tianjin branch of Bank of China (BOC) amid efforts to reduce the country's huge foreign exchange reserves and excessive liquidity. (…). ^ top ^

Financial policy changes to back outbound investment (China Daily)
2007-09-09
China will unveil financial policies changes to support overseas investment of domestic companies, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said Saturday. The central bank will scrap unnecessary controls on foreign exchange reserves to fund local firms' outbound investment, Zhou told a forum at the 11th China International Investment and Trade Fair opened in Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian Province. "We will remove unnecessary restrictions on reviewing sources of foreign exchange funds, as well as on foreign currency purchase and profit remittance," he said. "We will also allow domestic firms to use their own foreign exchanges or buy foreign funds with local currency yuan to invest abroad." (…). ^ top ^

More gov't support for firms in IPR disputes (Xinhua)
2007-09-11
The government is to establish a litigation response contingency fund to help companies deal with intellectual property rights (IPR) disputes, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has said. The move comes in the face of increased IPR disputes since China's accession to the WTO in 2001. (…) Such investigations have jeopardized China's hi-tech industries and structural upgrades in the country's trade exports, he said. (…) SIPO deputy chief Zhang Qin said there were two reasons for this. First, some Chinese firms do not fully understand IPR protection. Second, "We cannot rule out the fact that some transnational corporations abuse their IPR rights and attempt to snuff out the emergence of Chinese firms." (…) The SIPO intends to create a steering committee on corporate IPR management and a mechanism for expert assistance, helping Chinese companies with their patent strategies (…). ^ top ^

Disney hit by labor abuse claim (People's Daily)
2007-09-14
Workers at a factory making toys for the Walt Disney Company have lodged a complaint with the city's labor department, claiming they are being paid below the minimum wage and are overworked. More than 70 workers at Jin Da company made the accusation of sweatshop conditions on Monday at the labor station of the Nanwan sub-district office in Longgang district, where the factory is located. The workers were also worried about losing their jobs after the factory relocates to neighboring Dongguan, a public relations officer at the office surnamed Zhang said. "Our law enforcement team has gone to the factory to understand the situation from the perspective of workers and management. We will try to mediate and help them reach an agreement," she said. (…) The situation arose after more than 700 employees were asked in May to sign short-term contracts, which did not specify working hours or salary, the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao newspaper said. (…) The factory closed some workshops this month and asked workers to accept 180 yuan a month and take a break from work, the paper said. (…). ^ top ^

Blackstone makes first China investment (Xinhua)
2007-09-11
The Blackstone Group would invest up to 600 million dollars into a Chinese chemical corporation, the first investment in China, said the U.S. leading private equity firm on Monday. China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), a leading international diversified chemical company, and The Blackstone Group announced a strategic partnership to build a global leader in the specialty chemical industry, the two companies said in a joint announcement. The Blackstone Group will acquire 20 percent stake of China National Bluestar Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ChemChina. (…)UBS AG acted as financial advisor to ChemChina, and Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor to Blackstone on this transaction.(…). ^ top ^

Air China adds extra flight routes (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
Air China Ltd, the country's largest international carrier, will add flights to Toronto, Rome and 10 other European and North American cities by the end of 2009. New routes next year will include flights from Beijing to Berlin, Istanbul and Warsaw next year, according to a draft plan yesterday from the General Administration of Civil Aviation. China Southern Airlines Co will begin five new overseas routes by the end of 2009, including flights to Newark, New Jersey and Moscow. Chinese airlines plan to add 27 routes to Europe and North America by the end of 2009 as they bid to end losses by winning market share, according to Bloomberg News. (…). ^ top ^

Mattel admits it bears responsibility for design errors: Chinese official (People's Daily)
2007-09-14
A senior Chinese official said on Thursday that Mattel has admitted it took full responsibility for design errors which led to the recalls of millions of Chinese toys. "In a letter to Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, an executive from Mattel admitted the company should take full responsibility for the recalls," said Wei Chuanzhong, vice minister of AQSIQ, referring to the design faults in toys with tiny magnets that could be swallowed. The company also admitted that there were nothing wrong with Chinese manufacturers over the recalls, said Wei at a press conference held in the Chinese embassy in Washington, adding some 85 percent of the Chinese toys recalled in the past weeks were due to the design problems. (…). ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

China agrees to foreign co-op on Beijing Olympics security (Xinhua)
2007-09-12
China agreed to cooperate with other countries and Interpol in security issues for Beijing Olympics in a joint declaration with foreign security organizations on Tuesday. The declaration vowed to strengthen communication and enhance cooperation to ensure a safe and harmonious Olympic Games in Beijing. The declaration was made at the closing of the International Conference on Security Cooperation for 2008 Beijing Olympics organized by China's Ministry of Public Security and the Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games. Representatives of law enforcement organizations of 32 countries and regions and officials from International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization agreed the declaration. (…) The parties would also support China in taking measures to strengthen border control and entry and exit management and strictly prevent the illegal entry of members of terrorist organizations and weapons, ammunition, explosives and nuclear, biochemical and radiological substances. (…). ^ top ^

 

North Korea

China confirms nuclear experts leave for DPRK (People's Daily)
2007-09-11
China on Tuesday confirmed a team of nuclear experts from the United States, China and Russia had left for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "The group, including experts from China, the United States and Russia, will work with the DPRK experts to study the denuclearization arrangements," said Jiang Yu, spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at a regular press conference. She said China was preparing for the second phase of the sixth round of the six-party talks, but the date for talks had not yet been decided. (…) According to a press communique issued on July 20 at the end of the sixth round of the six-party talks, the next round of talks was due to be held in Beijing in early September. (…). ^ 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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