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
  20.10-26.10.07, No. 188  
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Table of contents

Beijing Olympics

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Sonia Gandhi's visit to lay groundwork - Leader not expected to discuss thorny issues (SCMP)
2007-10-24
India's most powerful politician, Sonia Gandhi, heads to the mainland this week to set the stage for a summit between the two countries, as relations show renewed signs of strain. Ms Gandhi, head of the Congress party and the ruling coalition, is due to arrive tomorrow, setting the stage for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit later this year or early next year.[…] But she would not usurp the role of government or discuss specifics such as the border dispute, said Congress party spokesman Abishek Singhvi. Instead she would focus on a "holistic range of issues" including closer economic and cultural ties and closer contacts between the ruling parties of both countries. Ms Gandhi would also try to smooth ruffled feathers in Beijing, which was suspicious about deepening ties between New Delhi and Washington, analysts said. This year Beijing appeared to harden its position on the border dispute, signalling it no longer felt bound by a 2005 agreement that any settlement should not disturb settled populations. And water is emerging as longer-term issue that could poison relations between the two countries, argues Brahma Chellany of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. Beijing says it has no plans to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra in Tibet towards the Yellow River and its parched west. Dr Chellany says China is "dragging its feet" over an agreement reached last year to set up a mechanism to consult each other on water. "If you look at it, since Hu Jintao was in India, things have taken a turn for the worse," he said. ^ top ^

Meeting to discuss aid to Pyongyang (People's Daily)
2007-10-24
The third working group meeting on energy and economic assistance for Pyongyang will be held next Monday at the truce village of Panmunjom, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday.
The two-day meeting is expected to implement the consensus reached by the Six-Party Talks and the previous similar discussion, which took place in August in Northeast China's Shenyang. […] In response to the reports that China had angered the UN food agency, because food aid to Pyongyang was held up due to a railway dispute between train companies of the two countries, Liu said:"There is no problem"."Rail transportation is running normally between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the transportation agreement signed between China and World Food Program is also running normally," Liu said. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy holds talks with Sudanese officials on Darfur (China Daily)
2007-10-25
Visiting Special Envoy of the Chinese Government for Darfur, Liu Guijin, held on Tuesday and Wednesday a series of talks with Sudanese officials on the situation in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. The Chinese envoy held the talks with Sudanese Presidential Assistant Nafie Ali Nafie, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmed Kerti and other senior Sudanese officials. During the meetings, the two sides exchanged views on the deployment of a hybrid peacekeeping force of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur, the political process for realizing peace in the region as well as other problems. Liu said the Darfur issue was developing generally towards a positive direction in spite of some difficulties. […] After the visit in Sudan, the Chinese envoy will fly to Libya to attend the inaugural session of the peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and rebel movements in Darfur. ^ top ^

Chinese, Russian, Indian foreign ministers meet for trilateral co-op (Xinhua)
2007-10-25
Chinese, Russian and Indian foreign ministers on Wednesday afternoon met in Harbin in northeast China, pledging to strengthen trilateral pragmatic cooperation. The three foreign ministers fully exchanged views on international or regional issues of common concern and reached key consensus on deepening trilateral pragmatic cooperation in the future. […] They also agreed to uphold the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol as the main framework for responding to climate change problems, and to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism, organized trans-border crimes and drug trafficking. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at the meeting that the trilateral cooperation has achieved important progress since the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India first had this kind of trilateral meeting in 2002, with consensus on international issues gradually increasing, pragmatic exchanges and cooperation in economic and other fields gradually developing in recent years. The trilateral meeting has already become a key platform for the three countries to enhance mutual political trust, expand exchanges and cooperation, Yang said. […] This was the seventh meeting of the foreign ministers from China, Russia and India since 2002. And it was the first time that such a meeting has been held in China. After the meeting, the three ministers issued a joint communique. ^ top ^

China throws weight behind UN envoy in Myanmar crisis (SCMP)
2007-10-25
China yesterday told the visiting UN envoy to Myanmar that it would fully support his efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis in the Southeast Asian nation, state press reported. "You have made a remarkable contribution to the mediation on the Myanmar issue in the past two weeks, which we appreciate," assistant foreign minister He Yafei told Ibrahim Gambari. […] Professor Gambari arrived in Beijing yesterday for a two-day visit as activists held protests outside Chinese embassies in Bangkok, Sydney and elsewhere around the world in an effort to pressure China over its support of Myanmar's junta. […] China is a major supplier of weapons to Myanmar and has come under harsh criticism for its policy of non-interference in the reclusive nation's affairs. It has said it will not back economic sanctions against the junta. However, Professor Gambari has praised China's role for helping get him into Myanmar last month, and brokering meetings between him and the junta's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, as well as with detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. […]. ^ top ^

China, EU agree to enhance dialogue, co-op (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
Lisbon - China and the European Union (EU) agreed here Thursday to promote dialogue and cooperation to better cope with challenges in an increasingly globalized world, where both sides share various common interests. In the third round China-EU strategic dialogue, both sides reached a consensus that enhanced dialogue and cooperation would be in conformity with the fundamental interests of both sides, and would also contribute to world peace, stability and development, according to sources with the Chinese delegation. During the discussion, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and the EU "troika" led by Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Joao Gomes Cravinho exchanged views on Sino-EU relations and a wide range of international and regional issues of common concern, said the sources. China and the EU held their first round strategic dialogue in London in December 2005. The second round was held in Beijing in June 2006. ^ top ^

CPC delegation leaves for European tour (China Daily)
2007-10-26
A delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) left here Thursday for a good-will visit to Germany, Spain and Belgium. The delegation, led by Zhang Zhijun, deputy head of the International Department of CPC Central Committee, made the trip at the invitation of Social Democratic Party of Germany, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Reformist Movement of Belgium and European People's Party. The delegation will hold a seminar on China-Europe relations at Brussels with the European People's Party. ^ top ^

China, Costa Rica agree to step up ties "to a higher level" (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
China and Costa Rica have agreed to step up bilateral relations "to a higher level", vowing to further cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, technology and tourism. The consensus was reached in visiting Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez's meetings here Thursday afternoon with Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. […] Arias arrived in Beijing on Monday morning, kicking off a one-week state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao. Besides the Chinese capital Beijing, Arias is also scheduled to visit the northwestern city of Xi'an and China's commercial hub Shanghai. This is the first time for Arias to visit China since he took office in 2006. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier meets Egyptian parliament speaker (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met here Thursday afternoon with Egypt's visiting People's Assembly Speaker Ahmed Sorour, calling on the two sides to push forward the bilateral strategic partnership to a new level. […] Sorour said the Egypt-China relations already established a good example for harmonious coexistence and common development among developing countries, promising that the Egyptian People's Assembly would continue to play its special role in a bid to promote the bilateral relations. At the invitation of Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo, Sorour arrived in China on Oct. 20 for a week-long official good-will visit. ^ top ^

Border talks with India 'positive' (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
China will firmly support the joint efforts with India to finalize a framework to resolve the lingering border dispute if it is "fair, rational, and acceptable to both sides", Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said yesterday. Yang's promise came during a 50-minute meeting with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in the capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. […] The two countries have set up a working group to formulate a framework to resolve the boundary issue, Mukherjee told reporters. "Let us wait for the recommendations of the working group." […] During their talks, the foreign ministers of China and India reviewed the development of bilateral ties, and agreed that enhanced cooperation was not only conducive to regional peace and stability, but also to world peace and prosperity. ^ top ^

Chinese premier to attend SCO meeting, visit four countries (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the sixth Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent from Nov. 2 to 6, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Thursday. […] During the five-day tour, Wen will also pay official visits to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus and Russia. Besides, He will attend the 12th regular meeting between the prime ministers of China and Russia, and the closing ceremony of the "Year of China" in Russia. […]. ^ top ^

UK launched biometric visas in China (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
Chinese applicants for a UK visa will be required to have their fingerprints collected and a head shot photo taken starting October 25. The biometric system had been in use in 108 countries around the world before it was put into use at 12 visa centers in China. The UK is the first EU country to launch it.

[…] On October 23, China's Foreign Ministry declared that China was considering the same practice in the process of entry and exit. ^ top ^

China denies signing deal with Iran on selling fighter jets (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
China denied here Thursday a Russian report that it will sell fighter jets to Iran, saying no talks were conducted between China and Iran. "The report is false and irresponsible," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference in response to a report by a Russian news agency that China has signed a deal to sell Iran jets and fighters in the next two years. "China has not conducted any negotiation on so-called fighter issue," said Liu. "We hope the Russian newspaper could clarify its report," he added. ^ top ^

Chinese vice FM meets UN special envoy for Myanmar issue (China Daily)
2007-10-26
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi met here Thursday with Ibrahim Gambari, special envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Wang said China hopes relevant parties in Myanmar could properly resolve the issue through dialogue and commit to the stability and development of the country. […]. ^ top ^

 

17th Party Congress

17th Central Committee of the CPC elected Sunday (China Daily)
2007-10-22
Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin and Li Changchun have been elected Sunday morning into the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Party's top decision-making body. Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng and Luo Gan are not in the new central committee. Zeng Qinghong is 68 years old, Wu Guanzheng, 69 and Luo Gan, 72. They were members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 16th CPC Central Committee. […] Zeng was also a member of the secretariat of the 16th CPC Central Committee and is vice president of China. Wu Guanzheng acted as secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC. Luo served as secretary of the CPC Central Political and Legal Affairs Committee. Huang Ju, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 16th CPC Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, died of illness on June 2, 2007. Members of the Political Bureau of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Wu Yi, Zhang Lichang, Cao Gangchuan and Zeng Peiyan are not in the 17th CPC Central Committee. Wu Yi and Zeng Peiyan are vice premiers. Zhang Lichang is deputy director of a leading group for revitalizing northeast China and other old industrial bases. Cao Gangchuan is vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, state councilor and defense minister. ^ top ^

Hu tightens grip on power by choosing young PLA officers (SCMP)
2007-10-22
More than one-fifth of the 204 full members of the Central Committee come from the military and 25 of the 42 Central Committee members who represent the PLA are new faces. Analysts said the significant number of new faces indicated President Hu Jintao was tightening his grip on power and the promotion of more young and professional officers in the People's Liberation Army. Veterans who stepped down included Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan and former air force commander Qiao Qingchen , whose seat was taken up by his successor, Xu Qiliang. Similarly, navy commander Wu Shengli was also elected a Central Committee member, taking the seat vacated by his predecessor, Shi Yunsheng. […] All top leaders such as commanders and political commissars of the seven military regions are now full members of the Central Committee. They included Fang Fenghui, commander of Beijing Military Region, Li Shiming, commander of Chengdu Military Region, Zhang Youxia, commander of Shenyang Military Region and Zhang Yang, political commissar of Guangzhou Military Region. They were only promoted to their new positions in recent months. Hong Kong-based commentator Johnny Lau said that although choosing representatives in the central committee from the military was different from that in the party organ or the executive, selection of the new members indicated that President Hu was tightening his grip of power. "In cementing his grip on power," Mr Lau said, "Hu Jintao is making a significant change in the composition of the central committee, including those from the military.”[…]

Wave of younger future leaders emerges on new committee (SCMP)
2007-10-22
Apart from unveiling a possible lineup of the leadership five years from now, the list of the Communist Party's new Central Committee also sheds light on the leading candidates for the sixth generation, analysts say. Of the 204 Central Committee members approved yesterday, 62, or about 30 per cent, were born after 1950, 16 after 1955 and four in the 1960s. The country's next generation of leaders are believed to be party bosses Li Keqiang of Liaoning , Xi Jinping of Shanghai, Wang Yang of Chongqing and Li Yuanchao of Jiangsu , who hold ministerial ranks and were born in the 1950s. But the Central Committee has also received an infusion of new blood with people in their forties. Hu Chunhua , the first secretary of the Communist Youth League Central Committee secretariat, and agriculture minister Sun Zhengcai , both 44, are the youngest members of the ruling party's elite body. Also tipped to lead the race for sixth-generation leadership are Zhou Qiang , 47, governor of Hunan , and Zhang Qingwei , 46, minister of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. That group is expected to take power in 10 to 15 years. […]. ^ top ^

Religion mentioned in CPC Constitution (China Daily)
2007-10-22
For the first time in its history, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has mentioned the word "religion" in an amendment to its Constitution adopted on Sunday at the closing session of the 17th CPC National Congress. To incorporate into its Constitution the principles and policies the Party has formulated for guiding efforts to strengthen the work related to ethnic and religious affairs, among others, is conducive to their full implementation and getting better results in the Party's work in this area, said a resolution on the amendment to the Constitution. […]. ^ top ^

Amended Party Const. says to foster private sector (China Daily)
2007-10-22
The Communist Party of China said on Sunday it will foster the development of the non-public sector with an amendment to the Party Constitution, according to a resolution adopted at the closing session of the 17th CPC National Congress. […] Delegates to the session unanimously agreed the Party will unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector, play the fundamental role of the market in the allocation of resources, and establish a macro control system. […]. ^ top ^

Scientific Outlook on Development enshrined (China Daily)
2007-10-22
The Party Sunday enshrined the Scientific Outlook on Development and other strategic thoughts into its constitution at the closing meeting of its 17th congress. The move signals the Party's determination to promote more coordinated development based on social harmony, environmental protection and energy conservation in addition to economic expansion. […] It was proposed in 2003 by the 16th CPC Central Committee against the backdrop of rapid economic growth in the country coupled with a series of problems including excessive consumption of resources, damage to the environment and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. In addition, the CPC incorporated the "path of socialism with Chinese characteristics" and the "theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics" into its constitution, according to a resolution on the amendment to the Party Constitution, which was unanimously passed by more than 2,200 delegates to the congress Sunday. The congress also approved the objective of the Party's basic line in the constitution as "turning China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country". Building a "harmonious" country is for the first time mentioned in the constitution as the Party's objective.[…] Delegates consider the amendment of the Party constitution as a landmark in the history of the CPC as it leads the Chinese people in building a harmonious, well-off society. ^ top ^

Candidate cull still short of expectations for political reform (SCMP)
2007-10-22
As the makeup of the party's Central Committee was unveiled yesterday after days of back-room negotiations, experts said the electoral margin of 8 per cent fell short of expectations given the leadership's pledge to speed up political reform. According to Xinhua, there were 8 per cent more nominees than positions for members and alternate members of the powerful Central Committee when primary elections were held on Friday and Saturday. […] The list put forward for final voting yesterday did not provide room for a real contest. All candidates on the list were elected - although delegates retained the right to cross out candidates they disliked. But the exact number of candidates contending for these places during the primaries is unknown, rendering determination of the exact electoral margins impossible. […]. ^ top ^

The limits of Hu's influence are laid bare (SCMP)
2007-10-23
[…] Mr Hu has secured his legacy in the party's history by having his lofty "scientific concept of development" theory written into the party charter, cementing his authority and influence. But the fact the congress failed to incorporate "building a harmonious society", another part of his theory, into the party constitution, shows the limits of his influence. While he has managed to promote a number of his supporters onto the Central Committee and the Politburo, he managed to bring only Li Keqiang , his protege and Liaoning party secretary, onto the Politburo Standing Committee and even then failed to anoint him as the clear successor. Mr Li is now ranked slightly lower than Shanghai party secretary Xi Jinping , another new Politburo Standing Committee member, who is seen as being closely associated with former president Jiang Zemin and outgoing Vice-President Zeng Qinghong . Mr Hu also failed to reduce the number of Politburo Standing Committee members from nine to seven and the new lineup in the Politburo and its Standing Committee points to a carefully negotiated compromise among the various party factions. […] More importantly, the reorganised power structure signals that centuries of paramount leaders calling the shots is probably over. The leadership is bracing for more consensus-driven, power-sharing and coalition-style governing. This may not be a bad thing, as the collective decision-making process can help prevent the major upswings and downturns the mainland has experienced on the whims of past paramount leaders. After all, the mainland's economy is already the world's fourth largest and is growing. But the drawback is that major decisions will take longer and changes are most likely to be incremental. ^ top ^

A succession message for all to see - Red carpet lineup indicates Xi Jinping is destined to lead the nation (SCMP)
2007-10-23
When China's new leaders took to the red carpet of the Great Hall of the People under the media glare, Xi Jinping stepped forward unruffled, followed closely by Li Keqiang . The grand game of succession looks all but over, even though nothing has been formally announced. Mr Xi, the latecomer to the contest for the leadership of the world's fourth biggest economy after 2012, came ahead of Mr Li, who had been odds-on favourite until very recently, in the final lineup of the Politburo's Standing Committee - the apex of the country's power structure. "Who's name comes first is a critical matter in the Chinese political language," said Mao Shoulong, a professor of political science at Renmin University. […] Mr Xi, the 54-year-old party boss from the financial hub of Shanghai, was yesterday also given the job of heading the party secretariat, a powerful executive body in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the decision-making Politburo. "That's the perfect gig for accumulating political capital," Professor Mao said. […] The position in the Standing Committee of Mr Li, Mr Hu's choice as heir apparent, puts him in line to take over from Wen Jiabao as the country's premier. "It's going to be very difficult for Hu to upset this arrangement," said Professor Fewsmith, who teaches at Boston University. "He'd have to challenge a lot of unwritten rules within the party and doing so would invite instability." Mr Li's credentials as a leading man of the tuanpai - the Communist Youth League that is Mr Hu's political power base - had probably worked as a double-edged sword, he said. "Hu relies on tuanpai too much and a lot of people in the party don't like that," Professor Fewsmith said. Even on paper, Mr Li doesn't look as good as Mr Xi. Before being given the mission in March to take care of a vulnerable Shanghai reeling from the country's biggest corruption scandal in the past decade, Mr Xi boasted a solid record in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang thanks to his pro-business attitude, which is clearly an inheritance from his father, a liberal-minded former vicepremier. On the other hand, Mr Li cut his political teeth in the Youth League, which lent him expertise in party affairs instead of economic management. Also, his tenure in the central province of Henan was overshadowed by an Aids epidemic caused by poor farmers selling their blood for money in unhygienic conditions. […] Analysts also think Mr Xi's status as a princeling - scion of a Communist Party elder - with an impeccable political pedigree tipped the balance in his favour in a game where retired cadres still pull the strings. "He can talk with the party elders as well as schmooze with top executives," Professor Mao said. The fact is that he is probably acceptable to all factions, including Mr Hu's camp. […]. ^ top ^

Round two begins in the guessing game of who will replace new elite - Close allies of outgoing Vice-President Zeng tipped to take up top posts (SCMP)
2007-10-24
[…] While the guessing game has just begun over who will succeed two of President Hu Jintao's closest allies, Li Keqiang in Liaoning and Li Yuanchao in Jiangsu , another duo believed to be close to outgoing Vice-President Zeng Qinghong have been tipped to take up top posts in Beijing and the Ministry of Security. Jiangxi party chief Meng Jianzhu has been chosen to succeed Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang , who has been elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee, the apex of the country's power structure, sources said. Wang Anshun , who was transferred from Shanghai to become Beijing's deputy party chief early this year, will become the capital's mayor, taking the place of another rising star, new Politburo member Wang Qishan , according to the sources. Wang Qishan, a renowned troubleshooter who was made Beijing mayor in 2003 in the wake of the Sars outbreak, is in line to become a vice-premier in the government reshuffle in March. Both Mr Meng and Wang Anshun have owed their rises largely to Mr Zeng, 68, who gave up his Politburo Standing Committee seat during the Communist Party's just-concluded 17th National Congress. […]. ^ top ^

New CPC Politburo holds first plenary session (Xinhua)
2007-10-24
The Political Bureau of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its first plenary session on Tuesday to arrange the implementation of the Party's policies established in the 17th CPC National Congress. The meeting underlined that the most important task for the Party after the congress is to publicize and implement spirit of the 17th CPC National Congress. […] The meeting urged Party organs at all levels and all circles to earnestly study Hu Jintao's report delivered at the opening ceremony of the congress and the newly revised Party Constitution. The Politburo asked Party members to profoundly understand and continue to promote the scientific outlook on development on the basis of social harmony, environmental protection and energy conservation in addition to economic expansion. […] The meeting especially stressed that Party organs and members at local level should work out new measures of reform to solve practical problems that common people most concern about. […]. ^ top ^

Newly revised Party Constitution intensifies PLA's missions (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
An amendment to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has intensified the missions of the Party's military forces. The amendment was adopted at the 17th National Congress of the CPC on Oct. 21, stressing the need to "earnestly ensure the PLA to accomplish its historic missions in the new era." The CPC has identified four missions that the army should safeguard: the Party's governing post, a peaceful environment for the country's strategic development, the country's interests and the world's peace and common development. ^ top ^

CPC publishes key policy changes in party constitution (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
The Communist Party of China (CPC) published on Thursday its newly amended party constitution, revealing for the first time many landmark changes in its major political, economic and social guidelines and policies. Scientific Outlook on Development, a new theoretical development of the Party in the past five years, as well as policies to boost democracy at intra-Party and government sphere and expand democracy, are enshrined in the constitution adopted by the CPC national congress on Oct. 21. […] The Outlook can also be traced in many specific chapters on economic, political, cultural and social development and Party building. "To study and implement the Scientific Outlook on Development" becomes a major duty to the 73 million Party members and all the Party organizations, the constitution says. […] The amendment also enshrines the building of a "harmonious socialist society" into the general program the Party constitution, adding it as a fourth part of the overall arrangements for building socialism with Chinese characteristics, besides previous economic, political and cultural development and elaborating it with a whole paragraph. […] In order to promote inner-Party democracy and strengthen inner-Party supervision, "the Political Bureau reports its work to the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and accepts their oversight" and "the standing committees of the local Party committees at all levels regularly report their work to plenary sessions of local Party committees and accept their oversight" are added into the new version. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's major communications hub established in Beijing (China Daily)
2007-10-22
Beijing has established China's largest communications satellite ground facility which covers the whole country and connects with more than 200 countries and regions in the world, said sources with a symposium marking the 35th anniversary of China's satellite communications on Friday. The satellite communications station in Beijing is a major communications hub in China. It has been serving civil needs and safeguarding national security through a multi-level broadband platform, said experts attending the symposium. […]. ^ top ^

Work begins on undersea cable (China Daily)
2007-10-23
Construction on the main body of a $500 million fiber-optic submarine cable directly linking the Chinese mainland and the United States formally started Monday in Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong. The undersea cable, scheduled for completion by next July, could help avoid possible Internet breakdowns caused by frequent earthquakes off China's Taiwan coast. It will also be used to transmit high-definition TV programs during next year's Beijing Olympic Games. Investment in the cable, known as Trans-Pacific Express (TPE), is by a consortium formed by six telecoms operators - China Telecom, China Netcom and China Unicom on the Chinese mainland, Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan, Korea Telecom (KT) and Verizon Business of the United States. […]. ^ top ^

NBS: China's rural population shrinks to 56% of total (Xinhua)
2007-10-23
China's rural population stood at 737 million - 56 percent of the total population of more than 1.3 billion - at the end of 2006, Xie Fuzhan, director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said on Monday. China has seen its rural population shrink in recent years as the country's urbanization has gathered momentum. […]. ^ top ^

China needs more experts in intellectual property rights (Xinhua)
2007-10-24
China is facing a damaging shortfall in the numbers of professionals working in the field of intellectual property rights, leading academics claim. A Forum on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Higher Education heard that China's booming economy will need the skills of between 55,000 and 60,000 experts in the field by 2010. The claim came from Professor Zheng Shengli, dean of the IPR School at Peking University, in his latest research on the IPR profession. […]In recent years, many universities have started master's and doctor's programs in IPR, in response to the shortage of IPR professionals. Eighteen universities have established IPR education and research institutes by now. […]. ^ top ^

One step closer to moon (China Daily)
2007-10-25
At 6:05 pm [2007-10-24], Chang'e I blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center atop a Long March 3-A carrier rocket. The circumlunar satellite separated from the rocket at 6:29 pm and entered into Earth orbit, where it will travel for seven days, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC). About an hour after the launch, Li Shangfu, director of the Xichang launch center, declared the endeavor a success after Chang'e I entered the Earth orbit and unfolded its solar panel for energy.

[…] "It marks another milestone in China's space program," said Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan at the Xichang center. Developed with indigenous technology, the 1.4 billion yuan ($186 million) mission is considered the third milestone in the country's space venture, following the launch of the first satellite in 1970 and two manned missions in the past five years. […] Chang'e I, named after a legendary Chinese fairy who flew to the moon, is expected to enter the Earth-moon transfer orbit on October 31 and reach the moon's orbit on November 5. It will circle around the moon for a year to analyze chemical and mineral composition and to explore the characteristics of the lunar surface. […] "Chang'e I is purely a scientific mission; it has no military aim and is carrying no military facilities or equipment," a spokesman for the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said Wednesday. […]. ^ top ^

China mulls draft Administrative Mandatory Law to ward power abuse (Xinhua)
2007-10-25
The draft Administrative Mandatory Law, China's first law to regulate government administration and prevent abuses of power, was submitted to the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, for a second reading on Wednesday. According to the draft, no mandatory sanctions by the government can be carried out unless it is provided for by the law.

[…] To counter the widely-complained government intrusion on private property and the illegal checking of business account books, the draft law says the government body must show a legal basis in advance for its actions, otherwise "the related party has the right to refuse". […] The draft law, once adopted, will mark the completion of China's legal framework concerning the behavior of the government. It will be reviewed by lawmakers during a five-day bi-monthly session, which started Wednesday in Beijing. It was tabled to the NPC Standing Committee for the first reading in December, 2005. No date for voting has been set for the draft. ^ top ^

China to amend law to promote energy conservation (People's Daily)
2007-10-25
Under heavy pressure to harness rampant energy consumption, China's top legislature on Wednesday began deliberating a draft amendment to the law that suggests work carried out by local government officials in energy conservation should be integrated into the assessment of their political performance.

The draft amendment to the Law on Conserving Energy, tabled to lawmakers for the second reading on Wednesday, bears several revisions and changes in wording from the first reading in June this year.

"The way in which energy saving goals are accomplished will be made a part of the performance rating of local governments and their leaders," says the draft amendment. […] The draft amendment is likely to be put to the vote at the five-day session. ^ top ^

He Guoqiang no longer head of Party Organization Department (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
He Guoqiang will no longer serve as the head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, according to a CPC Central Committee decision. He Guoqiang has been elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), at the first plenary session of the 17th CPC Central Committee early this week. Li Yuanchao will take over as the new head of the Organization Department and no longer serve as the secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the CPC. Liang Baohua, now governor of east China's Jiangsu Province, will become the province's new Party chief. ^ top ^

China may allow individual pension accounts to buy securities funds (China Daily)
2007-10-26
China is likely to allow financial institutions to invest individual pension funds in more fields with market risks, including securities fund products, in a bid to increase their value, a Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) official has revealed. The authorities have completed the procedure of soliciting public opinions and will submit a draft to the State Council soon, said Chen Liang, a MLSS department director. The government will extend the scope of investment with individual pension accounts by allowing managers of the fund to buy fund products and financial bonds, he said. At present, the individual pension account fund is mainly invested in low-risk bank deposits and national bonds. […] However, according to the MLSS, the nation's pension funds were suffering a deficit of 900 billion yuan by the end of 2006 so the proceeds from the new policy are unlikely to solve China's pension problems particularly as the country is under mounting inflationary pressure and the population is growing older. ^ top ^

China's nationwide quality campaign discovers 1,113 tons of unqualified food (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
China had destroyed 667 tons of unqualified or fake food products and ordered 446 tons to be removed from the market by October 8 in a nationwide campaign to improve the quality of goods and food safety, according to official statistics. […] The campaign, launched in August, targeted farm produce, processed food, the catering sector, drugs, pork, imported and exported goods and products closely linked to human safety and health. Though the campaign is effective in improving product quality, the government still needs to establish "a long-term monitoring mechanism" to guarantee food safety, said Zhou Bohua, head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Change in Guangdong unlikely to affect HK ties (SCMP)
2007-10-23
The departure of Guangdong party secretary Zhang Dejiang , who is tipped to take over from Vice-Premier Wu Yi in March, would have little impact on growing Hong Kong-Guangdong relations, political analysts from the two economic centres agreed yesterday. Chongqing party secretary Wang Yang, a reputed liberal credited with the metamorphosis of the nation's youngest municipality, is widely expected to become Mr Zhang's successor in Guangdong. Most analysts believe the change of top leader in Guangdong will not affect the growing integration between the province and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Most believe Mr Zhang's successor will continue the policy of facilitating close co-operation with Hong Kong. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Lunar liftoff significant, say analysts in Taiwan (SCMP)
2007-10-25
Taiwanese authorities were silent on the orbiter's launch but the island's military experts say the launch is significant. "It is a leap forward for the mainland as far as the space programme is concerned," said Andrew Yang Nien-dzu, secretary general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taipei. Professor Yang, a military expert and political analyst, said Beijing's ability to launch Chang'e I reflected the fact that it had developed more advanced space technology, which would help it improve its control of space and boost its guidance systems in the future. Militarily, he said such a development would enable Beijing to acquire the capability of "launching precision strikes in the future", which was something worth noting. […]. ^ top ^

Rival Taiwanese camps stage UN rallies ahead of election (SCMP)
2007-10-25
Taiwan's rival pro-independence and opposition camps have staged simultaneous campaigns to promote their respective UN membership bids in what local media see as an election gambit to rally support from voters ahead of the presidential election. "Taiwan and China are countries on each side of the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan has the right to join the United Nations," said President Chen Shui-bian in a ceremony launching a torch relay on the boulevard in front of his office in Taipei yesterday. […] Some 1,000 supporters, also clad in white and green, shouted "UN for Taiwan, Taiwan, go, go go" as Mr Chen kicked off the 11-day event, which will cover 25 cities and counties before returning to the same spot on November 3. […] A dozen KMT supporters, waving the island's Republic of China flags, scuffled with police as they attempted to force their way into the sealed-off area where Mr Chen was jogging. A few blocks away, the KMT presidential candidate staged a similar event to promote its bid to "return to the United Nations". "Our position is more pragmatic and flexible as we call for the return to the UN in either Republic of China, Taiwan or any other names," Mr Ma said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China-ASEAN trade speeds up (China Daily)
2007-10-22
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have seen fast growth in bilateral trade with the volume being expected to reach 190 billion U.S. dollars this year. "The figure is expected to top 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, two years earlier than our expectation," said Zhang Xiaoqin, secretary general of China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat.China and ASEAN are now each other's fourth largest trading partners. Zhang said, the China-ASEAN trade volume was 160.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, while in the first eight months this year, the bilateral trade hit 127.95 billion U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, China and the 10 ASEAN members are speeding up the tariff reduction to facilitate the establishment of China-ASEAN free trade zone. […] To boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation, China and ASEAN countries have held the annual China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, capital of the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region since 2004. The fourth CAEXPO is planned to open on Oct. 28 this year. ^ top ^

China to become world's 2nd largest consumer market: report (China Daily)
2007-10-22
China is likely to become the world's second largest consumer market by 2015, said a report released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report is based on a survey of 4,258 consumers in 13 Chinese cities from February to March 2007. According to the report, Chinese consumers are experiencing unprecedented wealth growth which is 3 to 5 times faster than developed countries in the past 50 years. Most Chinese consumers plan to spend more in near future to fulfill their family dreams. […]. ^ top ^

China sets up first index system for textile industry (China Daily)
2007-10-22
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced on Sunday the establishment of the country's first-ever textile index system, to better reflect the development of the textile industry and its market. The textile index system is based on data collected by the China Textile City located in Shaoxing County of East China's Zhejiang province. […] The price index will be published every Monday to indicate textile prices during the past week, while the business index and the export index will be available every month.[…]. ^ top ^

EU to lift Chinese textile quotas by year end (China Daily)
2007-10-22
The Europe Union (EU) will lift the quotas of ten categories of textile imported from China starting Jan. 1, 2008, said the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) here Sunday. According to the memorandum signed by the two parties, the EU will lift quotas on China's textile exports to the EU at the end of 2007, MOC vice minister Gao Hucheng told Xinhua. […]. ^ top ^

China blocks U.S. request for WTO panel on film, music imports (People's Daily)
2007-10-23
China blocked on Monday a request by the United States to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) expert panel to investigate their dispute on Chinese imports of movies, DVDs, music and certain publications. The United States had complained to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that China's certain measures constituted restrictions to the imports of publications and audiovisual entertainment products. […] At a DSB meeting on Monday, China expressed its regret for the U.S. request for a WTO panel on the case. […] According to Chinese trade officials, China has been sincerely and faithfully fulfilling its WTO commitments since it joined the body in 2001, including those commitments pertinent to this case. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese yuan breaks 7.5 mark against USD (Xinhua)
2007-10-24
China's Renminbi (RMB) broke the 7.5 mark to reach a new central parity rate of 7.4938 yuan to one U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to the Chinese Foreign Exchange Trading System. The yuan climbed 72 basis points to one dollar on Tuesday, rising a total 3,149 basis points from 7.8087 yuan on the last trading day of 2006. The accumulative appreciation since July 21, 2005, when China discontinued yuan's peg to the greenback, has exceeded eight percent. […] The yuan broke the 7.6 mark against the U.S. dollar on July 3. ^ top ^

NDRC: China's capital goods prices to remain high in Q4 (Xinhua)
2007-10-24
China's capital goods prices will maintain a high level in the fourth quarter this year, driving the annual rise in prices of capital goods in distribution to four percent, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). […] Prices of capital goods in distribution rose 3.6 percent in the first nine months, 1.1 percentage points higher compared with the same period of last year. Price hikes of steel and cement from January to September were below the rising capital goods prices, said the NDRC report. […] Analysts said rising producer prices had driven up consumer prices.

China's consumer price index (CPI), a major barometer for inflation, eased slightly in September, but the country remains under great pressure to tame the figure.The CPI would rise 4.3 percent for the whole of this year, exceeding the government-set alarm level of three percent, Wang Xiaoguang of the NDRC predicted on Tuesday. ^ top ^

China to expand channels for capital outflow (People's Daily)
2007-10-24
The State will improve management of its massive foreign exchange reserves and satisfy trade and investment needs, the top foreign exchange regulator has pledged. "We'll ensure safety and liquidity while improving profitability of the country's foreign exchange reserves," Hu Xiaolian, administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) told China Daily on the sidelines of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Hu promised to expand the channels for capital outflow, in which qualified domestic institutional investors (QDII) were involved. "Quotas for both QDII and qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) will continue to be increased," she said. […] She promised more openness from the Chinese side and pledged to hold more talks with the international community. […] Responding to the floated idea of more regions or financial institutions being involved in the pilot scheme to allow individuals to make direct investment in the overseas stock market, Hu said the authorities were considering their options. […]. ^ top ^

Economy grows 11.5% in first 9 months (China Daily)
2007-10-25
The Chinese economy continued its robust growth driven by rapid expansion in investment and credit, while inflation pressure eased slightly, official figures showed. The gross domestic product (GDP) increased 11.5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, Li Xiaochao, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics said at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. That increase puts China's aggregate growth for the first nine months at 11.5 percent, following a growth of 11.9 percent, in the previous quarter, the highest in a decade. The growth was driven by rapid growth in the credit and investment sector. Fixed asset investment went up 25.7 percent in the first nine months of this year, according to Li. Consumer price index (CPI), a barometer of inflation, slowed down to 6.2 percent in September from an 11-year-high of 6.5 percent in August, putting the figure for the first nine months at 4.1 percent. […] Chinese analysts say that as the CPI for September has eased, it is too early to predict whether the central bank will raise interest rates again. ^ top ^

State Council meeting discusses Q4 economic work (Xinhua)
2007-10-25
A State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday discussed and arranged economic and social development work for the fourth quarter of this year. […] The meeting called for continuous control on excessive fixed-assets investment, especially in industries with high energy consumption and pollutant discharges and those with excessive capacity, along with tightened supervision on credit granting by commercial banks. […] Meanwhile, the meeting demanded closer monitoring of markets to ensure sustained supply and good quality of products and prevent the consumer prices from growing too quickly. The government will make efforts to check the fast-rising housing prices and provide more affordable housing for low-income families. The meeting also touched upon other issues of public concern, such as financial reform, work safety and clean government. ^ top ^

ICBC to acquire 20% of South Africa's Standard Bank (People's Daily)
2007-10-26
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's biggest lender, announced on Thursday it has reached an agreement to acquire a 20-percent stakein South Africa's Standard Bank for 5.46 billion U.S. dollars. ICBC will become the top shareholder of the Johannesburg-listed Standard Bank, the largest commercial bank in Africa. The deal is expected to be completed at the beginning of next year. […] ICBC is planning to open a subsidiary bank in the United States, as part of its international strategy which also involves Russia, Australia and the Middle East. The bank said it would focus on emerging markets in its future overseas investment. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese shares slump 4.8% (Xinhua)
2007-10-26
Chinese stocks tumbled 4.8 percent on Thursday as the latest macroeconomic figures sparked market concerns over tightening policies to curb the economy from overheating. The Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A and B shares, closed at 5,562.39 points, down 280.72 points from the previous close. The Shenzhen Component Index on the smaller market ended at 18,175.31 points, down 3.13 percent. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Beijing's worst polluter promises huge cut in emissions for Olympics (People's Daily)
2007-10-24
[…] Beijing Shougang Group, China's leading steel manufacturer, pledged an output reduction of more than 70 percent from next July to September to ensure the Olympics can enjoy better air quality.
The steel company, built in 1919 and located 17 kilometers west of the Tian'anmen Square, has been the worst polluter in Beijing for years. […]. ^ top ^

Olympics chief repeats pollution warning - Dirty air will mean delays in events (SCMP)
2007-10-26
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge yesterday repeated drastic plans to reschedule some of the 2008 Beijing Games events because of pollution. […] Earlier, the International Olympic Commission said there remained a glaring gap as to how Beijing's choking pollution would be monitored to ensure athletes' safety. […] The WHO upgraded its measuring system in 2005 - but Beijing insisted it should stick to the levels stipulated in 2001 when China made the Olympic bid. And the difference is likely to worry many of the 10,000 athletes, especially those competing in outside endurance events such as the marathon, triathlon and road cycling. […] Vice-executive director of Bocog, Jiang Xiaoyu , attempted - along with his IOC peers - to quell the ceaseless media questions over pollution fears. After leaving the press call podium, however, he admitted that although Bocog was working closely with the IOC to clear the skies before the world's biggest sporting event begins, matters over air quality measurements were "out of the Bocog's hands". […] "We will leave it to the panel of experts both from our side and the IOC side. I'm confident that they will address the issue properly," added Mr Jiang. Chairman of the IOC co-ordination committee, Hein Verbruggen, said it was "insulting" to suggest the Olympics would be staged without the use of international air-quality testing. He ruled out speculation in the French press that some events would be moved out of Beijing if the air proved too dangerous. "[Such a move] has been totally excluded," he said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

MPRP Congress convenes early in pre-election climate (Mongol Messenger)
2007-10-24
The MPRP ruling party started its 25th three-day congress in Ulaanbaatar on Monday, October 22. The congress is usually held once every four years but the 2007 congress is being held two years after the previous congress because of forthcoming parliamentary sessions and local elections in 2008. The MPRP, with majority seats in parliament, has governed Mongolia solely for years and attracts keen attention from the public. 678 delegates (96.6 percent) from the city and aimag primary party organizations attended the Congress. ^ top ^

Bank Admits to Risky Decisions, Not Mismanagement (Mongol Messenger)
2007-10-24
IN a statement clarifying certain observations of a parliamentary working group on its activities, the country's central bank, The Bank of Mongolia, has denied any deliberate wrongdoing or mismanagement of state treasury funds. It has, however, admitted that certain decisions under its previous President contained avoidable risks. The present President, A.Batsukh, has also denied that the bank's commercial decisions have lost it US$200-400 million. He put the figure at risk at a comparatively negligible US$3 million and expressed his confidence that even this outstanding amount would be recovered soon. The Parliamentary group had been entrusted with making a close examination of the working of state monetary policy institution. The UB Post reported last week that the group's findings, as submitted to the State Great Hural (Parliament), were that a large amount of money was unaccountably missing from the state treasury and that the Bank had entered into several commercial transactions involving private business entities, which it is distinctly forbidden by law to do. […]. ^ top ^

Poverty reduction shows no improvements (Mongol Messenger)
2007-10-24
Mongolians joined people from over 100 countries for the ‘Stand Up Speak Out Day,' which coincided with ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty', on October 17 in Student's Square in front of the Mongolian National University. They demanded government keep its promises to reduce poverty, improve aid; implement gender equality; to govern fairly and justly, to fight corruption and address human rights They said leaders had promised a world without poverty and youth introduced achievements for the Millennium Development Goals to the public. The UN Coordinator's Office in Mongolia and Mongolian Scout's Association organized the event. ^ top ^

Mongolia “A Solid Friend”, Says Bush as MCC Deal is Signed (UB Post)
2007-10-25
THE US$285 million Millennium Challenge compact assistance program to reduce poverty through economic growth in Mongolia was signed on October 22. President N.Enkhbayar and President George W. Bush signed the five year agreement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in a sober ceremony marked with quiet but confident optimism. The Mongolian head of state began his US visit on Monday. Speaking before the ceremony, Enkhbayar termed the approval of the agreement by the MCC Board of Directors as “one of the most significant events” for Mongolia this year. […] Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs N.Enkhbold, Mongolian Minister for Finance N.Bayartsaikhan, and the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended signing of the agreement. […] The agreement will invest in improving the efficiency and capacity of Mongolia's railway system, the backbone of the country's economy. MCC is also working with Mongolia to improve the ability of Mongolians to register and obtain clear title to their land, reform the vocational education system to meet the demands of the market, and improve the health and well-being of the labor force by reducing non communicable diseases and injuries. The two leaders talked about the Free Trade Agreement that has been under discussion for years. They also touched on the issue of visa-free travel for Mongolians to the United States. The US President said he would pay attention to the proposal. […] The US President visited Mongolia in 2005. As they wrapped up the signing ceremony, President Enkhbayar invited him to pay another visit next August when he is expected to be in China to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics. ^ top ^

Cooperation Principles Reiterated (UB Post)
2007-10-25
The Declaration of Principles for Closer Cooperation between their two countries, signed by Foreign Minister N.Enkhbold and Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte in Washington, reaffirms the “longstanding friendship and excellent relations based on shared values and common interests” between Mongolia and the United States. […] The Declaration notes that such cooperation includes “support by the United States for Mongolia's efforts to strengthen the institutions and values of democratic society; pursuit of measures to reduce and eliminate barriers in trade and investment; joint efforts to enhance Mongolia's capacity in peace-keeping, the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the conduct of disaster relief operations; and joint work to combat organized and transnational crimes and human trafficking, illegal trade of drugs, counterfeiting of currencies, money laundering and financing of terrorism”. ^ top ^

 

Switzerland

Swiss rightwing posts record result in election (Xinhua)
2007-10-23
The rightwing Swiss People's Party and the Greens have made the biggest gains in Sunday's parliamentary election, according to results released by the Federal Statistics Office on Monday. The People's Party took 29 percent of the vote in the elections for the House of Representatives, up 2.3 percent on the last election in 2003. This is the best result among the four governing parties since 1919, securing 62 of the 200 seats in the House, the Swissinfo website reported. The Social Democrats suffered the biggest loss, taking 19.5 percent of the vote, down by 3.8 percent on 2003. Their seats in the House were reduced from 52 to 43. The Radicals lost five seats as their share of the vote dropped1.7 percent to 15.6 percent, while the other center-right party, the Christian Democrats, recorded slight gains, winning three seats and 14.6 percent, up 0.2 percent. These four parties have held more than 75 percent of the seats in parliament for decades. But according to local media reports, the true winners of the 2007 elections is the opposition Green Party. The Greens boosted their number of seats in the House to 20, from 14. Their share of the vote increased to 9.6 percent from 7.7percent. They also won their first seat in the 46-member Senate. Swiss voters chose the 200 members of the House of Representatives and most members of the Senate for the next four-year term. Both houses of parliament will meet on Dec. 12 to elect the new cabinet. ^ top ^

Nationalists storm Swiss poll (SCMP)
2007-10-23
The nationalist Swiss People's Party has ridden an anti-immigrant wave to the best showing of any party since the first world war, building its lead in parliament.
With the results in from all but one canton and projections for the last one, the right-wing party gained seven seats while the Green Party added five seats, reflecting concerns for the environment on the left. The Social Democrats, the second-largest party, were the big losers on Sunday, dropping nine seats, according to results and projections. Although many saw the campaign as tainted by racism or xenophobia, the Swiss elected their first black MP - Ricardo Lumengo of the Social Democrats, an Angolan who arrived in Switzerland as an asylum seeker the 1980s and subsequently became a legal expert. People's Party president Ueli Maurer and other party leaders pledged to continue working with the four major parties in the long-standing Swiss system of consensus politics that covers the wide range from Social Democrats on the left to the People's Party on the right. All four parties share in the governing cabinet. There is no prime minister, and the president is only a figurehead. In one of the most bitter political campaigns in memory in the usually tolerant Alpine nation, the People's Party called for a law to throw out entire immigrant families if a child violates Swiss laws. The People's Party claims foreigners are responsible for much of the crime in the country. Party posters featuring white sheep kicking out a black sheep sparked outrage that was blamed in part for a riot two weeks before the election. Some voters expressed disquiet. "I'm very disappointed that the Swiss people fell for such an election campaign by the People's Party," said Matthias Weller, a 30-year-old physician in Zurich. ^ top ^

 

Irene Frei
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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