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
  24.11-30.11.07, No. 193  
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Table of contents

Hongkong

Beijing Olympics

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

Economist: U.S., China should join hands to reform world financial system (People's Daily)
2007-11-26
[…] "The end of the present world monetary-financial system is inevitable, unless the system is replaced by a new world system during a relatively brief, remaining time available," said Lyndon La Rouche at a luncheon at the Forum on U.S.-China Relations and China's Peaceful Reunification. […] […] He said that the United States should propose to form an initial sponsoring group made up of the governments of the U.S., China, Russia and India, therefore to rally a majority of nations in order to stabilize the world system. […]. ^ top ^

China, Russia to build oil refinery in Tianjin (Xinhua)
2007-11-26
[…] China's top oil firm, China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC), and Russia's Rosneft, have set up a joint venture in Tianjin to implement the project, which is still subject to approval by the National Development and Reform Commission. […] During a recent meeting with a Rosneft delegation, Tianjin's Vice Mayor Yang Dongliang promised to allocate quality land for the project before June. A possible site for the refinery will be the Tianjin Harbour Industrial Park, about 80 square kilometers off the Bohai Bay east of Beijing. The central government has listed Tianjin as a national base for the development of the oil industry. ^ top ^

Sarkozy steps up pressure over yuan, human rights - US$30bn in business contracts signed during presidential visit (SCMP)
2007-11-27
French President Nicolas Sarkozy brought his trademark directness to China yesterday, publicly urging President Hu Jintao to let the yuan rise more swiftly and cajoling Beijing to do more to respect human rights. Mr Hu listened impassively as Mr Sarkozy, fresh from overseeing the signing of business contracts worth nearly US$30 billion, praised China but said it had to shoulder growing responsibilities on issues such as the environment and exchange rates. "We need to arrive at currency rates that are harmonious and fair," Mr Sarkozy said at a joint media appearance with Mr Hu in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. "This means that, for its own sake as well, China needs to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan against the euro." […] Mr Sarkozy, on a three-day state visit, told Mr Hu that human rights had improved in China during the past 30 years but called for further progress, especially in building a better legal system, improving media freedom and curbing the use of the death penalty. "I have noted that China has made a lot of progress here [human rights] and that France has expectations that more progress can be made," he said. The French president was also direct on China's responsibility as a leading emitter of greenhouse gases to step up its efforts to tackle global warming. "We hope China's growth can continue, but we also hope China's growth is carbon-free and environmentally friendly," he said. The two countries signed a joint statement pledging to co-operate in efforts to combat climate change, with Mr Sarkozy adding that France was ready to transfer "clean technologies" to fight global warming. Mr Sarkozy said he welcomed China's growing investment in Africa. At the same time, he urged Mr Hu to ensure that poorer African nations, bailed out by western countries, do not fall into debt again because of Chinese loans. Mr Sarkozy, who was elected in May, reiterated his call to enlarge the Group of Eight industrial nations to five extra countries including China. Mr Sarkozy also discussed with Mr Hu his country's hopes that China would drop its opposition to further UN sanctions against Tehran, and pressure Myanmar's military junta to engage the democratic opposition. […].^ top ^

China, France sign 8-bln-Euro nuclear energy deal (Xinhua)
2007-11-27
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and Areva of France signed an eight-billion-Euro (11.87 billion U.S. dollars) civil nuclear energy cooperation deal on Monday, according to which the French company will help build two reactors in Taishan City in southern Guangdong Province. […] The two sides signed another agreement on Monday according to which CGNPG would purchase 35 percent of the output of uranium ore manufactured by UraMin, a subsidiary of Areva. […] Also on Monday, CGNPG and Electricite de France agreed to cooperate in the construction and operation of the Phase I project of the Taishan nuclear power station program. […]. ^ top ^

China to buy 160 Airbus planes worth $17.4 bln (Xinhua)
2007-11-26
[…] The China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corporation (CASGC) has signed an agreement to buy 150 Airbus planes, and China Southern Airlines, the country's largest carrier by fleet size, has ordered 10 A330-220s, the company said. China Southern's purchase was announced by the carrier in October. […] Airbus also said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China's top economic planner to allow the Chinese aviation industry to participate in the company's manufacture of its new extra wide-body A350. […] The Rolls-Royce report predicted that Chinese airlines would buy more than 3,100 new planes over the next two decades. China has been ordering aircraft from both Airbus and the U.S.-based Boeing, which take a lion's share of the international market, and both companies see China as an important client for its fast growing market. […]. ^ top ^

US envoy in Pyongyang 'paving the way for permanent mission' (SCMP)
2007-11-27
[…] As recently as 2002, President George W. Bush branded the North part of an "axis of evil". "One US State Department official is currently staying at the Koryo Hotel with a telephone and a fax machine," embassy spokesman Max Kwak said. "The work is mainly related to the disablement. The official will return after the duty is fulfilled." […] South Korea's Chosun newspaper said the diplomat had been in Pyongyang since the middle of the month. It said the White House would soon send another senior diplomat to handle political affairs who would permanently live in North Korea for the first time. The Koryo Hotel was expected to become "a de facto US liaison office", Chosun said. Mr Kwak said he had no information on any follow-up measures. […]. ^ top ^

Dialogue to pave way for closer ties with Japan (SCMP)
2007-11-28
China and Japan will open their first high-level economic dialogue in Beijing on Saturday, focusing on macroeconomic issues, energy conservation and environmental protection, the Ministry of Commerce announced yesterday. One international relations analyst said […] "The number of firm components in Sino-Japanese relations is increasing." The dialogue would feature talks between officials led by Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan and Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Shenhong . […]. ^ top ^

Chinese FM announces five principles to promote Middle East peace (Xinhua)
2007-11-28
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, speaking at the Annapolis conference held here on Tuesday, announced five principles to promote the Middle East peace process. First, respect history, accommodate each others' concerns and keep the peace talks on the right track. […] It is important to start negotiations on the final status issue, work for the resolution of issues concerning the boundary, refugees and water resources, and establish an independent Palestinian state based on the Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative. […] Second, renounce violence, remove obstruction and remain firmly committed to the peace talks. Force cannot bring about durable peace. […] Third, advance the peace talks in an all-round and balanced way and create an environment conducive to the peace talks. The Palestinian issue and other issues in the Middle East are inter-related and affect each other. Therefore, the peace talks between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon should be restarted in due course so that their talks and the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks will promote each other. It is also necessary to properly manage other hotspot issues in the region so as to create a favorable external environment for the peace talks and promote peace and stability in the entire Middle East, Yang Jiechi said. Fourth, give priority to development and enhance cooperation to solidify the foundation of the peace talks. The parties concerned and the international community should create conditions to strengthen business ties among countries in the region and ensure that people of Arab countries and Israel will truly share the benefits of peace. […] Fifth, […] The international community should carry out close cooperation and establish a broad-based, balanced and effective multilateral mechanism to facilitate and support the peace talks. […] China will, as always, play a constructive role in achieving peace in the Middle East. The Chinese Government will provide further free assistance to Palestine to advance the peace process and help the Palestinian people. […]. ^ top ^

Top Chinese, U.S. diplomats meet on ties, other issues (Xinhua)
2007-11-28
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met here Monday with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice to exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern.[…] The two countries will soon embrace a succession of dialogues, including the 18th meeting of China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), the 3rd China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, and the 5th Strategic Dialogue. […] On the Taiwan issue, Yang said the current situation across the Taiwan Straits is highly complicated and sensitive. Defying strong opposition from the international community, Chen Shuibian, the leader of Taiwan, has sped up efforts to pursue "de jure independence" by pushing hard for a so-called referendum to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan, which poses a serious threat to the stability across the straits, Yang said. […] He urged the US side to take practical steps to fulfill its commitments in the three Joint Communiques and keep its solemn promise to the Chinese side on the Taiwan issue. The minister also called on the US side not to send misleading signals to the Taiwan authorities by selling advanced weapon systems and to safeguard peace and stability across the Straits and the overall relationship between the two countries. Rice echoed Yang's assessment of bilateral relationship. […] Yang and Rice also discussed the nuclear issue of Iran and exchanged views on how to proceed with the six-party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. ^ top ^

Darfur rebels' threat to Chinese raises concern (SCMP)
2007-11-28
Beijing has voiced deep concern about the safety of its peacekeepers in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region after rebel groups declared they were not immune from attack. "Up to now there has been no incident, but we are deeply concerned about the matter," the Chinese ambassador to Khartoum, Li Chengwen, said yesterday. […] But they were rejected immediately by rebels, who were boycotting the peace process. Darfur rebels have warned that as "allies" of the Khartoum government, the Chinese are not immune from attack. The mainland is the biggest buyer of Sudan's oil and sells weapons to the Khartoum government - blamed for fanning the violence in Darfur - but Mr Li insisted Beijing was an honest broker. […]. ^ top ^

Trade and currency the hot topics - Human rights taken off main agenda for talks with EU leaders (SCMP)
2007-11-29
Trade and currency dominated talks between Chinese leaders and their European counterparts yesterday as non-business issues such as human rights and the European Union's arms embargo on China were moved off the main agenda. […] The EU planned to press China for improvements in its human rights record at a state dinner last night, Mr Socrates said. There was no discussion on an EU arms embargo which the EU has imposed since leaders in Beijing cracked down on student activists in 1989, Mr Socrates said. […] In the briefing, Mr Wen also reiterated China's position that it does not oppose dialogue with the Dalai Lama as "long he recognises Tibet is an inseparable part of China". His remarks followed a meeting by German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Tibetan spiritual leader which China condemned. Mr Wen said the Dalai Lama's "words and actions have repeatedly demonstrated his intention to separate Tibet, and even Greater Tibet, from China" and China objected to European leaders meeting and receiving the Dalai Lama in their official capacities. "But I must also add that France is China's friend and a strategic co-operative partner. Germany is also China's friend and strategic co-operative partner," he said. "Friends and partners will also have times when they say the wrong things or do something wrong. But as long as they acknowledge it, and correct it, we will be friendly towards them as in the past." Meanwhile, the European Union announced yesterday that it would lend China €500 million (HK$5.74 billion) to fight climate change. The European Investment Bank, the EU's long-term lending arm, said it would provide the money over a 25-year loan. ^ top ^

UN to help Beijing overcome hurdles on climate programmes (SCMP)
2007-11-29
The UN will soon launch a programme to help China tackle grave challenges posed by climate change and overcome barriers to technology transfer amid warnings by the international body that the impacts of global warming have been underestimated. The three-year collaboration programme will focus on providing the best international expertise available to support China's efforts to cope with climate change and enhance its capacity by engaging all sectors, especially development-minded local authorities, UN officials in Beijing said. The UN-China Climate Change Partnership Framework programme will receive US$12 million in funding from a joint Spanish-UN fund and bring together a team of UN agencies with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce. […]. ^ top ^

Ministry denies mix-up over US ship's visit (SCMP)
2007-11-30
The row over the USS Kitty Hawk's refused port call last week took a surprising twist yesterday when the Foreign Ministry denied the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding, saying it was Washington's decision to turn the aircraft carrier away. A White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had assured US President George W. Bush "it was a misunderstanding". But ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said: "Reports that minister Yang said during his visit to [the] US that this is a misunderstanding do not accord with the facts." Mr Liu did not reveal what the minister had actually said. "We have always issued approval to US Navy ships' port calls to Hong Kong on a case-by-case basis ... We followed the same principle in relation to Kitty Hawk," Mr Liu said. "We must emphasise that in the end China, out of humanitarian concern, agreed to Kitty Hawk's port call to Hong Kong. What decision the US makes later is up to them." Crew were hoping to dock for a Thanksgiving reunion with families, but had to return early to Japan when officials allegedly barred their entry. Mainland officials later said the fleet could enter but the Kitty Hawk had already left. The Pentagon said it had issued "a formal protest" to a Chinese defence attaché in Washington. Mr Liu said no protest had been received. He did not directly address questions about whether the rejections were related to China's displeasure over US sales of anti-missile weapons to Taiwan or Mr Bush's recent reception of the Dalai Lama. But he said that recent incidents had "interfered with and harmed" bilateral relations. Analysts said the harm would not be major and would not affect the third Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue on December 12. "Trade is too big a topic between China and the US," Renmin University professor Shi Yinhong said. ^ top ^

What would happen in a real crisis? - Kitty Hawk saga reveals weak links in Beijing's decision making and communication (SCMP)
2007-11-30
The ongoing Kitty Hawk saga has raised more concerns about how well Beijing's decision-making and coordination mechanisms would react in a real crisis than it has about the prospects for Sino-US relations. The latest twist in the week-long saga was another contradictory act from Beijing. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, in an obvious attempt to repair the diplomatic damage in his meeting with US President George W. Bush on Wednesday, blamed "a misunderstanding" for Beijing's refusal to let the US Navy aircraft carrier make a port call in Hong Kong for a Thanksgiving visit. But yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the reports of what Mr Yang had said "do not accord with the facts". A senior researcher at the National Strategic Research Centre of Shanghai Jiaotong University said: "It shows Beijing has yet to work out a competent co-ordination system and its decision-making process unravels when faced with highly charged international incidents." Putting it all down to a "misunderstanding" sounded too much like an apology to the US Navy, which would make hawkish military generals unhappy, said the researcher, who declined to be named. Inconsistency, murkiness and confusion have characterised Beijing's actions since the first day when the Foreign Ministry, without any explanation, suddenly rejected the fleet's initial request for a port call on November 21. The move looked particularly amateurish given the fact that hundreds of sailors' families had flown to the city to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their relatives. […]. ^ top ^

Sino-EU summit can chalk up a success (SCMP)
2007-11-30
Trade talks are better than trade war. For that reason, this week's China-European Union summit in Beijing can be counted a success, even if agreement to hold more talks was the only concrete result. Officially, the sentiment was positive. European trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, who arrived in Beijing breathing fire about protectionism, declared himself happy with "political commitment" by Chinese leaders to a more flexible yuan exchange rate, and to tackle the trade deficit, including market access and intellectual property issues. Privately, however, some European officials dismissed the talks as a waste of effort, with Beijing playing for time and delaying decisions before a new administration takes over in March. The Chinese might just as easily have said the same about demands for fundamental changes in exchange-rate and economic policies, giving European trade an armchair ride into China and pushing Chinese out of their markets at home and abroad. The summit was never going to be a stage for remarkable policy shifts. The criticism reflects the failure of Europeans to come to grips with a Chinese policy stance shaped by the need for a high, sustainable rate of economic growth to promote development, employment and social stability. Some of the effort they put into complaining could be put into copying the enterprise of the Americans, who have exploited trade and investment opportunities in second-tier cities. That is a more practical way of tackling their concerns about imbalance. Summits are political theatre at which any meaningful decisions usually rubber-stamp hard work already done by officials negotiating behind closed doors. Mr Mandelson is, therefore, being more realistic as well as more diplomatic than other EU officials in welcoming political commitment and agreement to hold more detailed talks. […] It remains to be seen what Premier Wen Jiabao's promise to increase the flexibility of the yuan exchange rate means. However modest, it will represent a move in the right direction. It is the rise of the euro against the yuan in particular that has aggravated European concerns, even as the latter has edged up against the dollar. Mr Wen was right to point out that the main cause is the big fall in the dollar and that Europe should also take its concerns to Washington. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China calls for early warning system to stabilize oil supplies (People's Daily)
2007-11-26
Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Saturday urged local commerce bureaus to set up and improve early warning system amid efforts to stabilize domestic oil supplies. Many filling stations across the country are experiencing shortages. […] The MOC ordered local commerce authorities to closely monitor the oil market and set up and improve early warning system to tackle emergency fuel shortages. The commerce bureaus should urge local refineries to increase and rationally distribute fuel supplies, the MOC said in a notice. The MOC called on China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), the nation's two largest oil producers, to go all out to ensure the fuel supplies. […]. ^ top ^

Protests spurred by new labour law drag on (SCMP)
2007-11-26
About 700 workers continue to protest in Dongguan, Guangdong, over what they claim is an unfair severance package - less than two months before the Labour Contract Law comes into effect. The new law pledges greater protection to workers in such circumstances. The workers of Shixin Electronics Company in Tangxia town took to the streets over the severance pay last Thursday and a company staff member confirmed yesterday that the action was still going on. […] The workers said they had only been offered six weeks of severance pay and demanded to be paid in accordance with the new law, which would give them an amount proportional to their years of service. Under the new law, employers are required to sign employment contracts with staff that would entitle them to fairer compensation in case of dismissal. Activists have said the new law, which comes into effect on January 1, had caused a spate of large-scale dismissals from companies wanting to avoid responsibility. […] Suzanne Wu, of Workers' Empowerment [said:] "Some factory bosses obviously want to dodge the compensation as is stipulated under the new law." […]. ^ top ^

1.35% of GDP planned for environmental protection (China Daily)
2007-11-27
[…] The State Council, China's cabinet, publicized a belated five-year environmental protection plan for 2006 to 2010 on Monday. "Most of the investment will go to treating water pollution," said Zou Shoumin, director of the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, who took part in drafting the plan. He estimated the government would spend 640 billion yuan ($85.33 billion) on treating water pollution, 600 billion yuan ($80 billion) on air pollution and 210 billion yuan ($28 billion) on solid waste. […] As part of the plan, China aims to cut its chemical oxygen demand (COD), a major index of water pollution, in 2010 by 10 percent from 2005 and sulfur dioxide emissions also by 10 percent. […] "The country failed to meet the target of reducing sulfur dioxide emissions, mainly because of the unexpected increase in energy demand between 2000 and 2005," Zou said. […]. ^ top ^

Judicial reforms 'yield good results' (People's Daily)
2007-11-27
[…] Supreme People's Court (SPC) President Xiao Yang said the reform of judicial committees, the highest decision-making bodies in the country's judicial system, has greatly improved trial quality and rulings. Addressing a national working conference on court reforms, Xiao said the decisions of these committees, comprising mainly court and tribunal presidents, used to be taken at closed sessions with no direct contact with either plaintiffs or defendants. But the reforms have made judicial committee members, along with other judges or panels, join the bench to hear or try the cases. […] As part of the reforms, judicial committees have also used secret ballots to arrive at a ruling. […] The SPC introduced other important measures, such as review of death penalties, retrial procedures, judicial enforcement, people's jury system, judges' enrolment and management, guiding case instruction and minors' trials. […]. ^ top ^

Official dismisses concerns over Three Gorges Dam - Benefits of hydropower project 'outweigh negative impact' (SCMP)
2007-11-28
[…] Wang Xiaofeng, director of the State Council's Three Gorges Project Construction Committee Executive Office, said: "Overall, regarding the project's impact on the ecological environment, benefits outweigh negative consequences." He denied the government had made an about-turn recently by acknowledging the impact on the environment and local communities. Mr Wang was quoted by Xinhua in September as saying the government could not afford to "lower our guard against ecological and environmental security problems caused by the Three Gorges project". The report, also citing other officials, warned of a potential ecological catastrophe from the dam and was viewed as a dramatic change in Beijing's attitude towards the massive project. Mr Wang, however, back-pedalled from those comments last week and yesterday told a press conference: "I want to make it clear, and this has been the government's position all along, that we have paid great attention to the risks and problems of the project from the very beginning of the feasibility studies [which started in the 1980s]." He said problems related to the dam, especially ecological ones that emerged after test operations began last year, were not surprising. […] Controversy surrounded the project even before it was started. Environmental and engineering experts have warned of dire consequences for the fragile ecosystem along the Yangtze. There have been increasing reports about soil erosion, landslides and worsening pollution of nearby waterways in the past year. ^ top ^

Hu: Public encouraged to participate more in legislation (Xinhua)
2007-11-29
[…] The country needs to improve legislation, adopting more laws to meet the needs of economic and social development and the people, and to build a socialist law system with Chinese characteristics, he said. Efforts must be made to improve the enforcement of laws including the Constitution, he said. "We shall stick to the principle that all citizens are equal in front of the law." Party organs and its members are urged to set an example of abiding by laws while all mechanisms to supervise the enforcement of laws will be geared up, he said. The whole society, from common citizens to government and Party officials, needs more education on laws, he said. […] Hu also urged Party organs of all levels to highlight law-based governance and push forward reforms in line with laws. ^ top ^

PLA build-up spurred by 'foreign threats' (SCMP)
2007-11-30
China needed to maintain its military might to prevent "foreign forces" from splitting Taiwan from the mainland, a former mainland negotiator with the island said yesterday. Tang Shubei, former deputy secretary general of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, told a forum on cross-strait relations in Hong Kong that mainland leaders had strived all along to achieve unification by peaceful means and definitely did not want to use force against Taiwan. "But the actual situation is that there are some western countries and some forces which want to split Taiwan from the mainland. There's also a very small group of people in Taiwan who want to do so. Therefore, it's necessary for the mainland to maintain its military strength," Mr Tang said. He said unification of Taiwan with the mainland was very important for the country. "If there's no unification, then [Taiwan] would be exploited by foreign forces and there would be instability in the cross-strait [region]." However, he did not specify which countries he was referring to. Mr Tang's comments came amid rising speculation over Sino-US relations after Beijing blocked Hong Kong port visits by the USS Kitty Hawk and two minesweepers seeking refuge from a storm. Mr Tang sidestepped the question when asked on the sidelines of the forum, organised by the Asia-Pacific Taiwan Federation of Industry and Commerce, if Taiwan affairs were a possible reason behind the refusal to admit the ships. In Taiwan yesterday, Taiwanese Defence Minister Lee Tien-yu told lawmakers the mainland would defeat Taiwan in a cross-strait war if the US did not come to the island's aid, though its victory would be tainted by heavy losses. Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Mr Lee as predicting that the mainland's victory would come at the cost of "60 to 70 per cent" of invading forces, which would be wiped out by Taiwan's military before Taipei fell. ^ top ^

500,000 may not know they have HIV: UNAids - Health ministry-UN report lifts estimates of people living with HIV/Aids to 700,000 (SCMP)
2007-11-30
Up to half a million mainland people living with HIV/Aids are not aware of their infections, according to a joint assessment of the HIV/Aids epidemic on the mainland. The report, published yesterday by the Ministry of Health in consultation with several international agencies including UNAids, raised the estimated number of people living with HIV/Aids on the mainland by a moderate 50,000 to 700,000. […]. ^ top ^

Vietnamese woman admits smuggling four babies: Xinhua (SCMP)
2007-11-30
Police have detained a Vietnamese woman who allegedly smuggled four babies from Vietnam into the mainland this month, state media reported yesterday. Police held the woman, 53, on Tuesday night after she was spotted holding two babies near the Sino-Vietnamese border in Guangxi, Xinhua reported. She confessed that she had illegally entered the mainland and planned to sell the babies - both younger than two months - to a mainland man. Police later detained the man. The woman admitted she had smuggled four babies this month, the report said. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Airspace control ends in east China (Xinhua)
2007-11-26
The five-day airspace control that disrupted the travel plans of thousands of air passengers to and from Shanghai since Tuesday ended at midnight of Saturday, said an official with the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) on Sunday. […] "The delay was resulted from a backlog caused by the control in previous days," [Li Jingao, an official with the market management office of the Shanghai-based CAAC East China Air Traffic Management Bureau] said. "We have worked overtime at the two airports, otherwise more flights would be affected.". ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

HK official calls for e-certificate food system (Xinhua)
2007-11-28
[…] According to a press release from the Information Services Department of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, [Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health York] Chow said at the international food safety forum that with the platform authorities can predict food issues before they occur and food incidents can be resolved within hours rather than days. Hong Kong is heading towards this direction and devising a set of food standards and making the best use of an electronic food-tracing system, he added. Chow said a common format and platform for electronic health and food safety certification could greatly minimize economic, political and health damage caused by food-safety incidents. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Former Taiwanese official jailed (SCMP)
2007-11-29
A Taiwanese court sentenced a former top financial regulator yesterday to 16 years in prison, in the latest corruption scandal to hit President Chen Shui-bian's embattled government. The Taipei District Court ruled that Lin Chung-cheng accepted bribes worth NT$2 million (HK$481,800) from a financial holding company and a brokerage house, court spokesman Liu Shou-sung said. Lin joined the Financial Supervisory Commission in 2005 and was arrested in October last year amid graft claims. Mr Chen has been beset with graft allegations against his inner circle.^ top ^

 

Tibet

Double trouble - Beijing's insistence on choosing the next Dalai Lama will leave Tibetans with rival religious leaders (SCMP)
2007-11-29
Amid the surprise reaction to the Dalai Lama's statement that he may appoint his successor before his death - or rely on an election by senior monks - is the reality that in future Tibet will have two spiritual leaders. The 72-year-old Dalai Lama has given up hoping for a successor chosen jointly by the Chinese government and his monks. His decision means the breaking of a tradition that stretches back to 1391 and a schism in the main school of Tibetan Buddhism. It also puts him on a collision course with Beijing, which insists that his successor must be chosen after his death and that it must have final approval over the appointment. […] Among options being considered are a democratic selection by the high monks of Tibetan Buddhism or the appointment of a successor by myself. […] Beijing immediately condemned the Dalai Lama's proposal last week. […] Beijing sees the Dalai Lama as no simple monk but a political leader scheming to gain independence for Tibet. It says Tibet has been a sovereign part of China for more than 700 years and that no foreign country has ever recognised it as an independent state, so choosing the next Dalai Lama is not just selecting the head of a religious movement but a political decision. […] These frosty relations have killed off any hopes that Beijing might invite the Dalai Lama to attend the Olympics next year as a gesture of reconciliation. Wang Hongji, a professor of history at Zhuhai University, said Beijing believed time was on its side, thanks to the increasing integration of Tibet into the mainland's economy and the movement of Han people into the region. "The opening of the railway to Tibet last year played an important role in facilitating the movement of goods and people in and out of the region," he said. "Beijing has invested heavily in Tibet's infrastructure, health, telecommunications, education and the military, with soldiers offered salaries several times higher to serve there than what they receive in the rest of China." […] "The government sees Tibet as becoming increasingly like the rest of China," Professor Wang said. "It is under no pressure to negotiate. The pressure is on the Dalai Lama. After his death, Beijing will choose his successor and control the top two leaders of Tibetan Buddhism." For his part, the Dalai Lama says that he does not demand full independence but a high level of autonomy for Tibet. Others within the exile community are more radical, calling for full independence and a complete Chinese withdrawal, impatient with their leader's apparent lack of progress. ^ top ^

Monks' row with shop sparks riot (SCMP)
2007-11-30
Rioters in Tibet destroyed shops and government offices after a dispute between Buddhist monks and a local shopkeeper, Xinhua reported. Seven people were arrested over the November 20 clashes, Xinhua reported on Wednesday. Among those held were two monks accused of robbing a motorcycle maintenance shop on November 19 in the town of Paingar and five others for "fanning the riot" the day after the monks' arrest. Xinhua gave no reason for the eight-day delay in reporting the riot. Paingar is about 300km northeast of Tibet's capital, Lhasa. Calls to the government offices in Biru, the county seat, were unanswered. A man who answered at the Biru county police headquarters refused to discuss the incident. "I can't tell you anything right now," he said. Xinhua said about 190 people, including some monks, gathered outside local government headquarters to demand the release of those arrested. The crowd then "destroyed shops and government facilities". Authorities were searching for a third monk accused of taking part in the alleged robbery. The unrest is the latest sign of social tensions in Tibet, where a heavy-handed security presence and growing numbers of Chinese migrants have stirred resentment among the Tibetan majority. In August, large protests broke out in a Tibetan area in Sichuan province after authorities arrested a man who mounted the stage at a horse racing festival and led the crowd in chanting slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. Xinhua did not identify those detained or provide details on the alleged robbery, although it appeared to illustrate common disputes over money exacerbated by language and cultural differences. Xinhua said crowds were "persuaded to return home later the same day by government workers". "The local social order is stable," it said, citing local officials.^ top ^

 

Economy

Legislator: China to unveil 20 regulations governing foreign M&A (People's Daily)
2007-11-26
China will introduce more than 20 supporting regulations on foreign mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of domestic firms before August, a senior Chinese legislator said on Saturday. The regulations will come out in a series before the Antitrust Law goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2008, Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, told a forum in Beijing. The regulations will help ensure that foreign M&A deals promote China's economic growth without threatening its economic security, Cheng stated. […]. ^ top ^

Panic selling drives stock indices down further (China Daily)
2007-11-29
Panic spread in China's stock market on Wednesday as key indices continued to tumble due to major falls in blue chips. The Shanghai Composite Index, the most widely watched indicator of the mainland's equity market, fell below 4,800 points in afternoon trading. It recovered some lost ground in the last half hour to close at 4,803.39, a decrease of 1.19 percent from the previous session. […] "It is too early to announce the end of the bull run," Professor Guo Tianyong of Central University of Finance and Economics told chinadaily.com.cn. […] He called the fall in the market a normal correction, as the level of 6,000 points in the Shanghai Composite Index is relatively high for the time being. "But if the firms' earnings continue to grow, then 6,000 points are no longer unreasonable." […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

BOCOG to deal with formerly suspended tickets applications (Xinhua)
2007-11-26
Ticketing center of Beijing Organizing Committee of Olympic Games (BOCOG) announced Friday to give applications on October 30 the priority. It means that the center will firstly deal with applications from people who registered authentic ID information at any Bank of China outlets or the Ticketing Call Center on October 30th. According to a statement released by the BOCOG, the Bank of China outlets and the Ticketing Call Center will contact every individual who on October 30th registered with valid ID information and contact numbers from November 24th to 26th. These applicants can submit ticket applications and payments by the time of 5:00 p.m. on November 30, rather than waiting for a random draw. ^ top ^

Journalists invited to register for Olympics (China Daily)
2007-11-29
The accreditation process for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) has begun and the deadline for the return of forms is February 29, organizers said. […] valid Olympic or Paralympic Identity and Accreditation Cards (OIACs) […] holders are permitted to remain in the host country to carry out their duties during the Olympic and Paralympics and for one month before and after. In other words, an OIAC can be used as a temporary visa, Yang said. But he said the identity cards could not be used as free tickets to events. […] All press members must be nominated by an International Olympic Committee, NOC or International Sports Federation to achieve accreditation. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Factory boss executed for making overseas calls (SCMP)
2007-11-27
[…] Last month, North Korea executed the head of a factory in South Pyongan province for making international calls on 13 phones he installed in a factory basement, the group said. He was executed by a firing squad before a crowd of 150,000. Six people were also crushed to death in an apparent stampede as they left after the execution. […]. ^ top ^

Pyongyang vilifies presidential candidate (SCMP)
2007-11-30
[…] Lee Hoi-chang is topping the list of hate figures in North Korean state media. The right-winger, who wants to get tough with his communist neighbour, has stormed ahead of presidential frontrunner Lee Myung-bak as chief target of scorn in the North's media. "If such human scum and confrontation- and war-maniac as [Lee Hoi-chang] is allowed to come to power, the Korean nation would no doubt face the war calamity again," the North's official KCNA news agency quoted the head of a Korean group in Ukraine as saying yesterday. The previous day, KCNA quoted another overseas Korean group as calling him "a die-hard anti-reunification element, a political charlatan and a kingpin of irregularities and corruption". The KCNA report also noted that Lee Hoi-chang, who joined the race early this month as an independent, was a "pro-US sycophantic traitor" and "despicable guy". The prickly state's official media routinely uses colourful language to take to task people or countries it considers hostile. The fact that the main conservative party candidate Lee Myung-bak is so far ahead in polls to win the December 19 election, and the liberals so unpopular, might explain why North Korea's media has stopped regularly insulting the man likely to become leader on the south of their heavily armed border. "North Korea wants to influence the presidential election here but it obviously is not working," said one diplomat in Seoul. The disabling of North Korea's plutonium-producing plant in Yongbyon is "going very well" and the nation will probably declare all its atomic programmes to China next week, US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill said. "They're making progress in the reprocessing of spent fuel, which is where you make the plutonium," Mr Hill told US businessmen at a lunch in Seoul yesterday. North Korea's list of nuclear programmes and materials should be received "in the next few days and certainly within the next week", he added. Mr Hill plans to travel to Yongbyon when he visits North Korea from Monday to Wednesday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. North Korea had shut down the reactor in July and began disabling the plant earlier this month under US supervision. ^ top ^

 

Novella Bellonia
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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