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
  9.6-13.6.08, No. 221  
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Table of contents

Avian flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, India praised for participation in oil emergency preparedness (People's Daily)
2008-06-11
China and India agreed Saturday to take part in an International Energy Agency (IEA) mechanism which requires members to keep oil stockpile for dealing with oil price turbulence, a step praised by participating representatives at the energy ministers meeting between major oil consuming nations. Energy officials from India, China, the United Sates, Japan and South Korea gathered earlier in the day in northeastern Japan's Aomori city to talk about a series of energy-related issues such as countermeasures against rocketing crude oil prices. We welcome the tangible progress in China and India towards building their strategic oil stocks and strongly believe that the IEA can cooperate with each of the five countries in the field of emergency preparedness, said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the one-day meeting. As the oil market is global, stronger cooperation and coordination between the IEA members and non-members will enhance the collective effectiveness of our actions in time of emergency, the statement said. China and India have been noncommittal to IEA regulations as they are not member nations. We welcome China and India's voluntary participation in the Emergency Response Exercises with the IEA for concerted actions at the time of supply disruption, and this sends a strong signal that we are united as major oil consuming countries, the statement said. Experienced nations will help China and India to establish oil stockpile system and introduce techniques about how to employ the stockpiled reserves in case of emergencies, sources told Xinhua. Participation of China and India will strongly enforce the competence of the world oil supply and price framework, officials from Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said. In the statement, energy ministers from the five countries, which consume about 50 percent of the world energy and about 67 percent of world oil, expressed their "serious concern over the current level of oil prices," saying the abnormally high prices are against the interest of both consuming and producing countries. The five-party energy ministers meeting, initiated by China, was the second of its kind following the first one in Beijing in December 2006. The ministers agreed to meet for their third meeting at appropriate time in South Korea. ^ top ^

China reiterates position on Darfur issue (China Daily)
2008-06-11
Vice-President Xi Jinping Tuesday reaffirmed China's commitment to a political resolution to the Darfur issue, and said he hoped the Sudanese government continues to make efforts to end the conflict. Xi was speaking at a meeting in Beijing with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Osman Mohammed Taha. China appreciates the efforts made by the north and south over the past three years to carry out the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and hopes the two sides can solve the dispute through dialogue and negotiation, and push forward the peace process, Xi said. Reiterating China's position on the issue, Xi said the country is willing to work with the international community to seek an early and proper solution. China has always supported the resolution of the Darfur issue via the three-party mechanism of the Sudanese government, the African Union and the United Nations, and the double-track strategy of peacekeeping action and the political process moving forward together, he said. Acknowledging the achievements in the implementation of the peace agreement, Taha thanked the Chinese government for its efforts in Sudan's national reconciliation. The Sudanese government will insist on negotiation to solve the Darfur issue, he said. After their talk, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several deals, covering economic and technological cooperation, agriculture, public health and visa simplification. This is Taha's third visit to China and his weeklong visit will also take him to Shanghai and Shenzhen. He will today meet with President Hu Jintao. A recent report quoted two US diplomats as praising China for its efforts in trying to resolve the Darfur issue and urging it to do more. […]. ^ top ^

EU, U.S. leaders pledge continued constructive engagement with China (People's Daily)
2008-06-11
The leaders of the European Union (EU) and the United States pledged Tuesday to continue constructive engagement with China in view of China's greater role on the international stage. "We will continue our constructive engagement and will encourage China to assume a greater role in helping to tackle issues of global concern," said a declaration adopted at the end of the annual EU-U.S. summit. "We also encourage greater regional integration as a means for promoting prosperity and stability in East Asia," said the declaration. The summit, billed as one of the biggest events during Slovenia's six-month stint as holder of the rotating EU presidency, marks the start of U.S. President George W. Bush's five-country Europe tour that will also take him to Berlin, Paris, Rome and London. Bush, who arrived in Slovenia late Monday on his farewell tour to Europe, met Tuesday morning with Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk and Janez Jansa, who serves as both the Slovenian prime minister and European Council president. Apart from Jansa, the EU is represented at the summit by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. ^ top ^

PLA builds up strait missiles despite talk of a 'bright future' (SCMP)
2008-06-11
The People's Liberation Army has upgraded missile systems in Fujian and Jiangxi that target the Taiwan Strait, two overseas defence magazines said. But Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said recent positive changes in cross-strait relations augured a "bright future", even though further efforts were still needed. In its latest report, the London-based Jane's Defence Weekly said the PLA Navy had been upgrading its coastal defence units with a new version of the Yingji-62 long-range anti-ship cruise missile called the YJ-62C, with a range of more than 280km. Jane's said the information had been provided by Asian military officials this month. It said the navy had deployed about 120 new YJ-62C anti-ship missiles at bases in Fujian province, which is closest to Taiwan. […]. ^ top ^

Talks to resume on Australian free-trade deal (SCMP)
2008-06-12
Beijing welcomed news yesterday that Canberra would restart stalled free-trade talks with it in the next few days and that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would not meet the Dalai Lama as Mr Rudd returns from an overseas trip just hours before the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader ends a visit to Australia. An 11th round of talks on a free-trade agreement would take place in Beijing in "a few days", Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan told party officials in a speech in Beijing. "China and Australia have agreed to give new urgency and attention to the FTA discussions," Mr Swan said. The talks would occur late next week, an Australian embassy official told Dow Jones Newswires. Mr Swan said financial, professional and educational services as well as investment in the mining sector would be priorities for Australia in the negotiations. The two countries agreed to restart the stalled negotiations in April after meetings between Mr Rudd and Premier Wen Jiabao. Australia began negotiating a free-trade agreement with China in May 2005 and officials said late last year that differences had narrowed on some issues, but overall progress has been slow. Last year China became Australia's largest trading partner, with business amounting to US$43.8 billion, according to figures from China's General Administration of Customs. Mr Rudd, in Japan for a visit, said he would "absolutely" have met the Dalai Lama if there had been a larger overlap of time in Australia. He returns on Sunday night, and the Dalai Lama, who is in Australia on the second leg of a five-nation tour that has brought the usual protests from Beijing, leaves on Monday morning. "I've met the Dalai many times before. There's nothing remarkable in this," Mr Rudd was quoted saying. "I understand the acting prime minister and the foreign minister will ensure the Dalai is greeted with appropriate respect as a major religious leader in the world." […]. ^ top ^

Sarkozy vows to push forward strategic ties with China (Xinhua)
2008-06-13
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said here Thursday that his country would continue to push forward the development of strategic partnership between China and the European Union. Sarkozy made the remarks when meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is in Paris to participate in an international donors' conference for Afghanistan. The French president promised that France would try to make the development of EU-China strategic partnership a common position across the 27-nation European bloc in the next half year when it holds the rotating EU presidency. He reaffirmed France's support to the Beijing Olympic Games, wishing the sport event a success. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Quake death toll rises to 69,136 (Xinhua)
2008-06-09
The death toll of China's major earthquake increased by 2 overnight to 69,136 as of Sunday noon, the State Council Information Office said. A total of 374,061 people were injured and 17,686 others remained missing after the 8.0-magnitude quake that jolted southwestern Sichuan Province and neighboring regions on May 12. Hospitals had treated 95,061 injured people as of Sunday noon, of whom 76,418 had been discharged and 16,049 were still being treated. By Saturday, nearly 1.38 million quake survivors had been found and evacuated. […]. ^ top ^

Downpours threaten South China (China Daily)
2008-06-09
Heavy rains are forecast in many parts of south China over the next nine days, and torrential rain, strong gales and thunderstorms are expected to strike some regions, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) warned Sunday. Precipitation in Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Guangxi is expected to be 30 to 70 percent more than, or even double, that of the same period in previous years, the NMC forecast. Quake-affected areas of Sichuan province aren't expected to receive heavy rain but would face higher temperatures than in previous years, the NMC said. Meteorological centers at various levels and of relevant departments, such as emergency response offices, are closely monitoring potential weather-related disasters, such as flashfloods and landslides, to provide early warnings and updated forecasts. The NMC on Saturday morning launched a Level 3 emergency response to the rainstorms anticipated in southern provinces. The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters raised its emergency level on Friday from Level 3 to Level 2 because of the risk of rainstorm-triggered floods. Torrential rains in the country's southern provinces last month killed 64 people. […]. ^ top ^

Quake lake water level still rising (China Daily)
2008-06-10
The Tangjiashan quake lake in Sichuan province continues to rise, even though water is being drained out through a diversion channel since Saturday morning. The water level reached 742.58 m above the sea level at 8 pm yesterday, an increase of 1.3 m in 24 hours. The level is 2.58 m higher than the drainage channel soldiers have dug, through which water has been flowing for the past two days. The lake was holding 248.6 million cu m of water at 8 pm, with an average inflow of 115 cu m per second. Water appeared to be flowing out smoothly through the drainage channel. But even after military engineers fired 10 short-range missiles yesterday to blast the boulders in the channel, the flow increased to just about 81 cu m per second, still less than the rate of the inflow. Helicopters landed every 20 minutes on the lake's dam, carrying soldiers and detonators to blast the rocks that were creating a bottleneck in the channel, but that didn't seem to help much. Three tons of dynamite were used yesterday and on Sunday to blast the boulders and widen the channel to 10 m from less than 5 m on Saturday. More than 20 bulldozers are still working to make another diversion channel in the hope of accelerating the outflow of water further. A 5.0-magnitude aftershock jolted Pengxian county, 20 km from the provincial capital of Chengdu, at 3:28 pm yesterday, the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) said, raising fears of damage to the lake dam. A Xinhua reporter on the spot said the aftershock was felt in the lake area too. "We could feel the dam shaking and saw rocks rolling down the mountains around the lake. Experts are monitoring the lake water and dam for safety." […]. ^ top ^

Parents given money in bid to quell their rage (SCMP)
2008-06-10
Officials have sent condolences and payments to parents of children killed in a school that crumpled in the Sichuan earthquake, seeking to defuse outrage over shoddy buildings and alleged corruption. The letters of condolence from the Juyuan town government went to parents from the town's middle school, where hundreds of children died when a building collapsed in the May 12 quake, even as nearby apartments and offices remained standing. Grieving families were divided in their reactions. "At least this means they will face up more squarely to their responsibility," Zhao Deqin, a mother whose 15-year-old twin daughters, Yajia and Yaqi, died in the school, said yesterday. Wu Dahua, a grandmother whose grandson, Zhang Dachun, died, said: "I don't believe words any more. I won't feel at rest until they lock up the people who made this tofu-dregs building." More than 69,000 people have died in the disaster, including at least 9,000 children trapped in schools that collapsed or were buried in landslides. Grieving parents have protested that government corruption made a mockery of school building safety standards, and their complaints have become the most politically volatile quake issue facing the Communist Party as it seeks to maintain an image of determined patriotic unity. […]. ^ top ^

Human trafficker executed (SCMP)
2008-06-10
A man has been executed in Dongguan, Guangdong, for trafficking 38 children, including 12 not yet recovered, China News Service reported. It said Liu Jianqiu and his team abducted children in public places from 2001 to 2004 and sold them in Shantou. Beijing reacquired the power to approve death penalties last year, with lower-level courts told to report death-penalty cases to the Supreme People's Court for review. ^ top ^

China finds missing helicopter, bodies of passengers, crew near quake epicenter town (Xinhua)
2008-06-11
Searchers have found the remains of the missing Chinese helicopter and people on board in the mountains near the quake epicenter town Yingxiu, according to a military source here Tuesday. The debris of the Mi-171 helicopter was found in the bushes northwest of Yingxiu Township at 10:55 a.m. Tuesday. Militia and reservists mobilized by the Chengdu Military Area Command found the missing chopper. Five crew members and 12 quake victims were found dead in the mountains near the quake epicenter town, Yingxiu. One person is still missing, said Fu Guozhu, deputy director of the Political Department of the Sichuan Provincial Military Region of the People's Liberation Army. One person formerly reported as having been on board did not take the helicopter, Fu said. The helicopter broke up with its parts including the propeller, airframe and empennage found scattered in the bushes. […]. ^ top ^

One killed, 35 injured in east China explosion (Xinhua)
2008-06-12
One person was killed and 35 others injured in an explosion Wednesday at a plaza in Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang Province, local police said Thursday. Wang Puhong, deputy director of the Yiwu public security bureau, said the explosion was contrived but he ruled out terror attack. A number of local residents were dancing on the plaza in Dachen Town of Yiwu City when the explosion took place at 8:45 p.m.. All the injured people, including two seriously wounded, were in stable condition as at Thursday afternoon, said Wang. ^ top ^

Findings published on quake fund diversion (Xinhua)
2008-06-13
China's auditing authority said Thursday it had so far found three cases of the illegal use of quake relief funds involving nearly 300,000 yuan (US$43,478). The findings were published on the website of the National Audit Office (NAO) as the first document about audit results involving the huge relief funds for regions hit by the massive earthquake in southwestern China exactly a month ago. The NAO said malpractice was found in a local office of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Mianyang, one of the worst-hit areas. The local non-governmental industry and commerce association in Anyang, Henan Province, was found to have used 271,100 yuan from donations without authorization to buy relief goods. About 41,500 yuan was spent on apparel purchased from the younger brother of an ACFIC official and fake invoices were presented along with the goods. Auditors discovered cast-offs among a batch of clothes dispatched by the official to Guangyuan, Sichuan Province. The NAO said the local government of Anyang had started investigating the issue so that relevant people could held responsible. […]. ^ top ^

Police block off access to ruined schools (SCMP)
2008-06-13
Police cordoned off some destroyed schools in Sichuan yesterday, one month after the devastating earthquake, apparently concerned about possible protests by parents demanding inquiries into whether shoddy construction played a role in their children's deaths. Police barred entry to at least two towns where schools collapsed, despite assurance by authorities that unfettered coverage would be allowed. A reporter from The Straits Times of Singapore was forced by police to leave the town of Juyuan and return to Chengdu, about an hour away. A dozen police and paramilitary troops guarded the gate of Juyuan's destroyed middle school, while a crowd of about 50 people gathered outside. It was not clear whether any parents of dead children were present. The security measures underscore how unnerved authorities are about public anger over the students' deaths. In the nearby city of Dujiangyan, police and troops barred even parents from entering the grounds of the ruined Xinjian Primary School. One family knelt on the pavement in front, burning incense and pouring soda into cups as an offering to the dead. Jing Linzhong, father of one child who was killed, said he had arrived early in the morning, before security forces sealed the area off, to join other parents in a vigil on the school's playground. Mr Jing said blocking parents from visiting the site could impede the healing process. "Some people are getting psychological counselling, but for us, we find it therapeutic simply to gather at the school and meet with one another." Parents in the village of Wufu, where 270 children died in a primary school's collapse, said they were holding off on any commemorations or protests until the release of investigation results, which have been promised on or around June 20. ^ top ^

Department admits leak of data on future mums (SCMP)
2008-06-13
Shenzhen health authorities have admitted officials leaked the personal data of more than 40,000 expectant mothers this year. The city's health and family planning bureaus had initially denied any responsibility on Tuesday and pointed fingers at each other. But by Wednesday they said they were investigating the scandal and helping the police. Details of more than 100,000 expectant mothers, from 70 public hospitals, had been leaked and sold for profit since 2006, The Southern Metropolis News reported. The report said the details had been sold on the black market to advertisers of baby goods and services, who then sent text messages and called with products tailored to different stages of pregnancy and infancy. Luo Lexuan, a deputy director of the Shenzhen health bureau, called the data leak abominable, the newspaper reported. Mr Luo said data available on the black market matched that in the bureau's database and the health authorities were responsible for the leak, even though the family planning bureau also had access to the same database. […]. ^ top ^

Nation's first space walk set for October (SCMP)
2008-06-13
A Chinese spacecraft will blast off in October, launching three astronauts into orbit to accomplish the nation's first space walk, state media reported yesterday.
Analysts on the mainland say if the space walk during Shenzhou VII's mission succeeds, it would be a fitting response to the United States' strategy over the past two decades of trying to isolate China in space by setting strict export embargoes and rejecting its requests to join the International Space Station programme. "To some extent we needed the United States. Without their hostility, we wouldn't be so determined to develop our own space station programme," said a space security expert who asked not to be identified. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

1st day-off for Duanwu revives tradition (China Daily)
2008-06-08
Beijing office worker Li Bingshuang celebrated the annual traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival, on Sunday, by rowing a boat with friends and having a picnic at the well-known Summer Palace. A girl points at rice dumplings hung at a street stall in Shanghai June 4, 2008. The Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 8 this year. As a tradition, people eat rice dumplings with meat, peanut, egg yolk, or other fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves during the festival. [Xinhua]
On the rented boat at the park which ancient emperors and royal families used to enjoy play, Li and friends chatted and played cards under the summer sunshine. "As ancestors commemorated the existence of a very famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan on the day by performing dragon boating and making zongzi, we do similar activities to observe the day," said the 26-year-old who had spent hours to prepare the picnic food. This included zongzi, pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Li said she felt at ease to plan the holiday as in all, she had three days off for the festival. "It has been long time for me not to stop to smell the flower and completely relax myself." Previously, Li worked over the festival day as most Chinese did, especially when the day fell on weekdays; there had been no day off allowed on one of the most important traditional occasions of the nation. On December 16, the State Council, China's Cabinet, revised the nation's official holiday schedule to add three traditional festivals - "Tomb-Sweeping Day," "Dragon Boat Festival" and "Mid-Autumn Festival" - in response to public demand. It also changed the length of other holidays. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

First Straits talks in 9 years to boost ties (China Daily)
2008-06-10
Negotiators from both sides of the Taiwan Straits will hold talks from Wednesday, the first in more than nine years, rekindling hopes of closer ties. A 19-member delegation from Taiwan, led by the island's chief mainland negotiator Chiang Pin-kun, is scheduled to arrive in Beijing for the landmark talks. The meeting will focus on cross-Straits chartered flights over weekends that can start as early as July and increasing the number of mainland travelers to the island. The negotiation between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) is scheduled to continue till Saturday. It will be the first meeting between the two sides after the warming of relations and the swearing in of Ma Ying-jeou, who favors closer economic ties with the mainland, as the island's leader last month. Cross-Straits talks began in 1992 but broke off in 1999 when former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui redefined the two sides' ties as "special state-to-state relationship". All efforts to resume the talks during the Democratic Progressive Party's eight-year rule failed because of the island authorities' secessionist activities. The Taiwan delegation will be led by SEF chairman Chiang, with two "vice-ministers" of the island's "cabinet" acting as consultants on the flights and tourism issues. The two "vice-ministers" are Fu Don-cheng of the "mainland affairs council" and Oliver Yu of the "ministry of transportation and communications", SEF secretary-general Kao Koong-lian said on Sunday. This is the first time Taiwan is sending such senior level officials for cross-Straits talks, he said, and hoped they would proceed smoothly. "We expect to sign an agreement on June 13," Kao was quoted by local media as saying yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

Agreement expected on tourism and flights - Taiwan and mainland to hold historic talks (SCMP)
2008-06-11
Taiwan and the mainland are expected to sign their first agreement in more than 10 years later this week on weekend charter flights and tourism. The deal will usher in a new era of cross-strait ties, which will see the two sides moving towards reconciliation and active engagement following a decade of sour relations. On the eve of his departure for Beijing yesterday, Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taiwanese government-funded Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the island's top negotiator with the mainland, said: "Though the four-day trip seems to be rather simple, it actually is highly significant." Mr Chiang, who will represent the Taiwanese government in the talks, said no one could ignore the rise of the mainland. "It is now the best time for the two sides to resume dialogue and improve relations," he said. "I believe such an improvement is positive to direct and indirect political and economic developments in Taiwan, and it will also affect stability in East Asia." Mr Chiang will lead a 19-member delegation that will fly to Beijing via Macau today for two rounds of talks on weekend charter flights and tourism. The talks will be held tomorrow before two pacts are signed with his mainland counterpart, Chen Yunlin, of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats). The talks will mark the first time high-level officials from the two sides have sat down at the negotiating table since historic SEF-Arats talks led by Taiwan's Koo Chen-fu and the mainland's Wang Daohan in Singapore in 1993. Koo, who died in January 2005, met Wang in Shanghai in late 1998 on a trip intended to invite Wang to visit Taiwan. However, Wang died in December 2005 without ever visiting the island. The planned visit was put aside after the then independence-leaning Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui reclassified cross-strait relations as special state-to-state ones in 1999, a move that infuriated Beijing and led to a decade of soured ties. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan team lands in Beijing to seal accords - Direct charter flights and opening island to mainland tours key issues (SCMP)
2008-06-12
A delegation of Taiwanese negotiators arrived in Beijing yesterday for landmark talks that are expected to seal deals on direct flights and opening up the island to mass mainland tourists. Led by Chiang Pin-kung, the chairman of Taiwan's government-funded Straits Exchange Foundation, the 19-strong team will hold talks with their mainland counterparts, headed by the semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait's director Chen Yunlin today. Top on the agenda was to put final touches on plans to allow regular direct weekend charter flights and letting up to 3,000 mainland tourists to visit the island daily.The top negotiators will sign agreements tomorrow and Mr Chiang is expected to meet President Hu Jintao after the agreements are signed. Both schemes are expected to be put in place early next month, a goal laid out by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou after he won the island's presidential election in March. Mr Chiang last night sounded optimistic about today's talks. […]. ^ top ^

Live-fire drill near Xiamen held over (SCMP)
2008-06-12
Taiwan has postponed a live-fire exercise scheduled for tomorrow, the Defence Ministry said as the island and Beijing were set to hold their first direct talks in more than a decade. An artillery drill was held on Monday on Quemoy, a Taiwan-controlled fortified islet within range of Xiamen. Taiwan's Defence Ministry announced it would put off indefinitely the drill planned for tomorrow, which coincides with the first dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in more than a decade. "Cross-strait relations was one of the factors weighed when we made the decision," ministry spokeswoman Chih Yu-lan said. "We are pleased to see the bilateral ties moving on the track of peace and stability.". ^ top ^

Straits talks yield full agreement (China Daily)
2008-06-13
The first cross-Straits talks in nearly a decade Thursday resulted in agreement on a broad range of issues to boost bilateral exchanges. On the first day of their meeting, the two sides agreed to set up permanent representative offices to coordinate contacts. Top mainland negotiator Chen Yunlin also accepted an invitation by his Taiwan counterpart to visit the island later this year, a move which analysts believe will inject momentum into the development of cross-Straits ties. "As wished by people on the two sides, talks resumed today after nearly 10 years' suspension," Chen - chairman of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) - said, referring to tense cross-Straits ties since 1999, especially during the rule of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. "We feel a great sense of responsibility at this glorious mission and we must spare no effort in realizing the aspirations of people on the two sides. "Whether cross-Straits relations improve depends on whether our negotiations proceed smoothly," Chen said as the talks opened at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse at around 9 am. Echoing Chen, Chiang Pin-kun - chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) - said the two organizations had established mutual trust after recent contacts and the two will serve as a bridge for cross-Straits consultations. "The talks mark a new start," he said, adding that the negotiations should lay the foundation for "a long-term peaceful relationship". During the talks, Chen and Chiang agreed on strengthening the exchange of visits between ARATS and SEF personnel, and enhancing economic, cultural and social visits at various levels. In addition to the ARATS and the SEF setting up representative offices, the two sides agreed to resume the liaison officer system to handle emergency cases related to life and property of people on both sides. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama chastised (SCMP)
2008-06-10
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the Dalai Lama's recent activities had promoted secessionism in Tibet and called on the exiled spiritual leader to stop. Mr Yang said that even so, the central government had held a series of contacts with the Dalai Lama's representatives, which could lead to a solution to the crisis in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has consistently said he is not seeking independence for Tibet. ^ top ^

Tibetan exiles hold red-paint protest (SCMP)
2008-06-11
Tibetan exiles dressed as Chinese soldiers squirted other demonstrators with red paint in Nepal's capital yesterday in a symbolic protest against Beijing's rule in Tibet. Dressed in green uniforms generally worn by Chinese soldiers, the half-dozen protesters carrying water pistols loaded with red paint were quickly detained by police in Kathmandu. The demonstrators were joined by 200 others, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, in front of the Chinese embassy's visa office in the heart of the city. "Stop killing in Tibet" and "Free Tibet," the protesters chanted before being rounded up by police and taken away in vans and trucks. […]. ^ top ^

Tibet still off limits to visitors (SCMP)
2008-06-13
Tibet remains closed to foreign journalists and tourists, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, three months after unrest broke out in the region. "Due to the violent incident in Lhasa on March 14, at present [the regional capital] Lhasa and all of Tibet are still not open to the outside world," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "But the responsibility should not fall on our shoulders," he said, blaming "the Dalai clique" - referring to the coterie of officials that form the exiled government of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader. Exiled leaders say more than 200 Tibetans died in the crackdown on the protests. Beijing denies those allegations and says Tibetan "rioters" were responsible for 19 deaths. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama hopes talks restart in July (SCMP)
2008-06-13
The Dalai Lama said yesterday he hopes the postponed talks between Beijing and his envoys will resume next month, adding he supported Beijing's desire for stability but that it must come "from the heart, not the gun". The talks are aimed at mending fences with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama says he wants autonomy for the strategic Himalayan region, not independence; nevertheless, Beijing brands him a separatist. Chinese officials met the Dalai Lama's representatives for talks on May 4 in Shenzhen, but further talks, set to start on Wednesday, were postponed after the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan. The Dalai Lama is in Sydney for a five-day visit that will end on Monday. Asked when the talks would resume, he said: "Maybe next month." "President Hu Jintao very much emphasises... harmonious society," he said. "We fully support that. It is wonderful to have stability and unity. Stability and unity must come from the heart, not the gun." Beijing blames the "Dalai Lama clique" for violence in Tibet in March and protests that disrupted the Olympic torch relay in several countries. Beijing has called on the Dalai Lama and his supporters to halt Tibet protests and attempts to "ruin the Olympics" in August as a condition for future roundtable talks. "There is some resentment, some dissatisfaction in the minds of Tibetans," the Dalai Lama said. "From grandparent to parent, from parent to children, children to grandchildren; continuously, this is the problem. Give Tibetans meaningful autonomy. That will satisfy Tibetans." He also urged his supporters not to cause trouble when the Olympic torch visited the autonomous region this month. "The Olympic Games, right from the beginning, we fully support," he said. "The torch is part of that.". ^ top ^

 

Economy

China urges US to stabilize dollar (China Daily)
2008-06-10
Chinese ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sun Zhenyu expressed on Monday serious concerns about the continuous depreciation of the US dollar and urged the United States to stabilize the currency. The continued depreciation of the dollar "aggravated the inflation pressure worldwide and further added fuel to the rapid increase of the crude oil and food prices," said Sun at a WTO session reviewing the trade policies of the United States. The depreciation also seriously affects the exports of other countries, especially those vulnerable and export-oriented developing countries, undermining their ability to further develop and to address their social problems, Sun said at the biennial review. He added that as a major currency for international reserve, the dramatic depreciation of the dollar has also led to shrinking national reserve of many countries and reduced social welfare. "In this connection, China hopes that the United States, as a driving engine of the world's economy, could take quick and targeted actions to stabilize the US dollar," he said. "We hope the US will not tell us this time as they did in the early 1970s to the Europeans, to say that 'it is our currency, but, it is your problem'," he added. According to the ambassador, the continuous depreciation of the dollar resulted from the continuous downward adjustment on interest rates and the expansionary fiscal policy by the US Federal Reserve. ^ top ^

Oil futures hit new high (China Daily)
2008-06-11
Shanghai fuel oil futures contracts rose more than 2 percent yesterday after the long weekend break to a new high, tracking the trend of international crude oil on Friday, when it surged to as high as $139 a barrel in New York. The most actively traded Shanghai fuel oil futures contracts for delivery in August climbed 2.01 percent to close at 5,029 yuan per ton, with transaction volume dropping 36.6 percent to 62,902 hands from Friday. […]. ^ top ^

Taipei approves conversion bill (SCMP)
2008-06-13
Taiwan's parliament approved a bill yesterday that will help speed the process of allowing wider convertibility between the Taiwan dollar and the Chinese yuan, signalling improving ties between the sides. Parliament's approval will let the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) and the central bank work on plans to let financial institutions exchange the yuan with individuals, which may happen by the end of this month. […]. ^ top ^

 

Avian flu

Bird flu vaccine developed from lab cells (Xinhua)
2008-06-12
Scientists have developed a new bird flu vaccine that appears to be safer, more effective and faster than the products currently in use, according to media reports Thursday. It's the first bird-flu vaccine that's made from cells grown in the lab, instead of from chicken eggs, showing promise in blocking the deadly virus, researchers said. The vaccine also doesn't need an adjuvant-- a substance added to a vaccine to make it stronger, as there have been safety concerns about adjuvants, they added. "I think it is a big leap forward," said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a vaccine researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine not involved in the study. The hunt for a good bird flu vaccine to be used in humans has gone on for some 10 years. So far, more than 100 people have died worldwide from H5N1 infection spread through close contact with birds. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Beijing Olympic torch relay in Guangxi concludes (Xinhua)
2008-06-08
The Beijing Olympic torch relay in southwestern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region concluded here at 16:45 local time at the Baise Uprising Monument on Sunday. […]. ^ top ^

Olympic flame lands in "Spring City" (Xinhua)
2008-06-10
The Olympic flame landed in Kunming, the "Spring City", on Monday, embarking on a three-day torch relay in Yunnan province. […]. ^ top ^

Miao people to bathe in Olympic light (China Daily)
2008-06-12
Villagers of the Miao ethnic group will welcome the Olympic torch relay in Guizhou province over the next three days. Today, the relay will pass through Guiyang, the provincial capital, Kaili in southeastern Guizhou tomorrow and Zunyi in the northern mountains on Saturday. […]. ^ top ^

China cracks down on copyright infringement ahead of Olympics (Xinhua)
2008-06-12
China launched Thursday a four-month campaign to crack down on Internet intellectual copyright infringement in an attempt to ensure legal online communication services as the Olympics approach. Xu Chao, a senior official with the National Copyright Administration, said the campaign aimed to prevent illegal dissemination of Olympic events and related activities online in accordance with the country's Copyright Law, the Olympic Charter and relevant agreements between the Chinese government and International Olympic Committee. According to the administration, Youtube-like video-sharing websites will be the focus of the drive. The campaign will also step up scrutiny of large websites that especially deal in music, films, software, books and games among other contents. We will also mobilize online authors and the public to cooperate in this movement. They can report alleged infringement cases via telephone hot line or the Internet," said Xu. According to the Beijing authorities, during the games, anyone can report infringement via a hotline, 12312. Those convinced of infringement will face punishment under China's laws and regulations for intellectual property rights protection. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK not to abandon nuclear deterrence (Xinhua)
2008-06-10
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Monday it would not abandon nuclear deterrence if the United States maintains its troops on the Korean Peninsula at their current level. A spokesman for the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army (KPA) made the remarks in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency after Washington and Seoul agreed to maintain U.S. troops in South Korea at their current level. Should the U.S. and the South Korean warlike forces persist in their moves for a war against the DPRK as now, the KPA will be left with no option but to further bolster all its war deterrents," the spokesman said. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who visited Seoul last week, backed the agreement by U.S. President George W. Bush and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak in April. Bush and Lee agreed to maintain U.S. troops at the current level of 28,500, citing military threats from the DPRK. Under this situation the KPA cannot remain a passive onlooker to the above-said disturbing development, while abandoning its nuclear deterrence," the spokesman said in the statement. He also warned that such moves would undermine the six-party talks, DPRK-U.S. relations and inter-Korean relations. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian contingent troops will send to Iraq (Mongol Messenger)
2008-06-12
The Government of Mongolia last week agreed to dispatch the 10th rotation of Mongolian contingent troops to Iraq to guard Camp Echo, a Polish - commanded multinational peacekeeping division located in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. The contingent, which will serve for two months from July 15 until September 15, means Mongolia has sent over 1,000 troops since 2002 under Operation Iraqi Freedom. ^ top ^

Government Failing Human Trafficking Victims: Report (Mongol Messenger)
2008-06-12
US State Department report released this week has criticized the Mongolian government for failing to do enough to curb the trafficking of men, women and children for sexual exploitation and forced labor. According to the eighth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, released on June 5, Mongolia is a source country for traffickers, with victims mainly sent to China, Macau, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and South Korea. The Mongolian Government is largely criticized for failing to provide protection, shelter, and direct assistance to its victims repatriated from other countries. It also did not ratify 2000 U.N. Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. The report also cited several reports of law enforcement officials directly involved in or facilitating trafficking crimes. It accused the government of refusing to provide information on these cases. “Some high-level government and police officials have been clients of minors exploited in prostitution,” the report said. “However, the government rarely made available information related to convictions of and disciplinary actions against law enforcement officers implicated in trafficking-related corruption.” In another alarming revelation, the report said that international “sex tourists” were arriving in Mongolia. “There have been several reports of Mongolian girls and women being kidnapped and forced to work in the country's commercial sex trade,” the report said. “[…]. ^ top ^

 

Patricia Straessle
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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