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
  7.7-11.7.08, No. 225  
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Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Hu arrives in Japan with busy schedule (SCMP)
008-07-08
President Hu Jintao arrived amid rain on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido last night for a whirlwind two-day visit packed with bilateral and multilateral meetings with leaders of the G8 and the world's other major economies. Flanked by three top ministers on development, agriculture and commerce, Mr Hu appeared primed to present China's positions - and that of developing countries - on these issues. "In the past few years, G8 has strengthened dialogue with developing nations. This is a positive trend," Mr Hu said in Beijing on Friday. "This will help promote multilateralism and push forward resolution of global problems." This is China's fifth participation as a developing nation in the G8's outreach discussion sessions since 2003. A dialogue between the G8 and five developing countries - China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa, collectively known as the "outreach five" (O5) - was put in place since 2005. But the G8-O5 dialogue structure became formalised only at last year's summit. Today and tomorrow, Mr Hu will participate in an O5 meeting, a G8-O5 meeting and a meeting on climate change with leaders from the G8, O5 and Australia, Indonesia and South Korea - known as the Major Economies Meeting. A working lunch among the world's 16 major economies discussing a broad range of issues will wrap up this year's G8 at the lakeside resort at Toyako. Mr Hu will also engage in bilateral talks with at least seven state leaders, including US President George W. Bush. A meeting with Japan has not yet been confirmed but a Japanese diplomat said Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda "certainly won't miss the chance" to meet Mr Hu amid China's and Japan's warming relations. Mr Hu's G8 attendance at Hokkaido marks his second visit to Japan in just two months after his "tour of warm spring" in May. But scepticism has overshadowed how much this summit would be able to achieve despite its ambitious agenda, especially on the issue of climate change, on which the United States and China seem to have budged little from their long-standing positions. Japan wanted to get the G8 to agree on halving emissions by 2050, but Mr Bush said on Sunday that no such deal would be reached without the agreement including China and India. Last week, the director general of the Office of National Leading Group on Climate Change, Su Wei , said China was happy to talk about long-term goals at the summit, but stopped short of making any pledges, re-emphasising that developed nations should take the lead. "Developing nations are innocent," he said, pointing out that China had taken a range of measures such as restructuring the economy, improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy, on top of capping greenhouse gas emissions, to deal with climate change. […]. ^ top ^

'We're not to blame' for food crisis (China Daily)
2008-07-09
President Hu Jintao Tuesday denied that the growing demand in developing countries is responsible for rising food prices across the world. This is a baseless accusation and shows the irresponsible attitude of those making it, he said. Hu's remarks came at his meeting with leaders of four other developing countries, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico. China and the four countries account for 42 percent of the world population and 12 percent of its GDP. The leaders will attend the final day of the annual Group of Eight (G8) Summit today, when climate change is likely to top the agenda. The soaring food prices have "added to the difficulties (facing) global poverty reduction efforts, and affected regional stability", Hu said. "Developing countries suffer most from rising food prices and we the five countries have all been affected." What is needed, he said, is a more favorable external environment for the growth of developing countries. Related readings: China 95% self-sufficient in grain last decade High food prices add 50m people to hunger China not to blame for food price rise UN chief calls for steps to address food crisis The causes for soaring food prices are multi-faceted and complex, he said, and urged the international community to raise its level of cooperation and take comprehensive steps to maintain food security. All the five countries are major grain producers and consumers so "we should jointly encourage the international community" to intensify efforts to ensure food security, Hu said. At the end of the meeting, the leaders of the five countries called for a shared responsibility to ensure world food security, and international cooperation to boost energy development and efficiency."We call upon the international community to devise better ways and means of producing and distributing food," a joint declaration said. "Multi-billion (dollar) agricultural trade-distorting support in developed countries have hampered the development of food production in developing countries, critically reducing their possibilities of reaction to the present crisis," the declaration said. […]. ^ top ^

G8 leaders tackle soaring oil prices, Africa aid and emission cuts (Xinhua)
2008-07-09
[…] We express our strong concerns about elevated commodity prices, especially of oil and food, since they pose a serious challenge to stable growth worldwide, have serious implications for the most vulnerable, and increase global inflationary pressure," the leaders said in a statement. The leaders admitted "uncertainty" and "downside risks" for the world economy, but they remain positive about the long-term resilience of G8 economies and future global economic growth. Emerging market economies are still growing strongly though theG8 nations' growth has moderated, said the statement. The leaders said they would take actions to ensure stability and growth in their economies and globally and resist protectionist pressures against international trade and investment. "A successful conclusion of an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive WTO Doha agreement is critical to economic growth and development," said the statement, calling all WTO members to make substantial contributions toward establishing modalities for Agriculture and NAMA (Non-Agricultural Market Access) and achieving positive and tangible results on services. On the sharp rise in oil prices, the G8 leaders called for concerted efforts to address the underlying causes for the benefit of all. "Greater transparency will lead to better functioning energy markets and hence a better balance between supply and demand," they said. ^ top ^

Heads of six-party talks to meet for new round of discussion (China Daily)
2008-07-09
Heads of the delegations attending the new round of six-party talks will meet on Thursday, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry at a regular press conference here on Tuesday. "We expect the meeting to have a positive effect to facilitate the six-party talks moving to a new phase," said ministry spokesman Qin Gang. The meeting would be targeted at realizing the second phase of the action plan in a comprehensive and balanced way, and other issues of common concern would also be touched upon, he said. On the sideline of the meeting, the working groups on denuclearization at the Korean peninsular, as well as the economic and energy resources cooperation, will hold meetings too. The six-party talks, involving China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia, have focused on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsular. So far, six rounds of talks have been held in Beijing since 2003. […]. ^ top ^

Mexican President starts China visit (People's Daily)
2008-07-10
Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa arrived in Shanghai Wednesday night, kicking off a four-day state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao. This is the first China tour of Calderon since he took office in December 2006 During his visit, President Hu will hold talks with him, and Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet him respectively. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa Cantellano will preside the third session of the China-Mexico Bi-national Commission. After his visit in Shanghai, Calderon is scheduled to start visit in Beijing on Thursday evening. ^ top ^

Chinese president meets Bush on bilateral ties, six-party talks, Taiwan (People's Daily)
2008-07-10
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush met in Toyako, Japan on Wednesday on bilateral ties and other issues of mutual concern. The two leaders met in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako on the sidelines of the Outreach Session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit. At the talks, Hu said China-U.S. relations have maintained a good momentum in recent years, with the fourth China-U.S. strategic economic dialogue producing positive results. The two countries have engaged in effective cooperation in many fields including trade and commerce, anti-terrorism measures, energy and environmental protection, said Hu. On major international and regional matters such as the nuclear issues concerning the Korean Peninsula and Iran, China and the U.S. have kept up effective communication and coordination, he noted. The Chinese leader emphasized the significance of the China-U.S. relationship, as it suits the fundamental interests of both the Chinese and the American people, and serves world peace and development. He suggested that both nations continue constructive and cooperative relations, strengthen dialogue, so as to guarantee a healthy and steady development of bilateral relations. On the Doha Round of trade talks, Hu said China has actively participated in the talks and has maintained an open market, thus fulfilling the obligations following its entry into the World Trade Organization. […] The two leaders also discussed the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games. Bush said he is looking forward to attending the opening ceremony of the Games with his family and enjoying the events. Hu extended a warm welcome to Bush for the Olympics, saying that his wish to be present at the Games proves the U.S. leader values the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples. Hu also expressed his gratitude to President Bush, the U.S. government and people for their condolences and generous assistance to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck China's southwestern Sichuan province in May. ^ top ^

Chinese President, Japanese PM vow to boost strategic, mutually beneficial relations (People's Daily)
2008-07-10
Chinese President Hu Jintao exchanged views with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in Toyako Wednesday on boosting the strategic and mutually beneficial relations. Boosting the strategic and mutually beneficial relations serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their peoples, and is also conducive to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world, Hu Jintao said. The two leaders met in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako on the sidelines of the Outreach Session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit. […] China is willing to work with Japan on the implementation of the consensus reached by the two countries in the statement, that is, to continue high-level contacts between the two countries; to hold the second round of high-level economic dialogues between the two nations this autumn in Tokyo; to promote human and cultural exchanges, and enhance defense exchanges, Hu said. Agreeing with Hu's proposals on promoting bilateral relations, Fukuda said relations between the two countries have made significant progress in recent years. The Japanese PM expressed hope that the two sides will continue to strengthen political dialogue, expand personnel and cultural contact and enhance exchanges in the field of defense affairs. Fukuda also said that he will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and wished it great success. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese president meets with France's Sarkozy in Japan (People's Daily)
2008-07-10
Chinese President Hu Jintao met with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Toyako, Japan on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G8) summit's outreach session. Hu expressed China's deep appreciation for the sympathy and aid offered by President Sarkozy and the French government in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12. Sarkozy had conveyed his sympathies to the quake victims and visited the Chinese embassy in Paris to offer his condolences in person, while the French government provided assistance for the quake-hit regions and sent medical teams. "We deeply appreciate this," Hu told the French leader. He said the two countries enjoy traditionally friendly bilateral relations, which "deserve to be treasured by our two sides." He recalled that the two sides reached a broad consensus on some major issues during Sarkozy's visit to China last November, noting that the visit has strongly pushed forward the development of bilateral ties. China appreciates Sarkozy's adherence to the one-China policy, his opposition to "Taiwan independence" and his reiteration that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, Hu said. The Chinese president also drew attention to the difficulties experienced in bilateral ties in the past months and called it a situation China was not willing to see. China has taken a positive view of the recent efforts made by the French side to improve bilateral relations, Hu said, and hoped the two sides should view bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective to ensure a healthy and stable development. Noting that China is a strategic partner of France, Sarkozy said his country attaches great importance to its relations with China and is willing to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in bilateral, regional and international affairs. He emphasized that France will firmly adhere to the one-China policy. […]. ^ top ^

Nuke talks resume on hopeful note (China Daily)
2008-07-11
The Six-Party Talks resumed in Beijing Thursday with hopes of finding a way of verifying the nuclear documents of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). China's chief negotiator Wu Dawei said the DPRK's recent positive steps show the talks are yielding results. "All of us are meeting for the same strategic goal to see the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free and normalization of relations between countries. "All these difficulties and successes have led us to believe that if we work together with sincerity, stick to the guidelines .and honor our commitments, the strategic goal will definitely be realized," said Wu, who is also vice-foreign minister. The three-day talks are being held after the DPRK handed over its nuclear declaration and blew up a cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear facility last month. In response, the US has said it would remove the DPRK from its list of states sponsoring terrorism and ease economic sanctions. That paved the way for the resumption of the talks, which also involve Japan, Russia and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Pyongyang has been urging the US to fulfill its promise of economic help and political compensation. "The DPRK is ready to cooperate in verifying the nuclear declaration, but the basic principle of 'action for action' should be observed," the DPRK foreign ministry said in a statement. The US has insisted that verification of the DPRK's declaration is vital to the new round of talks, which may also discuss complete abandonment of the program. Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State and chief negotiator Christopher Hill, however, said that even after an agreement on the verification process is reached, the verification itself "will take several weeks or even months, actually". Hill met with DPRK chief negotiator Kim Kye-gwan soon after he reached Beijing on Tuesday afternoon, and said verification of denuclearization, including documents, site visits and interviews, would be a focal point at the talks. Some basic agreements on the process include interviews with DPRK officials and site visits, Hill said. "There are a lot of details that need to be fleshed out. After meeting with Hill and Wu on Wednesday, the ROK chief negotiator Kim Sook said he felt neither "optimistic" nor "pessimistic" about the latest round of talks and all sides needed to consider the issues with a cool head. He said he would urge Japan to become part of the economic and energy aid program too. […]. ^ top ^

Restraint urged as Iran tests missiles (China Daily)
2008-07-11
China Thursday reacted to recent missile tests by Iran, saying all sides should take steps "conducive" to peace and stability in the Middle East. "We are worried over what is going on in the region. Since the situation in the Middle East is complicated and sensitive, we hope all sides will take measures conducive to safeguarding peace and stability in the region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. On July 4, Iran responded to a package of incentives proposed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, the UK, France, Russia and China - and Germany, to persuade it to give up its uranium enrichment program. Liu confirmed that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had received a letter from his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, which said Iran was ready to hold constructive talks as soon as possible with the six countries and the European Union. But tension seemed to rise after Iranian state TV and radio said Thursday that the Revolutionary Guards had fired more ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles overnight. Long-range missiles, too, were tested. Among the missiles Iran said it tested on Wednesday was a new version of the Shahab-3, which according to officials has a range of about 2,000 km and is armed with a 1-ton conventional warhead. Besides, Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for Gulf oil exports, if it is attacked. Up to 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the strait. […]In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu, however, said China believed that talks on Iran's nuclear issue could be resumed. He hoped all parties would insist on seeking a solution through diplomatic means, show flexibility and resume talks as soon as possible. "Dialogue and negotiations should be the way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue," he said. On a visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington would defend American interests and those of its allies. "We take very, very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that," Rice said. The Pentagon is carrying out studies to determine what exactly Iran had test-fired and to gauge its missile capabilities. In Jerusalem, Israel's defense minister has hinted at its readiness to attack Iran, saying Israel "has proved in the past that it won't hesitate to act when its vital security interests are at stake." But Defense Minister Ehud Barak quickly noted that "the reactions of (Israel's) enemies need to be taken into consideration as well.". ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Heavy rainstorms ravage China, leaving at least 12 dead and 3 mln affected (People's Daily)
2008-07-06
Heavy rainstorms that swept through most parts of China since Tuesday have left at least 12 dead, seven missing and about 3 million affected. The casualties were reported after the rainstorms and flooding killed 252 people across China in June. […]. ^ top ^

Giant panda survived quake, now gives birth to twins (China Daily)
2008-07-07
The May 12 earthquake forced Guo Guo to leave the Wolong nature reserve but it could not stop her from giving birth to twins in Chengdu. She became the first giant panda Sunday to give birth anywhere in the world this year. […]. ^ top ^

20 hurt in mid-air turbulence (SCMP)
2008-07-07
About 20 people on a flight from Shanghai to Beijing were injured when turbulence forced their plane to land at Tianjin airport, the Beijing News reports. The injured including flight attendants and passengers. ^ top ^

Veil lifted on gangsters' power in riot town (SCMP)
2008-07-07
Authorities are closing the net on more than 240 people suspected of being involved in the violent riots in the remote mining county of Wengan in Guizhou province. Official media yesterday also offered a rare glimpse of the power wielded by local gangs allegedly to blame for instigating the riots. A spokesman from a special police taskforce set up to investigate the unrest said police had identified 249 people suspected of being involved in the riots and authorities had detained 116 of them. Earlier official media reports said more than 150 people - mainly policemen and firemen - had been injured and government offices and a police station torched and looted. The unrest was triggered by the death of teenager Li Shufen who police said committed suicide on June 21. […]. ^ top ^

Single-child population tops 100 million in China (China Daily)
2008-07-08
The number of only children in China has surpassed 100 million since the introduction of the one-child policy in the late 1970s, according to a population forum here on Sunday. The single children group accounted for about 8 percent of China's 1.3-billion population, according to the forum hosted by Shanghai Population Welfare Charity Fund ahead of the July 11 World Population Day. Families have become smaller and smaller since 1982 when households averaged about 4.4 members. In 2005, the figure was reduced to about 3.1. The "core family," which consisted of a couple and one child, had become the common family pattern in Chinese urban areas, the forum said. The one-child policy has prevented an estimated 400 million births. ^ top ^

Rioters in Shaanxi damage police cars (China Daily)
2008-07-08
Relatives of a farmer who drowned in the Yellow River on Thursday went on the rampage in Fugu county of Shaanxi province on Saturday and Sunday, clashing with police and damaging their cars, the Xi'an Evening News reported yesterday. He Liqi was carrying people on a tractor and had hidden its license plate, and when police stopped him for breaking traffic rules, he jumped into the river. After his body was retrieved two days later, his relatives attacked police and blocked a road twice. They damaged a civilian's car too. Seven of the rioters have been detained. ^ top ^

China's third manned spaceship set for Oct. launch (China Daily)
2008-07-11
The country's third manned spaceship, set for an October launch, reached Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province Thursday. The spacecraft, Shenzhou VII, was flown from Beijing, marking the start of the latest mission. Media reports said a crew of six astronauts had been chosen for the mission, three of who will fly with spaceship. Experts have already conducted two rounds of tests on more than 5,000 pieces of equipment at the launch center to ensure a safe and smooth launch. ^ top ^

Private car drivers drive less after fuel price hikes (China Daily)
2008-07-11
More than half of private car owners in China are thinking of driving their cars less as a result of fuel price hikes. This means the roads may not be as clogged as before, which could also ease pollution. The government raised the prices of gasoline and diesel by 16-18 percent on June 20. Based on the adjustment, the price of No.93 gasoline has soared to 6.25 yuan per liter, with a markup of 0.86 yuan, which has led to paying more at the pump for car owners. About 60 percent of the 1,714 respondents said they still preferred to drive, citing convenience and comfort, according to a survey by news portal Sina.com. Mass transit including buses, subways and light rail has become an increasingly popular alternative to driving a car. Nearly 28 percent of those surveyed said they would considering switching to buses, while more than 12 percent said they would give up driving and take the subway. Only a small number of the respondents said they would choose taking taxis and carpooling, an efficient yet unofficial mode of transport. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese official oversees reconstruction in quake-affected zones (Xinhua)
2008-07-11
Local governments should promote the spirit of quake relief to carry out reconstruction work and economic and social development, said a senior Chinese official. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said this during his inspection tour to quake-affected Shaanxi and Gansu provinces from Sunday to Thursday that there have been heavy tasks for local governments in terms of relocating quake survivors and rebuilding damaged or destroyed facilities. He went into tents to ask local people about quake relief supplies and their living conditions, praised soldiers and workers on rebuilding sites, and encouraged students to keep up their studies in temporary classrooms. He told officials to ensure food, water, clothes and bedding continue to get to survivors, focus on solving housing problems and make scientific plans for reconstruction. Jia, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, also visited several high-tech enterprises in Gansu. Although we have gone through the most severe challenge, the country's economy continues to develop in a steady, relatively fast way in general," he said, adding: "We should transfer the spirit of quake relief into the driving force of economic development." He also stressed maintaining social stability in Tibetan-inhabited regions. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

China's third Arctic expedition ready to sail (Xinhua)
2008-07-09
Shanghai -- "Snow Dragon", the carrier for China's third Arctic expedition, will leave here on Friday as it carries out a mission to observe polar changes and their effects on the country's climate and environment. The Snow Dragon is now quietly waiting for its 75-day journey to and from the Arctic at Waigaoqiao dock in Shanghai, the base of China's polar research program. It will carry more than 120 crew members on the mission, said Wang Jianzhong, the ship's captain. They will conduct comprehensive research on polar geology and weather as well as distinctive animals and plants. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Xi Jinping spells out Olympic hopes (SCMP)
2008-07-07
Vice-President Xi Jinping arrived yesterday for his first visit to Hong Kong since he assumed the position, laying out his expectations for the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in the city. While the main purpose of his trip was to inspect Games preparations, Mr Xi, who since late last year has been overseeing Hong Kong affairs, also addressed pressing issues facing residents and pledged the central government's continued support for the special administrative region. "I would like to experience the profound changes Hong Kong has gone through since its reunification with the motherland 11 years ago," he told reporters upon his arrival at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint, where he was greeted by the chief executive and top ministers. At formal talks with Donald Tsang Yam-kuen later at the Harbour Plaza hotel in Hung Hom, Mr Xi noted that Hong Kong citizens faced mounting pressure from inflation caused by soaring oil and food prices, and that the SAR government had adopted measures to tackle the issues. […] The Frontier and Civil Human Rights Front issued separate open letters to Mr Xi, urging Beijing to approve implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong in 2012. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan welcomes mainland tourists warmly (China Daily)
2008-07-07
"We felt we were being treated like kings when we saw the spread. We were overjoyed when told that the breakfast was prepared by the Taipei tourism authorities and the hotel especially for us," the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Wen as having said yesterday. "We felt like film stars when journalists clicked our photographs. Moreover, many Taiwan people greeted us on the streets they must have come to know about our arrival through the Taiwan media," he said. Wen said they could feel the warmth and intimacy of the Taiwan people everywhere they went. Wen is part of one of the first mainland groups to fly directly to Taiwan in six decades. He reached Taiwan with his group on Friday on one of the chartered weekend flights. The direct flights carrying mainland tourists to Taiwan and vice-versa have been hailed by Kuomintang honorary chairman Lien Chan as a great contributor to peaceful cross-Taiwan Straits ties and the opening of a new page in China's prosperity. […]. ^ top ^

Protest over highway in Taiwan (SCMP)
2008-07-08
Taiwanese activists protested against a government plan to build a freeway in the eastern part of the island, saying it could do irreparable damage to an area known for its lush parks. About 20 demonstrators chanted slogans outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei demanding that Premier Liu Chao-shiuan abandon the plan in Taroko National Park. AFP. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

British Tibetan separatist deported from China: FM (China Daily)
2008-07-11
China on Thursday confirmed a key member of a Tibetan separatist organization had been deported. British citizen Dechen Khando Pemba, a key member of the ethnic separatist "Tibetan Youth Congress", violated the Chinese law while living in Beijing and was expelled from China on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular briefing. "When the Chinese police looked into her, Dechen also admitted her wrongdoings," Liu said. Liu disconnected the link between the case and the tightened Olympic security measures. "Any one who commits crimes at any time should be investigated and punished." He called for the international community to understand and support China's preventive measures to ensure the security of athletes, coaches, spectators and tourists for the upcoming Olympic games. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese Premier underscores fast, steady economic development (People's Daily)
2008-07-07
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said the country will step up efforts to keep economic development fast and steady despite challenges from home and abroad this year. Wen made the remarks during a three-day research trip to the eastern Jiangsu Province and Shanghai from Friday to Sunday, where he met with local officials, farmers and entrepreneurs. He said the country's economy was developing in the expected direction after overcoming challenges from within and without. Wen urged governments at all levels to further improve macroeconomic controls and optimize economic structure to avoid serious fluctuations in the country's economy. Fighting inflation was still one of the major tasks, he said, and governments should try to make price increases "acceptable" for both industries and the public. Wen also called for more efforts to protect arable land to ensure grain security and more efforts to create jobs for low-income families and college graduates. He asked Jiangsu to coordinate development of the relatively backward northern part and the prosperous southern part of the province. He asked Shanghai to boost growth of the service industry, with the focus on building an international financial center and an international shipping center. ^ top ^

JV to spend 7b yuan on oil reserve (China Daily)
2008-07-09
SDIC Communications Co, a subsidiary of the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC), and Netherlands-based Royal Vopak will invest 7 billion yuan on a commercial oil reserve project in Hainan province, according to a statement on SDIC's website. Located in Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Hainan, the project will involve the construction of a public oil terminal containing two 300,000-ton berths, two 100,000-ton berths and two 50,000-ton berths for crude and oil products, as well as a commercial oil storage base covering an area of 500 million sq m, the statement said. Both parties refused to reveal the details of the project timetable or stock-holding information. […]. ^ top ^

Flying into history? (China Daily)
2008-07-09
The era of cheap flights may be over, according to Kuoni Reisen Holding AG, the largest Swiss travel company, as high oil prices force airlines to add surcharges. "In the future, the fly-for-free opportunities will basically be gone," Chief Financial Officer Max Katz said in a telephone interview from Zurich, where Kuoni is based. "Flying will be more expensive in the future. This is for sure.". ^ top ^

35 Chinese firms make Fortune 500 list this year (China Daily)
2008-07-11
China's largest refiner Sinopec, together with 34 other Chinese companies, made it to this year's Fortune 500 list released Thursday, the best-ever showing by Chinese companies in the ranking.

With sales of $159.26 billion, Sinopec led the Chinese group at the 16th place, followed by State Grid, ranking 24 and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), 25. Among the 35 companies, 26 are from the mainland, three from Hong Kong and six from Taiwan. A total of 19 State-owned companies under the central government are on the list. Among them, energy, financial and telecommunications companies account for a large part. China's three leading oil companies - CNPC, Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) - as well as the country's two power grid companies - State Grid and China Southern Power Grid - found place on the list. The country's four leading banks - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China - featured in the list. US retailer Wal-Mart kept the top slot, with a sales figure of $378.8 billion. It was the only retailer in the top 10. Wal-Mart is followed by Exxon Mobil, with sales of $372.8 billion, Royal Dutch Shell with $355.7 billion, BP with $291.4 billion and Toyota Motor with $230.2 billion. Overseas growth has been a bright spot for many of the world's largest corporations. Wal-Mart's international sales now make up 24 percent of the company's total revenue. […]. ^ top ^

China's export growth slows down (China Daily)
2008-07-11
Latest official figures show China's export growth slowed in June as a result of the shrinking demand caused by the global economic slowdown and the mounting pressure on Chinese manufacturers because of yuan appreciation and high raw material costs. The Customs said on its website Thursday that the trade surplus in June fell by 20.6 percent to $21.35 billion. Exports for last month went up by 17.6 percent, much slower than the 28.1 percent rise in May. Experts estimate the export slowdown may continue in the next half of the year, forcing the government to reconsider certain export-related policies. Sun Mingshun from Lehman Brothers said the falling export growth is caused by the rising labor and raw material costs, and the government's tightening policies adopted since last year. On top of these, "the unfolding global economic slowdown is rubbing salt into the wound", said Sun, who estimates that export growth will continue to slow in the months to come. Ma Xiaoping, an analyst with HSBC, said the figures would raise people's expectations on favorable government policies for export sectors. For instance, the textile industry has called for a rise in export tax rebate. China has since last year lowered or even removed the export tax rebate of some products to curb the trade surplus. But some sectors are struggling as a result of a global slowdown, yuan appreciation and rising operating costs, hampering exports anyway. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Olympic flame ascends Great Wall (SCMP)
2008-07-07
The Olympic flame, symbol of the ancient Games, met with the most visible emblem of longstanding Chinese pride and glory on Sunday as it ascended the Great Wall for its second leg in Gansu province. Twenty-four torch bearers took the flame across 1,400 metres at the battlements of Jiayuguan Pass, the westernmost point of the 6,700km Great Wall, which stretches eastward to Shanhaiguan Pass in coastal Hebei province. ^ top ^

Doubles first, then singles for Zheng (SCMP)
2008-07-07
Zheng Jie's sensational run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon has given her the confidence to focus on her singles game, but only after her bid to defend China's Olympic doubles crown in Beijing next month. […]. ^ top ^

Fliers face extra security checks for Olympics (China Daily)
2008-07-08
From July 20, passengers have to undergo a security check before entering more than 20 major airports across the country, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said Monday. The special measure is aimed at raising the security level at the airports and preventing anyone from carrying explosives, inflammables or other materials that can be used to disrupt the Beijing Olympic Games, the CAAC said. Suspects will have to go through thorough security checks, and people caught carrying such materials will be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law. The new security checks will be in addition to the normal ones, mandatory for every passenger. It means people wishing to see off their relatives and friends inside the airport terminal buildings will also have to go through security checks. The measure will be in force at the six mainland cities hosting the Olympic events, their "alternative airports" and all those in the Xinjiang Uygur and the Tibet autonomous regions. […]. ^ top ^

The Olympics are the world's, not just China's (People's Daily)
2008-07-10
Which heads of state will be attending the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics? The answer to this riddle will not be revealed until August 8. However, as the time draws near, more heads of state have clearly expressed that they will attend. These leaders include US President Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Australian Prime Minister Rudd, and even French President Sarkozy, who, after wavering for a time, announced on July 9 that he would also participate in the Opening Ceremony. No one wants to miss this kind of opportunity to enjoy a grand global gathering. The world, the East, China—when these elements are fused together, what an exciting setting they create! More importantly, the Olympic spirit of friendship, unity, and mutual understanding will emerge along with the common human ideals of the pursuit of peace and progress. […] Their first mistake is that they have misunderstood the Olympic spirit. The Olympic spirit does not promote rivalry and conflict, but peace, friendship, equality, and progress. It is just like Deng Yaping said, we have been preparing for the Olympics until now, and it means much more than a sports competition. It embraces humanity's positive yearnings and feelings, building a shared spiritual home for humanity. Turning this kind of gathering into an opportunity to attack China is a grave departure from the Olympic spirit. […] It is always a great pleasure to meet friends from faraway places. Even if they hold misgivings or bias against China's development, or are very critical of China, we will warmly welcome them as long as they are willing to come to China to take a look. As to those who do not want to come, we of course will not force them to. The Beijing Olympic Games are more than China's event; they are the world's, first and foremos. ^ top ^

Senior leader: China to ensure media freedom during Olympics (Xinhua)
2008-07-10
Foreign journalists should complain formally if they have any problems in doing their jobs during the Beijing Olympic Games, senior Chinese leader Li Changchun said here on Thursday. […] While visiting the Beijing International Media Center (BIMC), which opened on Tuesday to serve more than 5,000 non-accredited reporters during the Games, he said officials would effectively implement regulations that ensured foreign journalists would be allowed the freedom to report. "If you are dissatisfied, you can file your complaint directly to Liu Qi, president of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of XXIX Olympiad," he told reporters. Liu accompanied Li around the media center, one of the three major news centers of the Beijing Games. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, welcomed all foreign journalists to the country for the Olympics, saying, "I hope you could truly and fully cover the event and tell the world (about) a true China." […]. ^ top ^

Military in position to ensure Olympics safety (Xinhua)
2008-07-11
A security official with the upcoming Beijing Olympics said here on Thursday that troops from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) were in position to ensure the safety of the Games. The military had been deployed and were capable of completing their tasks, said Tian Yixiang, director of military affairs department under the Security Command Center for the Games of the 29th Olympiad. […] China has put an emphasis on security in the run-up to the Games. An anti-terrorist force of nearly 100,000 commandos, police and troops is on high alert for attempted terrorist attacks. Security forces in host cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shenyang, Qinhuangdao and Hong Kong -- have been patrolling the land, air and sea around all venues. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia's main opposition party proposes motion to impeach government (Xinhua)
2008-07-10
The opposition Democratic Party of Mongolia sent a parliament motion demanding the impeachment of the government on Thursday, the parliament's press office said. The government, led by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), failed to take effective measures during the recent post-election riots in the capital Ulan Bator, thus causing casualties and property losses, said the bill presented by the Democratic Party, the second biggest in the country. However, the bill did not provide any evidence to back up its claims. Mongolia's parliamentary elections were held on June 29, and preliminary results from the Mongolian General Committee of Election (MGCE) showed that the MPRP is the winner. On July 1, a rally held by supporters of the Democratic and other parties to protest against alleged election fraud turned violent. Five people were killed and more than 300 injured in the ensuing riots. Democratic Party Chairman Tsakhya Elbegdorj, who had addressed the protesters on July 1, later said his party had not orchestrated the protests. The (MGCE) has not revealed the final results of the election yet. The evidence offered by the Democratic Party to support its allegation of vote fraud has been rejected by the authorities concerned. ^ top ^

Police Call For Media Cooperation (Mongol Messenger)
2008-07-10
The police authority of Mongolia urged press and media organizations on Tuesday not to publish or broadcast uncertain, unfactual and groundless information with no source. “Lately, some politicians have made false allegations claiming police officers took part in the violent riot of July 1, campaigning with youths, robbing and flaming buildings,” the statement claimed. The General Police Department said it is an ineffective act “meant to harm the reputation of police force.” The police reported it would only cause further confusion and slow the more important investigation dealing with the July 1 disturbance. ^ 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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