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
  4.8-8.8.08, No. 228  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Beijing, Tokyo officials set to meet next month (China Daily)
2008-08-04
The Fourth Beijing-Tokyo Forum will open in the Japanese capital next month. The three-day forum, which will start from September 15, is jointly organized by China Daily and the Japanese nonprofit organization, Genron NPO. Beijing and Tokyo take turns to host the forum.This year, government officials and scholars from both countries will discuss such topics as politics, economic cooperation, the media, grain supply, food safety, the environment, security and disaster relief. [...]. ^ top ^

South Asian leaders wind up summit meeting (Xinhua)
2008-08-04
Leaders of South Asian nations wound up a two-day summit meeting here Sunday afternoon, pledging to render more efforts to ensure food security and combat terrorism in the region. During the 15th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit, which was held on Aug.2-3, heads of state or government of eight SAARC member countries tried to chart a clearer path for the bloc. [...] Along with many issues discussed at the summit, food security was one of the heated topics as the region has a population of about 1.5 billion population, or one fifth of the world population. "Given the seriousness of the subject of food security, we have felt that it deserves to be addressed through a special statement," Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his closing address of the summit. [...] "We further direct that SAARC region should forge greater cooperation with the international community to ensure food availability and nutrition security in South Asia," said the statement. [...] The SAARC leaders also expressed deep concern over the threat posed by terrorism to the peace of the region. Addressing the closing session of the summit, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa pointed out that terrorism had become a great menace throughout the world including the South Asia. "South Asia cannot progress, unless there is stability and security throughout the region," Rajapaksa said, adding that the summit endorsed the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters in recognition of this reality. It was agreed at the summit that the member states of SAARC should firmly operate through the exchange of information on terrorism. At least half of the SAARC member countries are baffled with terrorist attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani said in his opening speech at the summit that each country in the region should combat terrorism independently as well as collectively. [...] The summit decided to move the 16th SAARC to the Maldivian capital Male next year. ^ top ^

Chinese students arrive in Sofia (People's Daily)
2008-08-05
Forty-three 43 Chinese students from the quake-hit area of Chongqing arrived Monday night at 22:15 local time at Sofia airport, Bulgaria. By the initiative and sponsorship of the Bulgarian government, the children, aging from 9 to 16 years-old, will spend 20 days in Bulgaria, recovering from the shock of the natural disaster which hit China on May 12 this year. Five days will be spent at the beaches of Kranevo, Black Sea, courtesy to the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science; 11 days in Ribaritsa, in a base of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense; and the rest of the time - in a base of the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, near the capitol Sofia. [...]. ^ top ^

US, Spain and exiled Uygur leader condemn attack (SCMP)
2008-08-06
The United States and Spain condemned the attack in Xinjiang that left 16 policemen dead just days before the Beijing Olympics. The two countries, which both face their own terrorist threats, were among several nations to extended condolences to Beijing and speak out against violence within hours of Monday's attack in Kashgar, a major city in the restive Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. US State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said Americans were "saddened at the loss of life and injuries caused by the attack. We strongly condemn acts of violence such as the August 4 attack in Kashgar. We extend our condolences to the victims and their families", Mr Gallegos said. "The Chinese authorities have detained suspects in the attack, but we don't have any further information at this time." The Spanish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement condemning the attack. "The Spanish government expresses its strongest condemnation after the attacks carried out in the town of Kashgar, in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, which cost the lives of 16 policemen." it read. The Spanish government also voiced its "total solidarity with the government and people of China, and reiterates its strong condemnation of all forms of terrorism". An exiled leader of Uygur Muslims also condemned the attack but urged Beijing not to crack down on "peaceful Uygurs". "We condemn all acts of violence," Rebiya Kadeer said in Washington, where she has been living in exile since 2005 after spending six years in a Beijing prison. "The Uygur people do not support acts that engender bloodshed." Ms Kadeer's Uygur American Association said it was seeking independent accounts of the incident and urged the international community "to view Chinese government accounts regarding Uygur terrorist acts with caution, as government authorities consistently fail to provide evidence to back up their claims". Ms Kadeer urged Beijing "to refrain from using this incident to crack down further upon peaceful Uygurs". The incident "will only serve to increase suppression of the Uygur people and exacerbate tensions between Uygurs and Han Chinese", she said. ^ top ^

Bush to criticise China on political freedom, rights in speech (SCMP)
2008-08-07
Before arriving in Beijing today, US President George W. Bush plans to express "deep concerns" about the state of human rights in China and urge the central government to allow political freedom for its citizens. "America stands in firm opposition to China's detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists," Mr Bush will say in the marquee speech of his three-nation Asia trip. "We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labour rights - not to antagonise China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential." Mr Bush will deliver the address in a Bangkok convention centre this morning to foreign diplomats, Thai government leaders and business officials, before flying to Beijing later in the day. [...]. ^ top ^

China a 'constructive partner' in trade talks (China Daily)
2008-08-08
Australia sees China as a constructive partner to work with to break the stalemate in the Doha round of trade talks, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Thursday. Rudd, in Beijing to attend the Olympics opening ceremony, believes it is time for state leaders to pick up from where negotiators fell short to resolve the small issues still thwarting a final deal. "I believe China, together with Australia, has an opportunity to try and still pull a good outcome from the trade negotiations out of the fire," Rudd said in an interview with China Daily and CCTV presenter Rui Chenggang, a long-time friend of the former diplomat to Beijing. He said China played a very constructive role in the recent talks in Geneva. "Robert Zoellick (former US trade representative) has spoken a lot about China as a responsible stakeholder. China, I think, at the posture of Geneva at the Doha talks recently, gave evidence of that." Undeterred by the enduring stalemate, Rudd remains sanguine about getting over the final hurdles following conversations with major decision-makers. "I think most of the negotiators would regard it as having been 90 percent agreed. It is 10 percent where the problems came in, in particular, over the appropriate protections for sensitive agricultural issues in developing countries. That's where the progress needs to occur. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Death toll rises to 30 in S China coal mine flood (People's Daily)
2008-08-03
Rescuers had found 23 bodies of the29 miners trapped at a coal mine in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region after a flood, bringing the death toll to 30. The flood occurred at 1:15 p.m. on July 21 at the Nadu coal mine in Bose City, trapping 57 miners. A total of 21 miners escaped or were rescued. Rescuers said the 23 bodies were buried in cinders and silt when they were found. Despite the high gas density in the pit, rescuers were still searching for the six trapped miners. The mine has an estimated reserve of 2.98 million tonnes of coal and can produce 190,000 tonnes annually. It is fully certified. ^ top ^

Jail term suspended for disgraced chief's son (SCMP)
2008-08-04
A Tianjin court yesterday sentenced Chen Weili, son of former Shanghai Communist Party secretary Chen Liangyu , to three years in jail suspended for four years for his role in the scandal over massive misuse of the city's social security fund. The sentence for corruption - considered lenient by mainland standards - immediately drew criticism from netizens who asked why the son was let off so lightly. In April, Chen Liangyu was sentenced to 18 years in prison, also by Tianjin Number 2 Intermediate People's Court, for bribery and abuse of power. Yesterday the court said Chen Weili was given the suspended sentence because he had shown a "good attitude" and had acknowledged his mistakes acting as an accomplice in his father's crimes. Beijing Evening News said Chen Weili accepted the judgment and would not appeal. Chen Liangyu was found guilty in April partly for using funds belonging to Shanghai's social security fund as loans to companies. One of the companies, Huawen Investment Holding, paid Chen Weili 1 million yuan a year as "salary" and he in turn ran a subsidiary under Huawen in Hong Kong. Xinhua said in earlier reports that Chen Liangyu had asked Yu Zhifei , the former head of the renowned Shanghai Shenhua football club, to arrange a senior post for his son. [...]. ^ top ^

IOC donates further US$4m for Sichuan reconstruction (SCMP)
2008-08-04
The International Olympic Committee is donating US$4 million to help rebuild Sichuan . Nearly 70,000 people died when the 8-magnitude quake hit the province on May 12. Some 18,000 are still missing and 5 million were left homeless in China's worst disaster in three decades. The IOC, which had previously donated US$1 million, made the additional contribution on Saturday at the Great Hall of the People. ^ top ^

16 cops die in Kashgar terror strike (China Daily)
2008-08-05
Sixteen policemen were killed when two terrorists drove a truck into an electricity pole and threw two home-made explosives on the cops in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, around 8 am yesterday. Local security bureau officials said the group of 70 policemen were jogging during their regular morning drill in front of Yiquan Hotel, about 100 m from the border armed police division office, when they were attacked. The attack in China's westernmost city, which is close to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, came just four days before the start of the Beijing Olympic Games, prompting security forces across the country to raise the level of alert. Xinhua News Agency said the terrorists, identified as two Uygur men aged 28 and 33, hacked the injured policemen with knives, too. Fourteen policemen died on the spot and two on their way to hospital, and 16 were injured. No civilians were killed or injured, however. The two attackers have been arrested. Police said an arm of one of the attackers was blown off when he ignited a home-made explosive. All the 16 injured cops were treated at Kashgar Prefectural People's Hospital. Four of them were in the ICU, while the rest were out of danger, according to hospital source. Police found 10 home-made explosive devices, a home-made hand gun and four knives from the vehicle. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in Beijing that the Chinese authorities were doing all they could to make the Games safe. "We can't give you an immediate reaction," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. "But as far as the Games are concerned, we trust the authorities are doing everything humanly possible to ensure a safe and secure event." [...] The regional public security bureau said it had got information that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was planning attacks between Aug 1 and 8 in a bid to disrupt the Beijing Games. "There's little doubt that the ETIM is behind the attack," Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism research center of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said. The attack shows it is now into advanced planning because "it has rarely used cars or trucks in an attack before". He, however, appealed to the public not to panic. "If it (the ETIM) was strong enough, it wouldn't have launched such an attack. It only wants to create panic among the public." The country's defense and police commanders, including Ma Zhenchuan, chief of the Beijing public security bureau, have warned that the ETIM posed a threat to a safe Games because investigations show it had been planning attacks on Olympic venues. Asked about his reaction to the attack, a Beijing Olympic organizing committee (BOCOG) official said at a news briefing that the BOCOG was confident of holding a safe Games with the support of the Chinese government and the international community. "An effective command system has been set up, and we have strengthened cooperation in security work, including information exchange and anti-terrorism fight, with other countries," Sun Weide, a BOCOG media official, said. "We have beefed up security in (and around) all Olympic venues and in the Olympic Village. We are well-prepared to deal with any eventuality.". ^ top ^

Two suspected terrorists identified in W China's Xinjiang (People's Daily)
2008-08-05
Two suspects, who carried out violent attack on border police in China's western city of Kashi, Xinjiang, were identified as two Uygur men, aged 28 and 33, respectively, said the local police. [...]. ^ top ^

China quake reconstruction panel emphasizes livelihoods, environment (People's Daily)
2008-08-06
As a 6.1-magnitude aftershock hit southwest China's Sichuan Province, the country's quake relief headquarters held its 24th meeting on reconstruction here on Tuesday, reiterating its dual focuses: livelihoods and the environment. At the meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, the headquarters urged giving priority to the basic needs of the survivors of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province. It also promised to improve the local environment step by step, ensuring "fast and sound" reconstruction. It vowed to spend three years ensuring several goals: that every family has a house; every household has an income; every person has insurance, and that the infrastructure, economy and environment all improve. [...] The earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale occurred in Qingchuan County at 5:49 p.m. on Tuesday, leaving one dead and 23 others injured. On Friday afternoon, an aftershock of the same magnitude hit Pingwu and Beichuan counties in Sichuan, injuring 231 people. ^ top ^

Sandstorm strands 4,000 train passengers in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2008-08-06
Nearly 4,000 people have been stranded on four trains since early Tuesday as a result of strong winds and sandstorms in the southern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Four inbound and outbound trains were forced to take shelter from the elements in stations waiting for conditions to improve, said a staff member at the Urumqi south railway station. [...]. ^ top ^

Tropical storm Kammuri makes new landfall in S China (China Daily)
2008-08-08
Kammuri, the ninth tropical storm of the year, made another landfall in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at 2:50 p.m. on Thursday after lashing across neighboring Guangdong Province and the Beibu Gulf. This landfall was monitored at Jiangping Town of Dongxing, a city on the Sino-Vietnamese border, and it happened four hours and 10 minutes earlier than forecast. [...] The regional civil affairs department said 186,300 people were affected by the tropical storm, including 29,200 who were forced to evacuate. [...]. ^ top ^

Burning Games logo in new Uygur video - Xinjiang militants issue second tape, warning Muslims to stay clear of Olympics and Chinese (SCMP)
2008-08-08
A Uygur militant group has released its second video in 10 days, showing a burning Olympics logo and an explosion over a venue for the Beijing Games and warning Muslims to keep their children away from the Games, a US group that monitors extremist messages said yesterday. The video, which lasts nearly six minutes, features a masked, turbaned speaker clutching what appears to be an assault rifle. News of the video emerged hours after thousands of people in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar paid their last respects to 16 policemen killed in a truck and bomb attack on Monday. The video is attributed to the Turkestan Islamic Party, a group which had not been heard of until it released its first video, dated July 23. In that film, a masked Commander Seyfullah claimed the group had carried out bomb attacks in four Chinese cities and threatened to attack cities hosting Olympic events. Police discounted his claims, which included deadly bus blasts in Shanghai and Kunming . The US group, IntelCentre, said the latest video was dated August 1. The SITE Intelligence Group translated some of the message, which was delivered in the language of the Uygurs. It said the speaker identified himself as a Turkestan Islamic Party member and issued a threat against the Games. The speaker urges Muslims to keep their children from the competition, and warns, "Do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are", SITE said. After IntelCentre posted the first video on the internet on July 25, western analysts linked the Turkestan Islamic Party to the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an exile group which the China, the US and the UN consider a terrorist organisation. Up to 50 groups, some of which back armed struggle, are thought to be seeking the creation of an independent East Turkestan in Xinjiang, where the majority of the population are Turkic-speaking Uygurs. [...]. ^ top ^

Lawyers force public hearing (SCMP)
2008-08-08
Court authorities in Heyuan, Guangdong, have bowed to pressure from dozens of lawyers and will hold a public appeal hearing for a Shenzhen lawyer jailed for helping farmers in a legal battle with a developer. At least 35 lawyers across eight provinces jointly filed an urgent appeal on Sunday to the Heyuan Intermediate People's Court, urging authorities to allow an open hearing to review the case. After the high-profile campaign, the court announced a public hearing on August 18, rather than the planned written trial without an oral hearing. In 2006, Shenzhen lawyer Liu Yao was asked by villagers in Dongyuan county, Heyuan, to take a developer to court for occupying community land and paying the farmers little compensation. The developer had the local government's approval to build a private hydroelectric power station in the village. Last December, the Dongyuan County People's Court jailed Liu for four years for igniting two protests in the village against the developer that resulted in property losses of about 50,000 yuan (HK$57,000). Another villager was jailed for 10 months and Liu's driver for nine months. A Beijing-based lawyer who has volunteered to represent Liu, Li Fangping, said the Heyuan Intermediate People's Court had planned to affirm the original judgment by the end of this week. "About 35 lawyers, including me, held an urgent meeting together after hearing such bad news," he said. "We have to try our best to fight for our rights as practising lawyers. [...]. ^ top ^

Aftershocks set back rebuilding in Sichuan (SCMP)
2008-08-08
Despite officials rhetoric about the progress made in rebuilding earthquake-ravaged Sichuan, strong aftershocks in the past few days have laid bare the vulnerability of reconstruction efforts. Qingchuan, Wenchuan and the area between Beichuan and Pingwu counties, all areas hard hit by the May 12 quake - were dealt further blows when strong aftershocks caused more deaths and injuries and more houses to collapse. The areas sit among mountains that were jolted in May, and the aftershocks further loosened damaged slopes, causing landslides. An aftershock on August 1 and subsequent heavy rainfall caused the closure of the road leading from Dujiangyan to Yingxiu, epicentre of the May 12 quake. The road was closed for two days after it was cut off by landslides, said Yingxiu residents. "We've an escape route you see," said Li Yan, pointing to a path leading to a higher area from beside rows of makeshift shelters built on flatlands in a valley. "The soldiers said we should all run to that area when there was heavy flooding. [...] Wenchuan county chief Liao Min said that in the nearly three months since the quake, numerous makeshift shelters had been erected at "ground zero", but the exact plan for reconstruction had yet to be finalised, pending expert assessment and advice from representatives from Guangdong, which is helping with Yingxiu's reconstruction. Threats of water pollution remain. Mr Liao said the county had spent 2 million yuan (HK$2.27 million) to install water sterilisation equipment and on attempts to lay pipes to areas that escaped damage to draw water from the Min River, which runs through Yingxiu town - all to ensure supplies were clean. Many whose land was destroyed by the quake had yet to find other means of making a living. The three-month subsidies provided to peasants end on Tuesday. "I don't really know what to do. It's just so hard to find something else to do," said peasant Lou Qigui, who added that he hoped they would not be forgotten when the nation's attention was focused on the Games. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Victims of home demolitions protest outside famed eatery (SCMP)
2008-08-05
About 20 Beijingers whose homes in historic Qianmen Street were demolished to make way for a facelift tried to get international media attention yesterday by protesting outside a famous Peking-style restaurant in Qianmen, according to one of the participants. Many of the former property owners have not received any compensation because they have not been able to reach a deal with the government over how much they should receive. An employee of Liqun Peking Duck, a well-known tourist attraction, said dozens of people had gathered outside the restaurant while an Associated Press cameraman was working inside, but she said she could not see any banners. The agency's footage showed a protester, Liu Fumei, screaming and scuffling with women in civilian clothes. "We don't oppose the Olympics. But it's wrong for them to demolish our house. It's wrong," she said. ^ top ^

Catholic churches open (SCMP)
2008-08-06
The Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said three churches in Beijing would be available to pray in and attend Mass in during the Games. "These are positive signals that should not be overlooked," he was quoted as saying.. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Empty suitcase causes bomb scare in Shanghai (Xinhua)
2008-08-04
Police in Shanghai confirmed a mysterious black roller suitcase found before a downtown Tesco outlet late on Sunday didn't contain any dangerous articles. The suitcase was found to be laying at the entrance of Tesco shop on Guangxin Road, Putuo District of Shanghai, around 8:30 p.m. Police arrived shortly and condoned off the site. All the customers at the shop were evacuated. The suitcase was later found to be empty. Normal order resumed at the scene soon. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Guangdong, Hong Kong signs new deals to further co-op (Xinhua)
2008-08-06
Guangdong and Hong Kong Cooperation Joint Conference held its 11th session in Guangzhou, provincial capital of Guangdong, on Tuesday. Participants to the meeting decided on key areas for further cooperation and agreed to work harder in advancing cooperation in six fields such as service trade, business transfer of Hong Kong invested processing trade companies, livelihood, construction of major infrastructure, finance. After the meeting, the two sides inked 11 cooperation deals, including cooperation agreement regarding an expedited implementation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and the Supplement V to CEPA. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Ma plans visit to Quemoy with message of peace (SCMP)
2008-08-04
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is reported to be planning a trip to the island's military stronghold of Quemoy to mark the 50th anniversary of a cross-strait battle and send a message of peace to Beijing. Presidential office spokesman Wang Yu-chi yesterday confirmed the trip to Quemoy - a fortified island group controlled by Taiwan just kilometres off Xiamen on the mainland. He said Mr Ma would give a speech on August 23, the 50th anniversary of the start of the Quemoy battle, the Central News Agency reported. Mr Ma would make a "historical and significant address" of "rapprochement and peace" to Beijing, Taiwan's United Daily News said. Mr Ma would call for a "diplomatic truce" with Beijing - meaning that he would offer to end the diplomatic tug-of-war over winning small developing world countries as allies. The newspaper said Mr Ma of the mainland-friendly Kuomintang would indicate that he would not engage in confrontational tactics like those of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian, such as "transit diplomacy" - meeting foreign leaders during transit stops in countries like the United States. Mr Ma's speech is now being drafted by the National Security Council. "In the internal meetings with ministers, Mr Ma rejected what Mr Chen did ... saying that while such diplomatic efforts had won Taiwan some allies, it also got burned," the report said. "[Mr Ma] believes that good cross-strait relations are the foundation for Taiwan's diplomatic development." Since Mr Ma became president, Taipei has said it wants to expand economic ties with the mainland. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

300 Tibetans detained after embassy protest (SCMP)
2008-08-04
Police in Nepal said they had detained at least 300 Tibetan protesters outside the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. The protesters were quickly bundled into waiting vans as they tried to march towards the embassy's gate, shouting "China liar, free Tibet". A police commander, Ramesh Thapa, said that the demonstrators would be released later in the day. Some 150 police and several vans had surrounded the building before the protesters arrived in the area. Nepal is home to thousands of Tibetan refugees. ^ top ^

Soldiers and police hold two-day anti-terrorism exercise in Tibet (SCMP)
2008-08-06
Authorities in Tibet have staged anti-terrorist exercises - a sign that officials have stepped up their guard in the region ahead of the Olympics. The Tibet Daily said soldiers and police took part in the exercises, held at the railway station and the airport in Lhasa on Saturday and Monday. The report quoted Zhang Yijong , vice-secretary of Tibet, saying the exercises were meant to demonstrate the authorities were capable of combating terrorists and ensuring stability during the Olympics. Regional Public Security Department chief Wang Binyi said the drills were to test the quick response of the police and other government units. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Trade between Dominican Republic, China grows fast (Xinhua)
2008-08-05
The Dominican Republic has become the second largest trading partner of China in the Caribbean following Cuba, said Wang Weihua, representative of China's Trade Development Office in the Dominican Republic Monday. Dominican exports to China, ranging from scrap iron, rice, tobacco, cacao, coffee to banana, increased some 100 million U.S. dollars in 2007. Wang said trade between the two nations grew from 150 million dollars in 2003 to 614 million dollars in 2007, thanks to the joint efforts of the customs from both countries. From January to May in 2008, the commercial exchanges between the two countries reached 281 million dollars, up over 30 percent compared with the same period in 2007, Wang said. Chinese products exported to the Dominican Republic include machines, cars, motorcycles, textiles, clothes, shoes, toys, among others, Wang said. China is satisfied with the current trade development with the Dominican Republic and the commercial ties between them tend to grow every year, Wang added. [...]. ^ top ^

China shares end 1.06% higher on lower oil prices (China Daily)
2008-08-07
Beijing - Chinese shares gained 1.06 percent on Wednesday on softening crude oil prices, snapping the downward trend for the previous two trading days. Overnight gains on Wall Street driven by easing worries about higher US interest rates also contributed to the rebound in the domestic market, said Bohai Investment analyst Qin Hong in Tianjin. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.06 percent, or 28.62points to end at 2,719.37 points. The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 9,047.14 points, down 33.08 points, or 0.36 percent. Aggregate turnover on the two bourses shrank to 63.53 billion yuan (US$9.56 billion) from 66.81 billion yuan the previous trading day. Oil refiners and airlines rose across the board as world crude prices dropped more than US$2 overnight to nearly US$118. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, rose 1.29 percent to 14.87 yuan, while Sinopec, Asia's top refiner, jumped 3.21 percent to 11.58 yuan. Shares of all three leading domestic airlines took off with the lower oil prices. Air China was up 1.64 percent to 9.92 yuan, while China Southern increased 1.7 percent to 7.77 yuan. China Eastern advanced 0.89 percent to 7.92 yuan. Financial shares edged up as the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, approved the loan quota increase for local commercial lenders by as much as 10 percent. This was to help small- and medium-sized enterprises cope with financing difficulties. [...]. ^ top ^

Consumer inflation may continue to fall (China Daily)
2008-08-08
China's consumer inflation may continue to decline in July, marking the second consecutive month this year that it has dropped, according to economists' estimates. That may mean a departure from the rising spiral of inflation after it peaked at an annualized 8.7 percent in February. Lehman Brothers economist Sun Mingchun said his team's research found the July consumer price index (CPI), the main barometer of inflation, may drop to 6.7 percent year-on-year from 7.1 percent in June. The domestic Bank of Communications research arm said the figure could fall at 6.4 percent, which is also the estimate of Southwest Securities. One of the reasons why prices are stable is that there has been no flooding, a regular feature of the rainy seaon, said Sun of Lehman Brothers. Daily price data from the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Development and Reform Commission show that agricultural product prices rose only slightly in July while meat prices fell. Weekly price data released by the Ministry of Commerce also showed a moderate decline in food prices. The relatively high statistical base of last July also contributed to the drop in inflation this July, said Guo Tianyong, economist with the Central University of Finance and Economics. China's CPI hit 5.6 percent year-on-year last July, the first time it reached the 5-percent level that year. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Premier promises clean, scenic Beijing during and after Olympics (People's Daily)
2008-08-04
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday promised to maintain a clean, green and beautiful Beijing during and after the Olympic Games. Five days ahead of the Games, Wen visited athletes in training as well as volunteers and utility workers. "China is a responsible country. We will fulfill the promises we made for the Olympics. We will not only host a quality and unique Games, but build a more scenic, greener and more civilized city in a sustainable manner," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Gosper laughs off reports he faces sack (SCMP)
2008-08-04
The chairman of the International Olympic Committee's press commission, Kevan Gosper, last night dismissed claims that he might struggle to retain his prestigious position in the fallout of the internet censorship row. The veteran IOC official is the subject of heated speculation among the 115 IOC members gathering at the five-star Raffles Beijing Hotel for an executive board meeting after he failed to appear with IOC President Jacques Rogge at his first press conference of the Games on Saturday. His absence from the podium has been seen as further evidence of a rift between other senior IOC members angered after he publicly named Mr Rogge as one of those privy to a perceived U-turn over unfettered internet access for the media. Media in his native Australia quoted one IOC member as saying the organisation "was already looking for a new press commission" chief - a role considered a plum position among ambitious officials in the powerful sporting body. But Mr Gosper laughed it off. "I'm not going to comment on rumours. And I will be alongside the president when he gives his first press conference after the executive board meeting is concluded later this week," he said. A senior IOC official said the organisation was firmly behind Mr Gosper. "There might be some embarrassment [within the IOC] about what Mr Gosper said, but he and Mr Rogge are long and good friends," said the member. ^ top ^

Web access still falls shy of pledge (SCMP)
2008-08-05
China Central Television reporter Chai Jing was given perhaps the hardest story in Beijing yesterday. Editors sent Chai and her cameraman to the main Games press centre in the Olympic Village to ask fellow journalists what they thought of the unprecedented internet access - or otherwise - granted to them. The first subject of her vox pop was the South China Morning Post, which last week revealed many websites had been blocked despite long-held promises by the International Olympic Committee and the mainland authorities that this would not happen. "What do you think of the new free internet? Can you visit the websites you want?" she asked. "We can access more sites than we could last Tuesday," she was told as this reporter logged onto the Web trying to read about yesterday's attack in Xinjiang "But we still can't access many others. It was not what was promised. But it's a great improvement." The BBC's English website and its Chinese site, previously barred, remain open, if slow to load - as does the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily. But write Falun Gong, Free Tibet and the dissident website Boxun, among others, in a search window and the screen offers the same, cold response it has since the opening of the press centre. Chai said she was aware of the issue. "I know this story from The New York Times and The Times [of London]," she said. As a young journalist in fast-changing China, would she like to see all websites open? "There is a line and there is Chinese law. Nobody can change the law easily," she said. "Of course the Olympics will change us. It has already. Every day I think: `Wow - it's amazing'... To be here with the other media, to share the same stage, is great." German journalist Christian Zaschke from the Suddeutsche Zeitung said: "I think the [greater Web access] allows me to learn more about the world, and how we can change step by step.". ^ top ^

Rich again dominate torch-bearing duties - Nation's elite carry Olympic flame while frustrated citizens miss chance to even see it (SCMP)
2008-08-07
The Olympic torch has mainly been carried by the rich, famous and powerful, with ordinary citizens often even struggling to see the flame. And the first day of the Beijing relay was no exception. The richest man among yesterday's torch-bearers was Huang Guangyu, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings. Worth 45 billion yuan (HK$51.3 billion) last year, according to the Hurun Report, he had no qualms about buying his mother, Zeng Chanzhen, a torch as well. Film director Zhang Yimou looked exhausted when he took the flame from Mr Huang for his few paces. [...] China International Capital president Zhu Yunlai, son of former premier Zhu Rongji, was also among the torch-bearers, as were a large number of Bocog officials headed by Jiang Xiaoyu, deputy chairman of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. The head of every district also had a chance to run. But disappointment and anger were evident on the faces of thousands of spectators gathered at the West Gate of the Temple of Heaven to witness and cheer the relay. They had gone to the East Gate first because organisers said the torch would enter the temple there. But police guarding the gate said the torch would arrive at the West Gate, so the spectators rushed westward. They cheered, shouted slogans and patiently waited in the heat. After hours of waiting, a convoy of buses left the temple, one carrying a volunteer holding the extinguished torch. Police told the crowd the torch had entered by the East Gate and the whole event had ended more than an hour earlier in the centre of the temple complex. [...]. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama offers 'prayers and good wishes' for Games (SCMP)
2008-08-07
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, gave his public support for the Olympics. "Right from the time of China's application to hold the Olympic Games, I have supported China's right to host the Games," he said online. "This is a moment of great pride to the 1.3 billion Chinese people. These Games should contribute to promoting the Olympic spirit of friendship, openness and peace. I send my prayers and good wishes for the success of this event.". ^ top ^

State of surveillance - Big Brother on the mainland has become more efficient at watching your every move (SCMP)
2008-08-07
Foreigners descending on Beijing for the Olympics ought to be curious about China's police. Government claims of foiling terrorist plots may reassure some visitors about their personal security while frightening others. And the leadership's preoccupation with presenting a harmonious image to the world has recently led to widely reported arrests for many other offences that inevitably reveal the extent to which China's stability depends on its omnipresent, but largely invisible, public and secret police. Yet China is no ordinary police state. Ubiquitous uniformed police and military immediately alert visitors to Pakistan that even countries far freer than China can be a police state. By contrast, except during the Olympics, the Chinese government, despite its obsession with security, gives the tourist, or even foreign residents, few such clues. What impresses visitors to China's cities are gleaming new buildings and people wining, dining and shopping as though there will be no tomorrow. Even many increasingly prosperous Chinese, caught up in their country's remarkable economic progress, lose sight of the generally unobtrusive operation of China's plain-clothes security apparatus. [...] Although censorship of websites is well known, foreign media have not highlighted surveillance of landlines, mobile phones, faxes, e-mail and other electronic communications. And microphones and cameras hidden in hotel rooms, as well as offices, can record life's most intimate moments. Yet in such a huge nation, with so many visitors, can a security system staffed by millions be effective? After decades of study and living in and visiting China, I have no doubt that, in matters that are the regime's highest priorities, Big Brother really is watching. This is true not only for alleged terrorists, but also for foreign diplomats, journalists and scholars, and all those who are suspected of spying, organising democratic political parties or unapproved religious groups, seeking freedoms for Tibetan and Muslim minorities, advocating free labour actions, exposing abuses against Aids victims, protesting against land or housing deprivations or birth control excesses and heading environmental pollution demonstrations. Of course, microscopic scrutiny and harsh punishments often extend to any lawyers or legal activists courageous (or foolish?) enough to assist disfavoured groups. [...]. ^ top ^

WELCOME, WORLD (China Daily)
2008-08-08
There were cheers, and there was applause. The Olympic torch climbed the Great Wall Thursday, the last day of China's seven-year wait. The red Chinese national flag, with the five yellow stars, fluttered everywhere, welcoming one and all to the Olympic Games. Beijing was awash in colors, giving it the look of a grand festival on the eve of the Games' opening ceremony. But this, as many people said, was once-in-a-lifetime festival. The sights and sounds were varied, carnival-like all the same, with restaurants and cabbies doing brisk business. The capital airport saw its busiest day Thursday, handling more than 300 Olympic-related flights that carried VIP guests, athletes and sports officials. More than 60 heads of state, or government, including US President George W. Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, reached Beijing yesterday. Back in the heart of the city, President Hu Jintao went through one of his busiest days, meeting with 11 foreign leaders in the Great Hall of the People. By Monday, he would have met with 70 leaders of different countries, Bush, Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda being among them. Just outside the Great Hall of the People, the crowd was thin on Tian'anmen Square - perhaps because most of the tourists had opted for the Great Wall or the Olympic venues. The Forbidden City seemed to maintain its usual attraction, though. Traffic was light on the roads, and the special arrangements for the Games, including the Olympic lanes, were working fine. The weather forecast for today was a bit of concern, however. The Beijing Meteorological Bureau forecast said Aug 8 would be cloudy with possibility of rain. But it did not specify when a shower could be expected. At the Great Wall, a brief ceremony was held at the foot of the Badaling section before the first torchbearer and famous test pilot, Li Zhonghua, began his climb at 7:10 am. "If you fail to reach the Great Wall, you are not a man," he said, quoting Mao Zedong, after completing his stretch of about 50 m. [...]. ^ top ^

Air is fine, let the Games begin (China Daily)
2008-08-08
International Olympic Committee president Thursday praised China for the "extraordinary" job it had done to clean the air for the Beijing Games. China has done everything "humanly possible" to combat air pollution, and conditions will be fine for athletes, Jacques Rogge said. "What they (China) have done is extraordinary: planting millions of trees between the Gobi Desert and Beijing, removing hundreds of thousands of polluting cars, closing polluting petrol stations I think they have done a commendable job. The statistics are very clear. The pollution levels are coming down. It is not yet perfect. (But) it is safe for the athletes." [...]. ^ top ^

Bush challenges China to lessen repression (AP)
2008-08-08
Beijing (AP) - Speaking on China's turf the very day it hosted the opening of the Olympic Games, President Bush on Friday prodded the communist country to lessen repression and "let people say what they think." The president's challenge, issued as he dedicated a massive new U.S. embassy in Beijing, capped a volley of sharp exchanges between the two nations this week about China's human rights record. But Bush also offered balance, praising China's contributions to society and embracing its relationship with the United States as strong, enduring and candid. "We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful," Bush said at the official opening of the $434 million U.S. embassy. "Candor is most effective where nations have built a relationship of respect and trust," Bush said. "I've worked hard to build that respect and trust. I appreciate the Chinese leadership that have worked hard to build that respect and trust." Bush said the vast American diplomatic complex - the second largest in the world, after the heavily fortified compound in Baghdad - is symbolic of China's importance to the United States. "It reflects the solid foundation underpinning our relations," Bush said. "It is a commitment to strengthen that foundation for years to come." Bush came to Beijing mainly to watch U.S. athletes compete and enjoy the spectacle of the summer games, but a round of political one-upmanship has heavily defined his trip to Asia. He bluntly criticized China's human rights record in a speech in Thailand, which prompted China to warn the U.S. president to stop meddling in its business. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang admonished Bush just before he got to China. "We firmly oppose any words or acts that interfere in other countries internal affairs, using human rights and religion and other issues," he said. The spokesman added that "Chinese citizens have freedom of religion. These are indisputable facts." The rhetorical barbs were expected to recede quickly as the games began. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said she did not think they would overshadow Bush's trip at all. "We've had these back-and-forths with China for years," she said. [...] On Monday, the president will attend a practice baseball game between the U.S. and China. He is expected to add in other sporting events before flying back to Washington that day. [...]. ^ top ^

Corporate networking does not come bigger than 'sporting Davos' (SCMP)
2008-08-08
For the chief executives pouring into Beijing, the Olympics is all about slurping champagne, chomping canapes and impressing corporate guests. Corporate schmoozing does not come much bigger than at the Games, which Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising conglomerate WPP Group, has likened to a "sporting Davos"- a reference to the World Economic Forum held in the Swiss ski resort every January. Just like that gathering of the world's top 1,000 chief executives, Beijing will be hosting some of the biggest names in global business in the next three weeks - a long-awaited opportunity for the capital to show off its glitzier side. Among the corporate glitterati networking at the "Bird's Nest" will be Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and News Corp's Rupert Murdoch. Also at the top of the list are the chiefs from Olympic sponsors, such as Coca-Cola's Muhtar Kent, adidas' Herbert Hainer, McDonald's Jim Skinner, Volkswagen's Martin Winterkorn and General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt. Other chief executives expected are BP's Tony Hayward, General Motors' Rick Wagoner, Motorola's Greg Brown and Yahoo's Jerry Yang. Wal-Mart's H. Lee Scott Jnr may find time to clink glasses with Sir Terry Leahy, head of his British rival Tesco. HSBC chairman Stephen Green and Asia-Pacific head Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen will host top clients invited to the opening ceremony, using one of those rare occasions when such chiefs find time to abandon the boardroom and loosen their ties. "It's a chance for companies to invite some of their biggest customers as guests and spend dedicated time with them. There are only a few events of this level when you can persuade a CEO to take a couple of days off," said Scott Kronick, president of public relations agency Ogilvy China. For corporate sponsors, the challenge is to use the Olympics to imprint their brand on a global audience, especially the mainland millions. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

S Korea aims to be Northeast Asian "oil hub" (Xinhua)
2008-08-05
South Korean Vice Economy Minister Lee Jae-joon said Monday that his country aims to be become a Northeast Asian "oil hub" to create new business opportunities. The official said his country will benchmark Singapore and develop extensive petroleum refining, shipment, storage and trading capabilities to become an "oil hub" in the region. "South Korea is situated astride the main North Pacific shipping route, with Yeosu and Ulsan possessing deep water ports and proximity to Chinese and Japanese industrial centers that make them ideal choices for the oil hub endeavor," Lee said. He said the government plans to expand the existing bunker facilities in Yeosu and Ulsan, increasing the oil storage there to 28 million barrels. According to the official, South Korea will seek a total of 320million U.S. dollars of investment to increase the oil storage capacity at Yeosu to 6 million barrels by December 2011 as an initial stage of the plan. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia and Croatia will work together (Mongol Messenger)
2008-08-07
Mongolia and Croatia will work together at a UN level, a joint statement made on August 4 stated. The President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, paid a state visit to Ulaanbaatar at the invitation of his Mongolian counterpart N.Enkhbayar on August 2-5. Mongolia signed a number of memorandums of understanding between the two governments on education and trade. Stjepan Mesic invited Enkhbayar to visit Croatia. ^ top ^

President N. Enkhbayar will attend the opening ceremony (Mongol Messenger)
2008-08-07
Mongolian President N.Enkhbayar will leave on August 7 for China. He and his family will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The opening Ceremony will begin at 8:08 pm on 8 August, 2008. ^ top ^

Mongolia delegation to Kuwait (Mongol Messenger)
2008-08-07
The Kuwaiti government and the Mongolian government have agreed to send a Mongolian delegation to Kuwait to explore initiatives to purchase oil. While in negotiations, the two parties discussed potential Kuwaiti assistance in financing construction of a new library and a new Parliament building. The Emir of Kuwait left Mongolia on Saturday, August 2. ^ 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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