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
  18.8-22.8.08, No. 230  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Brown urges progress on rights (SCMP)
2008-08-22
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Beijing to make more progress on human rights, saying the issue needed to be addressed not only during the Olympic Games. Mr Brown, who will attend the closing ceremony on Sunday, said he would raise the matter with the nation's leaders when he meets them in the capital. "Human rights matters to us every year, not just in the Olympic year.". ^ top ^

Papal trip to China premature, says Vatican spokesman (SCMP)
2008-08-22
The Vatican said yesterday that it was premature to speak of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI to China, after a Chinese bishop had expressed hope for such a trip. But Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio: "Various important problems remain to be solved, but on the part of the Holy See, there is the intention and the will to press ahead with loyal and constructive dialogue." This week, Beijing Bishop Joseph Li Shan, who was appointed by China's state-controlled Catholic Church, said that "relations with the Vatican are constantly improving" and that "there are big developments." He expressed hope that Benedict XVI would travel to China. ^ top ^

Vice premier: China values relation with Cuban (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-21
China values its friendly ties with Cuba and is willing to work with Cuba to push bilateral relationship to a new height, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday. i made the remarks when meeting with Jose Ramon Fernandez Alvarez, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, here on Thursday. […]. ^ top ^

Laos, China to strengthen natural resource management co-op (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-21
Technical staff from Laos and China have recently reached in-principle consensus on establishing a center for cooperation on land and natural resource management in Laos to exchange technical knowledge between the two countries, Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Thursday. Jin Jiaman, executive director of Global Environmental Institute, a Chinese non-profit, non-governmental organization in Beijing, said China had implemented a number of environmentally friendly land development projects in such Chinese localities as Sichuan and Yunnan over the past 10 years. […]. ^ top ^

FM: Chinese president's visit to chart path for ties with ROK (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-21
China on Wednesday said President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) would chart a path for future bilateral ties. "We expect this state visit to define the direction of future exchange and cooperation between China and the ROK, and further advance bilateral ties," a Chinese Foreign Ministry senior official said. "The visit from Aug. 25 to 26, three years after Hu's last tour to Seoul, will be of great significance to bilateral ties," he said. Hu's visit comes when China-ROK relations were "in good shape," he added, citing frequent high-level visits, booming economic cooperation and active exchanges between the two peoples. During ROK President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China in May, the two countries upgraded their relations to "strategic cooperative partnership," ushering in a new era of bilateral ties. […]. ^ top ^

Tajik president eager for President Hu's upcoming visit (Xinhuanet)
2008-08-20
Dushanbe -- Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said he was eager for Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the country, expressing his belief that their scheduled meeting will give a new and strong momentum to all-around bilateral cooperation. During a recent interview with Xinhua and some other Chinese media, Rakhmon said he and Hu in the meeting will not only reiterate principles for developing bilateral ties, but coordinate on major bilateral, regional and international issues. Rakhmon voiced his belief that Hu's visit will be conducted in a sincere, friendly and cooperative atmosphere, and produce satisfactory results. President Hu is slated to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe and paya visit to Tajikistan in late August. Rakhmon said Tajikistan-China relations, starting from zero, have reached a level of strategic partnership, adding the two countries' leaders and peoples treat each other frankly and have high mutual trust. The two countries successfully solved border disputes left over by history, while bilateral trade has increased rapidly and economic cooperation has expanded continuously, the president said. […]. ^ top ^

Harper's Games snub wrong, Canada's ex-PM says (SCMP)
2008-08-20
Canada's former prime minister said on Monday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was wrong not to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and predicted Canada could pay a heavy price for his absence. Jean Chretien said Mr Harper should have been at the celebration given the economic and demographic clout of China and the sensitivity of its leaders. "It is the second-biggest economy in the world and in 50 years it will be the biggest," the former Liberal leader said. For decades, "we established very good relations, relatively speaking, with China. And suddenly, you break the bridge. It would have been easy just to be there.". ^ top ^

Nepal's Maoist PM to attend ceremony (SCMP)
2008-08-20
Nepal's new Maoist prime minister will make his debut on the international stage at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. Nepali Prime Minister Prachanda was sworn in on Monday as political leader of the world's youngest republic after his party won landmark polls in April. "The prime minister's trip is to maintain cordial relations between Nepal and our neighbour China," said a Nepali foreign ministry official. Zheng Xianglin, China's ambassador to Nepal, sent an invitation soon after he was sworn in. Nepal's leaders usually make their first trip to India. ^ top ^

French minister to meet Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2008-08-20
French human rights minister Rama Yade said that she would meet the Dalai Lama this week in southern France to show solidarity with his struggle. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was also expected to meet French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in Lodeve, a diplomatic source said. But French President Nicolas Sarkozy has declined to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, who is on a 12-day visit to France that has stirred tensions with Beijing. It had warned Mr Sarkozy that meeting the spiritual leader would have "serious consequences" for bilateral relations. ^ top ^

Jordan, China ink nuclear co-op deal (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-20
Jordan and China Tuesday signed a nuclear agreement, paving ways for future cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy, especially on electricity generation and water desalination. Under the agreement, the two sides will conduct cooperation and exchange on basic and applied researches, nuclear plant designing, constructing and operating, mineral exploration and processing among other areas. The pact was signed by China's ambassador to Jordan Gong Xiaosheng and Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission Khaled Touqan. The agreement signals the start of cooperation between the two countries in nuclear energy and other projects, said the Chinese ambassador, observing that future cooperation between the two sides will be promising. Touqan, for his part, said the agreement aims to lay down a legislative and political framework to begin a serious nuclear cooperation. He also said the two sides prepare to join hands in uranium mining in several regions of Jordan. Unlike its oil-rich neighbors, Jordan lacks energy resources. It depends on imports for 95 percent of its energy consumption, which annually costs nearly a quarter of its revenue, according to official data. Jordan's King Abdullah II announced a civil nuclear energy program in January 2007, saying the country was seeking an alternative energy to generate electricity and desalinate seawater. Under the strategy, a nuclear plant will be set up by 2015 and nuclear power is expected to make up 30 percent of its energy production by 2030. ^ top ^

Top Chinese legislator meets foreign leaders watching Olympics (Xinhua)
2008-08-18
Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), met on Monday with some foreign leaders here to watch the Beijing Olympic Games. In his meeting with Ranko Krivokapic, the Republic of Montenegro parliament speaker, (…) When meeting with Abdelaziz (Abdul-Aziz) Ziari, speaker of the Algerian parliament, (...) When meeting with Kono Yohei, speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan's Diet, Wu said Sino-Japanese relations were at a new start in history and had great potential for further development. He recalled the Japanese trip by Chinese leader Hu Jintao in May which outlined the future development of the bilateral ties. ^ top ^

China hopes Pakistan maintains political stability and economic progress (People's daily Online)
2008-08-19
China sincerely hopes Pakistan will maintain its political stability and economic progress, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said here Monday. In response to questions about China's comment on Musharraf's resignation and on his efforts to promote the relations between the two countries, Qin said the change in Pakistan is its internal affairs. "As a friendly neighbor," Qin said, "China sincerely hopes Pakistan will maintain its political stability and economic progress." Qin said that in his term as President, Musharraf played an important role in developing the bilateral relations and Chinese side appreciated it very much. "We hope and believe the friendly relationship and cooperation between the two countries will continue to move forward with the joint efforts of the two sides." Qin said. ^ top ^

Chinese FM meets Japanese counterpart (Xinhua)
2008-08-17
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with visiting Japanese counterpart Masahiko Komura hereon Sunday evening, and expressed his wish that Japanese athletes would achieve proud results at the Beijing Olympic Games. Komura arrived late on Saturday for a one-and-a-half day trip that also includes visits to Olympic events. Before meeting with Yang, Komura met Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Mourning service for Hua Guofeng at elite hospital - Senior party leaders to pay respects to Mao's fallen heir (SCMP)
2008-08-22
Family and friends will hold a four-day mourning service starting today at a military hospital for former party leader Hua Guofeng, who died on Wednesday, aged 87. The service will be held at the 305 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army - a medical enclave reserved for elite politicians - in Beijing. It will be open to the public, according to a source close to the family. Senior Communist Party leaders will attend today's session, the source said without elaborating. The relatively transparent handling of a political figure who was once publicly criticised signalled the current leadership's growing confidence in its grip on power, analysts said. Most of the mainland's major newspapers yesterday published the one-sentence statement issued by Xinhua announcing his death, the deliberate wording of which indicated that he was regarded as an undistinguished transitional figure within the party. The official verdict on Hua - who was Mao Zedong's anointed successor and at one point China's most powerful man, simultaneously holding top positions in the party, the government and the military - was made in 1981 in an important party resolution. It said he had played an important role in the arrest of the "Gang of Four" but "made many errors" thereafter. His dogmatic following of Mao's doctrines, epitomised by his "two whatevers" theory, was publicly debunked by reformer Deng Xiaoping in his famous admonition: "Practice is the only criterion to test the truth". […]. ^ top ^

Officials' overseas trips to face tighter scrutiny (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-22
The National Bureau of Corruption Prevention said yesterday that officials' applications to make overseas trips will be subjected to tighter scrutiny to avoid the abuse of public funds. Expenses for business trips will be restricted and pre-auditing will be carried out, according to the bureau. Officials must take responsibility if their trips violate disciplinary codes or laws, the bureau's notice stated. With the country widening international exchanges in recent years, some officials have taken advantage of overseas trips in order to pocket public funds. Last August, Xu Wen'ai, vice-procurator-general of Anhui province, was removed from his post for wasting public funds on a trip to Finland. A delegation of 10 people from the procuratorate headed by Xu was found to have fabricated an invitation from the Finnish government. An investigation found the delegation also tampered with business travel routes, adding a number of additional destination countries. The incident caused a nationwide outcry. […]. ^ top ^

Tremor strikes Myanmar border (SCMP)
2008-08-21
A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit China's border with Myanmar, destroying homes and forcing more than a thousand people to evacuate, according to the US Geological Survey and Chinese state media. The tremor struck at 5.35am. Its epicentre was 224km west of Dali in Yunnan province in the southwest and 65km from Myitkyina, Myanmar, and at a depth of 8km, according to a statement on the US Geological Survey website. There were no reports of casualties, but some homes had collapsed and about 1,200 people had been forced to evacuate their homes near the epicentre, Xinhua said. The area is home to a large number of members of ethnic minorities. ^ top ^

China's top legislature starts five-day session on Aug. 25 (Xinhua)
2008-08-18
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will start a five-day session on Aug. 25 to review draft laws on food safety and recycling, among other issues. The Fourth Session of the 11th NPC will meet here in the capital. Five bills are likely to be debated. These are draft laws on food safety and recycling, an amendment to the Criminal Law, a revised edition of the Insurance Law and a draft of the revision of the Patent Law. According to the recommended schedule submitted at Monday's meeting of NPC Standing Committee chairpersons, the NPC will also discuss an additional protocol to the Organization Law of the Union Postale Universelle and three conventions on criminal judicial assistance with Namibia, Brazil and Japan. The session will review several reports of the State Council, or the cabinet, on increasing farmers' income, the protection of minors, the 2007 central budget. Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over Monday's meeting. ^ top ^

Wen visits ethnic minorities in remote autonomous region (SCMP)
2008-08-17
While most state leaders have been watching the Olympics, Premier Wen Jiabao flew to the remote western Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to visit ethnic minorities and poverty-stricken people. The premier, who turns 66 next month, travelled 1,300km from the capital to the landlocked region, where he visited major industrial projects, farming bases and enterprises. During the three-day visit that ended yesterday, he called on local people to use science and technology to upgrade industries and raise production. In Xihaigu, one of the poorest places in China, Mr Wen urged local people to continue their reforestation efforts and improving the environment for a sustainable future. He also visited a Muslim village yesterday and promised the government would help them fight droughts. The premier also talked to local religious leaders. Mr Wen is widely admired on the mainland for his work ethic and down-to-earth approach. The premier has spent most of his holidays in the country's poorest regions, and he is often the first state leader to appear at the site of a natural disaster. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Typhoon Nuri nears Hong Kong, forces flight cancellation (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-22
Typhoon Nuri moved to about 300 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong on Thursday evening, forcing cancellations of at least 10 flights scheduled for arriving in and departing the Hong Kong airport on Friday. The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 3 strong wind signal at 8:40 p.m. Thursday, saying "winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62 kilometers per hour are expected." The typhoon was forecast to move west-northwest at about 14 kilometers per hour and strong winds were beginning to affect the offshore waters. Nuri would be rather close to Hong Kong on Friday and the weather is expected to deteriorate on Thursday night, with strong winds and heavy rain over the next couple of days. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Prosecutors to summon Chen's son (SCMP)
2008-08-22
Taiwanese prosecutors decided yesterday to subpoena the son and daughter-in-law of former president Chen Shui-bian for questioning over their alleged roles in a US$21 million money-laundering scandal implicating the ex-leader. Prosecutors in charge of investigating the scandal said they hoped the son, Chen Chih-chung, and his wife, Huang Jui-ching, would return to Taiwan for questioning early next month. The two have remained in the United States since they left Taiwan on August 9, just five days before Chen Shui-bian admitted his wife, Wu Shu-chen, had wired US$21 million abroad without his knowledge. The scandal came to light late last week after a Kuomintang lawmaker revealed that Swiss judicial authorities were seeking Taiwan's help in an inquiry into alleged money laundering by the son and daughter-in-law. Swiss authorities said they found unusual fund transfers in two accounts, in the Cayman Islands and Singapore, set up by a Swiss bank for the couple. Chen Shui-bian later denied the money was laundered funds, saying it was "what was left from previous campaign donations", which he had failed to fully declare in line with a law on officials' assets. Prosecutors said that the testimonies of the former president's son and daughter-in-law were important because they wanted to sort out whether the funds were "remainders of campaign donations" as Chen Shui-bian claimed, or laundered funds gained through wrongdoing. Taiwanese lawyers said prosecutors needed to prove the funds were illegal before seeking to convict the former president for money laundering, a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to seven years. Chen Shui-bian would at most be fined up to NT$600,000 (HK$149,263) for failing to truthfully declare the campaign funds if prosecutors could not prove he obtained the funds through illegal means. Lawyers said tax authorities could also slap a fine of up to NT$700 million on Chen Shui-bian or his wife for failing to declare a gift tax if either gave the funds to the son and his wife. Prosecutors have already questioned the former president and his wife, as well as his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who allegedly served as surrogates for Wu. They said they would question Wu again soon. Meanwhile, Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng said the ministry had sought help from Switzerland and Singapore over the case, and the two governments had "responded positively" to the request. ^ top ^

Scandal-rocked DPP to join anti-KMT rally (SCMP)
2008-08-21
Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party has decided to join pro-independence groups in a protest against the island's president, Ma Ying-jeou, this month, but will neither mobilise supporters in northern Taiwan for the rally nor make Mr Ma the target. "Rather, we want to put the focus on the policies of Ma Ying-jeou and his government as a whole," DPP secretary general Wang To said yesterday. The protest, "100 Days - an Outcry from the People", will be held in Taipei on August 30 and has been organised by the Taiwan Society and several other hardline pro-independence groups. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Troops fire on rally in Tibet, says Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2008-08-22
Chinese troops fired on Tibetan protesters this week, as Beijing hosted the Olympics, and 400 people have been killed since unrest in March, the Dalai Lama was quoted as saying in an interview published yesterday. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader denied a comment attributed to him by French newspaper Le Monde that 140 people had died on Monday when security forces opened fire in the Kham region of Sichuan province. But his office said there were casualties. "The Chinese army again fired on a crowd on Monday, August 18, in the Kham region in eastern Tibet," said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is on a 12-day visit to France. In a statement after the interview was published, his office said: "His Holiness ... clearly stated that we had no specific information on the number of casualties." Repeated calls to government departments in Kham were not answered. In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman was not aware of the incident and asked reporters to contact relevant departments. The Dalai Lama's representative in Geneva, Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, said the protest was in Garze. "Definitely, Chinese security forces were firing [at protesters]," he said, citing one "reliable" source. "We have been told that there have been casualties, but we are not able to verify ... whether people have been killed or injured," he said. In his interview with Le Monde, the Dalai Lama said that since March "reliable witnesses say that 400 people have been killed in the region of [the Tibetan capital] Lhasa alone". "If you consider the whole of Tibet, the number of victims is obviously higher," he said. Unrest erupted in Lhasa in March after four days of protests against Chinese rule, though mainland officials maintain only 19 people died. "Ten thousand people have been arrested. We don't know where they are imprisoned," said the Dalai Lama. He said it looked as though Chinese security forces were planning to continue their crackdown for many years and there had been a frenzy of new military camp construction in the Amdo and Kham regions. He said that in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics he had been hopeful of progress, encouraged by the commitment of President Hu Jintao to begin serious talks. "But we were quickly disillusioned," he said. "Our envoys came up against a wall. There was no opening.". ^ top ^

Lhasa announces incentives for agents to revive tourism (Xinhuanet)
2008-08-21
Lhasa -- Travel agencies will get bonuses for taking more tour groups to Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, the local government has announced. Gyangkar, chief of the Lhasa City Tourism Bureau, said on Tuesday the city government has set aside 1 million yuan (about 142,857 U.S. dollars) in hopes of reviving the tourism market, which was devastated after the March 14 Lhasa riot. Under the plan, which is valid from Aug. 15 to Dec. 30, a travel agency can get 50,000 yuan for organizing a charter flight with at least 100 overseas tourists. An agency can get the same incentive for a 600-person train tour. The same reward will be paid to agencies that bring in 1,000-2,000 foreign tourists this year. Foreign tourist arrivals of more than 2,000 this year will yield a double reward for an agency. Lhasa, known as the "City of Sunshine", has long been considered one of the purest places on Earth. Tibet has more than 300 scenic sites, many of which are in or around Lhasa. But tourism to the region plummeted after the March unrest, in which 19 people died and many schools, hospitals, homes and shops were damaged by arson. The region was off-limits to tourists for some time. Domestic tourists began to return in late April, but overseas ones didn't do so until June 25. Tibet had 370,000 tourist arrivals in July, which was more than the first-half total of 340,000 but well below the year-earlier figure of 607,668. ^ top ^

China to relocate over 73,700 Nomadic Tibetans in Kanlho into permanent homes: state media (Phayul)
2008-08-18
The Chinese government will move more than 73,700 nomadic Tibetans living in Gannan (Tib: Kanlho) "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" ('TAP') into permanent brick houses, under a government-led program, in the next five years, state media said on Friday, a controversial practice rights groups say has been marked by gross abuses. A nomadic Tibetan community in northwest China's Gansu Province will soon follow the lead of their kin in Tibet and settle down in permanent brick houses, under a government-led program, Xinhua news agency said, citing a Chinese Communist official. Under the program, more than 73,700 nomadic Tibetans living in Gannan (Southern Gansu) Prefecture will move from their ancestral homes at the headwaters of the Yellow River, a degraded pasture area, in the next five years, head of the headquarters for the resettlement program, Wang Hongwei, was cited as saying last Monday. The government of Gannan Prefecture took steps in 2004 to encourage Tibetan nomads to rear livestock in fenced shelters instead of moving from place to place to feed their herds, Xinhua report said. (…) Also, this month, Chinese authorities reportedly prohibited the performance of an annual ritual “deer dance” scheduled for Aug. 8 at Bora monastery, in Sangchu (Xiahe) county in Kanlho TAP. (…) Between 2006 and 2007 alone, China forced some 250,000 Tibetans, nearly one-tenth of the population, to resettle to new "socialist villages" from scattered rural hamlets, ordering them to build new housing largely at their own expense and without their consent. ^ top ^

Qinghai-Tibet railway to get six new lines
2008-08-17
Plans are afoot to add six more rail lines to the Qinghai-Tibet railway to boost the region's economy, a railway spokesman said yesterday at the Beijing International Media Center. Included in the country's medium- and long-term railway network plan, the six lines are expected to be completed and put into operation before 2020, Wang Yongping, spokesman of the Ministry of Railways, said in Beijing. […] In two years, the 1,956-km railway has moved 5.56 million passengers and 4.05 million tons of cargo, lowering prices of daily necessities and other consumer goods. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Expert sees no change in capital's economy post-Games (SCMP)
2008-08-22
An economist forecast that the capital's economy would not be subject to fluctuation after the Games. Chen Jian, executive president of the Beijing Olympic Economy Research Association, said: "Investment in urban infrastructure will remain intensive and the new investment is enough to continue to push economic growth and avoid post-Games economic fluctuation.". ^ top ^

China will destabilise the global economy (SCMP)
2008-08-22
[…] Economically dominant after the second world war, the US defined its interests as promoting the prosperity of its allies. The aims were to combat communism and prevent another Great Depression. Countries would make mutual trade concessions. They would not manipulate their currencies to gain advantage. Raw materials would be available at non-discriminatory prices. These norms were mostly honoured. China's political goals differ. Prosperity is considered essential to maintaining public order and the Communist Party's monopoly. At first, China pursued its ambitions within the existing global framework. But, as it grows richer, it increasingly ignores old norms, Dr Bergsten argues. It runs a predatory trade policy by keeping its currency at artificially low levels. That stimulates export-led growth. The biggest losers are not US manufacturers but developing countries whose labour-intensive exports are most disadvantaged. Next, China strives to lock up supplies of essential raw materials: oil, natural gas and copper. If other countries suffer, so what? Both the US and China are self-interested. But the US sees global prosperity as a means to expanding its power, while China sees the global economy as the means to promoting domestic stability. The policies are increasingly on a collision course. If America does nothing, China's economic nationalism may weaken the world economy - but if the US retaliates by becoming more nationalistic, it may do the same. Globalisation means interdependence; major nations ignore that at their peril. ^ top ^

Call for reform of energy pricing (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-21
China should push forward the pricing mechanism reform of energy products, despite concerns that the move may add to inflationary pressure, economists said. "It's urgent to continue the reform, as the distortion of energy prices is having an increased impact on the economy," Wang Yiming, vice-president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research, said. The academy is affiliated to the National Development and Reform Commission. Energy prices in China are mainly decided by the government. Over the past year, it has managed to hold down the prices of electricity and refined oil products, which is seen as an effort to rein in inflation. But the move has led to the loss of energy producers, which then chose to suspend part of their operation, as soaring oil and coal prices eat into their profits. Analysts and government officials have long been advocating for a reform of the energy pricing mechanism, which could link refined fuel prices with production costs. […]. ^ top ^

China corporate goods prices up 0.7% in July month-on-month (People's Daily Online)
2008-08-20

The Chinese corporate goods price (CGP) index, also called the wholesale price index, rose 0.7 percent month-on-month in July, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said on Wednesday. According to the central bank, the CGP index rose 9.4 percent year-on-year. The index reflects the price change of products traded among corporations and traces overall price fluctuation together with the consumer price index (CPI). According to the PBOC, agricultural product prices in July rose 0.3 percent month-on-month, and were 6.8 percent higher year-on-year. The price of oil products was up 6.9 percent month-on-month and 27.3 percent higher year-on-year. The price of electricity rose 2.7 percent month-on-month and 2.9 percent year-on-year. PBOC statistics revealed the price of iron ore was rising 3.3 percent month-on-month and 45 percent year-on-year. Coal rose 6.1 percent month-on-month and 53.5 percent year-on-year. China's CPI, a main inflation gauge, was up 6.3 percent in July year on year, lower than the 7.1 percent in June and 7.7 percent in May. The Chinese CGP index is based on the prices of 791 types of goods and covers wholesale prices in the country's 36 big- and medium-sized cities and more than 200 small cities. ^ top ^

China will complete the construction of its first four strategic oil reserves by the end of this year, a senior government official said yesterday. (Xinhua)
2008-08-19
[…] The government plans to build strategic oil reserves in three phases over 15 years, involving an estimated investment of 100 billion yuan (14.6 billion U.S. dollars). The first four reserves, located in Dalian, Qingdao, Ningbo and Zhoushan, are expected to maintain strategic oil reserves equivalent to 30 days of imports in 2010. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing expects tourism boom (China Daily)
2008-08-19
China needs to take training and recruitment measures in advance of the forecast post-Olympics surge in tourism, a human resource report said. Beijing and Shanghai will each need 500,000 trained hotel staff by 2010 to serve the millions of overseas tourists expected to pour into the country for sightseeing and international conferences, the Beijing Foreign Enterprises Service Co Ltd (FESCO) said in its recently released report. At least 10,000 sports management professionals and 7,000 trainers will also be needed this year to meet the Chinese public's renewed interest in physical training and sports generally, the report said. "These rising demands are attributable to the ongoing Olympic Games, which have stimulated local interest in sports as well as making China an even more popular travel destination for the next two to three years," Li Yiguang, Assistant General Manager and Director of recruitment Dept with FESCO, said. (…) This optimistic forecast has prompted certain overseas study agents to recommend colleges in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia specializing in hotel and tourism management courses, the Beijing Times reported.(…) The post-Olympics slump in demand for construction, security and service sector workers is also expected to last for two to three years, the report said. (…). ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Three try to break into military airport (SCMP)
2008-08-22
Three members of the Yi ethnic group were arrested in Olympic co-host city Qingdao, Shandong province, for trying to sneak into a military airport, police said yesterday. A spokesman for the Qingdao Public Security Bureau denied Sunday's break-in was related to terrorist attacks as alleged by a Hong Kong-based human rights group. China News Service last night quoted the police spokesman saying the trio were just thieves. […] The centre said the two fled after they had failed to subdue the guard, leaving behind explosives and belongings, which police used to confirm that the assailants were Yi from Meigu county in Sichuan. […]. ^ top ^

Elderly pair punished for wanting to protest (SCMP)
2008-08-21
Two elderly Beijing women who applied to demonstrate during the Olympics at one of the approved "protest parks" had been sentenced to "re-education through labour", it was revealed yesterday. Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77 - who were evicted from their Beijing homes in 2001 - applied five times to demonstrate in the zones since the Games began, the US-based group Human Rights in China said. But their persistence in airing their grievances so irked the authorities that they were accused of "disturbing the public order" and then ordered to serve one-year terms of re-education in labour camps. Quoting Mrs Wu's son, Li Xuehui, the group said the sentences were meted out by the Public Security Bureau in Beijing and were backdated to start at the end of July. Then officials from Beijing's municipal government ruled that the two former neighbours would not have to serve their punishment in a labour re-education camp as long as they behaved - but said restrictions would be placed on their movements. Wu and Wang were evicted from their homes to make way for a development project and have protested ever since, Human Rights in China said. […] The IOC advises host cities to set up the protest zones as part of its "best practice" programme. IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the organisation would "look into this" but admitted it was powerless to do anything. "The parks are not our jurisdiction," she said. "We continue to ask for as much transparency as possible. We would, of course, welcome hearing that the areas are genuinely used.". ^ top ^

Six Americans detained amid crackdown on Tibet protests (SCMP)
2008-08-21
Five American blogger-activists and an American artist were detained as the government continued a crackdown on pro-Tibetan demonstrations in the final days of the Olympics, rights groups said yesterday. Students for a Free Tibet said that on Tuesday authorities detained five self-styled "citizen journalists" who were promoting Tibetan freedom. They said activist-artist James Powderly had also been detained. […] "In relation to foreigners holding demonstrations in Beijing in support of Tibet independence, competent authorities have the right to handle these things according to law," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. […]. ^ top ^

China claims more firsts - and more gold (SCMP)
2008-08-21
China again pushed its sporting boundaries yesterday by claiming more Olympic firsts - winning its maiden yachting gold medal and booking a place in the women's field hockey finals. With 45 golds in the bag, against 26 for the US, the race to be the world's dominant sporting power is virtually sewn up. The US leads China in total medals, 82-79. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Seoul to seek help easing tensions with Pyongyang (SCMP)
2008-08-22
South Korea will seek China's help in easing inter-Korean tensions and persuading North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons during a summit meeting next week, a senior official said. Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Hu Jintao would meet on Monday to "mainly discuss North Korea-related issues" before holding an expanded summit with aides, Mr Lee's office said. Ties between the two Koreas are at their lowest for a decade, with official contacts cut off since Mr Lee took office in February after promising to take a firmer line with Pyongyang. "We will explain our policy on North Korea and request China to play a constructive role in improving inter-Korean relations," one of Mr Lee's aides said. ^ top ^

U.S. insists on verification of DPRK nuclear program (Xinhua)
2008-08-18
The United States insisted on Monday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) must agree to verify its nuclear program before being delisted from terrorism blacklist. "What we require right now is that verification package from North Korea before we can go forward with the delisting," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. Wood made remarks after the DPRK denounced Washington for breaking its promise to remove the DPRK from its list of terrorism sponsors. (…) The DPRK handed over its long-awaited nuclear declaration on June 26. Soon after the announcement, U.S. President George W. Bush said that his government intended to lift sanctions on the DPRK under the "Trading with the Enemy Act." While calling for full disclosure of nuclear programs and activities by Pyongyang, Bush also said that he would notify Congress of his intention to remove the DPRK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 45 day. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia claims Olympic gold (Mongol Messenger)
2008-08-20
Mongolia has claimed its first Olympic gold medal after its entry into the Summer Olympics in 1964. Judoist, Tuvshinbayar Naidan, 24, won a gold medal in the judo-100kg category at the 29th Olympics in Beijing on August 14. President N. Enkhbayar released a decree to bestow titles of the Hero of Labor and the State Honored Athlete on N. Tuvshinbayar and awarded him the medal “Golden Soyombo” anf “Order of Sukhbaatar”. ^ top ^

Still No Oath for MPs (UB Post)
2008-08-21
Leaders from Mongolia's two main political parties reached agreements several issues they had debated for nearly 50 days, but it is likely members of Parliament still will not take the Oath of Office this week. Originally, the parties agreed that elected members of government should swear the oath on Thursday. However, when the General Election Commission said that it would not make a resolution with the names of all 76 parliamentarians elected on June 30, the Democratic Party threatened to continue its boycott of government. If this event occurs, Parliament will not have enough members to permit MP's to swear the oath of office and begin a working session. The Commission said it would not submit a resolution until it finishes investigating 10 parliamentary seats which are still contested due to claims of election fraud. ^ top ^

Fuel Prices Continue to Increase Rapidly (UB Post)
2008-08-21
The price of bus tickets increased due to the rise in petroleum prices. In last three months, the Russian petroleum company that supplies Mongolia with 90 percent of its petrol, Rosnepht, increased their prices, citing Russian export tax increases. Export tax on petroleum in Russia jumped by US$ 388-496 per ton in last three months. The Mongolian government have provided subsidies to importers and have also abolished customer's tax, excise tax and VAT in order to help with the price rise. Now in Mongolia, petrol prices reached Tg 1,700- 1,920 per liter, yet the average salary of Mongolians has not reached Tg 300,000 per month. ^ top ^

 

Gautier Chiarini
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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