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
  22.9-26.9.08, No. 235  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Premier Wen leaves to attend UN high-level meeting on MDGs (Xinhua)
2008-09-23
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left here Tuesday morning to attend the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) scheduled on Sept. 25 in New York. Wen was invited by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He is also scheduled to attend the general debate of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. Representatives from some 150 countries, including more than 90heads of state or government, are expected to attend the event, which will be convened by Ban with the aim to generate further actions to reach the MDGs by 2015. ^ top ^

Chavez arrives in Beijing for state visit (SCMP)
2008-09-23
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his country is no longer the backyard of the US and that he finds it more important to visit Beijing than New York, as he arrived on Tuesday in China's capital on first leg of an international tour. The outspoken US critic hopes to boost ties with Beijing through increased oil sales, partly to reduce dependency on the United States, which still buys about 60 per cent of Venezuelan exports despite years of tensions. “China is showing the world that it isn't necessary to harm anyone to be a great power. They are soldiers of peace,” Mr Chavez said upon his arrival in Beijing, according to a Venezuelan government statement. Asked about his absence from talks this week on the sidelines of the United Nations in New York, Mr Chavez said: “It's much more important to be in Beijing than in New York.” Mr Chavez's visit comes amid stepped-up confrontation with the US, including Russia's dispatch on Monday of a naval squadron to hold joint manoeuvres with Venezuela's navy. The deployment of Russian military power to the western hemisphere is unprecedented since the cold war and follows a weeklong visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers. “The only thing we demand is that our nation be respected,” Chavez said according to the government statement. “We're no longer the backyard of the United States.” China is a key link in Mr Chavez's strategy to develop new markets for its oil exports, and Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, has ramped up shipments to China to 250,000 barrels a day as of April. It aims to lift that figure to 500,000 barrels a day by 2010. […]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen: China hopes to enhance constructive, cooperative relations with U.S. (Xinhua)
2008-09-24
China hopes the constructive and cooperative relations with the United States will progress continuously, which are conducive to the two peoples and the world as a whole, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday. […] The two countries need to enhance cooperation in a bid to address current challenges in economy, finance, energy and environment, […] China is willing to maintain and develop the constructive and cooperative relations with the United States whoever becomes the next U.S. president, he added. On the Taiwan issue, Wen said, "We hope the U.S. side will adhere to the one China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques," he said. […] During his three-day stay in New York, Wen will attend a high-level UN meeting for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Thursday and the general debate of the 63rd UN General Assembly Wednesday. He will address the two meetings to further outline China's development objectives. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets Japanese guests (Xinhua)
2008-09-24
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met here Tuesday with a delegation from Japan-China Association on Economy and Trade (JCAET), calling on the two sides to continue efforts to promote the bilateral strategic and reciprocal relations to a higher level. […] He told the Japanese guests that China, which is in its modernization process, has a huge potential for the economic growth and market demand, calling on the two economies to expand cooperation in fields such as trade, investment, energy efficiency, environment, high-tech and SMEs. […]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen expounds China's domestic, foreign policies at UN debate (Xinhua)
2008-09-25
China will stick to the path of peaceful development and continue to pursue the policies of reform and opening-up and an independent foreign policy of peace, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Wednesday. "The whole world wants to know in what direction China is heading" after the Beijing Olympic Games, Wen said in a speech delivered at the annual high-level debate of the United Nations General Assembly. "Let me tell you in unequivocal terms that China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development, unswervingly pursue reform and opening-up, and continue to adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace," he said. "This is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the people of all other countries. It is also in keeping with the trend of the world." Wen said the success of the Beijing Olympic Games has greatly inspired the Chinese people and given them even more confidence and strength to achieve modernization of the country. However, the premier noted that China is still a "developing country, where productivity remains low and further development is constrained by the shortage of resources, and energy and environmental consequences." […] "It is a choice of vital importance to the development of China today, and it is also a strategy that will shape China's future," Wen said. The Chinese premier said his country is ready to make joint efforts with other countries for world peace and will develop ties with them on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. "The world needs peace, for only with peace can there be development," he said. "The Chinese government is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and stands ready to work with other countries to advance the noble cause of peace and progress of mankind," he added. China is ready to develop friendly relations with all countries "on the basis of equality and mutual benefit rather than on ideology or political system," he said. […] "As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will continue to play an active and constructive role in promoting the peaceful settlement of international hotspot issues and regional conflicts," he said. […] Wen said China, as a responsible and major developing country, is ready to work with other members of the international community to boost cooperation, share opportunities, meet challenges and contribute to the harmonious and sustainable development of the world. ^ top ^

Joint fund, energy deals inked with Venezuela (China Daily)
2008-09-25
China and Venezuela Wednesday signed a dozen agreements, including one on doubling a joint investment fund to $12 billion and another on extending energy cooperation. President Hu Jintao and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez attended the signing ceremony after their one-hour meeting in the Great Hall of the People. Though the Foreign Ministry did not give details of the agreements, Chavez reportedly said the two countries had agreed to double the joint investment fund to $12 billion. […] Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Tuesday: "Sino-Venezuelan ties have no ideological color, do not target a third party, and do not influence any other country's relations with Venezuela". ^ top ^

Wen calls for further strong ties after Bush - Signal sent to US contenders (SCMP)
2008-09-25
Premier Wen Jiabao has praised strengthening ties with the US and expressed hope that the co-operation will continue "no matter who wins" the presidential race in November. In a wide-ranging speech to US-China business leaders in New York before his address yesterday to the UN General Assembly, Mr Wen said the two countries "are not competitors, but partners". "Two countries that appreciate each other and learn from each other should be able to live together in amity and achieve common progress." Mr Wen did not endorse either candidate, but said Beijing was confident that Sino-US relations would continue to "move forward". "No matter who becomes the next American president, China hopes to maintain and develop a constructive and co-operative relationship with the United States," Mr Wen said in his speech on Tuesday. In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr Wen warned of the possible ongoing impact of the US financial crisis. "The ongoing financial volatility, in particular, has affected many countries and its impact is likely to become more serious," he said. "To tackle the challenge, we must all make concerted efforts. So long as people of all countries, especially their leaders, can do away with hostility, estrangement and prejudice, treat each other with sincerity and an open mind, and forge ahead hand in hand, mankind will overcome all difficulties and embrace a brighter and better future." […] In his earlier speech, Mr Wen said: "Due to differences in our social systems, development level, history and culture, China and the United States may not see eye to eye on certain issues, but this is nothing to be afraid of. As long as the two sides engage in dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, we will be able to gradually dispel misgivings and enhance mutual trust. "We have reason to believe and expect that the world's biggest developing nation and the strongest developed nation will have sufficient courage and wisdom to overcome any difficulties and obstacles, and together build a bright future." Mr Wen also spoke about Taiwan. "The Taiwan problem is still the most central and most sensitive problem in Sino-US relations. History has proven that whether Sino-US relations can develop smoothly depends to a great extent on whether the Taiwan problem can be properly resolved," he said. "We hope the United States will support improvement of cross-strait relations and help the two sides realise common development. This serves the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and is conducive to Sino-US relations and world peace." […]. ^ top ^

China and EU reach consensus on IPR, energy, trade topics (Xinhua)
2008-09-26
Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and European Union (EU) trade commissioner Peter Mandelson kicked off the 23rd China-EU Mixed Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation here and reached consensus on a wide array of topics. Both sides agreed to quicken the negotiation process of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Customs Enforcement Action Plan,according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). They would input 73.8 million Euros (108.5 million U.S. dollars) this year to launch the Development Cooperation Plan to support bilateral environmental protection, energy, climate changeand human resources development and other projects, MOC said on its official website. "China is willing to join hands with the EU to further tap cooperation potential to lay a solid economic foundation for the all-around bilateral strategic partnership," Chen said. […] The two sides discussed and achieved consensus on steel trade, customs cooperation, technical trade barriers, two-way investment and other issues, according to the MOC. To enhance bilateral cooperation would play a crucial role in maintaining the smooth development of the world economy, Chen added. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Quality watchdog chief quits amid milk scandal (China Daily)
2008-09-23
Li Changjiang resigned as minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) Monday, owning "responsibility for the milk food contamination". The scandal saw another head roll with the sacking of Wu Xianguo, Party chief of Shijiazhuang, where one of the contaminated milk food producers, Sanlu Group, is based. Contaminated baby milk food has claimed the lives of four infants and left about 53,000 others suffering from various urinary tract problems, including kidney stones. About 13,000 children are still in hospitals across the country getting treatment for complications created by melamine-contaminated milk food, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday. Nearly 40,000 others have recovered or are convalescing after getting treatment. Li, who vacated his office on the 16th floor of the AQSIQ building after seven years, would have retired in another year. The minister of the country's top quality watchdog is the highest-ranking official to lose his job because of the milk food scandal. The State Council, which earlier decided AQSIQ had to own "supervision responsibility for the milk food contamination", accepted the 64-year-old's resignation. The country's cabinet took the decision in accordance with official accountability regulations, and appointed Wang Yong, former deputy secretary-general of the State Council, to replace Li. […] "The minister has always worked very hard, but the power of one person is limited," an AQSIQ press officer said Monday. "We're all very sorry to see him leave." […]. ^ top ^

Typhoon Hagupit nears China's southern coast (China Daily)
2008-09-23
Hagupit, the 14th typhoon to affect China this year, is poised for landfall in the southern Guangdong Province on Wednesday, meteorological stations in Fujian and Guangdong provinces warned on Monday. he storm, which gained momentum to become a strong typhoon Monday afternoon, was located about 600 kilometers south of Xiamen in Fujian at 6 p.m. t packed hurricane force winds at about 173 kilometers per hour in the center, said the observatory in Fujian. he typhoon, which is moving at 20 to 25 km per hour, is forecast to churn ashore somewhere between Xuwen and Taishan in Guangdong on Wednesday morning. he coastal cities of Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Quanzhou of the neighboring Fujian Province should prepare for strong winds and heavy rains Tuesday. […]. ^ top ^

Lawyers warned to shun milk suits - Litigation could lead to unrest, say cadres (SCMP)
2008-09-23
Authorities in some provinces have warned lawyers to refuse cases tied to tainted milk out of fear litigation could lead to "social unrest", a representative of the lawyers says. Organisers of a group of 90 lawyers who have offered free legal advice to needy parents affected by the crisis said judicial departments in some provinces had pressured them to stay clear of the issue. Veteran rights lawyer Li Fangping said officials either asked the them point-blank to withdraw from the group or said they should join the local lawyers' association if they wanted to help the victims. He said he was not warned to pull out, but that the Beijing Lawyers' Association had asked him "to put faith in the party and government". Lawyers' associations are very much part of the government apparatus. Another organiser of a group specialising in health legal issues, Lu Jun , said news of the pressure started filtering in the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend. The list of 90 lawyers was published online on September 12. One of the lawyers on the list has already pulled out. "There is a possibility that more will withdraw," a worried Mr Lu said. "This is not an individual action taken by one province. This is happening on a bigger scale." Jiangsu , Hebei , Henan and Shandong are the provinces most affected by the milk scare. Three of the five Hebei-based lawyers in the group said they had not yet received any inquiries. One did not answer calls yesterday and the other refused to discuss the crisis. A Henan lawyer, who according to the lawyers' group should have received about 30 inquiries, told his assistant to reject media phone calls about milk-powder cases. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing to work with countries hit by melamine (SCMP)
2008-09-24
China pledged yesterday to work with countries concerned about melamine-tainted milk after several of its neighbours slapped import bans on mainland dairy products. "We understand the concerns of these countries and regions. Our relevant department is willing to co-operate with their food safety departments and resolve the problems in an objective, pragmatic and scientific way," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in response to reports about melamine discovered in exported mainland products. Malaysia expanded its ban on mainland dairy products to include sweets, chocolate and foods containing milk after Singapore discovered at the weekend that some sweets, including the famous White Rabbit-brand milk candy, contained melamine. Indonesia issued a similar ban, while Vietnam has asked its authorities to tighten controls on imported milk. Regional governors of Japan urged Beijing to suspend exports of all dairy products. The State Council reported last week that two of the 22 problematic milk powder brands were exported to five other countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar, Yemen, Burundi and Gabon. Tainted milk products have also been found in Hong Kong and Taiwan. […]. ^ top ^

EU shortlists campaigner Hu Jia for freedom prize (SCMP)
2008-09-24
Dissident Hu Jia has been shortlisted for the European Union parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize. The campaigner for civil rights, environmental protection and Aids advocacy was arrested last year after testifying on mainland human rights to the European Parliament's rights subcommittee by phone, and jailed for 3-1/2 years for subversion. The prize is in its 20th year. Winners include former South African leader Nelson Mandela, Myanmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan. ^ top ^

Blastoff to spacewalk (China Daily)
2008-09-26
China's third manned spacecraft lifted off at 9:10 pm yesterday to fulfill its most ambitious and risky mission:spacewalk. Shenzhou VII, carrying astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province, into a clear sky. As is the case with such missions, the first few moments were tense. But then the ground control heard the voices of the astronauts. They felt "physically sound", they said to the joy of the scientists on the ground. "The solar panel has unfolded, and we feel well," one of them said. Remote-measuring signals showed all their physical indices, such as blood pressure and heartbeat, were normal. The astronauts will orbit the Earth for three days, 68 hours, to be precise, and one of them will walk in space about 343 km above the Earth on Saturday. That will make China the third country to conduct extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in space. The other two to have achieved that are the former Soviet Union and the US. The timing of the spacewalk could, however, be changed, depending on how long it would take for the astronauts to adjust to all the factors. EVAs are essential for China's long-term goal of building a space station by 2020, and possibly launching a manned mission to the Moon. […] President Hu Jintao, who was present at the Jiuquan launch center, congratulated the space scientists and the astronauts for the successful lift-off. "The successful launch marks the first victory of the Shenzhou VII mission," Hu told scientists and other staff at the center. "On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, I congratulate all those who are part of the mission." […]. ^ top ^

Storms leave at least 14 dead in China's quake zone (Xinhua)
2008-09-26
At least 14 people were killed in the quake-battered Sichuan province where torrential rains triggered disasters, confirmed local government on Thursday. The victims were from Mianyang city, where 40 others were reported missing. Nearly 1.19 million people there were affected by rainstorms. Downpour and ensuing flash floods, landslides and mud-rock flows also destroyed 42,121 houses, toppled 15,979 others. Some 60,893.3 hectares of crops were ruined and 5,310 cattle were killed. Direct economic loss was estimated at 1.2 billion yuan (about 0.18 billion U.S. dollars), according to the disaster relief office under the Mianyang city government. […]. ^ top ^

Typhoon Hagupit kills 10 in south China (China Daily)
2008-09-26
The death toll from typhoon Hagupit in south China rose to 10 as of 8 a.m. on Thursday, with two still missing, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said. According to the office, Hagupit-triggered floods and high winds had affected 8.73 million residents and 400,000 hectares of crops in southern Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The disaster toppled 18,500 houses and caused a direct economic loss of 6.3 billion yuan (US $923.7 million dollars) there, it said. In a separate report on Thursday morning, the Ministry of Civil Affairs confirmed that typhoon Hagupit had caused five deaths and two missing in the two provincial-level regions as of 17:00 on Wednesday. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing to crack down on street crimes (China Daily)
2008-09-26
Plainclothes police will patrol the main streets of Beijing starting from the upcoming National Day holiday as part of a major crackdown on street crime, said Fu Zhenghua, director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Thursday. The patrols will start from Oct 1 and last till Jan 10 next year. The police will focus on the capital's main shopping areas and tourist sites to fight crimes such as robbery, theft and swindling. Security checks will also continue at subway stations, the Beijing News quoted the bureau as saying Thursday. The moves are also aimed at preventing crimes from occurring after the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games, the bureau said. During the Games, 36,000 plainclothes police were stationed around Olympic venues. Similarly, cases of theft in public areas dropped by 46 percent during the international sporting events, the lowest since 2000, bureau data showed. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

HK stocks plunge 3.97% on Wall Street fall (Xinhua)
2008-09-23
Hong Kong stocks plunged 759.35points, or 3.87 percent, to close at 18,872.85 on Tuesday, on overnight slump in the Wall Street and a weak mainland market. Turnover fell to 64.37 billion HK dollars (8.29 billion U.S. dollars) from Monday's 91.63 billion HK dollars (11.79 billion U.S. dollars). Analysts said trading activity dived as many investors chose to stay on the sidelines to reduce their exposure to the volatile market. Many said they expect the weak U.S. and Chinese equities markets to weigh on Hong Kong's blue-chip index in the near term. […] The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, was down 34.90 points at 2,201.51. The key index surged 18.0 percent in the previous two sessions after the Chinese government released a package of measures to bolster the market. Hong Kong property companies led Tuesday's decline on profit-taking after the Hang Seng property sub-index advanced 8 percent in the previous two trading sessions. The sub-index ended down 5.8 percent at 21,286.42. Li Ka-shing's property flagship, Cheung Kong, ended down 5.7 percent and Sun Hung Kai Properties slid 5.9 percent. Heavyweight HSBC Holdings was down 2.06 percent and China Mobile down 4.17 per cent. China Mengniu Dairy plunged 60 percent to 7.95 HK dollars after resuming trade Tuesday, after having been suspended for nearly a week amid the Chinese government's investigation into melamine-tainted milk products. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

3 milk products sold in Macao confirmed melamine-contaminated (Xinhua)
2008-09-26
Macao's health authorities on Thursday confirmed that three milk products, including biscuits, liquid milk and baby formula, sold in Macao were confirmed to be contaminated with melamine. The three products are Lotte Koala Biscuit (net weight 50 gram), Nestle's baby formula NESLAC Gold Growing Up 1+ Tin (net content 900 gram) and the Mengniu Breakfast Milk (net volume 900 gram), according to a press statement from the Special Administration Region's Health Bureau (SSM), which said it tested a total of 35 various milk products sold in the local market in a single batch. […] The Secretary for the SAR's Social Affairs and Culture Chui SaiOn vowed Thursday that the government would "spare no efforts" in providing medical examination and treatment for students who might have consumed contaminated milk. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama 'recovered' from stomach pains (SCMP)
2008-09-25
The Dalai Lama has recovered from abdominal pains that sent him to hospital last month, but is cutting down on travel, an aide said yesterday, even as United States President George W. Bush called to inquire about his health. The 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was cheerful and due to make his first public appearance today since leaving hospital, his aide Chhime Chhoekyapa said. "He is in good health and will start giving public teachings from Thursday to a group of students from Singapore for three days," Chhime Chhoekyapa said from the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama spent a few minutes speaking to Mr Bush, who called on Tuesday to ask about his health. ^ top ^

China issues white paper, refutes charge of "cultural genocide" in Tibet (People's Daily)
2008-09-26
China issued a white paper on Thursday to acquaint the world with its efforts on the protection and development of Tibetan culture, refuting the charge of the so-called "cultural genocide" in Tibet. It is "published to give the international community a better understanding of the reality of the protection and development of Tibetan culture" and "to further the protection and development of Tibetan culture", the white paper on Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture said. The white paper consists of six parts, "Foreword", "Learning, Use and Development of the Spoken and Written Tibetan Languages", "Inheritance, Protection and Promotion of the Tibetan Cultural Heritage", "Religious Beliefs and Native Customs Respected", "All-round Development of Modern Science, Education and the Media" and "Conclusion". […] The white paper said facts show that there has been no "cultural genocide" in Tibet at all over the past half century and more. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China shares surge 7.8% on easier buy-back rules (China Daily)
2008-09-23
Chinese share price jumped for a second day on Monday as investor confidence got further boosted by news including the US massive rescue plan and easing rules on shares buy-back. he benchmark Shanghai Composite Index finished up 161.32 points, or 7.77 percent, at 2,236.41, extending the 9.45 percent gain on Friday. The Shenzhen Component Index gained 315.07 points, or 4.40 percent, to 7,469.07. he US Treasury over the weekend proposed buying up $700 billion of mortgage-related securities amid the latest efforts to stem the financial crisis. ^ top ^

Sichuan to host first post-quake int'l investment, trade fair (Xinhua)
2008-09-23
China's southwestern Sichuan Province is to host the first international investment and trade fair from Oct. 27 to 31 since it was hit by an 8-magnitude earthquake last May. A total of 208 companies from 13 countries and regions, including the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia, will participate in the event, Huang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan, said on Tuesday. The fair provided projects of investment in the fields of new and high-technology, natural resources development, modern agriculture, cultural and tourism development, infrastructure and service trade. Huang said post-quake reconstruction projects would be an important part of the event, which was previously scheduled to run from May 25 to May 30. Investors from home and abroad were welcome to invest in 591 reconstruction projects involving 250 billion yuan. ^ top ^

Many lessons to draw from financial crisis (China Daily)
2008-09-24
Hot debates about the evolving, if not worsening, global financial crisis offer much needed food for thought as China's financial development enters a new era. Explanations of the root cause of the current financial tsunami vary greatly, but few disagree on the need for China to further deepen financial reforms to sustain its long-term growth. "Among all the financial crises, this may be the one that affects China most," Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Bank, told a financial forum in Beijing Tuesday. With the world's largest foreign exchange reserve worth more than 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars, China is relatively well positioned to weather the financial crisis. But the impact it may exert upon the Chinese economy remains huge. According to Tang, such negative consequences may include a crashing stock market, loss of overseas investment, declining exports, economic slowdown, rising unemployment and a collapse of market confidence. The soundness of the Chinese economy and limited participation in the international financial market have so far saved the country from bearing the brunt of the financial crisis. "But we cannot take it lightly," warned Tang. […] China's financial reform has surely contributed to its rise as an emerging global financial power. But a question mark hangs over how global financial liberalization, securitization and integration will influence China's further financial system reform. […] In view of the latest developments in international financial regulation, "we should strike a better balance between government regulation and the self-discipline of the financial market," noted Gong Minghua, a researcher from China Banking Regulatory Commission. Admittedly, China now boasts the most profitable lenders in the world after market-oriented reforms transformed State-owned banks into commercial lenders. But domestic financial market and financial institutions remain unable to meet the country's growing demand for financial services to fuel its economic growth. For instance, the government has spearheaded a national campaign to revive the rural economy. But by the end of last year, as much as 7 percent of villages and towns lacked any financial outlets offering simple, low-cost financial services to boost local economic growth and raise farmers' living standards. Therefore, "while emphasizing the importance of market self-discipline, we must overcome such defects in the market with effective regulation", added Gong. […]. ^ top ^

China most 'attractive' destination for FDI (China Daily)
2008-09-25
China remains the most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the developing world despite the global financial crisis, says a UN report, released Wednesday. But this year FDIs across the world will drop 10 percent from the record high of last year because major companies have scaled back their investment plans, the report says. Global FDIs rose 30 percent to $1,833 billion in 2007, even though the international financial crisis became evident midway through the year. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A), major avenues of global capital flow, have already slowed down remarkably, with their value in the first six months being 29 percent lower year-on-year. Last year, China attracted FDIs worth $83.5 billion, the highest among developing countries and sixth in the world, said the World Investment Report, prepared by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). […] Besides, the number of foreign-invested research and development centers in China has risen from about 700 in 2004 to more than 1,200 this year. This shows multinationals have changed their stance of considering China as a low-cost production base, and instead see it also as a competitive market. On the other hand, it reflects the government's emphasis on attracting quality FDIs, the report says. Brazil, Russia, India, the US and China are the five most attractive destinations for global investors, shows a survey conducted by UNCTAD. And China tops the list because of its strong economic growth and improved investment environment, UNCTAD official Liang Guoyong said. […]. ^ top ^

Contaminant scare hits liquor market - Stock prices of alcohol producers tumble; Singapore finds melamine in potato crackers (SCMP)
2008-09-25
Several listed spirits makers were forced to defend their brands yesterday as rumours that carcinogenic contaminants were found in their products had spread among panicky mainland consumers following the tainted-milk scandal. Hong Kong-listed Tsingtao Beer and mainland-listed Kweichow Moutai and Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine had to issue public statements. And in a further blow to the reputation of mainland manufacturers, Singapore said yesterday it had found traces of a toxic chemical in five more Chinese-made food products, including the first non-dairy items that had milk as an ingredient. Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, said samples of Dutch Lady-brand banana and honeydew flavoured milk, Silang-brand potato crackers and two kinds of puffed rice balls imported from China were contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical that can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. One rumour circulating on Tuesday claimed that the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine had detected sodium nitrate - a chemical that can cause cancer if consumed in excessive amounts - in samples of products of Moutai, Changyu, Tsingtao and a number of other companies that make alcoholic beverages during a nationwide inspection. The rumours sent the stock prices of almost all listed alcohol firms tumbling on Tuesday, and many fell by the maximum daily limit of 10 per cent. The three firms all denied the allegations on Tuesday night and Shanghai-listed Moutai's stock price recovered to 126.48 yuan (HK$144.51), a gain of 5.13 per cent, yesterday, while Shenzhen-listed Changyu gained 0.55 per cent to stand at 49.50 yuan. In Hong Kong, Tsingtao Beer closed at HK$14, down 10 cents, or 0.71 per cent. The China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association, a loose industrial grouping of major alcohol firms, said yesterday that state quality inspectors had not visited any of the companies as of Tuesday. But Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications professor Liu Deliang said consumer distrust over food safety was far from resolved, especially given the lack of transparency and efficiency in China's quality inspection system. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing Olympics

Olympic venues to be open for public sports (China Daily)
2008-09-25
Six Olympic venues will be open to the public for sporting activities starting this month, officials from the State General Administration of Sports (SGAS) said Wednesday. The venues include the Beijing Capital Stadium, Beijing Shooting Range, Laoshan Velodrome and mountain bike course, the national sports training center, Beijing Olympic Sports Center and Beijing Sports University. "To solve the problem of Olympic venue usage after the Games and promote sports for the masses, related departments of the SGAS have made detailed plans for the venues and opened them to the public," said SGAS deputy director Feng Jianzhong. "At the same time, the opening up of these venues will not affect the normal training of national teams," he added. The prices for the use of the venues will vary according to their operating costs and will remain affordable, Feng said. "The prices for those venues will be a little lower than commercially operated gymnasiums or venues," Feng said. "There will also be preferential prices for students, the elderly and the disabled." […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

6th Asian Women Parliamentarians and Ministers Conference meets this week in Mongolia (Mongol Messenger)
2008-09-23
Ulaanbaatar will host the 6th Asian Women Parliamentarians and Ministers Conference on 23-24 September. Women who are members of parliaments or ministers in 70 countries will be represented at the conference. The theme for the conference will be discussing health and gender related issues in enforcing the Health Millennium Development Goals. […]. ^ top ^

Newly formed Government (Mongol Messenger)
2008-09-24
Parliament ratified all Members of Government headed by S. Bayar on September 19, 2008 as it had been proposed by S. Bayar. Since the MPRP and DP had already agreed, only a few MPs needed to be questioned on their opinions as ministerial nominees during the plenary meeting when Government Members were appointed by majority support. All 8 ministers nominated by the MPRP were appointed: MP and former Prime Minister M.Enkhbold as Deputy Prime Minister with 98.3 percent; a legal advisor to the Prime Minister B.Dolgor (100 percent) as chief of the Government Secretariat Office; former MP T.Badamjunai (100 percent) as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industries; former MP T. Gandi (98.2) as Minister of Social Welfare and Labour; MP S.Batbold (100 percent) as Minister of Foreign Relations; MPRP General Secretary Yo.Otgonbayar (98.2 percent) as Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences; Director of Erdes Mongolia Industry D.Zorigt (100 percent) as Minister of Minerals and Energy; and MP Ts.Nyamdorj (100 percent ) as Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs. The DP had authority to nominate 6 ministers to Government and the following were appointed: DP Chairman N.Altankhuyag as First Deputy Prime Minister with 89.7 percent; MP S. Bayartsogt (94.9 percent) as Minister of Finance; MP L. Gansukh (91.4 percent) as Minister of Environment and Tourism; MP L. Bold (91.4 percent) as minister of Defense; MP Kh. Battulga (98.2 percent) as Minister of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development; and MP S. Lambaa (100 percent) as Minister of Health. Out of 15 Government Members, 10 are MPs and all Ministers appointed by the DP are MPs. ^ top ^

Parliament defers adjourning (Mongol Messenger)
2008-09-24
The present spring session of Parliament was scheduled to hold its last meeting today. The plan was to prepare the agenda for the Autumn session and then adjourn. However, Democratic Party's members wanted all winners of the June 29 election to attend the present session, so the Parliament decided to wait until all results were declared. The wait may turn out to be indefinite as there is no indication when the General Election Committee (GEC) hopes to declare the names of the winners in the 25th or Bayangol district constituency. ^ top ^

Republican party chairman stops hunger strike (Mongol Messenger)
2008-09-24
Republican Party (RP) Chairman B.Jargalsaikhan, former MP, who is being kept in the Gants Khudag detention center since September 4, stopped on Tuesday his hunger strike due to a request by his party's fellows and a poor health state. He went on a hunger strike last Friday. He was jailed as part of an investigation into Mongolia's deadly July 1 rioting. According to sources, Jargalsaikhan was arrested by the police who claimed that vehicles belonging to his company had been delivering stones to rioters. Authorities further claim video tape shows him as provoking rioters. ^ 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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