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
  06.10-10.10.08, No. 237  
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Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Aso plans Beijing trip (SCMP)
2008-10-06
Japan's new prime minister, Taro Aso, plans to visit China this month for his first summit with mainland leaders since taking office last month. He would attend an Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Beijing on October 24-25 and planned talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao , Kyodo reported. There has been speculation that Mr Aso may call a general election this month, making some within the government concerned he may not be able to attend the Asem. But Mr Aso had indicated he would first implement measures to fight the economic slowdown rather than calling an election, which would allow him to visit Beijing, Kyodo said. […]. ^ top ^

China urges progress on UN reform by seeking widest possible consensus (Xinhua)
2008-10-07
United Nations - China on Monday called for further progress on the reform of the United Nations by seeking the widest possible consensus through democratic consultations. Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy permanent representative to United Nations, made the appeal while addressing a General Assembly session on UN Chief Ban Ki-moon's report on the work of the organization. […] China supports the reform of the Security Council in which we believe that priority should be given to the increase of the representation of the developing countries, African countries in particular," Liu said. […] Calling Human Rights Council as "one of the most important achievements of this round of UN reform," Liu said that China approves the overall work done by the council since its founding. China supports the Human Rights Council in carrying out its work in a fair, objective and non-selective manner on the basis of mutual respect so as to promote the constructive international dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights, Liu said. […]. ^ top ^

China, Vietnam to open direct transport between border cities (Xinhua)
2008-10-06
Nanning - China and Vietnam will open a direct transport service between their respective border cities of Pingxiang and Lang Son by year end, according to a Chinese official on Monday. Irregular shuttle buses, government vehicles and private cars would be allowed to pass the shared Friendship Gate Port and drive in each other's city, said Song Jian, director of the International Road Transport Administration under the China Friendship Gate Port. […] During their meeting late last month, the two sides agreed transport authorities would start issuing permits to the vehicles of the direct transport service. […] The direct transport service is expected to greatly boost bilateral cooperation in transport, trade, tourism and other areas," Song said. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing condemns US military sales, cuts some activities (SCMP)
2008-10-08
Beijing condemned US arms sales to Taipei again yesterday, saying it undermined efforts to foster better military ties, after reports emerged from the Pentagon that Beijing had cancelled a series of Sino-US military and diplomatic contacts in protest. The Foreign Ministry would not confirm the United States officials' statements about Beijing's cancellation of several inter-military exchanges, but warned that Washington's planned US$6.5 billion sale of advanced weaponry to Taipei had "severely obstructed high-level exchanges between the two sides on various fronts". "For many years [the two countries] have made active efforts to promote and strengthen military ties between China and the US," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "But the US ignored China's firm stance and strong opposition, and insisted on selling weapons to Taiwan. This has contaminated the positive atmosphere for Sino-US relations." In Washington on Monday, the US Defence Department's spokesman, Marine Major Stewart Upton, said that Beijing had notified the US that it would halt several senior-level visits and other co-operative plans. "In response to Friday's announcement of Taiwan arms sales, the People's Republic of China cancelled or postponed several upcoming military-to-military exchanges," Major Upton said. […] The officials said it would not affect Beijing's participation with Washington in six-party talks to get North Korea to yield nuclear weapons, or in the international effort against Iran's nuclear programmes. The Pentagon's Defence Security Co-operation Agency had told US lawmakers on Friday that it was proposing to sell weapons to Taiwan including 330 Patriot missiles and 30 Apache helicopters. Beijing reacted angrily, with Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei summoning US diplomats in to lodge a strong protest. It said on Saturday that the move had interfered with the nation's internal affairs and harmed its national security. Washington's arms sales to Taipei have irritated Beijing as it considers the breakaway island its renegade province - and has threatened to invade if the self-governing island ever formalises its de facto independence. The US has been Taiwan's most important ally and largest arms supplier. The Pentagon had said the arms deals were consistent with the US-Taiwan Relations Act. […]. ^ top ^

China grasps its global role (SCMP)
2008-10-10
The world's humbled economic powerhouses are reaching out to developing countries to help solve the credit crisis - and China's involvement in Wednesday's co-ordinated interest-rate cut suggests it is willing to join the fight. Policymakers in the United States and Europe seemed to be lurching from crisis to crisis, leaving investors wondering whether governments had an inkling of how to end the credit crunch. That is partly why rate cuts from seven world central banks failed to halt the global stock sell-off. However, China's participation with US and European central banks in a co-ordinated cut for the first time shows that world leaders recognise everyone stands to lose unless something is done soon, and that they are prepared to co-operate in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. ^ top ^

Resume military ties with US, Beijing urged (SCMP)
2008-10-10
The commander of US forces in the Pacific called yesterday for Beijing to resume "as soon as possible" military-to-military exchanges it suspended in protest over Washington's decision to sell US$6.5 billion worth of advanced weaponry to Taiwan. Beijing said the next US president should not allow a repeat of the arms sale, which it maintained had damaged relations. Admiral Timothy Keating confirmed that China had cancelled or postponed a number of military exchange programmes, including one covering humanitarian-disaster relief and a visit by a senior Chinese defence official to Washington and Hawaii. He refused to elaborate further on the programmes. "We regret their so doing, we hope they will reconsider soon," Admiral Keating said. "I'm sorry it happened. It's regrettable." Admiral Keating said relations between the two nation's militaries remained close. […] "We watch China very carefully and we are as open as possible with them," he said. "We encourage them to do the same." […] US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have endorsed the Pentagon's decision. "The administration is taking a step in the right direction," Senator McCain, the Republican, said. "We should understand that the possibility of productive ties between Taiwan and China are enhanced, not diminished, when Taipei speaks from a position of strength." Wendy Morigi - national security spokeswoman for Democrat Senator Obama - said the latest sale "helps to contribute to Taiwan's defence and the maintenance of a healthy balance in the Taiwan Strait". ^ top ^

Pakistan president to make 1st visit to China (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will pay a state visit to China next week, his first trip abroad since assuming office in September. As a guest of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Zardari will pay a state visit to China from Oct. 14 to 17," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Thursday. […] During his stay, Zardari is expected to hold talks with Hu and meet with other Chinese leaders, including top legislator Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and top advisor Jia Qinglin. Qin said China expected Zardari's visit to deepen bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership. ^ top ^

China calls for "unbiased, scientific, fair treatment" of dairy products (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - China's government has called for "unbiased, scientific and fair treatment" of its dairy products abroad after the scandal of the melamine contamination that left at least three infants dead and thousands ill. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China "understands" the concerns of countries that have restricted imports of its dairy products, but Chinese food safety watchdogs had strengthened supervision of exported dairy products. Food safety authorities had promised that once problems were detected, China would immediately inform the concerned countries and demand the responsible manufacturer recall or destroy the tainted product. […] He added that food safety had become a global challenge, and China was committed to stepping up its communication and cooperation with the international community to address the issue. ^ top ^

ASEM Summit to address pressing global issues (Xinhua)
2008-10-10
Beijing - Asian and European leaders from more than 40 countries are expected to arrive in Beijing on Oct 24 for a two-day summit to address a series of pressing global issues, particularly the current financial crisis. […] The financial issue is clearly going to be on top of the summit's agenda because the US-born crisis has already become a global problem and is substantially impacting both the European and Asian markets," said Pan Guang, professor at the Institute of European and Asian Studies with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. […] Apart from the financial turmoil, the summit is also scheduled to address urgent global issues such as the food crisis, climate change and energy cooperation. Thorny regional issues like the Russia-Georgia conflict and the nuclear issue in Iran and the Korean Peninsula are likely to be touched upon as well. For China, the summit can be seen as "an opportunity for Beijing to deepen bilateral relations under a multilateral framework," said Feng Zhongping, director of European studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. ^ top ^

China supports DPRK, U.S. to maintain contact on nuclear issue (Xinhua)
2008-10-07
Beijing - China supported the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States keeping contact and deemed the U.S. chief nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill's DPRK visit as beneficial, the Foreign Ministry said here on Tuesday. The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula has achieved important progress through the concerted efforts by all the parties involved, but it also arrives at a crucial point to make further developments," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular briefing. Chinese top nuclear negotiator and Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met Hill on Oct. 4 in Beijing and listened to a briefing of his three-day visit to the DPRK. Hill had substantive and lengthy talks with DPRK officials. Qin said it was in accord with the interests of all the parties to push forward the progress of the talks, realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintain the peace and stability of the Northeast Asian region. […]. ^ top ^

China Demands Repatriation of Uighur Detainees Held at Guantanamo (voanews.com)
2008-10-09
China is repeating calls for 17 Uighurs in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be repatriated to China. The Uighurs are from a Muslim minority group that lives in far northwestern China. U.S. authorities have cleared them of being enemy combatants, but they are now embroiled in a dispute over where to send them once they are released. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing. U.S. authorities picked up the Uighurs in Afghanistan and Pakistan more than seven years ago, along with other suspected terrorists. Now, the 17 Uighurs have been cleared of being enemy combatants and U.S. authorities want to free them. But the sticking point is where they should go once they are released. In 2006, U.S. authorities released five Uighurs from Guantanamo and sent them to Albania. Now, though, the Bush administration has been having a harder time finding a third country to accept the Chinese Muslims. The White House fears the detainees could be tortured if they are turned over to China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said fears of persecution are not valid. Qin says people who worry that the Uighurs will be tortured if returned to China have a "biased mind." He says China is a country ruled by law, and that Chinese law forbids torture. At the same time, […]. He says he hopes the United States will, "honor its obligations and fulfill its anti-terrorism commitment," by repatriating the Uighurs to China. […]. ^ top ^

China leads developing countries on health list (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - China ranked 13th on a list ranking international health conditions released by a Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) study group on Wednesday. The tally uses a Nation Health Index (NHI) combining four branch indexes measuring populations' metabolisms, immunities, nervous systems and behavior, and determined China to be "qualified healthy". A nation is like a person," CAS' study group leader Yang Duogui said. Yang explained that immunities hinge on ecological conditions, resistance to financial risk and social stability. […] Forty-five countries - accounting for 89.5 percent of the global GDP, 76.6 percent of the population and 64.2 percent of the land - were evaluated in the study. […] China ranked No 1 among developing countries because of its pioneering spirit, sense of responsibility, economic vitality and cohesion. […]. ^ top ^

Anger over one nominee, pride for another Nobel Prize winner (SCMP)
2008-10-10
Having a homegrown Nobel laureate has been a long-standing dream for many on the mainland, but the great expectations of one of them winning the prestigious prize this year has prompted criticism from Beijing and tighter control of his family on the eve of the award's announcement. Hu Jia, a frontrunner for this year's Nobel Peace Prize and now in jail, was a criminal, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. It said that awarding the honour to him would amount to interference in the mainland's domestic affairs and judicial independence. "I believe it's very obvious to everyone what kind of man Hu Jia is," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "He is a criminal convicted of subverting state power by the country's judicial apparatus. "The Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to people who really contribute to promoting world peace. If they wanted to find a Chinese person, I believe there are tens of thousands of people who are qualified for the prize here in China." Controls on Hu's family have apparently been stepped up since news about his likely win emerged. It was still possible to contact his wife, fellow activist Zeng Jinyan, last week, but the home telephone line was blocked last night. Ms Zeng's weblog had updates from her last week but was inaccessible yesterday. A prominent rights activist, Hu, 35, championed causes from environmental protection and the plight of HIV/Aids patients to the well-being of fellow activists until he was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in jail in April. Pundits have suggested this year's Nobel Peace Prize could go to a Chinese or a Russian to highlight rights problems on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Other favourites include democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng and Chechen human rights lawyer Lidiya Yusupova. In contrast to silence in the mainland media over Hu's nomination, state media widely reported the Nobel Prize for chemistry won by US-born Roger Tsien, nephew of Qian Xuesen, one of the mainland's most famous scientists. Commonly referred to in headlines only as the nephew of 97-year-old Professor Qian, Professor Tsien was quoted as saying he hoped his prize would encourage Chinese students and scientists, even though he was not a Chinese scientist. But many people were not impressed and wondered on the internet why the mainland had yet to nurture a homegrown Nobel winner. A commentator named Liang Ding said: "This is the reality that we have to face: our writer won the prize after fleeing to France, our chemistry and physics scientists won the prize after running to America. "So we have to ponder why the same 'tangerine' cannot bear a Nobel fruit when planted in China's soil." So far, most Chinese laureates have won for work in other countries, mostly the United States. None is a mainland resident. Another Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi yesterday with a recurrence of his abdominal pains. A senior doctor there said "chances are that the Dalai Lama will be operated upon, probably [today]". But Dalai Lama spokesman Tenzin Takhla said the spiritual leader was undergoing "routine tests". ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

6.8-magnitude earthquake hits Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2008-10-06
Urumqi- A 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook northwest China Sunday night, said the National Seismological Network. So far, no casualties have been reported.
The epicenter was fixed […] in a mountainous area about 100 km away from the county seat of Wuqia, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture. […] In Simuhana, the nearest village to the quake's epicenter, some houses had cracks and broken windows but mobile telecom signal was still available. […]. ^ top ^

Crises 'contained by controls on media' - Propaganda chief says campaigns successful in wielding influence during critical times (SCMP)
2008-10-06
Media controls and government propaganda campaigns helped the Communist Party survive a series of crises in the first half of the year, according to the nation's propaganda chief. The self-praise by Liu Yunshan , a well-known party hardliner, was published in the latest issue of party magazine Qiushi. It comes at a time when the party's Central Propaganda Department has been under fire for gagging the media during the Olympics and events such as the Sichuan earthquake and the tainted-milk scandal. The article - an edited version of a speech delivered to party officials on July 31 - said media controls and propaganda campaigns were key to the party's hold on power in times of crisis. Mr Liu said this year would stand out as a special year because as the country had been looking forward to the Olympics it was hit with several crises, including the earthquake and riots in Tibet. "The propaganda and ideology front has focused on several large and tough [propaganda] battles according to the strategy laid down by the party leadership," Mr Liu said. He said the propaganda campaigns had served "crucial functions at the critical time and wielded huge influence, highlighting the status and functions of propaganda work". Mr Liu said the propaganda machine had carefully created "an atmosphere of stability" by sending reporters to disaster areas immediately after the earthquake so that government leaders had a better idea about the needs of victims, and directing the country's attention to relief efforts and donation campaigns. […]. ^ top ^

New White Rabbit candy awaits tests (People's Daily)
2008-10-07
Guan Sheng Yuan Food Co said yesterday it has resumed production of the popular White Rabbit candy. The company stopped domestic sales of the candy last month because of suspected melamine contamination. A new supply of safe, high-quality powdered milk is now being used, the company said. The milk and finished products will undergo tests by the Shanghai Quality & Technical Supervision and the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau, it said. The company, however, declined to disclose the origin of its raw milk and when its products will go on sale again. Last month, Singapore and Hong Kong detected the industrial chemical melamine in the candy and pulled it from market shelves. […] "This is a profound lesson. From now on, we must realistically strengthen the idea of supplying customers with healthy, safe and high-quality food," vice-president of Bright Foods Group Ge Junjie was quoted as saying. […]. ^ top ^

Mainland establishes melamine standards - Dairy products for infants limited to 1ppm; for adults, ceiling for chemical set at 2.5ppm (SCMP)
2008-10-09
The central government unveiled a set of permissible melamine limits for dairy products yesterday in the aftermath of a milk contamination scandal that prompted governments around the world to rush to do the same. Stressing that melamine - the chemical at the centre of the scandal, which has killed at least four babies on the mainland - should not be tolerated in dairy products, Ministry of Health officials said the new regulations were in place only as a regulatory tool but not an indicator that such toxins were permissible in food. Under provisional regulations released yesterday, infant milk formula made in China should not contain more than 1 part per million of melamine. For products not targeted at babies, the level is set at 2.5 parts per million, the same level set by Hong Kong authorities after the scandal surfaced. […]. ^ top ^

China tests find no melamine in new liquid milk (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - The latest tests on Chinese liquid dairy products found no traces of melamine, the country's top quality control agency said on Thursday. It was the eighth investigation on the industrial chemical following the tainted baby formula scandal that killed at least three infants and sickened more than 50,000 others, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). The latest tests covered 855 batches of liquid milk, including yogurt, from 77 brands in 22 major and four mid-size cities, the agency said. At present, 3,681 batches of liquid dairy products from 126 brands produced after Sept. 14 were tested and none contained melamine, it added. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese environmental watchdog blacklists polluted cities (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - An annual urban environment assessment report has blacklisted such major Chinese cities as northwestern Xinjiang's Urumqi and central Hubei's industrial Huanggang for their poor environmental record. The report, released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Wednesday, said northern Inner Mongolia's Bayannur and Ulanqab, northwestern Gansu's Baiyin, Xinjiang's regional capital Urumqi and Hubei's Huanggang had "relatively poor" air quality. It also listed cities having low-level water quality. They were Hengshui and Cangzhou in northern Hebei, Linfen in northern Shanxi, Fuyang in eastern Anhui, Tongchuan in northwestern Shaanxi and Wuwei in Gansu. The report said in 2007 the country's overall urban environment had improved and local governments had increased spending on environmental protection. […] The report assessed the environment of 617 cities, more than 90 percent of the national total, up by 22 over the previous year. […]. ^ top ^

Plenum grapples with reforms for rural economy (SCMP)
2008-10-10
The global financial crisis cast a shadow over the opening yesterday of the third meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee elected a year ago. The four-day plenum will discuss a state document containing proposals to solve major problems with rural development. It is expected to offer solutions to boost the rural economy. […] The reform the farmers spawned - which later spread beyond agriculture - is known as the household responsibility system. Under the scheme, small and often scattered pieces of farmland were allocated to individual households to restore incentives. […]Lu Xueyi, a veteran rural expert and a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the leadership chose rural development as the theme for the Central Committee meeting because it realised the urgent need to boost domestic demand. He said the global financial crisis had made China realise it could no longer rely on exports as the engine for its economic growth. The only way to maintain strong growth in the midst of global depression was to boost domestic consumption, he said, and that could only be done by having a vibrant rural economy. Morgan Stanley economist Wang Qing says strengthening long-term rural policies will help China's economy in times of global turmoil. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing moves to curb car growth (People's Daily)
2008-10-10
Two million more cars are expected to take to Beijing's roads by 2012, bringing the number to 5.4 million. This daunting figure has prompted authorities to find better solutions to ease traffic congestion and pollution. Beijing is seeing an increase of about 20 percent, or 300,000 new cars a year, Guo Jifu, director of the Beijing municipal transportation development research center, told a conference on Wednesday. […] "We need to come up with new administrative and legislative measures to restrict new car growth," Guo said. He said Beijing must introduce more bus-only lanes to encourage more people to use public transport during rush hours. […] He said more subway lines should also be built until demand is met. The even/odd license plate number policy adopted during the Beijing Olympics to ease road traffic and pollution, should be reintroduced in central Beijing, Guo said. "The introduction of fees for the use of certain roads during peak hours must be looked at too," he said. […]. Li Xin, another official with the center, said to Beijing plans to ban a total of 357,000 "yellow plate" vehicles from entering the Fifth Ring Road starting from Jan 1 next year to improve the city's air quality.. […]. ^ top ^

Even-odd rule to be used in case of heavy pollution (People's Daily)
2008-10-10
Beijing's environmental protection bureau's deputy director Du Shaozhong said the city will adopt stricter vehicular restrictions during periods of heavy air pollution. While all cars will be restricted from driving at least one weekday depending on the last digit of their license plate numbers, during periods of heavier pollution, an even-odd license plate number rule would ban half the capital's 3.4 million cars from the roads. […] In addition, work will be suspended at construction sites and plants that produce high levels of pollution. When these conditions threaten air quality, causing the air pollution index (API) to reach at least 300, the government will notify the public of a ban two days in advance. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing elected president of HKSAR LegCo (Xinhua)
2008-10-08
Hongkong - Jasper Tsang Yok-sing was elected the president of the fourth term Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) here Wednesday. Tsang, member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), won 36 to 24 against Fred Li Wah-ming of the Democratic Party in a secret ballot by the 60 newly sworn- in members of the fourth term LegCo of the HKSAR. The LegCo will face a lot of challenges in the coming four years," 61-year-old Tsang said in his brief speech after chairing the first session of the new term LegCo meeting, "I will do my utmost as the LegCo President to turn those challenges into our achievements for Hong Kong with other colleagues." According to the Basic Law, the President of the LegCo shall exercise powers and functions such as presiding over meetings; deciding on the agenda, giving priorities to government bills for inclusion in the agenda; deciding on the time of meetings; calling special sessions during the recess; calling emergency sessions on the request of the Chief Executive of HKSAR and other powers and functions of the president in the rules of the procedures of the LegCo. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Night markets may come to rescue of flagging tourism (SCMP)
2008-10-10
Macau's government is expected to launch night markets in an attempt to revitalise old districts and boost tourism, industry sources say. The idea for night markets, which are a major tourist draw in Taiwan and elsewhere in the region, has taken on fresh urgency amid growing uncertainty about the economic outlook and the impact on the casino trade of mainland curbs on travel to Macau. […] Macau is trying to diversify beyond the gaming industry, which has seen rapid expansion and the development of Las Vegas-style casino resorts. Many casinos contain luxury shops to attract non-gamers and get them to stay longer. […] There is usually little correlation between the casino industry and economic growth but, with Macau trying to project itself as somewhere to visit for more than gambling and dining, the tourism industry is looking to shopping as the "third reason" for visitors to come to Macau. "What comes to mind when you think of Macau? Food and casinos and nothing else. We are hoping shopping can be the third thing. Right now, retail is still in the early development phase here, but many retail brands are doing well," another industry source said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

August figure of Taiwan's jobless highest in three years (Xinhua)
2008-10-06
Taipei - Taiwan reported the most number of unemployed people in August compared with the same month in the previous two years, according to a local media report. The number of "long-term" unemployed, referring to those out of work for at least one year, hit 63,000 in August, the report said, citing the latest figures from the Taiwan authorities. Of these, 56 percent were aged under 30 and almost 30 percent were educated to college level or above. […]The statistics of September was still being processed, the report said, warning that if it was to continue rising, the situation would be even more serious than expected.^ top ^

Taiwan detains ex-intelligence chief over Chen scandal (SCMP)
2008-10-07
In a surprise move, a Taiwanese court ordered the detention yesterday of a former investigation chief over his alleged role in a snowballing US$21 million money laundering scandal implicating ex-president Chen Shui-bian. Yeh Sheng-mao - former director of the island's top investigation agency, the Investigation Bureau - was issued two more charges as he was brought to Taipei District Court for allegedly covering up the scandal and leaking information to Mr Chen. "After a further probe, we believe the defendant, Yeh Sheng-mao, might be involved in two other crimes - falsifying the classification level of official documents and concealing documents to help a third party make illicit gains," Judge Huang Chun-ming said. As the second crime - which is considered an act of corruption - is subject to a sentence of more than five years in jail, the panel of judges decided to detain Yeh to prevent him from tampering with evidence related to the case if freed, Judge Huang said. The detention order surprised Yeh, who had been freed on bail in August after being charged with concealing documents that hampered investigations into the scandal. The court has heard the case but has not rendered a verdict. […].^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tourists avoid Tibet after violent clashes (SCMP)
2008-10-07
Tourists are continuing to give Tibet a miss more than six months after deadly rioting in Lhasa, Xinhua reported yesterday. The number of visitors staying overnight during last week's National Day holiday was down 41.5 per cent to just 110,900, Xinhua said. Tourism took a major hit from the March 14 riot, in which Tibetans attacked migrants and torched much of Lhasa's commercial district, leaving 19 people dead by the official account. Travel bans and a crackdown on monasteries saw tourist arrivals in the first half of the year down 69 per cent. Lhasa's celebrated Drepung monastery reopened to the public in August after monks had been subjected to pro-government propaganda. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama has medical tests (SCMP)
2008-10-08
The Dalai Lama has undergone a routine medical examination, weeks after he was admitted to hospital with abdominal pains, his spokesman said. The Nobel laureate spent four days in a Mumbai hospital in August. "The tests were done in the afternoon. Doctors are saying that there's nothing wrong," said a spokesman for the Tibetan spiritual leader. The 73-year-old will return home to Dharamsala - the northern Indian town where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based - tomorrow. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Impact of global financial turmoil on China seen as limited (Xinhua)
2008-10-04
Beijing - The ongoing global financial turbulence will have a limited impact on China's banks and financial system in the short run, according to officials and experts. We feel China's financial system and its banks are, to the chaos developed in the U.S. and other parts of the world, relatively shielded from those problems," said senior economist Louis Kuijs at the World Bank Beijing Office. […] However, he expected an impact on China's banks coming via the country's real economy, as exports, investment and plans of companies would be affected by the troubled world economy and in turn increase pressure on bad loans. […]. ^ top ^

Wall Street turmoil tests China's foreign trade (People's Daily)
2008-10-06
The disillusionment of Wall Street myth has further endangered the already downward global economy, and posed a fresh threat to China's foreign trade, which is already on the verge of collapse. 'The year 2008 has thus far proved to be the most arduous year for China's foreign trade exports since its entry into the WTO,' predicted in the beginning of the year by international authorities. The latest statistics suggested that, from January through to August this year, China's foreign trade exports went up by 22.4 percent, while it was 27,7 percent the same period last year, showing a dim prospect for China's foreign trade. […] Meanwhile, China and the U.S. have been crucial trade partners to each other. But compare with last year, the bilateral trade volume dropped by 3.1 percentage points in the first eight months of the year. In particular, the orders placed for Chinese toys and garments, which used to enjoy a bulky share in the U.S market, turned to a sharp decline. […] On top of that, the exacerbation of the global inflation and the untamed price hike in energy and resources have directly jacked up the production costs; besides, the international ocean freight has also gone up by more than 30 percent. Consequently, the costs gap between the developed countries and the emerging economies will have been narrowed, causing the possible return of international manufacturing industries to the developed countries and their neighboring regions. In a long run, the relative advantages of 'made-in-Chinas' would possibly be offset, and China's competitiveness in exports would be dulled. Additionally, the global geopolitics is getting increasingly complex, neo trade protectionism is looking up, and in future, the trade barriers against China would increase rather than decrease. From the perspectives of China's domestic situation, with the rise in costs and the revaluation of RMB, as well as the monetary policies, many export-oriented and labor-intensive industries and enterprises cannot run profitably and efficiently in the country's bustling business areas lying along the Yangtze Delta and the Pearl Delta. But generally speaking, the challenges facing China's foreign trade are mostly from outside uncertainties instead of coming within China. At present, the difficulties from both outside and inside are interweaving and accumulating, and the foreign demands continue to shrink. It is expected that in the second half of the year the growth rate in China's exports would see no bounce-back, even though no cascading fall is predicted. […]. ^ top ^

China central bank cuts interest rate, reserve requirement to stimulate economy (Xinhua)
2008-10-09
Beijing - China's central bank on Wednesday announced cuts in both the interest rate and reserve-requirement ratio in the latest effort to boost the domestic economy amid worries over the deepening global financial crisis. The deposit and lending rates would be lowered by 0.27 percentage points from Thursday and the reserve-requirement ratio would be down by 0.5 percentage points from Oct. 15, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said. This was mainly out of concerns over an economic slowdown," said Ba Shusong, deputy chief of the Finance Research Institute under the Development Research Center of the State Council. The rate cut was expected as the world was faced with a cycle of interest rate cuts," he told Xinhua. The loosening in monetary policy, the second such move in less than a month, highlighted the government's rising concern over the slowing economy and slumping capital market. […] Its exports, a major driver behind the economy, reported slowing growth this year as the credit crisis reduced overseas demand for its goods. This has led to the closures of tens of thousands of local exporters and also job losses. Local businesses bore the brunt of higher borrowing costs and were even finding it difficult to get credit after last year's tightening measures aimed at curbing inflation and averting economic overheating. […] In another move to boost domestic demand, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said it would scrap the 5 percent individual income tax on savings interest earnings starting on Thursday. China began levying a 20 percent individual income tax on interest earnings in 1999 to narrow the income gap and encourage consumption and investment. The tax rate was slashed to 5 percent on Aug. 15, 2007. The income tax cut was a must as it would help alleviate the erosion on personal income by high prices, especially given the cut in the deposit rate, Li Yang, head of the Finance Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The tax cut, together with lower borrowing costs, would boost domestic demand, an increasingly more important driver of economy in the global credit crisis, Zuo Xiaolei, China Galaxy Securities chief economist, said. […]. ^ top ^

Vice premier: China confident, capable of overcoming economic challenges (Xinhua)
2008-10-10
Beijing - Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said on Thursday the country is fully confident and capable of overcoming the current economic difficulties, vowing to work closely with other countries to safeguard stability of the global financial market. Wang, in his meeting with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said China has already taken relevant measures to face up to the turbulences of the international financial market. […] He believes China has great potential in domestic market and economic growth, adding the country would continue to take measures to maintain the stable and relatively fast economic development. The Chinese government is to strengthen coordination with other countries to face up to the global crisis and promote the stability of the global economic and financial market," Wang told Schroeder. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Police frees 10 riot suspects (UB Post)
2008-10-09
Authorities recently nine youths and one women charged with participating in the July 1 riots, following guarantees family members to vouch for their whereabouts and good behaviour. All ten suspects were accused of stealing during chaos that ensued when violence marred post election protests. Police arrested nearly 200 people during riot and its aftermath. As investigations continued, 96 suspects were cleared of wrongdoing while 90 others were detained. ^ top ^

Oil refinery plant to be constructed (Montsame)
2008-10-08
At the initiative of the Mongolsekiuy company, an oil refinery plant will be constructed in Darkhan city, Mongolia. This project will be funded by Japanese International Cooperation Bank. According to Director of Mongolsekiuy T.Namjim, a construction of the plant will commence in spring next year and finish June 2012. The plant is expected to fully cover the domestic petroleum usage by the year 2015. Total investments for the project are estimated at about 1 billion US dollars. ^ top ^

11 billion Mnt of damages occurred due to July 1 riot (Montsame)
2008-10-08
A total of MNT 11 billion 236 million damages have been recorded due to a July 1 riots according to an official estimation of the court of first instance. The Metropolitan Court claims Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has suffered losses of MNT 8 billion 60 million, the Central Cultural Palace -MNT 2 billion 267 million 130 thousands and the General Police Department--of MNT 83 million 726 million. At the trial at the Chingeltei District Court on October 6, four of the July 1 rioters have been sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. In addition, Khan-Uul District Court is judging cases related to six people who have been accused of taking part in the public disturbance and in vandalism. Two of them are adolescents. ^ top ^

 

Philipp Orga
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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