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
  13.10-17.10.08, No. 238  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

President Hu appoints new ambassador to United Nations (Xinhua)
2008-10-11
Beijing - Zhang Yesui has been appointed China's ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Wang Guangya, it was announced on Friday. Chinese President Hu Jintao appointed Zhang in line with decisions adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, said an official statement. ^ top ^

Top Swiss parliament leader to visit China (People's Daily)
2008-10-12
Beijing - Andre Bugnon, president of the National Council of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland will pay a visit to China from Oct.13 to 17, at the invitation of Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. ^ top ^

Chinese defense minister urges U.S. to drop proposed Taiwan arms sale (Xinhua)
2008-10-13
Beijing - Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Monday urged the United States to immediately abolish its proposed arms sale to Taiwan and end its military connection to the island, stressing the sales plan had damaged China-U.S. military ties. […] He said China hoped the U.S. side would take concrete action to insist on the one-China policy, abide by the three Sino-U.S. communiques and its commitments on the Taiwan issue, immediately abolish a relevant plan for an arms sale to Taiwan and end military connection with Taiwan to avoid destroying China-U.S. state-to-state and military-to-military relations. Hagel said he understood the Chinese government's and armed forces' concern on the issue, stressing the U.S. Congress and government both followed the one-China policy, and believed the peaceful reunification of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan was the final solution to the Taiwan issue. […]. ^ top ^

Asia-Europe summit to see record attendance (China Daily)
2008-10-15
The 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) next weekend in Beijing is set to host its largest gathering of Asian and European leaders since the biennial summit was established in 1996, a senior Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. "Among the 44 foreign members of the Asia-Europe Meeting, state and government leaders of 38 countries have confirmed they'll attend the summit," […] President Hu Jintao will attend a number of the event's important activities, while Premier Wen Jiabao will preside over the summit and host a welcome dinner for visiting world leaders, Liu said. He said the summit, themed Action and Vision: Towards a Win-Win Solution, will try to seek a joint plan by European and Asian countries to fight three major challenges facing the world - financial turbulence, energy and food safety. […]. ^ top ^

Russia hands back half of island (SCMP)
2008-10-15
Russia handed over half of an island in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang to China yesterday, formally ending a decades-long border dispute between the two countries, state media said. […] Russia handed over about 174 sq km of the western part of the island, along with the nearby Yinlong Island, China News Service reported. […] Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang yesterday hailed the peaceful resolution of the two countries' border dispute as "a lesson for the world". "The experience of China and Russia in settling these remaining border disputes further shows that peaceful dialogue and fair and reasonable consultation on equal basis is an effective way," Mr Qin said. […] The island was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1929 but this had not been accepted by China. China started to garrison its part of the island yesterday, and later sent out soldiers to patrol the border. […]. ^ top ^

China, Switzerland to boost parliamentary exchanges (Xinhua)
2008-10-15
Beijing - China will further exchanges with the Swiss parliament at all levels to push forward the comprehensive state-to-state relation, said top legislator Wu Bangguo on Wednesday. During a meeting here with Andre Bugnon, president of the National Council of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, Wu hailed the friendly relationship between the two parliaments. Both countries had established friendly working groups in their legislative organs, a new bridge to promoting exchange and friendship, said Wu, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee chairman. He added China and Switzerland were partners in trade and technology, and made fruitful cooperation in education, science, tourism and environmental protection. Developing the Sino-Swiss relation conformed to the interest of citizens of the two countries, he said. Wu added China appreciated Switzerland's adherence to the one-China policy, and would enhance mutual trust and cooperation and handle disputes properly to push forward the bilateral ties. Bugnon said the Swiss government, parliament and people had a common aspiration of improving contacts with China, and the Federal Assembly would make a contribution in this regard. ^ top ^

Senior legislator hopes more exchanges between Chinese, Swiss parliaments (Xinhua)
2008-10-16
Beijing - Wang Zhaoguo, a senior Chinese legislator, said on Thursday China hopes the two parliaments of China and Switzerland will further strengthen exchanges at all levels. We hope both sides will further promote the friendly exchange sat all levels and mainly in such fields as legislation and supervision," Wang told Andre Bugnon, president of the National Council of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. Wang, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislative body, said parliamentary exchanges are an important part of state-to-state relations, and the NPC attaches great importance to its relations with the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. Echoing Wang's remarks, Bugnon said it will help the development of deeper relations between the countries to strengthen exchanges between the two parliaments, and the Federal Assembly is ready to make contribution in this regard. ^ top ^

Chinese premier vows to strengthen ties with Pakistan (People's Daily)
2008-10-16
Beijing - China is ready to further advance strategic cooperation with Pakistan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Thursday. During a meeting with visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Wen said China and Pakistan share common interests. He pledged to help Pakistan overcome its economic problems by offering assistance, however, he did not specify what type of assistance China would provide. Wen said the two countries should continue to facilitate trade and economic cooperation in a practical, efficient and orderly way. Zardari expressed willingness to work with China to advance the two country's political friendship, which he said is "deeper than the sea." This is Zardari's first overseas trip since assuming office last month. He promised Wen, during a September meeting in New York, that he would come first to China. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese FM: Six-Party talks being coordinated (Xinhua)
2008-10-16
Beijing - The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday the date for the next round of six-party talks, regarding the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, is yet to be decided. China is working with the other five parties to come up with a date for the next Heads of Delegation meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a press conference here. He stressed that the six party heads would like to meet as soon as possible. No deadline was given as to when a date would be announced. […] Qin said he hoped the north and south sides of the Peninsula would reconcile through dialogues, adding it would be conducive to the denuclearization process. We hope relevant parties can abide by their commitments, go in the same direction and make joint efforts to promote the process of the six-party talks," Qin said. The previous Heads of Delegation meeting of the six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, Japan, the ROK, Russia and the United States, was held July 10-12 of this year in Beijing. ^ top ^

Top Chinese advisor meets speaker of Swiss National Council (Xinhua)
2008-10-16
Beijing - China's top political advisor, Jia Qinglin, pledged to strengthen ties with Switzerland on Thursday. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), met with the president of the Swiss National Council, Andre Bugnon, in Diaoyutai Guesthouse in downtown Beijing. China would like to work with Switzerland for new and significant growth in bilateral all-round cooperative ties," Jia said. The two countries forged a diplomatic relationship in 1950. In recent years, China and Switzerland expanded economic and trade cooperation, consulted each other on major international issues and worked on cultural exchanges, Jia said. Bugnon said his visit enabled him to see a prosperous and stable China. He also noted significant progress in the country's rural areas. ^ top ^

China, ASEAN sign MOU on information, media co-op (People's Daily)
2008-10-17
Nanning - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Thursday. The two sides agreed to share information through more media cooperation. Minister of China's State Council Information Office, Wang Chen, signed the China-ASEAN MOU on Information and Media Cooperation with information ministers from ASEAN nations attending a one-day conference in Nanning, capital of southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. […] Under the MOU, which goes in to effect immediately, China and ASEAN will facilitate personnel exchanges and partnerships between media industries and organizations. Collaborations in product marketing and distribution will also be encouraged as will annual meetings between journalists. The ASEAN includes 10 nations, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Bid to double rural incomes by 2020 - Government pledges to boost spending on social welfare in countryside (SCMP)
2008-10-13
The elite Central Committee of the Communist Party yesterday set a target to double the per capita disposable income of rural residents by 2020 from 2008 and pledged to increase government spending on social welfare in the countryside. A communique issued after the four-day plenum said the government would focus on modernisation of the agricultural sector and integrate the rural and urban economies. The government would also boost consumption of rural residents by a large margin and eliminate absolute poverty in rural areas by 2020, the communique said. About 15 million of the rural population still lived in absolute poverty, Xinhua said. Per capita disposable income for rural residents was 4,140 yuan last year, and the government is expecting a 6 per cent rise this year, according to Xinhua. […] The communique also highlighted more government funding to social services in the countryside. The targets include "allowing all rural residents to have the opportunity to receive a good education, providing basic security in the countryside, and improving basic medicare services and rural social-service management. […] The communique also said it would strengthen party rule in the countryside and improve grass-roots elections at the village level. […]. ^ top ^

Frustration over lawsuits in milk scandal - Courts slow to respond to cases (SCMP)
2008-10-14
Another lawsuit has been filed against milk powder manufacturer Sanlu, but apparent judicial apathy around the country is starting to frustrate parents and pro bono lawyers. The parents of six-month-old Yi Kaixuan, who died on May 1, said their baby had died from drinking Sanlu milk powder, and were seeking 1.1 million yuan in compensation. […] This is the first lawsuit brought on behalf of an infant whose death is connected to tainted milk formula. […] According to legal activist Lu Jun , one of the founders of the pro bono tainted milk powder legal advisory group which has grown to more than 100 members, none of the Sanlu-related lawsuits around the country had been accepted by courts so far. "The children are already suffering from kidney stones, please don't let them suffer judicial `stones' as well," Mr Lu said. Several other lawyers said they had received calls from parents who had tried to file lawsuits but were rejected. The courts either said they needed further instructions or just simply refused to accept the cases. […] Presiding over a State Council meeting last week, Premier Wen Jiabao called on officials to learn a "deep lesson" from the scandal and vowed tough penalties for anyone who broke the law. "We wanted to negotiate a compensation package with the milk powder manufacturers, but so far it's not going well. We need the government to step in," Mr Lu said. ^ top ^

Pre-Sept 14 dairy products ordered off shelves (China Daily)
2008-10-15
All dairy products made before Sept 14 must be pulled off the shelves to be tested for melamine, a chemical blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000, according to a government notice made public yesterday. "Regardless of the brand or the batch, all products made before that date must be taken off shelves and their sale must be stopped," said the notice jointly issued over the weekend by six central government departments including the Ministry of Health and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). […] The notice said the pre-Sept 14 products could be sold again only after they pass quality tests and are labeled as safe. […] The AQSIQ said tests have shown all powdered and liquid milk products made after Sept 14 are safe. […]. ^ top ^

Petitioners being held in 'black' jails, activists say (SCMP)
2008-10-16
Rights groups claim secret prisons, or "black" jails, are sprouting up on the mainland in a campaign by regional authorities to purge petitioners. Accusations by rights groups of petitioners being secretly imprisoned have been circulating for two years. Evidence of the secret prisons' existence has now come to light after a group of Beijing activists carried out a series of rescue missions from late last month to free petitioners locked up in a black jail attached to a run-down budget hotel in Beijing. People in search of justice or with little faith in the lower-level justice system often try to take their grievances to higher authorities in big cities like Beijing. But they are regarded as an embarrassment by lower-level governments and are often subjected to physical abuse and mental torture at the hands of police. Xu Zhiyong , a law lecturer at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, said he discovered the black jails after receiving text-message appeals for help from several petitioners locked up in a room at the Youth Hotel in Taiping Street, near Taoranting Park. Dr Xu said when he and a number of activists arrived at the jail, about 30 petitioners, most from Henan province , were confined there. Wang Jinlan , a 46-year old petitioner from Pingdingshan , said she was locked up for two days before being freed on September 22 with the activists' help. Ms Wang said about 30 petitioners were still there after she was rescued. Calls to the youth hotel went unanswered yesterday, but the hotel is one of four known black jails believed to have been set up by authorities in Henan in league with unscrupulous hotel operators and thugs. They lock up petitioners temporarily before they are repatriated to their home towns. […] It is not known how many such facilities exist in Beijing and whether any government agency authorised them, but the black jails appear to be a tactic by authorities to clamp down on petitioners since the abolition of custody and repatriation centres. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing asked to expand media freedoms seen during Games (SCMP)
2008-10-17
The mainland should extend relaxed reporting rules for foreign journalists introduced for the Olympics and apply them to the domestic media as well, Human Rights Watch said. As part of Beijing's bid to host the Games, it promised to allow foreign reporters to interview anyone without first getting government permission, though the state's grip over domestic media did not ease. Human Rights Watch Asia advocacy director Sophie Richardson said: "Keeping the regulations in effect and extending them to Chinese journalists would be one of the most important legacies of the Games.". ^ top ^

Premier Wen comes out in full support of GM crops (SCMP)
2008-10-17
The central government will use transgenic crops to boost farmers' incomes and reinvigorate the rural economy, Premier Wen Jiabao told Science magazine. Mr Wen, a geologist by training, said science and technology were the "well- springs" of development. In contrast to previous ambiguity, he openly supported the commercial growth of genetically modified crops. "I strongly advocate making great efforts to pursue transgenic engineering. The recent food shortages around the world have further strengthened my belief [in developing such technologies]," Mr Wen was quoted by the US journal as saying. And in a first for a Chinese leader, Mr Wen publicly sided with the US government and criticised European countries for erecting trade barriers to transgenic crops, preventing them from reaching African countries. "Don't mix transgenic science with trade barriers," he said. "That would block [the] development of science.". ^ top ^

Beijing moves to stop land being taken from farmers (SCMP)
2008-10-17
The mainland will limit the power of local governments to take land from farmers for commercial use in an attempt to quell widespread discontent over forcible land seizures. How to narrow the scope of land requisitions and limit them to public facilities topped the agenda of the third plenary session of the Communist Party's elite Central Committee, which closed on Sunday, top rural policymaker Chen Xiwen says. Mr Chen was quoted by mainland magazine Caijing as saying the government was also considering whether to allow rural collective bodies, which are owners of rural land, to negotiate commercial leases approved by government. "The crux [of the rural reform discussed in the plenary session] is to narrow the scope of land requisitions and limit them for public use," he said. "For construction projects approved by the central government, rural collectives can retain their ownership and sell the land-use right on the market. The price can be negotiated by farmer collectives and land users." Rural land is owned by vague bodies known as collectives, a term that usually refers to rural brigades or village committees. Under the existing law, government requisition is needed before rural land can be reclassified for urban construction. That means local governments monopolise the entire process - from taking over land from farmers to leasing the land to developers. Rural land seizures and the expansion of cities have become major sources of income for local governments - which usually pay farmers low prices for land and then lease it to urban developers at a high price. Such practices have given rise to many riots and protests by landless farmers. […] The government has yet to release the rural-policy blueprint discussed at the plenary session. Rumours are rife about Central Committee disagreements over extending land contracts for another 70 years and relaxing lease conditions on rural residential land. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Traffic eases on car ban's first day (China Daily)
2008-10-14
Traffic ran relatively smoothly in Beijing yesterday, the first day in which the vehicular ban took a fifth of the capital's 3.5 million cars off its roads, the local transportation authority said. […] The move is part of a six-month trial that took affect last Saturday, keeping private cars off the roads for one weekday per week depending on their license plates' final digits. It comes on the heels of a policy adopted from Oct 1 that has kept about 30 percent, or 800,000, vehicles from the roads a day by placing a similar ban on government cars. […] While the city government insisted the new ban will ease congestion and reduce vehicular emissions, some experts said the measure will do little, advising governmental promotion of greener fuels and higher car ownership requirements. "Beijing should expand use of cleaner gasoline, increase fuel taxes and parking fees, and start collecting congestion fees," Yang Fuqiang, chief representative of the US-based Energy Foundation in Beijing, said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong chief delivers 2008-09 policy address (Xinhua)
2008-10-15
Hong Kong - Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang delivered the 2008-09 Policy Address at the Legislative Council Wednesday morning, outlining the HKSAR government's policy direction in the coming year. […] According to Tsang, Hong Kong's economic growth declined noticeably to 4.2 percent in the second quarter and he expected the economy to slow further due to the worsening global credit crisis. […] He said the HKSAR government will carry out major infrastructure projects and development strategies laid out in his manifesto to reinforce Hong Kong's role as a global financial center. The HKSAR government is expected to spend hundreds of millions of HK dollars on those large-scale infrastructure projects, including the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the West Kowloon Cultural District. […] On exchanges with Taiwan, Tsang said the HKSAR government is strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan to enable Hong Kong to complement enhanced cross-strait relations and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will set up an office in Taipei. […] On food safety, Tsang said the HKSAR government will give priority to drafting the relevant part of the Food Safety Bill so that the authorities can promptly ban the import and sale, and order the recall of problem food when necessary following the melamine-tainted milk products from the Chinese mainland. On the controversial legislation for minimum wage, Tsang said in his address that the HKSAR government will now proceed with the legislative work because the Wage Protection Movement is unsatisfactory. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

China mainland customs says trade with Taiwan to keep good momentum (People's Daily)
2008-10-13
Beijing - China's mainland customs authority said here on Monday trade with Taiwan would continue maintaining the current momentum to grow steadily. According to the mainland's General Administration of Customs, trade between the mainland and Taiwan in August amounted to 12.23 billion U.S. dollars, in which the mainland's imports were worth 9.7 billion U.S. dollars and exports to Taiwan achieved a record 2.52 billion U.S. dollars. Through August, trade between the mainland and Taiwan totaled 93.11 billion U.S. dollars, soaring 20 percent year on year. The growth rate was 7 percentage points higher than last year's figure. […].^ top ^

ARATS chairman: Mainland to actively engage in cross-Strait talks (People's Daily)
2008-10-17
The mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) will actively engage in talks with its Taiwan counterpart for agreements on direct flight, shipping and mail, said ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin here Thursday. The ARATS will try to reach a settlement on food safety with the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), its counterpart across the Taiwan Strait, Chen told a visiting Taiwan business delegation headed by Jeffrey L.S. Koo, China trust Financial Holding Co. Ltd chairman. The two organizations will also exchange their views on cross-Strait financial cooperation and how to normalize economic ties and establish a cooperative mechanism, Chen said. "We will work to create a better environment for cross-Strait exchange and cooperation in all fields," he said. "We would like to work for anything that is conducive to peaceful development across the Strait and benefits Taiwan compatriots and try our best." […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama remains in hospital (SCMP)
2008-10-14
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is recovering steadily from surgery to remove gallstones, but will not leave hospital until later in the week, doctors said yesterday. The 73-year-old had the keyhole procedure in New Delhi on Friday and his spokesman had said he would be released today. ^ top ^

Tibetan monks jailed over unrest (SCMP)
2008-10-15
A court has sentenced eight Tibetan monks to between five years and life in prison for bombing a government building in Tibet during unrest there in March, the Free Tibet Campaign said. Xinhua said in April that police had arrested nine monks from the Tongxia monastery in Gyanbe township suspected of involvement in the bombing of a government building on March 23, and that they had all confessed to the crime. ^ top ^

Premier: China to boost economic, social development in Tibetan regions (Xinhua)
2008-10-15
Beijing - China will take measures to boost economic and social development in Tibetan regions in four provinces, according to a notice about a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. Wednesday's executive meeting of the State Council, the country's Cabinet, discussed how to support development in the Tibetan regions of Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu provinces. […] Measures should be taken to protect and build the ecological environment and improve people's living standard in these areas, and to make the income of urban and rural residents approach or reach the average level in western China by 2012 and approach national average by 2020. Moreover, public services including education, public health and medical services should be improved in these areas, and infrastructure construction should be carried out to better support development.. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Exports still booming despite global crisis (China Daily)
2008-10-14
China's foreign trade registered robust growth in the first nine months at US$1.97 trillion, up 25.2 percent year-on-year, according to Customs figures released yesterday. In September, exports rose 21.5 percent from the same period last year, compared to 21.1 percent in August. Imports rose 21.3 percent. But economists and trade officials warn that exports in the coming months could run into rough weather as the impact of the financial crisis spreads to non-financial sectors, and global demand declines as a result of a slowdown in developed economies.[…] Trade with the US, China's second largest trading partner, turned sluggish. The figure was US$251.5 billion for the first nine months, up 13.8 percent year-on-year but the increase was 1.8 percentage points lower than last year. The EU remained China's largest trading partner with bilateral trade amounting to US$322.5 billion, up 25.9 percent year on year. But economists estimate growth to slow in the next few months as the continent feels the full impact of the crisis.[…]. ^ top ^

Consultants: China economy to remain strong amid global financial turmoil (Xinhua)
2008-10-14
Beijing - China will keep reasonably robust economic growth despite the ongoing international economic recession, according to Merrill Lynch analysts here on Tuesday. As part of the world economy, China certainly would be affected by the current financial crisis," said Liu Erfei, the company's managing director. "We expect the country's economy to slow down from its (current) double-digit growth to an 8 or 9 percent (annual GDP) increase, still relatively rapid." […] The New York-based investment bank and brokerage house attributed the country's stable economic performance to the governmental control on its state capital. Domestic capital market has not been completely open to the outside yet. This enables the country to avoid major international financial risks," Liu said. […] Meanwhile, the company's research showed domestic consumption would stand out as a major driver for the country's economic growth at a time when exports and the property sector were affected by a shrinking global market. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese companies reported profit loss in Q3 (Xinhua)
2008-10-16
Beijing - More than half of Chinese listed firms that have so far released their third quarter reports have seen falling profits, according to mainland consultant Wind Info on Thursday. Of the 23 companies that have reported their quarterly performances, the net profits of 14 companies dropped in the July-September period compared with the previous quarter, statistics from Wind Info showed. According to the financial data provider, most companies, including those nine that had profit growth, said they were affected either by high material costs or low sales prices. […] While expecting more losses to be reported, analysts said business for the manufacturing industry could improve in the fourth quarter, as producers would begin to benefit from decline in raw material prices such as crude oil since July. ^ top ^

Consumer caution dents domestic market (Xinhua)
2008-10-16
Beijing - While the global financial crisis is not directly affecting China's financial sector, it has dampened the confidence of consumers who are trying to figure out what impact it will have on domestic jobs and exports. Such lingering doubts have prompted many Chinese consumers to exercise much greater caution in spending on non-essential goods as they prefer to put money aside for possible rainy days ahead. This cloud of consumer gloom is widely expected to hang over the economy for quite some time, despite the sharp rebound of stock markets around the world after global rescue packages were announced earlier this week. […] With the decline of the stock market and the profit squeeze suffered by many small and medium-sized companies, it will take a while for China's domestic consumption to absorb shortfalls in exports," said Wang Depei, director of Forecast Think Tank in Shanghai. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing readies steps to counter impact of crisis (SCMP)
2008-10-17
With exports and production slowing and profits falling in coastal regions, the central government is ready to launch a series of measures to counter the impact of global financial turmoil, according to senior officials in Beijing and beyond. Du Ying , deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, the mainland's top economic planning agency, said foreign trade volume, value-added output and profit growth of manufacturers in coastal areas had been falling since July. […] The central bank has already worked with counterparts worldwide to loosen monetary policy, cutting interest rates twice to support growth. Economists expect more monetary easing, as well as a relaxation of fiscal policy to prop up domestic demand and increases in public spending. […] On Sunday, the Communist Party's Central Committee said after a four-day meeting that the government would keep its macroeconomic policy flexible and seek to expand domestic demand in the face of the grim international economic environment. The National Bureau of Statistics will soon release key third-quarter economic data. Many economists expect it to report that annual GDP growth dropped below 10 per cent. In the second quarter, the economy grew by 10.1 per cent year on year. Full-year growth last year was 11.9 per cent. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China, DPRK to boost economic, trade cooperation (Xinhua)
2008-10-14
Pyongyang - Commercial officials of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said to boost cooperation on economy and trade in an annual bilateral meeting held in Pyongyang on Tuesday. China will pragmatically push the bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a new high on the principle of being guided by the government and with the participation of businesses and market operations, said Wang Chao, Assistant Minister of China's Commerce Ministry, during the 4th meeting of the China-DPRK Economic, Trade and Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee. Developing and enlarging DPRK-China cooperation on economy and trade has been the persistent stand of the DPRK government, said Gu Ben Tae, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade. The DPRK will continue to go along with China to promote bilateral commercial cooperation and contribute to the DPRK-China friendship, he added. […]. ^ top ^

North Korean Mata Hari jailed in assassination plots (Nationalpost.com)
2008-10-16
Suweon, South Korea - A North Korean spy, described as Asia's Mata Hari, was jailed for five years yesterday for using sex to plot assassinations with poisoned needles and obtain secrets from military officers. Prosecutors claimed Won Jeong-Hwa, 35, entered South Korea posing as a refugee when in fact she was a spy with handlers in Pyongyang. But the defence painted a different picture of Won, who has confessed and signed a pledge of repentance and loyalty to South Korea.The court heard how she began her career as a spy after falling into the hands of the North's secret services and being "brainwashed." She was arrested for stealing zinc, a scrap metal which North Koreans often smuggle into China in return for food. Fearful for her life, she claimed in her defence that she complied with her orders only to protect her family, who would now be at grave risk and possible execution. […] Investigators said Won had served jail time for theft in the North and feared possible execution for another theft. She fled to northeast China but returned home and in 1998 became a spy for the North's espionage agency. Her first task was to arrange the kidnap of North Korean defectors in China, they said. "In China, I earnestly carried out various missions, helping kidnapping North Korean defectors and South Koreans and engaging in drug trafficking," Won told the court. […] Meanwhile, she sought out army officers in accordance with her orders from Pyongyang -- photographs and business cards belonging to 23 were found in her belongings. She slept with them and eventually became the long-term lover of one, Captain Hwang. She used him to obtain secret information, according to evidence produced at her trial. […] Perhaps the oddest feature of her case is how she first aroused suspicion. She had been hired to talk to South Korean soldiers of the evils of life in the North. Touring military bases provided good cover for her activities. But in her 33rd lecture she loosed a volley of pro-Pyongyang propaganda. North Korea has denied she was its agent, calling her "human scum" and describing the trial as a "threadbare charade" orchestrated to heighten tensions. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Local Election: MPRP wins in 16 aimags, DP in 5 AIMAGS (www.news.mn)
2008-10-14
Last Sunday, local elections were held all over Mongolia. No results have been officially announced as yet, but all reports of the local election received so far indicate that the MPRP has won in 16 of the 21 aimags, with DP claiming victory in Arkhangai, Dornogobi, Zavkhan, Umnugobi, and Sukhbaatar. While low voter turnout will necessitate re-election in all Ulaanbaatar constituencies to elect members to the Capital City Citizens' Representative Assembly, it is believed the GEC is still collecting data on voter participation in the district constituencies. Only after this will it be able to decide where, when and if re-elections are to be held. Except in two soums – Zamiin-Uud of Dornogobi, and Darkhan of Khentii – voter turnout everywhere in the 21 provinces was above the mandatory minimum of 50%. ^ top ^

Mongolia, China hold seminar on good-neighborly relations (People's Daily)
2008-10-15
Ulan Bator - A seminar on the development and prospect of good-neighborly relations between China and Mongolia took place Wednesday in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator. In recent years, the good-neighborly relations between China and Mongolia have developed smoothly, and have featured frequent high-level visits and ever deepening cooperation in various fields, Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Yu Hongyao said. […] Over 60 officials and scholars from the two countries attended the two-day seminar. They will discuss and exchange views on topics including the development of bilateral relations since the forging of diplomatic ties in 1949 and trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. […]. ^ top ^

Change in Parliament Election Law Sought (www.news.mn)
2008-10-15
Their experience of the last Parliamentary election has convinced a number of MPs from both parties that the law on election needs to be changed. They have set up a working group to draft amendments. The general feeling is in favour of a proportional system of representation, in which people will vote only for parties and the parties will choose their representatives to Parliament. The quota for women MPs is likely to be reintroduced. Women interested in a political career have come together and established a club without any individual party affiliation to work for this goal. ^ top ^

No reply from UN office on Human Rights Queries (www.news.mn)
2008-10-15
Su.Batbold, Minister for Foreign Relations, has written to MP R.Amarjargal that the Ministry has received no reply from the UN Human Rights Office to the letter the MP sent it through the Ministry to seek certain clarifications from the UN on Mongolian citizens' rights after the death of five people on July 1-2. ^ top ^

Woman jailed for July 1 Violence (www.news.mn)
2008-10-15
Cases against people charged with involvement in the July 1 violence are being gradually disposed of. B.Badamkhand was the first woman to be convicted when the district court in Bayanzurkh yesterday sentenced her to five years and seven months in prison for robbery. Her companion A.Bayanbaatar was sentenced to 6 years and 2 months of strict imprisonment, T.Ulziitaivan and G.Tuvaajav got five years in a normal-regime prison, and D.Gandavsuren and A.Byambadorj were sentenced to three years each. B.Bat-Amgalgan was acquitted for lack of evidence, on a plea from the inspector. ^ 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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