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
  20.10-24.10.08, No. 239  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China signs zero-tariff trade deal with Senegal (People's Daily)
2008-10-18
China signed Friday a trade deal with Senegal to offer zero-tariff treatment to more than 400 categories of goods imported from Senegal. […] The two peoples will benefit from the agreement which raised the number of tariff-free Senegalese export products to China from about 190 in 2005 to more than 600, the Chinese ambassador added. Diop said that the agreement was of great significance for the two countries to strengthen their economic and trade cooperation. […] At the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2006, the Chinese government pledged to further open China's market to exports from Africa's least developed countries by raising the number of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment from 190 to 440. ^ top ^

Wen to discuss crisis, energy on Russia trip (SCMP)
2008-10-22
Premier Wen Jiabao will discuss the global financial meltdown and energy co-operation when he meets Russian and other Central Asian leaders next week. Deputy Foreign Minister Li Hui said Mr Wen would visit Russia from October 27 to 30 to hold talks with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and President Dmitry Medvedev. During those meetings and the annual Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) summit talks in Kazakhstan on October 31, Mr Wen and other leaders would discuss ways to tackle the financial crisis, Mr Li said. "China and Russia have taken a series of measures in the face of the financial crisis," he said. "During his meetings with Russian leaders and those from SCO member countries, Premier Wen and his counterparts will talk about exploring opportunities for co-operation to stabilise their own countries' and the region's finances." […] While there was speculation that an agreement would be signed on a long-awaited oil pipeline from Russia to China, Mr Li would not say if any progress had been made on the project. […]. ^ top ^

Free-trade pact with Singapore (SCMP)
2008-10-22
Singapore and China will sign a free-trade agreement in Beijing during a visit this week by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the city-state's foreign ministry said. Mr Lee would make an official visit to China from today until Monday in conjunction with his attendance at a summit of Asian and European leaders this weekend, the ministry said. […] The deal includes trade in both goods and services. ^ top ^

WHO criticises food safety system (SCMP)
2008-10-23
The mainland's food safety system is chaotic, poorly informed, "old fashioned" and has poorly trained staff, according to a WHO investigation into the factors behind the milk contamination crisis. The report "recognises and applauds the many actions taken by the government of China in the area of food safety" and "the consequent improvement" in the system. But it also exposes in telling detail the poor state of the system. […] The most puzzling issue for the authors was the number of laws, regulations and government bodies to oversee food safety, said Tony Hazzard, the World Health Organisation's adviser on food safety. "There needs to be one food law that governs all aspects of the system. Currently, there is too much ambiguity among the different bodies with roles in food safety," he said. Contrary to a common criticism from mainland residents, the report said the central government had intervened too much - not too little - in food safety. "Primary responsibility for food safety lies with food producers and food businesses, while government authorities are responsible for enforcing food controls effectively," Mr Hazzard said. Jorgen Schlundt, director of the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases at the WHO headquarters, said an old-fashioned system had contributed to the contamination. Dr Schlundt said a disjointed system with authority dispersed between different ministries and agencies had resulted in poor communication and a prolonged outbreak with a late response. "If there had been better detection and follow up, this problem would not have been as severe. A coherent system covering the full farm-to-table food production continuum would most likely have ensured quicker intervention," Dr Schlundt said. […]. ^ top ^

China considering attending G20 summit on financial crisis (People's Daily)
2008-10-23
Beijing, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- China is "actively considering" attending an international summit of the G20 forum of countries on the global financial crisis, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. China wants the international community to coordinate and strengthen cooperation to jointly cope with the global financial crisis and maintain global financial stability," said Qin Gang at a regular press conference. […] U.S. President George W. Bush has called a meeting of heads of the G20 members at the White House next month. After being urged at weekend talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to hold a summit to review the whole global financial structure, Bush's office said the heads of 20 developed and emerging countries would gather in Washington on Nov. 15. ^ top ^

China criticises EU rights award to dissident on eve of summit (SCMP)
2008-10-24
Prominent mainland activist Hu Jia has been awarded a prestigious human rights award by the European Parliament on the eve of the summit between Asian and European leaders in Beijing today. The decision to give the 35-year-old activist the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was well received by his family and friends but also immediately drew a sharp rebuke from the central government, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao saying the award breached the norms of international relations. Announcing the award, European Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering called Hu "one of the real defenders of human rights in the People's Republic of China". […] Serving a 3-1/2-year sentence in a Beijing prison on subversion charges since April, Hu was selected from a shortlist of three finalists for the top prize. But, calling Hu a "criminal", Mr Liu said last night the award was a "gross interference in China's domestic affairs". […] Beijing had made strong protests to the European Union before yesterday's announcement, with its ambassador to the EU, Song Zhe, expressing "much regret" in a letter to the president of the EU assembly. […] A core member of the mainland's growing activism movement in recent years, Hu played a vital role in raising international attention and awareness of the plight of the nation's activists. He also campaigned for HIV/Aids issues and environmental protection. […]. ^ top ^

More help on turmoil sought from China (SCMP)
2008-10-24
As European and Asian leaders arrived in Beijing for a two-day summit on the global economic crisis, which opens today, key European heads of state appeared set to call for more help from Chinese leaders. This comes as Bank of China vice-president Zhu Min yesterday said he did not think the crisis would end soon. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Union President Jose Barroso are likely to ask for help from state leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to tackle the world turmoil. […] Mr Barroso yesterday called for "unprecedented levels of global co-ordination" to deal with the financial meltdown. "We need a co-ordinated global response to reform the global financial system. We are living in unprecedented times and we need unprecedented levels of global co-ordination," he said in Beijing. "It's very simple. We swim together or we sink together." […] Mr Zhu voiced fears over how to finance the US$700 billion bailout plan in the US, saying it would lead to depreciation of the US dollar and subsequently a currency crisis. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qing Gang said yesterday the summit would be a chance for Asian and European countries to exchange views on how to strengthen co-ordination and co-operation. He also said that in the process of solving the crisis, developed countries should take the economic realities of developing countries fully into consideration and help these nations maintain economic and financial stability. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese Premier says govt. responsible in tainted milk incident (Xinhua)
2008-10-18
Beijing - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said his government is partly responsible for the tainted milk incident, particularly concerning industry regulation. We feel that though the incident occurred in enterprises, the government is also responsible, " Wen said. […] The government shall also strengthen legislation so as every phase of food production, from the farm to the dinner table, is put under strict supervising according to the law, said the Premier. He also said the government will look into and draw up a plan for the revival of China's food industry. […] I once again solemnly emphasize that it is absolutely impermissible to sacrifice people's lives and health in exchange for temporary economic development," Wen said. […]. ^ top ^

Reforms to improve rural life announced - Farmers allowed to transfer land-use rights (SCMP)
2008-10-20
The mainland yesterday announced a widely anticipated reform allowing farmers to transfer their so-called land-use rights, which the government sees as a way to develop large-scale agriculture and improve rural living standards. […] Under mainland law, farmland is collectively owned, but allocated to farmers in small plots under long-term leasing contracts, typically 30 years. The decision endorsed by the party's Central Committee would establish markets for the lease of contracted farmland and the transfer of land-use rights, allowing farmers to sub-contract, lease or exchange their rights, Xinhua said. One such market has already been set up in the southwest city of Chengdu. Transfers must be voluntary, in return for adequate payment and legally carried out, the document said. It said the land must be used for its original purpose. […] Critics have argued that the policy could give rise to powerful landlords and landless farmers. Some have also raised worries that arable land could be put to uses other than farming, threatening China's grain security. […] Repeating an earlier pledge, the document vowed to double the annual per capita disposable income of rural residents from the current level to around US$1,200 by 2020. And according to the document, the government would also relax control over the migration to cities. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese quality watchdog says latest-tested milk safe (Xinhua)
2008-10-20
Beijing - China's quality watchdog said on Sunday no trace of melamine was found in the latest nationwide tests on liquid milk. […] The tests covered 477 batches of baby formula from 66 brands in 22 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. The government set temporary melamine content limits in dairy products of a maximum of 1 mg per kg of infant formula and a maximum 2.5 mg per kg for liquid milk, milk powder and food products that contained at least 15 percent milk. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing to pay more for its grain reserves - Move aimed at boosting income in rural areas (SCMP)
2008-10-21
Beijing plans to raise significantly the purchase prices of various grains for national reserves and increase its own investment to boost food productivity in the latest attempt to narrow the urban-rural income gap. The move will see the government forking out more money to buy grain such as corn, rice and rapeseed from farmers for reserves. The latest policies, unveiled yesterday by the National Development and Reform Commission, follow on the heels of the central government's plan to improve rural living standards, a theme at a top Communist Party meeting this month. The grain-price rises will take effect on January 1. According to the commission's website, the minimum price of mixed wheat will increase by 22 fen (25 HK cents) to 1.66 yuan a kilogram, an increase of 15.3 per cent. […] The government also pledged to increase investment in agriculture so that grain production capacity could rise by 50 million tonnes from next year to 2020. Specifically, more money would be spent on irrigation, energy, transport and drinking water. […] Farmers would receive more subsidies to cover rising fertiliser costs and equipment expenses. Those growing wheat, paddy rice, corn and soya beans would also receive extra subsidies, the commission said. The government would try to stabilise fertiliser prices by ensuring enough reserves and increasing production during low seasons. The Communist Party put rural welfare on the top of the agenda during its Central Committee meeting in Beijing because of the widening urban-rural income gap. […]. ^ top ^

Halfway right (SCMP)
2008-10-22
Ever since China was awarded the 2008 Beijing Olympics seven years ago, hopes had been high that the country's human rights performance would markedly improve, especially in the months leading up to the event. […] The general feeling now is that the Olympics, while highly successful in terms of enhancing China's international image, will not leave any permanent impact in terms of making the country more liberal and less authoritarian. However, on Friday night - technically the last day of the Olympic period - Beijing made an announcement that provided some ground for optimism that the Olympics would, after all, leave a positive legacy. Fifteen minutes before more liberalised rules governing foreign journalists brought in during the Olympic period were about to expire, the Chinese foreign ministry held a press conference where it was announced that the rules would be made permanent. […] Those rules do not apply to the Chinese journalists and media, who will continue to be subject to orders from the Communist Party's Propaganda Department and told what to report and what to shun. But making it a little easier for foreign correspondents to do their work is a definite step forward for China. Moreover, China does not allow foreign news organisations to hire Chinese nationals to act as correspondents, though it is possible to employ locals as researchers and news assistants. […] Under the relaxed rules, foreign correspondents will be able to travel to large parts of the country and to interview anyone who agrees to be interviewed without needing to get approval from government authorities or to be accompanied by Chinese officials. […]. ^ top ^

Screens go black as XP patches strike fakes - Anger at Microsoft anti-piracy move (SCMP)
2008-10-22
Thousands of computer users' screens went black across the mainland yesterday as they felt the impact of the newest step in Microsoft's global anti-piracy push. Users of illegal copies of the Microsoft XP operating system and Microsoft Office software fell foul of software patches known as Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) and Office Genuine Advantage (OGA), which they unknowingly downloaded and installed recently through XP's automatic update facility. When they switched on their computers yesterday the software scanned their system to see whether they were using genuine or illegal XP. […] Assurances from a Microsoft China spokesman that the patches were aimed only at improving user experience by promoting copyright awareness did little to placate computer users, with some calling the act a declaration of war by Microsoft. […]. ^ top ^

Second fleeing mainland official is revealed to be lost in France (SCMP)
2008-10-23
France seems to be the preferred destination for fleeing mainland bureaucrats, with the second revelation in as many days of a grass-roots level mainland official apparently seeking shelter overseas. Xin Weimin, a deputy head of downtown Shanghai's swanky Luwan district, was confirmed "missing" during a recent official visit to France, according to news365.com, a portal run by the Shanghai municipal government. The news came hot on the heels of the alleged defection to France of Yang Xianghong, a municipal-level Communist Party cadre from Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, who has insisted on staying in Paris for more than two weeks after rounding off an official tour this month. But unlike Mr Yang, Mr Xin was not among the party ranks. A senior member of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK), one of the eight non-communist "democratic" parties, Mr Xin covered education, sport and public health in his portfolio in Luwan, which includes the Xintiandi district. Mr Xin also held a seat at the People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top advisory body. […]. ^ top ^

Emissions set to double: report (SCMP)
2008-10-23
The mainland's greenhouse gas emissions could double - or be worse - in two decades, says a state think-tank study. Beijing has not released recent official data on greenhouse gases from the nation's use of coal, oil and gas. Researchers abroad estimate mainland carbon dioxide emissions now easily outstrip those of the United States, long the biggest emitter. But in a break with official reticence, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have concluded that, without dramatic countermeasures, mainland emissions will tower over that of all others much sooner and higher than an earlier government forecast indicated. […]. ^ top ^

Lawmakers to finalise draft food safety law (SCMP)
2008-10-24
The country's top legislature met yesterday in Beijing for the start of a six-day session where several proposed laws and reports, including the much-anticipated food safety legislation, will be read and approved. The fifth session of the 11th National People's Congress Standing Committee, which ends on Tuesday, will hold an emergency reading of the draft food safety law in the wake of the contaminated dairy products scandal, which left more than 50,000 babies with kidney problems. […] Specific changes were made after the melamine contamination of milk products emerged last month. […] It demands that authorities responsible for agriculture, quality inspection, food and drug supervision, and industry and commerce report food safety incidents immediately to the health authorities, which in turn should report to higher levels without delay, hiding facts or destroying evidence. […] Food manufacturers are prohibited from adding any chemicals other than the approved additives. "Only those proved to be safe and necessary in food production are allowed to be listed as food additives," the draft said. The draft also bans inspection exemptions, a practice started in 2000 to shield top companies from repeated quality inspections but ended last month over apparent abuse by dairy manufacturers involved in the melamine contamination scandal. ^ top ^

Chinese policeman executed for brutal killing (People's Daily)
2008-10-24
A policeman in central China's Henan Province was executed on Thursday after killing a man by throwing him from the third storey of a police office building. Li Litian of Zhoukou City was executed here for killing Li Shengli, a laid-off worker, on Sept. 20, 2004. Li and five other cops beat the man at the station because the latter was involved in a spat with the family of local court official Lu Liusheng. The beating was a favor Lu had asked of the officers. Later, the worker was thrown from the third storey of the station by the cops. A city court handed down a death sentence to Li and gave court official Lu Liusheng a death sentence with a two-year reprieve in May 2007. The ruling was upheld by the provincial higher court in November and was approved by the Supreme Court. The other officers received differing jail terms, including a life sentence. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing dangles bonus for firms to cease high-pollution production (Xinhua)
2008-10-19
Beijing enterprises could get a government bonus ranging from 500,000 yuan (73,195 U.S. dollars) to 2.3 million yuan for ceasing high-pollution production, the city's finance bureau announced on Sunday. The move is to stimulate the replacement of high-pollution industries with environmentally-friendly economies, according to the Finance Bureau of Beijing. […] Bureau officials said fiscal incentives would be granted in accordance with the amount of energy, water and emission the companies saved or cut. […] The policy was the latest effort of the capital to cut pollutant emissions and save energy. On Monday, up to 800,000 cars were taken off local roads as a traffic restriction officially began. The ban was considered a major step to reducing gas emissions in addition to improving traffic. ^ top ^

Former Beijing vice-mayor to appeal death sentence (SCMP)
2008-10-23
Former Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua has filed an appeal against his death sentence, suspended for two years, for corruption, a human rights group reported. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Liu filed the appeal yesterday and had hired well-known lawyer Mo Shaoping for his appeal. The centre said Mr Mo had visited Liu at Qincheng Prison and Liu had raised the suggestion that his conviction violated the Criminal Procedural Law, which stipulated that a case be tried within eight months after indictment. This would have put the deadline in August. Liu was sentenced to death last Saturday for accepting 7 million yuan (HK$7.96 million) in bribes. ^ top ^

UN report: Beijing tops list of world's cities with highest level of equality (People's Daily)
2008-10-23
Beijing is the city with the highest level of equality in the world,according to an annual report on the "State of the World's Cities 2008/2009" released in London on October 22 by UN-HABITAT. The report elaborated on the status quo of the world's cities in terms of their spatial distribution, expansion and reduction, the extent of social harmony and equality and the relationship between urban development and the environment. […] After examining the Gini Index, which measures the status of a city's income distribution and its housing index, the report concluded that some cities in China show a lower rate of inequality on the world scale, with Beijing topping the list of cities with the highest level of equality. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai starts key administrative reform to boost governance (People's Daily)
2008-10-21
Shanghai's municipal government has announced the launch of major reforms aimed at streamlining its administrative branches. The city government said in a statement released late on Monday that the central government had approved the reform plan, making it the first in the country to get the go-ahead for restructuring. […] Under the plan, Shanghai will merge agencies that have similar functions and scrap institutions that are redundant. The goal was to "improve the organizational structure of government agencies", the statement said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong's jobless rate climbs 3.4% (Xinhua)
2008-10-20
Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.4 percent in July-September period from 3.2 percent in June-August 2008, reversing the decrease seen earlier in the year, revealed the latest figures released by the Census and Statistics Department here Monday. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Secretary for Labor and Welfare, warned that the September figures might not have reflected the impact of the global financial turmoil, which is now beginning to be felt. Looking ahead, unemployment is likely to rise further in the near term," he said, pointing to some sectors bound to be affected by a contraction in business triggered by the global economic crisis. […]. ^ top ^

HK finds Munchy's biscuit sample tainted with melamine (People's Daily)
2008-10-21
A sample of Munchy's The Original Sugar Crackers has been found to contain 4 ppm (parts permillion) of melamine, which was above the legal limit of 2.5 ppm, Hong Kong's food safety watchdog said Tuesday. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) said it tested 55 food samples, including milk, biscuits, cakes and pudding powder, in the latest batch of melamine test results. Fifty-four of the tested samples were satisfactory, the center said. […] The center said it has informed the food trade of the test results, asked the food trade to stop selling the product and sent warning letters to the retailer and the importer concerned. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao's inflation hit 8.43% (Xinhua)
2008-10-21
Macao's inflation rate in September 2008 as measured by the Composite CPI (Consumer Price Index) on an annual basis reached 8.43 percent, which was 0.26 percentage point higher than August, according to the figure released on Tuesday by the city's Statistics and Census Service (DSEC). […]. ^ top ^

Macau unveils national security bill (SCMP)
2008-10-23
Macau unveiled a draft security bill yesterday that appears softer than the Hong Kong version that spurred a massive protest in 2003. Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah said it was a "sacred duty" to enact a national security law, given Article 23 of its Basic Law. Mr Ho also cited the city's reliance on the mainland for its well-being. "The nation's safety, stability, prosperity and strength are of vital importance for Macau's stability and sustainable development. Defending national security is the sacred duty of the SAR government and Macau people," Mr Ho said. […] Violations of the planned security law could carry a maximum penalty of 25 to 30 years in jail. Critics say the draft bill looks toned down compared with a Hong Kong version published in 2002. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan announces plan to create more jobs (Xinhua)
2008-10-22
Taipei - Taiwan authorities pledged on Wednesday afternoon to inject 3.7 billion New Taiwan dollars (112 million U.S. dollars) to help at least 30,000 local residents find employment by the end of next June. Wang Ju-hsuan, chairwoman of the "Council of Labor Affairs of Executive Yuan," announced plans to encourage private businesses to offer more jobs for locals. Under the plan, private enterprises would be compensated with 10,000 New Taiwan dollars each month for hiring one Taiwanese who had been out of work for three months or longer. They could also receive nearly 18,000 New Taiwan dollars a month for recruiting first-time job seekers. […].^ top ^

Taiwan vows to protect negotiator during visit (SCMP)
2008-10-24
Taiwan has vowed to ensure "absolute safety" during a proposed visit by Chen Yunlin , the mainland's top negotiator, possibly on November 3. Lai Shin-yuan - chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top mainland policy planning body - said yesterday she was confident of Mr Chen's personal safety throughout his stay. She said the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), a government-funded body set up by Taiwan to deal with the mainland in the absence of formal ties, has "recommended that Chairman Chen come to Taiwan on November 3 for the second round of talks" on the relaxation of cross-strait links, she said. The talks were originally planned for the end of this month in Taipei, but a recent physical attack on Mr Chen's deputy, Zhang Mingqing , by a group of pro-independence activists in Tainan, has cast a pall over the prospect of holding the second round in Taipei. Mr Zhang - vice-chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats), a mainland counterpart of the SEF - was shoved to the ground and punched in the head on Tuesday during a visit to a Confucian temple. Tainan, in the south, is a bastion of independence supporters. He cut short his trip and returned to the mainland on Wednesday, prompting speculation that the second round of talks might have to be at least postponed. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet economy grows 9% in first three quarters (Xinhua)
2008-10-23
Lhasa - Tibet's economy grew 9 percent in the first three quarters compared to the same period last year, totaling 27.5 billion yuan (about 4 billion U.S. dollars) in gross domestic product, regional government statistics show. According to an official statement released on Thursday, Tibet economy overcame the negative effects brought about by the March 14 violence incident in Lhasa and sustained a high level of growth with the continued government investment in housing, agriculture and infrastructure development. This southwest China autonomous region took in 1.6 billion yuan in revenue, up 11.6 percent year on year. The per capita income met an initial government target and grew about 14 percent from a year ago to reach 2,001 yuan. Fixed-asset investment increased 12.9 percent to 20.67 billion yuan through September. Tourism, which suffered a 69-percent decline in first six months, returned to normal in the third quarter, it said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China lays framework for Q4 national economic development (Xinhua)
2008-10-19
Beijing - China will adopt a flexible and prudent macro-control policy to keep a stable and rapid economic development in the current fourth quarter, according to the State Council here on Sunday. Related financial, credit and foreign trade measures will be carried out in the near future in response to the slowing trend of the country's economic growth and the continuous fluctuation in the domestic capital market amid the ongoing global financial crisis, according to a State Council meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday. Agriculture continued to be a priority, with multiple support policies to come following the Communist Party of China Central Committee's decision to strengthen rural development this week. To boost development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, the government planned to widen their investment channels by further encouraging financial institutions to give out more loans. Companies would also get more fiscal support for technology innovation. […] With regard to the foreign trade sector, the State Council, China's Cabinet, decided to increase imports of goods of domestic need and support the country's exports so as to realize the balance of international payments. We will further raise the export rebate of labour-intensive products such as garments and textiles, as well as mechanical and electrical products with high-added value," the council said. […] While acknowledging the affect of the worldwide economic slowdown on the domestic economy, the Cabinet still expressed confidence for the nation to continue a healthy development. ^ top ^

Mainland feels the force of global storm (SCMP)
2008-10-21
The mainland's economy grew at the slowest pace in five years in the third quarter as the global financial crisis hit exports and investments, raising pressure on Beijing to introduce more stimulus measures. The world's fourth-biggest economy expanded by 9 per cent in the three months to the end of September - its first slide into single digits since 2005 - as demand for Chinese goods, property and other investments weakened. "China has been battered by the global storm and the worst is yet to come," said Sherman Chan, an economist with Moody's Economy.com. "More economies are following the United States into recession." The double-digit expansion of recent years has disappeared as the sub-prime crisis and associated credit tightening affected Asia. Third-quarter growth was lower than many economists' expectations, and compared with 10.4 per cent in the first half and 11.9 per cent for the whole of last year. For the first nine months of this year, industrial output increased 15.2 per cent, down 3.3 percentage points from the growth posted a year ago. The year-on-year increase in September was 11.4 per cent, a six-year low. "The slowdown reflected the deteriorating export sector," said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist with HSBC (SEHK: 0005, announcements, news). Exports grew 22.3 per cent to US$1.07 trillion in the first three quarters, 4.8 percentage points lower than the growth achieved in the same period last year. National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Li Xiaochao said the nation was starting to feel a big impact from the global turmoil. "In the first three quarters, the contribution from goods and services to economic growth dropped by 8.9 percentage points, to 12.5 per cent," Mr Li said, citing preliminary figures. But some sectors of the economy appear to be holding up. Fixed asset investment gained 27 per cent year on year in the first nine months of the year, 1.3 percentage points higher than a year ago. Retail sales rose 22 per cent, up 6.1 percentage points year on year.. […]. ^ top ^

50% of toy firms 'gone in 2 years' (China Daily)
2008-10-21
As many as half of all toy manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta could go out of business within the next two years, an industry expert said yesterday, following the closure of the Smart Union toy factory here last week. Speaking in an interview with Guangzhou Daily, Wang Zhiguang, vice-chairman of the Dongguan Toy Industry Association, said: "Of the 3,800-odd toy firms in Dongguan, no more than 2,000 are likely to survive the next couple of years." His pessimistic forecast is based on analysis of the rising cost of raw materials, soaring overheads, the global market slowdown and deprecation of the US dollar, he said. […] According to figures from the association, since 2006, the total cost of producing toys has risen by about 60 percent, while contract prices have gone up by an average of just 10 percent. Also, according to the local customs bureau, Dongguan firms exported $550 million worth of toys in the first half of this year, down 1.5 percent on last year, and the first drop for three years. […] "One of the main problems is that many toymakers in Dongguan rely too much on orders from the US and Europe. The financial crises there have led directly to a reduction in orders," he said. The number of orders his firm has received for this Christmas is about half what it reported last year, he said. […]. ^ top ^

China to raise export tax rebates for textile, garment products (Xinhua)
2008-10-21
Beijing - China is raising tax rebates for certain exports to help producers cope with smaller profit margins as a result of slacking market demand, the yuan's appreciation and rising production costs. Those rebates will start Nov. 1, according to a circular on the web site of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Tuesday. The adjustment involves 3,486 items from labor intensive industries such as textile, garment, toy, hi-tech and high added value sectors like anti-AIDS drugs and tempered glass. Those items account for 25.8 percent of what's covered by the country's Customs Tariffs. […] According to an unnamed MOF official, the rebates will ease operation pressure for export enterprises and enhance their competitiveness. He added the adjustment would also have a positive impact on the development of the national economy. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Swiss delegation's visit ends (Montsame Agency)
2008-10-20
President of the National Council of Switzerland A. Bugnon paid an official visit to Mongolia October 17-20 at the invitation of Parliament Speaker D. Demberel. "The present visit has been paid before the 45th anniversary of the Mongolian-Swiss diplomatic relations that will occur next year, thus it has a great significance for our cooperation," said the Speaker during the press conference. To the Mongolian side's request for a support in agricultural and investment spheres the Swiss side decided to give assistance of CHF 9 million at least to Mongolia every year, he underlined. A. Bugnon emphasized a great role of his visit in fostering the bilateral cooperation. It will cover the agricultural sector mostly. he added. On Sunday, Mr. Bugnon visited Jargalant Soum in central province to get au fait with implementation of "Mongol potato" program. ^ top ^

Women to work for quotas in politics (www.news.mn)
2008-10-20
Representatives of Women Leaders' Foundation yesterday met with members of women's wings in political parties, the head of the Gal Golomt Movement, D.Munkhuu, and the head of the working group of the National Bureau for Gender Equality, Ts.Tsogzolmaa, to exchange views about the present condition of Mongolian women and to discuss further cooperation. The Parliament Speaker has set up a working group to recommend changes in the provincial election laws, and in the laws governing the establishment of the General Election Committee. The meeting of women's representatives decided to cooperate with the working group. A team of seven, all from political parties and non-government organizations, was formed to prepare a case for women's quotas in political institutions. ^ top ^

News on July 1 Riots: Democratic Party proposes amnesty for rioters (UB Post)
DP lawmakers discussed presenting an amnesty bill for defendants connected with the July 1 riot. DP member G. Bayarsaikhan appointed a working group to develop the bill, saying that, according to the Constitution everyone has the right to freedom of expression via gathering and/or demonstration. […] Bayarsaikhan added that the new bill doesn't apply to those convicted of arson, looting and violence, but only those who were imprisoned for political dissent. The group, led by MP Ch. Saikhanbileg believes that MPRP representatives will support the bill and hopes to present it in the near future. UB city District courts have began trials for nearly 200 defendants accused of taking part in the riot. Attorneys for several defendants convicted of participating in the violent demonstration have complained their clients were sentenced without proper evidence. 51 of the 200 defendants have been imprisoned and 345 police officers have taken the stand against them. […] During a hearing at Bayanzurkh district court, all defendants said that the policemen treated them inhumanely, clubbing and beating them after their arrest. According to Daily Newspaper, number of rioters sentenced by criminal court has reached 100, including two women and several teenagers. ^ 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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