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
  3.11-7.11.08, No. 241  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

South Korea, China and Japan to hold crisis summit next month (SCMP)
2008-11-03
The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan would hold a summit in the Japanese city of Fukuoka next month to discuss closer co-operation amid the global financial crisis, a Korean news report said yesterday. Seoul's Yonhap news agency, citing an unnamed presidential official, said the three had reached tentative agreement on the schedule for the summit, expected to take place on December 14. The official told Yonhap there would soon be a formal announcement on the agenda to be discussed by Premier Wen Jiabao , South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. […] But the three Asian neighbours have also tried to arrange a separate three-way summit, independent of any other international forums, to discuss regional and other issues. Regional co-operation on the global financial meltdown and disarmament of nuclear-armed North Korea would likely dominate the agenda, Yonhap said. ^ top ^

Chinese President to attend G20 summit on financial crisis (Xinhua)
2008-11-04
Beijing - […] At the invitation of U.S. President George W. Bush, President Hu Jintao will attend the G20 summit on financial markets and the world economy on Nov. 15," spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press conference. Following the G20 meeting, Hu will visit Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru and Greece from Nov. 16-26. Qin said this will happen at the invitation of the leaders of the four countries. During that time, Hu will attend the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru which is on Nov. 22-23. ^ top ^

China issues first policy paper on Latin America, Caribbean region (Xinhua)
2008-11-05
Beijing - The Chinese government on Wednesday launched its first ever policy paper on Latin America and the Caribbean region, mapping out an overall blueprint for future cooperation between the two sides. The paper, the first of its kind issued by the government, further clarifies the goals of China's policy in this region," said Qin Gang, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman. The Chinese Government views its relations with Latin America and the Caribbean from a strategic plane and seeks to build and develop a comprehensive and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development with Latin American and Caribbean countries, according to the paper. […] To develop friendly relations with developing countries including Latin America and Caribbean region is the basic stand of China's diplomatic policy," Qin said. […]. ^ top ^

VP: Peru keen to sign free trade deal with China (Xinhua)
2008-11-06
Trujillo - Peruvian Vice President Luis Giampietri said here on Wednesday his country was looking forward to signing a free trade deal with China. According to local press, Peru will sign the agreement with China when Chinese President Hu Jintao pays a visit to Peru to attend the 16th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on Nov. 22-23 in Lima. […] Peru and China, since the establishment of diplomatic relations 37 years ago, have succeeded in raising their commercial balance from 150 millions U.S. dollars to more than 4 billion dollars these days," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Hu calls for 'new era' in Sino-US ties (SCMP)
2008-11-06
President Hu Jintao congratulated Barack Obama on his victory in the US presidential election and called for closer bilateral ties in a "new era in history". […] "There won't be any significant changes in terms of the two countries' relations, especially when the US now attaches great importance to China's financial co-operation," Shi Yinghong, director of US studies at Renmin University, said. But Professor Shi said increased US protectionism could give rise to trade frictions if Beijing was unwilling to fulfil Washington's request for help tackling the financial meltdown. During his campaign, Senator Obama called for steps to reduce the US trade deficit, and urged tougher environmental and labour rules, suggesting protectionism to some. Fu Mengzhi , an analyst from the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said Senator Obama could press China harder than the administration of outgoing US President George W. Bush on currency reform. "Senator Obama has said that China is a currency manipulator. He will push China to open up the financial market," Professor Fu said. […]. ^ top ^

China: Global missile defense systems "don't aid world stability" (Xinhua)
2008-11-06
Beijing - China said Thursday that installing global missile defense systems would not contribute to the strategic balance or world stability. The Chinese government is convinced that setting up missile defense systems globally, including deploying such systems somewhere in the world and cooperating on this issue, is not conducive to mutual trust among countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters here. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missiles in its Baltic Sea enclave, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, in response to U.S. plans to set up a missile shield in the area. […] The involved countries should carefully measure and react to the concerns of other countries," Qin said. ^ top ^

China, Egypt to enhance bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2008-11-06
Beijing - Chinese senior officials met with visiting Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit here Thursday, and the two sides expressed the hope to enhance relationship and cooperation. Egypt is China's important partner in developing countries," said Vice President Xi Jinping, who gave highly remarks on the cooperation the two countries conducted in such fields as politics, economy and culture, as well as the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and cooperation forum between China and Arab countries. […] The two ministers also exchanged views on development of the cooperation forum between China and Arab countries, and some international and regional issues of common concern. […]. ^ top ^

FM: Hu's Latin America, Greece visits to boost ties (People's Daily)
2008-11-06
Beijing - President Hu Jintao's upcoming visits to Latin America and Greece would boost bilateral relations and deepen cooperation, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said here on Thursday. He made the remarks at a briefing on Hu's visits to Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru and Greece scheduled from Nov. 16 to 26. Hu's visits will play a "significant" role in developing China-Latin American relations, He said. As the first Central American state forging diplomatic ties with China, Costa Rica will witness a Chinese presidential visit for the first time. Hu will meet with President Oscar Arias and sign bilateral agreements on economic, trade and technological issues. In Cuba, Hu will hold talks with President Raul Castro and sign trade and other agreements. During the Peru visit, Hu plans to hold talks with President Alan Garcia, address the nation's Congress and sign a range of agreements. China and Peru formed an comprehensive cooperative partnership in 2005. […] It will be the first Chinese presidential visit to Greece since former President Jiang Zemin went there in 2000. During the visit, the two sides will discuss the outlook for bilateral relations and exchange concerns, He said. […] Hu will attend the APEC meeting from Nov. 22 to 23 in Peru. ^ top ^

China, EU hold conference on energy cooperation (People's Daily)
2008-11-07
Brussels - China and the European Union (EU) inaugurated a high-level conference on energy resources here Thursday, aimed at strengthening bilateral energy cooperation. […] The biennial conference, which will last two days, focuses on energy technologies, in order to provide solutions to the numerous challenges that China and the EU face today in the global energy market. Issues such as energy efficiency, renewable energies, hydrogen energy and fuel cells, gas hydrates, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy are to be discussed this year. […] The Commission said several initiatives on intensifying bilateral energy cooperation are under negotiation since the last conference in Shanghai, China in 2006. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing high-level conference on climate change kicks off (Xinhua)
2008-11-07
Beijing, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- A high-level conference on climate change Friday opened here, with participants from nearly 100 governments, international and non-governmental organizations voicing views and proposing measures on technology development and transfer responding to climate change. ^ top ^

China to fly flag for South at summit (China Daily)
2008-11-07
China will help developing countries at the upcoming G20 summit on the global financial crisis in Washington DC next Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. "The financial crisis, when it extends, will first hit developing countries, especially those most underdeveloped ones," Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei told a briefing in Beijing. […] He said rich countries and international organizations, such as the World Bank, should adopt measures to help the developing world get through current hardships. […] He said developing countries should also be afforded more say in international financial organizations. Also yesterday, the Foreign Ministry said China hoped the US would continue its free trade policies when president-elect Barack Obama takes the office in next January. "Chinese exports, cheap and of good quality, will help the US keep its inflation rate low," the ministry's spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing. "We hope the US abolishes its restrictions on exporting these products to China," Qin said, noting both sides should be cautious about trade protectionism. ^ top ^

Chinese top legislator arrives in Gabon on 2nd leg of Africa tour (Xinhua)
2008-11-07
Libreville - Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo on Thursday afternoon began an official visit to Gabon on the second leg of his five-nation Africa tour. […] Wu is scheduled to meet with Gabonese President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, Prime Minister and Chief of Government Jean Eyeghe Ndong, Speaker of Senate Rene Radembino Coniquet and hold talks with the President of Gabonese Parliament Guy Nzouba Ndama to exchange views on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of common concern. The two sides are also expected to sign a series of economic and trade agreements. Wu arrived here after he concluded his official visit to Algeria. After Gabon, he will also visit Ethiopia, Madagascar and Seychelles. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China detects chemicals in Japanese food; second time in a week (Xinhua)
2008-11-04
Beijing - China's quality supervisor said Tuesday that it detected toxic chemicals in imported Japanese food for the second time in a week. Tests conducted by the Tianjin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau found arsenic in a Japanese-brand soy sauce at five times the allowable level, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) said. Arsenic is commonly used in agricultural insecticides and poisons. The Tianjin bureau also detected excessive copper in imported Japanese coffee. All the products were destroyed without entering the domestic market, GAQSIQ said. The Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau last week found Japan-produced soy sauce and mustard sauce were tainted by toluene and acetic ester. ^ top ^

Landslides affect 1 million, leave 35 dead in SW China (Xinhua)
2008-11-04
Chuxiong - Landslides and mud-rock flows in southwest China's Yunnan Province have affected about 1.07 million people in nine cities and prefectures, leaving 35 dead, 47 missing and nine injured, the provincial government said Tuesday. In a press release given to Xinhua on Tuesday, the provincial civil affairs department said it had helped relocate 45,100 people whose homes were damaged in geological disasters that followed almost 10 days of rain. […] As of Monday night, more than 1,500 homes were destroyed and another 15,000 damaged. Almost 9,000 hectares of cropland was destroyed. […]. ^ top ^

Proportion of China's population in world's total drops to 20.1% (People's Daily)
2008-11-04
The proportion of China's population in the world's total has dropped to 20.1% in 2007 from 22.2% in 1980, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China on November 3. Statistics shows that since the family planning policy was implemented, China has successfully reduced more than 400 million births, postponing both China's "1.3 billion population day" and the world's "6 billion population day" by four years. China's population growth rate declined from 1.2% in 1978 to 0.52% in 2008. The country's total population increased from 962.59 million at the end of 1978 to 1.32129 billion at the end of 2007, yielding an average annual growth rate of 1.1%, a drop of 0.9 percentage points prior to the reform and opening-up policy. It shows China's population has entered a stable growth period. […]. ^ top ^

Mainland rolls out action plan on rights - Sceptics doubt move will make a difference (SCMP)
2008-11-05
China is working on an "action plan" in an unprecedented move to address some of the country's contentious human rights issues, but critics remain sceptical over how much change the plan will bring. Quoting the Information Office under the State Council, Xinhua said yesterday the State Action Plan on Human Rights was a step towards creating a blueprint for the country's human rights development in the next two years. The decision on the action plan comes three months before the United Nations Human Rights Council makes its universal review of the status of human rights. China has signed both international human rights covenants enshrined in the United Nations Human Rights' Charter but has refused to ratify an agreement on safeguarding civil and political rights. […] The Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lead the charge in drawing up the plan. More than 50 government departments and non-government organisations as well as major universities will also have a say in the plan. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing to issue farmers land-use rights certificates (SCMP)
2008-11-05
Farmers are to be issued certificates stating their permanent land-use rights, according to a senior agricultural official. […] They may transfer the land-use rights. The government hopes a stable contract relationship will encourage more farmers to transfer land-use rights instead of just holding on to land without working it and getting no income from it. […] The government had set a target to double the disposable incomes of farmers by 2020; it hopes to boost farmers' annual income from about 4,000 yuan (HK$4,550) currently to 10,000 yuan, taking inflation into account. To increase loans to farmers, the policy blueprint also stipulates that local branches of banks and other financial institutions in rural areas will not be allowed to use the farmers' money to lend to urban residents; instead, it will have to be lent to other farmers. Banks regard city dwellers as better loan risks. The policy aims to stop an exodus of cash from the countryside. […]. ^ top ^

Land of hope (SCMP)
2008-11-05
Beijing has announced major reforms in rural policy that are meant to give farmers more control over their land without full privatisation. While the land will still belong to a collective, such as a village, farmers will be able to subcontract, lease, swap or transfer land-use rights. The measures are meant to achieve a number of goals, including ensuring political stability by offering greater protection from rapacious local officials, preservation of the nation's arable land to ensure food sufficiency and raising per-unit grain yield through technological advancement and by gradually moving away from small, family-farmed plots. […]It remains to be seen how the new reforms are implemented. If Beijing wants to close the gap between the countryside and the cities, farmers must have the same land-use rights as city dwellers. They would then be able to buy, sell, mortgage and inherit land. But the central government is, no doubt, worried about the return of big landlords, with tens of millions of landless farmers. ^ top ^

235 million people lifted from absolute poverty (People's Daily)
2008-11-05
In the past 30 years of reform and opening-up, China has reduced the number of people living in absolute poverty by 235 million. According to data released by the World Bank, China has contributed to 67% of the total reduction of global poverty during the last 25 years. Since 1978 China had relied on its own efforts, reform and opening-up and accelerated development, and has been able to reduce the number of people living in absolute poverty from 250 million to 15 million, Zheng Wenkai, Deputy Director of the State Council Leading Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development said. According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2008 released by the United Nations, China has already achieved its goal of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from absolute poverty and hunger by half ahead of schedule. Progress toward fulfilling the seven other goals has also been moving along smoothly. ^ top ^

Beijing unveils reconstruction plans for quake-hit areas (SCMP)
2008-11-06
The central government has released a raft of reconstruction blueprints for the earthquake-ravaged areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, as hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by the magnitude-8 quake on May 12 brace themselves for winter. About 88,000 people were killed or have not been accounted for since the quake struck, crippling infrastructure and levelling homes. The six documents - produced by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Commerce and other major central government agencies - spell out recovery plans for public facilities, the housing market and the agricultural and environmental systems, Xinhua reported yesterday. The initiatives include a central government promise to spend 120 billion yuan (HK$136 billion) over three years "to build the safest and most solid schools and hospitals and other public facilities that will give the public the ultimate peace of mind". […] Most of the quake victims are expected to continue to live in tents and makeshift homes over the coming winter and beyond, putting enormous pressure on the government to build permanent homes. […] The blueprints will benefit nearly 20 million people in 51 counties and districts hardest hit by the quake. ^ top ^

Chinese president appoints nine ambassadors (People's Daily)
2008-11-06
Beijing - Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday appointed nine ambassadors in line with decisions adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. Cheng Yonghua was appointed ambassador to the Republic of Korea, replacing Ning Fukui. Wu Hongbin was appointed ambassador to Turkmenistan, replacing Lu Guicheng. Lu Guicheng was appointed ambassador to Belarus, replacing Wu Hongbin. Han Zhiqiang was appointed ambassador to Fiji, replacing Cai Jinbiao. Yu Hongyang was appointed ambassador to Jordan, replacing Gong Xiaosheng. Gong Xiaosheng was appointed ambassador to Turkey, replacing Sun Guoxiang. Zhang Guoqing was appointed ambassador to Djibouti, replacing Wang Xiaodu, female. Fan Guijin was appointed ambassador to Tonga, replacing Hu Yeshun. Qu Shengwu was appointed ambassador to Bolivia, replacing Zhao Wuyi. ^ top ^

Chongqing party chief vows to help cabbies (SCMP)
2008-11-07
Chongqing Communist Party chief and former commerce minister Bo Xilai promised to address the plight of the municipality's cab drivers when he met their representatives yesterday. The meeting came on the fourth day of a strike by thousands of drivers over long-standing issues, resulting in widespread disruption to public transport in the mainland's fourth-largest city. The stoppage came as an embarrassment to Mr Bo, a charismatic politician and widely perceived as a troubleshooter. He transferred to Chongqing late last year to rejuvenate the western city. The strike has once again shed light on the hardships of mainland cab drivers, who are forced to work long hours to pay taxi companies outrageously high licence and leasing fees, among other costs. The strike resulted from grievances over a wide range of persistent issues, including the amount of revenue that taxi companies take from drivers, and frequent police fines as well as competition from unlicensed cabs. […]. ^ top ^

Human rights activist freed from jail early (SCMP)
2008-11-07
A human rights activist who was jailed in 1999 for "subversion" had been released early, the Hong Kong-based group Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported. Liu Xianbin, jailed in Sichuan for organising activities to commemorate the June 4, 1989, democracy movement, had been freed yesterday and reunited with his wife and daughter, the group said. Liu was a Renmin University student in 1989 and played a key role in the Tiananmen protests. He was jailed in 1991 and released two years later. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai promises new green policies (China Daily)
2008-11-04
The city is rolling out a three-year action plan for environment protection as the city is determined to present a cleaner city to participants of 2010 World Expo, Mayor Han Zheng said on Sunday. In the plan, to be announced soon, the government will inject about $10 billion into environmental protection over three years from next year, Han said when meeting his international consultants, mainly CEOs of large companies. "We have made the decision that the investment in environment protection will not be lower than 3 percent of GDP generated in the year," the mayor said. […] According to Han, the discharge of carbon dioxide will be reduced by 26 percent over the range between 2005 and 2010. During the period the chemical oxygen demand will be lowered by 15 percent. […] He said further efforts will be made to eliminate polluting projects. About 500 such projects will be shut down this year and 700 projects will be forced to close next year. […] By 2012, the mileage of Shanghai's metro line will be 500 km, more than twice its current length. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

All samples tested free from melamine in Hong Kong (Xinhua)
2008-11-03
The latest batch of results of melamine tests on Monday showed that all 60 samples tested were free from melamine, said the Center for Food Safety of Hong Kong (CFS) on Monday. The results showed that all 60 samples, including milk and milk powder, infant formula, baby food, eggs, cake mixes and chilled chicken, reached the newest standard of food safety. Test results for milk and milk powder, infant formula, baby food, egg, chilled pork and chilled chicken will be available tomorrow," a spokesman for the CFS said, referring to another batch of products to be tested. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland, Taiwan sign historic deal - Way paved for full direct links (SCMP)
2008-11-05
Taiwan and the mainland yesterday signed agreements in Taipei to prepare for full direct links, in a historic deal marking a watershed in cross-strait relations that have been warming since May. Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, which represents the mainland in talks with the island, and his Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Pin-kung of the Straits Exchange Foundation, signed four agreements in Taipei following two hours of talks in the Taiwanese capital. The agreements will allow the two sides to operate daily direct flights, direct cargo flights, direct shipping and direct postal exchanges in addition to forging cross-strait food safety co-operation. […] Other major breakthroughs include expanding the current weekly charter flights to daily charter flights, allowing the number of such flights to increase to 108 from 36 and servicing 21 cities on the mainland, up from the current five. Taiwan will continue to use its existing eight flight points. […] For the first time in nearly 60 years, Taiwan will also allow freighters from the two sides to ply between its 11 ports and 63 mainland ports. So-called flag-of-convenience vessels owned by shipping companies of the two sides but registered in Hong Kong or in other countries will also be allowed. […]. ^ top ^

'Turning back the tide is impossible now' - The momentum created by the cross-strait deals will be hard to stop, analysts say (SCMP)
2008-11-05
The agreements struck between the mainland and Taiwan yesterday have put cross-strait relations on an irreversible path with no turning back, analysts say. "Once the flood gate is opened, no one can reverse the tide," said George Tsai Wei, political science professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei. […] Analysts said once the Taiwanese people were used to the convenience and benefits arising from the agreements, they would not support suspending them. Rather, they would likely seek even deeper co-operation. […]. ^ top ^

Ma, Beijing envoy reach across 59-year divide - Protests dog meeting of island leader and mainland negotiator (SCMP)
2008-11-07
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and the most senior mainland official to visit the island since 1949 held a symbolic but historic meeting in Taipei yesterday amid fresh protests by supporters of Taiwanese independence, which continued late into the night. The five-minute meeting, rescheduled to try to avoid the rowdy protesters, saw Mr Ma shake hands and exchange gifts with Chen Yunlin, who represents the mainland in talks with Taiwan. The first contact between high-ranking officials of the two sides since Taiwan and the mainland split at the end of a civil war in 1949 came two days after the signing of deals on direct daily flights, shipping and postal exchanges, and food safety co-operation, that will pave the way for full cross-strait links in the future. […] All attention yesterday was focused on how Mr Chen would address Mr Ma. While the master of ceremonies at the Presidential Office was allowed to announce "here comes the president", Mr Chen made no attempt to use that title, and did not even use Mr Ma's name. […] Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a province, does not recognise its leader as a head of state. Pro-independence groups, including the DPP, had insisted Mr Ma make Mr Chen address him as president to avoid being seen as kowtowing to the mainland government. The groups say Mr Ma's policy of improving ties with the mainland is tantamount to selling out to Beijing, and that the four agreements signed by Mr Chen and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung, in Taipei on Tuesday would hollow out the island's economy as investment was redirected to the mainland. Calling the talks between Mr Chen and Mr Chiang a success, Mr Ma noted during yesterday's meeting that the four agreements would make cross-strait exchanges easier, boost economic and trade ties, strengthen food safety and help the island cope with global financial turmoil. He said the talks represented a milestone in cross-strait relations, but he also mentioned differences between the two sides, especially over the issues of "Taiwan's security and international status". […]. ^ top ^

Mixed views from academics on success of cross-strait talks (SCMP)
2008-11-07
Scholars from the mainland and the island were divided in their assessments of yesterday's meeting between Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and mainland envoy Chen Yunlin, with one saying it had been "creative" for Mr Chen to avoid addressing his host. Zhang Tongxin, honorary director of Renmin University's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Research Centre, said Mr Chen's deliberate attempt to avoid addressing Mr Ma by using his official title was a creative approach to tackling the sensitive issue of political differences. "Both sides stayed away from the issue they considered sensitive, yet they both stand firm in their stances," said Professor Zhang. "It's a way of showing each other respect by keeping silent on such a sensitive issue." […] Some Taiwanese critics have argued that the recent high-level cross-strait exchanges have failed to achieve any political common ground and only focused on economic co-operation. Li Jiaquan, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the negotiations between the two sides had been conducted on the basis of "one China". […] However, Taipei-based political commentator Paul Lin said the Ma government had bowed to Beijing and angered the people of Taiwan. He said Mr Ma not only faced poor popularity ratings but had now also antagonised the public. Now was not the right time, Mr Lin said, for Mr Chen to visit the island as many Taiwanese still disapproved of how the mainland had handled the tainted milk powder scandal there and its export of substandard food to Taiwan. They also accused Mr Ma of leaning too closely towards the mainland, he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Sentences for 55 people handed down so far over Lhasa violence (People's Daily)
2008-11-05
Sentences for 55 people have been handed down so far for involvement in the March 14 riot in Tibet's capital, a senior Tibetan official said on Tuesday. […] Following the violence, police detained 1,317 people, of whom 1,115 were subsequently released. The rest stood trial, said Cewang. […] Previous reports said 30 people had been convicted of arson, robbery, disrupting public order and attacking government offices, among other crimes, as of April 29. Their sentences ranged from three years to life. ^ top ^

Tibet talks end with little progress to show - Central government reiterates tough stance (SCMP)
2008-11-07
The eighth round of negotiations between envoys of the Dalai Lama and the central government ended quietly yesterday with little indication of what will happen next. Mainland media and the Tibetan government-in-exile confirmed that the envoys had met top officials from the United Front Work Department and, for the first time, an official from the Tibet Autonomous Region - executive vice-chairman Pema Trinley - in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday. They were also taken on a tour of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region before the talks. But despite the longer-than-usual talks, and the Dalai Lama and his envoys voicing disappointment about the progress of previous negotiations, United Front Work minister Du Qinglin's comments in a Xinhua report yesterday were tough rather than conciliatory. Xinhua quoted Mr Du saying that the reason Beijing could overcome all sorts of challenges this year was due to a commitment to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. "The continuance of the Chinese communist leadership, socialism with Chinese characteristics, and self-governance in ethnic regions are set out in the constitution, and these are the biggest political realities for Tibet," Mr Du said. "Any behaviour against these 'three persistent principles' is not allowed. […] "When it comes to the principle of maintaining a united nation and territory, there cannot be any deviation at any time or under any circumstances. There is no `independence' for Tibet, or 'half-independence' or 'de facto independence'," he said. He called on the Dalai Lama to fundamentally change his political advocacy, abstain from all sorts of separatist activities and stick to the promises he had made in the July round of negotiations. […] One week before the talks, the Dalai Lama said he was conceding his leading role in the negotiations to his people since his "middle way" had failed. He called for a special meeting in Dharamsala, India, starting from November 17, for the Tibetans to decide on their own political future. It was perhaps for this reason that the Tibetan government-in-exile's statement was brief, confirming the meeting and the Tibetan envoys' presentations of a memorandum on "genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people". ^ top ^

 

Economy

Rating agency report: China's GDP to slow to 9.4% in 2008 (Xinhua)
2008-11-02
Beijing - China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to slow to 9.4 percent in 2008 from last year's 11.4 percent as the shrinking exports will cool the world's fourth largest economy, according to a Chinese credit rating agency report on Sunday. The fundamentals of the economy are sound, but falling export orders would take a toll on the national economy in the short term, and domestic consumption needed time to play a bigger role, said the report released by the China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co. (CCXI), a joint venture of China's first rating agency China Chengxin Credit Management Co. Ltd. and U.S.-based Moody's Corporation. […] China's economy grew at 9 percent in the third quarter, the slowest in five years, as the global financial crisis sapped demand for Chinese goods, and domestic industrial production waned in response to weak demand and rising raw material costs. […]. ^ top ^

Wen sees worst year for growth (Xinhua)
2008-11-03
Beijing - The government should find the right balance between curbing inflation and maintaining a stable economic growth, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday. We must be aware that this year would be the worst in recent times for our economic development," Wen said in an article published in the Qiushi journal. […] In his article, Wen said that the global downturn will continue to pressure the Chinese economy, which already faces a number of problems. Given the situation across the world, "it is very difficult to maintain high growth and a low inflation rate in the long run," the premier wrote. The (global economic) situation is worsening," and the negative impact of the volatile international market on the Chinese economy would become more obvious as the days go by. […]. ^ top ^

China's PMI falls below 50% in October, sounding alarm for further economic slowdown (Xinhua)
2008-11-04
Beijing - The Purchase Management Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector dropped to 44.6 percent in October, down 6.6 percentage points from the previous month, according to the latest report released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). It was the third time within 2008 the country's PMI fell below 50 percent. Its decline reflected the slowdown trend of China's economic growth this year. […] It rings the alarm for economic decline if the PMI goes below 50 percent. […] The two indices were down 12.4 and 10.3 percentage points respectively. […] The dropping demand, together with the decrease in production, has already affected the country's employment, according to the PMI report. The employment index dropped 3.3 percentage points to 47 percent in October, marking the lowest point since 2006. Experts say that the slowing in the growth of the country's job total is reflected in the employment index. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Kim Jong-il 'tours military units' (SCMP)
2008-11-06
North Korea stepped up its campaign to show that its leader Kim Jong-il, thought to have suffered a stroke in August, was healthy by saying yesterday that he inspected two military units and releasing pictures of the visits. […] Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said Mr Kim inspected two facilities of the Korean People's Army, without saying when he made the visits. "He highly praised them on their successes in training and put forward highly important tasks that would serve as guidelines for bolstering the heroic Korean People's Army as invincible revolutionary armed forces," KCNA said. The agency released two photographs of Mr Kim posing with the groups of troops. […]. ^ top ^

Kim Jong-il attends concert: report (SCMP)
2008-11-07
Leader Kim Jong-il attended a classical-music concert, North Korea's state-run news agency said yesterday, in its third report in less than a week on the public appearances of a leader believed to have suffered a stroke several months ago. Though Pyongyang's state media do not provide exact dates when reporting on Mr Kim's public activities, the recent rush of such reports suggests his health has improved after he reportedly underwent brain surgery following a stroke in mid-August. Pyongyang appears to be trying to show Washington that Mr Kim is in firm control of the communist nation, one analyst said. […] Yesterday's report on Kim Jong-il's attendance at the concert did not include any photos. The Korean Central News Agency said he waved to the audience and congratulated the performers afterwards. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Draft action plan sets priorities (www.news.mn)
2008-10-31
The draft of the Government Action Plan in the next four years will soon be discussed by Parliament before its adoption. The draft has been prepared after considering Mongolia's Millennium Development Goals, National Development Strategy, the agreement between the MPRP and the DP when establishing the coalition government, suggestions from private entities, as well as agreements between the Government and international organizations. […] The program has three major parts, respectively setting out the Government's goals. The main priorities of these goals are: Accelerate the development of the mining industry, establish the legal environment, put strategic and larger deposits into economic circulation, and distribute incomes derived from this sector to the population; Carry out an industrialization program, to develop mining-based manufacturing activities, and to actively encourage small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas; Satisfy fully the domestic demands for meat, milk, flour, potato, and vegetables; Create favourable conditions for every citizen to be healthy and be educated, to get a job and make a living, and to develop vocational training facilities; Foster a transparent, open, efficient, fair, and responsible attitude among public sector employees and to strengthen public confidence for the Government. ^ top ^

Government hopes to raise growth rate and lower poverty (www.news.mn)
2008-11-05
Parliament Standing Committee on State Structure yesterday approved the draft Action Plan for the next four years. It now goes to Parliament for discussion and approval. According to the draft, 33 trillion MNT will be needed to implement the four-year action plan. Thirty percent of this will come from the State Reserve and Development Fund, 33 percent from private investments, and another 30 from foreign investment. The remaining seven percent is planned to be financed with foreign aid and loans. The plan lists a total of 312 aims. The Government will work to boost the annual economic growth rate from the present 9.6 percent to 12-14 percent. The average salary of public sector employees will go up to 1 million MNT from its current level of 360,000 MNT. The poverty rate will be reduced down to 22 percent from the current 35 percent. ^ 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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