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
  10.11-14.11.08, No. 242  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

China, Iraq sign oil service deal (Xinhua)
2008-11-11
Baghdad - China and Iraq signed Monday an oil deal that would allow China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to help develop al-Ahdab oil field in eastern Iraq's Wasit province. Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani signed the 2.9 billion U.S. dollars deal with CNPC President Jiang Jiemin in a ceremony held in his ministry. This is an important participation from the Chinese side to develop the Iraqi oil fields, and we are looking forward for more participation in rebuilding Iraq," Shahristani said at the signing ceremony. He added that the deal "would produce a total of more than 110,000 barrels per day (bpd), which would mainly be allocated to the Zubaidiyah power plant in the province and the surplus would go for export." Zhi Yulin, board chairman of the Alwaha Co. which is affiliated with CNPC, told Xinhua that he hoped the project would boost Iraqi oil output, help facilitate post-war reconstruction, create job opportunities and contribute to the social stability. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing defends rights record before UN panel (SCMP)
2008-11-11
China defended itself against allegations of torture before a UN watchdog yesterday, saying it had "zero tolerance" for abuses in its police stations, jails and on the streets. Beijing delegation chief Li Baodong rejected as "groundless and untrue" concerns raised by activist groups about the reported brutal physical and mental treatment of detainees, including monks and nuns arrested during protests this year in Tibet. On the second and final day of a review of China's record on the issue by the United Nations Committee Against Torture, Mr Li said China had introduced laws to ban and punish such practices. "We have zero tolerance for torture," he told the 10-member independent committee, which monitors compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture, which China ratified in 1988. On Friday, the UN panel had pressed the delegation to reveal details about people held in custody and alleged cases of mistreatment of rights lawyers, Falun Gong followers, drug addicts and government critics. Committee member Felice Gaer of the United States said she was worried about a "very serious information gap" in China, where criminal justice records tended to be classified as state secrets. "So much of the information that we are seeking is missing," she told the review. ^ top ^

FM spokesman: China's stimulus plan will help int'l financial stability (Xinhua)
2008-11-11
Beijing - China's Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday said the country's economic stimulus package would help safeguard international financial stability. This was the best way for China to cope with the international financial crisis," spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press conference. The government said Sunday it would loosen credit and financing and enhance investment in an obvious effort to offset the adverse external economy by boosting domestic demand. A stimulus package estimated to be 4 trillion yuan (570 billion U.S. dollars) would be spent by the end of 2010 to finance 10 programs, including affordable housing, rural infrastructure, transport, the environment, technology innovation, and post-disaster reconstruction. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese FM: China, U.S. have consensus on Sino-U.S. relations (People's Daily)
2008-11-11
Beijing - China and the United States share a consensus on developing bilateral relations, China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. […] Qin cited the telephone conversation between Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. president-elect Barack Obama on Nov. 8. Mr Obama said in the telephone conversation that U.S.-China relations are of vital importance. He hopes the two countries will strengthen cooperation and promote greater development of bilateral ties," said Qin. Mr Obama also said the United States hopes to strengthen consultation and coordination with China on security and climate change and find resolutions to regional issues, he said. Qin said China is willing to work with the United States to maintain high-level exchanges and contacts, continue strategic dialogue, enhance exchanges and cooperation, and appropriately settle sensitive issues between the two countries in a bid to promote constructive cooperation. He said the possibility of a meeting between President Hu and Obama in Washington during the G20 summit is still under discussion. ^ top ^

Beijing bristles at India's claims over border region (SCMP)
2008-11-12
The Foreign Ministry objected strongly yesterday to comments by India's foreign minister in which he rejected Chinese claims over a border region long disputed by the two countries. "We express deep regret over India's public remarks, which ignore historical facts," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. He was responding to comments by Pranab Mukherjee, who said China was "fully aware" that the state of Arunachal Pradesh - which is claimed by China - was "an integral part of India". The two countries are engaged in negotiations over border regions, which triggered a brief war in 1962. ^ top ^

Chinese peacekeeping forces arrive in DR Congo (Xinhua)
2008-11-13
Bukavu - A contingent of Chinese peacekeepers arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Wednesday for an eight-month UN peacekeeping mission. The 218-strong group, comprised of both engineers and medical staff, constitutes the ninth peacekeeping team from China to be sent to the African country. […] The engineering troops will be engaged in constructing water and power facilities, building roads and maintaining airports. […]. ^ top ^

FM: China to continue playing role in IMF within its ability (Xinhua)
2008-11-13
Beijing - China will continue to play a role within its ability in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang here on Thursday. […] Under current situation, the international community should join hands to cope with the financial crisis, and China is willing to enhance cooperation with world financial organizations including the IMF," he said. The spokesman noted that China's contribution to the IMF in 2006 had increased from 2.98 percent to 3.72 percent of the total IMF contributions from member nations. Qin added that the G20 summit on the financial crisis will be an important occasion for the international community to discuss the current financial situation and future development of the world economy. […] Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the summit in Washington, along with state leaders of G20 members as well as officials from the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF. ^ top ^

China settles financial information dispute with EU, U.S., Canada (Xinhua)
2008-11-13
Geneva - China on Thursday settled a dispute with the United States, the European Union and Canada over the regulation of financial information services. China reached "mutually satisfactory solutions" with the EU, the U.S. and Canada and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue in Geneva with the three parties respectively, said the Chinese mission to the WTO. The EU and the U.S. filed a complaint against China at the WTO in March, claiming that foreign information suppliers such as Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones suffered unfair treatment in China. Canada joined the case in June, with the same complaints. Joint efforts aimed at solving the dispute through consultations had continued since April. ^ top ^

Chinese President to attend G20 summit on financial crisis (People's Daily)
2008-11-14
Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the G20 summit on the financial crisis slated for Nov. 15 in Washington, the Foreign Ministry announced on Nov. 4. "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, Peruand 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 ^

 

Domestic Policy

China cabinet mandates tougher supervision of policy implementation (People's Daily)
2008-11-10
The State Council, or cabinet, on Sunday issued a circular announcing measures to strengthen supervision and check the implementation of Communist Party and government policies in a bid to ensure their efficient implementation. The circular was issued out of concern that lax supervision in parts of the country had hampered effective implementation of major policies and measures taken by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council and thus undermined "government implementation capability and credit". Relevant organs should report implementation situations within limited periods after important documents were released or important meetings were held, the circular said. As to issues with senior officials' instructions, one should deal with the case and submit a report before the deadline, the circular said. If there was no deadline, then a report should be made within 30 work days. If the deadline could not be met, one should quickly report the reason for delay and progress in dealing with the case. […]. ^ top ^

Protests break out in several provinces (SCMP)
2008-11-11
Protests triggered by issues such as wage disputes, taxi drivers' grievances and alleged relations between local cadres and gangsters broke out in several provinces yesterday. According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, more than 2,000 workers for a diesel engine maker in Jiangyan, Jiangsu province, blocked main roads and stopped traffic in the city for the third straight day. The workers were reportedly protesting against their former boss, Ge Weiqing, who they said had disappeared with 100 million yuan (HK$114 million). […] Also, hundreds of taxi drivers in Sanya, Hainan province, and Yongdeng county in Gansu province launched strikes over monopolistic taxi companies, rents for cabs and illegal taxis. The drivers demanded that the local administrations solve the problems. Meanwhile, online postings reported that the Malanzhuang town government in Tangshan, Hebei province, had been besieged by protesters. Rumours on the internet suggested that Zhang San, the alleged head of a local group of gangsters, had intimidated local residents into selling their land for low compensation. Lu Gui, a local peasant, was said to have been beaten to death by the gang while the local government did nothing. The death prompted scores of angry people to go to the town government's headquarters to demand justice. […] The central government has repeatedly urged regional officials to use all means at their disposal to prevent the outbreak of "mass incidents", particularly in the aftermath of numerous large riots that have taken in place in recent months. […]. ^ top ^

On life support - Health care reforms can't come soon enough on the mainland, where the medical system is costly, inefficient and under severe strain (SCMP)
2008-11-11
If China is no longer the sick man of Asia in economic and political terms, the same cannot be said of its population's physical health. Rates of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease are growing fast, while medical services are too expensive and inefficient. Mainland officials and international experts hope long-awaited health care reforms will slow the spread of non-communicable diseases, which cause 80 per cent of all deaths. The reform plan, which is aimed at creating a "Healthy China by 2020", was unveiled recently to a mixed response. Officials have revealed ambitious statements for better primary care but critics say details are scarce, and the reform document is too complicated for the man in the street. […] The central government hopes that, by 2010, 90 per cent of the population will be covered by medical insurance, and 80 per cent of grass-roots clinics covered by a supply of basic medicine under government price controls. The ultimate goal is to provide universal health care services by 2020. […] Without an efficient health infrastructure, being sick on the mainland often means a quick fall into poverty. A health ministry report said that a single hospital admission could cost more than half an urban dweller's annual income, or 150 per cent of a rural resident's. […]. ^ top ^

Crackdown on environmental mismanagement sees 368 officials convicted (People's Daily)
2008-11-12
Beijing - Chinese prosecutors have investigated about 2,400 officials and took 669 to court in a nationwide crackdown on official breaches of duty in natural resources and environment management. Of them, 368 officials were convicted, said the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) in a press release here Wednesday. They opened 2,074 cases involving damage to natural resources and the environment and closed 314 in the first nine months of this year. These cases were serious, involving 1,467 deaths, 154 injured and losses of 1.6 billion yuan (235 million U.S. dollars)," said the statement. Prosecutors reported a higher incidence of breach of duty among officials supervising land use, mineral resources and forest management," said Song Hansong, the SPP prosecutor in charge of the cases. […]. ^ top ^

Rubbish piles up in Chinese city streets in pollution protest (Xinhua)
2008-11-12
Jiaxing - Rotting rubbish has been piling up on the streets of Jiaxing city for four days after residents blocked garbage trucks with their bodies at a waste disposal plant in a protest against pollution. Villagers living near Jiaxing's Buyun Garbage Incineration Power Plant gathered at its gate on Saturday to block rubbish trucks from entering, saying its stinking smell and dust had affected their health and the harvest. A spokesman for the local government said it had persuaded the villagers to leave on Wednesday, with promises to replace the plant's old furnaces with new ones which met environmental standards. […] On Tuesday, around 30 villagers deflated the tires of seven rubbish trucks and blocked the plant's trucks from leaving. The plant in Jiaoshanmen Village, Daqiao town, about 10 kilometers from Jiaxing's city center, opened in 2003. Village official Chen Jianfeng said residents had been worryinga bout pollution for the past five years. "But this time, their grievances reached a climax because of apparent losses in the fields and suspected health problems." […]. ^ top ^

Sanlu dairy products back in the stores (Xinhua)
2008-11-13
Products of a mainland dairy giant at the centre of the melamine milk crisis have returned to store shelves after a two-month halt for quality assessments, one of the group's subsidiaries in Xingtai Hebei province, says. Xingtai Sanlu Dairy Company marketing director Cao Zhanwu confirmed yesterday that Sanlu-brand milk had been on sale in Hebei Shandong and Henan since November 1. He said another Sanlu subsidiary started selling milk and yogurt as early as mid-October, but without the Sanlu name on its products. With most of the Sanlu Group's 30 or so subsidiaries still out of action pending inspections, Mr Cao said Xingtai Sanlu was the only company still using its parent company's branding on the mainland. He said the company was confident of winning customers back, and market research before the November 1 relaunch supported its belief. […]. ^ top ^

Party chief who refused to return from Paris trip sacked (SCMP)
2008-11-13
A senior government official of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, who would not return from a trip to France was fired from his post and expelled from the Communist Party, Xinhua reported yesterday. Yang Xianghong, 52, party chief of Lucheng district in Wenzhou, led a delegation of government officials and businesspeople to Paris in late September. He left the group two days after arriving in Paris and refused to return to China with the rest of the delegation, saying he had a back problem and could not fly long distance. The Wenzhou government has since ordered all senior government officials to hand in their passports. ^ top ^

Migrant jobs top agenda (China Daily)
2008-11-14
The government's latest economic stimulus plan could create at least one million jobs by the end of the year, in turn curbing rapid unemployment among migrant workers hit by a looming global recession, a senior researcher has said. The $586-billion stimulus package will help ease unemployment from export-oriented enterprises in the coastal regions shutting down or cutting costs amid the global financial downturn, Liu Junsheng from the labor-wage institute of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Tuesday. The country will invest 100 billion yuan by the end of the year as part of the package, said the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner. About one-third of the investment will go into improving infrastructure, boosting agricultural competitiveness and building up the social security network in the rural regions, sources close to the central government have said. […] While the number of jobs created by the massive infrastructure projects will be considerable, it is equally important to stem the decline arising from the export sectors, Cai Fang, a labor economics specialist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said yesterday. […] China, which holds the world's largest population of 1.3 billion, stands to face tremendous pressure from the 10 million people entering the workforce every year. […]. ^ top ^

Enough land pledged for booster plan (China Daily)
2008-11-14
The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) will try to ensure "timely" land supply to match the central government's 4-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package to increase domestic demand and boost the economy, top land officials said yesterday. […] The central government's stimulus package includes massive projects to build low-income housing units, improve rural infrastructure, electricity supply and transport networks, provide safe drinking water and protect the environment. All the projects need land, said Lu Xinshe, deputy minister of land and resources. The MLR will expedite the revision of its national land use planning to ensure timely land supply for major projects. […] Though arable land will still be protected, he said, farmers whose land is acquired for a development project necessitated by the stimulus package should get fair compensation. […] The arable land area had fallen to 1.826 billion mu (121.73 million hectares) by the end of 2007 because of the country's fast urbanization and industrialization drive. A national land use plan, released recently, says the arable land quota would fall further, to about 1.805 billion mu, by 2020. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing will enforce carbon trading policy (SCMP)
2008-11-14
The central government will enforce a compulsory carbon trading policy to realise the ambitious goal of turning China into a "low carbon civilisation", the State Forestry Administration said yesterday. The new policy would require provinces that emit more greenhouse gases than they absorb to buy emission quotas from less developed but ecologically healthier regions. […] "China has established a number of green carbon funds to encourage domestic enterprises to participate in the emissions reduction campaign. But voluntary guidelines are not enough. We need compulsory rules." The officer said a department was devoted to designing the regulations and was pushing for their enforcement. "We hope [the policy] will be implemented not only on the mainland but also welcomed and adopted by other countries." […] An environmental observer welcomed the policy as a sign that Beijing's attitude on climate change had changed. Wu Bing said: "Political leaders no longer treat global warming and pollution as some convenient excuse to get money and technology from developed countries. They have realised no one will save China's environment but the Chinese themselves.". […]. ^ top ^

Taxi strike eases as cities begin to respond to driver grievances (SCMP)
2008-11-14
A taxi drivers' strike in Sanya, Hainan province, started to ease yesterday afternoon after the city government promised to crack down on illegal cabs. More than 100 cab drivers had still been rallying in front of the city government building yesterday morning, pressing for a more detailed plan on how the government would tackle their complaints, Xinhua reported. Disgruntled drivers have been on strike for the past three days in the southern port city, which is also a major tourist attraction. […] The drivers are asking the government to intervene on issues ranging from high monthly rental fees to competition from unlicensed cabs. The city government had ordered taxi companies to reduce excessive rental fees, the news agency said. […] Meanwhile, Beijing yesterday became the latest city to launch a campaign against illegal taxis. The campaign will last until December 31, Xinhua said. About 10 illegal Beijing taxi drivers were caught on the first day of the campaign. They face fines of between 10,000 and 20,000 yuan. […] In Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, 43 illegal cabs have been confiscated by traffic authorities since a similar campaign was launched on Sunday. Chongqing, the country's fourth-largest city, has also joined the campaign to crack down on unlicensed cabs in a bid to end the taxi-driver strikes that have sprung up around the country. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing plans to offer free bicycles rental (Xinhua)
2008-11-10
Within one year, "free bicycle rental stations" will be established in all communities across the city of Beijing, according to news recently released from the 96156 Community Service Center. This type of rent arrangement, known as the "microcirculation system of public bicycles", has already been put in place at the Maizidian Community in Chaoyang District, with the trial period to commence by the end of this year. Without having to pay any money, residents can obtain rental cards by using only their ID. Every bicycle will be equipped with a GPS device to prevent residents from not returning the bicycles. ^ top ^

Beijing announces $34b traffic plan (China Daily)
2008-11-11
Beijing's traffic infrastructure budget in the next five years will be more than the one for the previous five years, a senior transport official with the municipal government has said. Liu Xiaoming, director of the Beijing municipal committee of communications, said the city will spend 240 billion yuan ($34 billion) by 2012 to upgrade its traffic infrastructure, Beijing News reported on Saturday. In the five years before the Olympics, the city had spent 170 billion yuan, Liu said. "We will make sure our investment on transport infrastructure is no less than 5 percent of our GDP in the coming few years," he said. The money will mainly be spent on extending the city's subway lines, which currently total 110 km, he said. By 2012, the city is expected to have 420 km of subway lines in operation, Liu said. […] Beijing Television on Saturday quoted authorities as saying traffic in the past month had fallen by almost 30 percent by banning cars with certain license plates from the roads one day a week and raising parking fees. ^ top 

 

Shanghai

Shanghai announces spending plans (SCMP)
2008-11-13
Shanghai's top leader has vowed to boost infrastructure construction and government spending to maintain economic growth amid the global financial slowdown, but offered only sketchy details of the plan. The city would increase spending on infrastructure, including railways, highways and urban roads, Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengsheng said, but gave no figure for investment. His remarks followed a 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.55 trillion) stimulus plan that Beijing announced on Sunday. "Maintaining economic stability and relatively fast development is currently Shanghai's main task," local media yesterday quoted Mr Yu as saying. […] Shanghai's economy grew an annual 10.1 per cent in the first nine months of this year, but it has not released a figure for the third quarter, which would likely show a slowdown. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

IMF forecasts HK's economy to grow 2% next year (Xinhua)
2008-11-11
Hong Kong's economic growth will fall to 2 percent next year amid a global financial crisis of exceptional proportions and the city's consumer price inflation will fall below 3 percent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report on Tuesday. Over the medium-term, an underlying growth rate of 5 percent is feasible, while much will depend on the trajectory of economic and financial integration with China's mainland and how those inter-dependencies are managed, said the IMF. Hong Kong's financial system has performed well and without significant dislocation, attributed to the government's efforts to establish a more robust system of financial supervision and regulation, and a sophisticated financial infrastructure, said the agency. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao chief lays out 2009 policy blueprint (People's Daily)
2008-11-11
Chief Executive of Macao Special Administration Region (SAR) Ho Hau Wah on Tuesday delivered his policy address for the fiscal year 2009, which highlighted the SAR government's bid to secure the stable development of local economy amid global finance crisis. Ho said in the address that due to the impact of the financial crisis, the SAR will unavoidably be affected, since Macao's service-oriented economy is highly depended on the external economic environment, and the gaming industry, the pillar of its economy, is undergoing changes that affect the casino revenues. To boost the sustainable development of local economy, Ho said the SAR government will increase public investment, including the construction of light rail transit system, building more public residential houses, launching the landscape works of the city's World Heritage sites. He also said that a total of 10.2 billion patacas (1.28 billion U.S. dollars) will be invested in these infrastructure projects. Figures released from the SAR's Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) indicated that Macao's GDP for the first half of this year grew by 26.1 percent year-on-year, and the city's inflation rate stood at 9.07 percent, an increase of 3.13 percentage points over the same period of last year. Although various sectors of the SAR will be influenced by the downturn, the economy will remain relatively stable and as further implementation of CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement), an agreement signed between Macao and the mainland authorities on opening the market for the SAR products and services, still provides new opportunities to Macao's enterprises, Ho said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Survey: More than 70% Taiwan people satisfied with cross-Strait agreements (People's Daily)
2008-11-10
Taipei - A poll reveals high approval ratings from the Taiwan public over recently signed cross-Strait agreements. The survey, released by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council on Sunday, found more than 70 percent of people on the island supported the regular cross-Strait talks mechanism. More than 60 percent believed the agreements on food safety, direct shipping and flights, and mail services were good for Taiwan's economy. Those agreements were signed last Tuesday in Taipei during talks between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) president, Chen Yunlin, and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, Chiang Pin-kung. When it came to the ARATS-SEF mechanism, 68 percent believed it was helpful for solving cross-Strait problems and up to 75 percent supported the continuation of the mechanism. The telephone survey was conducted among 1,067 adults aged 20 and above by the council between Nov. 5-8. […]. ^ top ^

Forum to go ahead, despite protests (SCMP)
2008-11-11
Taiwan's Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party will meet as planned for their annual forum in Shanghai next month, despite the violence that surrounded the cross-strait visit on the island last week. "The annual KMT-CCP forum is expected to be held in Shanghai in mid-December, this time focusing on financial, cross-strait banking, two-way investments and other economic and trade issues," said KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung. ^ top ^

Chen faces detention over graft (SCMP)
2008-11-12
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian yesterday became the first person that has held the island's top post to be handcuffed and face detention. But last night Mr Chen was in hospital after complaining of being struck by police. Mr Chen, who stepped down in May after serving two four-year terms, was questioned yesterday over allegations of embezzlement, bribes and money laundering. After almost seven hours of questioning, prosecutors decided to seek court approval to detain him. […] Raising his hands high to show the handcuffs, Mr Chen tried to portray himself as a martyr defending Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty by accusing President Ma Ying-jeou of collaborating with Beijing to punish him and curb pro-independence sentiment on the island. "Political persecution, judicial persecution," Mr Chen shouted as he was led from the prosecutors' office in handcuffs to the Taipei District Court where judges were to decide whether to detain him. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China says no compromise on national sovereignty, refutes Dalai's so-called "middle way" (Xinhua)
2008-11-10
Beijing - China said here Monday that no concessions would be made on issues concerning the national sovereignty following talks between central government officials and private envoys of the Dalai Lama. "The unification of the motherland, territorial integrity and the national dignity are the greatest interests of the Chinese people. We will never make a concession," Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, told reporters. […] Zhu admitted contacts and talks "failed to make progress". He said the Dalai Lama side should "shoulder full responsibility for that". Asked to comment on the reports in which the Dalai Lama said he would not follow a so-called "middle way" if the talks failed, Zhu said the claim of "middle way" aimed at outright Tibetan independence and thus unacceptable to the central government. […] He reiterated that the door for the Dalai Lama's return to a patriotic stance had always been open and would remain open. But the door for 'Tibet independence', 'half independence' and' independence in a disguised form' had never been open, nor would it be open in the future," he said. ^ top ^

China blames Dalai Lama side for breaking promise (People's Daily)
2008-11-10
Beijing - A Chinese central government official said here Monday the Dalai Lama side has failed to honor the promises they made in previous talks. […] They did not keep their words as well, which ruined the atmosphere of the meeting," he said at a press conference. In talks held in July, the Dalai Lama's representatives said they had no problems following the "four not-to-supports" put forward by the central authorities: not supporting activities that disturbed the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games; not supporting plots inciting violent criminal activities; not supporting and concretely curbing violent terrorist activities of the pro-secession "Tibetan Youth Congress"; not supporting any argument and activity seeking "Tibetan independence" and splitting the region from the country. […] He should truly give up his stance and activities to split the motherland, openly acknowledge that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of China and the People's Republic of China is the country's only legal government.". ^ top ^

Dalai Lama still wants talks with China: aides (AFP)
2008-11-11
Dharamshala - The Dalai Lama believes dialogue with Beijing is the only way to resolve the deadlock over Tibet, despite the failure of the latest talks with Chinese officials, aides said Tuesday. His spokesman Tenzin Taklha told AFP that the exiled spiritual leader "believes the solution to any type of conflict is through dialogue. "There can be no progress if there are no talks. The only solution is dialogue. This has been the consistent stand of the Dalai Lama," he said. The comments came after China blamed the Dalai Lama's representatives for an impasse seen at the end of two days of talks last week. Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala, noted that the Dalai Lama had said last month that his "trust in the Chinese government was diminishing." "But he never said he had given up on talks," Samphel said. […] The Dalai Lama has been seeking "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet since he fled his homeland following a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule, nine years after Chinese troops invaded the region. China says he is seeking full independence -- a "separatist" action that it opposes. The Tibetan Youth Congress, representing young exiles across the world, favours a more radical approach than the Dalai Lama, demanding full independence. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's 4 trillion yuan stimulus to boost economy, domestic demand (Xinhua)
2008-11-09
Beijing - China said on Sunday it will loosen credit conditions, cut taxes and embark on a massive infrastructure spending program in a wide-ranging effort to offset adverse global economic conditions by boosting domestic demand. This is a shift long advocated by analysts of the Chinese economy and by some within the government. It comes amid indications that economic growth, exports and various industries are slowing. A stimulus package estimated at 4 trillion yuan (about 570 billion U.S. dollars) will be spent over the next two years to finance programs in 10 major areas, such as low-income housing, rural infrastructure, water, electricity, transportation, the environment, technological innovation and rebuilding from several disasters, most notably the May 12 earthquake. The policies include a comprehensive reform in value-added taxes, which would cut industry costs by 120 billion yuan. Commercial banks' credit ceilings will be abolished to channel more lending to priority projects, rural areas, smaller enterprises, technical innovation and industrial rationalization through mergers and acquisitions. […] The meeting also announced that China will adopt "active" fiscal and "moderately active" monetary policies and map out more forceful measures to expand domestic demand, speed up the construction of public facilities and improve living standards of the poor to achieve "steady and relative fast" economic growth. […] The past three months have seen a series of stimulus policies: interest rate cuts, lower bank reserve requirement ratios, tax changes, higher credit quotas and the injection of central government funds to infrastructure construction. The meeting decided that higher investment must be able to facilitate economic restructuring, promote growth potential by channeling investment to where it's most needed and spur private consumption. […] As long as we take the right measures in a resolute and timely way to grasp the chance and rise to the challenges, we will surely secure steady and relative fast economic growth," the meeting noted. ^ top ^

China to stabilize global financial markets by maintaining growth (Xinhua)
2008-11-09
Sao Paolo - China will help stabilize international financial markets by maintaining its economic growth and expanding domestic demand, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, said here Saturday. The People's Bank of China is closely following the situation in international financial markets to make its policies on further readjustment of interest rate, he said. Zhou, who is here to attend an annual meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 (G20) major industrial and emerging-market countries. He said China's central bank will cooperate with the International Monetary Fund to stabilize financial markets. Zhou predicted an 8-9 percent economic growth for China next year, noting that the steady growth of the Chinese economy will help global financial markets return to normal. Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 nations began the two-day meeting in Sao Paulo Saturday. […]. ^ top ^

Package 'to ensure at least 9% economic growth' (China Daily)
2008-11-12
China's stimulus plans are aimed to guarantee at least 9 percent economic growth over the next two years, according to a senior State Council researcher. "The huge new spending initiative can help achieve that," said Li Jianwei, an economist with the State Council's Development Research Center, a think-tank under the nation's Cabinet. […] Li said China's slowing economy would recover in the middle of next year as a result of the stimulus package. The policy goal is higher than the forecast made by International Monetary Fund (IMF), which last Friday said China's economic growth rate would slow to 8.5 percent from this year's estimate of 9.7 percent. The IMF's 9.7 percent forecast is lower than China's annual average of 9.8 percent growth achieved over the past three decades. […]. ^ top ^

China reports $216 bln trade surplus in Jan.-Oct. period (People's Daily)
2008-11-12
Beijing - China's General Administration of Customs on Wednesday announced that the country's trade surplus in the first ten months of this year stood at 215.99 billion U.S. dollars, with the trade surplus of October reaching 35.24 billion U.S. dollars. Figures also showed that the country's combined export from January to October reached 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars, up 21.9 percent year on year. The growth rate was 4.6 percentage points lower compared with the same period last year. The administration said that China's exports topped 128.3 billion U.S. dollars, while its imports reached 93.1 billion U.S. dollars in October. ^ top ^

China's imports and exports exceed US $2 trillion in first ten months (People's Daily)
2008-11-13
China's total imports and exports from January to October reached US $2.18867 trillion, a year on year increase of 24.4%, statistics from the General Administration of Customs show. The figure has surpassed the total value of imports and exports in 2007, which was US $2.1741 trillion. Exports stood at US $1.20233 trillion, up 21.9% and imports were US $986.34 billion, up 27.6%. The accumulated trade surplus reached US $215.99 billion. China's imports and exports in general trade saw rapid growth, with a substantial increase in import growth. Imports and exports in processing trade rose by 12.9% during the same period. ^ top ^

WB Chief Economist: 4 trillion yuan enough for China to maintain a high economic growth (People's Daily)
2008-11-13
Justin Yifu Lin, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, said on November 11 that the record-breaking large scale economic stimulus package China recently launched is sufficient for China to maintain a comparatively rapid economic growth rate of 8% to 9%. This is also China's biggest contribution to the world economy in this particular situation. He agreed with what Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has once said, that China's positive measures to ensure smooth and rapid growth of its own economy is already China's biggest contribution to the global economy. Lin analyzed that, in order to maintain such a rapid growth, China will undoubtedly import massive amounts of natural resources. This is practically the same as providing indirect economic stimulus to exporters. At the same time, China still needs to import intermediate products and commodity capital. Consequently, this will offer market opportunities to other mid to high-income countries. In response to whether China needs to take further measures to stabilize the economy, Lin said that the investment of 4 trillion yuan is already "quite enough." The next step would be to well plan and implement the investment. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Chinese and DPRK diplomats meet over six-party nuclear talks (Xinhua)
2008-11-13
Beijing - China on Thursday confirmed that its diplomats and diplomats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) met to discuss how to move forward the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on Wednesday met with Ri Gun, director general of the DPRK Foreign Ministry's American affairs bureau, on the current situation and the next phase of the six-party talks," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the regular briefing. […] During his stay in New York, Ri held talks with U.S. top nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill as well as Sung Kim, the U.S. Department of State's Korean bureau chief. The six-party talks remain in the second phase. We expect all parties to make joint efforts to make progress," Qin said. The spokesman stressed that China will continue to play its constructive part in the talks, which started in 2003 and also include the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan. Qin said China was discussing with the other parties on when the heads of the six delegations would meet. ^ 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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