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
  17.11-21.11.08, No. 243  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese FM: China opposes French President's meeting with Dalai Lama (Xinhua)
2008-11-14
Beijing - China on Friday expressed resolute opposition to the meeting between the Dalai Lama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Poland planned for next month. Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's six-month-rotating presidency, will meet the Dalai Lama on Dec. 6 while attending activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Polish President Lech Walesa. "We oppose firmly the Dalai Lama's secessionist activities in any country under any identity, and we are also firmly against any foreign leader's contacts with the Dalai Lama in any form," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang in a press release. […] The spokesman urged the French side to adhere to the one-China policy, honor its commitment, pay attention to China's great concern and prudently handle Tibet-related issues. […]. ^ top ^

South Korea to grant asylum to Chinese activists (IHT)
2008-11-14
South Korea's highest court said Friday it has approved asylum for three Chinese activists and two family members, paving the way for them to become the first Chinese to win refugee status in the neighboring nation. The Supreme Court's decision upheld lower court rulings that acknowledged the asylum seekers' fear of persecution if repatriated because of their involvement in anti-government or pro-democracy activities, Judge Bae Hyun-tae said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese state councilor to visit Britain, Switzerland (Xinhua)
2008-11-15
Beijing - State Councilor Liu Yandong will pay an official visit to Britain and Switzerland from Nov. 16 to 26, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Saturday. Liu will make the visit at the invitation of the British government and president of the Swiss Confederation Pascal Couchepin," Qin said. Liu will also attend the 48th International Education Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Geneva. ^ top ^

Chinese president urges help for developing nations to cope with financial crisis (People's Daily)
2008-11-16
Washington - Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday called for international efforts to help developing countries and the least developed countries cope with the global financial crisis. When coping with the financial crisis, the international community should pay particular attention to the damage of the crisis on developing countries, especially the least developed countries (LDCs), and do all it can to minimize the damage," Hu told a summit meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) on financial markets and the world economy. It is necessary to help developing countries maintain financial stability and economic growth, sustain and increase assistance to developing countries, and maintain economic and financial stability in developing countries, he said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese president makes proposals for int'l financial system reform (Xinhua)
2008-11-16
Washington - Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday made a series of proposals for reforming the international financial system at a summit meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) on the current global financial crisis. […] Hu listed four priorities in reforming the international financial system -- stepping up international cooperation in financial regulation; advancing reform of international financial institutions; encouraging regional financial cooperation; and improving the international currency system. ^ top ^

EU, China sign revised MoU on product safety (Xinhua)
2008-11-17
Brussels - The European Commission and China on Monday signed a renewed and extended Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation on product safety controls. […] The document, first inked in 2006, upgrades the existing RAPEX-China system (Rapid Alert System for dangerous goods) including clear obligations for quarterly reporting on enforcement actions to track down dangerous goods. The upgraded MoU will provide China for the first time with immediate access to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food, and in particular, to the system's notifications that concern China. ^ top ^

China to negotiate free trade zone with Costa Rica (Xinhua)
2008-11-18
Beijing - China's Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Costa Rica, in which the two sides will start free trade zone negotiations in January of next year. Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Marco Vinicio Ruiz made the agreement Nov. 17th. China is the second largest trade partner of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the second largest trade partner of China from Central America. According to China Customs, bilateral trade between the two countries reached 2.87 billion U.S. dollars in 2007. China's imports from Costa Rica hit 2.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 32 percent, and its exports gained 39 percent to 570 million U.S. dollars. ^ top ^

China to become official member of Inter-American Development Bank (Xinhua)
2008-11-18
Beijing - China is set to become an official member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on its website Tuesday. […] Moreno echoed Zhou's comment, saying Latin America and the Caribbean would like to cooperate with China on finance, trade and investment sectors amid the global financial crisis. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding, specifying certain terms and conditions relating to China's entry to the IDB. A month-long voting process, ended on Oct. 15, has approved China to become the 48th member country in the Washington, DC-based bank. According to previous reports, China would contribute 350 million U.S. dollars to the IDB Group to bolster key programs at a time when the world economy is under pressure. The timeline for entry has not been fixed, however, as there are still some procedures to go through, a central bank spokewoman Li Yanhong told Xinhua. […]. ^ top ^

US urged to lift restrictions on Chinese food imports (SCMP)
2008-11-19
China yesterday urged Washington to lift restrictions that US health officials imposed on food imports from China, insisting Beijing had taken effective measures to improve food safety standards since it was hit by a recent tainted-milk scandal. The Foreign Ministry said it regretted last Thursday's order by the US Food and Drug Administration that dozens of imported foods from China be held at the border. Most were ethnic treats, including snacks, drinks and chocolates. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Chinese quality-inspection authorities strictly examined exported products to ensure they met importing countries' standards. "We hope the US side will take seriously China's major concerns because what they are doing now will impact on our trade," he said. ^ top ^

China urges greater representation of developing nations in Security Council reform (Xinhua)
2008-11-19
United Nations - China on Tuesday urged greater representation of developing countries, especially African ones, in the reform of the United Nations Security Council. The reform should give priority to the increasing of the representation of the developing countries, especially the African countries," Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy representative to the UN, told a debate on the equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council. "Only by so doing can the long-time structural defect of the Security Council be corrected." Liu reiterated that "any reform plan that does not have the extensive support from the African countries will not have the support of China." China firmly supports the carrying out of necessary and reasonable reforms to the Security Council," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Hu visits Castro in trip to improve economic ties (SCMP)
2008-11-20
President Hu Jintao met ailing former Cuban leader Fidel Castro for a lengthy conversation during a visit to Havana to boost economic ties between the communist nations. Dr Castro, 82, has not been seen in public since July 2006, after he handed his title of president to younger brother Raul. Official photographs released from their meeting show a thinner-looking Dr Castro, dressed in a red and black tracksuit, clasping Mr Hu's hands. […] The two leaders oversaw the signing of dozens of trade and investment deals. Beijing also agreed to put off for 10 years payments on an unspecified trade debt that Cuba ran up in 1995, and for five years a US$7.2 million credit that China granted in 1998. […] On Monday, the two nations signed 12 accords calling for, among other things, China to continue buying Cuban sugar and nickel and to provide agricultural products. […] China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner, after Venezuela, with a figure of US$2.3 billion for last year. It buys 400,000 tonnes of sugar from Cuba each year and nearly half its annual output of 75,000 tonnes of nickel, Cuba's top export. […]. ^ top ^

China wants U.S. to accept export quality certificates of Chinese labs (Xinhua)
2008-11-20
Beijing - "China hopes the U.S. side accepts certificates offered by the Chinese quality inspection department on goods to be exported to the United States," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here Thursday. As of Nov. 12, the United States requires an independent third party to inspect goods being exported from China, in order to assure quality standards. Qin said he hoped the U.S. side will allow Chinese laboratories to fulfill that requirement, as this will facilitate products passing customs and ensure quality of the goods exported to the United States. […] Most laboratories in the Chinese inspection and supervision departments were independently operated, Qin said, adding they were well equipped and managed to ensure fair results during examinations. […]. ^ top ^

Hu finalises free-trade deal with Peru ahead of Apec summit (SCMP)
2008-11-21
President Hu Jintao finalised a free-trade agreement with Peru during the final stop on a three-nation swing through Latin America that has underscored China's growing clout in the region. […] China and Peru also signed 11 other agreements covering economic and technological issues, health, customs, poverty relief, finance, mining, agriculture and other areas. […] Mr Hu also welcomed the fact that "a number of Latin American and Caribbean nations have offered their understanding and support to China regarding Taiwan and Tibet, giving warm support". […] Mr Hu's travels also symbolise Beijing's rising influence in a region that had long been considered a diplomatic stronghold of Taipei. Last year, Costa Rica became the first Central American country to break off Taiwanese ties in favour of Beijing, a step that led to the free-trade talks. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Development gains clouded by wealth gap, UN report says (SCMP)
2008-11-17
The country's growth prospects are increasingly clouded by the wealth gap that is deterring consumption and dragging down productivity, according to a United Nations report released yesterday. The UN-sponsored […] The report by researchers from the China Institute for Reform and Development and other think-tanks says growth could falter under social strains, stagnated skills and restrained consumer spending unless the government does more to channel services, resources and opportunities to poor groups and regions. […] Human development levels in the richest major cities, Beijing and Shanghai, were comparable to poorer European countries such as Cyprus and Portugal. But the worst performing provinces such as Guizhou have levels comparable to Botswana and Namibia, the report says. Restive Tibet has the lowest level in the index (0.616) of the mainland's provincial-level administrations, compared with top-performing Shanghai at 0.911. The report urges faster steps to give poor rural residents public services and support comparable to those available to urban residents, and to extend protections to hundreds of millions of migrant workers leaving farms for factories and cities. Otherwise, it warns, the "imbalances between consumption and investment could pose risks to macroeconomic stability". ^ top ^

Insurance for 80% farmers in 7 years (China Daily)
2008-11-17
The government expects the pension network to cover 60 percent of the country's farmers by 2010 and 80 percent by 2015, a senior rural insurance official said yesterday. Releasing the rural pension plan till 2020, Zhao Dianguo, director of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security's rural insurance department, said the central government plans to set up a pension network for China's 730 million farmers, for which a detailed timetable has already been prepared. […] "The more secure rural people feel, the more money they will spend," he said echoing the message in the CHDR, which calls for equal provisions of basic public services for every Chinese. […] The report says China's human development index is at its highest, and nearing the level of "high human development". But human development in the country still faces major challenges - widening gaps between urban and rural areas, between the prosperous coastal regions and the poorer interior regions, between men and women, and between registered urban residents and migrant workers. […]. ^ top ^

China reduces pollutant emissions in first half of 2008 (Xinhua)
2008-11-18
Beijing - Tougher environmental controls reduced the amount of pollution in China in the first half of this year, Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said on Tuesday. Emissions of chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of water pollution, totaled 6.74 million tons in the January-June period, 2.48 percent less than that of the same period of last year. In terms of air pollution, sulfur dioxide emissions, mainly from coal use, were 12.13 million tons, dropping 3.96 percent from last year's amount, Zhou said. […] The ministry also tightened environmental evaluation standards this year on proposed projects in power, steel and petrochemical industries. A total of 104 projects, involving 314.56 billion yuan (46 billion U.S. dollars) of investment, were either rejected or postponed in the January-August period due to potential environmental problems, Zhou said. There were 335 projects, with a total investment of 1.49 trillion yuan (218.2 billion dollars), which passed environmental evaluations during the same period. […]. ^ top ^

Protesters in stand-off after day of clashes: Thousands lay siege to Communist HQ (SCMP)
2008-11-19
Thousands of people in Longnan, Gansu, staged a violent stand-off with police yesterday, one day after they mobbed the city's Communist Party headquarters, burning dozens of cars and leaving more than 60 government workers and police injured. Monday's riots were triggered when representatives of 30 households in Dongjiang town, under Longnan's jurisdiction, went to the petition office at the party headquarters to demand the government act on promises made in relation to a relocation plan. […] The crowd grew, and by Monday night more than 2,000 people had mobbed the headquarters and vandalised two office buildings. Eleven government vehicles were also destroyed, and the crowd later left, state media said. But witnesses said thousands of people were still gathered near the party headquarters last night as hundreds of riot police stood guard. […]. ^ top ^

China to overhaul dairy industry (Xinhua)
2008-11-20
Beijing - Chinese government on Wednesday launched a major campaign to reform its dairy industry in an attempt to restore consumer confidence. […] The tainted milk powder scandal was a major food security incident. It not only damaged the health of babies and children, but also hurt China's national image, said an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The crisis has put China's diary industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the quality control and supervision of the industry," said the official. According to the campaign, the Ministry of Health will revise the quality and safety standard of dairy products, and the Ministry of Agriculture will draft an examination standard for checking of melamine and other poisonous elements in animal feedstuff. […] The production and sales of the industry has been damaged severely after the crisis. […] The guideline was formulated collectively by the NDRC, the central bank and 11 other ministries, commissions and departments" […]. ^ top ^

China says 1,041 infants still hospitalized with tainted milk problems (People's Daily)
2008-11-20
Beijing - The Ministry of Health said on Thursday that 1,041 infants around China were still receiving hospital treatment for kidney damage caused by tainted powdered milk. […] The number of hospitalized infants dropped by more than half from three weeks ago, when the figure stood at 2,300. Another 50,741 infants have recovered and been discharged since mid-September, when a scandal erupted over milk containing a chemical, melamine. […]. ^ top ^

Soil erosion threatens China (People's Daily)
2008-11-20
Beijing - A three-year investigation reveals almost 40 percent of China's territory, or 3,569,200 square kilometers of land, suffers from soil erosion. It's not only happening in rural areas, but also in cities and near factories and mines, said China's water erosion and bio-environment security scientific research team on Thursday. […] It showed 1.61 million square km of land is suffering from erosion by water and 1.96 million square km is being eroded by wind. Erosion could be found in almost every river basin in every Province, said The problem is severe as 4.52 billion tons of soil is eroded every year. […] If soil erosion continues at this rate, grain production on the14 million mu of farm land in northeastern China, one of the country's most productive areas, will be reduced by 40 percent in 50 years, experts warned. Erosion has already caused at least 200 billion yuan (29.4 billion U.S. dollars) in economic losses to China since 2000, the team calculated. ^ top ^

Three officials sentenced to death, life in prison for taking bribes (Xinhua)
2008-11-20
Changsha - Three former officials from China's Hunan Province were sentenced to death or life in prison Thursday for taking bribes. Li Dalun, 58, former secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Chenzhou Municipal Committee, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking money in exchange for giving out promotions, contracts, mining permits and other gains between February 1999 to May 2006, the Changsha Municipal Intermediate People's Court said. The bribes and other illegal gifts accepted by Li and his wife were valued at more than 14 million yuan (2.1 million U.S. dollars). Li also had another 18 million yuan that he had failed to account for. […] In another case, Zeng Jinchun, 61, former secretary of the CPC Chenzhou Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection, was sentenced to death for taking 31.52 million yuan in bribes between1997 to September 2006, the Changsha Municipal Intermediate People's Court said. He took the illegal money in exchange for meting out promotions, contracts, mining permits. […] Also Thursday, Zhou Zhengkun was sentenced to life in prison for taking 12.8 million yuan in bribes while serving as Chenzhou mayor and holding other key CPC posts in the city between September 1994 to December 2003, according to the Yiyang Municipal Intermediate People's Court. […]. ^ top ^

Authorities ordered to 'nip unrest in the bud' (SCMP)
2008-11-21
A top communist leader in charge of law and public security yesterday ordered local authorities to identify and snuff out any potential risks to social stability as public discontent grows amid a slowing economy. "All-out efforts should be made to address public security problems. [Governments] must carefully balance the interests of different social groups to ensure a harmonious and peaceful environment for economic and social development," Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, told a national conference. […] "We have to strengthen public security forces in rural areas, carry out crackdowns on crimes in high-risk places, and punish those who endanger our social stability." […] Millions of migrant workers are in danger of losing their jobs because the export-oriented manufacturing industry in coastal regions has been particularly hard-hit by the global economic crisis. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing allows more reports of bad news (SCMP)
2008-11-21
The increase in the state media's reporting of protests over land, labour and investment issues reveals an attempt by the government to manage the impact of bad news by acknowledging it, sources say. Propaganda authorities have issued a directive authorising news organisations to report on unrest, rather than allow rumours to take hold among a public worried about the impact of the global financial crisis on the country's economy. Strikes by taxi drivers and protests by newly laid-off workers have been reported regularly, as have riots in Gansu province this week and a mass petition in Beijing. "The mainland government has started to loosen its control on the negative information," said an academic close to propaganda authorities. "They are trying to control the news by publicising the news." […]. ^ top ^

Beijing fears impact of crisis on jobs (SCMP)
2008-11-21
The mainland faces a grim and worsening job situation and stabilising employment is its top priority, the top labour official said yesterday amid a wave of strikes and protests by workers triggered in part by the economic slowdown. "Since October, our country's employment situation has been affected along with changes in international economic conditions," Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin said. […] More job losses were expected in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next, but the downturn could be short-lived if Beijing's 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.55 trillion) stimulus package spurred the economy in the second quarter, he said. […] The shock waves have shut production lines and hundreds of thousands of workers have been laid off. A series of strikes and protests about job losses have been staged in coastal provinces. […] In addition, the demand for labour dropped 5.5 per cent in October, the first such drop in nine months. Official urban unemployment was still about 4 per cent, but could rise to 4.5 per cent by the end of the year, he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Official: Beijing won't restrict private car purchase to ease traffic, pollution (People's Daily)
2008-11-19
Beijing, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Beijing will not restrict the purchase of private cars, as was purposed by residents, to help ease traffic jams and stem pollution, a senior official said on Wednesday. City authorities will not limit the number of license plates issued to reduce car purchases, said Wang Haiping, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform at a press conference. He said it would be an irresponsible move while China is trying to boost domestic consumption to offset impacts from the global financial crisis. "It's inappropriate to restrict car purchases or license plate issuing to control the total number of vehicles. We need to take into account the overall situation of boosting domestic demand and maintaining steady, rapid economic growth," Wang said. Instead, city authorities would rely on boosting construction of the urban mass transit system and other forms of public transport to solve Beijing's traffic issues, he said. […] Wang said a new traffic restriction, which went into effect in the Chinese capital on Oct. 11, should satisfy residents concerns. […] It takes some 800,000 cars off the road everyday, according to the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications. ^ top 

 

Shanghai

Shanghai mayor meets cabbies as disruptive strikes continue (SCMP)
2008-11-20
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng pledged to listen to grievances and try to resolve problems during a two-hour meeting with representatives of cab drivers and transport workers on Tuesday, mainland media reported yesterday. […] The strikes, a headache for the central government and a source of social unrest, are in response to what the drivers call extreme work pressure, high cab rental fees and competition from unlicensed cabs. […] No demonstrations have been staged in Shanghai, but the country-wide turbulence caught the attention of the mayor, who has promised a safe and harmonious social environment for the 70 million tourists expected to visit the 2010 World Expo. Official figures said more than 10 per cent of the 100,000 taxi drivers working for Shanghai's 150-plus cab companies quit their jobs each year, mainly because of low salaries, passenger miscommunication and competition from illegal cabs. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chen admitted to hospital as hunger strike takes its toll (SCMP)
2008-11-17
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian was moved from a detention centre to a hospital yesterday, 108 hours after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his arrest in connection with graft allegations, local media reported. […] Mr Chen arrived at 8pm at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Panchiao, Taipei county, where he was to be treated for malnutrition. […] Scores of Mr Chen's supporters gathered outside the hospital, chanting "Go Go Ah Bian [Chen's nickname]". […] The former leader of Taiwan had refused to take any food or drink except water since he was detained over suspected graft and money laundering. […] Political analysts said Mr Chen was trying to use the hunger strike to win sympathy and support from pro-independence forces. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan sets aside billions for free shopping vouchers (SCMP)
2008-11-19
Taiwan was preparing to distribute NT$82.9 billion (HK$19.4 billion) worth of shopping vouchers to the island's 23 million residents in an attempt to boost local consumption amid the worldwide financial turmoil, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan announced yesterday. That amounts to NT$3,600 per person. The Executive Yuan, the island's cabinet, approved the measure, which, it is hoped, could boost GDP growth by 0.64 per cent in the coming year. […] The measure, however, must first be authorised by the parliament, which is due to take up the matter tomorrow. […] Also yesterday, Mr Ma said daily direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland would probably be launched in about six months. […]. ^ top ^

Hu to meet Taiwanese delegate (SCMP)
2008-11-19
President Hu Jintao will meet Taiwan's delegate at this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Peru, the Taiwanese side said yesterday. Lien Chan, honorary chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang, told a news conference: "I am looking forward very much to meeting with Chinese leaders and officials to exchange views, in the hope of having thorough talks on cross-strait trade and financial co-operation.". ^ top ^

Chen denies new claim of embezzling funds (SCMP)
2008-11-20
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has denied a fresh accusation that he embezzled funds intended to promote the island while he was in office. […] He accused the new Kuomintang administration, led by President Ma Ying-jeou, of framing him and said the corruption charges were politically motivated. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan exiles meet for key policy talks (SCMP)
2008-11-17
Leading Tibetan exiles gathered in India yesterday ahead of a week of discussions that could transform how the movement pursues its decades-old struggle with the Chinese government. The meeting was called by Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama […].Many in the exiled community feel that the campaign for "meaningful autonomy" and its de facto recognition of Chinese sovereignty should be replaced by a more aggressive pro-independence position. The meeting has no policy-making power - any recommendations would require the approval of the exiled Tibetan parliament - but it comes as the Tibetan movement is being forced to confront its future. […] Tibetan groups such as Students for a Free Tibet, the Gu Chu Sum organisation of former political prisoners, and the influential Tibetan Youth Congress all favour independence. But any such policy change would threaten to fragment the Tibetan movement and cost it much of its international support. A mainland government spokesman dismissed the Dharamsala talks, saying "the people planning or attending this meeting do not represent the majority of the Chinese people. […]". The Dalai Lama will not attend the discussions, in an attempt to ensure that the decisions made are independent of his own views, officials say. […]. ^ top ^

'Secret poll' shows Tibetans back any Dalai Lama decision (SCMP)
2008-11-18
Most Tibetans on the mainland who took part in a secret survey that the Tibetan government-in-exile conducted said they would follow "any decision" by the Dalai Lama, and the number of those who want full independence was twice as many as those who support the current "middle way" approach, an exiled leader said yesterday. Karma Chophel, speaker of the government-in-exile's parliament, said more than 8,000 of 17,000 Tibetans in Tibet who were recently surveyed said they would follow any decision by the Dalai Lama on the future of the region. More than 5,000 had said they wanted full independence, as opposed to continuing to negotiate with Beijing for a greater degree of autonomy, he said. Mr Chophel declined to offer any details about how or when the survey was conducted. […]. ^ top ^

Tibetans may push for full independence (SCMP)
2008-11-19
The prime minister of Tibet's exiled government said yesterday that leaders would push for Tibetan independence if the congress of exiles meeting in India this week decided to drop the Dalai Lama's measured path of compromise. But in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said any move to separate Tibet from China was "doomed", reinforcing Beijing's hardline stance. […] Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the exiles, said the "emotionally charged meetings" that began on Monday could lead to a dramatic new path for the Tibetan movement. "If the outcome of the present meeting is we should switch over from the 'middle way' to independence, we will gladly follow that," he said, adding that any decision would be taken to the exiled parliament, which would have the final say. […] Much of the debate in the Tibetans' congress is expected to boil down to two main choices: pursue the politics of compromise or to begin a long-shot independence movement - a move certain to end talks with Beijing that have been going on intermittently since 2002. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Stimulus package will boost world economy: Hu (SCMP)
2008-11-17
President Hu Jintao said the mainland's 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.5 trillion) stimulus scheme, and fiscal and monetary measures would provide much-needed fuel for the economic growth of the country - and the global economy. […] "China's stable economic development itself is an important contribution to the world's financial stability and economic growth," Mr Hu said. "The Chinese government will continue to take effective measures to strengthen macroeconomic control and stimulate consumer spending within the country, transform its economic structure and raise rural income in order to maintain stable economic growth and stabilise the world's economy." The mainland's unprecedented economic stimulus package will cover the real estate, infrastructure, environmental, agricultural and technology sectors in the next two years. […]. ^ top ^

China annouces 3,770 items involved in 3rd export tax rebate rise (People's Daily)
2008-11-17
Beijing - China's Ministry of Finance announced on Monday a list of 3,770 items involved in the third export tax rebate increase this year. The items include labor-intensive, mechanical and electrical products. New export tax rebate rates on these items were also announced. The change take effect Dec. 1. The announcement came four days after the State Council, or cabinet, said it would raise export tax rebates for the third time this year as part of the government's 4-trillion-yuan (571.4 billion U.S. dollars) economic stimulus package. Rises in tax rebate rates varied among different items. […] The 3,770 items accounted for 27.9 percent of the country's total exports, according to a statement posted on the government's website. […] Official data showed that Oct. export growth slowed to 19.2 percent from 21.5 percent in Sept. […]. ^ top ^

Central bank gets ready to boost liquidity (China Daily)
2008-11-18
The central bank vowed yesterday to provide ample liquidity to financial institutions if necessary to ensure stable economic growth, but warned that an injection of liquidity may lead to high inflation in the future. The authorities would "ensure the financial system has sufficient liquidity and provide liquidity support for financial institutions in a timely manner", the People's Bank of China said yesterday in its monetary policy report for the third quarter. […] The central bank said the amount of current money supply was appropriate, but will adopt a "properly relaxed" stance - which has been interpreted as an equal to an expansionary policy - to stimulate economic growth. […] In the long run, however, China still faces the challenge of high inflation after its economy stabilizes, since the world economies, including China, are all injecting liquidity into the financial system, which will lead to a liquidity boom in the coming years, the report warned. […]. ^ top ^

China becomes 2nd biggest contributor to world economy (People's Daily)
2008-11-18
A report issued by the National Bureau of Statistics of China on Monday indicates that as of 2006, China's contribution to the world economy (the ratio of each nation's annual GDP growth to world GDP growth) had risen to 14.5%, ranking second just behind the US which was 22.8%. China's contribution rate is 1.4 percentage points higher than that of the Eurozone and 6.7 higher than Japan. In 1978, China's contribution to the world economy was only 2.3%, 35 percentage points lower than the US, 15.9 lower than Japan, and 13.6 lower than the Eurozone. Between 1979 and 2007, China's economy grew by 9.8% on average per year, 6.8 % faster than the world economy's average growth rate during the same period. […] In 2006, China's economy contributed 0.55 percentage points to the world's economic growth rate, taking 2nd place after the US. ^ top ^

China's foreign trade to increase by some 20% this year (People's Daily)
2008-11-18
An increase of 20 percent is expected for China's imports and exports in 2008, showing a slight slowdown compared with that in 2007. Facing an even more challenging environment for its foreign trade in the future due to the international financial crisis, the country will adopt more trade facilitating measures. The Ministry of Commerce released its latest report on China's foreign trade on its website on Nov.17. The Ministry forecasts in the document that China's imports and exports will reach 2.6 trillion USD in 2008 as a result of a 20 percent rise over last year. However, that growth rate is lower than that in 2007 when China's imports and exports went up by 23.5 percent. […] China has raised export tax rebates for some products in August and early November. The third similar action has been announced and will be effective in December. […]. ^ top ^

China becomes largest holder of U.S. government debt (People's Daily)
2008-11-19
By the end of September, China held US $585 billion of U.S. government debt and replaced Japan to become the largest holder of US government debt, according to the latest Treasury International Capital (TIC) report released by the US Department of Treasury. […] Japan, which had always taken first place in terms of the volume of U.S. government debt it held, reduced its holding for two consecutive months. Its holding fell from US $586 billion in August to US $573.2 billion in September, down by US $12.8 billion. The UK is the third-largest holder possessing US $338.4 billion. Zhang Ming from the international finance research section of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China continues to increase its holding of U.S. government debt because the US short-term government debt is again favored by international investors and the US dollar is markedly appreciating against other major currencies. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Monetary Policy (UB Post)
2008-11-17
Bank of Mongolia reduced its policy interest rate by 0.5 points to 9.75 percent this week. The Bank of Mongolia increased rates in light of increasing inflation over the last 16 months. Inflation measured by the CPI has reached 27.9 percent between October 2007 and October 2008, an increase of 23.2 percent since beginning of this year. Worldwide economic difficulties have been recently compounded by declining commodity prices, and economic growth around the world has slowed. Mongolian policy makers have said they will exercise a fiscal policy to limit inflation. Officials added that Togrog exchange rate fluctuations of the last week do not reflect fundamentals of the market and will not have adverse effect on inflation. According to National Statistical Committee inflation is unlikely to rise further. ^ top ^

"Mongolia is stable in global economic crisis" (Montsame)
2008-11-19
The rating agency Standard & Poor's says: "No country in Asia is immune from the global turmoil". The five countries that give it the "least concern" are Mongolia, Hong Kong, China, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Elena Okorotchenko, a head of Asian sovereign ratings at S&P, says, "These five are on different rating levels, but are stable in their respective ratings. Foreign investors are exiting Asia's emerging markets as they seek less-risky returns. That is making it more difficult for nations in the region to pay for import and is shrinking their foreign reserves." Last week she said in interview,"...Asia is facing this crisis in a far stronger position than 10 years ago. But even countries with very strong fundamentals are facing fund pull-outs as investors de-leveraging have no regard for fundamentals.". ^ top ^

Government tightens belt (www.news.mn)
2008-11-19
In view of the anticipated fall in revenue resulting from the drop in global prices, next year's budgetary provisions, in both income and expenditure, have to be carefully reviewed and sometimes drastically revised. At a special meeting on Tuesday, the Government decided to calculate all income from copper mining and export on the basis of the price remaining US$3200 per ton on an average. This means that budget income will be Tg450 billion, a loss of 4.3 percent of the GDP. With expenditures amounting to Tg157 billion required to be cut, the Government decided to; restrict official travel, both within and outside the country; to save Tg1 billion 82 million; reduce petroleum consumption to the tune of Tg650.6 million; impose a uniform bonus system in state organizations, thus saving Tg648.2 million; dispense with grants worth Tg465.4 million to political parties represented in local assemblies; cut down on cell phone allowances to staff, thereby saving Tg285.7 million; reduce expenses on stationery by Tg242.2 million; and save Tg35.1 million by cancelling newspaper subscription of ministries and agencies. ^ 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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