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
  24.11-28.11.08, No. 244  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Beijing decries UN torture panel's 'untrue and slanderous' findings (SCMP)
2008-11-24
The Foreign Ministry yesterday rejected a United Nations panel report alleging police on the mainland used torture, calling the accusations "untrue and slanderous" and saying some panel members were prejudiced against Beijing. The UN Committee against Torture said it was "deeply concerned about the continued allegations, corroborated by numerous Chinese legal sources, of the routine and widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings". Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said some members of the committee were "prejudiced", had ignored evidence presented by the central government on the issue of torture and were citing unverified or fabricated information. "They put untrue and slanderous comments into the committee's final conclusion, which lacks justice and professional objectiveness ... which China firmly opposes," Mr Qin said, without going into detail. […]. ^ top ^

Official: China willing to enhance co-op with Switzerland (Xinhua)
2008-11-24
Bern - China attaches great importance to its relationship with Switzerland and is willing to enhance their bilateral cooperation, Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong said Monday. The current Sino-Swiss relations are favorable...I hope the two countries can keep making efforts to further enhance their bilateral cooperation," Liu said during a meeting with Swiss President Pascal Couchepin. Political trust between the two countries is deepening, and cooperation in the fields of trade, environment, information and personnel training have been very fruitful, Liu said. Educational and scientific cooperation constitutes an important part of the Sino-Swiss relations, and the Chinese government is willing to work with its Swiss counterpart in further exploring the potentialities of cooperation in these two fields, Liu said. Couchepin also expressed satisfaction with the long-term friendly cooperation between the two countries. He praised the Chinese government for taking responsible measures in dealing with the international financial crisis. He also stressed that the Swiss government will stick to the one-China policy, recognizing Taiwan and Tibet as inseparable parts of China's territory. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing-Seoul hotline opens (SCMP)
2008-11-25
China and South Korea have opened military hotlines to help prevent clashes in the Yellow Sea, officials said. The lines were opened between the two countries' navy and air force command headquarters, the South Korean defence ministry said. South Korea has become the only nation to have such arrangements with China. ^ top ^

China proposes six-party talks in early December (Xinhua)
2008-11-25
Beijing - China on Tuesday called for joint efforts from all parties in the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue to push for new progress. China has proposed to hold the six-party chief negotiators meeting on Dec. 8, and is in contact with other parties over the final schedule," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. […]. ^ top ^

FM: China's defense building poses no threat to any nation (People's Daily)
2008-11-25
Beijing - China on Tuesday reiterated that its development and its defense building posed no threat to any other country. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks in responding to U.S. naval chief's statement about the so-called threat from China's navy. It was reported earlier this month that the commander of the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet Vice-Admiral John J. Donnelly said he believed China's navy was a growing threat and the United States was moving 60 percent of its submarine fleet to the Pacific to respond. Our defense policy is defensive in nature," Qin said, noting that China firmly took the road of peaceful development and followed an independent foreign policy of peace. […]. ^ top ^

Hu finalises deal, promises more maritime trade with Greece (SCMP)
2008-11-26
President Hu Jintao promised to expand maritime trade with Greece after finalising a US$1 billion container-port concession deal yesterday. Under the agreement, China's Cosco Pacific (SEHK: 1199) will receive a 35-year concession to manage two container terminals at Greece's main port of Piraeus. Dock workers staged a 24-hour strike to protest at the agreement. Their unions oppose the privatisation of the container terminals and warn that an increased influx of Chinese products will hurt the local market. […]. ^ top ^

Sino-US talks on financial crisis (SCMP)
2008-11-26
China and the United States would hold their fifth round of high-level economic talks in Beijing on December 4 and 5, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. Topics for discussion would include ways to manage the global economic turmoil to realise balanced growth, as well as trade, Mr Qin said. ^ top ^

China postpones summit with EU due to French leader's planned meeting with Dalai Lama (Xinhua)
2008-11-26
Beijing - China has to postpone the 11th summit with the European Union scheduled in early December because of French leader's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here Wednesday night. The decision is made because the summit does not enjoy a good atmosphere, nor can it achieve expected goals, Qin said, adding the cause and responsibility do not lie on the Chinese side. […] The Tibet issue is related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and it touches China's interests at the core. We firmly oppose the Dalai Lama's separatist activities in foreign countries with any capacity, and firmly oppose the contact between foreign leaders with him in any form," Qin said. […] We hope that France takes the overall situation seriously and pay attention to and cope with the major concerns of China in an earnest manner, and create conditions for the steady development of bilateral relations," Qin said. ^ top ^

China urges continued talks in Mideast peace process (People's Daily)
2008-11-26
United Nations - China's Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Yesui on Tuesday called for continued political talks in efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process. We firmly believe that political talks constitute the only correct approach to the Middle East question," Zhang told a plenary session of the UN General Assembly on the questions of Palestine and the Middle East. […] We urge Israel to actively respond to the UN's appeals and expeditiously allow unimpeded access of humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip," Zhang noted. The continued construction of settlements by Israel on the West Bank is not only in violation of Israel's obligations under international law, but is also detrimental to guaranteeing Israel's own security, he said. Zhang appealed to the world community to continue to provide assistance to the Palestinians. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese president ends five-nation trip, returns home (People's Daily)
2008-11-27
Chinese President Hu Jintao finished the last leg of his five-nation trip here on Wednesday and embarked on his way home. […] At the Washington summit, the Chinese leader outlined China's propositions on responding to the international financial crisis, explained major measures adopted by the Chinese government to ensure financial stability and economic development, and made proposals on reforming the international financial system. At the APEC meeting, President Hu made proposals on furthering Asia-Pacific regional cooperation in dealing with the world financial crisis, the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, food and energy security, and other pressing issues facing the world and the region. During his state visits to Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru and Greece, the Chinese president and leaders of the four nations exchanged views on the further development of bilateral relations and reached broad consensus on expanding friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. In Lima, Hu and his Peruvian counterpart Alan Garcia announced the conclusion of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and the upgrading of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership. ^ top ^

Chinese FM to visit Nepal, Myanmar (People's Daily)
2008-11-27
Beijing - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will pay an official visit to Nepal and Myanmar from Dec. 2 to 5, at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Upendra Yadav and Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the purpose of the visit was to further consolidate good-neighborly cooperation with the two countries. […]. ^ top ^

China advocates peaceful solution to Iranian nuclear issue (People's Daily)
2008-11-28
Vienna - China advocates peaceful solution to Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations, said Tang Guoqiang, permanent representative of China to United Nations Office at Vienna, at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) council meeting held here on Thursday. Tang said "China has always supported and maintained the international nuclear non-proliferation system," advocating "peaceful solution to Iranian nuclear issue so as to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East." […] Tang also pointed out that maintaining dialogue and negotiation, seeking "a comprehensive, persistent and appropriate solution to Iranian nuclear issue accords with the interests of all the parties," therefore, the parties concerned should continue to strengthen diplomatic efforts in this regard. […] On the evening of Nov. 19, IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei submitted the latest investigation report on Iranian nuclear issue to the IAEA Board of Governors, saying that Iran continues carrying out industrial uranium enrichment. […]. ^ top ^

China, UAE officials meet to enhance economic, trade co-op (People's Daily)
2008-11-28
Abu Dhabi- Senior officials from China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) held the fifth meeting of the Joint Economic Commission between China and the UAE here on Thursday to discuss the enhancement of the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. […] China and the UAE have seen comprehensive and fruitful cooperation in economy and trade since 2002, and the UAE has become one of China's most important trade partners in the Middle East region, China's Deputy Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said. According to Gao, the total volume of trade between the two countries stood at 20.9 billion U.S. dollars during the first nine months of 2008, representing a grow of 41 percent compared with the same period of last year. […]. ^ top ^

Turkish president meets China's top political advisor (Xinhua)
2008-11-28
Ankara - Turkish President Abdullah Gul met here Thursday with visiting China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin, and they exchanged views on furthering bilateral relations. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said there is a sound foundation for the two countries to strengthen cooperation in various fields and the Chinese side is confident in bilateral future friendship and cooperation. […] China will also continue to expand economic and trade cooperation with Turkey, strengthen bilateral cooperation in anti-terrorism and continue mutual support on issues concerning their key interests so as to joint safeguard regional stability. […] Turkey is the second leg of Jia's four-nation visit which has taken him to Jordan and will also take him to Laos and Cambodia. ^ top ^

Chinese ambassador calls for realism in WTO trade talks (Xinhua)
2008-11-28
Geneva - All members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be realistic if they want to overcome major difficulties in the Doha Round trade talks this year, Chinese Ambassador to the organization Sun Zhenyu said herey on Thursday. […] Sun said preventing and fighting protectionism is very important given the current global financial and economic crisis. Under this background, WTO members are intensifying negotiations for a Doha Round breakthrough - achieving modalities in agriculture and NAMA (Non-Agricultural Market Access), before the end of this year. […] According to the Chinese ambassador, now the situation is quite different from that in July, when a WTO ministerial meeting fell apart due to major differences on SSM and other delicate issues. Now everybody is in crisis ... in order to get what we did not get in July, we have to be more realistic on those issues," he said. The Chinese ambassador urged developed countries to bear in mind the development mandate of the Doha Round and not to seek their own comfort without considering major concerns of developing countries. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Social welfare plan aims at better health care for rural areas (SCMP)
2008-11-24
Rural dwellers stand to benefit from a central government push to spend more on social welfare, amid concerns over declining consumer confidence. Quoting Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qunan, Xinhua reported yesterday that the central government would spend 4.8 billion yuan (HK$5.4 billion) to upgrade medical facilities in rural areas. Under the initiative, 7,200 medical institutions in rural areas, including 5,500 village-level medical facilities, would receive funding. Part of the money would go to small islands along the east coast where 6,000 new community hospitals would be built. […]To address the issue, the central government has drawn up a 21.7 billion yuan blueprint to provide better medical services in rural areas, from county-level hospitals down to medical facilities for all villages by 2010. […]. ^ top ^

3b yuan to upgrade rural schools in west (SCMP)
2008-11-25
Thousands of rural schools are expected to get a shot in the arm for much-needed upgrades from a central government fund of 4.4 billion yuan (HK$5 billion) to be spent on unsafe buildings and educational infrastructure. The fund is part of 100 billion yuan Beijing has pledged to spend before the end of the year as part of an ambitious 4 trillion yuan stimulus package over the next two years aimed at heading off a looming slowdown in the wake of the global financial turmoil. Ministry of Education spokeswoman Xu Mei said about 3 billion yuan would be allocated to upgrade rural schools in the west, particularly those hit by the magnitude-8 earthquake in Sichuan province on May 12. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier seeks advice from experts to find correct course for economy (Xinhua)
2008-11-25
Beijing - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has held in-depth talks with top economists and entrepreneurs to discuss the current economic situation and the country's macro controls amid government efforts to steer the economy out of trouble against a background of global turmoil. […] The economists and entrepreneurs gave their views on the current global economic and financial situation, the country's fiscal and monetary policies, issues concerning rural areas, farmers, and agriculture, real estate sector, financial sector, industrial restructuring, how to improve people's livelihoods, and the difficulties of some sectors and companies, and also offered some suggestions. […]. ^ top ^

Guns N' Roses sites blocked by censors (SCMP)
2008-11-25
Mainland internet censors yesterday appeared to be blocking fans attempting to gain access to websites related to American rock band Guns N' Roses' first album in 17 years, which is titled Chinese Democracy. The album's official site, chinesedemocracy.com, was inaccessible on the mainland, and internet portal Baidu.com blocked music-related searches for the phrase. However, yesterday morning mainland internet users were still able to listen to the album's 14 songs on MySpace.com, the band's homepage remained accessible, and bloggers were allowed to express their opinions. The Ministry of Culture appeared to be immune to the global hype surrounding the album headed by Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, the only member of the band's original line-up involved in the recording. "This is the first time we've heard about it," a ministry spokeswoman said, when asked about the album and reports that it had been banned on the mainland. "I don't know if they're banned or not," she said. "It might be a rumour." However, a mainland newspaper yesterday criticised the album, saying it was an attack on the nation. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier says poverty fight task remains arduous (Xinhua)
2008-11-26
Beijing - Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said on Tuesday the country's poverty fight has become a more arduous task as the country decided to enable more people to benefit from the initiative. […] Statistics showed the country's rural population mired in absolute poverty was reduced to 15 million last year, down from 250 million in 1978. […] He urged the office to meet the goals set in a 2001 outline which said the country would strive to provide people in need with adequate food and clothing in 10 years, among other goals. […] The country's population in absolute poverty, with an annual per capita income of no more than 785 yuan (114.6 U.S. dollars), was reduced to 14.79 million last year, while the low-income population, with an annual per capita income between 786 yuan and 1,067 yuan, was 28.41 million. ^ top ^

Blogger barred from trip abroad (SCMP)
2008-11-26
Famed blogger Zhou Shuguang was barred from leaving the country last week because he "posed a threat to national security", it emerged yesterday. Mr Zhou, who is known by his online name Zuola, said he was invited by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle to be one of 12 judges for this year's Best of the Blogs Awards in Berlin, but was barred by Shenzhen immigration officers from leaving the mainland twice late last week. The officers told Mr Zhou to check with Changsha police in Hunan but refused to give a written reason for the restriction. […] Mr Zhou, 27, a vegetable seller and the son of Hunan peasants, started his "citizen reporter" career by posting first-hand reports and photos of a two-storey Chongqing "nail house" - a dwelling where residents refuse to sell out to developers - on his blog in April last year. Mr Zhou said he had no idea why he was not allowed to leave […]. ^ top ^

Alarming rate of soil erosion puts grain security, ecosystem at risk (SCMP)
2008-11-26
The Ministry of Water Resources and two central government think-tanks have sounded the alarm over the country's worsening soil erosion, saying the problem could threaten efforts at grain self-reliance and endanger the ecosystem. The joint report - made public last week by the ministry, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering - found that 37.1 per cent of the country's land, or about 3.57 million sq km, was exposed to erosion, according to the online version of Caijing, a mainland business magazine. The report, based on an extensive three-year study, found that China had lost more than 33,000 sq km of arable land in the past half century due to soil erosion. […] The grim assessment comes as Beijing scrambles to maintain 1.2 million sq km of arable land, a key threshold that authorities believe will guarantee grain self-sufficiency to feed China's 1.3 billion people. […]. ^ top ^

China speeds up quake zone reconstruction with another 20 bln yuan (People's Daily)
2008-11-26
Beijing - The Chinese Ministry of Finance said Wednesday it had earmarked 20 billion yuan (2.9 billion U.S. dollars) from the 2009 central budget for reconstruction in regions devastated by the May 12 earthquake in southwest China. The fund was allocated to quake regions on top of the 70 billion yuan, which the central government promised for this year. […] The new money was also meant to speed up construction of housing projects, hospitals, schools and other reconstruction projects, it said. The hardest hit Sichuan Province would receive 17 billion yuan, while Gansu would get 2 billion yuan and Shaanxi 1 billion yuan, according to the ministry. […]. ^ top ^

Police killer executed amid public sympathy: Yang Jia put to death for murdering six officers (SCMP)
2008-11-27
Shanghai executed convicted police killer Yang Jia yesterday, five months after his attack on a district police station left six officers dead and four people wounded. Despite the violent nature of the crime, Yang, 28, gained sympathy as a symbol of police brutality. The case also raised questions about the fairness of the mainland's legal system. The death sentence was carried out by lethal injection yesterday morning after the Supreme People's Court, the mainland's highest court, gave its mandatory approval. […] The death sentence was widely expected. On July 1, the jobless Beijing man threw a bomb at the entrance of the Zhabei District Police Station, stabbed a security guard and then stabbed nine police officers after entering the building. […] The judicial process was dogged by accusations of unfairness. […]. ^ top ^

Sacked toy workers clash with police at factory over payouts (SCMP)
2008-11-27
Hundreds of sacked factory employees working for a Hong Kong toy manufacturer in Dongguan smashed cars, windows and office equipment on Tuesday night to protest against what they called unfair compensation for their dismissal. Peace was restored yesterday morning at the Kader Holdings plant after an all-night standoff between police and factory workers. […] The confrontation was trigged by the manufacturer's decision not to renew the contracts of nearly 600 workers early this month. […] They also complain that it has increased their operating costs amid the global financial crisis. Lobbying has been stepped up in recent months to have the central government revise the law's provisions and relax restrictions on overtime work. Kader executive director Ivan Ting Tien-li has said the new law increased costs for factory owners. "Now, keeping a big troop of workers is a headache," he said this year. But some observers in Guangdong have assailed Hong Kong manufacturers for deciding to close their factories in recent months, saying they took advantage of the financial crisis to evade new responsibilities under the law. The Financial and Economic Committee of the Guangdong People's Congress has proposed suspending the law, according to the Nanfang Daily. […]. ^ top ^

Official hints China may raise people's income to boost spending (Xinhua)
2008-11-27
Beijing - China's economic planning agency said on Wednesday the country may raise the income of residents to create more favorable conditions for people to spend more. The government would improve the consumption environment and work on people's anticipation of future spending, an unidentified official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement posted on its website. […] To carry out policies that stimulate domestic demand is a very important footing of the country to weather through the global financial turmoil," he said. He continued to argue that such policies to bolster domestic demand should persist for a long time, as the policies play an important role in spurring the economy right now and will also boost market confidence and increase the momentum of the economy in the long run. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's cabinet approves HK$116b stimulus package: Taipei pins hopes on infrastructure projects, shopping (SCMP)
2008-11-25
The cabinet in Taipei has approved a NT$500 billion (HK$116 billion) package in an attempt to stimulate the island's economy and the flagging popularity of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. The cabinet approved the package, which consisted of NT$417.1 billion for infrastructure projects and NT$82.9 billion for shopping vouchers, in a special session yesterday, a senior economics official said. "Both special bills are aimed at stimulating our economy, and we will submit them to the legislature as soon as possible for ratification before the end of December," said Chen Tian-jy, chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development. […]. ^ top ^

Poll: Taiwan public trust in authorities rising on improved cross-Strait ties (People's Daily)
2008-11-25
TAIPEI - Trust indexes for both Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) rose in the latest public opinion poll, local media said Tuesday. The Taiwan Public Mood Index (TPMI) survey for November, by local business magazine Global Views Monthly, found that Ma's trust index had risen to 49.9, up 4.3 points from last month, and the KMT's trust index moved up 3.4 points to 44.4. The magazine attributed the increase to the progress made in the talks between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chen Yunlin in Taipei earlier this month, which helped ease the cross-Strait ties and set up a regular consultation mechanism, as well as the detention of former Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian for being allegedly involved in money laundering and corruption. […]. ^ top ^

Lien Chan a hit at Apec, but truce still far away (SCMP)
2008-11-28
Kuomintang honorary chairman Lien Chan is scheduled to return to Taiwan this morning following a successful mission as envoy of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation informal leaders' summit in Peru. His Apec mission not only allowed Taiwan to increase its global visibility, but also marked yet another milestone in cross-strait relations. As head of a 50-strong-member delegation, Mr Lien drew international attention with his visit to Lima, where he met President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush, either during the summit or on the sidelines of the Apec event. […] Although Mr Hu agreed to meet Mr Lien - a meeting described by most news media as the highest-level contact between leaders of the two sides yet to take place overseas - Mr Hu told Mr Bush that Beijing would never yield on the "one China" principle. […] Analysts say the firmness of the "one China" principle indicates there is still a long way to go for Taiwan to be able to achieve a "true" diplomatic truce. ^ top ^

Job-creation island's top priority (SCMP)
2008-11-28
Taiwan's cabinet has announced an ambitious plan to create 400,000 jobs in the next four years amid rising unemployment and a looming global recession. With the island's jobless rate rising to 4.37 per cent last month - the highest in five years - President Ma Ying-jeou had demanded the cabinet take swift action. […] Mr San did not explain how the jobs would be created, but economic officials said they expected it would be done through various government development programmes, including 12 previously announced projects costing NT$4 trillion. In addition, the Transport Ministry has proposed a NT$500 billion infrastructure package to stimulate the economy and spur domestic consumption. "This will create up to 200,000 jobs in the next four years," Mr San said. Mr Ma introduced the 12 projects during his election campaign, saying they could help bolster the island's economic growth to 6 per cent, increase per capita income to US$30,000 a year, and reduce unemployment to less than 3 per cent. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan's ex-president ends hunger strike (SCMP)
2008-11-28
Taiwan's jailed former president ended a 16-day hunger strike yesterday, a prison official said - a day after local newspapers published a poem in which he hinted he was willing to die for his pro-independence views. […] Mr Chen was jailed on November 12 after a three-judge panel had ordered him held while prosecutors pursued graft allegations against him. The ex-president has consistently denied the allegations against him, which include money-laundering, looting a special presidential fund and accepting bribes. Mr Chen said he had begun his hunger strike to highlight claims that the new government of Tawianese President Ma Ying-jeou was persecuting him for his anti-Beijing views. He is a strong advocate of formal independence for Taiwan, whereas Mr Ma favours more engagement with the mainland. Mr Chen's poem, a seven-verse, 42-line opus in Putonghua and the Taiwanese dialect, was released by his office late on Tuesday. It focused on Mr Chen's love for his wife, Wu Shu-chen, and his anti-Beijing views. "The ambition to establish an independent country is hung in mid-air," he wrote. "If I cannot walk out of the jail standing straight, I will die on the cross of Taiwanese history." […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Exiled Tibetans decide against independence push - for now (SCMP)
2008-11-23
Tibetan exiles have decided to continue with the Dalai Lama's "middle-way" approach to Beijing, the Tibetan government-in-exile said yesterday. […] The middle-way approach abandoned the dream of an independent Tibet in favour of seeking greater autonomy within China through dialogue. "We will continue with the middle-way approach and if there is no progress within a short period we will consider other options, including independence," Karma Choephel, Speaker of the Tibet's parliament-in-exile, told the gathering of exiles. […] Analysts and many Tibetans think the 73-year-old Dalai Lama called the meeting partly to unite the Tibetan exile movement around a common approach and prepare the way for his gradual retirement, especially if his health starts to fail. […] Through the week, hundreds of Tibetans split into 15 groups of 40 each to brainstorm ideas before presenting their conclusions to the government-in-exile. Some groups wanted to give Beijing two years to resolve the Tibetan issue or face more radical protests. But an overwhelming majority said they wanted to stick to the non-violent path, saying they could only hope that Beijing softened its stance. […]. ^ top ^

Official: China sets free more than 1,000 rioters over Lhasa violence (People's Daily)
2008-11-26
Beijing - China has set free more than 1,000 rioters involved in the March 14 riot that engulfed Tibet's capital Lhasa, according to a senior Chinese official. Most of the released rioters had turned themselves in right after the riot," Zhu Weiqun, deputy head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said in a recent interview with BBC. […] Zhu said there exist no "suppression" in Tibet. The suspects had enjoyed all legitimate rights based on Chinese law. […] With the placard of "non-violence" in his hand, the Dalai Lama on the other hand turned a blind eye to violent activities, the official said. Many people died in the March 14 Lhasa riot, and he called it a peaceful protest... is it the so-called non-violence?" Zhu questioned. He held that most Tibetans living abroad were against violence and hoped for a better living environment and closer ties with Tibet. […] Rioters also torched houses, vehicles and looted shops. Direct economic loss stood at 320 million yuan (about 47 million U.S. dollars). […]. ^ top ^

Waiting game (SCMP)
2008-11-26
An urgent six-day meeting of Tibetans in exile, held after the breakdown of talks with Beijing, has failed to come up with any new strategy for the future. Instead, the 581 delegates representing Tibetans living in 19 countries meeting in Dharamsala, India, reaffirmed their faith in the Dalai Lama and his "middle way" approach to engage China in finding a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan issue. Significantly, the delegates did not call for Tibetan independence, at least for now. […] Thus, the deadlock between Beijing and the Tibetan exiles continues. The delegates faced two issues: whether to go for outright independence, and whether to abandon the Dalai Lama's insistence on a peaceful resolution. […] In a reflection of the frustration over the lack of progress in the talks with Beijing, which have been going on intermittently since 2002, the meeting called for the termination of the dialogue "if the Chinese government does not agree to the demands and reciprocate positively to the overtures of the Tibetan people". If the dialogue with Beijing is discontinued, as appears likely, then both sides will be playing a waiting game. Beijing has made it clear that it is awaiting the demise of the 73-year-old Dalai Lama while the Tibetans will wait for changes in China, which may result in political reforms. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Global slowdown has bigger impact on China economy, vice premier says (Xinhua)
2008-11-24
Wuhan - The spreading global financial crisis and economic slowdown are having bigger negative impact on Chinese economy, vice premier Zhang Dejiang said on a weekend inspection tour to central province of Hubei. Zhang, who aims to learn about performance of the industrial sector during the trip, urged the local officials to give strong support to key enterprises and sectors and also small and medium-sized enterprises and labor-intensive businesses. China's annual economic growth rate slowed sharply to 9 percent in the third quarter, from 10.4 percent in the first half, because of slower growth in exports and property investment. […]. ^ top ^

World Bank cuts 2009 China growth forecast to 7.5% vs. 9.2 (People's Daily)
2008-11-25
The World Bank on Tuesday cut its 2009 forecast for China's economic growth to 7.5 percent, from 9.2 percent previously, in a report released in Beijing. With the financial crisis spreading globally, the impact on China is expected to intensify amid a global fund squeeze and a slowdown in export growth in 2009, the World Bank said in its China Quarterly Update. "The global economy is facing great difficulties. The slowdown in the United States, Europe and Japan should affect developing economies including China," said David Dollar, the World Bank's Country Director for China. […]. ^ top ^

PBOC makes biggest rate cut for a decade: Central bank gets tough on slowdown (SCMP)
2008-11-27
The mainland's central bank yesterday cut benchmark interest rates by 108 basis points, the most aggressive reduction in more than a decade as the world's fourth biggest economy battles economic slowdown. In its fourth rate cut in 10 weeks, the People's Bank of China lowered the interest rates on all kinds of deposits and loans, effective from today. […] "This is the PBOC's most aggressive move in a decade, reflecting Beijing's concerns about the rising risk of slumping growth and deflation," said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist with HSBC (SEHK: 0005, announcements, news). […] The PBOC said the move was aimed to "ensure adequate liquidity in the banking system", "promote the stable growth of lending" and "play monetary policies' role in bolstering economic growth". […]. ^ top ^

Global slowdown may hit China's hinterland hard (China Daily)
2008-11-27
Beijing - China's less-developed central and western parts are likely to suffer more than coastal regions in the unfolding global economic slowdown in the long term, warned a senior official from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Fledging industrial structures, sharply declining resource prices and a weaker capability to handle risk and social conflict make the western and middle regions more vulnerable to global financial woes, said NDRC's vice-minister Du Ying. […] First, economies in central and western China are largely small-scale and resource-intensive and will be slow to adapt to the changes brought by the crisis. Second, many businesses in these regions are based on raw material export and will be badly hurt if the price of raw materials keeps dropping in international markets. Finally, Du believes the weaker economy in China's hinterland won't provide enough job opportunities for migrant workers returning from bankrupt factories in East China, potentially giving rise to social conflicts. […]. ^ top ^

Crisis in Shenzhen 'minimal', despite lay-offs, closures (SCMP)
2008-11-27
Shenzhen authorities insist the extent of factory closures and job losses in the city since the onset of the financial crisis has been minimal, even though the manufacturing hub's cargo volume has dropped 30 per cent in one month and migrant workers have been laid off. Mayor Xu Zongheng said yesterday that only 682 companies had shut down in the past 10 months and about 50,000 factory workers had been laid off. Mr Xu said the closed factories - with a combined annual output of 2 billion yuan (HK$2.28 billion) - had contributed just 0.15 per cent to the city's industrial output. "Sixty per cent of those that closed manufactured toys, plastics, metal appliances or clothes," he said. "This doesn't shatter the city's industrial foundation." The mayor said 60 to 70 per cent of the factories closed because of rising raw material costs, the yuan's appreciation and declining orders amid the financial crisis, and the rest either closed because of competition or were shut down due to pollution violations or illegality. […]. Shenzhen is the major domestic port for exports. Last year, more than 95 per cent of 21 million cargo units handled there were exports, with some 40 per cent bound for the US. […]. ^ top ^

Top planner: Pressure on economy increasing (China Daily)
2008-11-28
The pressure on the economy is increasing and this month's indicators show a faster declining tendency, the country's top planning official said yesterday. But the government will take effective steps to increase domestic demand and create more jobs, said Zhang Ping, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). "We must take forceful and effective measures to curb excessive slowdown of the economy," he said at a press conference in Beijing. Zhang's remarks came a day after the central bank cut the interest rate by 1.08 percentage points, the highest in 11 years. That, along with the $586-billion stimulus package announced on Nov 9, is expected to boost domestic investment. […] The government could cut the interest rate further in the coming months, analysts said, because the falling inflation rate offers greater room for easing the monetary policy. Lower deposit rates are likely to discourage people from saving and prompt them to spend more, Wang Tao, UBS Securities economist, said. The government has increased pensions for retirees and the allowance for low-income families. It has also raised the minimum purchase prices for grains to increase the income of people in rural areas, an important move to help laid-off migrant workers returning home to earn a living. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

DP leader calls for special party plenum (www.news.mn)
2008-11-25
Calling the present joint government an “oligarchy that works only to further its own interests”, S.Erdene, Head of the DP unit in Ulaanbaatar, has written a letter to the Governing Board of the Democratic Party, asking it to call a special plenum by December 15 to discuss the present political situation. S.Erdene was a candidate at the 25 Constituency where the results have not yet been declared, even though five months have passed since the parliamentary election. ^ top ^

Mongolia marks its proclamation day (Montsame)
2008-11-26
November 26 is the Mongolian national holiday. It marks the day, when 84 years ago Mongolia adopted its first constitution and proclaimed itself to the world as a People?s Republic. This ended the reign of Bogd khan who ruled at that time. The current government views the accomplishment of the 1924 constitution as a starting point for the independent nation. Many people celebrate by enjoying the traditional national wrestling. ^ top ^

Putin to attend Erdenet anniversary gala (Montsame)
2008-11-27
The ongoing 30th anniversary celebration of Mongolian-Russian "Erdenet" mining corporation is likely to be crowned with a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Erdenet in December this year. The Russian Premier visited Mongolia in 2001 as his country's President. The landmark event in the history of this successful joint venture, owned 51 percent by Mongolia and 49 percent by Russia, has already been very enthusiastically observed in Moscow. The Mongolian delegation to the celebration there earlier this month included the corporation's present Director-General Ch.Ganzorig, a Chairman of the State Property Committee D.Sugar and Ambassador to Russia L.Khangai. ^ top ^

All savings in banks made legally secure (www.news.mn)
2008-11-27
Parliament decided on Tuesday to give a guarantee to all citizens with savings in any commercial bank that their money is safe. The 16 commercial banks in the country have deposits of Tg 1.3 trillion in accounts held by 1,380,000 people. The law will be in force for three years but “can be extended, if necessary”, according to Prime Minister S.Bayar. The present measure will reassure all depositors after weeks during which talk of the global financial crisis was eroding their faith in banks and often led to panic withdrawals. Citizens and companies withdrew some Tg100 million from their bank accounts in the last two months. ^ 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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