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
  1.12-5.12.08, No. 245  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China signs 19 purchase contracts with Turkey (Xinhua)
2008-11-29
Istanbul - Chinese and Turkish business people signed 19 contracts here Friday on the purchase of Turkish commodities worth about 230 million U.S. dollars. Visiting China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin attended the signing ceremony after the Sino-Turkish economic and trade cooperation forum which was attended by government officials and business people from the two countries. […] China-Turkey trade volume exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars last year and the figure for this year is expected to reach 13 billion U.S. dollars. He called on business people from both countries to make joint efforts to further tap cooperation potentials, increase mutual investment, expand cooperation in infrastructure construction and project engineering, and enhance multi-lateral economic and trade cooperation. […]. ^ top ^

China strongly opposed to EU and Austria's accusation on execution of Taiwan spy (Xinhua)
2008-12-01
Beijing - China was strongly opposed to the accusation of the European Union and Austria over its execution of Wo Weihan, a man spying for Taiwan. Chinese judicial organs made the verdict and this was completely a matter within the Chinese judicial sovereignty," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. […] The EU and Austria expressed strong dissatisfaction over Wo's execution in their statement. China's action undermined the mutual trust and mutual respect of human rights talks and would lead to severe effects on human rights talks. The U.S. has also expressed concerns over Wo's case. Qin said: "The trial procedure was just and fair and the rights of the accused were well protected." China is a rule-of-law country and Wo is a Chinese citizen," Qin said, "the evidence of his crime has been verified." The accusation against the Chinese judicial authorities intervened brutally into Chinese judicial sovereignty, trampled the spirit of the rule of law, and undermine the basis of the healthy development of the bilateral talks on human rights." We were strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to (the accusation) and urged all concerned parties to immediately correct the mistake and stop the words and actions concerning interventions of other country's judicature," Qin added. ^ top ^

Beijing steps up war of words with Europe (SCMP)
2008-12-02
Beijing and the European Union have stepped up their rhetoric over human rights and trade issues as their relationship goes cold. China hit back yesterday at the EU's strong criticism of the execution of a mainland medical researcher and businessman accused of spying for Taiwan, saying he had received a fair trial. Wo Weihan was executed on Friday after being convicted of passing data on missile guidance systems to a group linked to Taiwanese intelligence agencies. The EU condemned the execution and the conditions under which Wo was detained and tried, saying they did not comply with international standards. It said China had not heeded repeated calls by EU states for the execution to be deferred and for the death sentence to be commuted. Wo's trial was just and his rights had been protected, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. Beijing viewed the EU's criticism as a "rude interference in China's judiciary that tramples the spirit of the rule of law and undermines the basis of the healthy development of bilateral talks on human rights", he said. […] Ties cooled after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would meet the Dalai Lama in Poland this week. Beijing responded by calling off a summit with European leaders scheduled to start yesterday in Lyon, France. Some mainland reports suggest Beijing would postpone a multibillion-yuan Airbus deal. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso defended Mr Sarkozy's decision, expressing regrets over the cancellation of the summit. He said the Dalai Lama's meetings with leaders was not a good enough excuse for Beijing to call off the summit. […]. ^ top ^

Ringing the changes (SCMP)
2008-12-03
As a new administration is being formed in Washington, China is a little unsure of what to expect from Barack Obama. China, thankfully, was not a major campaign issue but that also means that the candidates did not talk much about their China policy. As one Chinese official said informally, Mr Obama emphasised change during his campaign, but it wasn't clear what kind of change he wanted. […] During the campaign, it refrained from commenting on the candidates, as befitting the policy of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. Although China was not a major campaign issue, the two candidates did take positions that could affect future US policy. […] Mr Obama was supportive of the arms sales package - a move denounced by Beijing - but did not urge making it any bigger. But, during the campaign, he did criticise China for manipulating its currency to give itself an unfair trading advantage. It is unclear to what extent he will want to press this issue, given the current economic crisis. […] On November 8, he called Mr Hu. He told Mr Obama that the two countries should "accommodate each other's concerns" and appropriately settle sensitive issues such as Taiwan. […]. ^ top ^

China, U.S. to hold 5th SED at "critical timing" (Xinhua)
2008-12-03
Beijing - The deepening financial turmoil and the transition in the U.S. government has pushed the coming fifth China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) further into the limelight, experts told Xinhua on the eve of the talks. Zhang Hanya, a senior researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission, told Xinhua on Wednesday that the fifth round of the SED that was set to run from Thursday through Friday in Beijing was coming at "a critical time". […] The timing is critical as on the one hand, the United States bore the brunt of the financial turmoil and needed a helping hand from China; on the other hand, this is the transition period between the Bush administration and the Obama administration," said Zhang. […] Zhang said the United States needed China in helping it survive the financial crisis. On the flip side, if the U.S. economy was drawn into a long-term recession, it was also difficult for the Chinese economy to "outshine others for the long run" as the two economies were closely linked with each other. […]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official: China expects promotion of Mideast peace process (People's Daily)
2008-12-04
Ramallah - A visiting senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said here on Wednesday that China hopes for joint efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process. Liu Yunshan, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks during meetings with Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city. Liu highlighted China's hope for realizing a comprehensive, just and everlasting peace in the Middle East at an early date, based on related UN resolutions and the "Land for Peace" principle. […] Abbas expressed appreciation of the positive development of the solid ties between the Palestinians and China, expressing gratitude to China over its support for the Palestinian cause. […]. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese official elaborates principles on "shared vision" in addressing climate change (Xinhua)
2008-12-04
Poznan - A senior Chinese official on Wednesday elaborated China's stance on a shared vision for long-term cooperative action under the UN climate convention, saying pragmatic actions are needed. Su Wei, deputy head of the Chinese delegation to the Poznan talks, said shared vision should be focused on the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, Bali Roadmap, and address mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, and provision of financing resources. […] Three basic principles should be observed in implementing a shared vision, namely common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and full consideration of the development needs of developing countries, Su said. […] Concluding his words, Su said mid-term reduction target for developed countries is key to any long term goal, noting that cutting the greenhouse gas emission by at least 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 compared to the 1990 levels should be the mid-term goal for developed nations. […]. ^ top ^

Foreign Ministry: China to "actively" join Doha round (Xinhua)
2008-12-04
Beijing - China said it will actively join the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Doha round and play a constructive role, so as to promote negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and balanced result. Though it is a tough job to finish the Doha round by year-end, China will continue to play a constructive and active role as a responsible country, and work with all sides to promote the negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and balanced result on the basis of existing achievements," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters here on Thursday. […] He told the press that China will send a ministerial-level delegation to attend the WTO high-level meeting, a sign of China's resolution and sincerity to promote the Doha round. ^ top ^

China urges France to "make concrete efforts" to mend bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2008-12-04
Beijing - China on Thursday urged France to take concrete measures to tackle the current difficulties in bilateral relations, saying that improvement of these ties mainly depends on France. […] China has repeatedly expressed its position on the planned meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama, and France is quite aware of that," Liu said. To mend ties, push forward China-EU relations and help resume the Sino-EU summit, France should take China's position and concerns into consideration and take proper action, Liu said. Last week, China decided to put off the 11th China-European Union Summit, scheduled for early December in France. The decision came after Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, insisted on meeting with the Dalai Lama after the summit. The French state leader's insistence on meeting the Dalai Lama has triggered strong dissatisfaction among Chinese people. We hope the French side will heed the voices of the Chinese people, and we also hope that the Chinese people will look at Sino-French ties with a cool-minded, reasonable attitude," Liu said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese ambassador urges deeper mutual understanding to promote China-EU ties (People's Daily)
2008-12-05
The Chinese ambassador to the European Union (EU) on Thursday called for a more comprehensive and deeper mutual understanding between China and the EU. […] On the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits, China is willing to deepen cooperation and mutual trust with the EU, work together with it to overcome the current global financial and economic crises, deal with the challenges stemming from globalization, and to push for a long-term steady development of bilateral relations, he added. […] "There is no room for compromise on issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as it is related to China's core interests and the feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people," he said. "Any attempt to put pressure on China on such issue will not only be unwise but also be ineffective, and will eventually damage the common interest of both sides." […]. ^ top ^

Call to combat protectionism (China Daily)
2008-12-05
China and the US need to be persistent in their fight against protectionism amid the global economic turmoil, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said yesterday. The crisis has spread from the financial sector to the non-financial sector, Chen said. And China's manufacturing and exports sectors have suffered because of the falling demand worldwide since October. The fight against protectionism, removing trade barriers and pushing forward the Doha round of WTO talks are the top concerns of the two countries at the fifth Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in Beijing. […] "WTO members should act against protectionism by adhering to WTO rules." "China will continue to show good faith in the WTO, and we hope the US side does the same," Chen said. […] China is particularly concerned over four aspects of trade barriers and protectionism - free trade of textile products, expanding high-tech products trade, its market status, and the misuse of anti-dumping and countervailing measures, Chen said. "China will continue to open up its market for international capital," he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

President Hu: China's economic development faces challenges (People's Daily)
2008-11-29
Beijing - Chinese President Hu Jintao warned on Saturday that the global financial turmoil will make it harder for China to maintain the pace of its economic development in the near future. China is under growing tension from its large population, limited resources and environment problems, and needs faster reform of its economic growth pattern to achieve sustainable development, said Hu when addressing members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. […] Efforts should be made to solve problems that concern the people's fundamental interests, in order to achieve healthy and rapid economic and social development and improve people's living, the CPC chief said. […] He also noted that with the spread of the global financial crisis, China is losing its competitive edge in the world market as international demand is reduced. […]. ^ top ^

Ministry: 6 infants possibly died of tainted milk powder (Xinhua)
2008-12-01
Beijing - Six Chinese infants might have died from consuming melamine-tainted milk powder, the country's Ministry of Health (MOH) said here on Monday. Experts with the MOH and provincial health departments had looked into 11 infant death cases since September across the country, and had ruled out connection to the tainted milk powder in five cases, the ministry said on its website. They could not, however, rule out such possibility in the rest six cases, it said. […] Meanwhile, 861 infants were still receiving treatment for kidney problems caused by tainted milk powder by last Thursday, the ministry said. […]. ^ top ^

Guangzhou taxis strike despite cuts in car rents (SCMP)
2008-12-02
About 70 per cent of Guangzhou's 17,821 taxis went on strike yesterday in what mainland labour experts described as the "largest industrial action" since 1989. The strike was called despite government efforts to pacify the drivers. The city government has ordered an 800 yuan (HK$910) cut in the monthly rent for drivers and launched a crackdown on illegal taxis, aiming to resolve to two key grievances of the licensed drivers. Yesterday's strike was peaceful. Drivers did not gather, as they feared doing so would bring confrontation with police. Instead, most drivers simply parked their taxis in Guangzhou's rural areas where parking fees are low or non-existent. Some said they would play cards; others planned to spend time on vehicle maintenance. […]. ^ top ^

200 workers in S. China city block highway for labor contract dispute (People's Daily)
2008-12-02
Guangzhou - About 200 workers of a smelting factory gathered and blocked a highway for about two hours in a south China city for labor contract dispute early Monday morning. The employees with Shaoguan Smelting Factory in Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, gathered at the factory's gate at around 8:30 a.m. to protest that the factory refused to continue to sign the labor contracts as they expected. Their current labor contracts will terminate at the end of this year. They said their interests would be much hurt if the factory refused to continue to sign the new contracts in the same way as the current ones. Most of the workers had been working in the plant for more than ten years. The gathering blocked national highway 106 and halted traffic for two hours. They evacuated after the factory agreed to sign the new contracts in the way they expected. ^ top ^

Hu emphasises HIV policy shift with visit (SCMP)
2008-12-02
President Hu Jintao made a symbolic visit to medics and Aids patients yesterday in an apparent attempt to ratchet up the fight against a raging epidemic that has killed at least 34,000 on the mainland. The visit to Ditan Hospital, one of the top hospitals in the capital specialising in HIV/Aids treatment and research, represents a major policy shift that began in 2003. At that time, HIV/Aids was largely a taboo subject, associated with illegal blood collection and drug use. Quoting official statistics, Xinhua reported at the weekend that the number of people living with HIV/Aids on the mainland had jumped by 50,000 from November last year to more than 260,000 at the end of September. But the actual number of HIV infections on the mainland could be as high as 700,000, according to a projection from a joint Sino-UN assessment last year, which would mean 440,000 people living with the virus were not aware they have contracted it - a potential time bomb for further spread of the epidemic. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing's tortuous road to judicial reform (SCMP)
2008-12-02
China's human rights performance is again in the news, with the UN Committee Against Torture issuing a report alleging widespread abuse in the mainland's legal system. The Foreign Ministry rejected the committee's allegation that police used torture, and accused panel members of prejudice. However, Beijing's submission to the committee acknowledges incidents of torture and provides figures for the number of officials sentenced each year for using it to extract confessions. Beijing apparently wants the committee to say that the situation is improving because these numbers are falling. The committee did acknowledge that China had made an effort, but said much more needs to be done. ^ top ^

Political change must come next - Those who dare will cure nation's ills and make it truly modern, 'Mr Market' says (SCMP)
2008-12-03
A man who helped lead the long campaign to develop the mainland's market economy believes political change is now the ultimate solution to the mainland's economic problems - despite a 30-year boom built on continuous market-oriented reform. Wu Jinglian is popularly known as "Mr Market", and likened to the late Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman. He dared to think the unthinkable as he helped to design the framework of the mainland's market economic system. That was especially true since 1980, when he took over the helm of the Development and Research Centre and served as one of the principal advisers to reformist leaders, including former party chief Zhao Ziyang and former premier Zhu Rongji. Now he says that if the mainland is to become fully modernised, it must introduce three principles: democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law. […] Mr Wu said major economic and social ills, such as rural-urban inequalities and corruption of party officials, stemmed from "flaws in the economic and political system". Although it would be a tough task to introduce a modern system based on the three principles, there would be no cure without them, he said. […]. ^ top ^

500 workers march in Shaoguan (SCMP)
2008-12-03
About 500 workers at state-owned Shaoguan Smelter marched in protest on a main road in Shaoguan in northern Guangdong on Monday over a contract dispute, mainland media reported. The workers gathered at the metal-smelting factory's gate at about 8.30am, blocking Nan Jiao Road in front of the factory for about two hours, Guangzhou Daily reported. Management had initially refused to sign new labour contracts with 267 employees whose contracts will expire by the end of the year. It said on November 23 that it had been forced into this decision by the global financial crisis. […] Dozens of armed police monitored the protesters, who abandoned their demonstration at about noon after management promised to negotiate with their representatives. By Monday night, the company had dropped its original plan and promised to renew the workers' contracts. […]. ^ top ^

Probe into beating of Belgian journalists (SCMP)
2008-12-03
Authorities are investigating an attack in Henan province in which assailants allegedly pulled a Belgian television crew from their vehicle, beat them and took their notes and money, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The attack last Thursday came just a little more than a month after Beijing announced that relaxed reporting regulations for foreign media put in place for the Olympics would become permanent. Journalists are now supposed to be able to travel and report freely in most parts of the mainland, but certain topics remain touchy, especially with local officials. […] It was the second time the crew had been stopped that day, the report said. Such attacks are often believed to be carried out on orders from local officials seeking to suppress negative reporting in their areas. […]. ^ top ^

China's human rights situation continues to improve since reform and opening-up (People's Daily)
2008-12-03
To commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 60th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, the China Society for Human Rights Studies held a seminar called "30 Years of China's Reform and Opening-up and Human Rights Development" in Beijing on December 2. Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, said in his speech that overseas publicity of China's human rights situation started from zero 30 years ago and it has been continuously developed ever since. The State Council Information Offices accomplishments in this field have made important contributions to helping China explain explicitly to the world, China's human rights situation. It has also helped clarify China's position in this regard, showing our favorable image in respecting and protecting human rights, and to create the objective and friendly public opinion environment for the economic reform, opening-up and modernization policies. […]. ^ top ^

Jiangxi to build nuclear plant (China Daily)
2008-12-04
Construction of a 60-billion-yuan nuclear power plant in Jiangxi province is expected to begin soon, a move in line with China's policy to boost the domestic demand. Located in Pengze in the Jiujiang city, the project is expected to come on stream in 2013, reported local media, citing unnamed sources. The plant is designed to have a capacity of 8,000 megawatts. Once in operation, it will generate 60 billion kilowatts of electricity annually. […] "As China has taken measures to boost the domestic demand, China may speed up the construction of nuclear projects in the next few years," said an analyst who declined to be named. China's top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said in November that construction of a series of large energy projects were due to start this year. These include three nuclear power plants with a total of 10 1,000-MW reactors, respectively located in Fuqing in Fujian, Fangjiashan in Zhejiang and Yangjiang in Guangdong. ^ top ^

Preservation of farmland put on back burner - Economic boosters get priority (SCMP)
2008-12-04
Beijing's 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.5 trillion) economic stimulus package would erode efforts over the next decade to preserve enough farmland to meet the country's food needs, a senior central government official said yesterday. But a short-term economic boost was a government priority and no construction projects, once approved, would be delayed or dropped because of land issues, said Ministry of Land and Resources Deputy Minister Lu Xinshe. "We have such a small amount of time, a huge amount of investment, and many projects that have to get off the ground," Mr Lu said in Beijing. "These factors will definitely put some enormous pressure on farmland preservation, threatening our bottom line of [120 million hectares]. Our overall policy is ... that if conflicts of interest emerge over the taking of a large piece of land ... it will be taken if necessary. But we will protect the farmers' interests." It was the first time a senior official had publicly, albeit indirectly, admitted that growth in gross domestic product was more important than farmers' land interests. […]. ^ top ^

Town police storm party office in pay dispute (SCMP)
2008-12-04
Dozens of police officers besieged the Communist Party headquarters in a town in Hunan province this week to demand higher pay and allowances, a human rights watchdog said yesterday. Such protests are almost unheard of on the mainland. Nearly 100 officers drove their patrol cars to party headquarters in Leiyang on Tuesday, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said. They reportedly blocked both entrances for nearly three hours, vandalised stools, chairs and other property in the party office and quarrelled and scuffled with party staff. […] The protesters want a rise to bring their pay up to the level of police in the Hunan capital, Changsha. […]. ^ top ^

Suppliers beaten up by police over firm's debts (SCMP)
2008-12-04
Factory suppliers seeking overdue payments were beaten up by police in a clash that put a dozen in hospital last night in Dongguan. About 100 suppliers gathered at Dongguan Red Power Electronics, which they said owed them about 80 million yuan, said a supplier. After meeting a town government official, the suppliers called for police to investigate the Red Power owner on charges of fraud. The police refused the request, citing lack of evidence. The clash began when suppliers tried to rush into the building. ^ top ^

China reveals evidence behind execution of missile spies (Xinhua)
2008-12-04
Beijing - China on Thursday revealed detailed evidence behind the conviction and execution of two Chinese men who spied for Taiwan and stole missile secrets. A cover story published in Global Times, owned by the People's Daily, quoted an exclusive and reliable source that Wo Weihan, who was executed last Friday after being convicted of leaking Chinese strategic missile data to Taiwan intelligence, had brought about an "extraordinary loss to national security". Although not identifying the source, the story said 60-year-old Wo was recruited by Taiwan intelligence agencies in Germany in October 1989 during a five-year government paid study for doctoral degree in Munich. […] From the early 1990s to early this century, Wo acquired Chinese military secrets with Taiwan intelligence agencies' financial aid, including information on the People's Liberation Army's night combat equipment. The story also said the Wohua Biological Technology Company Ltd. that Wo registered in Beijing, and his title "company's chief scientist", were actually covers for his espionage. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing fulfils "blue sky" day goal one month in advance (People's Daily)
2008-11-30
Beijing - Beijing has met its 2008 target of 256 blue sky days as Sunday marked another day of good air quality. As of Sunday, the number of the city's blue sky days was 25 more than that of the same period last year, according to the Beijing Environmental Protection Monitoring Center. From January to November, major pollution indices like concentrations of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, fell by up to 27.8 percent, the center's statistics showed. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Beijing decides to block hit Taiwanese movie (SCMP)
2008-12-02
Beijing has reversed its decision to import a hit Taiwanese film that highlights Japan's 50-year colonial rule over the island because it might offend the mainland public, according to news reports. Cape No7 is Taiwan's most successful movie in years, earning more than NT$231 million (HK$53.6 million) since its release on August 22. It is about a failed Taiwanese rock musician who returns to his small coastal hometown and is forced to play in a hastily assembled amateur band that will open for a Japanese pop star. He falls in love with the Japanese publicist overseeing the show. The movie is also interspersed with a voice-over that reads from letters written by a Japanese man to his Taiwanese love interest just after the island's colonial era ended. Japan ruled Taiwan from 1895 to 1945. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan's rejection of Dalai Lama visit angers opposition (SCMP)
2008-12-05
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's decision not to allow Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to visit Taiwan provoked outrage in the pro-independent camp yesterday. Mr Ma said the Dalai Lama was not likely to visit the island in the near future, as Taipei's ties with Beijing improved. The remarks irked the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, which forged closer ties with the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile during their eight years in power which ended in May. "Apparently the decision was another indication of Ma bowing to Beijing's pressure," DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Public told to stay calm as France stands ground on Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2008-12-05
With French President Nicolas Sarkozy refusing to cancel a meeting with the Dalai Lama tomorrow, the Foreign Ministry has called for calm among the Chinese public. "France's wrongful stand has severely upset the Chinese people," spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday. "On one hand we urge France to return to the correct stance and make a correct decision. On the other hand, we also urge the Chinese public to be calm in response to current Sino-French relations." […] China's stance on Mr Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama has been interpreted as an unusually strong diplomatic gesture, a result of China's growing leverage in the world and its growing dissatisfaction with the Dalai Lama's rapport with the international community. […] "We attach great importance to our strategic partnership with France, and our business relations with France. These two points are closely related," he said. "Only when bilateral ties develop healthily and stably will we be able to create the good atmosphere and preconditions for co-operation in areas from politics, economics and trade." […]. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama row sparks new France boycott calls (SCMP)
2008-12-05
Angry mainland nationalists are gathering online momentum for a boycott of French products in protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to meet the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, this weekend. Beijing has already warned Paris about Mr Sarkozy's decision and said it forced the government to postpone a planned EU-China summit, but some citizens want a more tangible response to what they see as a slight to national pride. “I am using my real name to swear to the French: I am going to boycott French goods for my whole life. I will never use French brands or any product made in France,” said one poster, who identified himself as Yan Zhongjie. An early posting calling for a boycott was blocked, probably by censors wary of sentiments that earlier this year escalated into protests outside French-owned stores after the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay was disrupted by anti-China protesters. But cached records show it was seen by nearly 850,000 readers and notched up 90,000 comments before it disappeared. […]. ^ top ^

China lacks moral authority to be a superpower, says Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2008-12-05
China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said on Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing. After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China “deserves to be a superpower” given its huge population and economic and military strength. “Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking,” he told a press conference in Brussels. “Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press – too much censorship – the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said. “The sensible Chinese realise China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said. […] The chamber's president, Hans-Gert Poettering, assured that the parliament would “continue to defend the rights of the Tibetan people to their cultural and religious identity.” He called on Chinese leaders to hold meaningful talks with representatives of the exiled Dalai Lama. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Bank of China opens subsidiaries in Switzerland (People's Daily)
2008-11-28
Geneva - Bank of China has opened two subsidiaries in Switzerland, becoming the first Chinese banking group to establish a presence in the country, the organization announced Friday. […] The Bank of China (Suisse) SA, will start operations immediately. "It will offer top quality private banking services to Chinese as well as international clients," the bank said. The second subsidiary, BOC (SUISSE) FUND MANAGEMENT SA, will offer institutional asset management services to Chinese, Swiss and international institutions. It will also manage funds in both Chinese and global financial markets. […] The subsidiaries demonstrate the bank's confidence in the future of China, in Switzerland as a key international financial center and in Swiss expertise in these important fields, the press release added. ^ top ^

China expects economic growth by 10% in 2009 (Xinhua)
2008-11-30
Beijing - China's economy is expected to grow by 10 percent in 2009 despite the impact of the financial crisis and global economic downturn, a researcher with the country's Cabinet said. "Although dim world economic situation has led to weak overseas demand, domestic consumption and investments, vast development potential decided the country's economy will grow at fast paces," said Zhang Liqun, the Development Research Center of the State Council researcher. He forecasted China's economic growth would accelerate largely at the second half of next year. Zhang said his remarks were based on the country's huge domestic consumption, and investment potentials; sufficient fund, technology, labor and social security, and the government's gradually mature macro-economic control measures. […]. ^ top ^

Economists: China mfg to slow further before 2009 rebound (Xinhua)
2008-12-01
Beijing - China's manufacturing activity will slow further before rebounding next year, investment bank Merrill Lynch said in a research note. Data released on Monday showed the purchasing managers' index (PMI) of the manufacturing sector plunged to a record low of 38.8 in November from 44.6 in October, as the global economic slowdown hit demand for Chinese goods. It was the fourth month that the PMI was below 50 this year. A reading above 50 suggests expansion, while one below 50 indicates contraction. […]. ^ top ^

Export of Chinese poultry meat products to EU resumes (People's Daily)
2008-12-01
Recently, after six years of export suspension, the first 600 tons of cooked chicken meat was transported to Europe by Shandong Zhucheng Foreign Trade Co., Ltd from Qingdao to the Port of Antwerp in Belgium. For the first time in six years the European Union (EU) market has re-opened its doors to Chinese poultry meat products. However, Shandong is the only province in China permitted to export poultry meat to EU nations at present. In January 2002, stating that the Chinese residue pesticide system did not reach standards, the EU completely prohibited the import of animal-source products from China. In January 2004, in connection with the bird flu outbreak in some parts of China, the EU completely banned the import of China-produced poultry products. […] Poultry meat exported from Shandong Province makes up half of China's total export, with its cooked poultry meat exports accounting for 60% of the national total. After the resumed trade, exports from five enterprises in Weifang city, Shandong, may be worth about US $500 million every year. ^ top ^

China to set strategy for 8% GDP growth (Xinhua)
2008-12-03
Beijing - China's top economic policy makers will meet next week to decide how to secure growth of at least 8 percent, outpacing the World Bank's more pessimistic forecast, government officials said Tuesday. The annual Central Economic Work Conference, scheduled for Monday through Wednesday, will tackle ways to implement the recently adopted "expansive" fiscal policy and "moderately easy" monetary policy, officials said. […] The minimum growth rate that China needs to absorb the millions of people entering the workforce every year is widely regarded to be 8 percent. The top priority for next year is to maintain steady economic growth, said officials attending a recent preliminary meeting for the yearly economic summit. They noted that the central government has set next year's economic growth target at above 8 percent, the Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources. […]. ^ top ^

CNPC to build pipeline in UAE (China Daily)
2008-12-03
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has inked a deal to build a $3.29 billion oil pipeline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the company's largest overseas construction project so far. […] The pipeline, with a designed capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day and a maximum capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day, is expected to start operation at the end of 2010, it said. The project will boost CNPC's full cooperation with Middle Eastern countries, the statement said. In November CNPC signed an agreement with Iraq's oil ministry to jointly develop an oilfield in the Middle East country, which is among Iraq's first batch of joint-venture oil projects since the US-led invasion in 2003. The Middle Eastern countries now remain the largest source for China to import oil. The country's imports from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Oman now rank first, third and fifth in terms of volume. China has also signed contracts with other countries in the region such as Qatar and Yemen for long-term oil imports. […]. ^ top ^

Economist: China has "limited scope" for yuan depreciation against dollar (Xinhua)
2008-12-03
Beijing - China has "very limited scope" to keep its currency, the yuan, depreciating against the U.S. dollar in the coming year, UBS Securities said on Wednesday. The yuan, or Renminbi (RMB), weakened to 6.8870 against the U.S. dollar on the over-the-counter market on Tuesday, declining by the 0.5 percent daily limit for a second day. The RMB is allowed to trade by up to 0.5 percent against the greenback on either side of its central parity rate. This has sparked speculation that China was shifting its policy on the exchange rate to allow the yuan's depreciation to help out its struggling exporters to avert economic slump and save jobs. […] As the United States, European Union, and Japan fall deeper into recession, the yuan's depreciation would "likely invite criticism that China is adopting a beggar-thy-neighbor type of policy, leading to possible protectionist responses from China's major export markets", Wang said. "Its depreciation could also lead to a round of competitive devaluation in neighboring economies, which would result in little material gains for China," she stated. […]. ^ top ^

China Commerce Minister: Yuan's small depreciation normal given strong USD (Xinhua)
2008-12-04
Beijing - The recent depreciation of Chinese currency versus the U.S. dollar was normal and China won't rely on a weaker yuan to boost exports, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Thursday. "The recent small fluctuation of the yuan against the dollar was completely normal. I'd call it the dollar strengthening, rather than the yuan depreciating," Chen told a press conference of the fifth China-U.S. strategic economic dialogue (SED). ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Families of July 1 victims demonstrate before Ministry building (www.news.mn)
2008-11-28
The families of the five victims of the July 1 disturbances have been demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Justice and Interior, since Monday to demand money for the funeral of the dead. On September 30, soon after taking office, Justice and Interior Minister Ts.Nyamdorj had promised this money, but on November 21, Altangerel of the Ministry said, “No such money can be given without special permission.” The families decided to protest against the reversal of stand. On Monday they went into the office and sat the whole day in the reception area. On Tuesday security people did not allow them inside and they took their place just outside the building, at the entrance. They were told the Minister had asked for their arrest if they tried to get in. Wednesday was a holiday, but the relatives were back at their vigil yesterday and this morning. ^ top ^

Mongolian economy to slowdown in 2009, bank officials say (Montsame)
2008-12-02
Mongolia should expect some slowdown in the growth of its economy due to the worldwide financial crisis, according to officials at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In a recently released report "2008 Transition Report", officials predicted the Mongolian economy would slow to 7.3% this year from 8.5% last year, and drop 3.4% in 2009. EBRD's chief economist, Erik Berglof, said sustained growth in the region's economy in the early stages of the global crisis was "a testament to remarkable reform achievements". Currently, Berglof said, countries like Mongolia face "much less benign international background and outflows of capital from emerging markets" and that "risk aversion and the recession in key OECD economies would test the resilience of transition countries.". ^ top ^

MPRP Wins Majority of Local Re-elections (UB Post)
2008-12-03
The governing Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has won a preliminary majority of seats for Ulaanbaatar's top legislative body, Citizens' Representative Khural, at last Sunday's re-election. In Khan-Uul District, an industrial district of the capital city, which MPRP held during previous election terms, Democratic Party took five seats out of six mandates in the southwestern district. Voters in Bayangol and Chingeltei districts gave one seat to the DP and five to the MPRP. In Sukhbaatar District, which has five mandates, the DP and MPRP took two seats each and the remaining seat has yet to be determined. The final results have not been publicly announced, but they are expected to be released next week. A total of 162 people (119 from seven political parties, and 43 independent candidates) ran for 45 seats in 15 constituencies. ^ 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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