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
  19.1-23.1.09, No. 252  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

Official: China reaffirms to expand Chinese-African economic, trade cooperation (Xinhua)
2009-01-19
Luanda - Visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said here on Monday that China will continuously expand Chinese-African economic relations and trade to reach a new higher level, although the ongoing financial recession prevails the world and cause side effects on the China-Africa two-way economic and trade cooperation. […] On the basis of offering zero custom tariffs to the 31 most underdeveloped African countries, China will extend the favoring treatments to more African countries, he said. […] China will offer more aid to Africa. The minister said China will try its best to provide African countries more aid without any political conditions attached and help them build more public infrastructural facilities such as hospitals, health centers, schools and stadiums and gymnasiums. […]. ^ top ^

Costa Rica, China begin talks on free trade agreement (Xinhua)
2009-01-19
San Jose- Costa Rica and China began on Monday the first round of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), said the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry. The two sides expect to set the "roadmap" for the free trade talks in the first round of negotiations, including the layout for the agreement and steps to be taken for its realization. A total of six rounds of talks will be held on the agreement, and Costa Rica hopes all the negotiations will wrap up by May 2010,said Marco Vinicio Ruiz, Costa Rican Trade Minister. […]. ^ top ^

China actively participates in UN peacekeeping operations (Xinhua)
2009-01-20
Beijing - China actively participated in the UN peacekeeping operations, says a white paper on the country's national defense in 2008 issued here Tuesday. "The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent 11,063 military personnel times to participate in 18 UN peacekeeping operations since 1990," says the paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council. […] China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has consistently supported and actively participated in the peacekeeping operations in line with the spirit of the UN Charter, according to the white paper. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese navy escorts 16 ships off Somalian coast (People's Daily)
2009-01-20
Beijing - Chinese naval vessels have so far carried out six escort missions for 16 ships in the pirate-ridden waters off Somalian coast as up to 8 a.m. Jan. 20, a Chinese military spokesman said Tuesday. […] The Chinese vessels are conducting the mission according to relevant UN Security Council resolutions and with the approval of the Somali transitional government, Cai said. China sent two Chinese destroyers and a supply ship to the Gulf of Aden off Somalia on Dec. 26, 2008, offering protection for Chinese civilian vessels and crews, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and foreign vessels on request as well. […]. ^ top ^

WTO panel to probe U.S. anti-dumping duties on Chinese exports (Xinhua)
2009-01-20
Geneva - The World Trade Organization (WTO) decided on Tuesday to establish an expert panel to investigate the legitimacy of U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese exports. The decision was made following a request by China, which has expressed deep concerns about the compatibility of the measures with U.S. obligations in the WTO. […] The U.S. duties at issue affect such Chinese products as circular welded carbon quality steel pipe, new pneumatic off-the-road tires, light-walled rectangular pipe and tube, and laminated woven sacks. […]. ^ top ^

China, Brazil vow to boost bilateral relations (People's Daily)
2009-01-20
Brasilia - China and Brazil will boost their strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation in various fields, said a joint press communique issued during Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's visit to the country.The communique said that during his three-day visit in Brazil which began on Sunday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with Yang and confirmed his willingness to visit China and reiterated his request for Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit Brazil. […] Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim also held talks with Yang. […] Yang and Amorim expressed their willingness to further enhance strategic dialogue and maintain close coordination and cooperation on such issues as the global financial crisis, the reform of international financial system, reform of the United Nations, the resumption of the Doha Round of trade talks, and promotion of cooperation among developing nations, it added. […]. ^ top ^

Lack of Sino-US policy creates Obama enigma - China's leaders struggle to understand new president (SCMP)
2009-01-21
As China waves goodbye to "old friend" George W. Bush, Barack Obama is a somewhat enigmatic figure whom Chinese leaders are struggling to understand. For many Chinese people, Mr Obama represents the realisation of the "American Dream" as the first black president of the world's most powerful country. But for Chinese leaders and officials, he is a blank sheet, devoid of references to his policies or approach to governance - making him unpredictable, according to Yu Wanli, an associate professor at Peking University's Centre for International and Strategic Studies. […] Given the range of international issues - the war between Israel and Hamas, chilly ties between India and Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks, Iran's nuclear ambitions and the unresolved North Korea issue - Professor Tao predicted that relations with China would decrease in importance for Mr Obama. […] "But this is not a bad thing. It means Sino-US ties are smooth as presently there are not many thorny issues between the two countries." […]. ^ top ^

China urges all sides to keep ceasefire in Gaza (Xinhua)
2009-01-22
Beijing - China on Thursday urged all sides to abide by a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to ensure the region's stability and reconstruction. "The withdrawal of Israeli troops will help ease the situation. China hopes all sides will keep the ceasefire and fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1860 so as to promote stability and reconstruction," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference. […]. ^ top ^

China urges early repatriation of terrorist suspects (People's Daily)
2009-01-22
China on Thursday called for the early repatriation of Chinese terrorist suspects from the United States' Guantanamo prison. "We oppose other nations taking these suspects and they should be repatriated to China immediately to be dealt with by the Chinese law," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular press briefing. She said the 17 suspected Chinese terrorists are members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, and should be handed over to China for trial. […] The new U.S. president issued executive orders to start the process of closing Guantanamo prison where terrorist suspects are detained. […]. ^ top ^

China-funded power project launched in Dakar (Xinhua)
2009-01-22
Dakar - A China-funded power project has been officially launched in the Senegalese capital Dakar. […] Under an agreement signed in October 2006, China provides 55 million euro (71 million U.S. dollars) for the construction of the power project in Dakar to boost electricity supply by 2015. ^ top ^

Wen's European visits to be "trip of confidence", says Chinese official (People's Daily)
2009-01-22
Beijing - Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming European visit would show China's confidence to work with European nations and organizations to push forward the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and deepen the bilateral cooperation, said a Foreign Ministry official here on Thursday. The Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that Premier Wen would make official visits to Switzerland, Germany, the EU headquarters, Spain and Britain from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. He will also attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hongbo characterized Premier Wen's tour as a "trip of confidence", saying it set out China's determination to stick to reform and opening up, boost economic development, deepen Sino-EU cooperation and join hands with the international community to tide over the financial crisis. He also highlighted three goals of Premier Wen's visit, which were prompting the international community to have more confidence and jointly cope with the financial crisis, expanding strategic consensus and deepen mutual cooperation with these European countries and pushing forward the in-depth development of Sino-EU relations. […] It is Premier Wen's first visit to Switzerland since he assumed the post. Wen will give a speech at the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos, where he will elaborate on the measures China has taken to deal with the financial crisis. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Bereaved parents compensated by Sanlu (People's Daily)
2009-01-17
Lanzhou - The parents of the first child to die after drinking chemically-tainted milk food produced by Sanlu Group Co have been paid by the dairy firm. Yi Yongsheng and Jiao Hongfang, villagers in Gangu county of Gansu province, said on Friday that they received 200,000 yuan ($29,000) from the company on Wednesday. […] By accepting the money from Sanlu, Yi and Jiao gave up their rights to sue the company. Shen Xianlei, one of their lawyers, said the couple was unlikely to get more than 200,000 yuan by taking their case to court in Gansu. […] The payout was part of a standardized scheme of payments announced last month by China's dairy association and the 22 dairy companies involved. Under the plan announced, families whose children died would receive 200,000 yuan, while others would receive 30,000 yuan for serious cases of kidney stones and 2,000 yuan for less severe cases. […]. ^ top ^

Article reaffirms party line against western ideals (SCMP)
2009-01-19
China must firmly defend itself against "erroneous thoughts" from the west such as multiparty democracy, bicameralism and the separation of powers, a mainland leader has written, just one month after hundreds of intellectuals petitioned for political reforms. The chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Jia Qinglin, reaffirmed the party line in an article on Friday in the latest issue of the Communist Party mouthpiece magazine Qiushi, or "Seeking Truth". "[The CPPCC] must strengthen the defence line against disruption from erroneous ideological thinking such as the western two-party and multiparty systems, bicameralism, and the separation of powers." […]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier urges steps to reverse economic slowdown trend (People's Daily)
2009-01-19
Beijing - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday called for more steps in the first quarter this year to reverse the trend of economic slowdown as soon as possible and realize a good start for the whole of 2009. […] "This year is the most difficult year for China's economic development so far this century," he said. Efforts should be made to enhance the implementation of the government's economic stimulus package and measures announced to boost the country's major industries, he said. […]. ^ top ^

China to have global satellite navigation system by 2015 (Xinhua)
2009-01-19
Beijing - China plans to complete its independent global satellite navigation system by launching about 30 more orbiters before 2015, a space technology official said Sunday. China plans to send 10 navigation satellites into the space in 2009 and 2010, said Zhang Xiaojin, director of astronautics department with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) told China Central Television (CCTV). The plan is to establish a global navigation system consisting of more than 30 satellites by the year of 2015. The system will shake off the dependence on foreign systems, Zhang said. […]. ^ top ^

China provides free new drugs to AIDS patients (Xinhua)
2009-01-20
Beijing - China launched a program to provide new drugs to AIDS patients across the country, a senior health official said on Monday. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has begun to distribute the second-line medicines - three anti-retroviral drugs among full-blown AIDS patients for free, said Hao Yang, deputy director of the ministry's disease control bureau. The second-line regimen includes two new drugs, TDF and Kaletra- as well as 3TC, which is also part of first-line drugs. All these medicines are imported and cost between 12,000 (1,760 U.S. dollars) and 15,000 yuan a patient a year, reported China Daily on Tuesday. […] "The new drugs offer new hope to patients who have not responded well to the first-line treatment and developed drug resistance," Hao said. […]. ^ top ^

Hu loyalists get half of new personnel posts (SCMP)
2009-01-20
President Hu Jintao has consolidated his grip over regional governments, with news emerging that half of the new appointments to head the powerful organisational departments at local Communist Party organs have gone to his political loyalists. The Central Committee of the Communist Party, the mainland's top decision-making body with Mr Hu as general secretary, has so far named 20 new chiefs for 31 party organs' organisational departments, which make personnel appointments at provincial level. Among these regional personnel affairs chiefs, 15 came from the Communist Youth League, Mr Hu's power base. […] On Saturday, the party's Central Organisational Department said it would crack down on rampant "unhealthy practices" in personnel appointments. Media reports said that in some regions, personnel appointments and promotions for party organs and civil service posts were secretly being bought and sold. ^ top ^

Boy, 16, seriously ill with bird flu: Child from Guizhou is third reported H5N1 case in 3 days (SCMP)
2009-01-20
Mainland health authorities said yesterday a 16-year-old boy from Guizhou province was seriously ill after contracting the H5N1 bird flu virus - the third case reported in as many days. The Ministry of Health said last night that the teenager was sent to hospital in Huaihua city, Hunan province, on Friday. The Hunan provincial centre of disease control and prevention found he was infected with the H5N1 virus the following day. Laboratory tests by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed this yesterday. […] After not reporting a single human infection for almost a year, the mainland has confirmed four cases of the H5N1 virus this month. Two of the patients who contracted the virus have died. […] The central government said at the weekend that a woman in Shandong had died and a two-year-old girl was critically ill in Shanxi after being infected with bird flu. State television said yesterday the girl was in stable condition in hospital, but was not yet out of danger. […]. ^ top ^

China to modernize military while pursuing peaceful development (Xinhua)
2009-01-20
Beijing - China on Tuesday issued a white paper on national defense, pledging to be committed to the peaceful development and advance its military modernization. The paper for the first time unveiled China's ambition to "basically accomplishing mechanization (of the military) and making major progress in informationization by 2020" and "realizing modernization by the mid-21st century." […] The paper for the first time specified in detail China's long-standing policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons." […] The paper, the sixth of its kind Chinese government issued since 1998, gave an overall picture of China's national defense ranging from the security environment, national defense policy, to defense expenditure and arms control. Describing China's general security situation as "improving steadily," […] however, "China is still confronted with long-term, complicated, and diverse security threats and challenges," the paper said, listing the threats of separatist forces of "Taiwan independence," "East Turkistan independence" and "Tibet independence." "In particular, the United States continues to sell arms to Taiwan in violation of the principles established in the three Sino-US joint communiques, causing serious harm to the Sino-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits," the paper said. […]. ^ top ^

China first reveals defense expenditure figures of past 30 years (Xinhua)
2009-01-20
Beijing - China revealed its defense expenditure figures over the past 30 years for the first time in a white paper here Tuesday, considered an effort to win further international trust through increased transparency. […] Since 1986, the percentage ratio between China's defense expenditure and gross domestic product (GDP) had never exceeded 2 percent, according to the figures released by the white paper on China's National Defense in 2008, issued by the Information Office of the State Council. […] In 2007, the same ratio of the United States was 4.5 percent. It was 2.7 in Britain and 2.57 in Russia. […] The military expense rose from 16.78 billion yuan (2.43 billion U.S. dollar at the current exchange rate) in 1978 to 355.49 billion yuan (51.52 billion dollars) in 2007. […]. ^ top ^

Urban jobless rate may touch 30-year high (SCMP)
2009-01-21
The mainland's official urban unemployment rate rose last year for the first time since 2003 and could climb to a near-30-year high this year as economic growth falters. The figure stood at 4.2 per cent at the end of last year, up from 4 per cent three months earlier, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security spokesman Yin Chengji said yesterday. The ministry's target unemployment rate for this year is 4.6 per cent, the worst jobless outlook since 1980. […] The official figure understates unemployment because it excludes those who are not registered, such as the nation's 220 million migrant workers. […] Also, about 1 million university students who graduated last year had not found jobs yet, and 6.11 million more graduates would join them this summer, the ministry said. […]. ^ top ^

A free press is the best route to credibility (SCMP)
2009-01-21
State-run broadcasting giant CCTV has hit the headlines with a string of reports that, taken together, reveal some of the contradictions of today's changing media scene. According to the Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News, a group of 22 mainland academics and lawyers launched a campaign last week under the slogan "Boycott CCTV, say no to brainwashing". The signatories have called on people "not to watch, visit the website, listen to and talk about [CCTV broadcasts]". They alleged CCTV has failed to perform its role as a watchdog, citing the case of the melamine-tainted dairy products from the Sanlu company. […] Cases such as the campaign to boycott CCTV, however, are a reminder of the realities on the mainland. Obsessed with the notion of control, mainland officials are adamant that the media should play a vital role in fostering a positive environment, which will be even more important in a year featuring the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. […]. ^ top ^

218.9 million Chinese covered by endowment insurance (People's Daily)
2009-01-21
Five social insurance funds had a total income of 1380.8 billion yuan in 2008, an increase of 299.6 billion yuan or 27.7 percent from the previous year, Yin Chengji, media spokesman for China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, disclosed during a press conference on January 20. By the end of 2008, the number of people covered by basic endowment, basic medical, unemployment, work injury and childbirth insurances in China reached 218.90 million, 316.98 million, 124 million, 138.1 million and 91.81 million respectively. […] There were 20 provinces in China that did not have unpaid endowments. ^ top ^

China extends anti-porn campaign to mobile phone messages (People's Daily)
2009-01-21
Beijing - The Chinese government is extending its anti-porn campaign to mobile phone messages after shutting down 1,250 websites, it said on Monday. "We will incorporate 'lewd' messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown," said seven government departments including the State Council's Information Office, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Culture who jointly launched the campaign at a meeting, aiming to outline future tasks of the move. As part of the anti-porn campaign authorities have shut down 1,250 websites and deleted more than 3.2 million items of online information alleged to contain porn and vulgar content by Wednesday since Jan. 5. So far, 41 people have been detained for "promulgating porn online". ^ top ^

850b yuan plan to make health care affordable: Reforms will focus on helping masses get access to treatment (SCMP)
2009-01-22
The mainland will invest 850 billion yuan (HK$965 billion) on health care reform in the next three years to try to make services more affordable. […]. It remains unclear how the investment, which is said to be paid for by "different levels of governments", will be spent in terms of how much in each year and in which areas. The report said the reform aimed to ensure the non-profit nature of the mainland's health care system and make basic care accessible to all. If the amount is divided evenly through 2011, the government will spend some 283 billion yuan each year - compared with 177.8 billion yuan in 2006. The total health care expenditure by all parties that year - including government and individuals - was 984.3 billion yuan, of which government expenditure took up only 18.1 per cent, official statistics show. […]. ^ top ^

Parents detained ahead of verdict in melamine trial (SCMP)
2009-01-22
Parents of babies made ill by melamine-tainted milk powder threatened to organise protest rallies after two of them were stopped from travelling to Hebei province yesterday, the eve of today's announcement of the verdict in a major trial relating to the scandal. The Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court in Hebei is expected to pass its verdict in the trial of Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of Sanlu. […] Some parents hoped to focus attention on their plight outside the Shijiazhuang court again today, but authorities have headed them off. Dong Shiliang, a parent from Yunnan, was detained yesterday afternoon as he tried to board a plane in Kunming bound for Beijing. Beijing parent Liu Donglin was held in a police station yesterday afternoon, but managed to send a text message about his detention to Zhao Lianhai, organiser of Jieshi Baobao (Stone Babies), an online bulletin board for victims of tainted milk powder. Mr Liu could not be reached. "Our tolerance is pushed to the limit," Mr Zhao said. "If they continue to treat us so harshly, and if they do not release these parents for the trial, we'll start rallies in Beijing and around the country." […]. ^ top ^

Testing times: Despite a raft of measures, mainland graduates face long unemployment lines (SCMP)
2009-01-22
[…]A many as a quarter of the 6.1million final-year students who will graduate this year are likely to have problems finding steady jobs, a new research report says. Unemployment is rising on the mainland, with competition for jobs so severe a Guangzhou Daily newspaper story early this month said thousands of seniors in the south of the country had sought jobs as nannies and domestic helpers in the homes of the rich. Such reports are unsettling not only for college students and parents but also for the country's leaders. […] With unemployment increasing and the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen uprising coming up in June, which is also graduation time, Premier Wen is submitting plans to help graduates find work, offering the following incentives: College graduates who join the People's Liberation Army will get tuition refunds. Graduates who start their own businesses will get preferential tax and loan policies. Seniors who agree to take jobs in the poor hinterlands of central and western China will get full refunds of their university tuition fees. […]. ^ top ^

Regional bureaucracies targeted for streamlining in reform plan (SCMP)
2009-01-22
Bloated regional bureaucracies are set to be trimmed after the central government approved plans to streamline more than half of the provincial-level governments. […] President Hu Jintao has made governance reform a key task of his second term since his re-election as party chief in October 2007. He has also appointed his protege, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, to take charge of restructuring the units. […] Under the overall national plan, provincial governments should merge departments to create "superagencies in line with the central government's superministries". The central government encouraged regional-level governments to "merge as many departments with similar functions as possible". […]. ^ top ^

Chinese President Hu calls for nationwide efforts to maintain economic stability (People's Daily)
2009-01-23
Beijing - Chinese President called on members of all political parties, social organizations and ethnic groups to make concerted efforts to help China maintain steady economic growth in 2009. […] The top priority of the country in 2009 was to stimulate economic growth, safeguard people's livelihoods, and maintain social stability, Hu said. These tasks could not be done without the concerted efforts of members of all political parties, social organizations and ethnic groups in the country, he said. He said maintaining steady economic growth amid the currently disadvantaged situations had posed a major challenge for the governance capacity of the CPC and for the non-communist parties' ability to participate in government and political affairs. […]. ^ top ^

Officials under fire for buying luxury SUVs with quake funds (SCMP)
2009-01-23
Authorities in Beichuan county, one of the worst-hit areas in the Sichuan earthquake last May, are under fire over allegations that they misused disaster relief funds by buying luxury SUVs. The controversy emerged last weekend when a widely circulated online posting accused the county government of buying a Toyota Landcruiser for 1.1 million yuan (HK$1.25 million). The posting cited official information from a local government procurement website. […] Local officials insisted they had done nothing wrong, saying the four-wheel-drive vehicle was necessary given the poor road conditions in quake-hit areas. […] "If what officials said about the purpose of the purchase is true, why do they have to choose the most expensive one while apparently there are a lot of cheaper SUVs with similar off-road ability?" Han Han, a popular writer and race-car driver, wrote in his blog. […]. ^ top ^

Life sentence for dairy boss in mainland tainted-milk scandal (SCMP)
2009-01-23
A mainland court yesterday sentenced former Sanlu Group chairwoman Tian Wenhua to life in prison and two individual milk suppliers to death for the scandal over tainted dairy products. The tainted milk killed at least six babies and affected 300,000 others on the mainland. Among the 12 people sentenced by Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court in Hebei province, two were given the death penalty and one a suspended death sentence, three were jailed for life, and the other six got jail terms ranging from five to 15 years. […] Tian, 66, had pleaded guilty last month to charges of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products. She was also fined 24.6 million yuan (HK$28 million). Three other former executives of Sanlu were jailed for between five and 15 years and fined between 600,000 and 23 million yuan. The court also fined the Sanlu Group 49.37 million yuan. The dairy company, once a market leader in baby formula on the mainland, has since declared bankruptcy. Tian and her colleagues were accused by the authorities of intentionally covering up the scandal and continuing to produce and sell the tainted baby formula, knowing it was contaminated. […]. ^ top ^

Parents' fury over melamine sentences - Those who lost babies say dairy executives won't pay heavily enough for the crimes (SCMP)
2009-01-23
Parents of babies who were made sick by tainted infant formula were furious yesterday at the "light sentences" given to Sanlu dairy executives by a Hebei court, which they were barred from going near. Parents from Henan, Guizhou, Gansu and Beijing arrived in the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang early yesterday morning to try to enter the Intermediate People's Court to hear the verdict, but were denied seats. Roads were blocked, and parents and unregistered journalists were banned from going near the courthouse. […] Raising a sheet of paper that read "Give me back my child" and "Punish all those responsible" outside the police blockade, Zheng Shuzhen, 60, wept upon hearing the sentence and the treatment the parents received. "She [Tian] killed my granddaughter and made so many babies in China ill. She deserves the death sentence. If my granddaughter died, she should not live," Ms Zheng said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan gives out "festival bonus" to stimulate market sales (People's Daily)
2009-01-19
Taipei - The Taiwan authorities began distributing to the public shopping coupons worth more than 85 billion New Taiwan dollars (about 2.6 billion U.S. dollars) over the weekend to stimulate spending in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holiday. The coupons are being distributed through more than 14,200 outlets across the island. Every resident is allowed 3,600 New Taiwan dollars' worth of coupons. […] Many vendors have promised considerable discounts and are advertising promotions. Some companies are offering bus services to their outlets. Experts say the policy is necessary to stimulate consumption during an export downturn, insufficient consumer demand and lack of investment. […]. ^ top ^

Chen's relatives admit roles in money transfer (SCMP)
2009-01-22
Three relatives of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian yesterday pleaded guilty to money laundering, dealing a blow to the ex-leader, who has denied the charge and others, including embezzlement, influence peddling and accepting bribes. It took less than three minutes for Chen's son Chen Chih-chung, daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching and brother-in-law Wu Ching-mao to each admit wrongdoing in front of Judge Tsai Shou-hsun in Taipei District Court. "We are willing to work with the prosecutors in their investigation into the case," said Chen's son, who hopes to win a pardon for co-operating with judicial authorities. The three were charged last month with acting as proxies of Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-chen, in laundering US$21 million abroad. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan jobless rate at five-year high (People's Daily)
2009-01-22
Taipei - Taiwan's jobless rate hit 5 percent in December last year, the highest for more than five years, the island's statistical department said here Thursday. The jobless rate was the highest since October 2003. The figure put the overall jobless rate of the island in 2008 at 4.14 percent, also the highest since 2004. About 549,000 people in Taiwan were out of work by December, 42,000 more than in November. At least 120,000 of the unemployed population lost their jobs because of company closure and layoffs in the four months from August to December in reaction to the global economic downturn. […]. ^ top ^

DPP allies urge Chen to admit corruption (SCMP)
2009-01-23
Political heavyweights in Taiwan's pro-independence camp have turned against former president Chen Shui-bian, urging him to plead guilty to corruption charges. "He should have pleaded guilty a long time ago," said Lin Cho-shui, a stalwart of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. "If he would do that now, it would still not be too late. Otherwise, all his followers and comrades will turn against him." Mr Lin said that from Chen's former aides to his relatives, there had already been "a tsunami of ranks-breaking". […] Mr Lin, a former DPP legislator, said the actions of Chen and his wife seriously damaged the image of the party and the island. "It is time for the party to get rid of the burden and review its core values in order to map out plans and strategies for its future," he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China to celebrate day Tibet feudal rule ended (AP)
2009-01-17
Beijing — Ahead of the politically sensitive 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile and the crushing of a Tibetan rebellion, China has told Tibet to celebrate the event as a liberation from feudalism. Friday's proposal by China-backed lawmakers in Tibet to commemorate "Serfs Emancipation Day" reflects how differently the Chinese government and Tibetans view historical events that still create friction today. It also underscores the Chinese government's efforts to discredit the Tibetan spiritual leader and press people living in the Himalayan region to forget any thoughts of a new separatist rebellion. […] The official Xinhua News Agency said the region's legislators proposed that the holiday should fall on March 28, the date in 1959 when China announced the dissolution of the Tibetan government. […] "The Dalai Lama has been trying to embellish the old feudalistic serfdom which was actually even worse than the Middle Ages in Europe," said Zhou Yuan, head of the history department at the Chinese Center for Tibetan Studies in Beijing. […]. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama says faith in Chinese people unshaken (Reuters)
2009-01-18
New Delhi- Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said he had faith in China's people and held out hope for an eventual change in policy towards Tibet, even though his faith was faltering in the Chinese government. "Our faith towards (Chinese) government is getting thinner and thinner, however our faith in the Chinese people has never shaken," he said on Sunday, replying to questions on what he thought could resolve the issue of Tibet 50 years after he fled. […] As time passes, I think (China's policy) has to change. In the long run, in spite of the setback, I think in the long run it's ok ... the Tibetan spirit is very, very strong," he said. "Also, worldwide ... people are very, very supportive. And among Chinese individuals, more and more people are showing their concern and their support for Tibet," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Legislator criticizes Dalai Lama group as Tibet sets "Serfs Emancipation Day" (Xinhua)
2009-01-19
Lhasa - A senior legislator in Tibet criticized the associates of the Dalai Lama Monday for their alleged secessionist activities and attempts to restore feudal serfdom in the region. The remarks came just after the local legislature endorsed a bill to designate March 28 as an annual Serfs Emancipation Day to mark the date on which about 1 million serfs in the region were freed 50 years ago. "The setting of 'Serfs Emancipation Day' is a significant move to fight against the Dalai clique," said Karma, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People's Congress, the legislative body, at a press conference. "Since the Dalai Lama and his supporters failed in an armed rebellion and fled abroad 50 years ago, they have been dreaming of restoring the reactionary, dark, barbarian and backward feudal serfdom in Tibet, and they have never stopped activities to split the motherland and undermine ethnic unity," she said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Nearly 1,000 toy exporters shut down in S China in 2008 (People's Daily)
2009-01-17
Guangzhou - Product recalls, rising production costs and the global financial crisis caused almost 1,000 Chinese toy exporters in just one province to shut down last year. According to data released Saturday by Huangpu Customs, 922 toy exporters in Guangdong Province closed operations in 2008. That leaves the area with 2,167 toy exporters compared with the 3,089 that were operating in late 2007. […]. ^ top ^

China to offer 10 bln yuan in subsidies for power sector (China Daily)
2009-01-20
Beijing - China is to provide as much as 10 billion yuan in subsidies to big power companies, the latest effort on the part of the government to help the country's struggling industries. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) will give the subsidies to the five leading power generating companies and the two grid companies to cover their losses caused by last year's snowstorms, the Sichuan earthquake, soaring coal costs and capped power tariffs, reported China Business Journal, citing an unnamed source with State Grid Corp of China. […]. ^ top ^

China's urban unemployment rate rises to 4.2% (People's Daily)
2009-01-20
China registered an urban unemployment rate of 4.2 percent at the end of 2008, 0.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier, said the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security here Tuesday. ^ top ^

11.13 million people newly employed in China in 2008 (People's Daily)
2009-01-21
11.13 million people, representing 111 percent of the annual target of 10 million people, were newly employed in cities and towns in China in 2008, Yin Chengji, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) announced at the 2008 MHRSS fourth quarter press conference held in Beijing on January 20. According to Yin, China completely fulfilled the target for employment and reemployment in 2008. […]. ^ top ^

China's economy grows 9% in 2008 (Xinhua)
2009-01-22
Beijing - China's gross domestic product (GDP) reached 30.0670 trillion yuan (4.4216 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2008, up 9 percent year on year, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Thursday. The growth was the slowest since 2001, when an annual rate of 8.3 percent was recorded, and the first time below a double-digit level since 2003. […] The annual growth rate for the fourth quarter dipped to 6.8 percent from 9.0 percent in the third quarter and 9.9 percent for the first three quarters, according to Ma. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea
DPRK FM meets visiting senior Chinese diplomat (Xinhua)
2009-01-12
Pyongyang - Pak Ui Chun, foreign minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), met with visiting Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue here on Monday. The two sides expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral ties and pledged efforts to ensure the smooth running of a series of events this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the Year of China-DPRK Friendship. They hoped that these celebratory events would help further promote mutual understanding, boosting friendship, expand exchanges and deepening cooperation. […]. ^ 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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