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
  16.2-20.2.09, No. 256  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China signs cooperation agreements with Ecuador (Xinhua)
2009-02-14
Quito - China and Ecuador on Friday signed four agreements of cooperation worth 25 million U.S. dollars as part of both countries efforts to strengthen ties and deepen mutual trust. […] As part of the agreements, China granted a credit line to Ecu ador of 50 million yuans (about 7.3 million U.S. dollars) to increase trade in agricultural products and investment in the country's agricultural sector. The agreements also include an arrangement between the State Bank of Ecuador and the China Development Bank that will offer a credit of 18 million U.S. dollars for the Ecuadorian side to finish the Ground Terminal Quitumbe, located in the south of Quito. Moreno said Hui's visit contributes to the strengthening of bilateral ties and the agreements are expected to contribute to the economic development of Ecuador amidst the global economic downturn. […]. ^ top ^

China, Russia ink agreements to boost energy co-op (People's Daily)
2009-02-17
Beijing - China and Russia on Tuesday signed seven agreements on a package cooperation program for energy resources. The agreements include a pipeline construction project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme between the China Development Bank and the Russia Oil Pipeline Transport Company, according to a source with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. According to the agreements, the crude oil trading volume is estimated to reach 15 million tonnes, the source added. […] Wen said the agreements are fruits of friendly and strategic cooperation between the two countries, adding the cooperation is of high significance for the two countries to work together to cope with the international financial crisis and advance their relations. […] Trade between the two countries was valued at 56.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 18 percent year-on-year. It was sharply down from 44.3 percent of growth rate in 2007, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. […]. ^ top ^

Peru signs crime pact (SCMP)
2009-02-18
Peru and China have ratified an agreement to co-operate on criminal matters by sharing case files, and identifying and locating lawbreakers in their respective territories, officials said. ^ top ^

Mauritius gets US$260m loan to extend airport (SCMP)
2009-02-18
President Hu Jintao agreed yesterday to lend Mauritius US$260 million to expand the island nation's airport, and promised to deepen trade ties and investment in Africa despite the economic downturn. "Despite difficulties in our own economy at home, China will continue to offer assistance to Africa within the realms of our capabilities," Mr Hu told ministers and Chinese delegates. "We have committed to expanding trade and mutual investment with Africa on a basis of equality and mutual benefit." Mr Hu has already visited Mali, Senegal and Tanzania, and ends his trip in Mauritius, in a tour of nations that rank outside Africa's economic and resource heavyweights. Analysts said it was a deliberate message that Beijing, whose trade with Africa had increased tenfold this decade to US$107 billion last year, wanted to engage right across the continent, even with smaller nations and in sectors beyond oil and mining. Mr Hu also said he would push for Africa to have more say in reforming international financial markets. […] In addition to the airport loan, he signed deals paving the way for an interest-free loan of 40 million yuan (HK$45.48 million) and a 30 million yuan grant. Mauritian officials declined to say what the money was for. […]. ^ top ^

China lodges stern protest over Baselines Bill of the Philippines (People's Daily)
2009-02-18
Beijing - Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya summoned the Charge d'affaires of the Philippine embassy to China, Maria Barber, on Wednesday to lodge a stern protest over the approval of the 2009 Baselines Bill by the Philippine congress. "The congress of the Philippines passed the Baselines Bill yesterday, which usurped China's Huangyan Island and some islands of Nansha Islands as Philippine territory," said Wang. "The Chinese government expresses its strong dissatisfaction and stern protest over the adoption of the bill that violated China's sovereignty by the Philippine government, in defiance of the grave concern raised by and repeated protests from the Chinese government," said Wang. "Huangyan Island and Nansha Islands have always been inalienable parts of the Chinese territory," said Wang, adding that China possesses indisputable sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters. "Territorial sovereignty claims over the Huangyan Island and islands of Nansha Islands by any other country were illegal and invalid," he said. […]. ^ top ^

FM: Chinese president's five-nation tour fruitful (People's Daily)
2009-02-18
Beijing - President Hu Jintao's five-nation "journey of friendship and cooperation" was very successful, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Wednesday. The tour, which started on Feb. 10 and ended on Feb. 17, took President Hu to Saudi Arabia, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius. […] Noting that the tour consolidated and deepened the friendly cooperation between China and countries in Africa and Asia, Yang said it also boosted the friendship between the Chinese people and their counterparts in developing countries. […]. ^ top ^

Sweden accepts ex-Guantanamo man (BBC)
2009-02-18
Sweden has agreed to give asylum to a Chinese Muslim man who was held at Guantanamo Bay for almost five years. […] There are still 17 Uighurs being held at Guantanamo Bay. They refuse to return to China because they fear persecution there. […] Beijing has labelled them "terror suspects" and said it "strongly opposes" any country taking them in. The authorities in China accuse some of them of being members of the East Turkestan Independence Movement - a Muslim separatist organisation Beijing says uses terrorist tactics. […]. ^ top ^

Chavez offers to meet China's oil needs for next 200 years (SCMP)
2009-02-19
Vice-President Xi Jinping yesterday signed energy and investment agreements during a two-day visit to Venezuela, where he met Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez fresh from his election victory. A US$6 billion bi-national development fund created in 2007 would be renewed with an additional US$6 billion, an e-mailed statement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said. Beijing originally provided US$4 billion to finance projects in Venezuela in exchange for oil. Mr Chavez said in an address to the Chinese delegation: "All the oil China needs for the next 200 years, it's here. It's in Venezuela." Venezuela has reached out to China and Russia in an attempt to obtain financing and reduce dependence on the United States, the country's main trading partner. The two countries would also sign deals to increase Chinese consulting in agriculture, inaugurate a mobile-phone plant in Venezuela, and increase co-operation in telecommunications after China built and launched a satellite for Venezuela on October 29, Mr Chavez said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese naval fleet carries out largest escort mission in Gulf of Aden (People's Daily)
2009-02-19
Aboard destroyer Wuhan - A Chinese naval fleet completed its twenty-first mission of escorting merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, the largest operation of its kind after the fleet's arrival in the waters. Ten Chinese merchant ships were convoyed, while three foreign ones, including "Hermione" from Germany, "Viking Crux" from Singapore and "Princess Nataly" from Cyprus, also asked for protection and were escorted by the Chinese fleet. ^ top ^

Arms sales could spark friction (China Daily)
2009-02-19
US arms sales to Taiwan are an "obvious factor" that may cause friction between Washington and Beijing, Chinese analysts said yesterday, responding to Hillary Clinton's hint that the new US administration may continue the sales. Clinton, President Barack Obama's secretary of state, affirmed on Monday that there will be no change in Washington's policy on arms sales to Taiwan. "And under the Taiwan Relations Act, there is a clear provision that the United States will provide support for Taiwan's defense. And that is why there have been, over the many years, the sale of defensive materials to Taiwan," Clinton said. She said US policy with respect to Taiwan "remains as it has been" because it is based on Washington's long-standing "one-China" policy, the three communiques with China and the Taiwan Relations Act, passed by the US Congress in 1979. "Keeping arms sale to Taiwan is an obvious signal that may lead to frictions (between the mainland and the US)," Professor Niu Xinchun of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations said yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

China calls for greater presence of developing nations in Security Council (Xinhua)
2009-02-20
United Nations - China on Thursday called for a greater representation of developing countries, in particular those from Africa, in a reformed UN Security Council. "In the reform of the Security Council, priority should be given to the greater representation of developing countries, in particular African ones," China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui told an informal plenary of the General Assembly. With developing countries accounting for the vast majority of the UN's 192 member states, the composition of the Security Council can no longer reflect the political reality of the United Nations, he said. […]. ^ top ^

Brazil to supply up to 100,000 barrels of oil daily to China (People's Daily)
2009-02-20
Brazil has agreed to supply up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day to China, the head of Brazil's state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras announced Thursday. Petrobras has agreed with China's state-owned oil company Sinopec to supply 60,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude per day to Chinese refineries, CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli said in Brasilia. The Brazilian company also signed an agreement for a 10 billion U.S. dollar loan from the China Development Bank. The loan will be used to finance the exploration for oil in Brazil's pre-salt layer reserves. The agreements were signed during the official visit to Brazil of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping. […]. ^ top ^

Russia urged to probe attack on HK-owned cargo ship (SCMP)
2009-02-20
Beijing has pressed Russia to investigate why border patrol guards fired on and apparently sank a Hong Kong-owned cargo ship leaving Russian waters without permission. "[We] urged the Russian authorities to help search for the missing crew members and quickly find out why the incident happened," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in Beijing yesterday. A Russian warship fired at least 500 rounds into the New Star, China Daily said, citing a Chinese-language paper. A Russian news agency had said the ship sank in a storm. Ms Jiang said the ministry and the Chinese consulate in the Russian Far East had sent the message to the Russian embassy in Beijing and the authorities in Russia. She said officials had visited the rescued crew members, three of whom are Chinese, and had offered assistance. The New Star was shot at by Russian border patrols after it left Russian waters without customs permission. The ship sank, leaving eight of its 16 crew missing. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing again urges Washington to repatriate 17 detained Uygurs (SCMP)
2009-02-20
Beijing has reiterated its call for the repatriation of 17 Uygurs suspected of terrorism after a US court refused to release them from detention at Guantanamo Bay. "We think that the Chinese terrorist subjects held in Guantanamo Bay should be handed over to China to be dealt with in accordance with the law," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday. "These suspects are members of the East Turkestan terrorist organisation," she said, referring to a group that Beijing accuses of seeking an independent homeland in the Xinjiang region. […] They fear torture if they are returned to China. Beijing has repeatedly demanded that they be repatriated to face Chinese law. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese province to abolish execution by shooting (Xinhua)
2009-02-14
Shenyang - Northeast China's Liaoning Province will abandon execution by shooting and use lethal injection instead, the province's chief justice said Saturday. Currently execution by shooting is still carried out in six of Liaoning's 14 cities, although lethal injection was first used in the province in November 2001, according to Wang Zhenhua, president of the Liaoning Provincial Higher People's court. […] "Lethal injection reduces the pain and fear of the condemned. It is a more humane way for them to die," said Mou Ruijin, associate professor of the Law School of Northeast University. […]. ^ top ^

China to launch trainee program for 1 mln unemployed college graduates (People's Daily)
2009-02-15
Beijing - China will launch a graduate trainee program for one million unemployed college graduates in three years, according to a circular issued by the general office of the State Council on Sunday. The program did not suggest a fixed length or pay scale of the training, but the circular demanded local governments and organizations which provided training to offer basic living subsidies to the trainees. The government would build training bases for the program with responsible employers, and employers are encouraged to recruit graduate trainees, said the circular. […] China had about 1.5 million unemployed college graduates by the end of 2008, registering an unemployment rate of 12 percent, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in the Blue Book of China's Economy (2009) last December. ^ top ^

Knifing of blogger sends shiver through online community (SCMP)
2009-02-17
The mainland's netizens have reacted strongly to the stabbing of a prominent writer known for his provocative, anti-establishment internet postings. Xu Lai - a newspaper reporter, novelist and blogger whose satirical postings are widely read by students, journalists and the Chinese literati - may have been singled out because of his work, his friends said. Xu was accosted in a toilet during a book reading event on Saturday by two men who stabbed him in the stomach and then threatened to cut off his hand before fleeing, according to bloggers. Xiao Sanlang, who edits Xu's articles at The Beijing News, said the men announced they were "here to take revenge". He said Xu was still in hospital but his wounds were not life-threatening. "We still don't know why it happened." The assault has stirred fears and a flurry of rumours. Some suggested the attack might have stemmed from Xu's work, much of which takes swipes at government corruption or pokes fun at the Communist Party. In recent weeks, Xu's blog has included items on censorship, the melamine milk scandal and the fire that destroyed part of Central China Television's headquarters in Beijing last week. […]. ^ top ^

2,000 police put down riot in Hebei - Muslim-Han clash injures 100 people (SCMP)
2009-02-17
About 2,000 armed police were sent to a Hebei province town to put down a riot in which hundreds of Muslims clashed with Han Chinese, officials and a rights group said yesterday. A spokeswoman for the government of Mengcun Hui Muslim Autonomous County, 250 km southwest of Beijing, confirmed an incident had taken place a week ago in Niujinzhuang township, where 10,000 Hui Muslims live in a village of the same name and 20,000 Han Chinese reside in neighbouring Gengzhuangzi village. "The conflict has been calmed down ... all problems are solved," the spokeswoman said. "Many officials and ethnic experts sent by the county government are staying in the villages to calm the villagers' feelings." She refused to give details but said that no one had been injured. An officer from the Niujinzhuang police station confirmed the incident but said it was "not convenient" to answer questions. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said about 100 people were injured in the conflict, with four severely hurt. The dispute was sparked by a brawl between children of the Han and Hui ethnicities during a fireworks display last Monday to mark the Lantern Festival, it said. The quarrel escalated into a massive clash the next day involving thousands of people from the two neighbouring villages, it said. The riot was stopped after the county deployed 2,000 armed police officers, the centre said. More than 500 armed police were still patrolling the main roads connecting the villages to prevent further clashes. […]. ^ top ^

Hire graduates without local hukou (China Daily)
2009-02-17
In a move to further encourage companies to hire more young people, the State Council has asked every city in China - except four - to drop the permanent residency requirement when hiring non-native college graduates. In a recent document, the State Council has asked cities, except for Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, to lift hukou, or the residency permit restriction so that applicants can move almost anywhere for a job. The document comes after a job stimulus package was unveiled in early January intended to help college students find jobs amid the economic slowdown. "The Chinese job market is grim amid the global financial crisis and college graduates are facing huge pressure finding jobs," it said. […]. ^ top ^

China's basic medical insurance system covers 1 bln people (People's Daily)
2009-02-17
Beijing - China's basic medical insurance system covers more than 1 billion of the country's 1.3 billion population, a report issued by the Ministry of Health said Monday. The rural cooperative medical insurance system, launched in 2003 to offer basic health care to rural residents, covered 814 million, or 91.5 percent of its target population as of the end of last September, up 12.1 percent and 5.3 percentage points from the previous year's figures, the report said. Rural medical cooperatives have expanded by 278 from the 2007 figure to 2,729 counties, county-level cities and city districts. […] Under the original scheme, a participant paid 10 yuan (about 1.46 U.S. dollars) a year, while the state, provincial, municipal and county governments supplied another 40 yuan to the fund. […] A total of 71 billion yuan was pooled by the fund in the first nine months last year, compared with only 42.8 billion yuan in 2007. The fund paid out about 42.91 billion yuan over the first nine months in reimbursements, benefiting 370 million people, the ministry's figures showed. […]. ^ top ^

Nation to boost gas production (China Daily)
2009-02-18
In a move aimed at meeting rising domestic demand for oil and natural gas, China plans to boost production of these essential fuels by 4 percent and 58 percent, respectively, by 2011. Crude oil output is expected to touch 198 million tons, while natural gas production will be 120 billion cu m in 2011, a three-year plan chalked out by the National Energy Administration has outlined. Under the blueprint, China will build some large oil and gas production bases over the next three years. The country will stabilize the output from oil fields in northeast China and the Bohai Sea Bay area, while speeding development of fields in the Tarim, Junggar, Erdos and Sichuan basins. As the world's second biggest oil consumer, China will work to increase its offshore oil and gas production. […]. ^ top ^

Rebates for 'green' vehicles (SCMP)
2009-02-18
The government will offer cash rebates of up to 600,000 yuan (HK$682,000) to buyers of alternative-energy passenger cars and buses in 13 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, mainland radio says. It will provide a rebate of as little as 50,000 yuan for a small hybrid passenger car but 600,000 yuan for a large fuel-cell-powered commercial bus. ^ top ^

China trade unions aim to aid 10 million migrant workers (People's Daily)
2009-02-18
Beijing - China's trade unions are planning to extend aid to more than 10 million migrant workers this year, according to a telephone conference organized by the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) Tuesday. The effort is meant to ease the plight of more than 20 million migrant workers who have been driven out of employment after the global financial turmoil forced many factories to close in China. The federation said it aimed to cover about 5 million migrant workers with employment assistance, such as job training and vocational instructions. It would help the other 5 million safeguard their legal rights or offer them living assistance. The federation also expected to add 5 million migrant workers this year to more than 66 million who have become trade union members by the end of 2008. […]. ^ top ^

People pay less for medical care (China Daily)
2009-02-18
China's total health expenditure kept increasing last year, while the ratio of individual health expense in total health expenditure actually decreased, the country's health authority said. Total health expenditure and per capita health expenditure in 2008 were expected to reach 1.2 trillion yuan ($178.6 billion) and 915 yuan respectively, compared to 1.12 trillion yuan and 854.4 yuan in 2007, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a briefing of medical reform and development on its website on Monday. […] MOH statistics shows that, in 2007, individual Chinese shouldered 45.2 percent of the country's total health expenditure, declining by 4.1 percent compared to 2006. The government and the society respectively shouldered 20.3 percent and 34.5 percent of the country's total health expenditure in 2007, increasing by 2.2 and 1.9 percent compared to 2006. […] Wu Ming, health policy and management professor at Peking University's School of Public Health, told China Daily yesterday: "The decline is because the healthcare insurance service coverage keeps expanding, and the government and the society have put more investment into the healthcare system." […]. ^ top ^

Worshippers detained after raid on evangelical seminar (SCMP)
2009-02-19
Police have raided a private evangelical seminar in Henan province and detained more than 60 worshippers, with four of them still in custody a week later, a US-based Christian group said yesterday. More than 30 police officers broke into the gathering on February 11 in Nanyang city, the China Aid Association said. The participants came from four provinces for the event at which two South Korean pastors had been invited to speak, China Aid said. Police escorted the Christians to a hotel, where their belongings were taken. They were registered, fined and released, the group said. It was not clear how much they had to pay. ^ top ^

Union boss warns of groups stirring up jobless masses (SCMP)
2009-02-19
The mainland must guard against "hostile forces" within and outside the country working to stir up trouble among its masses of newly unemployed workers, a senior trade union official said. Beijing has issued repeated warnings that legions of idle workers gathered in struggling export hubs could pose a threat to social stability. Clashes between police and unpaid workers locked out of failed factories have flared up in recent months, but the government bans independent trade unions, depriving workers of a channel for resolving their disputes. Sun Chunlan, vice-chairman of the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions, said police taskforces had been "rushed" to all regions to "understand the situation with regional social stability", The Beijing News reported. The authorities needed to guard against hostile forces "using the difficulties of some enterprises to infiltrate and bring trouble to rural migrant workers", Mr Sun said. He did not elaborate. After enacting a landmark labour law last year giving greater protection to the country's 130 million migrant workers, labour rights groups have accused officials of turning a blind eye to violations amid economic hardship to help factory owners survive the financial crisis. […]. ^ top ^

HIV/Aids now China's most deadly infectious disease - Effect of the virus is starting to make itself felt, say activists (SCMP)
2009-02-19
HIV/Aids became the most deadly infectious disease on the mainland last year for the first time, raising concerns among public health campaigners who say the effect of the virus is just starting to make itself felt in the country. The annual public health development report released by the Ministry of Health earlier in the week showed that HIV/Aids overtook tuberculosis, rabies, infectious hepatitis and neonatal tetanus to become the biggest contributor to infection-related deaths on the mainland last year. […] The ministry said 44,839 newly reported HIV/Aids cases were recorded in the first nine months of last year, pushing the cumulative HIV/Aids caseload on the mainland at the end of September to 264,302. But the actual number could be as high as 700,000, according to a joint assessment by the State Council and a UN Aids group in December 2007. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing has more cars on roads (People's Daily)
2009-02-17
Beijing - Beijing registered 65,970 new motor vehicles in the first 45 days of this year, with a daily increase of 1,466, according to the municipal traffic authority. That brought the total number of automobiles in the city to 3.56 million as of Feb. 14, according to figures from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau. […]. ^ top ^

Job offers guaranteed for grads (China Daily)
2009-02-18
Unemployed college graduates who hold a Beijing hukou or permanent residence permit will receive at least one job offer by suitable employers in the coming month amid the global economic slowdown, the municipal bureau of personnel said yesterday. Job seekers will have to register at related departments in Beijing's 18 districts and counties, who will match them with employers, Lu Lin, director of the bureau's college graduate employment department, told a work conference. At least 210,000 local college graduates are expected to enter the job market this year, 14,000 more than last year, figures from the Beijing Municipal Education Commission show. Of these, more than 90,000 will hold the Beijing hukou. […] "If the district or county does not have a suitable position to match the graduates, the authorities should recommend the graduates to other districts or counties," the official said. […] Beijing authorities will offer 80,000 job vacancies for graduates through 150 career fairs in the next month, the bureau said yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing authorities warn city's lawyers off direct elections (SCMP)
2009-02-19
Beijing judicial authorities have warned the city's legal fraternity not to support a campaign to introduce direct elections for the leadership of the Beijing Lawyers Association, with one law firm claiming it has been threatened with temporary closure because of its support for the change. Liu Xiaoyuan, 44, from Beijing Yitong Law Firm, said yesterday that the judicial bureau of Haidian district had sent him a notice on Monday warning that it was illegal to hire staff not licensed to practice law and that his firm might be shut down for six months. Mr Liu said the warning was groundless because every law firm had the right to hire "administration staff" who were not licensed lawyers. "[The issue of illegally hiring staff] was just an excuse. Judicial authorities just want to warn us and all other Beijing lawyers and law firms not to push for the direct BLA elections," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing to get solar thermal power (China Daily)
2009-02-19
China will begin constructing Asia's first 1.5-megawatt solar thermal power station in suburban Beijing next month. Designed by the China Academy of Sciences, the station is expected to cost 100 million yuan and is likely to power at least 30,000 homes when it starts operating in 2010, Wang Zhifeng, chief designer of the plant told China Daily in an exclusive interview. […] The plant is expected to generate up to 2.7 million kWh of electricity per year, equivalent to eliminating 2,300 tons of CO2 emissions from conventional power plants, Wang said. […] ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Financial crisis has cost Hong Kong 10,000 jobs (Xinhua)
2009-02-15
About 10,000 jobs have been lost in Hong Kong since the financial crisis began, according to a report posted on the website of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) on Sunday. Hong Kong's Labor Secretary Matthew Cheung said Saturday that it is difficult to predict when the unemployment rate will peak, there will be more pressure on the labor market when graduates leave schools in May. However, despite the jobs being cut, Cheung said the sectors like the catering industry and the insurance trade are still expanding. ^ top ^

HK donates $200,000 to APEC to facilitate trade (Xinhua)
2009-02-16
Hong Kong on Monday donated 200,000 U.S. dollars to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in support of the organization's promotion of free trade and trade facilitation. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said it made the donation to undertake work on the reduction of trade transaction costs, among others. […]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's export, import down over 10% in Dec. (Xinhua)
2009-02-16
The value of Hong Kong's total goods export and import fell sharply by 12.8 percent and 17 percent respectively in December year on year, the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong said Monday. Comparing 2008 with 2007, the volume of total goods exports grew 2.9 percent while that of goods imports rose 2.6 percent. The volume of goods re-exports rose 4 percent while that of domestic exports slumped 22 percent. […]. ^ top ^

Trade volume between Chinese mainland and Hong Kong drops 37 percent (People's Daily)
2009-02-19
According to statistics from the Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, the trade volume between Chinese mainland and Hong Kong in January this year was 9.99 billion USD, a decline of 37 percent year-on-year. Of which the Chinese mainland's exports to Hong Kong stood at 9.53 billion USD, a decline of 35.4 percent year-on-year, while Chinese mainland imports from Hong Kong was 460 million USD, a decrease of 57.8 percent year-on-year. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Former Taiwan leader Chen's treasurer pleads guilty in graft case (Xinhua)
2009-02-19
Taipei - Former Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's treasurer, Chen Chen-hui, pled guilty Thursday to four charges against her including forgery, perjury, embezzlement and money laundering. […] Ten of the 14 defendants in the corruption case linked to Chen Shui-bian have pled guilty to the charges against them. […].^ top ^

Taiwanese museum 'not allowed' to lend artefacts to Shanghai (SCMP)
2009-02-20
A delegation from Taiwan's National Palace Museum said it was not allowed to lend artefacts to Shanghai for display during the 2010 World Expo, the Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday. During a visit to the Shanghai Museum on Wednesday, National Palace Museum director Chou Kung-hsin said its artworks could not be sent to the mainland because of policy restrictions, but hoped a breakthrough would be made after more cross-strait exchanges. […].^ top ^

 

Tibet

24 Tibetans held for Dalai Lama protest, says rights group (SCMP)
2009-02-19
Mainland forces have detained up to 24 Tibetans in Sichuan province for shouting support for the Dalai Lama, an overseas rights group said. The protests were sparked by the arrest of a Tibetan who called for a boycott of next week's Tibetan New Year celebrations. The initial protest, by a man called Lobsang Lhundup, occurred in Lithang on Sunday, Free Tibet said. Tibetans who joined the protest the next day were beaten and detained. A police officer in Lithang said he "did not have any such information". A police officer at the Garze prefectural office also denied knowledge of the incident. […]. ^ top ^

Revised Tibetan Buddhists constitution says no to separatism (People's Daily)
2009-02-19
Tibetan Buddhists revised their association constitution Wednesday, calling on lamas and nuns to safeguard social stability, abide by the law and not to participate in separatist activities. The revision was unanimously endorsed at the annual congress of the region's Buddhist association which began Monday and closed Wednesday. Monks and nuns should "safeguard social stability, the socialist legal system and fundamental interests of the people", and should "consciously keep themselves away" from separatist activities and illegal demonstrations that impair social order, the new constitution said. It urged monks to "see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is the ringleader of the separatist political association which seeks 'Tibet independence', a loyal tool of anti-China Western forces, the very root that causes social unrest in Tibet and the biggest obstacle for Tibetan Buddhism to build up its order." […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

More than 2,400 S. China factories close, suspend work amid economic downturn (People's Daily)
2009-02-14
Guangzhou - A local official in Guangdong Province said Friday that 2,452 manufacturing companies had closed or suspended production last year in the southern part of the province because of the world economic and financial downturn. Among the closed companies, 96 percent were small or medium-sized, said Liang Yaowen, head of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. […]. ^ top ^

China's FDI sees 4th monthly dive in row (China Daily)
2009-02-17
Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell for the fourth month in a row in January as the economic crisis deepened across the world. Overseas direct investment last month dropped 32.6 per cent year-on-year to $7.54 billion, the ministry of commerce said Monday (February 16), whereas in January 2008, it had risen by 109.78 per cent. The number of new companies set up on overseas capital dropped, too, by 48.7 per cent year-on-year to 1,496. […]. ^ top ^

FX regulator: China to prevent "big" yuan fluctuations (People's Daily)
2009-02-18
Beijing - China's foreign exchange regulator said Wednesday it was important to prevent big fluctuations of the Renminbi (RMB) rate against other currencies. "It's normal that the exchange rate moves. No movement is abnormal and so is excessively large fluctuation," Deng Xianhong, deputy director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), told a press briefing. Deng said China would "push forward with reform of the exchange rate regime in a self-initiated, gradual and controllable manner and keep the rate basically stable at a reasonable equilibrium level". "This is beneficial not only to China, but also to the world and to tackling the global financial crisis," he said. The currency, also known as the yuan, weakened against the U.S. dollar for a fourth straight day Wednesday on speculation that China would allow the yuan's depreciation to support struggling exporters. […]. ^ top ^

China promotes nuclear power (China Daily)
2009-02-19
Haikou - China can rely on and will promote the use of its own technologies in developing nuclear power projects, a senior energy official said yesterday. The proportion of domestic technologies and equipment used in the country's nuclear power projects should be required to reach a certain level, said Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), at an NEA work conference here. […] China has 11 nuclear power reactors, all using second-generation technologies comprising mainly pressurized water reactors, but also including boiling and heavy water reactors. […] Twenty-two nuclear reactors are under construction, 20 of which use CPR-1000, a second-generation technology developed in China. "China has made major breakthroughs in the research and development of some key nuclear power equipment," Zhang said. "It can now rely on its own technologies to support nuclear power development over the next two to three decades." […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea
ROK FM to visit China (Xinhua)
2009-02-19
Beijing - Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Yu Myung Hwan will pay a working visit to China from Feb. 24 to 25, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said here Thursday at a regular press conference. According to the ministry, Yu is invited by his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, and will hold talks with Yang on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Other schedules are still in discussion. China has established a strategic partnership of cooperation with the ROK, and the two countries witnessed expanding trade and cooperation. The bilateral trade volume in 2008 reached 186.1 billion U.S. dollars, up 16.4 percent year-on-year. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Unemployment up, but 1'800 get a job in January (www.news.mn)
2009-02-17
The registered number of jobless people reached 31,400 in January, 1,700 or 5.6 percent more than in January 2008. Women account for 57.9 percent of the total number. Some 1,800 people also got a job in January. About 17 percent of them were hired in government factories and budgeted organizations. Others joined private enterprises. The Labor Supporting Fund has so far given MNT 1.3 billion in loans to 272 people in the unorganized sector, 438 unemployed people, 184 herders and 30 organizations. Many of the individuals are using the loan in a productive way. ^ top ^

Government to issue MNT 300 billion bonds (Montsame)
2009-02-18
The Government of Mongolia will issue bonds of MNT 300 billion in 2009. This was approved at the scheduled meeting of government on Wednesday. Main objective of issuing the government bonds is to ensure the internal balance of budget and to cover the source shortage for financing the expenditures. In the first stage, the government will trade MNT 60 billion worth bonds to the Bank of Mongolia. […]. ^ 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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