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
  4.5-8.5.09, No. 267  
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Table of contents

Swine flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

ASEAN+3 finalize details of regional reserve pool to cope with crisis (Xinhua)
2009-05-03
Bali - Details of a sizeable foreign currency reserve pool among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN+3) were finalized here on Sunday, two years after the initiative was first introduced to combat emergent financial problems. Finance ministers of the ASEAN+3 nations reached the agreement on all main components of regional reserve pool, known as Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), and it will be implemented before the end of this year. The agreement on the CMIM includes "the individual country's contribution, borrowing accessibility, and the surveillance mechanism," said a statement issued after the finance ministers' meeting. The total size of the CMIM is 120 billion U.S. dollars with the contribution portion between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries at20 percent versus 80 percent. […] Among China's portion, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will contribute 4.2 billion U.S. dollars. "We welcome Hong Kong, China, to participate in the CMIM," said the statement. The CMIM is set up to "address short-term liquidity difficulties in the region and to supplement the existing international financial arrangements," the statement said. […]. ^ top ^

China to join UN to address food shortage in Asia, Pacific regions (Xinhua)
2009-05-04
Beijing - China will sponsor a UN program to promote its self-developed hybridized rice planting in countries facing food shortages, the United Nations Asian and Pacific Center for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (UNAPCAEM) said at a conference on Food Security in the Asia Pacific here on Monday. The program is aimed at helping relatively underdeveloped countries in the region to enhance grain production at a time of financial crisis, according to the UNAPCAEM, the project executor. […] Hybridized rice technology, developed by Chinese scientists in the past three decades, could raise yield by 15 percent to 20 percent, or one more tonne for every hectare, UN statistics showed. […] According to the latest report released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) at the end of April, the financial crisis has become a food crisis threatening a population estimated at 583 million people in the region, about one eighth of the total. […]. ^ top ^

US ship in Yellow Sea standoff (SCMP)
2009-05-06
Another naval confrontation between a US surveillance ship and Chinese vessels took place in the Yellow Sea on Friday, the Pentagon said last night. A spokesman called the PLA ships' actions "unsafe and dangerous". Two unnamed US defence officials said two Chinese vessels "came dangerously close" to the sub-hunting USNS Victorious. A vessel from the Bureau of Fisheries Patrol used a high-intensity spotlight on Victorious several times, they said. The Chinese vessels came to within 27 metres of the US ship and the American crew sprayed water from their fire hoses to warn them off during the hour-long incident. They said the Victorious was "operating in international waters", roughly 193km off the mainland coast. The area is within China's exclusive economic zone under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the US has yet to ratify. […] It is the second such naval standoff between the two sides within two months and took place as a top aide of US President Barack Obama called for more military exchanges with China to prevent such confrontations happening. […]. ^ top ^

New ministry section to handle border affairs - Department will deal with maritime disputes (SCMP)
2009-05-06
China has set up a new department under the Foreign Ministry to handle maritime and border affairs. The development comes at a sensitive time, with tensions over territorial disputes and China's neighbours eyeing warily its naval muscle-flexing. China last month celebrated the PLA Navy's 60th anniversary and sent maritime patrol vessels to underline its claim to disputed waters in the South China Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the new department would take charge of formulating policies regarding the demarcation of China's land and maritime border. It would also be responsible for mapping and for negotiating joint development projects with China's neighbours. "The Foreign Ministry has decided to set up the department to better serve the country's border diplomacy," Mr Ma said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese, U.S. presidents talk over phone about bilateral ties, flu epidemic (Xinhua)
2009-05-07
Beijing - Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, on Wednesday discussed bilateral relations and the A/H1N1 flu epidemic during a telephone conversation. Hu recalled that during their meeting at the Group of 20 summit in London in early April, he and Obama agreed to work together to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship in the 21st century. […] "Now, both countries are seriously implementing the consensus," the Chinese president said. […] Obama, for his part, said the meeting with Hu was important because it outlined the future development of bilateral cooperation and made a good start on the China-U.S. strategic dialogue. […] The U.S. president said he was looking forward to meeting with Hu again during a meeting of leaders of the Group of Eight nations and developing countries in Italy. Obama said he was also looking forward to visiting China. The two leaders also exchanged views on such issues as the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the situation in South Asia. ^ top ^

China assures Malawi of completing parliament building in months (Xinhua)
2009-05-07
Lilongwe - China assured Malawi on Wednesday that the multi-million dollars parliament building under construction in Lilongwe will be completed in the next few months. […] Lin said China would be giving Malawians a very magnificent structure once the 18-month, 41 million U.S. dollars project is completed. The modern parliament building is one of the most important projects China has pledged Malawi for the next five years. The project, which covers an area of 15 hectares, was designed by the China Beijing Architectural Design Institute and is being built by the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company. Last year, China offered Malawi 260 million dollars in concessionary loans for a period of five years in support of the southern African country's development projects, including a 100-km road connecting Malawi' two northern districts of Chitipa and Karonga. Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in December 2007, China has provided Malawi with health, economic, technical and other assistance in support of the country's development. ^ top ^

EU, China hold high-level dialogue on economy, trade (Xinhua)
2009-05-07
Brussels - Senior officials from the European Union and China opened a two-day dialogue here on Thursday to deepen their economic and trade relations and seek an early end to the global financial crisis. The meeting brought together key policy makers from both sides, including EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. An additional eight EU Commissioners and 12 Chinese ministers and vice ministers were set to participate in the talks, which were to cover a series of topics, including trade, investment, product safety and intellectual property rights. […] Wang, in an article published in the New York Times on Wednesday, called for a clear commitment from the dialogue to reject protectionism. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's stimulus helps meet green goals (Xinhua)
2009-04-30
Beijing - The nation's stimulus package has benefited energy conservation and emission controls with energy used to generate growth dropping further in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said. Energy intensity, or the amount of energy needed to generate per unit of GDP, dropped 2.89 percent year on year from January to March. That compares with a drop of 2.62 percent in the first quarter of 2008. […] The NBS said the ratio of the services sector in the overall economy rose 1.6 percentage points, while the industrial sector dropped 1.9 percentage points. Also, the output of six energy-intensive industries fell 12.5 percent from the previous year. The figures show the stimulus measures have aided efforts to increase energy efficiency, cut emissions and promote economic restructuring, it said. […] Capital requirements for projects such as railways, airports and housing will be lowered to raise investment, said a State Council meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao Wednesday. However, capital requirement for investments in high energy-consuming or heavily-polluting sectors, such as aluminum smelting, will be raised to prevent a rebound of production capacity in such industries. Of the 230 billion yuan the central government has approved on stimulus spending over the past two quarters, 10 percent went toward energy conservation, emission control and environmental protection projects, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement Wednesday. […] According to the NDRC, the government has earmarked 13 billion yuan in the next three years to expand sewage and garbage disposal facilities to most townships. It has also allocated 4 billion yuan for tackling water pollution in major rivers such as the Huaihe and the Songhuajiang. Forest conservation and energy saving projects get a combined 6 billion yuan. […]. ^ top ^

New rules to improve credibility, protection of China statistics (Xinhua)
2009-05-01
Beijing - New rules to punish "statistical fouls" took effect Friday in China. The rules, the country's first of their kind, were jointly published by the Ministry of Supervision, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The rules impose penalties for publication of fraudulent statistics or unauthorized dissemination of statistical data. Penalties including dismissal, demotion or unspecified "criminal punishment" face those who unlawfully alter statistics or ask others to do so and those who take revenge on people who refuse to fabricate data or blow the whistle on illegal acts. People who leak data concerning state secrets, personal information or business secrets, or who delay the reporting of statistics, would face similar penalties. […] "As the country strives to cushion the impact of the global slowdown and maintain steady economic growth, they should use the rules as a deterrent to statistical fouls," said Wang Tongsan, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank. Wang also suggested the government should reform the evaluation system for officials and increase training for statistical staff. […]. ^ top ^

An age-old problem (China Daily)
2009-05-06
Beijing - […] Official figures show that China has an ageing population, with 153 million people now over 60 and around one in five of them in need of long-term care. A growing number of Chinese children choose not to live with their parents after getting married and in turn, parents now tend to rely less on their children's support than ever before. The government has accelerated the transfer of support for the elderly from families to social institutions and in some cities, home help services have emerged as an alternative to old-age homes. […] Despite the growing need for home help, there is a chronic shortage of eligible staff. Latest figures from the China National Committee on Aging show that the number of people working in elderly healthcare was 321,600 at the end of 2007 but less than 10 percent had the job qualification certificate. […] Zhou Xiangshang, deputy-director of the Tuanjiehu Neighborhood Committee, says of the 9,800 elderly people in the area, just 150 are eligible for government-funded home services. Many others also apply and are even willing to pay by themselves. […]. ^ top ^

Exposing graft could get you rich (China Daily)
2009-05-06
Beijing - The incentive to fight corruption just got better. Blowing the lid off a scandal can now fetch you up to 200,000 yuan (29,000 U.S. dollars), according to a new regulation released Tuesday. Whistleblowers will be entitled to 10 percent of the value of the properties that are expropriated in graft cases, said a revised work report released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP). "Generally, the reward is expected to be under 100,000 yuan, but those who provide tip-offs that have a significant impact can be given up to 200,000 yuan," the report said. […] In the past 5 years, procuratorates of all levels received more than 300,000 reports from the public against job-related crimes. "Eighty percent of the cases exposed were tipped off by the general public," Tong told China Daily. The new provisions also emphasized on the protection of whistleblowers. […] All information and material related to the tip-offs should be "kept properly and unrelated staff will not be allowed in offices that deal with such reports", the revised regulations said. […]. ^ top ^

Raising the issue of China's troubled teens (China Daily)
2009-05-07
Beijing - Their parents have taken them miles from their hometowns as they chase work and have no money to put them into school, leaving them to survive on the streets and become easy prey for small-time crooks looking to expand their empire. So, is it any wonder children of migrant workers are behind the majority of minor crimes in China's biggest cities? […] Officials and experts have attributed the problem to a lack of proper education and the fact children are not properly protected from a social environment conducive to criminal activity. Simply put, parents are not being parental enough. […] The study also pointed to a lack of education among children of migrants. […] In provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China, local governments are able to formulate independent education policies, but, in many, migrants are still unable to send their children for pre-university education for free. […] The central government has called for public schools to scrap extra fees for migrants and for local governments to revamp their management policies to ensure these children receive a proper education. Authorities have also been urged to follow the example set by Guangdong province, which has around 30 million migrant workers. Its public security bureau recently announced it was to revise its rules and allow those who had lived there for more than seven years to apply for permanent residence permits, enabling their children to enjoy nine years of free, compulsory schooling. The move will save parents tens of thousands of yuan. […]. ^ top ^

Corpse used to air grievances (SCMP)
2009-05-07
Hundreds of villagers attacked the government office in Liling, Hunan province, on Tuesday after a fellow villager was allegedly killed in protest over a land dispute. They clashed with police before placing a coffin containing the man's corpse inside the building to air their grievances. According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, about 300 people from Hexi village protesting against a development project fought more than 100 police and armed police during the morning. One villager, 58-year-old Zhong Peihua, was killed and six others suffered severe injuries during the fighting. The centre said several thousand villagers besieged the municipal government building and attacked it over a period of several hours. […] According to a statement issued by the municipal government, the clash was between villagers and staff of a local construction firm, rather than between villagers and police. […]. ^ top ^

A giant task, a frustrating start - Reconstruction effort in Sichuan is making slow progress (SCMP)
2009-05-08
One year after the earthquake in Sichuan province, the rebuilding effort for the millions of people made homeless is not going as quickly as officials claim. According to the authorities, 98 per cent of the permanent rural houses had been built or were close to being finished. […] Although some finished homes can be seen in areas hardest hit by the disaster, like Qingchuan, Beichuan, Wenchuan and Yingxiu township, most of the new permanent buildings are still under construction. Villagers complain the work is progressing too slowly, or there isn't enough funds. Others say the new towns that are springing up, although perhaps better protected from the next earthquake, encroach on farmland or are so spread out that residents will find it difficult to attract customers and run a business. […] Compared with progress in rural areas, reconstruction in townships and counties is going even more slowly. […] Although rebuilding lags in parts of Sichuan, and despite concerns about funding and land availability, villagers do appear generally pleased with the safeguards against corruption. Official graft was blamed in the aftermath of the quake for why so many construction projects were substandard, and it seems the central government has made it clear to officials lower down that the reconstruction spending must be transparent. The National Audit Office, which has sent people to monitor major projects, will release its report to the public twice a year. At the county level, officials are extremely cautious about funding and want to ensure that all spending can be verified. […]. ^ top ^

37,000 dams at risk of collapsing, warns water resources chief (SCMP)
2009-05-08
A particularly wet spring is threatening nearly half of the dams in China because they are already "quite sick", according to the mainland's water chief. Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei raised the alert to emergency management agencies, the department said. Mr Chen said that more than 37,000 dams, or 43 per cent of the mainland's total, could collapse from excessive rainfall. Fewer than 4,000 were being fixed. "China is plagued by the world's worst dam hazards," Mr Chen said. "The test will be particularly hard this year because of the weather and the condition of our dams." More tropical storms would hit China this summer and would be powerful enough to affect areas north of the Yangtze River, forming some large belts of rain, the minister said. Mr Chen blamed global warming for the extreme weather. In the past 10 years, China lost an average of six dams a year. Half of the incidents were caused by excessive rainfall. Mr Chen said the toll would probably increase as more typhoons and landslides would come with climate change. Sichuan would face the biggest risks, as more than 90 per cent of the country's dams were built in the province and last year's earthquake had shaken most of them. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing reports best air quality in nine years (Xinhua)
2009-05-01
Beijing - Beijingers breathed in the least amount of pollutant in nine years in April, with a record 23 "bluesky days" and zero "hazardous day", the environment watchdog said Friday. For the first time since 2000, not a single day in April was rated "poor" or "hazardous", said Du Shaozhong, deputy chief of Beijing municipal environmental protection bureau. Beijing has a five-grade classification of air quality: a reading below 50 is "excellent;" from 51 to 100 "fairly good;" 101to 200 "slightly polluted;" 201 to 300 "poor;" and more than 301 "hazardous." Days with excellent or fairly good air quality are counted as blue sky days. […] The monthly average density of particulate matter, the top pollutant in Beijing, measured 0.12 mg in April, down 25 percent year-on-year and 40 percent compared with the same period of 2000,he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai particle accelerator to open its doors for business (Xinhua)
2009-04-30
Beijing - The building and testing of a machine that can create super X-rays capable of exposing the complicated structures of chemical compounds and proteins has been completed at Shanghai Zhangjiang High-tech Park in Pudong New Area. The Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility is expected to significantly boost China's capability and competitiveness in scientific research, especially in life sciences, officials from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the facility's key developer, were quoted as saying by Thursday's Shanghai Daily. The 1.2 billion yuan (176 million U.S. dollars) particle accelerator, China's biggest light facility, will also help in the study of viruses and new drugs and the development of technology. Next month the synchrotron will be opened to universities, scientific institutes and companies for approved research. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Three boys rescued as city gripped by abduction rumours (SCMP)
2009-05-05
Police rescued three abducted children in Heyuan, Guangdong, as rumours swirled that several dozen children had been taken in the city since early last month, state media reported. The three boys, three and four years old, were rescued in a nearby township on April 29 and on Saturday, and four suspected child traffickers were arrested, the Nanfang Daily reported yesterday. There have been widespread rumours that several dozen children went missing last month and newspapers said at least four child-abduction cases had been confirmed. Distraught parents complained that their children, usually very young boys, had been snatched outside their homes or while at grocery stores or at food shops. Tang Feiping, the father of four-year-old Tang Duowen, said his son was taken by a woman and held for 26 days until he was rescued. "My son was abducted within 20 seconds under our eyes. […]. There was strong demand for young boys from infertile couples or those who did not have a son and could not have a second child because of the one-child policy, reports said. China News Service said the four alleged traffickers had been carrying out abductions because of huge demand from their villages. Last month, more than 100 parents in Dongguan took to the streets, protesting about the more than 1,000 children who had been abducted there within two years. ^ top ^

Students get chance at one of 60,000 internships (China Daily)
2009-05-07
Thousands of enterprises in Guangzhou will offer nearly 60,000 internship working posts to graduating students unable to find regular jobs in their final college year. […] Students will be paid 30 yuan a day and their employers will buy their social insurance. […] Enterprises that take on more than five internship students will be awarded between 3,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan a year, he said. […] "As of April 19, about 315,000 college graduating students were still waiting for offers," said Gan. That means only about 48,000 students had signed working contracts, he added. […] The provincial government has decided to spend as much as 1.5 billion yuan ($220 million) this year to create posts for students and provide training. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao launches 300-member chief executive election committee (Xinhua)
2009-05-04
The name list of the 300 members of Macao Special Administrative Region's (SAR) Chief Executive (CE) Election Committee was Monday published in the SAR's latest edition of the Official Gazette. By law, Macao's new chief executive will be elected within the 300-member CE Election Committee, the tenure of which is five years and their memberships become effective as the name list was official published on Monday. The 300 committee members is comprised of 254 representatives from seven local socio-economic sectors, who was automatically elected due to the lack of contests, and the rest includes the SAR's 12 deputies to the National People's Congress, 16 representatives from the SAR's 29-member Legislative Assembly, 12 representatives from Macao's 34 deputies to the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and six religious representatives. Previously, the incumbent CE Ho Hau Wah has told local media that the date of the CE election will be announced next month. So far, no eligible local resident has declared his or her candidacy for the SAR's top job. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Zone backing a new sign of stronger ties across strait (SCMP)
2009-05-05
The state council has endorsed plans to develop an economic zone on the mainland side of the Taiwan Strait, marking yet further improvement in financial ties with the island. The zone would be centred around southeastern Fujian province , aimed at spurring development in regions neighbouring Xiamen. Setting up a special economic zone in the area has been suggested several times by local officials in an attempt to match the pace of development in the prosperous Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas, but has failed to gain central government backing until now. The council gave its support to the plan at a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao , an official statement released last night said. "Given the great positive changes in cross-strait relations recently, more powerful strategies should be taken to develop further Fujian province's comparative advantage," the statement said, noting that the region would be able to capitalise on blood links, cultural ties and business relationships across the strait. The statement said the new zone would extend to meet the Yangtze delta in the north and the Pearl delta to the south - effectively creating a superzone running from Guangdong province to Jiangsu province. The new economic zone would principally be an experimental zone for promoting cross-strait exchanges and co-operation, and would require "major reforms". […]. ^ top ^

On a tight leash (SCMP)
2009-05-06
After more than a decade of banging its head against the door of the United Nations, Taiwan has finally received an invitation from the World Health Organisation to attend the next session of the World Health Assembly, its governing body, in Geneva from May 18 to 27. […] Taiwan announced last Wednesday that it had received an invitation from WHO director-general Margaret Chan to take part as an observer using the name Chinese Taipei in the upcoming WHA session. This is the first time that Taiwan has been able to take part in the activities of any UN agency since 1971, when it was expelled from both the General Assembly and the Security Council. The breakthrough was a result of the Ma Ying-jeou government's policy of co-operation with the mainland, an about-turn from his predecessor's policy of constantly provoking Beijing by pushing for de jure independence. However, although the Ma administration has achieved something that eluded Chen Shui-bian for eight years, Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, accused Mr Ma of eroding Taiwan's sovereignty. […] From the wording, it appears that Taiwan is only being invited to take part in this year's session. […] Beijing's attitude is at least partly premised on the realisation that, one day, the DPP is likely to return to power in Taiwan. This way, Beijing can ensure that the pro-independence party will not benefit from its generosity towards the Ma administration. […] It is clear that pragmatism can yield results. Taiwan now has its eyes fixed on joining the International Committee of the Red Cross. It remains to be seen just how flexible the mainland is willing to be in the coming months and years. ^ top ^

Taiwan chief negotiator tenders resignation (Xinhua)
2009-05-06
Taipei - Taiwan chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kung said here Wednesday he had submitted his resignation as chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), an offer Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said he wouldn't endorse. Chiang, who is turning 77 this December, told media on Wednesday morning that he decided to resign because of his "age" and "physical strength." […] Ma, however, said on Wednesday that he tried to retain Chiang in his post and has returned his written resignation. He said Chiang was very important for cross-straits affairs and would become even more so in the future. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Met chief: Tibet challenged by global warming (Xinhua)
2009-05-06
Lhasa - Tibet has felt some of the largest impact of global warming, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) chief Zheng Guoguang said here Wednesday. "In Tibet, the mercury has climbed an average 0.32 degrees Celsius every decade since records began in 1961," Zheng told more than 500 officials at a meeting in Lhasa on climate change. "This is much higher than the national average temperature rise of 0.05-0.08 degrees Celsius every 10 years." Tibet's temperature rise had also topped the global average of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. […] "The impact of global warming has accelerated glacial shrinkage and the melting glaciers have swollen Tibet's lakes," he said. "If the warming continues, millions of people in western China would face floods in the short term and drought in the long run." Further, extreme weather conditions often cause geological disasters including mud-rock flows and landslides, he said. In the worst case, Zheng warned such warming could cause permafrost to melt and threaten the plateau railway linking Tibet with the neighboring Qinghai Province. […] While experts believe that at the current thawing speed, the railway will remain safe for another four decades, the government has spent more than 1 billion yuan (143 million U.S. dollars) in the past 20 years to reinforce the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, also plagued by retreating permafrost. "Tibet needs to tackle, and adapt to, the persisting climate change," said Zheng, who advised the autonomous region to speed up construction of hydropower stations and exploitation of renewable energy. […]. ^ top ^

Parisian government warned over Dalai Lama's honorary citizenship (SCMP)
2009-05-08
China warned the city of Paris yesterday not to grant the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship because it would anger the Chinese people. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Paris should avoid repeating last year's mistake and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs. "Paris decided to give so-called honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama a year ago, and that aroused the anger of a wide section of the Chinese public," he said. "If the Parisian government grants the honorary citizenship, this will surely meet with strong opposition from the Chinese people.". ^ top ^

 

Economy

Profit surge of Chinese central SOEs fuels call for fair distribution (Xinhua)
2009-05-06
Beijing - An 85.7 percent month-on-month surge in the profits of central state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in March has triggered call for a fair distribution of their profits. The 138 SOEs made a profit of 62.29 billion yuan (about 9.1 billion U.S. dollars) in March. "In France, SOEs turn in 50 percent of their profits as dividends to the government. SOEs in Sweden, Denmark and the Republic of Korea turn in about one third to two thirds of their profits," Zhu Lijia, a professor with the National School of Administration, told Xinhua Wednesday. The school specializes in training cadres "SOEs only turn in at most ten percent of their profits as dividends to the government. The percentage is too low," Tang Min, deputy secretary of China Development Research Foundation, which is affiliated with the Development Research Center of the State Council (cabinet). "The international average is about 30 percent," he said. Centrally controlled SOEs were required as of 2007 to pay 5 percent to 10 percent of earnings as dividends, depending on their industries, under a regulation issued by the State Council. Analysts also said that central SOEs have benefited most from the 4 trillion yuan stimulus plan announced last year, compared with the private sector. ^ top ^

420b yuan of stimulus package already spent (SCMP)
2009-05-07
The central government had already spent 420 billion yuan (HK$480 billion) of its stimulus package - more than a third of the total it had promised to invest by the end of 2010 - the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday. Most of the money was spent on earthquake reconstruction in and around Sichuan, building affordable housing, improving energy saving and environmental protection and reforming the public health and education sectors. […] Capital investment is apparently playing an increasingly significant role in fuelling growth in the world's third-largest economy. According to official data, fixed-asset investment picked up in the first quarter with an increase of 28.8 per cent, more than the 25.5 per cent growth in fixed- asset investment last year. […]. ^ top ^

 

Swine flu

Beijing sends charter flight to pick up Chinese in Mexico - Diplomatic row as WHO defends China's flu precautions (SCMP)
2009-05-05
[…] World Health Organisation supported China, saying quarantine measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease were in line with steps being taken worldwide. Hans Troedsson, the WHO's China representative, said: "There are other countries that are taking similar action like China, so I don't think China is standing out in this respect." Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: "The measures concerned are not targeted at Mexican citizens, and there is no discrimination. It is purely a medical quarantine issue." Mexico also chartered a plane yesterday to take home 70 of its citizens who were seized and quarantined on the mainland, saying the swine flu outbreak was no reason for "repressive and discriminatory measures". Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano had said on Saturday that China's quarantining of some Mexican citizens with no symptoms was discriminatory and lacked scientific evidence. The Mexican Foreign Ministry had told its citizens not to travel to China. "We have got the report that they are being quarantined for the sole fact that they are presenting a Mexican passport," Mexican ambassador to China Jorge Guajardo said. […]. ^ top ^

China assures support of antiviral drugs to ASEAN members (Xinhua)
200-05-07
Bangkok - The bilateral meeting between Thai and Chinese health ministers on Thursday yielded good results as Beijing ensured the support for influenza A/H1N1 medicines, said the Thai Health Ministry in a statement. After the meeting with Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu in Bangkok Thursday morning, Thai Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai said that they discussed the Chinese preparation for the antiviral drugs for the new strain of influenza. China is reputed as a major power with immense potential to undergo large-scale production of antiviral medicines. […] Witthaya told reporters that China has prepared for the possible outbreak, and that Chen assured if there is a major outbreak in ASEAN countries, China is willing to mobilize its support in terms of antiviral medicines as well as vaccine development for every ASEAN member. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China again urges concerned parties to maintain six-party talks (Xinhua)
2009-04-30
Beijing - China on Thursday once again urged all six parties of the Korean peninsula nuclear talks to safeguard the negotiating mechanism. "We hope all the parties to proceed from the overall situation, properly resolve relevant issues and make concerted effort to maintain the six-party talks," Foreign Ministry spokeswomen Jiang Yu told a regular press conference. She reaffirmed that China would continue to play a constructive role in realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and ensuring peace and stability of northeast Asia. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Wednesday that it might conduct nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests in self-defense if the UN Security Council did not apologize for "infringing" on the country's sovereignty." The DPRK's Foreign Ministry also said the country planned to build a light water reactor as its first step to build a nuclear power plant. ^ top ^

China, DPRK to further strengthen scientific-technological ties (Xinhua)
2009-05-07
Pyongyang - China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) pledged to further strengthen scientific and technological collaborations at a meeting held in Pyongyang on Thursday. Cao Jianlin, China's vice-minister of Science and Technology, and Ri Song Uk, vice-president of DPRK's National Academy of Sciences, signed an agreement on joint projects in architecture, water conservancy and agriculture at the meeting of the 43nd Joint Committee Meeting for China-DPRK Scientific and Technological Cooperation. The Chinese delegation presented office equipment including computers and printers, worth 500,000 yuan (about 72,000 U.S. dollars), as gifts to the DPRK's National Academy of Sciences. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

U.S.-Mongolia business forum in June to focus on energy (www.news.mn)
2009-04-30
The Fourth U.S.-Mongolia Business Forum will be held on June 9, jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Relations and Trade, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency, and its Embassy in the USA. The Forum will provide valuable information about commercial opportunities in Mongolia, and give companies a chance to meet potential business partners. Its focus will be on the energy sector, with special emphasis on coal mining, coal and methane power production, oil extraction and processing, renewable energy, and nuclear energy. Mongolia is in critical need of new energy infrastructure development and new energy sources. Mongolia has abundant coal deposits, which is the major source of energy as well as a cause of severe pollution problems. Mongolia's Government is encouraging the development of renewable energy, such as hydro, solar, and wind energy, and has an ambitious goal for broad-based renewable energy development. Mongolia also has substantial oil reserves and is one of the richest countries in terms of uranium deposits, making it an attractive locale for the development of nuclear energy. ^ top ^

Rights commission quotes complaints of torture (www.news.mn)
2009-05-07
Soon after the July 1 incidents last year, the Human Right Commission of Mongolia visited detention centers where the around 700 arrested people were kept and declared it had found no instance of violation of human rights. It appears the Commission has changed its views since then. […] Altogether MNT2 million 581 thousand 300 was spent on medical treatment for police and military personnel and MNT3 million 411 thousand 300 was given to them as compensation. The family of every person dead was given MNT20 million. The Report recommends sustained efforts to identify every guilty person and proper legal action against them as an exemplary deterrent. The Commission also found that the law had not been followed when the Emergency was declared by the President. Many people did not know of the declaration and so lingered on the streets only to be arrested. The suspension of all TV and radio broadcasts during the Emergency was also a violation of the right to express one's opinion and of press freedom. ^ top ^

 

Evelyne Freiermuth
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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