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
  11.5-15.5.09, No. 268  
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Table of contents

Swine flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Venezuela's Chavez hails agricultural co-op with China (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday hailed the agricultural cooperation with China aiming at boosting cereal production in the country. At present, two Chinese delegations are in the country to help diversify its agriculture in Barinas, a plain area in southeastern Venezuela. Venezuela's agriculture has long been neglected as the nation was focusing on oil production in the past. […] Under a Sino-Venezuela agreement, some 8.5 million dollars have been invested to rehabilitate 23 kilometers of irrigation canals from Barinas' Santo Domingo River. […] Venezuela and China agreed early this year to set up a fund worth 12 billion dollars to finance joint development projects including agriculture. ^ top ^

Second China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue reaches lots of consensus (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
London - Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Britain's Chancellor Darling jointly held the Second China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue here Monday and reached lots of consensus. Under the theme of "supporting sustainable growth through enhanced China-UK cooperation," the two sides had an in-depth discussion of topics ranging from supporting economic growth and social welfare, promoting financial stability and capital market development, enhancing energy and environmental cooperation to support green growth, and strengthening trade and investment cooperation. […] Chancellor Darling thought high of the constructive role played by China in carrying out the consensus reached at the G20 London Summit. He pointed out that China has been playing an important role in dealing with the international financial crisis, reforming the global financial system and reflecting the current world situation. Darling said that it is particularly important for the UK and China to join hands. At this dialogue, the two sides have reached a lot of important consensus in the sectors of finance, trade, investment, energy and environment. The British side is expecting to have a close cooperation with the Chinese side to play an active role in the global financial issues and push forward the bilateral relation through joint efforts. […]. ^ top ^

China re-elected to UN Human Rights Council (Xinhua)
2009-05-13
United Nations - China on Tuesday was re-elected for a three-year term to the 47-member UN Human Rights Council. […] Since China was elected as an founding member of the Council in 2006, it has made remarkable achievements in the field of human rights and fulfilled the pledges and commitments made during its last campaign for membership of the Council, a spokesman with the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations said. "China contributed a lot to the institution-building of the Council, and has undertaken its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) with an open and frank attitude and in a highly responsible manner, "the spokesman told Xinhua. Before re-election to the Human Rights Council, the Chinese government made solemn commitments on promotion and protection of human rights by presenting another aide-memoire of the pledges and commitments to the United Nations, the spokesman said. On April 13, China published its first working plan on human rights, the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010), pledging to further protect and improve human rights conditions. This action made China one of 26 countries that have responded to the United Nations' call to establish a national human rights plan since 1993. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing meets UN deadline for divisive seabed details (SCMP)
2009-05-13
China has submitted information about its seabed baseline to the United Nations in a gesture to demonstrate its maritime sovereignty amidst increasing tensions over territorial disputes. The information was submitted to the UN's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as required by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The deadline for all countries is today. But the ministry was vague on the content of the information, prompting speculation that the submission could have left out information on the controversial South China Sea, portions of which are claimed by nine countries and Taiwan. Ma Zhaoxu, a ministry spokesman, would say only that the document submitted included part of the East China Sea's continental shelf. But Dr Ma did not reveal whether information on the South China Sea was included. "China has indisputable sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction rights on the South China Sea," he said. "China reserved the right to submit information on the continental shelf in other seas." Dr Ma said the government would continue to resolve demarcation issues with other countries through "peaceful negotiation". The Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, which was recently established by the ministry to deal with territorial disputes, refused to comment. […]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator, Russian Federation Council chairman meet on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2009-05-13
Moscow - China's top legislator Wu Bangguo met with the chairman of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, on Wednesday to exchange views on bilateral ties. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), and Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov also attended the third meeting of the cooperation committee between NPC and the Federation Council. […]Wu noted that cooperation should be strengthened in three areas. First the two sides should strengthen mutual support and deepen political mutual trust. They should support each other firmly on issues concerning sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, stability and development. Second, they should boost pragmatic cooperation and mutual development, promote and approve important cooperation agreements signed between the two countries. Third the two should facilitate regional cooperation and inject new vigor into the cooperation. […]. ^ top ^

Plans moving forward to enable foreign firms to list in Shanghai (Xinhua)
2009-05-13
Beijing - China is advancing its study of plans to allow foreign companies to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and may work out preliminary arrangements as early as this year, industry sources said yesterday. The country is expected to step up communications with other nations in the coming months on the development of an international board in the city after concluding a deal with Britain on Monday for further stock-market reform, the sources said. "China agrees to allow qualified foreign companies, including United Kingdom companies, to list on its stock exchange through issuing shares or depository receipts in accordance with relevant prudential regulations," the two countries said in a joint statement issued on Monday. […] Two years ago, China started to consider permitting foreign companies to issue yuan shares to help boost the status of its fledgling stock market on the mainland. But the program has proceeded slowly as regulators worked to ease investor jitters over a stock glut. […] One key obstacle for foreign companies is that they will have difficulty switching the proceeds of their mainland listings into other currencies and repatriating the money as the yuan is not fully convertible. Hu Xiaolian, head of China's foreign exchange regulator, indicated in London on Monday that the country won't likely move quickly to free up the yuan under the capital account. ^ top ^

China, U.S. hold vice ministerial level consultations on ties, other issues (Xinhua)
2009-05-14
Washington - China and the United States on Wednesday held political consultations at the vice foreign ministerial level on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual concern. The consultations were held between visiting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg. […] He said the Chinese are ready to work with the United States to earnestly implement the consensus reached between the two heads of state and seize the opportunity and momentum to promote further development of bilateral relations in a sustained, healthy and stable manner. In order to reach these goals, He said, the two sides should increase high-level contacts and consultations at various levels, ensure the success of the Sino-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues, expand exchanges and cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, anti-terrorism, law enforcement, energy and environment, deepen communications and consultations on major international and regional issues, and handle differences and sensitive issues properly. […] Steinberg said the United States will continue to handle Taiwan-related issues in accordance with the one-China policy, and welcomes and supports the improvement in cross-Straits relations. He said the United States recognizes the concerns of the Chinese on Tibet-related issues and will handle them in a proper manner. […]. ^ top ^

U.S. lawmakers unveil bills to foster closer ties with China (Xinhua)
2009-05-15
Washington - U.S. lawmakers from the U.S.-China Working Group on Thursday unveiled four bills to "invest in "America's economic future" -- to foster closer relations with China on matters like trade, climate change, energy and to boost Chinese language teaching in the country. […] One bill would help U.S. states set up offices in China to promote their exports, help small and medium-sized businesses launch trade missions to China, and authorize Small Business Administration grants for Chinese business education programs, according to a statement issued by the office of Rick Larsen, the other co-chairman of the group. […] Another bill would increase the number of U.S. diplomatic missions in China and increase U.S. contributions to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, of which both the United States and China are members. […] A third bill would authorize a grant program to encourage joint American-Chinese research and development and policy education as well as improve energy efficiency or work on renewable energy sources. A fourth aims to increase Chinese culture and language education in the United States through local programs, and link those programs to institutions in China. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's labor dispute cases double last year on slowing economy (Xinhua)
2009-05-09
Shenzhen - Chinese authorities accepted 693,000 labor dispute cases last year, 98 percent higher than a year earlier, as the economic downturn triggered production cuts and even bankruptcies. […] Of the total, 22,000 cases were collective labor disputes that involves more than three workers each. The number was up 71 percent year on year and each case involved 23 workers on average, he said. Workers sought to safeguard more basic interests and rights, including no lay-offs and no back pay, the official said. The authorities used more mediation and arbitrage in settling labor disputes in a bid to help businesses ride out the hard times while safeguarding workers' interests, he said. Yang added that another 237,000 labor disputes were settled through mediation. […]. ^ top ^

China launches public campaign to counter disasters on quake anniversary (Xinhua)
2009-05-10
Beijing - China needs stronger steps to promote public preparedness and early warning systems for natural disasters, experts said ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake. The government will release its first white paper on disaster prevention and reduction on May 12, the country's first national disaster prevention day. The day is set to commemorate the Sichuan earthquake last May which left more than 80,000 people dead and missing in southwest China. To make the day, governments across the country have started education campaigns to publicize knowledge on disaster prevention and emergency rescue. […] The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) would train 1 million meteorologists in rural areas within five years to ensure every village has the information needed to combat increasingly devastating weather events, said Xu Xiaofeng, CMA vice director. […] Departments of civil affairs, forestry, land and resources are also building public information networks. The Ministry of Land and Resources has set up public monitoring systems in more than 120,000 places with potential geological hazards. But experts said a lack of coordination among departments sometimes diminished efficiency. […] China's top-down mobilization system coordinates resources to increase efficiencies in rescue and reconstruction. The model could also be adopted in coordinating the public and ministries in monitoring and early warning, Ma said. […]. ^ top ^

China issues guideline on maintaining agricultural growth (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
Beijing - China's State Council Monday published a guideline to maintain current agricultural development and promote income for farmers. The guideline was issued on the Chinese central government's official Web portal www.gov.cn. It consists of 22 items in eight parts, calling for more efforts to expand domestic demand, promote exports and stabilize grains' prices. The guideline calls for more support for spring sowing, including pest control, guarding against natural disasters and science and technology services. It also stresses the importance of granting subsidies to farmers and setting grain prices. ^ top ^

More mega-disasters ahead as environment deteriorates - White paper calls for vigilance against climate change (SCMP)
2009-05-11
China, already one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters, will face even greater wrath from Mother Nature because of climate change and environmental stress, according to a white paper released yesterday. […] Two-thirds of the country, or what is left after taking deserts such as the Gobi off the map, is under the threat of flood. […] Increasingly large areas are having to deal with droughts. Coastal provinces such as Guangdong and Fujian have reported huge drops in rainfall. […] The report detailed measures the government would take to deal with the problem, which some political experts on the mainland believed would help the country to strengthen its research capabilities, infrastructure, economy and national defences. For example, to speed up disaster alerts and relief response times, the central government is building an internal communications network to reach every county. The space industry has received many orders for Earth-monitoring satellites that will be used to spot disasters and study them. Engineers will be assigned to develop buildings and equipment that can withstand calamities such as typhoons, floods and earthquakes. […]. ^ top ^

Sichuan tightens security to prevent relatives protesting (SCMP)
2009-05-11
The authorities in Sichuan have tightened security across quake-ravaged areas ahead of a series of official events marking the first anniversary of the disaster today. The increased security comes amid reports of planned protests by parents who lost their children. Yingxiu, the epicentre of the May 12 earthquake, has been cordoned off ahead of an official memorial ceremony today, with the only expressway leading to the town closed for the past few days. President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang are expected to attend the ceremony along with other mainland leaders and foreign diplomats. […] Several parents said that police had followed them closely in the past few days and warned of possible reprisals if they insisted on going ahead with their protests. […]. ^ top ^

Environment takes a back seat - Rushed, politically driven reconstruction is causing alarm (SCMP)
2009-05-11
[…] Authorities had promised stricter environmental standards for rebuilding in the wake of the disaster, which killed more than 88,000 people across 51 counties in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. But as the reconstruction gathers pace, there is little indication that lessons have been learned, experts and environmentalists say. The country's model of "develop first and clean up later" appears to apply again. Millions of tonnes of debris remain to be cleared, and new construction waste, such as non-degradable plastic materials for prefabricated houses, has already become a headache for local authorities. […] Sichuan media carried reports early this year about an unusually high number of miscarriages among women who lived in prefabricated houses in Beichuan county and Dujiangyan and the possible link with toxins. But such reports and public discussions on the topic were banned last month by provincial authorities. […] Environmentalists have also warned of the dangers posed by thousands of damaged dams and the dozens of "quake lakes" that remain. […] More than 100 chemical plants, including 59 that process toxic chemicals, have been allowed to resume production. […] Despite concerns that the rebuilding process has already been too rapid for locals, officials and the environment to cope with, Beijing has urged local governments to accelerate reconstruction to finish earlier than originally planned. […] Speculation has been rife that Premier Wen Jiabao wants to ensure the rebuilding becomes part of his and his cabinet's legacy before the next government reshuffle in three years. […]. ^ top ^

Experts puzzled by how to cut emissions (SCMP)
2009-05-14
The mainland hopes to cut its greenhouse gas emissions - just as soon as it figures out how to do it, a senior central government official says. The mainland is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and is often criticised for its large role in global warming. Nonetheless Li Liyan, deputy director of the Climate Change Office of the National Development and Reform Commission, told Reuters that the government would not set a specific reduction target for mainland industries. "We want to, we just don't know how to do it yet," Ms Li was quoted as saying. Developed countries should instead take more aggressive steps to cut their emissions by 25-40 per cent by 2020, she said. […] Li Hongbin, the China project development manager of Areva Renewable Energy, said energy shortages, environmental pressures and the need for more competitive industries were internal forces slowing the growth in emissions. […]. ^ top ^

China to lower industrial land prices to boost investment (Xinhua)
2009-05-14
Beijing - China's Ministry of Land and Resources has announced a 30-percent cut in the minimum purchase price of land for industrial use in order to boost investment. […] The move would "further implement the government's policy of boosting domestic demand and push forward steady and rapid economic development," said the statement. The new rule will apply to investments that make intense use of land and those involving the processing of agricultural, forestry, animal husbandry and aquatic products. […] Wang Xiaoying, researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua Thursday, industrial investment had contracted because of the economic slowdown, which dragged down the demand for industrial land. […]. ^ top ^

Zhao Ziyang alleges Li Peng 1989 scheming - Late leader's explosive memoirs out (SCMP)
2009-05-15
A controversial editorial by the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, that shaped the outcome of the 1989 student democratic movement was prepared by then premier Li Peng without the consent of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. This is revealed by the late Zhao Ziyang, then party general secretary, in his memoirs, Prisoner of the State, released yesterday. Two decades after his downfall and four years after his death, the reformist party leader has shattered the official silence cloaking the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown in explosive memoirs he recorded in secret while under house arrest. According to Zhao, the decision to use the military against peaceful protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square could have been avoided but for the scheming of die-hard conservatives such as Mr Li, Beijing mayor Chen Xitong and vice- premier Yao Yilin, and Deng's paranoia about losing power. The memoirs, based on about 30 hours of tape, were given to three confidants and smuggled out of China, and transcribed and compiled by trusted friends. The book, published in English by US publisher Simon & Schuster, went on sale in Hong Kong yesterday. The Chinese version will be available later this month. […]. ^ top ^

Memoirs will cause party to reflect, ex-Zhao aide says (SCMP)
2009-05-15
The memoirs of the former leader sacked in 1989 for sympathising with the Tiananmen student protesters would give the Communist Party plenty to think about when deciding the country's political future, his one-time top aide said. In his revelations, Zhao Ziyang praised western-style democracy and said multiparty politics, a free press and an independent judiciary were needed for China to become a parliamentary democracy. Asked what the impact of the memoirs would be, Bao Tong, formerly Zhao's most trusted aide, said: "I think it will cause party members to reflect deeply. I think it's slightly more likely that senior leaders will read this book. "It will give them a lot to think about, and cause them to think about the party's basic survival. […] Asked if Zhao's memoirs could split the party again, Mr Bao was adamant: "No." While China has changed dramatically since 1989, with most people on the mainland richer and freer, Tiananmen is still taboo and the authorities are expected to ban Zhao's memoirs. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing looks to dampen demand for scarce water (China Daily)
2009-05-11
Cheap water may start to dry up in arid Beijing as the city considers raising its price to consumers in a bid to dampen demand. The city says it needs to pull the plug on heavy consumption because of a five-year delay in a major water diversion project that was to have brought ample supplies to the thirsty city. […] The reason for the delay is thought to be related to the redistribution of water and relocation of residents along the 1,400-km channel that will link Central China's Hubei province with Beijing, Tianjin and neighboring provinces. Following news of the delay, policymakers have been drawing up plans to conserve water in Beijing, including the expansion of surface and underground reservoirs and the raising of water prices for domestic and commercial users.[…]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen Stock Exchange issues Growth Enterprise Market draft rules (Delta Bridges and Agencies)
2009-05-11
The draft listing rules for China's upcoming Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) had displayed the spirit of prudence, innovation, efficiency and market orientation, analysts said. It marked a major step in the development of the country's first Nasdaq-style stock market, a vital part of China's capital market innovation. The draft was issued by China's Shenzhen Stock Exchange Friday to solicit public opinion. With a major concern over risk control, the document had set out a stricter delisting mechanism, information disclosing rules, and more rigid stock sale restrictions for controlling shareholders on GEM, compared with stocks trading on the main boards in Shanghai and Shenzhen.[…]. ^ top ^

U.S.-funded environmental-friendly training program launched in S China's Guangdong (Xinhua)
2009-05-13
Guangzhou - A non-government sustainable development association from the United States Wednesday kicked off an environmental awareness improvement program in this capital city of Guangdong Province, an economic powerhouse in southern China. The U.S.-based Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has chosen Guangdong as its first "environment partner" on the Chinese mainland. Under the program, it set up a research and development center focusing on environment, health and safety at the Lingnan School of the Zhongshan University in Guangzhou. The center plans to train 1,800 managers on environment, health and safety control for enterprises in Guangdong province every year. After the training, the managers will help their businesses to become model observant of environmental protection laws and rules. […]. ^ top ^

Guangdong Provincial Government and China Mobile Group signed strategic cooperation frame agreement, vowing to push Guangdong's informatization level to catch up with the medium-developed countries in 3 years (Guangzhou Daily)
2005-05-14
Provincial CPC Secretary General Mr. Wang Yang and Governor Huang Huahua attended the signing ceremony on May 13th, 2009. In the coming 5 years, China Mobile shall invest more than 80billion RMB in Guangdong, to launch ten big projects, namely such as “digital Asian Games”, ”TD-SCDMA elite project” , “digital administrative service improvement project”, etc., which will bring 200,000 jobs in total. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Chinese mainland, HK sign further expanded economic agreement (Xinhua)
2009-05-09
The Chinese central government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region signed on Saturday the sixth supplement to an important trade agreement to give Hong Kong firms greater and easier access to the mainland market for tourism, securities and banking services, among others. The Supplement VI to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was signed by John Tsang, financial secretary of the HKSAR government, and the central government's Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei in Hong Kong at a ceremony witnessed by HKSAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang. Speaking at the ceremony, Donald Tsang said the supplement agreement will introduce 29 measures that will build on the liberalization of 20 services sectors and open two more sectors of research and development and rail transport to Hong Kong businesses. […] The new measures will take effect on Oct. 1, 2009, three months earlier than usual, to "allow the trade to enjoy the benefits earlier," Jiang said at the ceremony. […] Authorization requirements have been also further relaxed under the agreement for Hong Kong commercial banks to establish sub-branches or service points, while qualified securities firms in Hong Kong and the mainland will be allowed to establish joint businesses in Guangdong, the mainland province neighboring Hong Kong. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao granted better market access to Chinese mainland amid financial crisis (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
As an effort to shore up Macao's gaming-centered economy in the face of global financial crisis, and help it diversify in the long run, China's central government has stepped up its move to open the vast mainland market to the Special Administrative Region (SAR) through a series of trade deals and policy measures. The Supplement VI to the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA6), which was signed here on Monday by Tam Pak Yuen, secretary for economy and finance of the SAR government and the central government's Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei, was the latest effort by the mainland to support the development of the SAR and forge closer trade ties between the two places, especially that between Macao and the neighboring Guangdong province. […] To further boost the SAR's tourism, mainland residents traveling in group tours to Taiwan will be allowed to enter Macao SAR in transit, under the newly-signed Supplement VI, despite the fact that the mainland authorities has previously tightened the visa arrangement for residents directly traveling to Macao, limiting their trips to the SAR in a year. […] Aside from the tourism sector, the new measures included in the Supplement VI, which will take effect on Oct. 1, 2009, mainly concern industries of MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition), and medical services. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan chief negotiator agrees to stay in position (Xinhua)
2009-05-08
Taipei - Taiwan chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kung, who had tendered his resignation as chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) earlier, on Friday agreed to stay on. Chiang told a press conference here he was willing to stay and finish the ongoing work. He said when he met Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits(ARATS) in Nanjing last month, he had invited him to Taiwan for a new round of talks, and he would keep the promise. […] Ma paid a visit to Chiang and SEF members Friday afternoon, praised their work and persuaded Chiang to stay on. Chiang said he would act in the general interest and make the right decision. […]. ^ top ^

Address the tough issues step by step, Taipei told (SCMP)
2009-05-14
As cross-strait relations develop, political and military issues cannot be sidestepped in favour of purely economic co-operation, a mainland spokesman said yesterday. But experts stressed that both sides must tread carefully or see adverse consequences. Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi said the two sides should build mutual trust in order to resolve long-standing issues. "Such issues cannot be sidestepped in the development of cross-strait relations," Mr Yang said. "The most immediate thing to do is establish mutual trust to build consensus and ... sort out these tough issues step by step." Last month, the office's director, Wang Yi , told Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, that the two sides should give priority to establishing trust and gradually solve difficult problems. Mr Yang said Mr Wang's comment had clarified the mainland's approach towards solutions to military and political issues. […] Mr Yang confirmed that Kuomintang chairman Wu Poh-hsiung would travel to Beijing next month to meet President Hu Jintao for a second time. […]. ^ top ^

Mainland further facilitates recognition of Taiwan court decisions (Xinhua)
2009-05-14
Beijing - The Supreme People's Court (SPC) of China issued a judicial interpretation Thursday to further regulate mainland courts' recognition of verdicts on civil cases made by Taiwan courts. The judicial interpretation, effective Thursday, further specifies the range of civil cases entitled to recognition and clearly states that verdicts made by Taiwan courts, once recognized by mainland courts, have the same effect in the mainland as verdicts made by mainland courts. […] As a follow-up effort to an agreement on mutual judicial assistance signed by top negotiators from the two sides on April 26 in the east mainland city of Nanjing, the new judicial interpretation says that civil cases on commercial affairs, intellectual property and maritime affairs are also entitled to recognition. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China says external demand key to growth as exports sink for sixth month (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
Beijing - China stressed Tuesday that stabilizing external demand was key to maintaining growth as new figures showed that foreign trade was still shrinking while fixed-asset investment was surging. […] The Ministry of Commerce said on its website that sluggish external demand, which had a significant bearing on stabilizing exports and employment, could deter domestic investment and consumption for a long period. […] For the first four months, urban fixed-asset investment rose 30.5 percent from the same period last year, as the massive government stimulus spending trickled down to local projects. However, if consumption and exports didn't rise in tandem, the excess capacity produced by soaring investment would exacerbate economic imbalances, said the ministry. […] The Commerce Ministry said these "grim" figures reflected weak overseas demand, scarce trade financing, a resurgence of protectionism and the devaluation of some Asian currencies. […] He said companies should continue trying to improve their structure and quality through innovation. To boost exports regardless of constraints on resources was not sustainable. […] Although imports continued to fall in value, that did not necessarily mean a drop in volume, since commodity prices had plummeted from last year's highs. […] As many trade policies were put into place, foreign trade had enjoyed better conditions such as tax incentives and financing, the Ministry of Commerce said. It added that better policies were needed in the areas of service trade and financing. […]. ^ top ^

CPI declines, but deflation fears ease (China Daily)
2009-05-11
Beijing - The specter of deflation is fading even though consumer and producer prices have continued to fall, economists said Monday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key gauge of inflation, fell 1.5 percent in April from a year earlier, the third straight month of decline. […] "Although the indices continued to see negative growth in April, deflationary concerns appear to be subsiding as the economy shows signs of recovery," said Jing Ulrich, chairman of China equities at JPMorgan. Analysts said the fall of the indices is not as worrisome as it appears because of their high reference point - sharp rises in the prices of food and raw materials last year and their subsequent fall in the early months of this year. […] "As the economy continues to recover and credit growth continues to expand, consumer prices should show an uptrend in the second half of the year," Ulrich said. […] Meanwhile, there are few signs of deflationary expectation among consumers, as sales in housing and car markets have rebounded. […]. ^ top ^

China to invest billions on key technology development, bio industry (Xinhua)
2009-05-13
Beijing - China will support eleven national research programs with at least 62.8 billion yuan (9.2 billion U.S. dollars) in one and half year to achieve breakthroughs in key technology development, the government said Wednesday. Areas covered by the programs included advanced numerically controlled machine tools, trunk-line aircraft, new-generation broadband wireless mobile communications network, and high-end central processing units and software. The programs also focused on the development of large oil and gas field, advanced nuclear power stations that use pressurized water reactor and high temperature gas-cooled reactor, technology for the treatment and control of water pollution, transgenic products, new drug development, and the treatment of major infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. […] The meeting also adopted a plan on stimulating the country's biological technology development in areas such as medicine, agriculture, energy, manufacturing and environmental protection. […] The plan is aimed at giving those companies much-needed support. For example, self-developed bio-industry products would be the first choice in governments' purchase plans. Special investment funds and agencies will be set up to help channel more private investment into biotechnological industries. The government will enhance the protection of intellectual property rights, and ensure safe use of biological technologies and products, the plan said. ^ top ^

Regulator: China to implement two revised rules involving GEM on June 14 (Xinhua)
2009-05-14
Beijing - Two revised rules involving a planned Nasdaq-style stock market, the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM), will take effect on June 14, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Thursday. The two rules involve establishing an independent committee to approve listings for the GEM and the management of sponsors of IPOs. The two rules are taken as a key step closer toward introducing the much-anticipated GEM, a board intended to nurture innovation-driven start-ups as the government tries to help smaller companies get financing and encourage technological advances. […]. ^ top ^

 

Swine flu

More people quarantined as A/H1N1 flu positive patients recovering (Xinhua)
2009-05-15
Chinese health departments said Thursday more people were put under quarantine while the two citizens who were confirmed to have contracted A/H1N1 this week were recovering swiftly. Health authorities in east China's Shandong Province put 30 people under home or hospital quarantine as of 2 p.m. Thursday to check for symptoms of A/H1N1 influenza, said the provincial health department at a news briefing held Thursday. […] After the man who was only identified by his family name as Lu was diagnosed, Shandong Province declared China's first A/H1N1 flu health emergency at about 6 p.m. Wednesday. […] Lu was hospitalized Monday. Apart from a sore throat, Lu was recovering with a normal body temperature, and showed no other symptoms of discomfort such as headache, coughing or a runny nose Thursday, said Li Zhongjun, spokesman for Shandong Provincial Health Department. […] Bao, the Chinese mainland's first A/H1N1 flu case, who has been kept at Chengdu Infectious Diseases Hospital for isolation and medical treatment for five days in Sichuan Province, southwest China, is also recovering fast. […] Tian Ming, vice president of Chengdu Infectious Diseases Hospital, said Thursday that the time for Bao to be discharged from the hospital was not decided yet. […] The panic caused by confirmation of the two A/H1N1 flu patients in China has helped boost sales of face masks and some traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with antiviral function, such as Banlangen, a kind of crystal powder made of a medicinal herb bearing the same name and commonly prescribed for treating the common cold in China. […]. ^ top ^

Limit spread of virus, WHO urges Beijing (SCMP)
2009-05-15
The World Health Organisation has called for Beijing to focus on limiting the spread of human swine flu rather than trying to stop the virus at the country's borders. The virus' incubation period and the mildness of its symptoms had made it very difficult to detect infected people at points of entry, the UN body said. […] Health authorities on the mainland have been emphasising that the cases were imported and that the top priority in curbing the spread of the disease is to strengthen control of inspection and quarantine at points of entry. "The focus now should be on trying to limit the virus' spread and to mitigate its impact within the country," Vivian Tan, communications officer with WHO China, said. The organisation thinks the spread of the virus cannot be stopped but that it can be slowed by rapid identification of cases and providing patients with appropriate medical care.[...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

First China-DPRK sister cities meeting held in Pyongyang (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
Pyongyang - The first China-DPRK sister cities' meeting was held on Tuesday in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). […] A joint statement signed at the end of the meeting expressed the will of both sides to engage in friendly contacts, and further strengthen communication and cooperation. The delegation, made up of Chinese sister cities' deputies, and headed by Wu Donghe, chairman of the China-DPRK Friendship Association, arrived in Pyongyang last Friday for a six-day visit. China set Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces, and the cities of Jilin, Huichun, Tianjin, Changchun with the DPRK's Kangwon province, South Pyongan, the Pyongyang Mangyongdae District, and the cities of Rason, Nampho, and Chongjin as sister cities following Shanghai's establishment of the same relations with the DPRK city of Hamhung in 1982. ^ top ^

China, DPRK to strengthen trade cooperation, officials say (Xinhua)
2009-05-11
Pyongyang - Officials from China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday pledged to further strengthen the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. The Chinese companies will further deepen the cooperation with the DPRK in the various fields such as processing trade, compensation trade and resources development, Wang Jinzhen, the vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said at the "China Pavilion Day" reception of the 12th Pyongyang International Trade Fair. […] The DPRK is willing to work with China to boost the development of bilateral economic and trade relations, he said. The four-day trade fair opened Monday in Pyongyang. Nearly 220 companies from 19 countries and regions, including some 140 Chinese companies, took part in the fair. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Friendly talks and signing agreements mark Putin's busy six hours in Ulaanbaatar (www.news.mn)
2009-05-14
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's six-hour visit to Mongolia on Wednesday was marked by cordial talks, and the signing of several agreements to underscore Prime Minister S.Bayar's description of the visit as “significant in boosting bilateral relations in economic, education and cultural spheres”. "We agreed to pay more attention to promoting Mongolia's mineral resources sector and its infrastructure and Mongolia intends to speed up cooperation with Russia in exploitation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," Bayar said after a meeting with Putin that took twice the scheduled 30 minutes. Responding, Putin said Russia also attaches much importance to strengthening bilateral economic cooperation and to increasing investments in Mongolia. "I am full of confidence that the two countries will closely cooperate in the mining sector, particularly in the exploitation of uranium deposits," he said. […] Then came the formal ceremony where several agreements were signed. These included one to set up a joint venture between state-owned Erdenes MGL of Mongolia and the also state-owned Russian Railways Company. […] A memorandum of intent was signed between the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom and Mongolia's state nuclear energy agency Atomon which will allow 10 Mongolian students and 5 workers in the nuclear energy sector to study and train in Russia during 2009-2010. […]. ^ top ^

"Nuclear fuel production is possible" (Montsame)
2009-05-14
Establishment of a joint venture for processing nuclear fuel with Mongolia is available in coming few weeks, the Prime Minister of Russia V.Putin stated at a meeting with journalists on the results of his visit to Mongolia. The Rosatom company will be a participant in this project on the Russian part, Putin added. "We have a specialized state corporation. Let's afford it an opportunity to work," he stressed. Earlier, the Minister of Energy of Russia S.Shmatko had stated that an agreement is ready for signing on the exploitation of uranium deposits in Mongolia. Referring to the Rosatom head S.Kirienko, Shamtko told that everything is ready for the establishment of the joint venture. The documents are co-ordinated with the Mongolian side, he said. They will be associated with a number of future steps to be taken towards the development of this business, including the purchase of uranium, he sai. ^ 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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