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
  18.5-22.5.09, No. 269  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

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Foreign Policy

Obama appoints Utah governor as new ambassador to China (Xinhua)
2009-05-16
Washington - President Barack Obama on Saturday named Utah Governor Jon Huntsman the new U.S. ambassador to China. "I'm extraordinarily pleased to announce that Jon Huntsman would be our ambassador to China. And I cannot think of a more important assignment that is creating the kind of bridges between our two countries that would determine the well-being of not just Americans and Chinese but also the future of world," Obama said at a White House press conference with Huntsman and his wife standing nearby. Obama said that Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, is well prepared to build the kind of partnership that reflects a new understanding between the United States and China. "When Jon Huntsman represents the United States in China, I'm confident that we'll be launching a new era of partnership between our two nations that will advance our shared dreams and opportunity and security in America, Asia and around the world," Obama said. Huntsman, 49, a Republican who was elected governor of Utah in 2004 and reelected in 2008, served as ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and as deputy U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush. […]. ^ top ^

China calls for stability, progress in Sri Lanka (Xinhua)
2009-05-19
Beijing -China on Tuesday appealed for social stability and economic progress in Sri Lanka. "As a friendly neighbor, China has kept a close eye on how the Sri Lanka situation developed," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told the regular press conference. "We sincerely hope Sri Lanka will make efforts to accomplish national reconciliation, social stability and economic progress," Ma said. […] In early May, China gave 1 million U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka to help the displaced civilians. China's provision of 20-million-yuan tents also reached Sri Lanka on Sunday. ^ top ^

China slams U.S. foreign affairs bill proposal, urges deletion (Xinhua)
2009-05-19
Beijing -China on Tuesday rejected a U.S. foreign relations bill proposal, saying it interfered in China's internal affairs. "China resolutely rejected the U.S. act and made solemn representations with the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told the regular press conference. Ma's comments came as U.S. Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced "Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 (H.R.2410)" on May 14. The Section 237 of the bill proposed giving grants to groups that protect Tibetan culture and history, or promote environmental protection, education and health care services there. The bill also devoted some clauses to Hong Kong and Taiwan. […] Ma urged the United States to prudently resolve the issues and delete China-related sections in the bill to avoid damaging the overall bilateral cooperation. ^ top ^

$10b loan-oil deal lubricates trade (Xinhua)
2009-05-20
China Tuesday agreed to lend $10 billion to Brazil's state-owned oil giant in exchange for guaranteed oil supply from the South American country over the next decade. Brazil's Petrobras and Sinopec, China's largest refiner, agreed that the former will supply 150,000 barrels of crude oil a day to China this year and 200,000 barrels per day for nine years from 2010. The two oil companies also signed a memorandum of understanding on oil exploration, refining and petrochemicals. China will explore for oil in two areas in Brazil, Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, told Bloomberg. […] The deal was among 13 signed Tuesday, with the others ranging from equipment, financing, science and space exploration to agricultural products.[…]. ^ top ^

China, Brazil to offer satellite data to Africa (Xinhua)
2009-05-20
Beijing - China and Brazil will provide satellite observation data for African countries through a joint space program, according to agreements inked here on Wednesday. The Earth receiving stations of Hartebeeshoek in South Africa, Aswan in Egypt and Maspaloms in Spain will process and distribute data from the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite-02B (CBERS-02B) to African states. "It's also for the first time China became an exporter of Earth observation data," said Guo Jianning, general director of the China Center for Resources Satellite Data and Application. Before that, China could only buy or share processed information such as satellite pictures from or with other countries, he said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier rejects allegation of China, U.S. monopolizing world affairs in future (Xinhua)
2009-05-21
Prague - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday dismissed as groundless the view that China and the United States -- or the so-called Group of Two (G2) -- will monopolize world affairs in the future. "Some say that world affairs will be managed solely by China and the United States. I think that view is baseless and wrong," Wen told reporters at the end of a China-EU summit. "It is impossible for a couple of countries or a group of big powers to resolve all global issues. Multipolarization and multilateralism represent the larger trend and the will of people." China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and pursues a win-win strategy of opening up, said Wen. "It stands ready to develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries and it will never seek hegemony." Wen said China remains a developing country despite remarkable achievements and that its modernization will take a long time and the efforts of several generations. […] "In conducting strategic cooperation between China and the European Union, the most important thing is to stick to the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, accommodating each other's major concerns, properly handling the sensitive issues and working to ensure that our bilateral relationship will not be adversely affected by individual incidents," he said. […] At the summit, China and the EU signed three agreements on cooperation in clean energy, science and technology and small- and medium-sized enterprises. […]. ^ top ^

No agreement on dropping dollar in China-Brazil trade but Lula still keen (SCMP)
2009-05-21
China and Brazil are expected to further discuss the possibility of settling bilateral trade in their own currencies, Brazil's president said yesterday when ending a state visit to Beijing. Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva left with multibillion-dollar finance and oil deals, but without a clear answer to his plan to stop using the US dollar for trade between the countries. He said he had proposed to President Hu Jintao during the summit on Tuesday that their countries' finance ministers and central bank governors discuss the issue by the end of the year. […]. There had been hopes a deal could be reached during his visit, but he said it had not because the issue "is very difficult". […]. ^ top ^

Sino-EU talks aim to tackle crisis, revive ties (SCMP)
2009-05-21
EU and Chinese leaders met yesterday in Prague to tackle the economic crisis and turn the page on past tensions over the Dalai Lama, although lingering differences cast a shadow over the talks. Premier Wen Jiabao says the European Union should not interfere in China's internal affairs, a swipe at European contact with the Dalai Lama. […] The two sides were yesterday set to focus on the less thorny issues of the economy and climate change - although these subjects are not without their sore points, too. On the table are agreements on science and technology, clean energy and co-operation on small and medium-sized companies. […] The Chinese are eager to see Europe take a softer line against dumping - when companies export products at prices lower than their costs - while the Europeans are frustrated that their companies face numerous barriers to doing business in China. The EU was also expected to lean on China to make ambitious commitments to cut greenhouse gases in view of a key international summit on climate change and global warming in Copenhagen in December. […] Potential conflict could also arise over the fate of 17 Chinese Uygurs due to be released from Guantanamo Bay prison. China has objected to the prospect that some of them could be taken in by European countries. […]. ^ top ^

Wen calls for EU to ease export limits (SCMP)
2009-05-22
Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the European Union to ease limits on exports of hi-tech goods. "We hope that the European Union will relax its restrictions on the export of hi-tech products to China and foster new growth areas in our business co-operation," he said after an EU summit in Prague on Wednesday. Mr Wen also reiterated Beijing's hope to see EU nations grant the mainland market-economy status and lift an arms embargo. Market-economy status is a standard often used in anti-dumping cases. Recognition as a market economy raises the bar for when a country can be considered to dump products on the world market. Trade has boomed in recent years, and the EU is the top destination for mainland goods; the mainland is Europe's biggest trade partner after the US. Last year they traded €326 billion (300 billion yuan) in goods. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's ministries work together to bust online counterfeit drug dealers (Xinhua)
2009-05-15
Beijing - People using the Internet to sell counterfeit medicines in China will face severe punishment as the government amps up the fight against illegal business in the next year, according to a consensus by 13 ministry departments Friday. The ministerial departments held the meeting to launch a year-long campaign with aims to cut off circulation channels of fake drugs, mainly through online purchasing and postal delivery. The departments included the Ministry of Health, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and ministries of industry and information technology and public security. This marked the establishment of a mechanism that will more effectively coordinate different departments' work to curb the production and sale of fake products, said Shao Mingli, vice minister of health and the head of the SFDA. […] The new mechanism will enable law enforcers to crack down on fake drugs from production to circulation, by closing down Web sites that advertise fake drugs, and by suspending bank and telephone accounts of companies allegedly involved in illegal trade, Shao said. […]. ^ top ^

China tightens supervision of senior military officers (Xinhua)
2009-05-17
Beijing - Chinese military authorities pledged Sunday to tighten supervision on senior and middle ranking officers, through strict punishment in cases of breach of duty and regular inspection of their work. The military will adopt a strict system to investigate and punish senior officers for breaching duty or making mistakes, said a circular issued by the Central Military Commission (CMC) on Sunday. The document, approved by CMC Chairman Hu Jintao, said it will also introduce a system of accountability by regular inspection on the work of officers at army corps level. Military units higher than regiment level of the People's Liberation Army must review […] The circular called on the officers to keep a communist nature. "In the face of a complicated ideological situation, senior military officers must stick to their faith and keep a firm political stance," it said. […]. ^ top ^

China to create 3 mln jobs in light industry (Xinhua)
2009-05-18
Beijing -The State Council, China's Cabinet, Monday announced that it would endeavor to create 3 million new jobs in light industry in the coming three years by boosting domestic demand. […] The General Office of the State Council presented the detailed light industry stimulus plans Monday on its Chinese website www.gov.cn. The government would give financing support to small and medium-sized light industry companies with good development potential in a bid to create more jobs, according to the plan. […] In addition, the government wants firms across the country to make existing facilities and production processes more environmentally friendly. The government ordered companies to improve the light industry's products mix and reduce its pollutant discharge. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) must be cut by 10 percent or 255,000 tonnes by 2011 from the 2007 level. Waste water discharge will be reduced by 29 percent, or 1.95 billion tonnes by 2011 from the 2007 level, according to the Monday's plan. "China would eliminate outdated production capacity of 30 million units of low-efficient refrigerators and freezers, 600 million units of incandescent bulbs and others," the plans stated. The government will also step up efforts on improving product quality and is scheduled to formulate 450 new industry standards by 2011 in areas including food additives, meat products, wine making, dairy products, beverages, furniture and others, according to the plan. ^ top ^

June 4 mothers mourn children (SCMP)
2009-05-19
Dozens of elderly parents in Beijing have gathered to mourn their children who were killed in the June 4 crackdown at Tiananmen Square, a local rights group says. […] Ms Zhang yesterday confirmed the ceremony had taken place and said that several days beforehand Ministry of State Security officers made her agree to several conditions. "They wanted us to make sure no outsiders, particularly foreign journalists, took part in the mourning ceremony," she said. "Besides, they also warned us to stay inside. I agreed to their conditions and they said we could proceed with the gathering." Up to 50 bereaved parents from 40 families attended the gathering, held once every five years. […] One absentee was Ding Zilin, founder of the Tiananmen Mothers organisation. "Ding Zilin was supposed to deliver a memorial speech, but police wouldn't let her leave home," Ms Zhang said. She said all those present were incensed by the decision to prevent Ms Ding from mourning her son. She said Ms Ding's movements were being limited until the 20th anniversary had passed. […]. ^ top ^

Bloggers frustrated as Beijing blocks Google service (SCMP)
2009-05-20
Blogger.com, Google's free blog service, has been blocked by mainland authorities since late last week and thousands of users have complained. It is the second time in less than two months that users have been unable to access popular platforms. In March, netizens were denied access to Google's video-sharing website YouTube after a film showing police brutally beating Tibetans in last year's Lhasa riots was uploaded. […] This time, netizens do not know why their blogs are being blocked, with many assuming it is related to political sensitivity. […]. ^ top ^

Zhao's memoirs sell out before official release (SCMP)
2009-05-20
The memoirs of ousted Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang sold out in Hong Kong bookshops before the official release date yesterday. […] The English hardcover edition of Prisoner of the State was scheduled for worldwide release yesterday. It was the 20th anniversary of Zhao's last public appearance, when he arrived in Tiananmen Square to convince students to stop their hunger strikes and protest. But Dymocks in Prince's Building and Page One outlets - which broke the embargo and started displaying the book at the weekend - said it had sold out. "All three of our chain stores sold out on the first day and we are now ordering more copies from London," a sales representative from the Page One outlet in Central said yesterday. "[…]. ^ top ^

Central China city to compensate families of nine killed in viaduct collapse (Xinhua)
2009-05-20
Zhuzhou, Hunan - The Zhuzhou city government said Wednesday families of the nine people killed in a viaduct collapse on Sunday could each get 400,000 yuan (59,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation, regardless of whether they were residents. Li Zhiguo, a government spokesman, said eight of the 16 injured people were still hospitalized Wednesday. A 31-year-old man who suffered the worst injuries was in intensive care. […] Area residents questioned the procedures used in the trial demolition. One, surnamed Zhang, said the communications authority did not block the traffic under the viaduct after the trial demolition. "The viaduct was dangerous after the trial, and shot holes drilled on every pier must also have caused the safety problem," he said. A government work team led by Liu Raochen, head of the Hunan provincial bureau of work safety, is investigating the accident. Contractors of the project were being investigated, according to an official who declined to be identified. […]. ^ top ^

Wen calls halt to Yunnan dam plan - Premier orders further environmental checks (SCMP)
2009-05-21
Premier Wen Jiabao has pulled the plug on a controversial project to build a dam on one of China's last free-flowing rivers in Yunnan, calling for more careful environmental assessment and prudence before going ahead with the plan. Sources said Mr Wen ordered a halt to work on the Liuku hydropower station last month, telling authorities not to resume the plan until its impact on the ecology and local communities was fully understood. […] This is the second time the premier has thrown his weight behind calls to put the controversial plan on hold. In February 2004, Mr Wen ordered a suspension of the Liuku project until its social and environmental impact had been "carefully discussed and scientifically decided", following a public outcry. […] Although the scaled-down plan was backed by the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Wen's instructions would halt the project "for a while", analysts said. […]. ^ top ^

China university official denies clash between students, police (Xinhua)
2009-05-21
Nanjing - A senior official at an east China university Thursday denied foreign media reports that students clashed with local police on Monday night. Chen Xiachu, deputy Communist Party chief of the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA), told Xinhua the conflict involved city management personnel and sidewalk peddlers near the campus. […] The school board carried out an investigation Monday night, and confirmed none of its students had been peddling or were involved in the conflict, he said. "Foreign media reports about students clashing with police and consequent injuries were groundless," Chen said. NUAA students who witnessed the incident, either at the scene or from the balconies of their high-rise dormitories, confirmed no students were involved in the conflict. They did, however, finger city management personnel, who tried "violently" to clear the vendors from the street by confiscating their wares. […] A city management officer said the incident happened after they tried to clean the street of vendors. "We didn't beat them or rough them up," said Wu Qiangguo, deputy chief of the Jiangning District City Management Team. "Most vendors were cooperative, and police detained two people who refused to leave." Wu said they had finished ridding the vendors by 7 pm, and the conflict broke out because some onlookers thought the two detainees were students. […]. ^ top ^

CPPCC calls for more proposals on economic growth (Xinhua)
2009-05-22
Beijing -China's top political advisory body on Thursday urged its members to make more proposals on how the Communist Party and government can maintain the country's economic growth. The statement was made at a meeting attended by the chairman and vice chairpersons of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The meeting, which was presided over by Jia Qinglin, the chairman, also decided that the Standing Committee of the 11th CPPCC National Committee will hold its sixth session from June 16 to 19. ^ top ^

One-child violation penalty stiffened - Migrant parents' fines will vary with income (SCMP)
2009-05-22
Millions of mainland migrant workers will soon be entitled to free contraceptives, but the penalties for those having an extra child illegally will be based on what migrants earn in the cities, according to a revised family planning regulation released yesterday by the State Council. The guideline that possibly grabbed the most attention was the one stating that fines levied on migrant workers who violated the one-child policy would be assessed based on the earnings standard of the place they lived in rather than their hometowns. […] Basing the fine for breaking the family planning rule in the city where they are living in would result in a higher penality and therefore serves as a better deterrent. On the other hand, migrant workers who comply with the new rule would be entitled to a string of new benefits including free contraceptives from health agencies, the revised guidelines said. Those who gave birth to their children at a relatively older age or spontaneously undergo sterilisation will be rewarded with several days' holiday by the local administration. They will also enjoy preferential treatment, such as materials with information about population and family planning laws and procreation health, and support in running their own businesses and receiving social relief. […] The mainland's population - now at 1.3 billion - would keep growing at a rate of 8 million to 10 million a year, pressing up to 1.5 billion to 1.6 billion, the most it can support, according to an article in the official Outlook Weekly. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Anti-smoking lobby: Increase fines (China Daily)
2009-05-19
Beijing - An expert panel advocating a ban on smoking in public places has called on authorities in Beijing to double the 5,000-yuan fine on establishments that fail to prevent smokers from lighting up on their premises. A draft to revise the current anti-smoking regulations and raise the penalty will be completed by the end of 2010, Cui Xiaobo, a member of the panel, told China Daily yesterday. "Harsher penalties for establishments will be more effective than going around fining individuals," Cui said. […] Cui said he submitted his proposal after a survey last October of 6,000 citizens found that more than 70 percent of Beijing residents wanted the government to increase fines if it was serious about banning smoking in public places. Regulations, effective May 1, 2008, clearly define non-smoking public venues and partly prohibited sites such as hotels, restaurants and training centers. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangdong opens special trade fair to help small companies tap into domestic market (Xinhua)
2009-05-16
Guangzhou - A two-day trade fair, co-organized by China's manufacturing base of Guangdong and the country's biggest HKEx-listed e-commerce group Alibaba.com, opened here on Saturday, aiming to help small exporters tap into the domestic market amid weak overseas demand. […] Ma said it was the world's first trade fair of online-selling products, and he hoped Guangdong's exporting firms could sell more products to domestic consumers through the Internet. With millions of e-shops seeing their sales growing quickly, Alibaba's sellers could contribute to the campaign to expand domestic demand, he said. […] Guangdong provincial government has in recent months stepped up efforts to help exporters tap potential at home. Last month, the Canton Fair, known as China's largest export event, was opened to a group of domestic buyers for the first time in its half-century history. The organizers hoped domestic deals could offset a plunge of overseas orders. […]. ^ top ^

81% of the drinking water's sources in Guangzhou reached the quality standard last year, up by 5%, while the sources pollution situation in the West Guangdong is still serious. (Guangzhou Daily)
2009-05-19
Environmental Protection Department of Guangdong and Provincial Supervision & Examination Bureau jointly announced the 10 key areas for environmental quality supervision this year, incl. the sources of drinking water in West Guangdong, fresh water basins. […..]Supervision and Rectification work to four polluting companies incl. Sinopec Guangzhou, which have not completed reform to standard level, will be continued. Sinopec Guangzhou was asked to pay 22million Yuan for disposing excessive pollutants. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland, Taiwan start largest-yet cross-Straits forum on former frontline (Xinhua)
2009-05-16
Xiamen - The Chinese mainland and Taiwan Saturday kicked off the largest-yet unofficial cross-Straits forum and carnival at a place which used to be the frontline of Communist-Kuomintang rivalry decades ago. […] More than 8,000 Taiwan guests have arrived for the week-long Straits Forum to be co-hosted by Xiamen, Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Putian cities of Fujian. Featuring 18 activities including a centerpiece conference, a trade fair, a cultural week, a tourism forum and a seminar on traditional Chinese medicine, it is designed to further cross-Straits exchanges on a non-official platform. […] Now with the mass gathering of "brothers and sisters" from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Wang Yi said the move reflected a new development of cross-Straits exchanges. It shows that the general public have become the main body of the cross-Straits exchanges and the core force to propel the progress of the cross-Straits relations," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Opposition crowds swamp Taipei (SCMP)
2009-05-18
Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Taipei yesterday to protest against Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's mainland-friendly policies, which they say have compromised the island's sovereignty. The march through Taipei, which was due to end at the presidential palace, was the largest organised by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) since Mr Ma came to power last May. "Say no to China! Say yes to Taiwan!", the protesters shouted as they pumped their fists in the air under the watchful eye of about 4,000 police officers. The DPP said it hoped that half a million people would attend the Taipei rally, with thousands more marching in the island's second city of Kaohsiung in the south. Police estimated the crowd at 100,000. "Under his pro-China policy, Ma Ying-jeou is placing Taiwan's destiny and future in the hands of the Chinese, and we will by no means accept this," DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen told the protesters. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan leader vows to improve cross-Straits relations (Xinhua)
2009-05-19
Taipei - Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou says improving mainland-Taiwan relations and building cross-Straits peace will be a priority for the island in the next few years. Ma made the remark at a Tuesday press conference held in Taipei to mark his one year in office. […] Ma said agreements so far achieved by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) are all beneficial to Taiwan. Cross-Straits exchanges should not move backward, and Taiwan will decline and fall into recession if it resumes self-isolation policies, he said. Ma welcomed Beijing's new policy of encouraging enterprises to invest in the island, saying Taiwan is happy to see all policies that would benefit cross-Straits economic and trade development. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland to organize three buying teams to Taiwan by July (Xinhua)
2009-05-20
Beijing - The Chinese mainland was scheduled to organize three buying teams to visit Taiwan for business talks and purchase of products and materials, Yao Jian, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), said Wednesday. The MOC, the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology were endeavoring to organize three economic and trade facilitation teams to visit Taiwan at the end of May, in mid-June and early July to deepen the mainland-Taiwan economic and trade ties, Yao said in a Web site statement. Yao did not specify how many mainland businesses would visit Taiwan and how much they planned to spend, but he said they would mainly focus on purchasing folk handicraft, processed food, daily necessities, machinery equipment and raw materials. ^ top ^

No peace pact until Beijing removes missiles, Ma vows (SCMP)
2009-05-21
There could be no peace agreement between Taiwan and the mainland until Beijing removes all missiles targeting the island, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday at a news conference to mark his first year in office. He said he would focus on economic issues - rather than efforts to forge a peace pact - during his four-year term. "At this moment, issues like financial co-operation and judicial co-operation to fight crime are more important than the peace agreement, which is no longer urgent as tensions across the strait have been reduced," he said. Taiwan needs to deal with more pressing issues on its economy for the well-being of its people, he said. But he did not rule out discussions on a peace pact with the mainland if he were re-elected to a second term. […] And if the subject of peace were broached in talks, he said, he would insist that Beijing first renounce the use of force against Taiwan. […]. ^ top ^

China opposes Taiwan having official exchanges with any country, says spokesman (Xinhua)
2009-05-21
Beijing - China opposes Taiwan having official exchanges with any country, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu at a regular press conference on Thursday. "I want to reiterate that the Chinese government adheres to the one-China policy and opposes Taiwan having official exchanges with any country. This position remains unchanged," said Ma when asked to comment on Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou's Central America tour next week with scheduled stopover in the United States. ^ top ^

Pro-independence mayor visits mainland to promote games (SCMP)
2009-05-22
A leading figure in Taiwan's pro-independence opposition party took a political risk yesterday by flying to Beijing to sell her hometown's World Games, an alternative to the Olympics that has seen disappointing ticket sales. Chen Chu, mayor of the port city Kaohsiung and a prominent figure in the Democratic Progressive Party, will visit the mainland capital and Shanghai until Sunday to lead cheers for the games despite mixed reviews at home. Organisers of July's World Games, which feature 31 non-Olympic sports, have sold only about 10 per cent of the 300,000 tickets. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama's envoys reach out to people on the mainland (SCMP)
2009-05-21
Envoys of the Dalai Lama are seeking to reach out directly to people on the mainland after talks on Tibet reached a deadlock, an envoy for the exiled spiritual leader said. The last round of talks between the government and the Dalai Lama's envoys failed in November, when the envoys' calls for "high-level autonomy" for Tibet were rejected. "Unfortunately, so far, there has been no signal from the government in Beijing that they are ready to resume the dialogue," Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama's envoy, said in Tokyo, where he was meeting supporters of the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Auditor: China's stimulus plan goes well, with minor exceptions (Xinhua)
2009-05-18
Beijing - China's National Audit Office (NAO) said Monday that no major problems, but some notable minor ones, had been found as of the end of the first quarter by its oversight of the country's stimulus package. Lack of local support funds and imperfect measures for policy implementation, as well as some fake contracts and receipts for discounted notes, were the main problems that needed fixing, the NAO said in its third report of the year. Cash from such discounted notes had gone into bank deposits to profit from the interest margin instead of going into the real economy, said the report. Meanwhile, of the 100 billion yuan (14.64 billion U.S. dollars) allocated by the central government last year, all had been disbursed. Another 130 billion yuan appropriated in February had been mostly distributed, NAO said. […] The NAO said it would strengthen its scrutiny of the implementation of the stimulus and fully expose waste, fraud and abuse. It would also examine the impact of the global downturn on companies' sustainable development to improve their competitiveness. […]. ^ top ^

China to encourage overseas investment with easier procedures (Xinhua)
2009-05-19
Beijing - Outbound investment of Chinese enterprises may be expanded as China's foreign exchange regulator said on Monday that it plans to simplify examination and approval procedures for domestic companies' investment abroad. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) posted Monday on its web site a draft regulation on foreign exchange management involving domestic enterprises investing abroad, to solicit public opinions. According to the draft, domestic companies will be allowed to register the source of their foreign exchange financing after their investment overseas instead of obtaining approval beforehand. The draft regulation also allows domestic enterprises to seek financing from more sources, including domestic foreign exchange loans, purchasing foreign exchange with yuan, the foreign currency funds enterprises possess, and their profits gained abroad. SAFE will also improve its supervision over overseas investment by carrying out annual inspection on investment projects together with the Ministry of Commerce, said the draft. The draft regulation is aimed at facilitating and encouraging Chinese companies to invest abroad, and standardizing management of foreign exchange involved in such investment, said SAFE in an announcement which came along with the draft. […] China's outbound direct investment reached 55.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, up 194 percent from a year earlier. ^ top ^

China Moves Closer to Offshore Yuan Market (China Daily)
2009-05-20
Allowing overseas banks to sell yuan bonds in Hong Kong has moved China one step closer to building an offshore yuan market, analysts said. HSBC and Bank of East Asia confirmed yesterday that their China units had won approval from Chinese regulators to become the first overseas banks to sell yuan bonds in Hong Kong.[…] Both banks said they still didn't have specific plans on the quantum of yuan bonds they were planning to issue. China has been promoting greater use of the yuan for trade and investment as an effort to shield the country's export-oriented economy from the impact of exchange rate fluctuations.[…] Five Chinese banks, including Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank, have issued yuan bonds in Hong Kong since 2007. ^ top ^

China ranks 20th in IMD world competitiveness report (Xinhua)
2009-05-21
Geneva - China's overall competitiveness in the world ranks 20th, a slight fall of three places compared with last year, according to a new report released by the leading global business school IMD on Wednesday. According to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009, which ranks a total of 57 economies, China has been performing quite well in a number of areas, notably in domestic economy, international trade, employment, public finance, labor market and scientific infrastructure. Those areas in which China does not perform very well include international investment, business legislation, management practices, health and environment. The report also lists a number of challenges that China faces in 2009, including further reforming in the financial sector, coping with the complicated situation of the world economy, creating more employment opportunities for a growing labor force and enhancing the quality and efficiency of public investment in infrastructure. Of the 57 economies ranked by the IMD, the United States still ranks No. 1. Hong Kong has switched places with Singapore to gain the 2nd place and is swiftly "closing the gap" with the United States. […]. ^ top ^

China updates spending details of stimulus fund (Xinhua)
2009-05-21
Beijing - China's economic planning body released a breakdown Thursday of how the government's 4 trillion yuan (586 billion U.S. dollars) of stimulus funding was being spent. Since the stimulus package was unveiled in November, 230 billion yuan had been used as of the end of April, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website. […] The commission said 1.18 trillion yuan, or 29 percent of the total package, was offered by the central government. The remaining fund will be supplied by local governments and the private sector. Yan Yiming, a Shanghai lawyer specializing in securities, requested the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and NDRC publicize the detailed expenditure of the hefty stimulus package. His call was echoed by millions of Chinese netizens who were concerned about the money being misused, corruption and the effectiveness of policies. Mu Hong, vice minister of the NDRC, told Xinhua on March 2 that the commission would release information about expenditures on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn, and accept public comments. […] Roughly 1.5 trillion yuan will go to infrastructure construction including railways, roads, airports, urban power grids and irrigation projects. That takes up the biggest share of the money. As for others, low-income housing projects will get 400 billion yuan. 370 billion yuan will be used to improve rural infrastructure and people's well-being. Some 150 billion yuan will help improve health care, education and cultural development. Energy saving and ecological projects will get 210 billion yuan. 370 billion yuan will fund innovation and industry restructuring. About 1 trillion yuan will fund rebuilding areas hit by the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Mainland Net users vent anger at apologetic overseas students (SCMP)
2000-05-19
Two of the three mainlanders with swine flu have apologised for the trouble they have caused officials and the public, but apparently that that has not appeased netizens. Some launched a vigilante "human flesh" search engine to see what they could dig up on the two students, and others were calling for other overseas Chinese to be barred from coming home for a while. Such is the power of the internet on the mainland that its response to swine flu has created a rift between domestic and overseas Chinese. The three who tested positive for the virus were studying in the US. […] Netizens said both were selfish. The search for their names and backgrounds started after speculation that the students were the offspring of corrupt officials, who tend to send their children overseas. Others proposed suing them, claiming their deeds would lead to the deaths of millions of people. Some suggested the government ban overseas Chinese from returning. […]. ^ top ^

Student fifth confirmed case for mainland (SCMP)
2009-05-21
The mainland has confirmed its fifth case of swine flu - a 21-year-old male student who just returned to Beijing from studies in Canada - according to a statement published on the Ministry of Health's website yesterday. This is also the second confirmed case of the swine flu in Beijing. The patient, who studies in a Toronto-based university, arrived in the capital on Air Canada flight 031 from Toronto on Saturday. […] The Ministry of Health issued a notice requiring provincial capitals and cities with huge populations, numerous migrants or international ties to establish laboratories to monitor swine flu and seasonal flu, and designate a big hospital in each city where patients would be treated, according to a directive posted on the ministry's website[…] A previously reported suspected case, a 42-year-old Italian female tourist who had travelled to Tibet via Nepal, was confirmed to be suffering from seasonal flu, the ministry said. […]. ^ top ^

Search for travellers as Taiwan gets third case (SCMP)
2009-05-22
Taiwan reported its third case of swine flu last night, in a 23-year-old Taiwanese woman who had just returned from a language course in San Francisco, a Taiwan Centres for Disease Control spokesman said. […] The news came after a 22-year-old Taiwanese female student developed the flu on her way back to Taiwan from New York by way of Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Taiwanese health officials are still trying to trace passengers on the plane on which she travelled. […] The island's first confirmed case was an Australian doctor, 52, who got past a loophole in flu containment measures at Chek Lap Kok airport. […]. ^ 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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