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
  8.6-12.6.09, No. 272  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Group to discuss intellectual property rights (SCMP)
2009-06-08
China and Japan have agreed to set up for the first time a working group to consider creating a legal framework and enforcing crackdowns on violations of intellectual-property rights, the Japanese Trade Ministry says. A memorandum of understanding was exchanged between Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai in Tokyo yesterday. […] The memorandum stipulates that the working group meet once a year. Mr Nikai asked that it convene its first meeting by the end of the year. Japanese companies have protested against factories in China that produce fake video discs, fashion items, perfumes and electronics. […] Beijing has said it will introduce a compulsory certification system on foreign-made IT products, such as computer security software, next May. Japan, the US and Europe are concerned that the practice will allow Beijing to obtain secret information about products. Mr Nikai said he asked his Chinese counterpart to drop the system, and instead refer to an international certification system. Mr Chen was quoted as telling Mr Nikai that Beijing took note of Japan's high level of interest in the issue. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese, German diplomats hold strategic dialogue (Xinhua)
2009-06-08
Beijing - Senior Chinese and German diplomats held the third round of strategic dialogue here on Monday, pledging to boost ties, the Foreign Ministry said. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Hui and German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Reinhard Silberberg co-chaired the meeting that was designated at the vice-minister level. The two sides exchanged views on promoting ties amid the global financial crisis and other international and regional issues of common concern, it said. ^ top ^

Three-way talks tipped to focus on key issues (China Daily)
2009-06-08
[…] The world's three largest economies - the US, Japan and China - are expected to hold unprecedented trilateral talks next month to find solutions to issues of common interest. The first three-way policy dialogue will be held in Washington in July, Japan's Kyoto News quoted diplomatic sources as saying on the eve of a key economic meeting of top ministers from China and Japan that ended yesterday. China's Foreign Ministry did not respond yesterday to an inquiry about the trilateral meeting. But a source close to the situation told China Daily that the dialogue, which has been raised several times in recent years, is set to be held next month. Kyodo News portrayed the new dialogue framework as a "pivotal multilateral forum" in East Asia for the future. […] The agenda will include the overall Asian situation and global issues such as climate change and energy, said the report. […]. ^ top ^

China No 2 military spender, group says (SCMP)
2009-06-09
China has become the world's second-biggest military spender behind the United States, a Swedish peace research group says. Global arms spending rose 4 per cent last year, but China increased its spending by 10 per cent to an estimated US$84.9 billion in the same period, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said yesterday in its annual report on arms transfers. "China is continuing to acquire both domestic and foreign arms as it seeks to equip its armed forces for conditions of modern `informationalised' warfare," it said. Such warfare involves the use of precision weapons and hi-tech information and communications technology. […] "They are the second-biggest military spender now. That does not mean they are the second-strongest military power, because a lot of other countries have been at this game for a lot longer," Mr Perlo-Freeman [researcher for the peace institute] said. "While they are certainly seeking to increase their regional and global influence... there is very little evidence of any hostile intent in terms of the region." […]. ^ top ^

China, Pakistan vow to enhance anti-terrorism co-op (Xinhua)
2009-06-10
Beijing - China and Pakistan on Tuesday pledged to enhance cooperation on law enforcement and anti-terrorism. "We hope to work with Pakistan to fight the crimes concerning the citizens of the two countries to ensure safety of the Chinese people in Pakistan," said Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. During a meeting with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Zhou said China respected and supported Pakistan's measures to safeguard stability, boost the economy, and fight religious extremism and terrorism. […] Zhou added the Chinese government would encourage its enterprises to do business in Pakistan while better running on-going projects there. […]. ^ top ^

Sinopec prepares Geneva-based acquisition (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
Beijing - Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, is in preliminary talks with the Geneva-based oil and gas producer Addax Petroleum for a 8 billion U.S. dollars bid, China daily reported Thursday. Sinopec spokesman declined to comment on the deal yesterday, but told the news paper that the company is conducting talk with "several overseas companies for possible deals". […] "The timing is good for domestic oil companies to make overseas deals as they can buy assets for cheaper prices. Compared with 147U.S. dollars per carrel last July, crude prices have fallen by over 50 percent," the newspaper quoted Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, as saying. ^ top ^

China rejects India's allegation of border crossing incidents (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
Beijing - China on Thursday rejected India's allegation that there were increasing border-crossing incidents by Chinese military forces. "We cannot accept such an allegation and expect relevant Indian figures and media be responsible and do something good for bilateral ties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press briefing. […] China will, through negotiations, strike for a fair and reasonable solution with India, Qin said. He added that both sides must strive to implement the consensus reached by their leaders, and jointly preserve stability and peace in the border region. Indian media reported earlier this week that India would add troops and build infrastructure, including airports, along the border with China. ^ top ^

Drug exports labelled as Indian-made spark inquiry (SCMP)
2009-06-12
Mainland authorities are investigating drugs companies allegedly exporting inferior drugs to Nigeria and labelling them "Made in India". The investigation follows reports in Indian media that protests had been lodged last week with the ministries of foreign affairs and commerce in Beijing, and the Chinese embassy in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. […] The Times of India reported that a protest was lodged after Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) issued a press release alleging that a huge consignment of fake anti- malarial generic drugs labelled "Made in India" had been found to have been produced in China. […] A senior Indian Commerce Ministry official said: "We had received several complaints about Chinese firms offloading spurious drugs as Indian products in various African countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast and other West African nations besides Nigeria - where India has a substantial market share in the pharmaceutical sector. […]. ^ top ^

China urges US to send Uygurs home as four head to Bermuda (SCMP)
2009-06-12
China has urged the United States to repatriate a group of Uygurs held at Guantanamo Bay as the US Department of Justice announced four Uygur men were sent to Bermuda yesterday. The small Pacific nation of Palau on Wednesday agreed to temporarily resettle up to 17 remaining Uygur detainees, but the move of the four to Bermuda leaves only 13. "China urges the US to implement the UN Security Council's relevant resolutions and its international obligations on counter-terrorism," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. The US should "stop handing over terrorist suspects to any third country so as to [repatriate] them to China at an early date," he said. Mr Qin warned countries against taking the detainees, all from China's Muslim Uygur community. "China also opposes any third country taking these terrorist suspects," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Afghan minister urges border link (SCMP)
2009-06-12
China and Afghanistan have agreed to consider opening the border between the two countries, Afghanistan's foreign minister said yesterday, urging greater Chinese investment and support for his nation. Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, who has been visiting China this week, said the two sides had agreed to feasibility studies soon on opening the 76km border, which lies in remote mountains. But Beijing remained evasive on the issue. When asked about the minister's suggestion, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said only that China would adopt "an earnest and active attitude on co-operating with Afghanistan on transport, trade and economy". […] Mr Qin said yesterday that Beijing was willing to increase its co-operation with Afghanistan on trade, economy and security issues. "We will continue to provide our support and assistance to peaceful reconstruction within our capabilities," he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Human error is main cause of tragedy, villagers say - Chongqing officials, TV station told off by victims' families (SCMP)
2009-06-08
The massive landslide in Chongqing that may end up claiming dozens of lives was the result of human mistakes, rather than natural factors, relatives of the victims told the municipality's top officials. Chen Ming, 25, lost his father, Chen Xianfu, 61, and mother, Tian Shimei, 51, in the collapse of an iron mine in Wulong county on Friday. Sixty-five people were believed missing. Mr Chen said the mine, about 140km southeast of the city, had been owned by the state for decades. […] In 2000, the mine was closed after being labelled dangerous by an official geological survey team. But not for long. "The mine abruptly resumed its operation under Su Xianyong, a private boss, three years afterwards," Mr Chen said, adding that the reopening gave rise to speculation about links between Mr Su and a senior county official. Mr Su was detained by police in Chongqing after the landslide, mainland media reported. "A geological accident had rarely been seen in my village until 2004, a year after the restart of the mine exploitation," Mr Chen said. […] He said almost all of his fellow villagers had condemned Chongqing Television for calling the deadly landslide a natural disaster. "All they've said is untrue. Instead of a natural disaster, human error is the only thing to blame for the tragedy.". ^ top ^

Woman who killed cadre demanding sex charged with assault (SCMP)
2009-06-08
The hotel worker who killed a cadre who demanded sex in Hubei has been charged with assault instead of murder, mainland media have reported. […] Last week police said Deng Yujiao had acted in self-defence, albeit with "excessive force". County prosecutors charged Deng with assault on Friday, according to an indictment sent to the two Hubei lawyers who represent her, China News Service reported. Beijing-based human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said public pressure had contributed to the change. "An assault charge denies that Deng had a motivation to kill someone; instead, the defendant wanted only to affect a person's health," Mr Pu said. "This is closer to the facts." He added that Deng would not be given the death penalty or a life sentence because the case was being handled by a county-level court. The case escalated into a social issue because Deng was dubbed a heroine struggling against the authorities and their unbridled rights. […]. ^ top ^

Censorship fears after edict over porn filter (SCMP)
2009-06-09
An aggressive move against online pornography that will force computer makers to pre-install a parental-control program has raised concerns about a fresh attempt by the mainland to increase internet censorship. But the new rule was welcomed by mainland parents concerned about their children easily accessing pornography. All computer manufactures, distributors and retailers on the mainland - domestic and foreign - must install the program into the operating system of personal computers before selling them, according to a regulation released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on May 19. The program, called "Green Dam - Youth Escort", is a software bundle which cost the government more than 40 million yuan (HK$45.3 million) to buy from two domestic software companies for just one year of public use. The program does not rely on a given list of blocked websites. Powered by two sophisticated artificial-intelligence engines - one to filter explicit images and the other inappropriate language - the program can act unilaterally to decide whether to filter a webpage. […] But if the page contains anything that attacks the government or the Communist Party explicitly, it would be blocked promptly. If users decide they do not want the program, it can be uninstalled. The ministry launched training courses for PC vendors last month. ^ top ^

Senior Party official: Poor people need better legal aid services (Xinhua)
2009-06-10
Beijing - Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, has called for providing the poor with better legal aid services and helping protect their legal rights and interests. […] At the meeting, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced that the country will set up more legal aid centers in collaboration with government and non-government organizations, so as to help the poor to resolve their problems, timely and in a more rational manner. The new measure, together with the other nine, constitutes a package of rules MOJ launched this month to make the legal aid services more affordable and offer more convenience. Other measures are varied from letting more people enjoy more kinds of free legal services, to standardize legal aid office shop fronts for easy recognition, publicizing the legal assistance hotline, simplifying the service procedure, and accepting social supervision. […]. ^ top ^

Courts told to create warning system to help prevent protests (SCMP)
2009-06-10
The mainland's top judicial body has ordered courts to help local governments maintain social stability by creating an early warning system for cases that could lead to protests. Legal experts condemned the move, saying it hindered the judiciary's independence and impartiality. Xinhua reported yesterday that the Supreme People's Court had on Sunday made public a guideline saying: "The courts will focus on dealing with a sharp increase in mass incidents, especially in the mediation of demonstrations." The highest judicial body ordered courts to work closely with local governments and provide preliminary reports to relevant departments in case any trends in petitioning are spotted, the guideline said. "Cases involving the underprivileged have surged amid the global financial crisis," said Yu Lingyu, director general of the court's enforcement bureau. […] In cases involving large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and listed companies, courts should communicate with state assets management and supervision departments, to establish solutions that "avoid coercive measures leading to bankruptcy and social instability". […] Zhang Sizhi, one of the mainland's most eminent lawyers, said the new measure could jeopardise the legal system. […] "If this mechanism is set up, the party and the government will dominate everything," said Mr Zhang. ^ top ^

Anti-terrorism forces train in lead-up to 60th anniversary of People's Republic (SCMP)
2009-06-10
Anti-terrorism forces have begun a series of drills in provinces near Beijing in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1. The drills, labelled "Great Wall 6", started in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, yesterday with the scenario of terrorists preparing to detonate a nuclear "dirty" bomb, Xinhua reported. […] In the scenario, a group of terrorists chased by police detonated a dirty bomb in a room. The autonomous region's government mobilised police environmental experts and medical personnel to clear the area and contain the spread of radiation, Xinhua said without further explanation. Drill officials said the nuclear-bomb attack was designed to test the anti-terrorist forces' ability to intercept terrorists' information, and the speed and efficiency in dealing with the aftermath. Drills covering various terrorism scenarios were to be held in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, and Zhuozhou, Hebei province, until the middle of the month, Xinhua reported. […]. ^ top ^

Great responsibility (SCMP)
2009-06-10
This year, for the first time since 1989, the official Chinese media actually used the terms "June 4" and "Tiananmen incident" - but only in English-language publications such as the Global Times and the China Daily. Those words are still banned in the Chinese-language media. By enforcing silence on its people, the Chinese government evidently hopes that the older generation will gradually forget about the massacre, while younger people will never find out. But this attempt to cover up an atrocity will not work. ^ top ^

Sichuan short on finances for reconstruction (China Daily)
2009-06-10
The reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged Sichuan province is likely to cost 700 billion yuan (US$102 billion) more than is available through government investment and credit financing, the provincial government said yesterday. The rebuilding of the province will cost around 1.7 billion yuan in the coming three years, said Cai Jing, deputy secretary-general of the Sichuan provincial government. Government investment will total 300 billion yuan and credit financing will account for about 600 billion yuan but much more money will be needed, Cai said at the 5th Pan-Pearl River Delta (Pan-PRD) Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, which opened in the southwestern city of Naning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, yesterday. […] "The rest (of the money needed for rebuilding) will mainly come from business investment from companies. That's why we are here, to promote rebuilding projects," Cai said. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese gov't promises more investment in ethnic minority culture (Xinhua)
2009-06-10
Beijing - The State Council, China's Cabinet, Wednesday promised to invest more in protecting and developing the culture of the country's 55 minority ethnic groups. A general guideline to develop the cultural sector of ethnic minorities was passed at a State Council executive meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. According to the guideline, the government will spend more money in improving cultural infrastructure, developing publications, television and radio, sponsoring museums and art troupes as well as funding more cultural activities in regions inhabited ethnic minorities. The government will work harder to protect the cultural heritage of ethnic minorities and sponsor innovations of their artists, the document said. It will also encourage cultural exchanges among ethnic groups and with foreign countries and reform the administrative system on cultural sector in ethnic minority regions, it said. […]. ^ top ^

China launches new round of crackdown on "small coffers" (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
Beijing - China's Central Authorities have launched a new round of campaign to crack down on "small coffers" illegally held in the hands of Party and government organizations at different levels. […] The document, known as "Directions on Deepening the Crackdown of Small Exchequers", criticized the illegal phenomenon, emphasizing that in some areas and departments it has occurred frequently or even seriously. "The masses have responded to it strongly," it says. It calls these "small coffers" a "cancer" and says they must be eliminated. The illegal phenomenon has resulted in inaccuracy in accounting, disturbance in market order, losses in state income and property and corruption, according to the circular. […] The Central Authorities have set up a special leading group with members from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Supervision, the Ministry of Finance, and the State Auditing Administration. […]. ^ top ^

Expansion of power firms banned after dam violations - Companies punished for environmental damage to river (SCMP)
2009-06-12
Environmental authorities issued a ban on the expansion of the mainland's two biggest power companies yesterday, vowing that the environment would not be sacrificed for economic growth, even during a global economic crisis. Also banned is the construction of hydropower stations in the middle reaches of the Jinsha (Yangtze) River in Yunnan province and steel factories in Shandong. The announcement yesterday on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection said it would no longer process applications for environmental evaluations submitted by China Huaneng Group, the country's biggest power producer, and China Huadian Group, also a major power generator - except those contributing to new forms of energy generation or environmental protection. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing headed for 'garbage crisis' (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
In another "four to five years" all of Beijing's 13 landfill plants will be full, leading to a "garbage crisis", the city's municipal administration commission warned yesterday. "We are working on laws and penalties to cut down garbage production in the capital and have sped up construction of new sanitary landfill sites," said Guo Weidong, the publicity division head of the commission. Beijing currently generates 18,000 tons of trash every day and the designed capacity of all garbage disposal plants is 11,000 tons, Guo said, adding all the plants were already overloaded. The volume of the city's trash is growing by 8 percent annually and the total amount of garbage produced will reach nearly 12 million tons by 2015, figures show. So far, two of the 13 plants have already met their maximum capacity and will soon stop operations. Nie Yongfeng, a professor from Tsinghua University's College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering said developed countries deal with the problem by "waste incineration", which is the only solution to the problem, but seldom used in Beijing for fear of the pollution it generates. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai's Gay Pride Week kicks off with one foot firmly in the closet (SCMP)
2009-06-08
The mainland's first Gay Pride Week has kicked off in Shanghai, but without the customary street celebrations as organisers sought to maintain a low profile and steer clear of official approval. Instead, gays and lesbians in Shanghai will hold film screenings, workshops, art exhibitions and charity events, while an all-day party is scheduled for Saturday, American organiser Tiffany Lemay said. "We have consulted a lawyer to determine how safe this is, and he suggested that we not apply for approval or consult with the government," Ms Lemay said. "All of our events will be open to the public, but they will be held at private venues. So there will be no events in public spaces or in parks." The event is largely being organised by expatriates in co-ordination with the domestic Rainbow League, which boasts about 2,000 members, Ms Lemay, 32, said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen reeling after mayor's fall from grace - Power struggle feared amid economic woe (SCMP)
2009-06-09
The fall of Shenzhen's mayor, Xu Zongheng, and the anticipated departure of its Communist Party secretary, Liu Yupu, have left the city reeling at a time when the special economic zone is beleaguered by the worst economic conditions since its founding. Xinhua confirmed yesterday that Mr Xu, who had been mayor since 2005, was being detained for corruption. Various government sources also said Mr Liu was to be transferred out of the city soon because of his age. On top of this, at least three other senior Shenzhen officials were said to be implicated in the scandal and were being questioned. […] Mr Xu, the first incumbent Shenzhen mayor detained for corruption, was also the first locally promoted mayor. […] The source said many Shenzhen officials believed that Mr Xu might be a casualty in a power struggle, as different forces were jostling for position on the expectation that Mr Liu would step down soon because of his age. […] The uncertainty in Shenzhen has also raised doubts over the city's integration with Hong Kong. Even though Beijing has openly endorsed the plan for the two cities to strengthen their ties, people are worried the political chaos in Shenzhen will slow down the process, as its leaders will be preoccupied with internal politics. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Ex-minister set to win Macau's top job after key rival quits (SCMP)
2009-06-12
Supporters of Fernando Chui Sai-on can break out the champagne today as the former culture minister is set to win Macau's chief executive race after his major rival called it quits. Chief prosecutor Ho Chio-meng, widely seen as Dr Chui's only possible threat in the poll, has decided against running for the top job. A spokeswoman for Dr Ho's office yesterday confirmed that the chief prosecutor would remain in his job and not run in the election. Under Macau law, a principal official cannot run for chief executive unless he or she resigns before the nomination period, which, for the July 26 election, begins today and lasts until June 23. […] Dr Chui comes from one of the city's few ruling clans. His late uncle, Chui Tak-kei, was a staunch supporter of the Communist Party when Macau was under Portuguese rule. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan leader Ma announces plan to run for KMT chairman (Xinhua)
2009-06-10
Taipei - Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou announced Wednesday afternoon that he would run for chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party in Taiwan. […] Ma said he was running not to gain more power, but to better fulfill his responsibilities. He said the financial crisis has sent Taiwan into an economic recession, and under concerted efforts, the economy has improved although not yet fully recovered. At such a moment, he must "take full responsibility" to save the island's economy, Ma said. He also called for support from party members and promised to promote the party's reform and solidarity. KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung said he would not run for KMT chairman after he learned of Ma's intention to run. […]. ^ top ^

CCTV anchor suspected of spying for Taiwan (China Daily)
2009-06-12
A veteran anchor with China Central Television (CCTV) is under suspicion of spying, sources revealed Thursday. Fang Jing, the 38-year-old face of CCTV's prime-time military program Defense Watch, is being investigated for possibly spying for Taiwan, colleagues told China Daily. The security authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the reports. […] Her last on-air appearance was on the Sunday edition on March 1 when she hosted an episode about India's military strength featuring Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the National Defense University. Fang's segments often touch upon regional military topics and she compares China's military capacity with foreign powers, often with the help of specialists from the People's Liberation Army. […] "She has not been jailed as is being rumored," Zhang said. "But she is not hosting the program anymore, because she is currently being investigated." […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Honor for Dalai Lama 'political stunt' (China Daily)
2009-06-09
Socialist Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe engaged in "a full political stunt" when he met the Dalai Lama and bestowed upon him honorary citizenship of the French capital, Chinese experts said. On Sunday afternoon, Delanoe hosted the Dalai Lama at a ceremony in Paris, despite objections from China. […] However, French President Nicolas Sarkozy distanced himself from the meeting, describing it as "a municipal matter", not "an act of state", according to BBC. Wu Baiyi, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said the complexity of politics in France resulted in inconsistent behavior between politicians in the national government and those in the capital city. […] The Foreign Ministry yesterday condemned Paris city government's move. "The behavior ... can only create serious damage to cooperation between Paris and relevant cities in China and has created grave interference in relations between China and France," it said in a statement. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China relaxes control on forex use to help domestic firms invest overseas (Xinhua)
2009-06-10
Beijing - China is loosening its grip on the use of foreign exchange to encourage domestic firms to make overseas investment, as the country sought to diversify the use of its huge forex reserves. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), the country's forex regulator, said Tuesday in an online notice that it would allow all kinds of firms in China to invest their forex earnings in overseas branches. […] The SAFE said in the same notice that it would allow firms to use self-owned forex and forex purchased with the yuan, expanding the source of forex that firms could use to invest in their overseas subsidiaries. […] Firms still need approvals from the SAFE to use forex in overseas investment, but the administration said it would simplify approval and forex remittance procedures to facilitate such practices. […]. ^ top ^

IPO norms favor small investors (China Daily)
2009-06-11
China's securities regulator Wednesday revised the draft rule on its new initial public offering (IPO) mechanism in a bid to improve market fairness and better protect small investors. A single investor will be allowed to have just one stock investment account, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said yesterday. […] "The revision is expected to improve market fairness and protect small investors' interest," a CSRC spokesman said yesterday at a news conference. The CSRC said it was also considering trimming the amount of locked-up shares in an initial offering and increasing the tradable shares on the market. Other changes included increasing the flexibility of the shares issuance mechanism, giving brokers more freedom to terminate the issuance of new shares and allocating the subscription quota among investors. […] The rules take effect from today. CSRC officials, however, did not give a timetable on when the first IPO would commence. But analysts said that the performance of the A-share market in the coming weeks would be an important reference point for the regulator. […]. ^ top ^

China's foreign trade plunges deeper in May on weakening global trade (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
Beijing - China's exports and imports shrank for the seventh month in a row in May as the economic downturn continued to dampen global trade, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said here Thursday. Exports fell 26.4 percent in May from the same period a year ago to 88.758 billion U.S. dollars, compared with a decline of 22.6 percent in April. Imports were down 25.2 percent to 75.37 billion U.S. dollars. […] Zhang Yansheng, director of the Institute of Foreign Trade of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the further decline of exports should still be attributed to shrinking global demand, growing trade protectionism and a grim real economy. […] There was little room for export-support policies such as rebate hikes, and the government should launch more policies to encourage structural change, including tax cuts, improving trade financing and promoting credit insurance for exports, Zhang said. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing costlier than HK, survey finds (China Daily)
2009-06-12
Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong have jumped in a year to be ranked among the world's 30 most expensive cities for tourists and expatriate workers. The Chinese capital surpassed Hong Kong, a city well known for its lavish lifestyle, as it rocketed from 104th to 26th position in the latest cost of living survey by ECA International, a human resources company. […] The survey found that as America and Europe bore the brunt of the recession, strong Asian currencies were pushing up the cost of living for staff assigned to major Asian locations. […] "The strengthening of Asian currencies is the dominant factor contributing to the region being more expensive for visitors than it was 12 months ago," explained Lee Quane, regional director of Asia, ECA International. […] "As a result, people coming from Western countries into Asia will notice a considerable difference in costs compared with 12 months ago," he said. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

New Orleans mayor released from quarantine (SCMP)
2009-06-11
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was released from quarantine in Shanghai yesterday, just as the mainland confirmed that cases of swine flu had passed the 100 mark, with 12 more patients testing positive for the virus. A spokeswoman for the mayor, Ceeon Quiett, said Mr Nagin was on a plane headed for Australia. Mr Nagin, his wife and one of his guards had been quarantined since Sunday over swine flu concerns after a passenger on their flight from New Jersey showed flu-like symptoms. […] There have been at least nine cases of local transmission of swine flu on the mainland, but experts have said it does not represent a serious threat. […]. ^ top ^

China braces for H1N1 pandemic fallout (China Daily)
2009-06-12
[…] Analysts and experts in China said the announcement would have a significant impact on the country's travel, tourism and foreign trade sectors. […] Zeng Guang, top epidemiologist with the Chinese Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said there is no need to panic. The MOH is ready with countermeasures based on the specific epidemic situation, such as the closure of schools when multiple infections are detected, he added. Vivian Tan, spokesperson for the WHO Beijing Office told China Daily last night that China is categorized as a country with sporadic cases and a few small clusters of domestic transmissions. Tan also said the MOH told the WHO Beijing Office last month that the country has enough antiviral medication and is expanding medicine stockpiles. But it is the economy which looks set to bear the brunt of the announcement. Gao Shanwen, analyst at Essence Securities, said the travel, hotel, transport, retail sales and entertainment sectors will see a decline. "And if consumption falls in other countries, it may affect China's exports, which are already severely hit by the financial crisis. But considering historical experience, the flu's overall impact on the economy will be limited," Gao said. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

12 years in N Korean gulag for US reporters (SCMP)
2009-06-09
A North Korean court yesterday sentenced two US journalists to 12 years in a labour camp for illegal entry and an unspecified "grave crime". The United States said it was using "all possible channels" to obtain their release. US President Barack Obama was "deeply concerned" about the sentences handed down to Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the White House said. A five-day trial "confirmed the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing", the official Korean Central News Agency said, without explaining the crime. The Central Court "sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labour". The US State Department, in its latest human rights report, describes prison conditions in North Korea as "harsh and life-threatening". The sentences were tougher than expected, said Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea expert at Korea University. There are fears Pyongyang is using the women as bargaining chips as the United Nations Security Council debates a new resolution to punish the country for its defiant May 25 nuclear test and as North Korea seeks to draw Washington into direct talks. […]. ^ top ^

Nations agree on sanctions against N Korea (SCMP)
2009-06-11
Seven key nations have agreed on tough new UN sanctions against North Korea for defying the UN Security Council and conducting a second nuclear test. Ambassadors from the five permanent Security Council nations - the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France - and the two countries most closely affected by the test, Japan and South Korea, reached agreement on the draft UN resolution after two weeks of closed-door negotiations, diplomats said. Past sanctions have had little effect in dissuading the regime from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. Nevertheless, Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, said the sanctions, if passed by the council, "will bite, and bite in a meaningful way". […] The result reflected compromises to satisfy the objections of China and Russia. Beijing and Moscow had opposed language in earlier drafts requiring countries to inspect North Korean vessels carrying suspicious cargo that might violate a partial UN trade and arms embargo. In the latest version, the Security Council "calls upon" states to inspect such vessels, but does not require it. However, the draft resolution would require countries to deny fuel to any suspicious North Korean vessels. Washington had also been pushing a mandatory expansion of financial sanctions against Pyongyang. South Korea has informed the US of up to 20 North Korean bank accounts in China and Switzerland suspected of being involved in illegal transactions, South Korea's Chosun newspaper reported, citing an unidentified government official. […] Chinese envoy Liu Zhenmin made clear that Beijing, the nearest Pyongyang has to a major ally, was satisfied with the draft resolution. "I hope countries will endorse the text," he said. ^ top ^

China advocates balanced, moderate UN resolution on DPRK nuclear test (Xinhua)
2009-06-11
Beijing - China holds that the resolution to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council must be conducive to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability in Northeast Asia, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday. Concerned parties were negotiating the resolution and China took part in the discussion in a responsible and constructive manner, Qin Gang told a regular press briefing here. […] China's starting point and ultimate goal was the denuclearization of the peninsula and the preservation of peace and stability in Northeast Asia, Qin said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Statement by IMF Staff Mission to Mongolia (Business Council of Mongolia)
2009-06-05
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Steven Barnett, held discussions with the Mongolian authorities during May 29 to June 5, 2009 as part of the first review of the country's Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The SDR 153.3 million (about US$229.2 million) SBA was approved by the Executive Board of the IMF on April 1, 2009 (see Press Release No. 09/110). At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Barnett made the following statement: “During our discussions with the Mongolian authorities, they emphasized their objectives of returning Mongolia to strong, sustainable, and equitable growth accompanied by low inflation. Since the SBA was put in place in April, economic policies have been well calibrated to achieve these goals. Inflation is falling, the currency has moved flexibly and the central bank has built reserves, and conditions are now in place for a gradual easing of monetary conditions. Fiscal policy is on track to achieve the 6 percent of GDP fiscal deficit by end-year but this will still require continued expenditure restraint while safeguarding the fiscal resources needed to protect the poor during this period of economic adjustment. ^ top ^

IMF lends USD430 million on easy terms (www.news.mn)
2009-06-08
Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt has told Parliament that the IMF has given Mongolia a soft loan for USD430 million, of which USD201 million will be in cash to plug the budget deficit. […] The Minister said a program had been developed with IMF help and suggestions that meet the goals set by Parliament, with some different measures included. This stabilization program will be implemented over 18 months. Asked if bank interest rates would be reduced, Bayartsogt said the Government did not have the power to take that decision. ^ top ^

Enkhbayar Signs Decree to Pardon 30 Arrested in Riot (UB Post)
2009-06-09
The incumbent President of Mongolia N.Enkhbayar signed in a decree on June 8 to pardon dozens of underage children, and women who were found guilty by court over the last year's July 1 riot. He met with the representatives and relatives of those at the state prosecutor's office, and told them not to repeat the mistakes ever again. Around 30 teenagers and women were sentenced to prison for up to eight years. On July 1, 2008, a public protest that opposed results of the parliamentary election turned into a violent disturbance, in which five men died and over 700 were arrested during a July 1 midnight mass arrest. Enkhbayar declared a four-day state of emergency in the country. ^ 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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