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
  22.6-25.6.09, No. 274  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Accords with Croatia reflect China's clout on world stage (SCMP)
2009-06-22
President Hu Jintao wrapped up his two-day visit to Croatia and returned to Beijing yesterday with a list of accords reflecting China's rising clout. […] Debt-stricken Croatia, ravaged by the financial crisis, actively sought Chinese investment, the leader of a business forum told Mr Hu on Saturday, on his first state visit to the country. It was also the first visit by a Chinese head of state since the independence of the former Yugoslav republic in 1991. "Croatia needs Chinese investments, and I am sure China will not find a better place in this part of Europe" to invest, Nadan Vidosevic, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, told a gathering of Croatian and Chinese businesspeople. […] The two presidents signed a few bilateral agreements, including ones on further economic and medical co-operation. Mr Mesic also asked Chinese businesspeople to invest in infrastructure projects, including the revamp of Zagreb airport and a key port on the Adriatic Sea. […]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator vows to enhance relations with Afghanistan (Xinhua)
2009-06-22
Beijing - China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, pledged Monday to enhance the comprehensive partnership of cooperation with Afghanistan. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, made the remarks when meeting with Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. "We are ready to work with Afghanistan to jointly combat terrorism and drug-related crimes, and to expand economic and trade cooperation, in a bid to benefit the two peoples," Wu said. […] Wu said China respected Afghanistan's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. China also respected the Afghan people's willingness and choice, and actively supported and took part in the country's economic reconstruction. […] Expressing appreciation for China's aid, Qanooni said Afghanistan would work with China to increase cooperation in the fields of anti-terrorism, anti-drug, economy, trade, and investment. […]. ^ top ^

China backs bigger UN role in global fighting against financial crisis (Xinhua)
2009-06-23
United Nations - China bolsters the United Nations to play a bigger role in addressing the international financial and economic crisis and hopes the upcoming UN conference could help developing countries out of the economic downturn, a senior Chinese diplomat said here Monday. Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said that the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development to be held on June 24 to 26 at the UN headquarters in New York has won broad support from the international society, especially developing countries. […] He said that Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is expected to deliver a speech at the plenary session of the conference and will hold bilateral meetings with top UN officials as well as heads of delegations from other countries. […] "We believe that the conference should pay special attention to the difficulties the crisis has brought to developing countries," Liu said, urging the international society to take substantial measures to help them out of the plight. […]. ^ top ^

U.S., EU file WTO complaints over Chinese raw materials (Xinhua)
2009-06-23
Geneva - The United States and the European Union on Tuesday filed complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over so-called Chinese restrictions on the export of key industrial raw materials. The materials at issue include coke, bauxite, fluorspar, magnesium, silicon metal and zinc, according to the complaints sent to the Geneva-based world body. The United States and the EU claim that China's export restrictions create unfair advantages for Chinese industries and distort world competition, thus violating WTO regulations. According to the WTO's dispute settlement procedures, the three sides will have 60 days to try to solve their dispute through consultations. […]. ^ top ^

MOC: China's export policy in line with WTO rules (Xinhua)
2009-06-24
Beijing - China's export policy is in line with the World Trade Organization rules, said an official with the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday. Export restriction on some industrial material aims to protect the environment and the natural resources, he said. ^ top ^

Tension rises with US over spyware (SCMP)
2009-06-24
Controversy over the mainland's new anti-pornography spyware reached a new level yesterday, with Washington and Beijing trading comments. Reuters quoted a US official saying Washington disliked Green Dam-Youth Escort so much that it was pushing Beijing to give it up. […] The US embassy in Beijing released a milder announcement, expressing concern that the software could hurt trade and business. Hitting back, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told the China Daily that there was no going back. Beijing would not back away from next month's deadline for all computers to be sold with the software, the official said. […] Artist Ai Weiwei and some bloggers are urging the mainland's internet community to stay offline on July 1 in protest at the software. The ministry has revealed some important details of the measure, saying the program would not necessarily be pre-installed and instead simply put on a CD. […]. ^ top ^

China, Arab nations agree to establish energy cooperative mechanism (Xinhua)
2009-06-24
Beijing - China and 22 Arab nations agreed to establish a cooperative mechanism on energy resources, according to an outcome document approved by the sixth senior officials' meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum here Wednesday. […] The two sides also agreed that both had the right to use nuclear energy peacefully and that investment in oil and natural gas exploration, refining, transportation and sale should be encouraged. Both sides praised the achievements in building a new type of Sino-Arab partnership, and they pledged to enhance cooperation in investment, trade and environmental protection and to actively strengthen cultural, artistic and educational exchanges. […]. ^ top ^

US and China hail talks on defence, but tensions linger (SCMP)
2009-06-25
China and the United States yesterday praised recent defence talks as a step forward in mutual understanding and agreed to meet again next month to discuss how to avoid a repeat of recent high-seas standoffs. But in an illustration of lingering tensions, Beijing also called on Washington to scrap an arms sale to Taiwan and stay out of waters where recent confrontations between the US and PLA navies took place. […] The two sides agreed to deal specifically with the issue in talks next month, Mrs Flournoy said. "The US, under international law, exercises its freedom of navigation around the world, including the Asia-Pacific." The sides also discussed North Korea's recent nuclear sabre-rattling but neither official mentioned any breakthroughs. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China to recruit 120,000 college graduates to join the army in 2009 (Xinhua)
2009-06-21
Beijing - The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China will recruit more than 120,000 college graduates this year, a military source said here Sunday. According to a website run by the Ministry of Education to help college graduates find jobs, it is the first time the PLA has recruited college graduates on such a large scale, as the army seeks to improve its overall quality by drawing more talent and advancing its science and technology. Graduates recruited by the PLA would receive a one-off compensation payment of up to 24,000 yuan, to cover their college tuition fees and student loans, the source said. […]. ^ top ^

Nearly one fifth of rice fields in China grew high-yield super rice by 2008 (Xinhua)
2009-06-21
Beijing - Nearly one fifth of China's rice fields, or about 5.56 million hectares, were under cultivation with high-yield super rice by 2008, a result of the promotion of super rice from 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture said Sunday. The ministry has approved 69 varieties of new super rice strains, and all have an average output potential of 10.5 tonnes to 12 tonnes per hectare, said Bai Jinming, head of the ministry's science and technology department. The rice output in China averages 7.1 tonnes per hectare, and the world's average is 3.9 tonnes per hectare. […] The ministry said it is making plans (2011-2015) to develop 30new super rice strains by 2015 and to have 10 million hectares of rice fields cultivated with such high-yielding strains. […]. ^ top ^

Building of dams goes on despite halt order (SCMP)
2009-06-22
Construction had continued on two highly controversial hydro dams on the Yangtze River in Yunnan province, despite orders from the mainland's top environmental watchdog for the projects to be abandoned, state television reports. The two dams are being built by power giants China Huaneng Group and China Huadian Group, which together produced a fifth of the mainland's electricity last year. The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued orders on June 11 for work to stop on dams at Huaneng's Longkaikou hydropower plant and Huadian's Ludila plant, which began in January without ministerial approval. […] However, China Central Television's flagship investigative programme Xinwen Zhoukan (News Weekly) reported on Saturday that construction was continuing apace at the sites, days after the order to halt the projects on the Jinsha River, part of the Yantgze. […] Executives from both power companies told the programme they viewed the environmental ministry's approval as little more than a formality, as the projects had already received the green light from all other relevant state departments. The power giants' apparent disregard for the ministry's objections to the projects adds weight to green activists' criticisms that the watchdog remains toothless, despite attempts to strengthen it. […]. ^ top ^

23 children rescued in trafficking blitz (SCMP)
2009-06-22
Police have rescued 23 children in a nationwide crackdown on child trafficking from poor provinces. Wuhan Rail Bureau had also netted 18 suspects in an eight-day campaign targeting trains pulling in from the city of Kunming, the capital of impoverished Yunnan province, Xinhua said. Other children, ranging in age from 100 days to eight years, from the poor coal-mining province of Shanxi had been found in Shandong province on the prosperous coast. They were taken hundreds of kilometres in buses by smuggling rings that used poor migrants to accompany the children. […] A child might be sold for anywhere from 7,000 yuan (HK$7,940) to 40,000 yuan, depending on the age and sex, the Xinhua report said. […]. ^ top ^

Fighting big tobacco (SCMP)
2009-06-22
In a rare challenge to one of the mainland's most powerful institutions, a scholar has proposed the scrapping of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and allowing private companies to compete on an equal basis in this lucrative sector. Zou Fangbin, an economics professor at the Guangdong University of Business Studies, says the monopoly discriminates against smokers and tobacco farmers, gives excessive wages and benefits to STMA officials, and encourages corruption and smuggling. Established in January 1984, the STMA is one of the two biggest cigarette producers in the world, with Altria - the parent company of Philip Morris - in terms of sales revenue. […] One of the best-known anti-tobacco campaigners in the mainland is Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the Ministry of Health. "The issue is not the monopoly but the separation of the government from the tobacco producers, as demanded by the World Health Organisation," she said. […]. ^ top ^

China to expand healthcare assistance among low-income groups (Xinhua)
2009-06-22
Beijing - China will gradually expand healthcare assistance over the next three years, by making services accessible to more needy families in both rural and urban areas, according to a government document issued Monday. Assistance would be expanded to low-income people with serious illnesses and others according to local government standards, said the document issued by the ministries of health, civil affairs, finance, and human resources and social security. The scale and the scope of the aid would vary in different parts of the country in accordance with local economic development, and should be decided by local civil affairs and finance departments, it said. […] The government will allocate 8.1 billion yuan (1.2 billion U.S. dollars), a 60-percent increase year on year, from the central budget and the lottery fund this year to provide healthcare assistance for the needy. ^ top ^

Chinese official suspended for asking "people or Party?" (Xinhua)
2009-06-22
Zhengzhou - […] Lu Jun, 51, an official in central China's Henan Province, has been suspended from his post and is under investigation for asking a question that made "the people" and the Communist Party mutually exclusive, local authorities said Monday. "Will you speak for the Party? Or will you speak for the people?" was the question Lu threw at a reporter. It made him the target of both. "Lu Jun has been suspended for an improper sentence he uttered, which is contrary to the purpose of the Communist Party of China,"or CPC, Yao Daixian, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Zhengzhou city committee, told Xinhua. […] "The interests of the people and the Party are identical, but Lu put them in opposition," said Wu Zhongmin, professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. "Lu represents some Party officials who try to obtain personal gains in the name of the Party," said Wu, adding that all Party officials should be on alert and the relationship between the Party and the people should be like that between the "fish and water." […]. ^ top ^

Law may make government more covert (SCMP)
2009-06-23
Proposed changes to the 20-year-old Protection of State Secrets Law might create an even more secretive government, legal experts warn. Amendments to the law, implemented in May 1989 and put under review since 1996, will face legislative scrutiny for the first time this week when the National People's Congress Standing Committee meets. Meetings are held once every two months. Unlike most draft legislation enacted in recent years, the draft amendments to the Protection of State Secrets Law were not released for public consultation, so most legal experts only saw an earlier version obtained through unofficial means. […] Legal experts who were consulted on the draft amendments said they focused more on how to better carry out protection of secrets. The draft failed to provide the necessary legal support for the Open Government Information Regulations. In the legislative hierarchy, regulations are one level lower than laws. Minzu University law professor Xiong Wenzhao told Phoenix Weekly magazine that the amendments introduced measures required to protect state secrets in electronic documents and audio products, strengthened administrative capability to protect state secrets, and also specified penalties for failing to protect state secrets. […]. ^ top ^

Launch of official complaint hotline proves too hot to handle (SCMP)
2009-06-23
The mainland's top prosecutorial body's first hotline for the public to report violations of party discipline or law proved so popular when launched yesterday that it crashed. The 24-hour hotline, "12309", is so far available in 18 of the 31 provinces and autonomous regions, and a spokesman for the Supreme People's Procuratorate said it would be available everywhere within six months. […] The official promised that all online reports would be replied to and people who submitted their reports could check the progress of the investigation. But the website was unstable yesterday afternoon as it struggled to cope with high numbers of users. The spokesman admitted the website and the hotline were so busy they were suffering from a personnel shortage. He added that some reports online had not been submitted due to technical problems. Aside from reports on official corruption, the spokesman said there had been reports of civil disputes and crime. Others had used the hotline as a consulting service. […]. ^ top ^

Doubts cloud top official's pledge on amount of arable land (SCMP)
2009-06-24
Doubt keeps growing on whether Beijing can keep to its mandated bottom line on the amount of arable land. A top mainland land official insisted yesterday that it could maintain 120 million hectares of arable land and still free up enough land for huge infrastructure projects included in its 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.5 trillion) economic stimulus package. Many agricultural experts, including Yuan Longping, "the father of hybrid rice", and renowned economist Mao Yushi have warned that arable land has long since dropped under the 120 million hectares that the central government says is needed to grow enough crops to feed its 1.3 billion people. […]. ^ top ^

Pension scheme extended to countryside (SCMP)
2009-06-25
The State Council yesterday authorised a pilot scheme to have 10 per cent of rural areas included in a voluntary pension system by year's end. […] Peasants over 16 not signed up for any pension scheme will be able to contribute to the new system, while the central and regional governments will inject some money to help set it up. The fee a peasant will have to pay will be low "according to the economic realities of rural areas", a State Council statement posted on www.gov.cn, the central government's website, said yesterday. […] Without offering details, the statement said the initial goal would be to cover about 10 per cent of rural areas, but did not offer a long-term plan. Zhang Xiaoshan, director of the Rural Development Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the 10-per-cent goal reflected the central government's cautionary approach to solving one of the country's thorniest problems. […]. ^ top ^

Charter 08 signatories rally to support arrested dissident (SCMP)
2009-06-25
Charter 08 signatories vowed solidarity with dissident Liu Xiaobo yesterday, and said they would not stop pushing for freedom and democracy on the mainland because of his arrest. Mr Liu, one of the most vocal advocates of political reform on the mainland, had been arrested on suspicion of inciting subversion, state media and his wife said. He had been detained since December 8, the day before Charter 08 was published. […] Although a Xinhua report did not specify that Mr Liu had been arrested for initiating Charter 08, most signatories believed the document was the cause of it. […]. ^ top ^

Web sex purge hits health information sites (SCMP)
2009-06-25
The Ministry of Health has ordered websites that provide health care information to play down content about sex. Teachers and Aids awareness campaigners fear sex education will be compromised. The move comes amid a growing crackdown on the mainland on "unhealthy" information on the internet. […] Web portals providing health care information should not "play up content related to the psychology and ethics of sex in the name of scientific research, as well as sex treatments and medication", the order reads. It also says access to websites specialising in sex research should be restricted to doctors and professional researchers - but does not say how. […]. ^ top ^

TV stations 'must learn copyright' (SCMP)
2009-06-25
Mainland television networks need to learn from overseas media how to protect their intellectual property, a senior executive of CCTV says. "Overseas media have a very well established copyright-management system, but our television stations are only just starting out in this," Shi Cun, director of the state broadcaster's copyright management office, told a forum in Shanghai yesterday. […] He was addressing a forum on copyright issues hosted by the Shanghai Media Group to mark the opening of its copyright management centre. Mr Shi praised western media giants for using DVD sales, the internet and other platforms to maximise the exposure of their content. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

US embassy uses Twitter to post own Beijing air readings (SCMP)
2009-06-25
The dispute over the capital's notorious air pollution problems has been revived as the US embassy began to publish its own air quality data. The data, which is updated hourly at twitter.com/BeijingAir, has raised eyebrows among expatriates and locals because it presents quite a different picture of the city's much-touted progress in curbing pollution. The local environmental watchdog said yesterday's air quality was "moderate", with the air pollution index, measuring pollutants of 10 microns or more (PM10) from noon to noon, standing at 69. But the US embassy data, which measures fine particles with a median diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), showed Beijing's air yesterday was "unhealthy", especially to those with lung or heart disease. Its daily average reading of PM 2.5 was at 184, based on American government standards. On June 18, US data said air pollution readings in Beijing hit a maximum 500 for several hours, considered "hazardous", but mainland government figures showed it was only slightly polluted. […] Although most industrial countries and the World Health Organisation believe PM2.5 is a more accurate standard, the mainland has yet to include it in its measurement system. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai migrants denounce complex residency scheme (SCMP)
2009-06-23
Migrants to Shanghai hoping to qualify for a pilot scheme offering permanent residency have complained that the rules are opaque and criteria too difficult to meet, the city's official media reported yesterday. […] The municipal government's aim is to move away from a quota-based system to an "open, fair and transparent" one founded on entitlement - but even official media admit it has run into teething troubles already. […] The rules mean applicants need to provide a confusing list of documentary evidence to support their claim - reports from authorities in their place of birth, local police in Shanghai, tax records and even approval from their "work units". […] According to the apparently officially sanctioned Xinmin report, this means applicants have to return to their hometowns to battle with bureaucracy at both county and neighbourhood levels, then "sprint east and west" to deal with various Shanghai government departments. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Pet owners growl at new 'one-dog policy' (SCMP)
2009-06-24
Dog owners in Guangzhou have a week to conform with the city's unpopular "one-dog policy", and many are simply hoping the local government's bark proves worse than its bite. The rule was introduced "to protect safety and maintain social order", but pet lovers say it will lead to a massacre of dogs and many owners said they would simply ignore it. […] Owners must register their animals with the police before the rule comes into place next Wednesday. Households caught with more than one dog have to send extras to police-run shelters. Strays will also be rounded up and sent to these shelters. Dogs in these police shelters that fail to attract a new owner within three months will be killed. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

4 residents apply for Macao's top job candidacy (Xinhua)
2009-06-24
Four Macao residents, including a former high-ranking official of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), submitted their candidacy and application forms to the SAR's election authorities on Tuesday. The four applicants aimed to acquire their legitimate candidacy in the upcoming chief executive (CE) election as Tuesday was the last day for the election's nomination process. The SAR's former secretary for social affairs and culture Chui Sai On, who submitted his nomination form on June 16, has overwhelmingly acquired 286 nominations from the 300-member SAR chief executive (CE) election panel. […] Given the rest of the committee members do not meet the basic nomination number required by the law, and the members are not allowed to repeat their nomination, Chui will become the only CE candidate. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

DPP leader to press for Chen's release as party rift widens (SCMP)
2009-06-23
Taiwan's opposition leader, Tsai Ing-wen, plans to launch a campaign for the release of Chen Shui-bian, held since December on corruption charges, reversing her current stance of distancing herself from the island's disgraced former president. Analysts say the move reflects a widening rift and power struggles within the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, which was defeated by the mainland-friendly Kuomintang in the presidential election last year. […] DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan said yesterday that Dr Tsai would launch an island-wide campaign seeking the release of Chen. […] Pro-independence activists have heavily criticised Dr Tsai in the past six months for what they perceive as a lack of action to help Chen. They predicted that the party would suffer another setback in magistrate elections at the end of the year if working class members who support Chen backed off from the DPP. […]. ^ top ^

US unveils plans for de facto Taipei embassy (SCMP)
2009-06-23
The United States yesterday announced the site dedication of its new de facto embassy, in what officials said would be a milestone in ties between Taipei and Washington. The compound on the outskirts of Taipei would include quarters for security personnel, the American Institute in Taiwan said. […] The design has prompted speculation that for the first time in more than 30 years, the US would send marines to the island to guard the facilities. The institute declined to comment on the speculation. "If that turns out to be true, it would mark a further improvement in bilateral ties," Taiwan's former de facto envoy to Washington Joseph Wu Jau-shieh said, adding that the United States had already relaxed restrictions on visits to Taiwan by military officers. […]. ^ top ^

Ma to make his first US appearance as president (SCMP)
2009-06-24
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will make his first public appearance in the US since he became the island's leader last year. […] Beijing yesterday cried foul over Mr Ma's planned public appearances in Hawaii and meeting with the US state's governor, Linda Lingle. "Under the internationally recognised 'one China' principle', we strongly oppose any dignitaries of other countries having official contacts with Taiwan," Foreign Ministry's spokesman Qin Gang said. Mr Ma was to start a trip on Monday to three Central American allies, during which he would stop briefly in San Francisco on his way to Panama and make a 24-hour transit stay in Hawaii on his way back to Taiwan. Taiwan's foreign ministry said while Mr Ma would follow his previous practice of making his stopover in San Francisco private, he would be allowed to make public appearances in Hawaii on July 5 and 6, apparently due to US goodwill. […] Asked if Mr Ma would meet US President Barack Obama during the inauguration of president-elect Ricardo Martinelli in Panama on July 1, Mr Tseng said it was not known who would represent the US at the inauguration. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland welcomes Taiwan opposition to cross-Straits forum (Xinhua)
2009-06-24
Beijing - A mainland official Wednesday said the mainland would welcome politicians of Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to take part in the Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum. The Kuomintang (KMT), the island's ruling party, will send a delegation headed by chairman Wu Poh-hsiung to the forum on July 11 and 12 in Changsha, capital of the central Hunan Province, said Fan Liqing, spokesperson of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a regular press conference. […] The agreement on routine flights, reached at the April meeting of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), will take effect on Friday. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama suggests Tibetans in exile vote for his successor (SCMP)
2009-06-22
The Dalai Lama has encouraged Tibetans in exile to embrace the democratic system of electing a leader, saying it was essential to keep step with the larger world and to ensure their government's continuity. In a video clip shown to hundreds of people in Dharamsala, northern India, late on Saturday, the Dalai Lama, 73, also said it was no longer essential to thrust spiritual and political leadership on one person. "The Dalai Lamas held temporal and spiritual leadership over the last 400 to 500 years. It may have been quite useful. But that period is over," the Nobel Peace laureate said, according to a translated transcript. […] "As election takes place every five years, irrespective of whether the Dalai Lama is there or not, the exiled political system will remain secure, stable and sustainable in the long term," he said in the clip. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese shares vault to new high (China Daily)
2009-06-21
Beijing - Chinese stocks rose to a weekly high on Friday after the securities regulator lifted a nine-month ban on initial public offerings (IPOs), indicating investors' strengthened confidence in the market based on ample liquidity and clearer signs of economic recovery. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China's bourses, rose 26.59, or 0.9 percent, to 2,880.49 at close, its highest close since July 28, 2008. […] "We expected the new IPOs to be the biggest bad news for the capital market this year," said James Yuan, chief investment officer of Everbright Pramerica Fund Management Co Ltd. "But now it is not as daunting, thanks to the improved economy, more liquidity and new listing rules." Guilin Sanjin Pharmaceutical Co, a medium-sized drug firm, on Thursday night received regulatory approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to seek a stock exchange listing, marking the resumption of IPOs since September last year. […] "The loose monetary policy, coupled with the huge advance of the Shanghai Composite Index, has bolstered confidence that the stock market can withstand the added supply of stock," said Dong. […]. ^ top ^

China cuts, ends export tariffs on grain and other products to boost exports (Xinhua)
2009-06-22
Beijing - China will abolish export duties on some grains and industrial products and cut the duties for chemical fertilizers and nonferrous metals from July 1 to promote exports, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement Monday. The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council will eliminate the export tariffs for wheat, rice, soybeans, vitriol and steel wire. Grains are now subject to a 3-percent export levy. Special export tariffs of 50 percent on chemical fertilizer and fertilizer raw materials including yellow phosphorus, phosphate rock and phosphoric acid are expected to be canceled. […] The move follows several increases in export tax rebates to support overseas sales amid the global downturn. Since last August, China has increased export tax rebates seven times. Exports fell 26.4 percent in May from a year earlier to 88.758 billion U.S. dollars, following a decline of 22.6 percent in April. […]. ^ top ^

Airbus to deliver first China-assembled A320 jet (Xinhua)
2009-06-23
Tianjin - June 23 (Xinhua) -- Airbus will deliver the first China-assembled A320 jet on Tuesday in north China's port city of Tianjin where the manufacturer's only plant outside Europe is located. The plane, which had a successful test flight on May 18, will be delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing and will be operated by Sichuan Airlines. […]. ^ top ^

FDI curbs in real estate may be eased (China Daily)
2009-06-23
The government may relax rules on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) to prevent it from sliding further, sources from the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday. "We have drawn up a plan to relax some restrictions on foreign investment, particularly in the real-estate sector," an official from the Ministry of Commerce, who did not want to be named, confirmed to China Daily. […] The proposal - submitted to the State Council, or the Cabinet - lists 42 rules covering taxation, foreign exchange and regulatory supervision, and calls for an easier approval process for foreign investment, China Times reported on the weekend. One of the biggest changes is loosening regulation on foreign investment in the property sector. Other suggestions include giving foreign investors access to the high-tech industry and relaxing checks on individual foreign investment.[…] . ^ top ^

Chinese companies launch first IPOs on NYSE in 2009 (SCMP)
2009-06-24
New York - Two Chinese companies made initial public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on June 24, signaling a pickup in the return of foreign IPOs. Chemspec International Ltd., a Shanghai-based maker of specialty chemicals, hopes to raise about 64.8 million U.S. dollars at nine dollars per share in its deal. The ticker symbol for Chemspec is CPC. Chemspec's deal is being underwritten by Credit Suisse and Citi. Meanwhile, Duoyuan Global Water Inc, the Chinese water treatment equipment supplier, priced its initial public offering at 16 dollars per American depositary receipt. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Mainland company says it has developed a swine flu vaccine (SCMP)
2009-06-23
A mainland pharmaceutical company said yesterday it had developed a vaccine for swine flu that could be on the market within months. "We need to conduct 13 tests to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective," Pan Ruowen, the deputy director of Hualan Biological Engineering in Xinxiang , Henan , told broadcaster CCTV. "[Laboratory tests] would take 14 days and the period cannot be shortened because we have to carry out the tests strictly according to standard." The company will conduct laboratory tests next month before spending between 40 and 50 days on clinical tests. […] In a video conference yesterday, State Food and Drug Administration commissioner Shao Mingli told officials to monitor the vaccine market tightly to prevent counterfeit or substandard vaccines. He said manufacturers should develop an evaluation system to monitor the effectiveness of the vaccine. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing upgrades its hygiene regulations (SCMP)
2009-06-25
The Beijing municipal government has upgraded hygiene regulations as the number of swine flu cases on the mainland increases. Enterprises in the capital will be fined up to 200,000 yuan (HK$227,000) for failing to implement proper measures to prevent swine flu, while infected people would be charged with endangering public security if they refuse to co-operate with the government, the Beijing Daily said, citing a notice issued by the municipal government. […] The notice also called on all organisers of international exchange meetings and large-scale gatherings to adopt decontamination measures. […] The Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed 38 new swine flu cases, bringing the mainland's total to 528. None of those infected so far has died. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Suspect ship 'likely headed for Myanmar' (SCMP)
2009-06-22
A North Korean ship that the United States is shadowing is likely headed for Myanmar, South Korean television reported yesterday. […] US officials would not say what the ship might be carrying but said it was "a subject of interest". North Korea has five similar ships used for its weapons trade. Fox News quoted a senior US military source as saying the ship appeared to be heading towards Singapore and that the navy destroyer USS John S. McCain was positioning itself in case it got orders to intercept. Singapore, a US ally, said it would act appropriately if the vessel headed to its port with a cargo of weapons. The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to be monitored under new sanctions, adopted this month in response to Pyongyang's May nuclear test. The UN resolution authorised member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo. ^ top ^

DPRK newspaper accuses U.S. of providing nuclear umbrella to S Korea (Xinhua)
2009-06-22
Pyongyang - Rodong Sinmun, an official daily of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Monday accused the United States of attempting to provoke a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella to South Korea under the pretext of "inexistent threats from the DPRK," shows its "gangster logic" to attempt to dismantle the DPRK's nuclear program while providing South Korea with a nuclear umbrella and attempting to "launch a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK," said a commentary carried by the newspaper. As "a nuclear power," the DPRK will not "allow the United States to stay aloof" if it provoked a war on the Korean Peninsula, the commentary said. It was the first response by the state media of the DPRK to the recent South Korea-U.S. summit. During the summit on June 16 in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama guaranteed his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak a nuclear deterrent against the DPRK's nuclear weapons. ^ top ^

Kim installs son as head of spy agency in bid to cement succession, report says (SCMP)
2009-06-25
The youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has taken control of the secret police and spy agency as the first step towards succeeding his father, a South Korean newspaper says. Mr Kim told key Department of State Security officials to treat 26-year-old Kim Jong-un as their boss when father and son visited the headquarters in Pyongyang around March, the Dong-A newspaper said yesterday, citing sources. "You should treat comrade Kim Jong-un as agency chief. Protect comrade Kim Jong-un with your lives as you did to me in the past," Kim Jong-il was quoted as saying. He then awarded agency officials five imported luxury cars worth US$80,000 each, the paper said. […] The paper said the agency was growing more powerful after taking control of border immigration offices from the military. Border guards were expected to follow suit as early as next month. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Chinese firm to extend oil drilling after initial success (UB Post)
2009-06-22
PetroChina, the largest oil/gas producer and distributor in China, is also leading Chinese company operating in Mongolia in terms of the amount invested. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the sole shareholder of PetroChina, which in turn, set up PetroChina Daqing Tamsag LLC in Mongolia in 2005. Its president Mr. Fang Baocai says the company has made about 300 drillings in Tamsagbulag basin, Dornod province since 2005 and has found oil in 70 of them. Since 20 percent success is considered adequate, “we are extending our operation”, Mr. Fang added. […]. ^ top ^

President's proposed amnesty will go beyond July 1 convicts (www.news.mn)
2009-06-24
President Ts.Elbegdorj has issued his first decrees. The first of these calls for inclusion of lessons on democracy, human rights and freedom in secondary school curricula. The second sets up a working group to recommend reforms in the justice sector, while the third is related to a law on pardon to be applied on the 20th anniversary of the democratic revolution. One of the first acts of the President has been preparing a draft amnesty law. G.Ganzorig, newly appointed Law Advisor to President Elbegdorj, says the proposed amnesty will cover not only those convicted of crimes related to the July 1 incidents but will have a broader reach as it is meant to mark the 20th anniversary of democratic revolution. […] Asked about the President's oft-repeated intentions to carry out judicial reforms, Ganzorig said the ultimate goal is to put in place a system of dispensing justice that will have no place for corruption and bureaucracy. Opinions will be sought from various quarters before the necessary changes and effective innovations are formulated. ^ 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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