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
  6.7-10.7.09, No. 276  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese, Swedish companies sign trade agreements (SCMP)
2009-07-09
Stockholm - Chinese and Swedish companies signed nine contracts and framework agreements during a visit by a Chinese trade and investment promotion mission to Sweden on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 300 representatives from the business communities of both countries attended on Wednesday the China-Sweden Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum with the theme "Enhanced cooperation for mutual benefits and win-win." […] The two framework agreements signed by Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson and China's two main telecom companies -- China Mobile and China Unicom, are valued at 1.7 billion U.S. dollars. This is China's fourth such trade mission to Europe this year. The present mission is composed of more than 200 delegates from more than 110 enterprises in 20 provinces and municipalities. ^ top ^

China calls for concerted efforts among G5 to tackle global challenges (Xinhua)
2009-07-09
L'Aquila, Italy - Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo called on Wednesday here for concerted efforts among five leading developing countries (G5) to tackle various global challenges. On behalf of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Dai addressed the G5 leaders' meeting, expounding China's position on how the G5 unite to address major international issues as well as proposals. Dai, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, exchanged views on various issues like tackling global financial crisis, regulation of global financial system, climate change and non-traditional security threats. […]Dai urged the G5 countries to exert more efforts in the following four aspects: -- To push the international community to respect developing countries' choice of economic development models and ensure them adequate room for development policy; -- To push the reform of international economic, financial and trade system and increase developing countries' voice, representativeness and role in decision-making in this aspect; -- To push the developed countries to implement their promise on increasing assistance, debt redemption, market opening and technology transfer and other consensus reached between the developed countries and the developing countries; -- To push the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and regional development banks to initiate new assistance measures to help the developing countries ensure stability of financial system, boost economic development and enhance their capacity of self-healing. The Chinese state councilor called for more cooperation among the G5 countries to resolve international challenges. […]. ^ top ^

China, Russia to conduct joint anti-terror military exercise (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - Chinese and Russian armed forces will conduct a joint anti-terror military exercise beginning July 22, military sources said on Wednesday. The exercise, code-named "Peace Mission-2009", will be carried out in Russia's Far East area and the Shenyang Military Area Command in northeast China, according to the two countries' defense authorities. It will last five days. Chiefs of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) would hold strategic talks in Russia's Khabarovsk on July 22, said Hu Changming, spokesman with China's Defense Ministry. The two armed forces would send 1,300 personnel from each army and air force to participate in the exercise, the spokesman said. […] The other four member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the SCO's secretariat will send military observers. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese official: World economic crunch will not impact China's aid to Africa (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - The world economic crisis will not impact China's aid to Africa, Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying said Wednesday. Chinese aid projects in Africa are well underway, and China hopes the African continent will benefit from them as early as possible, Fu said at the start of the second Experiencing-Sharing Program on Development Between China and Africa. In the past three years, China has aided 34 African countries in dealing with government debt, provided 102 projects involving loans on favorable terms, and trained 25, 000 professionals for African countries, Fu said. He said China has also imposed zero custom duties on more than 400 kinds of African products in order to boost bilateral trade, which increased45 percent year-on-year to 106.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008. More than 100 participants, including high-ranking government officials from 21 countries in central and west Africa and World Bank Vice President Sanjay Pradhan, are attending the meeting. ^ top ^

China opposes imposing carbon tariffs on imported products (Xinhua)
2009-07-03
Beijing - A proposal for charging carbon tariffs towards imported products will breach the rules of the World Trade Organization and the spirit of Kyoto Protocol, Yao Jian, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), said here Friday. Imposing carbon tariffs on foreign products will allow developed countries to conduct trade protection in the name of protecting the environment, said Yao in a statement posted on the website of the MOC Friday. The concept of "carbon tariffs", initially proposed by former French President Jacques Chirac, has been echoed by the United States, Canada and the European Union. They proposed raising duties from countries that are not cutting greenhouse gases according to the Kyoto Protocol. The MOC said the proposals would seriously hurt the interests of developing countries and trigger disputes in international trade. […]. ^ top ^

China calls for more emerging countries' involvement in WHO decisions (Xinhua)
2009-07-03
Cancun - Mexico, Chinese Health Minister ChenZhu on Friday called on the World Health Organization to involve emerging nations more in order to take better and more transparent decisions. "I suggest that decision making mechanisms need to be improved by inviting experts from emerging market nations to participate in the emergency committee, to improve decision making it and make it more transparent," Zhu told the Lessons Learned and Suggestions session of the first global meeting on the deadly new A/H1N1 flu virus in Cancun, a resort town in Caribbean coast state Quintana Roo. "The international reporting system could be improved beyond encouraging and facilitating member states to strengthen solidarity and cooperation based on mutual respect," he said. […] The WHO should also ask its members to exercise more domestic control, he added. ^ top ^

Int'l business communities call for anti-protectionism (Xinhua)
2009-07-04
Beijing - International business communities released a joint proposal against trade and investment protectionism here Saturday at the Global Think Tank Summit. The proposal, jointly issued by the International Chamber of Commerce in China, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China and Korean Chamber of Commerce in China, called for internationally-united efforts to fight against all kinds of protectionism. […] The proposal called for enhanced cooperation between political leaders of major economies. The world should maintain an open economic system and countries involved in the Doha Round need to complete the talks as soon as possible to boost global trade and economic growth, it said. […] Jiang Yaoping, China's vice commerce minister, also said during the summit that China is strongly against protectionism, especially in international mergers and acquisitions. […]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Leaders break their silence to urge stability (SCMP)
2009-07-10
The top political leadership has broken its silence over the violence in Urumqi, issuing a statement yesterday calling it a "serious violent criminal incident" and saying stability was "the most important and pressing task". "Cadres and the public in Xinjiang must stick to the principle that stability overrides everything," it said. The leaders vowed those behind the riots would be severely punished. The statement followed a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee chaired by President Hu Jintao late on Wednesday, hours after he left the G8 summit in Italy to attend to the crisis. Sunday's riots, which left 156 dead, were the biggest explosion of ethnic tensions in China in decades. […] The leadership meeting concluded that Sunday's riots had been "masterminded and organised by the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism at home and abroad". Its conclusion echoes the line taken by the Xinjiang Communist Party secretary, Wang Lequan, and shows that the central government supports the regional government's handling of the violence. ^ top ^

Turkish minister urges goods boycott (SCMP)
2009-07-10
Turkey's industry and trade minister yesterday called on Turks to stop buying Chinese goods to protest against the ethnic violence in Xinjiang. Nihat Ergun's office said the minister had asked Turks to boycott Chinese-made goods but the government had no plans for an official boycott. "Let's check to see whether the country whose products we are consuming respects humanity," he said. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc accused Chinese militia forces of hunting down minority Muslim Uygurs. Turks have close ethnic and cultural bonds to the Uygurs and Turkey has been vocal in its criticism of China despite growing economic ties. Mr Arinc put the number of Uygurs based in Turkey at 300,000. Meanwhile, Beijing yesterday rejected Turkey's call for the UN Security Council to discuss the deadly unrest. "The Chinese government has taken decisive measures according to the law," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. ^ top ^

Show of force in Urumqi (SCMP)
2009-07-09
Beijing staged a massive show of force in Urumqi yesterday, segregating Han and Uygur populations in the violence-torn city, as President Hu Jintao pulled out of the G8 summit in Italy and hurried home to deal with the crisis. In what the country's paramilitary police chief dubbed "the most crucial day", Beijing poured thousands of troops from military regions across the country into the capital of restive Xinjiang. The move was aimed at restoring people's confidence in public law and order and warding off potential trouble as tensions continued to flare between the feuding ethnic groups. The tactic seemed to work, with a a fragile calm returning to the city three days after the nation's worst ethnic violence in decades left at least 156 people dead and more than 800 injured. […] Scattered scuffles still broke out, however, after an overnight curfew was lifted yesterday morning. As the security clampdown intensified, Urumqi became a segregated city, with a demarcation line set up along its main artery, People's Road. Police armed with guns and shields separated the Han Chinese and Uygur communities to keep violence from erupting again. […] Until last night, none of the nine Politburo Standing Committee members had made any public comment about the riots. […] "Those who brutally killed during the incident, we will sentence to death," he [Minister of Public Security, Meng Jianzhu] said. ^ top ^

People's Daily urges lawful punishment for outlaws in Urumqi (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - The People's Daily, the Communist Party of China's mouthpiece, is to publish an editorial Thursday calling for the lawful punishment of those who commit violent crimes during the riot in northwestern China. […] According to the editorial, the riot in Urumqi was "a serious violent crime and was in extreme violation of China's laws and regulations". "China is a country ruled by law... Whoever violates our laws and regulations, undermines the social order, and encroaches other people's lives and properties, would be subject to due punishment in accordance with the law," it said. Lawful punishment of the outlaws is key to serve justice, maintain social stability, enhance ethnic unity, and protect the safety of people's lives and properties, the editorial read. It urged people to use China's laws and regulations as a weapon to prevent and crack down on violent crimes, and to restore social order as soon as possible. ^ top ^

German police hunt for men attacking Chinese Consulate-general in Munich (People's Daily)
2009-07-08
The Munich police said Tuesday that they are hunting for two men throwing Molotov cocktails at the Chinese Consulate-general in Munich. They will be charged with arson, the police said. According to the Munich police, on early Monday, two unidentified men threw three Molotov cocktails at the Chinese consulate, setting a Chinese national flag on fire. Part of the consulate building was charred. The attack took place shortly after dozens of Xinjiang separatists' supporters held protests near the consulate. No people or groups have claimed responsibility for the attack so far. The police said they are not sure whether there is connection between the attack and Sunday's riot in Urumqi, capital city of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. ^ top ^

People's Daily highlights ethnic unity after NW China unrest (Xinhua)
2009-07-09
Beijing - People should unite with their brothers and sisters of different ethnic groups against hostile forces from home and abroad and the outlaws who staged Sunday's unrest in northwest China, the People's Daily said in an editorial to be published Wednesday. […] According to the editorial, the deaths caused by the unrest and the violent attacks toward innocent civilians were not expected by people of both Han and Uygur ethnic groups. History tells us... ethnic unity leads to fast economic and social development, whereas disunity tumbles the society and obstructs development," the editorial read. Social stability and ethnic unity among all ethnic groups in China were in the best interests of all Chinese, including the 21 million people who live in the Xinjiang region, it said. […] "We should cherish the hard-won ethnic unity and development opportunities," it said. The editorial urged people to answer to the calls of the Communist Party of China and the government, and to restore social order in Urumqi as soon as possible. ^ top ^

Shortage of facts fuels calls for details (SCMP)
2009-07-08
The public clamour for information about the deadly unrest in Urumqi is growing as details remain scarce two days on. Mainland authorities have yet to back up their claim that the violence was fanned by the World Uygur Congress - led by the exiled Rebiya Kadeer - with the evidence they said they had. And though officials in Xinjiang have said 156 people - 129 male and 27 female - were killed during the riot, little else about them has been revealed. Officials have implied that most of those who died were innocent people killed by Uygur rioters, but did not provide figures. However, information gathered by independent media from hospital and witnesses showed the vast majority of the casualties were Han Chinese. […] State TV stations have been showing video clips around the clock of innocent people being beaten by Uygur rioters, but no video has been shown of the peaceful protest that the World Uygur Congress claimed had happened before the riot broke out. […]. ^ top ^

Police arrests 1,434 suspects in connection with Xinjiang riot (Xinhua)
2009-07-07
Urumqi - Police have arrested 1,434 suspects in connection with the riot Sunday evening in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to official sources. Li Yi, head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang regional committee, said early Tuesday morning that the suspects included 1,379 men and 55 women. "The police have started interrogations with the suspects," said Li. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Probe into officer over graft, rape (SCMP)
2009-07-10
A senior police officer in Anhui is under investigation for releasing nearly 10,000 suspects in exchange for bribes. He is also accused of rape and degenerate behaviour. Xinhua reported that Haozhou municipal special police team leader Bai Yuling handled more than 6,000 cases from 1988 to last year involving gambling, prostitution, smuggling and other offences, but few cases were registered and no suspects were formally arrested. "He used his power to accumulate wealth by all means. For those who gave him money, he would certainly serve them," Lou Kunshan, a local anti-graft officer responsible for Bai's case, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Despite the complaints, local authorities only began investigating a year ago. The report did not say why his alleged offending was allowed to continue for so long. Six of Bai's subordinates have been detained. So far, 4.6 million yuan in bribes have been traced, but the total amount is expected to be far higher. ^ top ^

China sets interim goals for ambitious medical health plan (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - China has vowed to expand the basic medical insurance to another 72 million people for 2009 as the first-year goal for the country's ambitious 850-billion-yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars) health care reform plan. The figure was revealed here Wednesday at a conference held by the State Council, or the Cabinet. Also, the country will guarantee basic medical health care service for 6.07 million laid-off workers of state-owned companies as of the end of this year. […] Another goal is to set up a long-term cooperation relationship between more than 900 leading city hospitals and 2,000 county-level hospitals across the country to exchange medical resources. […] The State Council urged the mapping of detailed regulations as soon as possible to ensure the smooth running of the plan. […] During the conference, the State Council also approved drafted implementing regulations of the Food Safety Law, which took effect on June 1. The drafted regulations specify more details on the responsibilities of product companies and local governments in food safety issues. ^ top ^

Death for bribery, embezzlement upheld (SCMP)
2009-07-07
An appeal court in Shandong yesterday upheld the death penalty of a former head of Beijing Capital International Airport who was convicted of bribes and embezzlement totalling more than 100 million yuan (HK$113 million). Li Peiying was originally sentenced to death with immediate effect in February by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, which convicted him of taking 26.61 million yuan in bribes and embezzling another 82.5 million yuan. Although he returned all the embezzled money after he was suspended from duty and placed under investigation in 2007, the Shandong High People's Court rejected his appeal because "the bribes he accepted were particularly large and caused significant economic damage to the country", Xinhua said. […]. ^ top ^

Nation builds its biggest wind farm (SCMP)
2009-07-06
The nation will break ground on its largest wind farm project in about two weeks in Gansu province in the northwest as part of a major push for renewable energy in the coming decades. Dubbed "the Three Gorges Dam on the land", the planned wind power plants in Jiuquan will have an installed capacity by 2020 comparable to the world's biggest hydropower project on the Yangtze River, Xinhua reported yesterday. It said work would start in mid-July. As one of seven onshore wind power bases that Beijing is planning, the Gansu project would usher in a new era for the wind power sector and the government's green energy campaign, analysts said. The 120 billion yuan (HK$136 billion) project had been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, Xinhua said. "It will become another landmark project in the development of the western provinces after the Qinghai -Tibet rail link and oil and gas pipelines linking the western and coastal provinces," Wu Shengxue, deputy head of the Jiuquan Municipal Development and Reform Commission was quoted as saying by Xinhua. The wind farms were also expected to help ease power shortages in northern and eastern areas, including Beijing and Shanghai, he added. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai mayor wants building collapse "thoroughly probed" (China Daily)
2009-07-07
Beijing - Shanghai mayor Han Zheng Monday has called for a thorough investigation into the residential building collapse on June 27 and urged authorities to publicize the findings soon. Calling the collapse a "major accident", Han said all parties responsible should be "punished severely". A 13-story under construction apartment building in Shanghai's Lotus Riverside complex fell to its side, almost intact, on June 27, killing one worker. A preliminary investigation revealed that "pressure imbalance on two sides of the structure" caused the building to collapse. The investigation report did not mention the parties responsible. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

17 held after workers storm Guangdong court (SCMP)
2009-07-08
Seventeen people were arrested after 200 disgruntled workers attempted to storm a court in Foshan, Guangdong, yesterday in a dispute over unpaid wages. The workers, from a bankrupt state-owned machine factory, started gathering outside the court at 8.30am, the Nanfang Daily reported. The group sat outside the gate to the court before clashing with riot police when they tried to enter 90 minutes later. […] The workers were protesting against the valuation of the factory's assets, which they said had been significantly undervalued, affecting the amount of compensation that they would receive. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong launches consultation on anti-money laundering legislation (Xinhua)
2009-07-09
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Thursday launched a three-month public consultation on a proposed framework legislation on anti-money laundering in respect of the financial sectors. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) said the initiative was a direct response to a call from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for Hong Kong to provide statutory backing and appropriate sanctions for customer due diligence and record-keeping requirements for financial institutions, and to put in place an anti-money laundering framework for remittance agents and money changers. […] "The proposal is intended to address the deficiencies identified by the FATF in Hong Kong's anti-money laundering regime in its evaluation completed in 2008 and will help maintain Hong Kong's status as an international financial center," said the FSTB. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Chui Sai On officially confirmed as sole contender for Macao's top job (Xinhua)
2009-07-07
The list of qualified candidates for the chief executive (CE) election of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) was announced by the election panel on Monday, with the SAR's ex-Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Chui Sai On being the only name on the list. […] The election of the SAR's third CE was scheduled to take place on July 26. Before the election date, Chui will launch a series of campaign activities including a meeting with the 300 committee members on July 11, which will see him announce his political platform and answer questions from the members. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Summit to discuss language unification (SCMP)
2009-07-10
Cross-strait unification - in the form of the Chinese language - will be discussed at a summit between Taiwanese and mainland delegates starting in Hunan province tomorrow. A 270-strong Taiwanese delegation, comprising Kuomintang party elites, government officials and business leaders, will leave for the city of Changsha today for the two-day cross-strait summit. In addition to discussing a variety of cultural and educational issues, including movie production and protection of intellectual property rights, delegates are expected to exchange views on how to produce a dictionary that can unify the use of simplified and traditional Chinese characters and terminologies. The unification of words and phrases - denounced as unacceptable by the pro-independence camp in Taiwan as the first step towards cross-strait political union - is the brainchild of Beijing-friendly Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. […] The pro-independence camp, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, has boycotted the summit, insisting that it was a private meeting between the KMT and the Communist Party to advance their own political and business interests. […]. ^ top ^

Taipei credits Beijing's stimulus for boost in mainland-bound exports (SCMP)
2009-07-06
Taiwan has benefited from the mainland's measures to stimulate its economy by offering subsidies to consumers, the island's government said in a report yesterday. Taiwan exported US$4.65 billion worth of goods to the mainland in April, down 33.8 per cent from a year ago, the Board of Foreign Trade said. However, the figure indicated that the sharp decline of the island's exports to its leading trading partner had slowed since January, when Taiwan's mainland-bound shipments fell 56.8 per cent year on year, it said. "This would have been the result of measures launched by the Chinese authorities to boost the domestic market, spurring its electronics and petrochemical imports from Taiwan," the report said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Chinese VP calls for improved livelihood of rural Tibetans (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - Local governments should focus on development and stability in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, in a bid to increase the incomes of farmers and herdsmen and ensure their livelihoods, said Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Wednesday. Hui made the remarks during an inspection tour of the region, saying the governments should take the advantage of local conditions to develop modern farming and livestock husbandry to promote "fast and sound economic development". Hui visited farms, businesses, research institutions and welfare homes, pointing out Tibet should make great efforts to improve housing construction, speed up building of water resources facilities, road, electricity and communications facilities. ^ top ^

 

Economy

IMF says China's economy to grow 7.5% in 2009 (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Washington - The Chinese economy is projected to grow 7.5 percent and 8.5 percent in 2009 and 2010 respectively, both are one percentage point higher than projected in April, according to the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday. […]. ^ top ^

China banking regulator tightens regulation on wealth management investment (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said Wednesday it had issued a new circular banning banks from investing wealth management funds in secondary-market stocks.It prohibited banks from investing wealth management funds in secondary-market securities-backed funds, equities of unlisted companies and shares in listed companies but not allowed to be issued or traded publicly, said the statement on the CBRC website. The circular said banks should not spend clients' wealth management funds on investment in high risks or too complicated financial products. The circular urged banks to protect clients with medium or low incomes while providing rational investment services for high-end clients. It said for those high-end experienced investors who demand for products with high risks, commercial banks could satisfy them through private banking services, which would not be affected by the circular. ^ top ^

Chinese banks active in transacting yuan cross-border settlement (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - Chinese banks have been active in transacting yuan cross-border settlement after the first deal was made Monday. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said Tuesday it had dealt with yuan cross-border settlement totaling 17 million yuan (2.49 million U.S. dollars) in two days. Many banks in Guangdong Province were active in dealing with yuan cross-border settlement. […] "The service is favored by enterprises and will be promising in the future," said Hu Ye, deputy governor of the ICBC Guangdong branch. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese firms start new hires amid economic recovery (Xinhua)
2009-07-08
Beijing - Chinese employment service providers said domestic firms have started a fresh round of hiring, especially for management level position, as part of the efforts to cash in on the economic recovery, but most of these firms are still finding it hard to get the right candidates. Three industries -- real estate, hi-tech and retailing -- are at the forefront of the current round of hiring, according to Wednesday's China Daily. […] However, companies in China are still finding it difficult to get the right candidates for the wanted positions, said a survey by Manpower. According to the survey, 15 percent of the employers are struggling to fill up positions. The top three jobs that they are having difficulties to fill up this year are technicians, management or executives and sales representatives. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

A/H1N1 Patients to Cough up for Their Treatment (Xinhua)
2009-07-07
Patients infected with the A/H1N1 virus will soon stop getting free treatment from the Chinese government. "We are going to charge the patient for treatment because we don't know how long the pandemic will last in China and we want the prevention and control work to be sustainable," said Liang Wannian, deputy director of the emergency response office under the Ministry of Health (MOH), at a press conference. Currently, all confirmed patients are hospitalized for free and everyone suspected of having the virus must be quarantined at designated establishments for seven days, putting a strain on the government's economic and human resources over the long run, Liang said. […] "People will actually be quarantined in their own homes instead of the current designated places," Liang said. "The new measure will be more cost-effective and sustainable." Guangdong Province has been pioneering the use of home treatment, reports said. […] In another development, the Beijing Administration Bureau of traditional Chinese medicine confirmed that the Beijing municipal government has allocated 10 million yuan to support the use of traditional Chinese medicine in treating the A/H1N1 flu. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Jailed US reporter in plea for help (SCMP)
2009-07-10
One of the two US reporters jailed in North Korea has appealed to the US government to help free her, her sister said in an interview broadcast yesterday. Border guards detained American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee on March 17 along the frontier with China while they were researching a story about refugees fleeing North Korea. A court on June 8 sentenced Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, to 12 years of "reform through labour" for illegal border crossing and an unspecified "grave crime." […] Laura Ling "was very specific about the message she was communicating and she said, `look, we violated North Korean law and we need our government to help us. We're sorry about everything that happened but now we need diplomacy," Lisa Ling said. […]. ^ top ^

TV footage shows frail-looking Kim (SCMP)
2009-07-09
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il looked gaunt as he made a rare public appearance as the nation paid solemn respects yesterday to his father, the country's late founder, on the 15th anniversary of his death. Television footage showed North Koreans laying flowers and bowing repeatedly before a huge statue of Kim Il-sung amid sombre music outside the hilltop Mansudae Assembly Hall in the capital. Mr Kim, 67, was shown entering the memorial ceremony in Pyongyang, appearing frail and seemingly walking with a slight limp. ^ top ^

Pyongyang's tests change Japan's defence thinking (SCMP)
2009-07-09
The vapour trails from the missiles fired into the Sea of Japan, or East Sea, by North Korea on Saturday may have evaporated, but the belligerence of one of its nearest neighbours has convinced Tokyo that it needs to bolster its military capabilities. On Monday, there were reports that Japan was planning to construct a new missile defence system designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles. There were also indications that Japan was stepping up its interest in state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor fighters. Before the end of the year, Japan hopes to finalise its latest defence guidelines, which will include proposals such as boosting the country's ability to monitor North Korea's military from space, and strike targets perceived as an imminent threat. The concern is that when Japan explicitly announces its intentions, it could trigger a reaction from one or more of its neighbours. Analysts say the already volatile region could become embroiled in an arms race. […] And while Tokyo has been reassured that the defence relationship with Washington remains solid, there is a clear sense of concern that US President Barack Obama attaches more importance to improving ties with China. […] But arguably the biggest changes will be made, says Professor Akutsu, with a draft of the new defence-policy guidelines indicating that the number of troops in the Ground Self-Defence Forces should be raised by 5,000 to 160,000 and that there is the need to "secure options responsive to changing situations" in international security. As well as deploying spy satellites, this phrase indicates Japan believes it needs a first-strike option, which in the past has been interpreted to be counter to a constitution that only permits self-defence. ^ top ^

N Korea's latest missile tests showed improved firepower, South says (SCMP)
2009-07-06
The ballistic missiles that North Korea test-fired this weekend were likely capable of striking key government and military facilities in South Korea, a defence official said yesterday, amid growing concerns over Pyongyang's firepower. North Korean state media did not mention the launches but boasted that the country's military could impose "merciless punishment" on those who provoke it. China urged calm yesterday after Pyongyang test-fired seven missiles off its east coast in a show of force that defied UN resolutions and was apparently timed for the US Independence Day holiday. […] The missiles travelled about 400 kilometres, meaning they could have reached almost any point in South Korea, an official at Seoul's Defence Ministry said. The official said exact details of the launches were still under investigation. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Canadian investors observe Mongolia (Montsame)
2009-07-08
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj hosted a meeting Wednesday with president of the North American and Mongolian Business Council Steve Sounders. "North American and Canadian investors are attentively observing and waiting for an issue of Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement. We hope the agreement will be passed under mutual agreement. This agreement is the largest one to bring huge amount of investment and international cooperation," Sounders said. The President Elbegdorj said NAMBC is making a considerable contribution to boosting co-operation between Mongolia and North America in mineral resources and mining spheres. ^ top ^

Prisoners May Freed Under Amnesty Law (UB Post)
2009-07-07
Around 2,400 prisoners would be freed under proposed amnesty law, according to the government's official. After his inauguration, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj initiated the draft law on showing amnesty to first-time criminal offenders aged younger than 18, women who has an under-aged child, or pregnant women, physically lost more than 70 percent of labor capacity, men aged above 60, and women aged above 55. The Parliament discussed the law in a closed-door session on Thursday, and is likely to approve it within this month. “Personally I do not trust that preliminary estimated figure that 1,000 would be covered by the law. In 2006, same law freed around 2,400 people from prison,” said Ts.Nyamdorj, Minister of Justice and Home Affairs. […] The amnesty law is believed to be approved for the release of over 200 people sentenced over the last year's July 1 riot, during which five people died and hundred were arrested. ^ top ^

Activists on hunger strike (www.news.mn)
2009-07-06
Activists of the Mongolian Rivers and Lakes Movement are on hunger strike to protest against Parliament's failure to discuss in the present session so far the draft law to ban mining in areas near water basins and forests. […] The activists feel the Government and Parliament failed to realize the gravity of the situation. It was not a case of a group of people fighting for water. “The issue is one of national security. What will happen if Mongolia's water sources were to dry up?” he asked.They hope Speaker Demberel would arrange for Parliament to discuss the draft before the spring session ends but if he does not, they will continue their protest in some other form. ^ top ^

China, Mongolia seek further military co-op (Xinhua)
2009-07-05
Beijing - Senior military officials of China and Mongolia pledged Sunday to enhance military cooperation. Bilateral relations were sound with frequent high-level visits and fast-developing economic and trade cooperation, said Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in a meeting with visiting State Secretary of the Mongolian Defense Ministry M. Borbaatar. Liang said China attached great importance to bilateral military ties and was ready to advance military friendship and cooperation. From June 28 to July 3, China and Mongolia held "Peacekeeping Mission-2009." The two sides have also held the fourth Defense Security Consultation. Liang said both activities achieved positive results, and hope the two sides could further cooperation, and enhance mutual trust, so as to contribute to regional and global peace and stability. […]. ^ 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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