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
  20.7-24.7.09, No. 278  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese official meets with business representatives in Moscow on smuggling probe (Xinhua)
2009-07-24
Moscow - China's Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng met with 12 Chinese business representatives here late on Wednesday to discuss the case of 150 Chinese merchants seized in a crackdown on smuggling at a market in Moscow. […] He said the Chinese government and its leadership attach great importance to the incident, and has instructed relevant ministries and departments to strengthen negotiations with the Russian side. He reaffirmed that Beijing will urge Moscow to effectively protect the property as well as the dignity of Chinese businessmen, and will seek a reasonable solution within the legal frameworks of both countries. Gao also emphasized that Chinese businessmen in Russia should strictly abide by the local laws and regulations to better develop trade. Cai Guiru, chairperson of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Russia, said the tense situation triggered by the sudden shutdown has somewhat been alleviated thanks to recent negotiations by the Chinese government and embassy. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing open to talks in US on Xinjiang unrest (SCMP)
2009-07-23
Beijing is willing to discuss ethnic unrest in Xinjiang with Washington if the US raises the issue at high-level talks next week, a vice-minister of foreign affairs said yesterday. A trade official said Beijing would again press Washington to protect China's extensive US investments and to keep the dollar stable. […] Though he [He Yafei, vice-minister of foreign affairs] said it was "absolutely an internal affair of China", the vice-minister added that Beijing was willing to discuss it with US officials if they choose to bring up the issue at the joint strategic and economic dialogue next week in Washington. "We also notice that the US [officials] are cautious when they express their views on this," he said. "If this issue is raised, I believe we can discuss it in a rational and peaceful manner. But in the end, this is China's internal affair." […] The vice-minister also urged the US to "restrain" American-based Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer - whom Beijing has accused of masterminding the riots. The charge was denied by the Uygur leader. […] Separately, assistant finance minister Zhu Guangyao said Beijing would use the opportunity to ask Washington to protect China's US investments. China holds an estimated 70 per cent of its US$2.13 trillion currency reserves in dollar assets, mainly government bonds. Mainland officials have expressed worries that massive US pump-priming to revive the economy could sow the seeds of inflation. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese films withdrawn from Melbourne festival over Kadeer documentary (Xinhua)
2009-07-22
Canberra - Three Chinese films have been withdrawn from this year's Melbourne International Film Festival in protest of the inclusion of a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer -- the leader of the World Uygur Congress. The films -- "Perfect Life," "Petition" and "Cry Me a River," -- had been expected to be screened in the mid-August festival, according to the Age newspaper in Melbourne. But in a letter to the festival, Jia Zhangke, producer of the film "Perfect Life" and whose company also produced "Cry Me a River," said he decided to withdraw both movies to protest Kadeer's attendance at the event. "Petition," a film directed by Zhao Liang, has also been withdrawn from the festival. […] An official in the Chinese embassy in Canberra told Xinhua on Wednesday they are opposed to a screening of the documentary about Kadeer and are strongly against her attendance at the event. […]. ^ top ^

US must harden stance, activist says (SCMP)
2009-07-22
A leading Uygur activist wants the US to more strongly condemn what she called Beijing's continuing crackdown on the ethnic minority Muslims. Rebiya Kadeer, a critic of China and the head of an exiled Uygur association, said on Monday that Beijing would feel it could act with impunity unless governments spoke out against its "international media blitz" aimed at demonising her and the Uygurs. […] Ms Kadeer said she hoped the US would not remain "silent and indifferent" to the Uygurs' plight and warned of the executions of those detained following the riots. She also called for an investigation into the violence and crackdown, saying China was still "hunting down" Uygurs. The Chinese embassy in Washington said during the violence that Ms Kadeer and her supporters were trying "to clear themselves of their evil acts, vilify the image of the Chinese government and mislead the American public". […] US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said last week that Washington wanted "China to handle the situation as they go forward in a transparent manner". "As they work to restore order, we believe that it's important that they respect the legal rights of all Chinese citizens," Mr Kelly said. ^ top ^

Uygurs in Kazakhstan speak out against crackdown in Xinjiang (SCMP)
2009-07-20
Thousands of Uygurs rallied in the Kazakh city of Almaty yesterday to protest against a crackdown targeting their ethnic group in the neighbouring region of Xinjiang. About 5,000 Uygurs, including women wearing white scarves as a sign of mourning, gathered in a congress hall in Kazakhstan's biggest city to express their anger at China's crackdown in its northwestern region. […] The violence in Xinjiang has stoked tension among Kazakhstan's Uygurs and lent a broader sense of instability to the vast region. In Almaty, about 10 hours' drive from Urumqi, a mullah chanted a prayer in honour of those who had died during the riots while others gave speeches and read poetry. […] Kazakhstan, a nation of more than 15 million, is run by an authoritarian leadership that rarely allows any public form of discontent. There have been no big public protests by Uygurs in any other parts of Central Asia. […] Meanwhile, several dozen Uygurs and supporters in France took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to urge the world to put pressure on China to end what they called genocide in Xinjiang. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese FM calls for financial cooperation among ASEAN+3 (Xinhua)
2009-07-22
Phuket - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday stressed the importance of regional financial cooperation to fend off risks among East Asian nations. "We should vigorously intensify cooperation among finance departments, central banks and financial regulatory authorities of the ASEAN Plus Three countries," Yang said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN+3) Foreign Ministers' Meeting. A key mechanism for the region to ensure financial stability is the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), which was set up to address short-term liquidity difficulties in the region. "We should continue to promote the CMIM, and strive to conclude the CMIM Agreement and operationalize the Self-managed Reserve Pooling Arrangement (SRPA) before the end of the year," Yang said. […]. ^ top ^

China urges Australia to respect judicial sovereignty in Rio Tinto case (Xinhua)
2009-07-22
Beijing - A senior Chinese official said Wednesday that espionage charges against staff of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto would be handled quickly, but urged the Australian side to treat the case "properly" and to respect China's judicial sovereignty. "The Australian side should look at it as an individual case and treat it properly," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei at a news briefing on the first U.S.-China strategic and economic dialogue to be held in Washington from July 27 to 28. "The Rio Tinto case will be handled in accordance with the law, and should not affect the normal trade relationship between China and Australia," said He. […] Since the arrests of the Rio Tinto staff, Australian opposition politicians have been pressuring Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to do more to help them. But most Australians believe the government should not intervene in the detention of Rio Tinto's employees, according to a poll released on Monday. […]. ^ top ^

Namibia alleges corruption at firm previously run by Hu's son (SCMP)
2009-07-22
A mainland company previously run by the son of President Hu Jintao is involved in a corruption investigation in Namibia. A Chinese representative of state-owned Nuctech is reportedly under detention in the southwestern African country for alleged corrupt activities. Nuctech has a Namibian government contract to supply security scanning equipment to ports and airports in a US$55.3 million deal, paid for with a mainland loan granted when Mr Hu visited in 2007. His eldest son, Hu Haifeng, 38, was the president of Nuctech until last year, when he was promoted to party secretary of Tsinghua Holdings, which controls Nuctech and more than 20 other companies. Three people were arrested last week after Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission discovered that a US$12.8 million down payment on 13 scanners had been paid to a company called Teko Trading. […] The case could prove embarrassing to Mr Hu, who has urged the Communist Party to rid itself of corruption. There is as yet no evidence linking his son to the investigation. ^ top ^

Beijing denies links with engineer spy in US (SCMP)
2009-07-22
Beijing has denied links to a Chinese-born engineer who was convicted in the United States last week of stealing trade secrets for China during his 30-year career at Boeing and Rockwell International. It also said the charges against former Boeing engineer Dongfan "Greg" Chung were fabricated. "The allegations about a Chinese person stealing trade secrets in the US for China is purely fabricated out of ulterior motives," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. A federal judge in California found Chung, 73, guilty of six counts of economic espionage and other charges for hoarding 300,000 pages of sensitive documents in his home, including information about the US space shuttle and a booster rocket. He faces up to 90 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for November. His lawyer said he planned to appeal. […]. ^ top ^

China holds indisputable sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands, says FM spokesman (Xinhua)
2009-07-18
Beijing - China holds indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here on Saturday. When asked to comment on the report of the remarks made by a US congressman Wednesday that Japan is in actual control of the Diaoyu Islands after the World War Two and the United States also admits Japan's sovereignty over the islands, Qin said the Chinese side has shown concern over the report. The Diaoyu Islands belong to the Chinese territory since ancient times, said Qin, noting that China holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and no one can change this fact. According to the report of Taiwan's "Central News Agency" on Friday, Japan's Sankei Shimbun reported on the same day that US Senator Jim Webb said that the United States had admitted Japan's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China issues plans to promote ethnic cultural development (Xinhua)
2009-07-24
Beijing - China's State Council Thursday issued a package of plans to promote the development of ethnic minorities' culture, in order to push forward the common development of all country's ethnic groups. According to the measures, ethnic minorities' culture will be greatly protected and developed by the year 2020. The government will put more efforts on press and publication development, as well as film and television production work. It will also strengthen financial and policy support for literary and arts organizations as well as museums. […]. ^ top ^

Colleges fake jobs for graduates (SCMP)
2009-07-24
[…] "Pre-arranged employment" is the latest buzzword among graduating students - a term coined to describe the absurd situations hundreds of thousands of fresh graduates find themselves in. Desperate to boost their college's employment statistics, many teachers resort to fabricating job information, signing their students up to "phantom companies" without telling the youngsters. […] Two college staff members from two different institutions in Guangdong confirmed to the South China Morning Post about the practice of using fake employment letters. Mr Huang said that all 37 graduates from his class were asked by the school to hand in a letter of employment by March. "The school promised to award us 100 yuan (HK$115) each for a letter of employment. Nobody cared if they were real or not," he said. […] Giving only his surname, Mr Li said that while government education departments would not directly assign a fixed employment quota to schools, their job statistics were an important factor in evaluating principals' performances. […]. ^ top ^

Culture sector to act as new growth engine (SCMP)
2009-07-23
The central government has published a long-awaited blueprint for the mainland's culture industry as authorities seek new growth engines to help the country weather the economic downturn. The culture industry development plan was given the seal of approval at an executive meeting of the State Council yesterday, signifying an important role in expanding domestic demand - particularly household consumption - and spurring economic restructuring. Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Culture Research Centre, said the country's manufacturers must work with the culture industry - also known as creative industry - to develop their own brands. […] The professor said the TV and film industries were better positioned in terms of commercial success than other sectors and authorities were placing importance on the development of the cartoon industry as a new growth area. He said the push for the development of the culture industry would also help boost the country's so-called soft power - the influence of mainland products and services and the country's market share in the global cultural industry. […] The plan dovetailed with recommendations in the 2009 Blue Book, which called for deregulation of the industry to respond to the advent of new technologies. […]. ^ top ^

New Website Gives Insight into Army (China Daily)
2009-07-23
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will launch an official bilingual website on Aug 1. The move, military experts say, is a leap forward for the Chinese army, which is attempting to be more transparent and focus more on "public diplomacy".The launch of the site, in Chinese and in English, is meant to allow more access to the People's Liberation Army (PLA). […] "As the Chinese army develops, the army has valued diplomacy with foreign militaries and has paid great attention to informing the public of China's defense policies and troop images through the platform we established." The official did not elaborate on the website's contents, but web editors running the official site said the portal will "cover a large amount of information", featuring both regular activities and background about the Chinese army. "We hope the website is as informative as Defense Link, the gateway to the US Pentagon," one editor said. […] The army's official newspaper reported that the first group of "press officers", selected from different armed forces, graduated from a boot camp on public relations in March. […]. ^ top ^

Green Dam filtering into computers (China Daily)
2009-07-22
Beijing - Controversial Internet filter Green Dam will be included with some PC packages sold in China, despite a decision to delay the software's launch. "The Green Dam porn filter will be included in all PCs participating in our August promotion, which targets students and their parents," said Wu Shaodong, an Acer sales representative in Beijing. Wu believed the free porn filter would make Acer PCs more appealing to parents who want to protect their children from harmful content on the Internet. […] Feng Erbei, a Lenovo Thinkpad sales representative in Beijing - said: "All the latest models of Thinkpad have been delivered with Green Dam included since the beginning of the month." Users could choose to install the software by clicking on a Green Dam desktop icon that is pre-installed on Thinkpad, according to Feng. […] A MIIT official said the ministry haven't decided on a new deadline for PC manufacturers to include software. Without a deadline, some manufacturers have taken no action on the software. […] Meanwhile, Zhao Huiqin, the chairman of Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, one of Green Dam's developers, was said to have a close relationship with Wang Youjie, the ex-Party Secretary of Zhengzhou, who was sentenced to life in prison for corruption in 2007. […] The company was taken to court by the finance bureau for not paying back the loan on time in 2002. The company still has not paid back in full the two million yuan it owes the government, although it won the 21.8-million yuan bid to develop Green Dam last year. ^ top ^

Financial experts sent to advise provinces (SCMP)
2009-07-22
Beijing has sent some of the top financial talents from large state-owned banks and key institutions to governments in central and western regions to help them ride out the global economic crisis. The move was hailed by the Communist Party yesterday on its website as a refreshed strategy to apply the nation's financial talents, though academics said the officials would be constrained by a lack of authority to make big decisions. The Communist Party's website cpc.people.com.cn reported that 11 officials with financial or banking backgrounds had been sent to Chongqing on June 30. Before that, 17 officials were sent to Anhui and 13 to Hubei. […] While Beijing often swaps officials around, sending so many with such similar expertise within a short time reflected the party's determination to keep the regional economies growing steadily. The mainland had increasingly relied on domestic investment and consumption to keep its economy afloat, the report said. […] But a social sciences professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences expressed concern. Xu Youyu said the scheme might not work as well as authorities hoped, especially because most of the financial experts would only serve as deputies and stay for just a few years. […]. ^ top ^

Unusually frank report condemns dam project's poor management (SCMP)
2009-07-21
China's second-largest hydropower dam project, on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, has been plagued by resettlement, budgetary and construction quality problems, an audit report has revealed. The report, released by the National Audit Office yesterday, found that hundreds of millions of dollars had been overspent or misused in the construction of the massive Xiluodu hydroelectric power plant, located on the Jinsha (Yangtze) River on the border between Sichuan and Yunnan. It was the first overall audit of the world's third-largest hydropower station, which was launched in 2003 despite controversy over its environmental impact and the relocation of more than 61,000 people. Environmentalists welcomed the report, which made the rare move of listing massive flaws in budgetary and quality control, including the mismanagement of resettlement funds. But they said it dodged questions over who should be held responsible for the problems, and failed to heed geological concerns or provide solutions. […]. ^ top ^

Half of top judges lack legal training (SCMP)
2009-07-21
Nearly half of the chief judges at provincial level do not have solid judicial backgrounds or had never worked in the courts prior to their appointment - a finding that Xinhua hailed as it said the judges injected fresh ideas into the system. A Xinhua survey said yesterday that 14 of the 30 provincial chief judges worked as administrative officials before taking their current job. […] But their appointment was harshly criticised by mainland law professionals who said having bureaucrats act as judges, especially in a judicial system as complicated as that on the mainland, was a huge obstacle to judicial reform. […] "They run the court system the way they run the party or government branches," Professor He said. "There are no consolidated, respected practices that people can rely upon to deliver justice, only orders and instructions that judges think are best to maintain social stability." […] "If, as a judge, you consider the party's or whoever's interests before you even take a case, the spirit of the rule of law is gone," Professor He said. […]. ^ top ^

China police seize 19,000 guns in stability drive ahead of National Day (Xinhua)
2009-07-20
Beijing - Chinese police have confiscated 19,000 guns and close to 500 tonnes of explosives in a crackdown on explosive and gun-related crimes in the last four months, the Ministry of Public Security announced here Monday. More than 5,200 people in connection with illegal production and sales of explosives and gun-related crimes were arrested during the campaign, which started in March and ends on Oct. 31, the ministry said on its Website. The crackdown on explosives and guns is part of a campaign aimed to retain China's social stability for its National Day celebration on Oct. 1, said Guo Bei, a director with the Public Security Ministry. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. […]. ^ top ^

Censorship issue settled as authorities silence booming mainland Twitter clone (SCMP)
2009-07-20
To censor or to be censored, that is the question facing Wang Xing, the founder of the mainland Twitter clone, Fanfou.com. "Either the website censors sensitive feeds or the website will be censored - this uncomfortable but necessary decision has to be made," he wrote. That was one of Mr Wang's final posts before censors shut down his microblogging website on July 7 following a surge of news and comments on the violence in Xinjiang. It remains closed. […] There are at least seven other microblogging websites in the mainland, but Fanfou was the only one shut down this month. It had a reputation of being more liberal than its rivals, though it would suspend some feeds. […] It had become a valuable channel for mainland and overseas reporters in recent months. Witness feeds had covered events in Xinjiang, commentary on the Tiananmen anniversary and news on Deng Yujiao, the waitress who stabbed an official to death and whose trial became a major focus of attention among netizens. […] Regular shutdowns and the choice between self-censorship and freedom of information are dilemmas facing many working on mainland internet ventures. To shut down a website such as Fanfou, authorities instruct its domain name server to block its IP address. Self-censorship is widespread, with the mainland subsidiaries of major search engines Google and Yahoo filtering results. […]. ^ top ^

Legal help group told to pack up (China Daily)
2009-07-18
Beijing municipal authorities ordered the closure of a legal assistance group on Friday for not been "registered properly". The Gongmeng Legal Research Center, made up mainly of Beijing-based lawyers, had been providing legal help since 2005 to the country's weaker groups, including some of the parents of children who fell ill after drinking contaminated milk powder last year. […] The move comes two days after the Beijing tax authorities sent a formal notice to the center, imposing a hefty fine of 1.42 million yuan ($207,847) for having evaded taxes on funds received from overseas. Xu Zhiyong, the center's legal representative and an outspoken lawyer, said: "The bureau has no legal right to order a closure The research center has always been a division of the company that is registered with the authorities.” […] But Xu conceded that the group had not paid the full tax on donations from organizations such as Yale University in the US in time. "We committed small mistakes, but the tax bureau imposed the heaviest fine." He said he had to register his group as a company in 2005 because the authorities were reluctant to issue licenses for civil groups. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai spreads second-child message amid concern over aging population (Xinhua)
2009-07-23
Authorities in China's largest city, Shanghai, have launched a campaign to encourage couples who are themselves only children to have a second child, as concerns mount about a rapidly aging population. Officials would visit these families, publicize the policy allowing a second child and provide consulting services, said Xie Lingli, director of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, on Thursday. The campaign was aimed at reducing the ratio of the elderly and preventing future labor shortages, Xie said. […]. ^ top ^

World Expo hands back sponsorship from tobacco firm (SCMP)
2009-07-22
The Shanghai World Expo 2010 has handed back 200 million yuan (HK$227 million) in sponsorship funds from a tobacco company, state media reports. If confirmed, the move would be a major coup for anti-smoking activists on the mainland, who have been pressuring authorities to live up to their commitments to international health treaties. […] When the Shanghai Tobacco Group made the donation in May, it was the largest single contribution the national pavilion had received since fund-raising began in 2007. […] Campaigners submitted a petition to the Expo organisers arguing that the sponsorship was in breach of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the South China Morning Post reported last week. […] The mainland has already banned direct tobacco advertising and plans to implement a total ban on promotions in 2011. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Details of delta co-operation to be unveiled next month (SCMP)
2009-07-22
Details about how Hong Kong and Guangdong will work together to create a quality living area and build infrastructure projects are to be unveiled next month. After months of working on these two areas, the two governments will announce details at a joint conference co-hosted by Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua and Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. For the first time, leaders of the nine municipalities in the Pearl River Delta region and Hong Kong held a joint forum in the city yesterday to exchange views on their co-operation with more than 200 representatives of various sectors. […] The forum focused on the implementation of the State Council's guidelines on plans to reform and develop the delta. The guidelines spell out the central government's determination to make the delta an international metropolis. Guangdong's deputy governor, Wan Qingliang, […] suggested the two sides work especially closely on five sectors: financing, the service industry, infrastructure and town planning, environmental projects, and education. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Tougher steps on air quality rolled out (SCMP)
2009-07-24
The government yesterday rolled out proposals to toughen air quality standards, and measures to achieve this, as Hong Kong seeks to catch up with the developed world. The administration said the steps, which largely meet World Health Organisation objectives, could extend average life expectancy by a month. The proposals include using more gas to generate power, phasing out highly polluting vehicles and declaring low-emission zones from which such vehicles would be barred. Car-free zones would be extended. Members of the public have four months to comment on them and indicate their willingness to pay for cleaner air and how soon they want it. Released by the Environment Bureau after a two-year study, they do not include a timetable for their implementation, and officials admit a bumpy road lies ahead given the widely divergent views of different groups in society. […]. ^ top ^

Jobless rate highest in four years, and worse is to come (SCMP)
2009-07-21
Hong Kong's jobless rate rose to its highest in almost four years last month, and the government warns it will continue rising as students graduate and start looking for work. The unemployment rate for the April to June quarter was 5.4 per cent, up from 5.3 per cent in the March to May period. […] Unemployment remains highest in the construction sector, at 11.8 per cent, though that is better than the 12.1 per cent in the March to May period and the 12.7 per cent seen from February to April. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said there were signs the increase in unemployment was beginning to taper off, but warned: "Given the current economic situation and the entry of fresh graduates and school leavers into the labour market in the coming months, the unemployment rate is expected to face upward pressure in the near term." […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Fernando Chui reaches out to public ahead of poll (SCMP)
2009-07-24
The popularity of Fernando Chui Sai-on is slowly picking up as the future leader of Macau reaches out to the community. Dr Chui, the sole candidate of Macau's chief executive poll this weekend, has met more than 20 social groups, held three open meetings with residents and visited the city's old streets in the past two weeks. He is to be elected by a 300-member committee on Sunday. Analysts said there had been a positive public response, as Dr Chui lends his ear to social problems. But an internet poll continues to suggest low popularity of the future leader among the general public. […] But some groups hoping to speak to Dr Chui said they had been ignored. Veteran labour activist Ng Sek-io said his union had no opportunity to meet Dr Chui and that many workers had been barred from his so-called open meetings. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan eases curbs on tourism by individuals (SCMP)
2009-07-24
Taiwan will allow individual mainland tourists who have worked in Hong Kong or Macau for at least a year to visit the island, and the scheme is expected to start as soon as next month. The latest plan - a further step towards opening Taiwan to individual mainland tourists - is expected to generate NT$11.3 billion (HK$2.7 billion) in extra tourism revenue. At a meeting last week, departments including the Mainland Affairs Council, the Tourism Bureau and the Interior Ministry discussed the plan to allow mainland tourists to travel to Taiwan individually rather than in tour groups. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing and Taipei delegates inseparable at conference (SCMP)
2009-07-23
In the latest sign of warming ties, mainland and Taiwanese officials have been discussing trade diplomacy in bars, restaurants and even toilets during a regional meeting in Singapore. "Of course I met Minister Chen several times in meetings, restaurants and pubs," Taiwanese Economic Affairs Minister Yiin Chii-ming said of his mainland counterpart, Chen Deming, after a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. "And maybe occasionally in the toilets," Singapore's trade minister and Apec chairman Lim Hng Kiang added, sparking laughter at a news conference. ^ top ^

Advanced US arms a bargaining chip in mainland talks, says Taiwanese general (SCMP)
2009-07-22
Taiwan will continue to seek advanced weaponry from the US despite the cross-strait detente because it needs an elite force as a bargaining chip in talks with the mainland, the island's military spokesman says. "With the current [cross-strait] developments, we hope to bring down the risk of a war as much as possible, but this does not mean we should do away with our combat power," Major General Yu Sy-tue, spokesman of the Defence Ministry, said yesterday in a news briefing for foreign media. Only with a strong defence would the island be able to continue to hold talks with the mainland. "Otherwise, the mainland would take us over easily, like [with] Hong Kong and Macau," he said, noting that the mainland has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan and continued to target the island with more than 1,000 missiles. General Yu emphasised that engaging with the mainland while maintaining an elite defensive force were not contradictory policies. […] General Yu said that while Taiwan could never afford an arms race with the mainland, it would maintain a moderate budget to purchase modern weapons from the US or any other suitable countries. […]. ^ top ^

Cross-strait tourism offices seen as milestone in warming ties (SCMP)
2009-07-21
Taiwan and mainland authorities plan to establish semi-official tourism offices in each other's territories at the end of this year, a Taiwanese official said yesterday, in what would be a milestone in relations after decades of hostility. […] This would be the first time the two sides have set up offices of any kind in each other's territories since they split in 1949. […] "The offices will promote cross-strait tourism and deal with tourist disputes and accidents," Mr Hsieh said. "The two sides may also send government officials to staff the offices." There was no comment from Beijing. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

No change on economy, Hu says (SCMP)
2009-07-24
With the economic recovery still on shaky ground, the mainland would maintain its "relatively loose" monetary stance and proactive fiscal policy, President Hu Jintao told top decision-makers yesterday. The Politburo meeting set the tone for macroeconomic policy for the rest of the year. Mr Hu's words come as debate is growing about whether the world's third-largest economy should slow the growth in money supply to counter a surge in bank loans and rises in asset prices. The president's speech shows Beijing is not ready for any big policy shift. Mr Hu stressed repeatedly the need for economic and social stability as the mainland enters a sensitive period that will see the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on October 1. […]. ^ top ^

Foundation of China's industrial recovery unsound: official (Xinhua)
2009-07-23
Beijing - The foundation of a recovery in China's industrial sector is still not solid and faces many uncertainties, Zhu Hongren, spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said Wednesday. "The positive changes in the country's economic development do not mean the end of difficult times," Zhu said at a press conference. "It is still a challenge to maintain a steady development in the industrial sector." […] Excess production capacity and blind investment in some industries were still major problems, said Zhu. The ship building sector, for example, which had 16 million deadweight tons (DWT) of excess capacity, recorded a 55.5-percent increase in investment in the first five months this year, he said. Meanwhile, price falls led to lower company profits despite expanding production, Zhu said. The producer price index (PPI), a major measure of inflation at the wholesale level, fell 7.8 percent year on year in June. Purchase prices of raw materials, fuel and energy fell 8.7 percent year on year in the first half. ^ top ^

China to subsidize solar power projects (Xinhua)
2009-07-21
Beijing - The Chinese government started a pilot program on Tuesday to provide subsidies to solar-power projects to boost the solar industry as a new growth point for the country's economy. The Ministry of Finance said on its Web site that it will offer50 percent of investments for solar power projects of more than 500 megawatts and the transmission and distribution network over the next two- to- three years. The solar power projects in the remote regions will receive subsidies of 70 percent of the investment. […]. ^ top ^

China requests WTO panel to probe U.S. poultry import ban (Xinhua)
2009-07-21
Geneva - China on Monday formally requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up an expert panel to investigate and rule whether a U.S. ban on Chinese poultry imports violates WTO regulations. The request was made at a meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, but it was rejected by the United States according to relevant procedures. During the meeting, the Chinese delegation reiterated that the U.S. measure is "discriminatory" and "has damaged the lawful rights and interests of China's poultry industry." [..]At the heart of the dispute is the U.S. Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which contains a section prohibiting any funds being used to facilitate imports of poultry products from China. The act was signed into U.S. law in March, and China filed complaints to the WTO in on April 17. […] China and the United States banned imports of each other's poultry products in 2004 following outbreaks of bird flu. They agreed to lift the bans at the Sino-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in 2004. China did lift the ban but has complained that the United States was not following suit. […]. ^ top ^

Mainland real estate market back on growth track (China Daily)
2009-07-21
Beijing - Prompted by the explosive bank lending in the first half, China's real estate market appeared to have quickly returned to its growing path. The average price of new homes in 36 medium- and large-sized cities rose to 6,554 yuan per sq m in June, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its website yesterday. The prices were 1.1 percent higher than that of May, the top economic planner said. The increase in new bank loans to 7.37 trillion yuan in the first half helped spur demand for property and boosted prices, said Bohai Securities Co analyst Zhou Hu. Housing prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.2 percent year-on-year in June, the first time in seven months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. […] Nationwide property sales in June rose 32 percent by floor space and 53 percent by value from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in early June. Investments in property development in the first half increased 9.9 percent, the agency said. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

N Korea, you have no friends: Clinton (SCMP)
2009-07-24
[…] Pyongyang hurled personal invective at Mrs Clinton - describing her as a schoolgirl, unintelligent and looking like a pensioner going shopping - and declared nuclear talks dead. Mrs Clinton told Asia's largest security forum that international efforts to squeeze the North over its atomic programme were paying off. Her comments highlight China's recent public commitment to implementing sanctions against its ally. "They have no friends left that will protect them from the international community's efforts to move towards denuclearisation," Mrs Clinton told the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum. "In their presentation today, they evinced no willingness to pursue the path of denuclearisation, and that was troubling, not only to the United States but to the region and the international community," she added. "I was gratified by how many countries from throughout the region stood up and expressed directly to the North Korean delegation their concern over the provocative behaviour we have seen over the past few months." […] Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that while UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea should be implemented, all sides should work to avoid an escalation of tensions. Mr Yang said it was important to restart the stalled six-party talks soon. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia pledges 150 troops for Afghanistan (SCMP)
2009-07-24
Mongolia will send at least 150 soldiers to Afghanistan in its biggest contribution to the international coalition fighting Taliban militants there, the Defence Ministry says. The troops should be on the ground by September to engage mainly in site security, but also some training, ministry spokesman Bayasgalan Misheel said yesterday. "This is important for regional stability, and Mongolia wants to contribute," Mr Misheel said. "It is also a good experience for the army." […] Mongolia's six-month deployment follows on the heels of peacekeeping missions to Sierra Leone and Iraq. Mongolian soldiers were considered ideal for training because they used the same Soviet-era military hardware commonly found in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel David Tatman, US defence attache in Ulan Bator, said. […]. ^ 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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