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
  3.8-7.8.09, No. 280  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

China and India resume talks over disputed border (SCMP)
2009-08-07
China and India will resume high-level negotiations today after a year's break to resolve a nagging border dispute over which they fought a war in 1962. The 13th round of border talks will take place over two days in New Delhi, with delegations lead by State Councillor Dai Bingguo and Indian national security adviser M. K. Narayanan. The talks come against a backdrop of acrimony over India's decision to deploy additional troops and beef up air defences in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as it territory, and New Delhi's unease over military infrastructure in Tibet and Xinjiang. Indian officials have expressed concerns over the Qinghai -Tibet railway and its proposed extension to Xigaze and Nyingchi - prefectures that border India - at a meeting of the cabinet's National Security Council. The Indian Express newspaper reported that the meeting decided not to "demonise" China and concluded that China was not a short-term threat but should be monitored. Zhang Yan, China's ambassador to India, described the two countries as "great neighbours". […] But Indian analysts were unmoved by Mr Zhang's comments, especially following a bout of India-bashing in state media that portrayed India as a threat to China. […]. ^ top ^

China's cyber-intrusion a 'rising threat' to US (SCMP)
2009-08-07
China has "dramatically expanded" its capability to conduct computer network operations for intelligence collection and military use, posing a "growing threat" to the US, the head of US intelligence says. "Information warfare has become the pillar of China's military modernisation programme and war planning," director of national intelligence Dennis Blair said in unclassified written answers to the Senate Intelligence Committee submitted on April 24. […] "The Chinese see the US military's dependence on information systems as critical to our operations but also as potentially our greatest vulnerability, and see information warfare as an attractive way to offset the Chinese military's technological disadvantage," Mr Blair wrote. His comments about China's computer capabilities and intent were the strongest he has made publicly. During a February 12 hearing before the panel, Mr Blair said many cyber-attacks were coming from internet addresses based in China and Russia. ^ top ^

Warning over Twitter, YouTube 'subversion' (SCMP)
2009-08-07
Twitter and YouTube were becoming handy and powerful subversion tools for hostile Western forces, a newspaper owned by the Chinese military warned yesterday. In an editorial headlined "Internet subversion not to be underestimated", the China National Defence listed failed uprisings against election results in Moldova and Iran this year as prime examples of such foreign intervention through internet tools. It warned that controlling the internet was key to protecting national security in the future. […] It highlighted the United States as the keenest Western power to add the internet to its diplomatic arsenal, and added that the nearly monopolistic control of computer hardware and software also gave the US firm control over the internet, which China must guard against. It also said Xinjiang separatists used the internet to incite people to protest during rioting early last month. "This incident once again demonstrates that it is becoming urgent to strengthen internet control... This is to avoid the internet becoming a new poisoned arrow for hostile forces," it said. Mainland media analysts said they were uncertain whether the editorial was targeting foreign hostile forces or growing domestic dissenting voices. […]. ^ top ^

Worker clashes in Algeria won't hurt business, diplomat says (SCMP)
2009-08-06
A Chinese diplomat in Algiers said a clash this week involving 100 Algerians and Chinese migrant workers would not dampen the enthusiasm of firms for doing business in the African nation. "Our friendship with Algeria is strong, and this event is nothing in comparison with the links between our two countries," said Ling Jun a diplomat at the Chinese embassy in the capital, Algiers. Witnesses said the combatants used knives and bludgeons on Monday in a flare-up of anger at Chinese immigration. Witnesses said three people were injured in the brawl in the eastern district of Bab Ezzouar, an area known to locals as "Chinatown". […] Witnesses said the trouble was sparked by clash between a shop owner and a Chinese motorist. […] Some Algerians said the migrants did not respect Muslim traditions. […]. ^ top ^

U.S. Senate panel Oks nomination of ambassador to China (Xinhua)
2009-08-04
Washington - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's nomination as ambassador to China. The Committee also endorsed President Barack Obama's pick of campaign fund-raiser and lawyer John Roos as U.S. ambassador to Japan. The endorsement by the Committee paved the way for a vote by the full Senate, the date of which remains unclear. […]. ^ top ^

Russia frees traders arrested at market (SCMP)
2009-08-04
Nearly 200 Chinese traders detained for a month following a clampdown on a vast wholesale market in Moscow have been released, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The ministry said the Chinese merchants were allowed to go after paying a fine. They were believed to have been released between July 27 and July 29. The traders' release came after Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng went to Moscow to discuss the issue late last month. Russian officials were reported to have told Mr Gao's delegation that the traders were placed under investigation for fraudulently reporting their personal information, including names of organisations that invited them to Moscow and registered addresses. The officials also said they lacked work permits. […]. ^ top ^

Respect our courts, Beijing tells Canberra (SCMP)
2009-08-04
A senior mainland official yesterday defended Beijing's handling of the industrial spying case against an Australian executive for mining giant Rio Tinto, and urged Australia to respect China's court process. Foreign Ministry official Liu Jieyu said during a visit to Australia that the alleged actions of Chinese-born Australian Stern Hu would have been illegal in Australia, as well, if they had occurred there, and that critics should wait for the facts to come to light. […] "We are dealing with a violation of Chinese law, and in all legal proceedings in different countries, there are different provisions about what can be released at what point of time," he said. "It is not up to me... to say what the law requires and what the law permits." […]. ^ top ^

China: U.S. gov't should seriously consider tire protectionism (Xinhua)
2009-08-03
Beijing - China's Ministry of Commerce said on Monday it hoped the U.S. government would listen to its own industries and not impose protective measures on tires. The comment came after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a statement on June 29 recommending falling tariffs of 55 percent, 45 percent and 35 percent over the next three years on motor vehicle and light truck tires from China. The U.S. Tire Industry Association, the American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, the American Automotive Trade Policy Council, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association have all expressed strong opposition to the planned moves. The commission's protectionism ploy lacked legitimacy and objective foundation, and China strongly opposed the U.S. government's implementation of discriminatory measures against tires from China, the ministry said. […] Imposing protectionist measures against Chinese tires would not only harm the interests of China's tire industry and Sino-U.S. bilateral trade, but also jeopardize the overall interests of U.S. economy, the ministry said. ^ top ^

Ambassador: Egypt conference to raise China-Africa cooperation (Xinhua)
2009-08-02
Beijing - The upcoming Egypt conference will vigorously expand China-Africa cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Wu Chunhua said in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua. The fourth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is scheduled for November at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. "The conference will be held to comprehensively evaluate the achievements after the Beijing summit of the FOCAC in 2006 and draw up a plan on China-Africa cooperation for the next three years," Wu told Xinhua. […]. ^ top ^

Iran restates support for China's efforts to safeguard unification (Xinhua)
2009-08-02
Tehran - Iranian Acting Foreign Minister Hossein Sheikh al-Islam said Sunday Iran supports China's efforts to safeguard its national unification, territorial integrity and social stability. In a meeting with Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Sheikh al-Islam said Iran hopes to enhance bilateral cooperation with China in a comprehensive way. Iran is also willing to enhance communication and consultation with China on international and regional issues, he said. […] As the special representative of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Wu has visited Algeria, Qatar and Syria before reaching Iran. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Dog's death suspected as spark for plague outbreak (SCMP)
2009-08-07
A dog is suspected to be the origin of an outbreak of pneumonic plague in the mainland's northwest that has killed three people and left 10,000 under quarantine, state media reported. Ziketan, a remote town in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province, has been in isolation since Saturday in an effort to contain the spread of the highly virulent disease. One patient was in critical condition and seven others were infected, most of them relatives of the first death, a 32-year-old herdsman, or local doctors, Xinhua said. […] Health Ministry experts quoted by Xinhua said the strict quarantine measures were proving effective and the outbreak was unlikely to spread further. "There is no need to worry about the infection if you travel to Qinghai, not to speak of panic," Liang Wannian, deputy director of the ministry's emergency office, told Xinhua. The remote and mountainous area is sparsely populated, which is also helping to contain the outbreak. Residents of Ziketan on Wednesday said some people had tried to flee, but it was unclear if any had managed to breach the quarantine zone, which centres on the town and covers 3,500 square kilometres. […]. ^ top ^

Poisoned town shunned as paranoia takes hold (SCMP)
2009-08-07
Just as the deadly metals slowly seeped into the water and soil around Xianghe Chemical plant, so did the news of its devastating impact filter through to surrounding towns and villages. The very name of the town at the centre of the scandal, Zhentou, has become toxic in its own right, creating a fresh wave of victims who cannot sell their produce, secure new jobs or even find love. […] Government health checks showed 509 of 2,888 people living within a 1.2-kilometre radius of the plant had high concentrations of indium and cadmium in their bodies, and scientists said their fields cannot be farmed for at least 60 years. For five years the factory, which purportedly made animal feed but in fact produced indium - used in liquid crystal displays for electronic products - discharged untreated waste that leached into farmers' fields. The worst-affected villagers have been living on food and water trucked in from outside since May. ^ top ^

Petitioners not welcome (SCMP)
2009-08-07
A central government official called on local authorities yesterday to prevent disgruntled people from coming to Beijing to seek redress for problems, to ensure stability ahead of National Day celebrations. […] Police from distant provinces lurk around the petition offices in the capital, waiting to whisk complainants from their home areas into detention before they can shame local leaders. Some are taken to "black jails" in Beijing where they may be beaten before being taken home, but others manage to stage sometimes quite dramatic protests before being dragged off by police. Xinhua cited Zhou Benshun, head of the Communist Party's political and legislative affairs committee, as telling a meeting that the grievances of petitioners should be resolved at the grass-roots level if possible. […]. ^ top ^

Top-level nuclear official detained (SCMP)
2009-08-06
Kang Rixin, the mainland's top nuclear official, "has seriously violated party rules" and has been placed under the investigation of the Communist Party's disciplinary committee. A source familiar with the operation of the China National Nuclear Corporation, of which Mr Kang, 56, had been the party chief and general manager for six years, said Mr Kang and his wife "were taken away by party discipline officials on Tuesday evening", but it was unclear on what charges they were detained. In its report yesterday, Xinhua provided no details, and calls to a corporation spokesman were not returned. Industry speculation has indicated Mr Kang might have been involved in a leak of secrets from China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp late last year. Deputy manager Shen Rugang and more than a dozen officials were arrested on charges of leaking "business secrets" to international nuclear power companies before a public tender process. […]. ^ top ^

Journalists held for investigating metal leaks case (SCMP)
2009-08-06
At least eight journalists investigating deaths at a factory in Hunan were taken away by authorities, and residents said last night that some were still being held. Metal leaks at the factory in Liuyang city have killed at least five people and left hundreds sick. […] Mainland reporters, including at least one from the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis News, were detained while interviewing villagers and taking photos of the Xianghe chemical plant, the culprit behind one of the worst pollution scandals on the mainland in years. […] Journalists were told they could rely on the government for all the information they needed. Although cadres warned villagers not to talk to journalists, the residents said they were desperate for help and had to pin their hopes on reporters to make their grievances heard. […] They said more protests had been planned for the next few days if authorities failed to come up with solutions to their suffering. ^ top ^

State of secrecy: China's draft State Secrets Law has much revision but no reform (SCMP)
2009-08-06
[…] The draft, however, is disappointing. The revisions, supposedly the product of 13 years' preparation, focus on strengthening rules for protecting secrets and supervising their use within government institutions, particularly in areas involving digital media and the internet. They modestly improve arrangements for declassifying secrets and minimising their duration, but no maximum time limit is prescribed, making it likely that secrecy will be extended indefinitely. By contrast, the draft is very specific in addressing fines against state personnel who fail to comply with security protocols. More troubling than any of the revisions is what remains unchanged. There is no attempt to narrow the expansive scope of state secrets, which still includes a category for "other matters classified by the National State Secrets Bureau". […] The classification process itself remains unclear, unchecked and in the hands of too many levels of authority for standardisation. […] Yet ordinary citizens and foreign business people, if they lack "insider" knowledge, are at a disadvantage in identifying secrets. The law calls for secret documents to be labelled as such, but this offers no guarantee that unmarked documents will not be subsequently declared secret. The Supreme People's Court endorses prosecutions where the accused "should have known" that an unlabelled document sent abroad would have an impact on state interests. Such documents are often classified as secret after the accused has already been detained. […]. ^ top ^

Children of exiled Uygur leader criticise her on TV (SCMP)
2009-08-05
Three children of exiled Uygur leader Rebiya Kadeer appeared on China Central Television's 7pm prime time news yesterday to denounce her, but it was not possible to confirm if they were speaking of their own free will, with one shown in jail. […] The public denouncement - which was aired across the mainland - came as Xinhua announced a total of 718 people had been detained as of yesterday for being implicated in the Urumqi riot on July 5, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured. The city's procuratorate said it had arrested 83 of them for charges including manslaughter, arson, looting and racial discrimination. […] Her relatives were speaking a day after state media published open letters critical of her alleged involvement in the unrest. […] Roxingul, a daughter of Ms Kadeer, said yesterday on television that the letters were genuine. "I wrote them after consulting my brother and my uncle," she said. The 62-year-old activist, who arrived in Australia yesterday, said in Sydney that Beijing had forced two of her children, who are both in prison on the mainland, to speak against her. One of her sons was convicted of tax evasion; the other was jailed on subversion charges. "The Chinese government is trying to turn my children against me, you know - this is completely inhuman," she said. […]. ^ top ^

Legal activist seized on tax evasion claims (SCMP)
2009-08-05
A leading mainland legal activist detained by authorities last week has been accused of tax evasion, his brother said yesterday. Xu Zhiyong, a prominent legal scholar who co-founded the Gongmeng legal aid organisation, was taken from his Beijing home by police before dawn on Wednesday last week. At the time, it was unclear why he was being held. Yesterday, his brother Xu Zhihong said that officials from the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, where Xu Zhiyong taught, said they had been told that the scholar was being detained for tax evasion. His detention comes as Beijing steps up an official push to restrain activist lawyers. Last month, more than 50 Beijing lawyers, many of whom focus on politically sensitive human rights issues, had their licences revoked. […]. ^ top ^

New pension plan to benefit China's 900 mln farmers (Global Times)
2009-08-05
Beijing - Farmers will soon enjoy the same guaranteed incomes later in life as urban workers do, as the government Tuesday announced that a trial pension plan would be implemented across China by October. Sponsored by the government, farmers over the age of 60 will be able to receive a monthly endowment of varying amounts according to certain areas' income standards, Hu Xiaoyi, vice minister of the Department of Human Resources and Social Security (DHRSS), said yesterday at a press conference. "The new system is paid for by the farmers, collective benefits and government subsidy, which is totally different from the old system, paid by farmers themselves, with no subsidy from the government," Hu said. He also said that the payment for the insurance comprised two different parts: basic insurance, which is fully provided by State financing, and the personal pension account, paid by farmers themselves. […] "Local governments with low revenue have no capability to promote the new policy. With no financial support from the local government, the related department has no enthusiasm to promote the new insurance," said Ding Yifan, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council. […] Once put into action, the trial program will have a huge influence on China's social security system, as it encourages farmers to purchase endowment insurance for a more secure life, according to Ding. […]. ^ top ^

Ministry denies plan to drop hepatitis test (SCMP)
2009-08-04
There was another twist to the furore over hepatitis B testing yesterday when a Ministry of Health spokesman denied there were plans to remove the virus from employment or education health checks. A Sichuan newspaper on Sunday quoted a health official as saying a policy directive was due to be released soon ordering the practice to be stopped because there was "no scientific evidence" to back up the need for hepatitis B to be included in standard health checks. […] However, the Health Ministry spokesman said the comments had merely been an "expert opinion" and did not reflect official policy. The official whose comments sparked the story said he had been misunderstood. Cui Fuqiang, head of the hepatitis division under the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention's national immunisation programme, told Xinhua the comments had been his personal views and he denied he was privy to internal Health Ministry policy discussions. […]. ^ top ^

Police net 319 suspects in Xinjiang after tip-offs (SCMP)
2009-08-03
Police have detained 319 people suspected of involvement in deadly ethnic rioting in Xinjiang last month, after a "wanted" list of suspects spurred tip-offs, Xinhua said yesterday. […] "When the Public Security [Bureau] of Urumqi made an announcement... about those suspects who had been detained and those who were still on the `wanted' list, it aroused the feelings of local residents and they had more initiative in exposing those suspects and provided a huge amount of clues," Xinhua said. The report did not give a total for the number of people being held in connection with the riots. Officials have previously said more than 1,500 had been detained. None have been publicly charged or released. […]. ^ top ^

China firmly pursues peaceful development: defense minister (Xinhua)
2009-07-31
Beijing - China will unremittingly pursue the path of peaceful development and its military will enhance cooperation with foreign armed forces in order to contribute to common development, said Defense Minister Liang Guanglie Friday."China will develop friendly cooperation with all the countries in line with the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence to make new contributions to building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity," said Liang at a reception at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark the 82nd anniversary of the establishment of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). […] China's military would enhance exchanges and deepen cooperation with foreign armed forces to fulfil its international obligations and responsibilities, said Liang. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Skies clearer, but data is still murky (SCMP)
2009-08-03
When the Olympics ended with an elaborate finale of fireworks last year, locals of China's smog-plagued capital began to wonder whether the sunny, blue skies and clean air during the event would stay. Now, almost a year later, many still cannot believe that the crystal clear skies and the incredible visibility that was once a dream have become part of their everyday lives. […] The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said last month that the city's air quality this year was the best it had been in a decade. Official figures show 146 clear-sky days (out of 181) in the first half of this year, compared with 100 in 1998. Bureau spokesman Du Shaozhong was apparently content with the findings of 27 monitoring stations across the city that showed Beijing had beaten its self-imposed target of 130 clear-sky days. […] Zhu Tong, an environmental expert at Peking University, said he was happy to see the government's efforts finally showing results. "But it does not mean we have much to celebrate or room for complacency because there's still a long way to go to meet public expectations for clean air," he said. […] Professor Zhu said the decline in industrial growth as a result of the global recession, which began last autumn, has also helped reduce the emission of major pollutants. Analysts also said the good air quality during the Olympics had brought unprecedented media scrutiny and pressure on the government from the public and non-governmental groups to cut pollution. […] Government officials repeatedly denied accusations of falsified statistics, but questions about the data discrepancies remain unresolved. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Residents promise to make apartment protest an all-nighter (SCMP)
2009-08-06
Hundreds of disgruntled property owners protested at a Shanghai apartment complex yesterday as construction workers began to remove the remains of a building that collapsed more than a month ago. […] Occasional showers failed to calm the highly agitated group of about 200 who remained camped outside the development until late at night. They repeatedly chanted the name of Shanghai Communist Party secretary Yu Zhengsheng in an attempt to gain the attention of high-level officials. […] The owners of flats in the estate's remaining 10 towers are in a deadlock with the property developers over a compensation settlement. They have until August 15 to decide whether to accept a 5 per cent rebate on the cost of the property, take a full refund of all monies and interest paid so far, or sell their property to the new developer after a government-appointed inspector sets the value. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Number of smoggy days halves in Guangzhou as factories close (SCMP)
2009-08-05
The number of smoggy days in Guangzhou almost halved in the first six months of the year as factories hobbled by the economic downturn emitted less pollution. Environmental researchers warned that this may be only a temporary improvement in air quality; it may fade as the economy in the Pearl River Delta recovers in the second half and factories return to normal. […] Liu Zhenzhong, from the Guangdong Astronomical Society, said increased rainfall and tougher emissions standards for public transport were also factors. The city government had said all public buses had now complied with tougher Euro III emissions standards, contributing to better roadside air quality, he said. However, he said, the major factor was still the closure of factories. "The global financial crisis did the job for us. I'm not sure if we can keep it up." He added small factories had borne the brunt of the closures, and many of these had not invested in green technology. […]. ^ top ^

Shenzhen starts administration reform (Shenzhen Daily)
2009-08-03
Shenzhen will streamline government institutions by more than 30 percent by the end of October, officially launching China's first administrative structural reform which is being called an experiment in "the separation of powers." The reform, unveiled at a government meeting chaired by Party chief Liu Yupu on Friday, will separate the functions of the Shenzhen government into three areas - decision making, execution and supervision. The changes were listed as a top priority in an overall comprehensive reform program for Shenzhen, which was approved by the State Council in May. The approval means Shenzhen is the country's third overall reform pilot zone after the Binhai New Area in Tianjin and the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. Administrative reform is considered the most challenging and most important aspect of the ambitious program. If successful, it could herald a nationwide reform of the political system. The plan is intended to streamline an overlapping array of government agencies, with 46 departments to be incorporated into 31. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan says too soon for cross-strait political talks (SCMP)
2009-08-07
Taiwan's top mainland policy planning body has ruled out political talks with Beijing - at least for now, despite the mainland's interest in such discussions going ahead. "The timing and conditions are not ripe for talks on political issues," Mainland Affairs Council vice-chairman Fu Don-cheng said. "Cross-strait talks should remain focused on the economy at the moment." Mr Fu's comment reflected the policy of mainland-friendly Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has opted for dealing with the easy part of cross-strait relations - economic and cultural exchanges - before addressing thorny political issues. More than a year after the two sides started fence-mending talks in Beijing in June last year on direct transport and economic links, signs have emerged that Beijing was hoping for political dialogue with Taipei. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwanese officials on warpath after film company pulls movie from festival (SCMP)
2009-08-06
Taiwanese officials want to punish a Taiwanese film company that recently withdrew a film from the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. They have linked the Taiwanese company of Hong Kong-based Jettone Films to several mainland companies which pulled films from the festival over its showing of a documentary on the life of exiled Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer. Jettone Films received a NT$4 million (HK$952,000) subsidy from Taipei's Government Information Office to co-produce the movie, Miao Miao, with Hong Kong, but failed to inform the office when it pulled Miao Miao. […] The withdrawal angered lawmakers from both of Taiwan's main parties, who said government efforts had disgraced the island by supporting mainland suppression of human and ethnic rights. […]. ^ top ^

Pressure on Ma as health chief quits to run for magistracy (SCMP)
2009-08-04
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou appears to be facing a leadership test as Kuomintang chairman even before he officially assumes the post. Yeh Chin-chuan, a confidant, came under fire for quitting as health minister to run for the Hualien county magistracy despite an increase in swine flu cluster infections. Maverick members also defied the party's will by announcing their plans to run for year-end local government polls without KMT approval. […] "President Ma wants to field candidates with clean images for the year-end polls, but mavericks and local faction leaders in Hualien, Hsinchu, Taitung, Taoyuan and Ilan counties have either threatened or ignored the party's will, creating risks of split votes in the local elections," the official said. Commentator Liu Chun-yao said Mr Ma must prepare for an electoral setback for dropping the faction leaders who carry more weight in local constituencies. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Wind behind China in race for green jobs (SCMP)
2009-08-07
China is winning a global race to create "green collar" jobs, six months after countries worldwide launched US$500 billion in spending plans to drive a low-carbon economy. Following the economic downturn, both the United States and Europe aim to spur jobs in a green push to fight climate change and boost energy security, but China may leapfrog both goals this year in new wind power - a key measure. China passed the US in the number of new wind turbines built in the first half of this year, data from Beijing-based specialists Azure International showed, and it was also increasing its share of the main market for solar power, Europe. "I think China is definitely winning the race," Wu Changhua, China director of the London-based environment body The Climate Group, said. She cited support for low-carbon LED lighting and electric cars, as well as wind and solar power. "A low-carbon economy is mainstream thinking," she said, adding that mainland development was helped by swift centralised decision-making. […]. ^ top ^

Billions from stimulus tagged to cut emissions (China Daily)
2009-08-06
More than 15 percent of the country's 4-trillion-yuan (US$587 billion) stimulus package will be spent on cutting carbon emissions by the end of 2010, China's chief climate change negotiator said yesterday. China is trying to tackle global warming "both ambitiously and seriously", said Ambassador Yu Qingtai, the country's special representative for climate change negotiations. This is the first time the government has announced using funds for green initiatives from the stimulus package, which was unveiled last year. […] The share of stimulus investment going into fighting climate change is quite impressive, even compared with developed countries, according to Dennis Pamlin, the World Wildlife Fund's global policy adviser. Yu said some developed countries just "give lip service but no concrete actions" toward solving global warming; he urged those countries to reduce at least 40 percent of their carbon emissions by 2020 from the 1990s base. […]. ^ top ^

Job prospects still look grim, top official says (SCMP)
2009-08-05
A top mainland official said yesterday that unemployment was still grave despite signs of an economic recovery in the first half, a dip in the official tone from when the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security released its "better than expected" second-quarter jobs data on July 24. […] "China's employment situation is still grave and the pressure to create more jobs is still huge," he said. […] Mr Wang's gloomy view of the job market was excised from most state media websites, except the State Council Information Office's. […] Of about 148 million migrant workers now in urban areas, Mr Wang estimated that about 3 per cent had yet to land jobs - about 4 million. That estimation was much more positive than a previous one by top agricultural official Chen Xiwen, who estimated this year that up to 20 million migrant workers might not be able to find employment again after they lost their labour-intensive jobs in export-oriented factories in coastal areas. […]. ^ top ^

Parts greater than the GDP sum (SCMP)
2009-08-04
The total value of gross domestic product announced by the mainland's 31 provinces and municipalities is significantly higher than the national figure announced by the central government, putting the statistics' credibility in doubt. According to the figures provided by local governments in the past few days, the world's third-largest economy had an output of 15.38 trillion yuan (HK$17.45 trillion) in the first half of this year, significantly more than the figure of 13.99 trillion yuan released by the National Bureau of Statistics. All but seven governments reported a higher percentage increase in GDP than the national one. The inconsistencies once more raised concerns about the accuracy of mainland statistics; economists recently questioned mismatches in figures for power generation and economic growth and for personal income and fiscal revenue. Economists say flaws in data collection and calculation might exist but the greatest cause of inconsistency is the inflation of GDP figures at a time when the central government puts great emphasis on them in cadres' performance appraisals. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Clinton pressed Kim on fate of abductees (SCMP)
2009-08-07
The Japanese and South Korean governments have both said former US president Bill Clinton pressed Kim Jong-il for answers on the fate of their nationals captured by North Korea during his visit to the reclusive state to secure the release of two American journalists. The statements were a sign that Mr Clinton's trip on Wednesday had a wider diplomatic purpose than that reported by the White House, which has repeatedly stated that he was solely focused on winning the release of the two Americans, Laura Ling and Euna Lee. However, Mr Kim provided no answers as to what happened to the Japanese still missing since they were kidnapped in the 1970s and 80s to train the Stalinist country's spies, Japan's top government spokesman, Takeo Kawamura, said yesterday, citing unnamed US government sources. […] However, the North also reportedly remained silent on the fate of the squid fishing boat Yeonan and its four crew, which drifted into the North's east coast waters a week ago due to a malfunctioning navigation system. […]. ^ top ^

DPRK-China cooperation good: DPRK party chief (Xinhua)
2009-08-06
Pyongyang - Cooperation between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China remains good, the head of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) said Thursday. Choe Thae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK spoke during a meeting with a Communist Party of China (CPC) delegation in Pyongyang. Choe said he believed the "DPRK-China Friendly Year," initiated by the top leaders of both countries, would make ample achievements through mutual efforts. Luo Shugang, deputy head of the Department of Publicity of the CPC Central Committee, said it was the persistent stand of the CPC and Chinese government to consolidate and develop friendly China-DPRK cooperation. China will make efforts, along with the DPRK, to advance their bilateral ties, he said. The CPC delegation arrived at Pyongyang on Monday for a five-day goodwill visit. ^ top ^

Clinton made no apologies to Kim, says US (SCMP)
2009-08-06
Bill Clinton offered no apology for the conduct of the two journalists freed by North Korea, the White House has said. The Korean Central News Agency had said the country's leader, Kim Jong-il, agreed to pardon the reporters after Mr Clinton "expressed words of sincere apology" for their "hostile acts", a claim swiftly denied on Tuesday by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. Mr Gibbs reiterated yesterday that the former president had not carried a message from President Barack Obama to Mr Kim. "If there wasn't a message, there certainly couldn't have been an apology," he said. […] It remained unclear whether the trip by Mr Clinton, might offer the side-benefit of lowering tensions with North Korea over its nuclear programme. But his mission is likely to provide top US administration officials a rare first-hand account of the welfare of the ailing North Korean leader. Mr Gibbs had said the former president would brief Mr Obama's national security team on what transpired during his high-level meeting with Mr Kim as a private US envoy. […]. ^ top ^

N Korea made Bill Clinton's visit the condition for freeing reporters (SCMP)
2009-08-06
As Bill Clinton triumphantly returned to the US from North Korea yesterday after securing the release of two American journalists, it emerged that Pyongyang had specifically demanded the visit from the globe-trotting former president as the condition for freeing the women. […] American officials said the trip was conceived by North Korea, and conveyed by the imprisoned women to their families in a mid-July phone call. The women said North Korea would be prepared to pardon them only if Mr Clinton asked for their release in person, in Pyongyang. […] "During the course of these discussions, it was insisted the North Koreans acknowledge former president Clinton's visit was not any part of a negotiation, it was not in any way connected to the nuclear issue," another senior official said. US officials also briefed key allies on the purpose of the trip and discussed it with both Russia and China. ^ 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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