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
  7.9-11.9.09, No. 285  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Hopes high for improved ties with Tokyo (SCMP)
2009-09-11
[…] Many in China are looking for positive developments in Sino-Japanese relations under the new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, and his DPJ. The party broke the almost 50-year unbroken reign of the Liberal Democratic Party in a landside electoral victory on August 30. Given its friendlier approach towards China and different attitude to official visits at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the DPJ has already prompted goodwill in bilateral ties among many Chinese academics. Others are still wary that fundamental changes will be made in smoothing out the stumbling blocks. At a reception for a Japanese business delegation in Beijing on Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said China was ready to work closely with Japan's new cabinet. […] Hatoyama and his party have received positive reviews from Chinese media since the election for their friendlier attitude towards Beijing. He has promised to stay away from the shrine, where convicted criminals from the second world war are honoured, and which China regards as offensive. […] To Beijing's satisfaction, Hatoyama has also said China's rise would not pose a threat to the world. […] But there have been concerns that relations will not be free of friction, as the DPJ's position on border disputes, especially on the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, is less than friendly. Hatoyama is also said to have supported the Dalai Lama's activities. […]. ^ top ^

Top Chinese legislator meets U.S. president (Xinhua)
2009-09-11
Washington - Visiting top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo on Thursday met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, was the first top Chinese legislator that has visited the United States during the past two decades. Before meeting with Obama, Wu met U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. Wu will hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later in the day. On Wednesday, Wu met U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telling her that his visit aimed to promote further growth of the China-U.S. relationship, which is, in his words, one of the most important, dynamic and promising bilateral ties in the world. […]. ^ top ^

China, Pakistan service trade agreement to take effect next month (Xinhua)
2009-09-10
Beijing - The China and Pakistan free trade zone service trade agreement will take effect on Oct. 10, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Thursday. It indicated a free trade zone between China and Pakistan would be set up involving goods trade, service trade and investment, according to the MOC. The agreement was signed in February this year. Based on the commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO),Pakistan will open 102 sub-departments in 11 service departments and China will open 28 sub-departments in six service departments, according to the agreement. ^ top ^

Beijing threatens to boycott book fair if outspoken writer attends (SCMP)
2009-09-10
Beijing has vowed to boycott the Frankfurt Book Fair next month if activist Dai Qing attends a symposium this weekend in Germany. Dai, 68, a former journalist for the state-owned Guangming Daily who fiercely opposed the Three Gorges Dam project as well as being an activist for freedom of the press, said the General Administration of Press and Publication (Gapp) had rejected a formal invitation the event organiser sent two weeks ago. "The German organiser told me to collect the letter from the administration so that I could apply for a visa, but an official, via SMS, told me that he had returned the letter to Germany because I was not on the name list," Dai said, adding that the official did not explain what the list was. […] China is the guest of honour at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, which runs from October 14 to 18. According to the Gapp website, 17 mainland writers and their works will be promoted in the event, and 44 publishers will set up booths. Peter Ripken, project manager for the symposium, confirmed they were in a difficult situation, given that the mainland was strongly opposed to Dai's presence. "There are two elements: delicate and embarrassed," Ripken said. "The Chinese side did not like her and indicated it would withdraw all speakers and exhibitors [if Dai attended the forum], but they didn't explain why." […]. ^ top ^

Mandelson urges Beijing to step up global leadership role (SCMP)
2009-09-09
China must shoulder more leadership in restoring global economic growth and fighting climate change, British business secretary Peter Mandelson said, also pressing Beijing on human rights. In a speech in Beijing - Mandelson said an array of pressing international woes would be difficult to solve unless China gained more say - and used that say co-operatively. […] Mandelson cited that trade experience to press Beijing to shoulder greater economic influence - but also use it in ways that Western powers would welcome, especially in liberalising trade and expanding political rights. He linked rights improvements to the possibility of lifting a European Union embargo on weapons sales to China, imposed in 1989 after the June 4 crackdown. China has criticised the ban, but EU member states have disagreed on lifting it. […] There is no immediate prospect of the EU dropping the ban, but Mandelson's comments may stir discussion about the issue. ^ top ^

US firm to build vast solar array in China (SCMP)
2009-09-09
US energy giant First Solar yesterday won a deal to build the world's largest solar power plant in China, aimed at helping mitigate climate change concerns. First Solar said it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build in the vast desert north of the Great Wall. The project would eventually cover 64 square kilometres of Inner Mongolia - slightly larger than the size of Manhattan - with a sea of black, light-absorbing glass. The memorandum of understanding was inked with Chinese officials at the company's headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. […] The agreement outlined a long-term strategic partnership between First Solar and Ordos city, where First Solar would also consider a manufacturing investment, officials said. "Discussions with First Solar about building a factory in China demonstrate to investors in China that they can confidently invest in the most advanced technologies available," said Cao Zhichen, vice-mayor of Ordos municipal government. […]. ^ top ^

Indian Ambassador Sets Ambitious Goal for Ties (China Daily)
2009-09-07
China and India can develop a very "ambitious" relationship if the two giant neighbors work together to deal with challenges and issues between them, India's new ambassador to China told China Daily. In his first interview with Chinese media since taking office, S. Jaishankar also brushed aside media reports of conflict along the border as "sensational" and "alarmist". The ambassador said he is upbeat about the momentum in the development of Sino-Indian relations, describing it as a "very good story" characterized by booming trade, regular contacts between State leaders as well as rising interaction between the two peoples and even the armed forces of the two countries. […] The ambassador added that he did not want to define what specific progress he expected to see in bilateral ties because "I don't want to limit my ambitions". […] Despite the headway made in trade, he admits that there are challenges to be dealt with to take the current level of cooperation to a higher level. […] One of the biggest challenges, he said, is to improve understanding between the two peoples, which he said is not on par with the ever-closer links being forged between the two countries. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Top court to hear petitions on rulings (SCMP)
2009-09-11
A chink of light this week greeted petitioners - the desperate thousands who defy police and party to reach administrative centres and ultimately Beijing to get perceived wrongs righted. The Supreme People's Court announced it would hear petition cases concerning wrongful or unfair court judgments. Academic experts on the law and petitioning are unsure whether the development is a breakthrough for petitioners. But one said it might encourage some to resort to the legal system, rather than petitioning, to get their case heard. The central government has introduced various measures to ease the overburdened petitioning system. Police and officials are regularly accused of abusing the rights of petitioners - often as they try to stop them lodging their petition in Beijing - and there have been several mass protests by petitioners. […] The top court announced on Wednesday that it would create a special "acceptance court" to decide whether or not complaints against court judgments and "court-related petition cases" would be taken up by judges. The latter category for court cases is new. ^ top ^

First 'evidence' of needle attacks (SCMP)
2009-09-10
Beijing has begun to react to growing criticism of the government's version of reported attacks in Urumqi involving hypodermic needles and syringes, with Xinhua releasing photos it said showed victims of needle stabbings. The central government has also flown top security officials to Urumqi to investigate the reported attacks in the panic-stricken northwestern city. Overseas media have started to question the claim by the Xinjiang government that hundreds of people have fallen victim to such attacks, reporting that only dozens of people had shown physical signs of being stabbed with needles. But mainland analysts said the fear that has swept through the city of 2.3 million has underlined deep-rooted mistrust between Han Chinese and Uygurs, Xinjiang's most populous minority group, and the lack of transparency of government-controlled information. [….] One photo showed a patient with alleged needle injuries in the neck, and another showed doctors attending a boy who claimed to have been stabbed by needles. It was the first time that authorities had produced evidence, though indirect, of the attacks almost three weeks ago allegedly by Muslim Uygurs against Han Chinese. […] Analysts said the strict handling of information and ambiguous, and sometimes conflicting, state media reports had done little to ease widespread doubts over the official version of the needle attacks. […]. ^ top ^

Trade in fake banknotes spreads from Guangdong heartland (SCMP)
2009-09-10
Mainland police said the printing and distribution of fake banknotes was spreading from its traditional heartland of Guangdong to other parts of the country. A campaign launched in January saw raids in 1,807 cases involving printing and trading of counterfeit notes, and exposed 24 manufacturing locations. Fake notes worth 684 million yuan (HK$778 million) were confiscated, and more than 3,600 people arrested. The province accounted for more than half of the notes confiscated in the campaign. Zhang Tao, the Ministry of Public Security's deputy chief of commercial crime investigations, said: "Because Guangdong is a printing base, it also led to the growth of gangs selling fake notes, and many professional criminals come from Guangdong." Last month Guangdong police suggested the province might have played an even bigger part. They said 90 per cent of fake notes in circulation on the mainland - including two high-quality batches of fake 100 yuan notes beginning with serial numbers HD90 and HB90, which stirred panic when they were found in Hong Kong in January - originated in the province. However, Zhang said the amount flowing into Hong Kong had shown a substantial decline during the campaign. Co-operation between mainland police and officers in Hong Kong and Macau was strong. A worrying new trend discovered in the campaign was that the counterfeiters were spreading towards Anhui, Henan and Hunan for more production and distribution. […]. ^ top ^

Key personnel changes expected at party plenum (SCMP)
2009-09-09
Internal democracy and some high profile personnel changes are expected to be on the agenda when nearly 400 of the nation's most powerful officials converge on Beijing next week for the fourth plenum of the Communist Party's 17th Central Committee. The Politburo scheduled the dates yesterday "to discuss the work since the third plenum and study issues on strengthening and improving the party building under new circumstances", Xinhua reported. […] In the fourth plenum, many analysts have suggested that Vice-President Xi Jinping could be installed as vice-chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, which President Hu Jintao chairs. That would pave the way for Xi to succeed Hu as party boss in 2012 at the 18th National Congress and eventually as military chief several years later. [….] The Politburo said yesterday that the task of strengthening and improving "party building" was an important political task and party organs at all levels should take the issue seriously. "Party building" has been interpreted by political analysts as strengthening internal democracy to offer much-needed checks and balances to the party, which has ruled the country for 60 years with little outside resistance. […]. ^ top ^

18m fewer pupils by 2020, poll says (SCMP)
2009-09-09
The number of students requiring nine years of compulsory education on the mainland will fall by 18 million by 2020 as a result of the one-child population-control policy, a government think tank's study on the issue shows. The dramatic reduction meant that about a million primary and junior high school teachers would become redundant by then, said the study, 2009 Green Book: Population and Labour, compiled by a research team with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. But the report also said demand for high school and tertiary teachers would grow in the next 12 years - by 420,000 in high schools and one million in colleges and universities. […] The economic boom in recent decades has pushed more and more of them to attain higher levels of education. More than six million students were admitted into colleges and universities last year, compared with 200,000 in 1978, when paramount leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the resumption of national college enrolment examinations. […] The study shows that the unemployment rate for young people is 9.48 per cent, much higher than the 4.3 per cent urban unemployment in the first half of this year, recorded in the latest government data. ^ top ^

China to continue birth control policy: vice premier (Xinhua)
2009-09-08
Beijing - Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang stressed Monday the importance of continuing the family-planning policy and keeping a low fertility rate in order to ensure economic development and people's livelihood. "A large population and a weak economic base are the two main features of our country. The population issue is a major problem for the country's comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development," said Li at a meeting on the one-child policy held Tuesday. Li's remarks were published on Tuesday. […] Li, also member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, stressed that proper practice of the one-child policy was essential to ensure the economic development, people's livelihoods and social stability. […]. ^ top ^

Yunnan tourist area swept by unrest after policeman killed (SCMP)
2009-09-08
Hundreds of armed police were sent to Yunnan's Shangri-La tourist area after unrest triggered by the killing of a local police officer, a human rights watchdog said yesterday. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a drunken police officer was killed in a scuffle with people at a karaoke bar in Shangri-La county on August 28. […] The report said both Han and Tibetan suspects were arrested after the brawl, prompting violent clashes between family and friends of the victim and the suspects. Han and Tibetans fought on the same side. Nearly 1,000 armed police and 30 armoured vehicles were sent in afterwards to prevent any escalation of the violence. […] It was not immediately clear what happened in the Tibetan-inhabited areas, but the information centre reported that about 5,000 public security officers and specially trained forces from across the nation had been sent to several Tibetan-populated regions and provinces, including Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu. […]. ^ top ^

Riots on rise as cadres at fault, magazine says (SCMP)
2009-09-08
The number of so-called mass incidents - or riots - on the mainland, particularly those involving more than 500 people, rose in the first half of this year for the first time since 2005, the authoritative Outlook magazine reported yesterday. The report did not give specific figures, but comes amid heightened security in Xinjiang and measures to ensure Beijing is a fortress for National Day on October 1. The Xinhua-affiliated magazine said maintaining security was an unprecedented challenge this year as the economy slowed and the country went through a series of sensitive dates and anniversaries, adding that new strategies were required. A commonly cited figure for the number of riots in recent years is 80,000 a year, according to Chinese Academy of Science professor Yu Jianrong, a 10-fold jump from 1993. Uneven development and wealth distribution, the lagging behind of social services and corruption all led to a "multiplication of possible sparks for social unrest, and a lowering of the threshold for a spark to turn into a flame", the article said. Internationally, although the changing global decision-making process was generally working in China's favour, the challenges posed by different social systems and ideologies were actually increasing. Since last year and the Beijing Olympics, "maintaining security" has been the focus of the central and local governments and an excuse for a series of clampdowns on dissidents, NGOs and lawyers. But the number of riots has continued to rise and they have become more violent. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Provinces to help secure Beijing (SCMP)
2009-09-08
Beijing extended its security perimeter to six additional provinces and municipalities as the government stretched its resources and flexed its muscles to ensure nothing spoils its grand National Day parade on October 1. Senior leaders from Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Liaoning provinces, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities signed an agreement this weekend promising to use all their resources to provide "total security" for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic. Besides setting up checkpoints on all roads leading to Beijing and closely sharing security information, the six regions also agreed to launch pre-emptive campaigns to crack down on people perceived as posing security risks. In Beijing - three layers of security forces have been deployed across the city. […] News media have been ordered to trumpet achievements from the past six decades and avoid negative news in the build-up to the celebrations, which will feature a mass performance of up to 180,000 people and a hotly anticipated military parade. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

S China city launches pilot program to lessen gov't role (Xinhua)
2009-09-09
Beijing - Shenzhen city, the first special economic zone in south China's Guangdong province, has been slashed one third of government departments in an attempt to de-emphasize the role of government and move toward a more market-based society, China Daily reported Wednesday. Scholars say the new, leaner government model could serve as a pilot program for the rest of the country. "We want to change the scenario that the government has a finger in every pie," Li Feng, executive vice mayor of Shenzhen, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "The government now will not step into what is supposed to be market-oriented. The reform merged 46 departments into 31 by functions, which is far lower than the 40 set by the central government. […] In the new system, the government cancelled or transferred away194 approval rights, including the approvals for pilot projects that promote recycling, approvals of tax preferential status to medical organizations, and approvals for the suspension and resumption of business. These approvals account for nearly one third of the total approval rights, Li said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

HK remains third-best place to do business (SCMP)
2009-09-10
Hong Kong remains the world's third-most business-friendly place, but the city has been urged to improve its lengthy property registration process, which trails those of many developed economies. The World Bank and International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Doing Business 2010 report, which surveyed 183 economies from June last year to May, rated Hong Kong after Singapore and New Zealand in terms of ease of doing business. […] Hong Kong has vastly improved its handling of construction permits, rising from 20th place last year to the world's easiest place to obtain a construction permit this year. This came after it merged eight procedures into one and cut the process by 52 days. It rated second in terms of trading across borders, and third in enforcing contracts, protecting investors and paying taxes, the report said. Geoffrey Walton, the IFC's business line leader on the investment climate in East Asia and the Pacific, said Hong Kong had created a friendlier business environment despite the financial crisis. […] But he said it could improve property registration, the city's weakest area, which ranked 75th this year. […]. ^ top ^

Parties unite over beating of journalists (SCMP)
2009-09-10
City politicians from across the spectrum put on a rare show of unity yesterday in response to the beating of three Hong Kong journalists by police in Xinjiang last week. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong wrote to Vice-President Xi Jinping demanding an investigation, while the Liberal Party has demanded that Premier Wen Jiabao personally resolve the problem. The Democratic Party was staging an overnight protest outside the central government's liaison office. Local delegates to the National People's Congress have meanwhile questioned the Xinjiang government's stance on the journalists' treatment and a senior local Beijing adviser said he would take the matter up with colleagues. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said he had "reflected the strong concerns" expressed by the Hong Kong media over the incident to the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and to the Xinjiang authorities. […] Politicians of all stripes, and Beijing advisers, demanded a just and speedy resolution of the row over the journalists' treatment. […]. ^ top ^

League willing to compromise in push for reform (SCMP)
2009-09-09
The League of Social Democrats yesterday indicated that it was willing to compromise over constitutional reform, after the Civic Party announced a proposal which was close to the League's call for mass resignations designed to trigger a de facto referendum. The resignations idea is that a resulting by-election would measure popular demand for full reform. The Democratic Party also came under pressure to join in, with smaller pan-democratic groups saying that the recent unilateral floating of various strategies by the bigger parties might split the camp's unity. Legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung of the League welcomed the Civic Party's plan to adopt a "negotiation first, de facto referendum second and mass resignation final" strategy to push for universal suffrage. Saying that the League, with its three lawmakers, could not trigger a de facto referendum alone, Leung said that his party was "willing to compromise" in order to achieve unity among its allies. […] While still maintaining that their demands for universal suffrage should be introduced by 2012, big pan-democratic parties have said they were willing to discuss transition measures for the 2012 elections short of full democracy if the government would take a clear stance on how the chief executive and Legco will be elected under universal suffrage by 2017 and 2020 respectively. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Ma swears in new cabinet, hoping to regain popularity (SCMP)
2009-09-11
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has sworn in a new cabinet, a shuffle seen as an attempt to restore his faltering popularity and help the ruling party in the year-end local government polls. The 40-member cabinet, led by premier-designate Wu Den-yih, was officially formed yesterday, almost immediately after Liu Chao-shiuan and his cabinet bowed out to take the blame for the poor handling of the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot last month. […] But of the 40 cabinet members, only 11 are new, including Foreign Minister Timothy Yang Chin-tien, former envoy to Indonesia; Defence Minister General Kao Hua-chu, former head of the Vocational Commission for Retired Servicemen; Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang, a former economics vice-minister; and Interior Minister Jiang Yi-hua, former head of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission. Other key officials - including Mainland Affairs Council chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan and Finance Minister Lee Sush-der - remained unchanged. Analysts said it appeared Ma hoped to use Wu and Vice-Premier Eric Chu Li-luan to rebuild public trust in the government and deal with the year-end and future elections. […]. ^ top ^

Taipei eager to sign cross-strait financial services deal (SCMP)
2009-09-11
Taiwan said yesterday it expected to sign a financial services agreement with the mainland soon, but no timetable had been set and tough issues such as investing in each other's banks remained unresolved. […] "We have been hoping to sign the MOU as soon as possible, and it is likely that it can happen any time," Lu Ting-chieh, chief secretary of the island's Financial Supervisory Commission, said. "But how the wording will be worked out so that it is acceptable by both sides is something we are not sure about." Financial shares jumped more than 6 per cent in opening trade on the Taiwan stock market yesterday, to hit their highest level since early June, on hopes the MOU would be signed shortly. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing asks Taipei to help make war films glorifying KMT troops (SCMP)
2009-09-08
After years of playing the villain in mainland films and television dramas, Kuomintang soldiers are set to be portrayed as heroes who saved the nation from the imperial Japanese army and led China to the final victory. The mainland has approached Taiwan to jointly produce several films glorifying the heroic acts of KMT soldiers in China's epic struggle with Japanese invaders from 1937 to 1945, a Taiwanese newspaper has reported. […] Now with warming ties across the Taiwan Strait, Beijing is eager to stress common roots. A Beijing-based film company has proposed shooting two films with a Taiwanese company. […] Even though no Taiwanese film company has accepted the proposal yet, the idea was immediately picked up and endorsed by Beijing's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The administration's deputy director, Tian Jin, said it welcomed the proposal. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan not to bid for UN seat (China Daily)
2009-09-05
Taiwan will drop its annual bid to join the United Nations this time, the first time in 17 years, the island's "foreign ministry" said on Friday. Mainland experts saw the move as a sign of "diplomatic truce" that top leaders across the Straits have pushed for since Ma Ying-jeou took office in May last year. Taiwan failed in its previous 16 bids to join the UN because Beijing opposes the island's participation in any international body that requires statehood as a condition for membership. "We're not seeking UN membership this year," "foreign ministry" spokesman James Chang was quoted by Reuters as having said on Friday. "The decision is based on our consideration of the overall situation." A senior official from the island's "ministry" said the warming of cross-Straits ties is "a major reason" for dropping the bid this year. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Time not right to change stimulus policies, Wen says (SCMP)
2009-09-11
Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday that China would not change its economic stimulus policy since the country was at a critical stage in the process of recovery. Speaking at a meeting with World Bank president Robert Zoellick, the premier pledged that his government would continue to pursue proactive fiscal and moderately easy monetary policies. "We will not change the direction of our policy," Wen said. The world economy was showing signs of stabilising, but an all-round recovery would be a slow, difficult and complicated process, he said. It would require long-term, concerted efforts, Wen told the World Economic Forum in Dalian, a coastal city in the northeastern province of Liaoning. His comments came as former central bank adviser Li Yang warned at the same meeting that China's economic stimulus measures were losing steam. He called on the government to open the door wider for private investment in case the recovery grinds to a halt midway through. "The expansionary policies are losing their power to sustain further economic growth," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Minister points to signs of rebound in labour market (SCMP)
2009-09-10
The mainland lost as much as 8.1 per cent of its total number of jobs to the global financial crisis, but the labour market has been showing signs of a rebound, a top official said. Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin said the number of jobs created in the past three months was slightly more than those lost in the same period. […] Zhuang Jian, senior economist of the Asian Development Bank's mission in China, said Yin's remarks suggested that a huge number of jobs had been lost since October, consistent with the findings of a study by a government think tank. […] Based on the ministry's figures, Yin's remarks suggested "several dozen million" jobs had been lost, Zhuang said. Yin's comments on the improvement in the labour market were also consistent with the latest findings of a key gauge of economic activity. The employment sub-index of the purchasing managers' index rose in August, indicating companies were employing more people as the economy bounced back. Despite the rebound, Yin said there were 5 per cent fewer jobs available for migrant workers than in August last year. He admitted the overall job situation was "grave", despite reports that some companies were having trouble finding enough workers in coastal areas. […]. ^ top ^

China pledges more financial support for outsourcing industry (Xinhua)
2009-09-09
Beijing - The Chinese government has pledged more aid from the country's financial institutions to boost its outsourcing industry, a circular on the web site of the country's central bank said Wednesday. The circular asked banks to develop more policies and credit products tailored to the outsourcing business, especially for firms in the 20 pilot cities for the industry including Beijing - Tianjin, Chongqing and Shanghai. Insurance companies were also ordered to improve policies and create more insurance products for outsourcing firms. Outsourcing companies were encouraged to go listed in equity markets both at home and abroad to raise fund to increase their competitiveness. […] The statement was jointly issued by the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Commerce, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. […]. ^ top ^

China to allow foreign-invested companies to list: commerce minister (Xinhua)
2009-09-08
Xiamen - China will gradually reduce limits on equity stake proportion in investment from overseas companies, allowing qualified foreign-invested enterprises to list in the country's stock market, Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce, said Tuesday. The move aims at expanding cooperation fields between China and foreign countries, innovating investment avenues and optimizing foreign investment structures, Chen said at the 13th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen, southeastern Fujian Province without saying when it will take effect. […] China will promote the opening-up of the service industry and speed up the construction of economic and technological development zones, in a bid to enhance mutual investment and contribute a dynamic force to the shrinking global economy, said Chen. It will encourage foreign companies to develop high technology industry, promote outsourcing industry, and support investment in clean technology, energy saving and environmental protection industry. The country will also create a convenient law and policy environment in mutual investment, gradually granting foreign-funded enterprises the same treatment as their Chinese counterparts, Chen said. […]. ^ top ^

New department to develop bigger role for the yuan (SCMP)
2009-09-07
A new department will be set up under the central bank to oversee the recently developed pilot scheme to use the yuan for trade settlement between Hong Kong and a handful of selected mainland cities, according to a government economist who has been briefed on the plan. The Second Monetary Policy Department would also be expected to deal with a wide range of business issues concerning the yuan's use in international trade, investment, currency swap programmes with other countries and foreign aid, the economist said. The new department, with People's Bank of China vice-governor Hu Xiaolian at the helm to oversee monetary policy, is a key part of Beijing's long-term strategy to internationalise the yuan as China pushes to gain a bigger say in the world's currency system. The Second Monetary Policy Department is designed to be distinguished from the current Monetary Policy Department, which has focused on the yuan's domestic use and proposes monetary policy to the central bank's leaders. […]. ^ top ^

China adjusts import tariffs policy to encourage innovation (Xinhua)
2009-09-04
Beijing - China's government is adjusting its policies on imported technological equipment with the purpose of boosting domestic innovation and greater industrial restructuring and upgrading. Key components and raw materials imported by domestic enterprises for manufacturing major technological equipment and products are exempted from import tariffs and value-added tax (VAT) as of July 1 this year, according to a joint communique issued by the Ministry of Finance and five other ministries Friday. Tariff exemption for imported complete set of machinery and equipment will be revoked, according to the communique. To ensure smooth transition, preferential policies for items which currently can not be wholly supplied domestically, if it is proved so after examination, will be phased out gradually. Major State-backed key technological equipment includes clean energy power generating systems and nuclear power generating units of above a million kilowatts. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

First flu shots for October 1 parades (SCMP)
2009-09-09
About 200,000 participants in celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China would be the first to receive the swine flu vaccine, Health Minister Chen Zhu said yesterday. China would be the first country in the world to have mass inoculations for the disease and the programme would start in the coming weeks. Besides the 200,000 participants in the celebrations on October 1 - which would consist of a military parade, a mass pageant and a gala - four groups of people would get priority in the programme, Chen said yesterday. The first would be students aged five to 19, especially middle-school students. The second group would comprise patients, especially those with chronic respiratory and coronary diseases, and pregnant women. The third group would be medical staff, and fourth would comprise police officers, soldiers, quarantine officials and railway, airline and border-control workers. […] Beijing plans to vaccinate 65 million people, which is only 5 per cent of the total population, before the end of the year. The first critical case of swine flu on the mainland was reported on August 13 in Guangdong. Similar cases emerged in Shanghai and Zhejiang province. […]. ^ top ^

Swine flu now a holiday priority (SCMP)
2009-09-08
With all 31 provinces, regions and municipalities on the mainland reporting swine flu cases, health authorities are promising to strengthen the prevention and control of the disease in the run-up to the National Day celebrations. According to a statement released after a State Council meeting chaired yesterday by Premier Wen Jiabao, any schools will be closed immediately when a case of swine flu is confirmed there. The Health Ministry announced yesterday that every provincial-level jurisdiction had confirmed swine flu cases. […] The number of swine flu cases has been rising since the autumn semester began across the mainland last Tuesday. […] The State Council urged railway and aviation departments to improve their emergency plans in preparation for any possible epidemic outbreak in crowded situations during the coming National Day holiday, which, as a "golden week", extends over the first week of October. By last Friday night, 4,415 cases of (A)H1N1 flu had been reported on the mainland, of which 3,577 had recovered. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Seoul rejects Pyongyang's explanation on flooding (SCMP)
2009-09-09
South Korea has rejected North Korea's explanation for a sudden release of dam water, saying Pyongyang should clarify more thoroughly and apologise for flooding that left six South Koreans dead or missing. The North said it urgently had to release dammed water to a river flowing across the border between Saturday night and Sunday morning because the water level was too high. The release caused the Imjin River's level to double on Sunday, sweeping away six South Koreans camping and fishing near the border. Chun Hae-sung, a spokesman for the South Korean Unification Ministry, said yesterday: "North Korea's message is not the level we can understand and we think it is very regrettable because it did not have any mention of our human casualties." […] Seoul's Defence Ministry, however, said on Monday that there were no immediate signs the water release was meant as an attack. The North Korean message was unexpectedly quick, coming only about six hours after the South sent a message seeking explanation for the flooding. The North also said it would warn its neighbour of similar releases in the future, and Chun said Seoul would consider talks with Pyongyang to prevent similar incidents. Although technically still at war since the 1950s, relations blossomed under a "sunshine policy" espoused by two liberal South Korean administrations, but went cold after the election of conservative President Lee Myung-bak 18 months ago. […]. ^ top ^

China reaffirms dialogue after DPRK's uranium claim (Xinhua)
2009-09-08
Beijing - China on Tuesday urged related nations to stick to dialogue when dealing with the Korean nuclear issue. "We would like to make joint efforts with all relevant parties to bring the Korean nuclear issue back on the track of dialogue at an early date," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told the regular press briefing. Jiang made the call when asked to comment on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s latest claim about its nuclear weapons program. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Three major political parties to support democratic party for Chingeltei seat (UB Post)
2009-09-08
[…[ Civil Will Party, Civil Alliance and Green Party on Monday announced that they will support Democratic Party at the by election to be held on October 18 on the 24th electoral district of Parliament to fill empty seat left by Ts. Elbegdorj, who sworn in as the President of Mongolia in June. Last week Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), United Conservative Party and Democratic Party stated that they would run for the election. So far no other candidates are known by political parties except Kh. Bat-Yalalt, a popular civil movement activist, who will run as an independent candidate. MPRP is expected to name its candidate by its party conference to be held on September 25. Democratic Party last week named four potential candidates for the by-election. […]. ^ top ^

World Bank worried over rolling fiscal deficit in Mongolia (www.news.mn)
2009-09-08
The World Bank's Mongolia monthly economic update for August says the external shock due to the collapse of the copper price last year hit Mongolia harder than other copper producers, because of the country's particular combination of expansive fiscal and monetary policies, a fixed exchange rate and an overheated financial sector at the time of the copper price collapse. The Government's initial slow and inappropriate response led to a period of macroeconomic instability around the end of the year. However, the Government took strong policy actions at the beginning of 2009 to address the crisis. Based on the commitment shown by these actions, the country subsequently benefited from substantial financial assistance from its key development partners (IMF, ADB, Japan and the World Bank).The latest developments show that the fiscal balance remains under pressure, as revenues continue to drop, due to the slowdown in growth, consumption, imports and commodity prices, whereas public expenditures remain constant, leading to a 12-month rolling fiscal deficit of 9.8 percent of GDP in July. The 12-month rolling trade deficit has narrowed to $0.6 billion in July, after peaking at $1 billion in February. This narrowing is caused by the economic downturn, which has seen imports (mainly industrial goods) drop faster than exports (mainly copper and gold). […]. ^ top ^

Demberel suggests development of border regions to Russian leader (Montsame)
2009-09-06
Parliament Speaker D. Demberel held talks with S.M.Mironov, Chairman of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly (FCFA) of the Russian Federation, yesterday. […] The Speaker drew the attention of Mironov to the necessity to develop the border regions and proposed setting up an economic free-zone near the border, to expand border ports and to enhance their economic activity. He requested Russian support for an intergovernmental agreement on preferential trade terms to increase turnover. The Speaker urged Russia to reduce its oil export tax and also pleaded for a loan on favourable terms. He also pressed for more Russian import of meat and meat products from Mongolia, and for Russian help in preventing diseases among livestock.Demberel said a decision on augmenting the authorized capital of the Ulaanbaatar Railways Joint Venture was urgently required. […] The Speaker hoped the Russian side will share with Mongolia findings of recent research and reports on uranium reserves and exploration in Mongolia. […]. ^ 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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