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
  14.9-18.9.09, No. 286  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Pentagon's renewed 'China threat' blasted (Global Times)
2009-09-18
The Ministry of National Defense Thursday refuted a US claim that it has identified "new threats" from China to "undermine" its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, calling a speech by Defense Secretary Robert Gates irresponsible and groundless. "We demand the US respect facts, take concrete measures to correct its wrong remarks and stop misleading the press, as well as to halt the behavior that damages ties between the two nations' armies," said Hu Changming, a ministry spokesman Thursday. "China has always been pursuing a defensive national security policy," he said. "We will resolutely keep our commitment to peace and development." The US military took a step further Wednesday in displaying its anxiety and distrust toward China's armed forces, a day after the release of an intelligence report that warned of Beijing's military modernization. "In fact, when considering the military-modernization programs of countries like China, we should be concerned less with their potential ability to challenge the US symmetrically-fighter to fighter or ship to ship-and more with their ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options," Gates said in a speech to the Air Force Association. "Investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare, anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, and ballistic missiles could threaten America's primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific – in particular our forward air bases and carrier strike groups," Gates said. […]. ^ top ^

Uygur activist barred from South Korea (SCMP)
2009-09-18
South Korea has barred a leading Uygur activist from entering the country to attend a democracy forum and is detaining him at the main airport, organisers said yesterday. Dolkun Isa, secretary general of the World Uygur Congress, has been held at Incheon airport since Tuesday night, according to the World Forum for Democratisation in Asia. Bo Tedards, an organiser of the three-day event that began in Seoul on Wednesday, said he suspected pressure from Beijing had prompted the ban on Isa. […] South Korea's justice ministry refused to comment on the case or even confirm it was detaining Isa. […]. ^ top ^

Venezuela, China ink $16b oil deal (China Daily)
2009-09-18
China and Venezuela have signed a $16-billion investment deal to raise oil output in the South American country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday. Chavez said the investment by China, spread over three years, would go toward developing heavy oil resources in the Orinoco River belt. The move comes shortly after Venezuela signed a similar agreement with Russia estimated at $20 billion. […] China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's largest oil and gas producer, is now participating in the development of heavy oil resources in the Orinoco belt. […]. ^ top ^

Report says rich nations must pay for gases battle (SCMP)
2009-09-17
China needs huge flows of investment in clean technology to maintain hope of keeping greenhouse-gas emissions below levels that could help push the planet deep into dangerous global warming, a Beijing energy think tank has said. The mainland is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from fossil fuels, and its Energy Research Institute says in a new study that with enough money and the right policies, emissions could peak around 2030-35 and then by 2050 fall to the same level as 2005. Such steps would help the world avoid greenhouse-gas concentrations likely to stoke worsening droughts, floods and sea-level rises caused by these gases retaining increasing heat in the atmosphere. But the institute, which advises energy and climate-change policymakers, said such an undertaking would come with a big bill, one that it said rich nations should help pay. […]. ^ top ^

Hu will announce new climate measures during visit to the US (SCMP)
2009-09-16
[…] Hu's September 21-25 visit comes as the countries' bilateral ties are tested by trade disputes and a possible meeting between US president Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama. […] In New York, Hu will unveil China's new climate change initiatives while delivering a speech at the UN's Summit on Climate Change, said Xie Zhenhua, a vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission. Xie declined to reveal what the new measures would be, but said China would enhance its policies. At the G20 summit, Hu would call on other countries to keep rising trade protectionism in check, He Yafei, a vice-minister for foreign affairs, said. […] The vice-minister would not comment on whether the tariff issue would affect talks between the two leaders, but warned that the tyre tariff would hurt Sino-US trade and damage both countries' interests. [….] But yesterday Guo Qingping, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, said Beijing was being cautious about internationalising the yuan. "Whether a currency becomes an international currency is determined by the market, not by a government," Guo said. ^ top ^

China wants WTO talks on US tariffs (China Daily)
2009-09-15
The government Monday filed a formal request for consultations with the United States under the World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism over steep US tariffs imposed on Chinese tires. The two countries will have 60 days to try to resolve the dispute through consultations, according to the WTO's dispute settlement system. If consultations fail, China can request a WTO panel to investigate and rule on the case."China believes that the measure by the US, which runs counter to relevant WTO rules, is a wrong practice abusing trade remedies," the Chinese mission to the Geneva-based body said in a statement. […] Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian on Monday said that China hopes all sides will understand its determination to firmly fight against trade protectionism in a bid to safeguard the multilateral trading system and its intention to jointly seek global economic recovery. […]. ^ top ^

China, EU agree to strengthen cooperation through talks (Xinhua)
2009-09-13
Rome - China and EU agreed here Sunday to continue their dialogue in order to strengthen the important cooperation with each other. Hua Jianmin, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's legislature, met with President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek in Rome, before attending a summit for parliament speakers of the Group of Eight (G8) and emerging economies on behalf of top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo. […] Hua believed that the two sides should continue enhancing Sino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in order to have a better communication and cooperation in the international financial crisis, climate change and other aspects. Busek said that the relation with China is very important for the EU, and the European Parliament wants to engage in frank dialogue with the NPC to promote Sino-EU cooperation in all fields. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Four syringe attackers jailed up to 15 years (SCMP)
2009-09-18
Four Uygur men were sentenced to between eight and 15 years in prison for stabbing a Han Chinese woman in the neck with a syringe in the capital of Xinjiang. The case is the third to be brought to court as authorities attempt to calm a city-wide panic over syringe attacks, which led to protests demanding the ousting of the region's top official for failing to guarantee the security of Han Chinese. […] Six foreign reporters were invited to watch yesterday's trial via video link from a separate room. […] On Wednesday, Xinjiang police said they had detained six suspects for making more than 20 bombs. The Ministry of Public Security said the bombs and piles of materials needed to make more explosives were found in three sites on the outskirts of Aksu, 700 kilometres southwest of Urumqi. The suspects had assembled the bombs for suicide attacks, it said. […]. ^ top ^

Wide coverage as Wen meets Uygur (SCMP)
2009-09-18
Mainland media yesterday showed Premier Wen Jiabao in his office greeting and hugging a Uygur farmer, marking the first occasion he has publicly addressed the topic of the deadly riots that erupted in Xinjiang in July. The meeting was viewed by some as a carefully staged gesture to show the Uygur minority in the restive autonomous region that top state leaders care about their well-being, although some Han Chinese said Wen had deeply offended them. […] Dawut was invited to the Zhongnanhai compound in downtown Beijing to see Wen on Monday afternoon, shortly after Dawut was honoured at the Great Hall of People as one of 100 people who had inspired the nation since its founding in 1949. The honour came to Dawut partly because of his heroism in saving his neighbours during an earthquake in Xinjiang in 2003. […] The news of the meeting appeared to be well received in Xinjiang. […] But some Han in Xinjiang said the premier had rewarded troublemakers and hurt victims' feelings. ^ top ^

Six suspects 'planning suicide attacks' detained (SCMP)
2009-09-17
Security forces in Xinjiang have detained six suspects police say made more than 20 bombs and were planning to carry out suicide terrorist attacks. The detentions were the latest development during a tense time in the far western region. Regional authorities have claimed that recent attacks using syringes are part of a bigger plot by separatists to create friction between ethnic groups and fear among the people - with the goal of separating Xinjiang from the rest of China. A statement on the website of the Ministry of Public Security yesterday said Xinjiang police arrested the suspects and found the bombs and piles of materials and devices needed to make more explosives in three sites on the outskirts of Aksu, 700 kilometres southwest of the regional capital Urumqi. The suspects set up the makeshift bomb-making locations after the July 5 riot in Urumqi and that they assembled 20 bombs to carry out suicide attacks by planting them on motorcycles, cars or people, it said. The police were credited with preventing attacks with timely actions. […]. ^ top ^

Xi'an feels tension from needle scares (SCMP)
2009-09-17
As the gateway linking China's central and coastal areas with the west, Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, has always been quick to import or export things, good or bad, from Xinjiang and Gansu. So when the news emerged last week that hypodermic needle attacks - which had been reported in Xinjiang - had occurred in Xi'an, many citizens were frightened. Then city police on Sunday arrested a suspect who had attacked a woman with a sharp object on the street, but the investigation revealed that the suspect was a local native. […] Police reported other needle and similar types of attacks but said no body wounds were apparent on the victims. About 2,400 police officers have been deployed to patrol the city's public transport and crowded places to ensure a safe National Day holiday. ^ top ^

Church destroyed, rights group claims (SCMP)
2009-09-17
Hundreds of people have destroyed a church and beaten parishioners in the northern province of Shanxi, according to a church member and a rights group. An official said the building was not a place of worship. About 400 people wearing police uniforms destroyed a church complex in Shanxi's Fushan county on Sunday, striking several worshippers, some of whom were sent to hospital, rights group ChinaAid said yesterday. A female parishioner, who refused to be named, said seven people remained in hospital. […] An official at the Fushan county government, who also refused to give his name, said an illegal structure was demolished, but denied it was a church or that any violence had taken place. "That was an action led by the construction department and the land department," he said. "The building was illegal, without a land certificate or construction design, and the government had talked to them several times before it was pulled down on September 13." […] A statement on the Fushan church's website said several buildings had been bulldozed and the complex looted, with Bibles, phones and money stolen. […]. ^ top ^

Ruling party mulls wider direct election (Global Times)
2009-09-16
[…] Some political analysts downplayed the possibility of a major policy shift at the fourth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the CPC, but they expected the meeting to sort out ways to fine-tune current practices of party-building. The CPC central authority has solicited public opinion for a draft decision with a theme of "strengthening and improving party-building," which will be deliberated at the annual session, Xinhua reported. The four-day session will also hear the work report of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the Party's top decision-making body. The CPC is at a critical stage for further changes 60 years after coming to power, Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, told the Global Times. "The Party has undergone a transformation in terms of its mission, as its priority has long switched from revolution to economic development," Zhang said, adding that corresponding changes in leadership and methods were a given. […] As initiated during the 16th CPC National Congress in 2002, the CPC has been trying to improve democracy within its own system by increasing transparency in Party affairs and encouraging participation in the decision-making process. Direct election, instead of assigning officials from top to bottom, is one of the Party's efforts. A pilot program of direct elections at the grassroots level, initiated in 2004 by the Communist Party committees of a chosen neighborhood in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, was expanded earlier this year to 363 urban neighborhoods there, covering almost half of the city population, according to a Xinhua report last week. […]. ^ top ^

Schools remove Green Dam filter (SCMP)
2009-09-16
Schools in Beijing are quietly removing the Green Dam filter, which has been required for all school computers since July, due to complaints over problems with the software. The central government last month backed down on a plan to preinstall the internet filter software on all new computers sold after July 1, after an international and domestic outcry. But schools were still ordered by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to install the web filter, which officials said would block pornography and other unsuitable content. […] "We have received many complaints from schools about the problems in the software," an official at the Chongwen District Education Commission, which is in charge of the school, said. "It is really a contradictory situation for us," the official added, saying the commission was caught between central authorities' directions to install the software and the complaints from schools. […] This month, newspapers reported that the Beijing Education Commission had agreed to let schools uninstall Green Dam. ^ top ^

New centre in Hainan to help space industry soar (SCMP)
2009-09-15
China launched the construction of a new space centre yesterday in Wenchang, Hainan, as part of a campaign to challenge the dominance of the US and Russia from both a space and a business standpoint. A launch site at low latitude is a must if China is to expand its presence in space, as part of its strategy to provide a lower-cost option to countries and businesses seeking to launch satellites. What is more, officials claim that when the centre is completed in 2013, it will be the biggest, most accessible and environmentally friendly space facility in the country. "This launch centre is completely different from the others," said Professor Wang Xudong, a retired senior satellite designer on the mainland. […] "Wenchang is built for civilians. You can get close, really close, to watch the take-offs." […] The gist of the Chinese space programme is a space station. It is to begin as a small space laboratory and gradually grow into a full-size, multifunctional outpost run by Chinese astronauts. While no other country - not even the US - has a space station or is even planning one, China intends to have one before 2030. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing extends blacklist of graft offenders (SCMP)
2009-09-14
The Supreme People's Procuratorate has widened its national blacklist of people and companies convicted of bribery from those in five economic sectors to complete coverage. The move is aimed at fixing loopholes in the mainland's corruption-prone market system. The blacklist, which has been compiled for the last three years, had, until it was extended on September 1, recorded bribery convictions only against people and companies in the construction, finance, medical care, education and government procurement sectors, the People's Daily reported yesterday. The amendment was intended to up the ante in the war against graft and sound a warning bell to potential bribe-givers, it said. Ren Jianmin, a professor of law at Tsinghua University said the move was a step forward in addressing rampant corruption. "With a larger scope, officials who have been caught trying to pay for a promotion could now be added to this blacklist," Ren said. […] However, Ren said the amendment failed to address the other side of the issue - the taking of bribes. "In many cases, bribe-receivers hint or even ask for bribes, but obviously the procuratorate does not want to tackle the issue at this time," Ren said. […]. ^ top ^

Number of people displaced by Three Gorges Dam put at 1.27m (SCMP)
2009-09-14
The final tally of people who have had to move to make way for the controversial Three Gorges Dam is about 1.27 million, state media reported yesterday. The final figure, as of the end of June, was given by a dam construction official quoted by Xinhua. […] Lu Chun, deputy director of the Three Gorges Dam Office, which is under the administration of the State Council, said nearly 50 million square metres of homes had been built to accommodate those dislocated by the dam's construction. He said his office had provided housing for more than 96 per cent of those affected. Critics of the dam have long alleged massive corruption in the resettlement programme, while villagers forced from their homes have complained that they were denied promised job retraining and resettlement funds. […] Meanwhile, Beijing is beefing up security around the dam area ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. It has ordered that all ships must have security certificates and be checked before being allowed through. ^ top ^

Senior leader says China faces "grave" stability task (Xinhua)
2009-09-13
Beijing - A senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Saturday urged concrete measures to maintain stability, which he described as an "arduous" task. Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, made the remarks at a meeting after hearing reports on the preparation for the security during the National Day holiday and the situations in the country's far western Xinjiang and Tibet. "While on the whole the social situation is stable, the country now faces grave challenges in maintaining stability, and the task is arduous," Zhou said. Currently, the overwhelming political task is to maintain the stability of the capital, said Zhou. […] Describing the security campaign as a "people's war", Zhou urged the capital's neighboring areas to strengthen security check and stamp out any factors that might harm stability outside Beijing "with utmost efforts." […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

As Expo looms, officials battle local dialect again (SCMP)
2009-09-16
Shanghai authorities have launched a week of events aimed at stamping out what they see as an obstacle to good public communication - the local dialect. The Putonghua Promotional Week is the city's 12th annual push to boost the use of standard Chinese, but it comes at a crucial time, as the city is gearing up for its biggest-ever influx of visitors. […] At the opening ceremony for the week-long Putonghua campaign, the municipal government also launched an online portal to allow residents to point out public notices that use incorrect or non-standard Chinese or English - another sign of their keenness to purge the city of linguistic faux pas ahead of the Expo. The Putonghua week ties in with a nationwide drive, but follows a series of long-running TV and radio adverts in recent months that portray the Shanghainese dialect as being uncivilised or backward, and unfit for public use. Their tone is similar to other government adverts trying to stamp out habits such as littering and the wearing of pyjamas in the street. But the campaign has so far been only partially successful. Indigenous Shanghai locals continue to express pride in their language, a subset of the Wu group of dialects spoken across the Yangtze River Delta area, which sounds almost unintelligible to most outsiders. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen begins push to increase transparency (SCMP)
2009-09-16
When it comes to freedom of the press, the mainland has a poor record overall by Western standards, but Shenzhen authorities announced yesterday a new initiative to enhance government transparency, saying that officials who violated it could face Communist Party disciplinary action or lose their jobs. The latest regulation will require officials to give notice of any potential public emergency within two hours of the government launching its crisis management mechanism. "From December 1, any department heads of the Shenzhen government must not refuse or obstruct reporters' interviews over major policy changes, government work, disasters and emergencies, or they will need to account for dereliction of duty," Xinhua said, quoting the new regulation. Authorities said they would evaluate propaganda officials' work and promise to investigate complaints filed by the media and members of the public. […] Mainland media organs are not allowed to dictate government transparency, and it is propaganda officials who often censor negative news. ^ top ^

Notorious drug kingpin executed for trafficking (SCMP)
2009-09-16
One of the mainland's most notorious drug kingpins was executed yesterday for manufacturing, trafficking and dealing Ice, Xinhua reported. Liu Zhaohua was sentenced to death on June 26, 2006 - International Anti-Drug Day - by Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court for making 18 tonnes of methamphetamine. The judge was quoted by the Guangzhou-based Information Times, as saying the Ice Liu alone had made, worth more than US$5.5 billion, had outweighed the total quantity of the drug seized worldwide that year. […] The Supreme People's Court gave its final approval for the death penalty before Liu was executed, a step required by law. […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

NPC delegate defends beating of journalists during Xinjiang chaos (SCMP)
2009-09-18
A senior Hong Kong member of the National People's Congress has defended the Xinjiang armed police's use of force on city journalists, saying the officers were under pressure and Hongkongers should wait patiently for Beijing to handle the matter after National Day. Deputy convenor Maria Tam Wai-chu was speaking after a meeting of the delegation at the central government's liaison office yesterday. The delegates would not make a joint statement about the incident. […] Meanwhile, a poll has indicated more than half the public believe the news media is censoring itself. […] Pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said the increase stemmed from an impression of the media's "hesitation to criticise the central government, but not so the Hong Kong government". Fifty-nine per cent said the media had reservations about criticising Beijing - but only 27 per cent said the media had such reservations about the city's government. ^ top ^

Boycott of legal-aid cases may widen (SCMP)
2009-09-17
Lawyers yesterday sent a joint letter to the secretary for home affairs, Tsang Tak-sing, warning that they might stop taking on legal-aid cases. The letter is part of the Law Society's protest against the pay scheme for lawyers on criminal legal-aid cases, which they say has needed an overhaul for more than a decade. It says the fees hardly cover expenses. Twelve members of the society's criminal law and procedure committee will boycott cases next month. "The impact on the public will be minimal," society president Wong Kwai-huen said, adding the 12 each take on four or five legal-aid cases a year. "What will impact on the public more is if lawyers stop taking on criminal legal-aid cases [altogether]." However, the government yesterday gave no indication it would improve on reforms suggested this year. […] Wong stressed that the dispute was not over fees, but the resources available for lawyers to prepare cases. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Zhuhai and Macau reveal grand plan for the island they will run (SCMP)
2009-09-16
A more detailed blueprint for the island, Hengqin, that will be jointly developed by Zhuhai and Macau, was revealed by Zhuhai authorities yesterday, targeting a gross domestic product of 56 billion yuan (HK$63.5 billion) by 2020. The scale of that ambition is apparent when it is considered that the bleak 106 sq km island has only 4,000 residents and recorded a meagre GDP of 128 million yuan last year. Mainland authorities had discussed its development a decade ago but it had been delayed because of the difference in political and legal systems. Zhuhai mayor Zhong Shijian said the island had been divided into different areas for development and that the blueprint included one sq km for a new campus of the University of Macau. Authorities said the island, part of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone, would also pilot co-operation projects with Macau in customs, financial and revenue systems and land management […] An expert who jointly drafted the Hengqin blueprint said that only enhancing cross-border co-operation could boost development in Zhuhai and Macau. "Neither Macau nor Zhuhai can be the big brother on the west coast of the Pearl River Delta," the expert was quoted as saying by 21st Century Economic Report. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chen to remain in detention pending appeal (SCMP)
2009-09-17
Taiwan's jailed former president Chen Shui-bian has suffered another setback, with his request to be freed on bail denied for a fifth time. Chen has been sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption - pending an appeal - along with his wife, Wu Shu-chen. He would remain at Taipei Detention Centre for two more months if the Taiwan High Court did not reverse the ruling, Taipei District Court spokesman Huang Chun-ming said yesterday. "We rejected his latest request on the grounds that he could flee, use his influence to interfere in the judiciary proceedings and collude with others in destroying evidence if freed." Chen, who has been held since December 30, sought bail last week, with his current two-month detention period due to expire on September 25. He has applied to be freed from detention at the end of each two-month period. […] Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, said: "The DPP demands that the ex-president is swiftly released so that he is able to defend himself freely." She urged the Council of Grand Justice to look into his detention, saying it violated judicial principle. ^ top ^

'Taiwan compatriots' may attend National Day (SCMP)
2009-09-17
Beijing plans to highlight improving relations with Taiwan during festivities marking the 60th National Day on October 1, state media reported yesterday. Beijing plans to invite some "Taiwan compatriots" to attend the celebrations, a spokesman with the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Relations have improved dramatically since Ma Ying-jeou won the presidency in Taiwan. The spokesman, Yang Yi, said China had made "enormous achievements in the work involving Taiwan affairs since 1949". "So it's reasonable to include such achievements in the National Day celebrations," he was quoted as saying, but details were "under negotiation". Washington said that the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, would represent President Barack Obama's administration. ^ top ^

Spokesman: Mainland resolutely opposes Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan (Xinhua)
2009-09-16
Beijing - The Chinese mainland Wednesday expressed once again its resolute opposition to the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan. "We resolutely oppose the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan in any form and in any status," Yang Yi, State Council Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman, told a press conference here. Yang said that the recent visit of the Dalai Lama to the island at the invitation of some members of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had hurt cross-Straits relations and incurred public opposition and condemnation in Taiwan. He said the mainland would "respond positively" to the DPP as long as the latter give up its pro-independence stance. […] When responding to a reporter's question if the allegedly scheduled showing of a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer in the upcoming Kaohsiung Film Festival would cause any damage to cross-Straits relations, Yang said the mainland wishes to see no more incidents that would harm the peaceful development of relations. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Obama's 'middle way' on Tibet angers activists (SCMP)
2009-09-16
US President Barack Obama has pledged support for the Dalai Lama but will probably not meet him during his visit to Washington, taking his own "middle way" and angering some Tibet activists. A White House delegation including Valerie Jarrett, Obama's close Chicago friend and adviser, met Tibet's spiritual leader on Monday in his home in the northern Indian centre of Dharamsala. Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said that Jarrett conveyed Obama's "respect" for the Nobel Peace laureate. […] Meanwhile, Beijing yesterday issued a veiled warning against a possible meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, who is regarded by China as a "splittist" seeking independence for Tibet. […] Some activists voiced dismay at the Dalai Lama visiting Washington without meeting Obama. He has met every US president since George Bush in 1991. "If Obama somehow shrugs off this meeting, it gives a very clear indication to China that the US is bending down," said Tsering Palden, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress activist group's branch in New York. But Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet, said Obama was likely to meet the Tibetan leader before the end of the year. She said Obama, who met the Dalai Lama as a senator, and Dharamsala made a "strategic" decision to wait until after Obama's first presidential trip to Beijing. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Global Investors' Faith in China Swells (China Daily)
2009-09-18
China's charm for foreign investors has not waned despite the global credit crunch that dampened investors worldwide, according to a UN report on trends in foreign direct investment. The economically recovering nation also capitalized on the financial crisis by buying cheap overseas assets, according to the World Investment Report 2009 released yesterday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. China is reportedly poised to join the list of top investing nations in the world. […] Despite the global gloom, FDI into China in 2008 rose by 30 percent to $108 billion, making it the third largest recipient of FDI in the world, after US and France. […] But growing overcapacity in some manufacturing sectors in China will force the infusion of FDI into Chinese agriculture and services sectors, said Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank. […]. ^ top ^

China's SOEs' executives' salaries to be regulated (Xinhua)
2009-09-16
Beijing - China announced Wednesday a guideline to regulate salaries for executives in the country's 135 centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The document was jointly issued by six administrative departments of China's central government, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Finance, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and National Audit Office (NAO). The document set guidelines in salary structure and payment, position-related consumption, and supervision and management, in a bid to establish and perfect incentive and restraint mechanisms regulating SOE executives' salaries. The annual salaries structure for SOE executives is composed of basic salary, pay-for-performance, and incentive earnings in the mid and long term, according to the guideline. It stipulates pay-for-performance of executives should be based on the enterprises' business performance. The annual salaries of executives should be in line with those for employees in the previous year, in a bid to narrow disparity between executives' and employees', the guideline said. […]. ^ top ^

FDI posts positive growth (Global Times)
2009-09-16
Foreign direct investment (FDI) last month rose for the first time since October 2008 buoyed by recovery in the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said at a press conference held in Beijing Tuesday.[…] Investment in the manufacturing sector contributed a lot to positive FDI growth, said Yao Jian, spokesman for MOFCOM. […] The manufacturing sector, which has maintained steady growth since last October, is expected to remain a major magnet for FDI in coming years, Yao forecast. FDI's rebound in August can't be expected to reflect the overall economic situation, however, as the figures fluctuate from month to month, said Yao. […] Industrial production, urban fixed-asset investment and retail sales of consumer goods continued to rise on a year-on-year basis in August, said the National Bureau of Statistics Friday. New loans increased in August over the previous month, the central bank said last week. ^ top ^

China to strengthen management over usage of central budget funds in investment program (Xinhua)
2009-09-14
Beijing - China is to further strengthen management over the use of central budget funding in construction investment programs, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Monday. The move aims to make better use of the funding to shore up China's economy and yield better economic returns, the ministry said. Relevant government departments have been asked to accelerate the allocation of funding to construction programs, and efforts are also to be made to supervise and impel the speedy implementation of the programs. Timely measures should be taken to accelerate programs that were lagging behind planning, said the ministry. […]. ^ top ^

Economic stimulus plan attacked (SCMP)
2009-09-14
The mainland's 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.54 trillion) stimulus plan, which had been widely praised, came under attack at the "Summer Davos" meeting from economists who say the massive government spending is aggravating imbalances in the giant economy. […] Beijing envisages that amount of investment over two years, including 1.18 trillion yuan by the central government, mostly in infrastructure. Professor Xu Xiaonian of the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai said the strategy supported structural imbalances - overinvestment, surplus production capacity and underconsumption - while neglecting its long-term objectives. "China's investment is already too strong. The US consumes too much, but China consumes too little... millions are poured into infrastructure... and distortion will continue to worsen," Xu said at the third World Economic Forum in Dalian, which ended on Saturday. […] Analysts also said the mainland needed other drivers for economic recovery once the government cash ran out. "We need to increase structural reform and reduce dependence on external demand," said Yu Yongding of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. […] But in Dalian, Premier Wen Jiabao rejected these criticisms, citing government initiatives including spending on housing, health sector reform and investment in the medical industry. Wen said that by the end of June the majority of government stimulus money was going into social programmes. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Rush for vaccine plan as cases triple ahead flu season (SCMP)
2009-09-18
The mainland is scrambling to put a swine flu vaccination plan in place, with the number of cases more than tripling in just a few weeks and tens of millions of infections feared as flu season sets in. The mainland is at the forefront of international efforts to produce an influenza A(H1N1) vaccine. At least five firms have received government approval, but officials have warned demand would exceed supply. By mid-August, the mainland had recorded 3,103 cases. As of Wednesday, the number was 10,221, the Health Ministry said. No deaths have been reported. Last week, a top ministry official predicted that tens of millions could be infected in the coming months, leading to "unavoidable" fatalities and possibly a severe strain on the health system. Vivian Tan, spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation's Beijing office, said "vaccination will be a critical line of defence against pandemic A(H1N1) infection" on the mainland. […] The ministry has said it plans to vaccinate 65 million people, or 5 per cent of the 1.3 billion population, before the end of the year. The programme is expected to begin soon, but a date has not been announced. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China has nuke talks with DPRK (China Daily)
2009-09-18
President Hu Jintao's special envoy held talks with Pyongyang's top nuclear strategist to bring the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) back to disarmament negotiations. The reportedly "candid and in-depth" meeting between special envoy Dai Bingguo and the DPRK's First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju on Wednesday is the latest international effort to persuade the DPRK to return to denuclearization. […] Kang is DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's chief foreign policy expert and has been the main strategist for the country's nuclear program. Though Pyongyang's Korea Central News Agency did not elaborate on the discussions on Wednesday, it is widely believed that the focus was on the DPRK's nuclear program. The Yonhap news agency of the Republic of Korea said that Dai is expected to meet with Kim Jong-il but did not give any timeframe for the meeting. China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that she had no details on Dai's trip, but a ministry statement stated that the two sides "held deep discussions on regional and global issues," without any elaboration. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Bayar diagnosed with Hepatitis C (www.news.mn)
2009-09-15
Prime Minister S. Bayar is suffering from Hepatitis C. It is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus. [...] The virus was found during tests when Bayar was appointed Prime Minister. He sticks to a special diet and also takes medicines but overwork and stress have taken their toll, said S. Lambaa. The Prime Minister will be receiving treatment in South Korea until September 21 and will return to Mongolia on September 23. ^ top ^

Mongolia elected as Vice Head of IAEA General Conference (Montsame)
2009-09-15
The 53rd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opened September 14 in Vienna, Austria. […] Mongolia was elected as a Vice-Head of the conference. It has been considered as recognition of Mongolia's successful management of its foreign policy, Mongolia's high prestige on international arena. […] The Mongolian delegates led by S. Enkhbat, Head of the Nuclear Energy Department, met with some Kazakh delegates and briefed them on policy of Mongolia on introduction of nuclear energy, usage of uranium and on some related measures. The Kazakh side shared its experiences with the Mongolians in policy, activities and cooperation with foreign companies. ^ 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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