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
  19.10-23.10.09, No. 291  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

President Hu talks with Obama, upbeat on climate deal (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-22
Chinese President Hu Jintao, in a telephone talk with U.S. President Barrack Obama yesterday, expressed his confidence that a positive outcome at the upcoming Copenhagen world climate summit in December could be attained […] Hu Jintao said that it is essential any result from the Denmark conference should embody the basic principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and lock in the achievements of the Bali Roadmap […] the two leaders agreed to extend collaboration on tackling global warming between the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters […] World leaders met last month at the UN climate change summit in New York, during which Hu pledged that China will "notably cut" carbon intensity by 2020 […] U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell said early last month that the US and China are likely to sign an agreement to combat climate change during Obama's visit to Beijing in November […]. ^ top ^

Guantanamo Uygurs seek to end 8-year limbo (SCMP)
2009-10-22
Thirteen Uygur detainees at Guantanamo are to have their pleas for release heard in by the US Supreme Court. They were among 22 Uygurs living in a self-contained camp in Afghanistan when the US-led invasion of the country began in October 2001 […] The Muslims from Xinjiang region were accused of having trained in al-Qaeda camps and were transferred to the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay […] Proven innocent and cleared for release, the Defence Department and the State Department have tried unsuccessfully for years to transfer them to a third country, saying they risk mistreatment if returned to China. Beijing regards the detainees as “Chinese terrorists” and has cracked down on Uygur separatists […] At the prison, the Uygurs are held at a special camp for detainees cleared for release. They have more freedom and greater privileges than most other prisoners […] according to the Pentagon. But their lawyers say that some were placed in solitary confinement and subjected to harsh treatment, even after they were exonerated. ^ top ^

China, ASEAN strengthen financial ties (Global Times)
2009-10-22
The long-planned China- ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation will soon be rolled out as the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) is drawing near […] The operation of the first-stage fund of $1 billion will start before the end of this year, said Li Ruogu, chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China (Eximbank) at a conference during the 6th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning. The launch of the fund is perfectly timed as CAFTA will need financial ties to keep up with increasing trade exchanges, he said. As the first China-ASEAN fund under government direction, the fund will eventually reach $10 billion and is expected to help push China-ASEAN cooperation to a new level […] "The first-stage fund will focus on infrastructure development, but investments will not be limited in those fields," he said […] The fund will help countries in the region recover from the financial crisis and achieve sustained development, he said. ^ top ^

China, India stand together on climate change with pact: Biggest developing nations unite ahead of Copenhagen talks (SCMP)
2009-10-22
China and India vowed to step up co-ordination on climate change yesterday in a symbolic move aimed at strengthening the stance of developing countries in the lead-up to December's UN summit to agree a new pact to limit global warming. The five-year pact signed in New Delhi yesterday would give developing countries a bigger voice at the summit in Copenhagen, academics said. But that did not mean the chances of a global deal on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012, had improved […] India and China have made no secret of their opposition to binding targets for developing countries to reduce their emissions of heat-trapping "greenhouse gases", arguing that carbon caps will hinder them in their quest to alleviate poverty […] China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and India, the fourth-biggest, have markedly stepped up dialogue and co-operation on climate change this year. Their agreement covers co-operation for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, technology transfers, energy efficiency and renewable energy […]. ^ top ^

Showdown a test of PLA's might (SCMP)
2009-10-22
The People's Liberation Army warships steaming to intercept a hijacked mainland bulk carrier in the Indian Ocean are sailing into uncharted waters in an operation laced with military and diplomatic uncertainty. The showdown with Somali pirates holding 25 mainland crew hostage looms as a test not just of the PLA navy's capabilities and leadership, but also its ability to co-operate with rival international forces under the global spotlight. It is China's first potential combat mission in centuries beyond its territorial waters […] Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday vowed to take all efforts to rescue the crew. The pirates said they would execute them if any attempt to board the ship was made […] Chinese authorities were reluctant to reveal details of its rescue plans […] Anthony Wong Dong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, said the hijacking had exposed weaknesses in the PLA's emerging ocean-going combat capabilities […] "If Beijing fails to save the Chinese crew, it will set a bad example for Chinese labourers who are working in the energy-rich countries," Wong said. ^ top ^

Japan visa to Uygur leader Kadeer sparks China furor (China Daily)
2009-10-21
China strongly condemns Japan's issuing of a visa to Uygur separatist Rebiya Kadeer, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. "We have exchanged views with the Japan side on the issue and we express strong dissatisfaction that Japan has granted Kadeer the entry to facilitate her separatism activities despite China's severe objection," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters […] Kadeer was expected in Japan yesterday and intended to stay through early November, after the government of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama issued her a visa on Monday, Kyodo News reported yesterday […] Chinese observers believe the visa decision will interrupt the refining of Sino-Japan relations […] Yesterday, more than 50 Japanese politicians visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo, but Hatoyama and his Cabinet stayed away, as the new prime minister had pledged during the election campaign. ^ top ^

China-ASEAN Expo bolsters regional trade (Global Times)
2009-10-21
The sixth China-ASEAN Expo opened Tuesday in Nanning, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the last major meeting between the regions before the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) […] will be established as planned on January 1, 2010, setting a significant milestone in regional economic cooperation […] CAFTA will cover an area of 1.9 billion consumers, with a GDP worth of $6 trillion, and a trading volume estimated to be $1.2 trillion. It will be the world's largest free trade area in terms of population and number of developing countries covered, and the third largest economically following the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area. According to the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation […] a zero-tariff rate will apply to the majority of commodities traded between China and the six original ASEAN countries, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 2010, and the four new ASEAN members Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam in 2015 […]. ^ top ^

Brown pressures China on Briton facing death row (Global Times)
2009-10-21
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pressed a visiting Chinese minister Monday over the case of a Briton facing the death penalty for drug trafficking in China, AFP reported. "The prime minister was shocked and disturbed to discover that the death sentence imposed in China on British national Akmal Shaikh has been upheld, without proper consideration of his mental health," Britain's foreign office said in a statement. The Global Times confirmed with the British embassy in Beijing that "Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Milliband both took the opportunity to discuss the issue with Dai Bingguo during his visit to the UK." […] "Chinese judicial authorities are handling the case in line with Chinese laws," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Tuesday. Akmal Shaikh […] was arrested in 2007 in Urumqi […], carrying four kilograms of heroin, with a value of $408,800. Campaigners say he was tricked into carrying it. According to China's criminal law, those who traffic over 50 grams of drugs can face the death penalty […]. ^ top ^

Chinese navy protects western ships (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-21
Accompanied by China's Zhoushan missile destroyer two ships from the Cayman Islands in northwestern Caribbean safely passed through the Gulf of Aden in Somali waters on Saturday. It is the first time the Chinese navy has engaged in convoy activities to safeguard western ships. One of the ships, Erics, was headed for Oman; the other, Pulatim, for Dubai. Each ship, with a maximum displacement of 498 tons, carried eight people […] The Chinese naval convoy enjoys high prestige in the Gulf of Aden for having accomplished many large-scale convoy missions and ensuring a 100 percent safety record to date. ^ top ^

China, US to hold 20th JCCT meeting (Global Times)
2009-10-21
The 20th meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) will be held in Hangzhou, capital city of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Oct. 29. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu made the announcement Tuesday at a regular press conference. The meeting will be co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. ^ top ^

Forum on strategic China-U.S. clean energy practical co-op to be held (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-20
The first China-U.S. clean energy practical cooperation strategy forum will be held in Beijing between October 22 and 23. It aims to explicitly outline the respective national strategy of China and the U.S. in the clean energy field through deep discussion between the two sides, seeking to find common ground between the two countries' clean energy strategies and interests and take this opportunity to promote the practical cooperation between Chinese and U.S. enterprises, research institutions and cities (as well as regions). The forum was jointly initiated and established by the China Institute of Strategy and Management (CISM) and the US Brookings Institution. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese military officer to visit U.S. (Xinhua)
2009-10-20
Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, will visit the United States from Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 at the invitation of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to the Ministry of National Defense. A spokesman with the ministry said the visit will be aimed to fulfill the consensus reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on improving and developing the relations between the two countries' armies. During the visit, Xu will hold talks with Gates and the two will exchange views about the relations of the two sides' armies and international and regional issues […]. ^ top ^

China, Laos set up liaison office to fight human trafficking (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
China and Laos have set up a liaison office for law enforcement cooperation in southwest China's Yunnan Province to crack down on the abduction and trafficking of women and children in border areas. The office, set up at the Mohan branch of Mengla County Public Security Bureau, will promote the exchange of crime information, investigation and evidence collection, suspect search and victim repatriation between the two countries […] China has set up six similar liaison offices in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, which border Vietnam and Cambodia. Mengla County, which borders three provinces of northern Laos, has a 677.8 km boundary line, where abduction and trafficking of women and children happen frequently. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

43 detained after Xinjiang unrest unaccounted for, rights group says (SCMP)
2009-10-22
Three months after deadly ethnic rioting in Xinjiang, dozens of Uygur men remained unaccounted for after being detained in police sweeps, a human rights group said yesterday. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the 43 missing men and teenagers were among hundreds rounded up by security forces in the days and weeks following the July 5 riots in Urumqi, and their families had been unable to find out where they are or why they are being held […] Human Rights Watch said its report was based on dozens of random interviews with Han and Uygur people living in Urumqi in the months following the riots […] "The actual number of 'disappeared' persons is likely significantly higher," the report said […] The Xinjiang government did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report. A spokeswoman, Hou Hanmin, said she would look into the report's allegations. Details of the police crackdown have been scant and conflicting. Police initially reported more than 1,400 people were arrested, then said this month that only 825 had been detained so far […]. ^ top ^

Essential drugs prices to be slashed today (Global Times)
2009-10-22
The government's highly anticipated initiative to cut the prices of many essential drugs will be implemented today across the country. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued the new price catalogues September 28 and all hospitals and drugstores are barred from selling the medicines for more than the stated prices. The catalogue includes 296 types or 2,349 specific medicines produced by more than 3,000 pharmacies. Prices for about 45 percent of the essential medicines will go down by 12 percent on average. Prices for about 49 percent of the medicines will remain unchanged. Prices for about 6 percent of hard to find medicines will go up slightly […] To some people, the price cuts don't go far enough […]. ^ top ^

Chinese police kill one escaped prisoner, capture three others (Xinhua)
2009-10-21
Police said Tuesday they had shot and killed an escaped prisoner and apprehended three others in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The four escaped on Saturday from the No. 2 Prison in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia, after killing a prison guard […] Acting on information from local residents, police surrounded the men in Helin County early Tuesday, after they had hijacked a motor tricycle and taken the woman driver hostage […] Two of the men were serving suspended death sentences and two were serving life prison terms […] The public security department of Inner Mongolia said 12,300 police and armed police officers had been deployed to search for the escapees, who were regarded as dangerous. Police searched thousands of hotels, nightclubs and Internet bars, questioned 47,500 people and stopped 24,600 vehicles […]. ^ top ^

Sex education urged for all youths in China (China Daily)
2009-10-21
Sex education and related services need to be available to all Chinese youths, even those who are not married, say experts in the field of reproductive health. Though they may be sexually active, single Chinese youths can find themselves cut off from the free consultations and assistance offered to their young but married counterparts […] In China, single youths who are also sexually active are not well covered by government-sponsored sexual and reproductive health services like consultations, health checks and free contraceptives like condoms. Meanwhile, young married couples can get free condoms from family planning clinics and at work places […] A 2008 survey found that nearly 60 percent of the Chinese youths aged 15 to 24 had no idea how to use a condom correctly. However, open-mindedness toward sexuality and sexual rights is continuing to rise, particularly among youths, said Pan Suiming, who heads the Institute of Sexuality and Gender Research at Renmin University […] He urged authorities to change the current family planning model into one that is more flexible. ^ top ^

Official sounds alarm of soil erosion in China's infrastructure construction (Xinhua)
2009-10-21
China must pay attention to soil erosion problems associated with large-scale construction of infrastructure as it could threaten the security of food supply and ecological environment […] Zhang Xuejian of the Soil and Water Conservation Department under the Ministry of Water Resources said China could face a grave challenge if its rapid modernization continued to take a toll of land resource. Besides natural causes, human activities […] also led to soil erosion and the loss of water resource, Zhang was quoted […] It is estimated that construction projects completed or to be finished in the 2006-2010 period would result in soil erosion in land areas totaling 15.27 million hectares […] China lost 3.3 million hactares of farmland in the past 50 years, making the scarcity of arable land in the world's most populous country an acute challenge, according to the report […] Although the central government's annual investment in tackling soil erosion has increased from 300 million yuan ten years ago to two to three billion yuan now, it is far from enough to guarantee projects for the prevention and treatment of the problem, Zhang said. ^ top ^

Family planning vital to China's population control and development (Global Times)
2009-10-20
China's family planning has helped China maintain a population of 1.3 billion which would have been 1.7 billion, said Zhao Baige, deputy director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission. Zhao attended the fifth Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health on October 18, and gave a keynote speech, stressing the policy resulted in the stability of the global population and conservation of energy and resources […] Zhao also said that social and economic development will be sustainable only when it is built on the protection of human rights, and every country needs to carry out policies in line with its own situation so as to achieve the goal of development. In the past 30 years, China has witnessed a 50 percentage point increase in the Human Development Index from 0.559 in 1980 to 0.772 in 2007 […] Zhao also said China is putting a lot of emphasis on ensuring the supply of various safe and effective contraceptive medicines […]. ^ top ^

Chinese experts map out low carbon city strategy (Xinhua)
2009-10-20
China's urban planning experts Monday called for a substantial implementation of low carbon concept in city development strategy to avoid environmental crisis amid rapid urbanization. It will be hard for the country to achieve its goal of sustainable development if measures were not taken to improve energy efficiency and to cut carbon emission, the experts warned, citing the fact that a 75 percent of urbanization by 2050 means much more energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission. They sounded the alarm in […] China's Low Carbon Eco-city Development Strategy, which was launched here Monday based on a research by the Chinese Society for Urban Studies (CSUS). The report predicted that even in the best "low-carbon development" scenario, the rise of the emission of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas (GHG), would likely be halted only by 2035 […]. ^ top ^

China aims to build 110,000 km railway by 2012 (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-20
China aims to build a moderately well-developed railway network by 2012, with a total operation length of 110,000 kilometers and more than 50 percent electrification rate and Double-track rate. By the end of 2008, the total length of China's railway had reached 161,100 kilometers, with an operation length of 80,000 kilometers […] By 2012, China will complete the inter-city railway system in densely populated areas such as Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Bohai Rim. ^ top ^

Concrete 'carrier' a signal of intent: Wuhan mock-up showcases naval ambitions (SCMP)
2009-10-19
The emergence of a giant concrete ship in the unlikely setting of Wuhan is the latest sign that Beijing's desire for aircraft carriers is fast moving towards a full-blown production programme. The carrier mock-up comes complete with flight deck, ramp and tower, all atop what looks like a low-rise brick office building. A fighter plane and helicopter, draped in dark cloth, are parked on the blue-tiled deck […] some day in the future, China's first homegrown aircraft carrier will sail out of Shanghai's Changxing Shipyard and into the Pacific, loaded with jet fighters and protected by state-of-the-art support ships and submarines […] Estimates that the first locally built carrier will be operational in five years are fluid at best. The construction of the Wuhan mock-up is among several recent moves generating interest among those following the nation's carrier plans. Other developments include the re-fit of the tower of the secondhand Soviet-era carrier Varyag at Dalian. There is also tightened security around the virtually completed Changxing Shipyard […]. ^ top ^

Resettlement of 330,000 people starts to make way for China's water diversion project (Xinhua)
2009-10-19
A resettlement project involving 330,000 people living in central China's Hubei and Henan provinces has started to make way for China's south-north water diversion project, according to resettlement authorities in Henan Sunday. These people will be relocated from their homes near the Danjiangkou reservoir, where sluice will be built to divert water from the Yangtze River to thirsty north China regions including Beijing, Tianjin, Henan and Hebei […] Xichuan County, Henan, will see the resettlement of 162,000 people, the largest number in a single county, in 185 villages […] apart from compensation for unmovable property with the old home, each family to be relocated will be allotted new arable land in the newly built village according to a standard of 0.1 hectare per person, plus an annual subsidy of 600 yuan (about 88 U.S. dollars) a person for 20 years […] The resettlement project is the country's second largest resettlement plan following a similar move to pave way for the Three Gorges Hydro-Power Project […]. ^ top ^

Lingering drought hits Chinese provinces (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
Continuous severe drought over the past months has stunted rice crop, threatened reservoirs and left hundreds of thousands of people short of drinking water in southern Chinese provinces. In the southern Guangdong Province, where the precipitation in the first 10 months this year has reported a 14 percent drop compared with the average level of the past years, more than 55,000 hectares of cropland are affected and 50,000 people are facing difficulties in getting drinking water because of the drought […] The drought is continuing to take a toll on agricultural production in the province […] There have also been concerns of further crop damage as drought harms crop's ability to weather the winter […]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier urges smooth progress of new rural pension pilot program (Xinhua)
2009-10-19
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang has urged the central Hunan Province to ensure the smooth implementation of the new rural pension pilot project and pave the way for a nationwide coverage of the program […] Zhang said that farmers should join the program voluntarily and that local governments should offer guidance and advice to farmers. The program is beneficial to hundreds of millions of farmers and any problem that arises should be dealt with in time, Zhang said. China launched a pilot rural pension program in August that is expected to cover 10 percent of the counties by the end of 2009 and the whole country by 2020. Different from the previous pension program where funding was supplied by the farmers themselves, the new scheme would be subsidized by the central and local governments […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing, Mexico City become sister cities, pledge closer links (Global Times)
2009-10-21
The capital cities of China and Mexico became sister cities on Monday after visiting Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard signed an agreement on establishing such ties. The two officials also signed a memorandum on promoting exchanges and cooperation between their cities. Guo said the agreement […] and the cooperation memorandum define the joint programs and projects the two cities will carry out in such areas as trade, investment, education, tourism and urban management in the next two years […] Ebrard said Mexico City will give priority to developing friendly cooperation with China, in particular the city of Beijing in trade, tourism, education and culture […]. ^ top ^

Summer Palace on trail of looted relics (SCMP)
2009-10-20
Beijing's Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, has embarked on a global hunt for relics looted from the site nearly 150 years ago by British and French troops. A team of specialists would target museums and libraries in the United States, Europe and Japan, including the British Museum, the Palace of Fontainebleau in France and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Chen Mingjie, head of administration at the Old Summer Palace park […] estimated that 1.5 million items lost from the park were in 2,000 collections in 47 countries. However, he admitted the authorities had no idea how many relics had been plundered because the catalogue of the treasures stored in the garden was burned when British and French troops torched the palace after looting it […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

100b yuan fake-invoice ring smashed in Guangzhou (SCMP)
2009-10-20
Police in Guangzhou said they had smashed a network that produced and distributed fake invoices with a face value of about 100 billion yuan (HK$113.7 billion). A statement released by police in the city's Tianhe district at the weekend said the network, which had produced more than 2.3 million fake invoices, was established and controlled by a family in Linhai, Zhejiang. One of the heads of the gang had been a tax official in the Linhai city government […] It was the second time in two months that mainland police had raided a huge fake-invoice operation. Police in Kunming […] said early last month that they had smashed a fake-invoice workshop and seized about 400,000 fake invoices with a combined face value of more than 300 billion yuan […]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Express rail approved - at 65pc price rise: Budget blowout means it will take 50 years to recover half the cost (SCMP)
2009-10-21
The Executive Council has given the green light to the controversial cross-border rail express with a price tag of HK$65.2 billion - a 65 per cent blowout from the original estimate - which means the government will recover less than half of the construction cost in 50 years. The Transport and Housing Bureau said HK$53.7 billion of the cost was for the railway, while the remaining HK$11.5 billion was for related works including roads around the West Kowloon terminus […] the line was expected to earn only HK$28.1 billion in 50 years, not even half the construction cost. A key reason for this is the fares - HK$45 to HK$49 for the 14-minute trip to Shenzhen and HK$180 for the 42-minute trip to Shibi in Guangzhou […] Officials expect that initially there will be a train to Shenzhen every 15 minutes and to Guangzhou every 30 minutes. The spokesman said in time the frequency of trains to Shenzhen could be increased to every 5 to 10 minutes during peak hours […]. ^ top ^

Jobless rate drops for first time since the meltdown: Business conditions improve, but analysts voice caution (SCMP)
2009-10-20
The unemployment rate has declined for the first time since the global financial crisis hit Hong Kong last autumn, but economists do not expect the trend to continue. It fell to 5.3 per cent for the months of July, August and September, 0.1 of a percentage point less than the rate in June, July and August, the Census and Statistics Department said […] Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung […] said improvement was most obvious in the construction, information and communications sectors, and the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors […] However, Cheung warned that "the recovery path may still be uneven" because overseas markets had yet to show visible improvement. Cheung's view was echoed by economists, who said the latest jobless rate was better than forecast […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's military warns closer ties may not prevent war (SCMP)
2009-10-21
Taiwan's military has warned that warming cross-strait relations are no guarantee the two sides will not go to war in the future. It also stressed that it was not in a hurry to discuss confidence-building measures with the mainland, given Beijing's continuing arms build-up and aggressive stance towards the island. "The communist forces are still actively cultivating the mindset within the military that there will be a cross-strait war eventually," Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in its 2009 defence white paper, released yesterday […] The 188-page report detailed the mainland's rapid arms build-up in the past decade - with its record budgets growing from 120.8 billion yuan in 2000 to 480.7 billion yuan (HK$546.6 billion) this year - as well as the sizes of its forces and its military threats against the island […] While Taiwan would comply with the UN resolution on weapons of mass destruction, it would continue to maintain its defences, including buying US arms, in a bid to deter any attacks from the mainland, it said […]. ^ top ^

Ma calls on Beijing to remove missiles pointed at island (SCMP)
2009-10-20
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged Beijing yesterday to scrap the growing number of missiles aimed at the island - a potential stumbling block to trade ties worth US$130 billion. Taipei planned to buy more weapons from the United States to protect the island, although it did not want an arms race with Beijing, Ma said, as the military balance tips in the latter's favour […] "If we are to negotiate a peace agreement with the mainland, certainly we expect them to do something about those missiles, either to remove them or dismantle them," said Ma […] As Beijing's military clout grew, Taipei would want to ensure it had adequate arms, and hoped to buy more fighter jets, attack helicopters and submarines from the US, American and Taiwanese officials said. Ma, 59, who became chairman of the ruling Kuomintang at the weekend, said he would not rule out meeting leaders such as President Hu Jintao […] Analysts said the most appropriate time could be in 2012 or 2013, if Ma won re-election to a second four-year term, and when Hu is expected to step down […]. ^ top ^

CPC, KMT call for trust, exchanges (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
The Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) both called for the promotion of greater cross-Straits trust and understanding as Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou took office as chairman of the KMT over the weekend. Ma took over the reins from outgoing party chief Wu Poh-hsiung on Saturday at the 18th plenary congress of the KMT and pledged to deepen cooperation and promote mutual trust with the CPC during his inaugural address […] Ma said the five-point "common wish for peaceful cross-Straits development" outlined by CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao and former KMT chairman Lien Chan has had a positive impact on cross-Straits relations […] Ma also appointed Lien and Wu as KMT honorary chairmen at the Congress. The two will assist Ma on cross-Straits affairs and external exchanges, he said […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan's economic pact with mainland splits the island (SCMP)
2009-10-19
Taiwanese who back a planned trade pact with the mainland and those who oppose it agree on one thing at least: the agreement will have a major impact on the island's labour market. While those in favour of the much-anticipated deal with Taiwan's giant neighbour say there will be massive gains, others fear it will wipe out jobs on a huge scale […] The government insists the trade pact with the mainland, the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement, will boost the flow of goods and people, and raise annual economic growth by more than 1 percentage point. Ahead of the talks, Taiwanese authorities suggested that more than a quarter of a million jobs would be created by the agreement on a net basis […] "The estimate of 80,000 affected workers is the worst-case scenario," an official at the Council of Labour Affairs said […] However, some analysts called the 80,000 figure unrealistically low, given the island's labour force of more than 10 million […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's recovery trend "consolidated": Cabinet meeting (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-22
China's economic and social development was better than expected, with a "consolidated" growth recovery, the government said Wednesday. China has reversed the downward trend in economic growth thanks to the timely and full implementation and continuous enrichment of the government's economic stimulus package and other policies to address the global financial crisis […] The country's quarterly economic growth picked up speed in the first three quarters of this year and the contribution of domestic demand to economic growth was enhanced […] A key point of China's macro-regulation in the coming months this year would be to balance the tasks of ensuring a stable and relatively fast economic growth, adjusting economic structure and regulating inflation prospects […] The country would continue the proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy, and maintain continuity and stability in its macroeconomic policy, it said […]. ^ top ^

Allianz, Amex retain ICBC stake (China Daily)
2009-10-22
Allianz SE and American Express Co plan to keep their Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd stakes, which have a combined value of about $3.1 billion, past a lockup on the holdings that expired yesterday. Allianz and American Express have no immediate plans to sell, the companies and Beijing-based ICBC said in statements. Allianz has 3.22 billion Hong Kong-traded ICBC shares, worth HK$19.9 billion, while American Express owns 638 million shares with a value of HK$3.95 billion […] ICBC is the world's biggest bank by market value and profit […] The Beijing-based bank's profit may rise 16 percent to a record 128.4 billion yuan this year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg […]. ^ top ^

Larger IMF role poses questions (China Daily)
2009-10-21
New rights often bring new responsibilities and, with China set to take on a larger decision-making role at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), experts warn it may be pressured to shoulder a heavier burden. Daisuke Kotegawa, IMF senior resident representative in Japan, said on Friday the organization was bringing in reforms that would mean China's voting power at the IMF table would be second only to that of the United States […] Currently, at the IMF table, the US holds about 17 percent of votes and, consequently, has the de facto veto on decisions […] Japan, with more than 6 percent of votes, is the second-most influential voting block, with China holding just 3.72 percent […] Experts have also warned that even if China gets a larger share of the votes, it may not necessarily get more say around the IMF board table […] China agreed to buy a new type of bond issued by the IMF, investing about $50 billion, in a bid to help the organization tackle financial challenges […] Bank of China Executive Vice-President Zhu Min, a former World Bank economist, is reportedly being tipped as a future vice-president of the IMF […]. ^ top ^

Fiscal deficits likely in 2010: official (Global Times)
2009-10-21
Fiscal deficits are probable and credit will be needed to keep the recovery on track, an official said Tuesday. "Fiscal expenditure next year will be very large because many projects that started this year are still under construction, and they will need more money to be completed," Yin Zhongqing, deputy director of Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, said […] Next year, the government will take in less profits from the State-owned enterprises, and export rebate programs will have to be enlarged in certain industries, he explained. "Credit issued in 2010 will likely amount to 8 trillion yuan ($1.17 trillion) to ensure long-term projects are completed," Yin said […] The total amount of credit issued this year is expected to reach an astronomical 10 trillion yuan ($1.47 trillion) […] The huge amount of credit may cause inflation, Ma Delun, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said […]. ^ top ^

Auto industry drives past major milestone (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-21
China's auto industry yesterday sped past an impressive milestone as the 10-millionth vehicle - a heavy-duty "Jiefang" truck - rolled off the production line. The unit, which was produced at FAW Group Corp's factory in Changchun, made China the third country - after the United States and Japan - to produce 10 million vehicles this year […] Industry officials and executives […] predicted that China will produce more than 12 million units in 2009, up from 9.35 million last year […] Despite the global financial crisis, China's vehicle market has been growing rapidly this year, being driven forward by the government's stimulus spending […] In January, China halved the purchasing tax - to 5 percent - on vehicles with an engine capacity less than 1.6 liters. The central government also earmarked a total of 5 billion yuan ($735 million) this year to subsidize rural buyers of minibuses and trucks […]. ^ top ^

Major companies fail first national CSR report card (Global Times)
2009-10-20
Several major firms were singled out in the nation's first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report for lackluster contributions to society outside of profit-making. The 2009 CSR Blue Book, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Social Sciences Academic Press Sunday, surveyed 94 of the top 100 companies in the country by collecting their voluntarily issued CSR reports and publicly available information from June to September. All these companies' previous-year revenues exceeded 16 billion yuan ($2.3 billion). "Many of the companies do not even have a website, not to mention CSR reports or annual reports. We don't know what they're doing," said Zhong Hongwu, director of the CSR Research Center of the Economics Department at CASS. Among the 94 companies from 16 industries, only 44 of them have published CSR reports […]. ^ top ^

Growth goal 'no problem': NDRC (China Daily)
2009-10-20
China is hoping to stifle excessive production capacity in six industries - including steel and cement - as the world's third-largest economy looks to keep its recovery on track, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner. China's economy expanded more than 7 percent in the first three quarters, thanks in large part to the government's 4-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package, said Xiong Bolin, a deputy department director from the NDRC […] he said the country was well on the way to realizing its full-year growth goal […] despite the good news, production overcapacity still exists in steel, cement, glass, coal, the chemical industry, polysilicon production and wind power equipment and taking that out of the system is now seen as crucial to keeping the recovery moving. Xiong said the NDRC will tackle the overcapacity by holding back approval or funding for projects […]. ^ top ^

China's Nasdaq to debut October 30 (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
China's new stock booth for small start-up companies will be officially launched this coming Friday. The Nasdaq modeled market, or called the Growth Enterprises Market, will be operated by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and is billed as a way for start-ups and other smaller firms to float shares publicly. Following a launch ceremony, the first batch of 28 companies will be reviewed for listing, with trade set to begin on October 30, Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Shang Fulin said […] Shang said the companies set to trade on the GEM are less capable of dealing with market risks, given their smaller size […]. ^ top ^

China sovereign fund buys 45% stake in Russian oil company (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
China Investment Corporation (CIC), the nation's sovereign wealth fund, announced Friday that it had closed the first phase settlement for the purchase of a 45 percent stake in Nobel Oil Group. The 300-million-dollar investment would be completed in two phases […] When the purchase is done, CIC will hold 45 percent of the company's stake while the Russian company will own 50 percent and the rest 5 percent will go to a Hong Kong investor. The deal was CIC' second move within one month to buy shares in overseas oil and gas companies […] Launched in September 2007 with a registered capital of 200 billion U.S. dollars from China's huge foreign exchange reserves, CIC has been criticized for suffering book value losses after it purchased stakes in Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley in 2007. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Beijing starts free A/H1N1 flu vaccination to students, medical staff, public servants (Xinhua)
2009-10-22
Beijing started Wednesday inoculating students, medical staff, public servants and elderly people with A/H1N1 flu vaccine free of charge, a local disease control and prevention official said. Five groups of people in the city are entitled to receive the free inoculations. They are students and teaching staff of all local middle and primary schools; medical staff; public servants of the railway, civil aviation and transportation sectors; civil servants at key public departments and elderly people above 60 years old […] Citizens can decide on themselves if they want the vaccination at each of the 429 vaccination sites […] Shanghai and northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have started free A/H1N1 flu vaccine inoculations to the medical staff since Oct. 15. ^ top ^

China reports 2nd death of A/H1N1 flu (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-19
China has reported its second death of A/H1N1 influenza on Friday, according to a Health Ministry statement on its website. A 43-year-old woman in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province died of A/H1N1 influenza at about 2:41 pm on Friday […] She was hospitalized on Tuesday for fever, coughing and sore throat, and became a confirmed case on Thursday […] The Chinese mainland had reported 26,348 confirmed cases of A/H1N1 influenza as of Friday, 22,746 of which had recovered and 23 cases with heavy symptoms, 10 of which had recovered, the notice said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

N. Korea becoming more lethal: US envoy (Global Times)
2009-10-22
North Korea has become "more lethal and destabilizing" and the US will never accept a nuclear-armed Pyongyang, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday during his visit to South Korea […] "The peril posed by North Korea remains, and in many ways has become even more lethal and destabilizing." […] He also warned that North Korea poses a serious threat to global efforts to halt the proliferation of nuclear arms and ballistic missiles […] Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University and an expert on the North, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "Gates' comments would not overturn the current mode between the US and North Korea, which are likely to have talks next week." […] Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that sanctions will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes "verifiable" steps toward complete nuclear disarmament. And China urged countries involved in talks with North Korea not to give up on efforts to resolve the current stand-off. ^ top ^

U.S.-DPRK talks should make way for six-party talks: U.S. says (Xinhua)
2009-10-20
A senior U.S. official said on Monday that any of U.S. bilateral contacts with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) should lead to the resumption of six-party nuclear disarmament talks. "We would be prepared for, in the right circumstances at some point, some initial interaction that would lead rapidly to a six-party framework," Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said […] The Obama administration said it was open to have bilateral talks with DPRK officials only in the context of six-party process, which participated by the DPRK, the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia since 2003. Washington insists that the six-party talks is the most effective way to in the settlement of nuclear issues in the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, said early this month that his country is willing to attend multilateral talks, including the six-party talks, based on the progress in the DPRK-U.S. talks. ^ top ^

 

Manuel Mühlebach
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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