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
  26.10-30.10.09, No. 292  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Intensive high-level contacts warm up Obama's China visit (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-30
Sino-U.S. ties have been warmed up for U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming China visit by frequent contacts between high-level officials from both sides, Chinese experts said Thursday. The 20th meeting of China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was officially convened on Thursday morning in China's eastern city of Hangzhou […] "Today's JCCT meeting laid a solid groundwork and made full preparations for President Obama's visit in two weeks […]" China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said at the end of talks. In the meantime, Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, was paying his first visit to the United States under the Obama administration. During his talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Xu and Gates explored ways to further military-to-military cooperation and reached agreement on seven points, which included Gates' visit to China in 2010 and mutual visits of warships. The agreement on conducting joint maritime searches and rescue exercises has already had the embryonic form of crisis management mechanism, said Ding Xinghao, president of the Shanghai Association of American Studies […] Since the Obama administration took office, Sino-U.S. relations have witnessed a smooth transition and maintained a good momentum of development […] China and the United States still have differences on some issues concerning China's core interests, such as U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Tibet-related issues […]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier arrives in Australia for official visit (Xinhua)
2009-10-30
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang arrived Thursday night to start a three-day official visit at the invitation of the Australian government […] "We have extensive and important common interests in safeguarding and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region," said Li. He pointed out that, during the 37 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-Australia relations had maintained a sound momentum of growth […] During his stay in Australia, Li will hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other leaders. Apart from Sydney, he will also visit Canberra and Brisbane and meet with the state leaders of New South Wales and Queensland. In Sydney, Li will make a speech to local industrial and business leaders and attend the signing ceremony of a number of agreements on bilateral cooperation in the fields of forestry, education, training and telecommunications. ^ top ^

French-Chinese relations warming again: Lagarde (Global Times)
2009-10-29
France and China are working together to conduct mutually beneficial cooperation, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Wednesday, adding that the French-Chinese relations are getting warm again after a cold spell […] "Due to the financial crisis, the France-to-China export volume fell by 8 percent," she said. "I am here now to support, help and encourage French companies in China and to promote mutual investment between China and France." Lagarde, who met China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan earlier in the day […] said European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet would visit China next month to discuss monetary issues as part of a EU delegation. Lagarde's trip is the first stage of France trying to deepen economic and political ties with China […] At the end of December, French Prime Minister François Fillon will visit China and is expected to discuss issues related to bilateral cooperation on aerospace, transportation and energy. ^ top ^

VP Xi: China to take active part in UN work (Global Times)
2009-10-29
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said the country would continue taking active part in UN work in various sectors. "We will make our contribution to building a harmonious world of sustained peace and common prosperity," Xi told former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has joined the UN Foundation's Board of Directors […] Xi briefed Annan and other members of the UN Foundation's Board of Directors about China's measures to cope with the international financial crisis. China would continue offering help for other developing nations within capacity to achieve development […] As to the climate change issue, Xi said China was ready to make active coordination with all concerned parties to strive for positive achievements at Copenhagen Conference. Annan said China had made impressive progress in coping with climate change, environmental protection, energy saving and transport issues, noting that the country also made positive contribution to the UN work. The UN Foundation would increase cooperation with China, he said […]. ^ top ^

China slams US for 'interference' (Global Times)
2009-10-28
China Tuesday denounced a US congressional report on Tibet's religious status, urging Washington to stop interfering in China's internal affairs. The report, released by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China on October 16, said Chinese government forces Tibetans to convert to other religions, and that the talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama have cooled. "The biased report by the so-called commission ignores the facts and confuses right and wrong," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Tuesday […] A similar report was released by the US State Department Monday, naming eight countries, including China, with severe violations of so-called religious freedoms over the past year. The annual report on religious freedom […] said that China's Constitution only protects "normal religious activities" and Chinese officials have wide latitude to interpret the meaning of normal. Chinese "officials continued to scrutinize, and in some cases interfere with, the activities of religious and spiritual groups," it said, adding that the Chinese "government's repression of religious freedom remained severe" in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region […]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen delivers strong message for East Asian cooperation (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
[…] The premier has successfully finished his visit to Thailand after attending a series of summit meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the past three days. This is Wen's second visit to this country in 2009. Half a year ago […] Wen decided to attend the ASEAN summits in Pattaya […] During the following six months, the Chinese government decided to set up a 10-billion-U.S. dollar China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund, establish the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, and provide financial support to ASEAN countries. Trade between China and ASEAN has entered into the period of recovery since September. At the Oct. 23-25 Hua Hin summits, Wen brought […] a six-point proposal for strengthening cooperation between China and ASEAN, which included building an economic cooperation zone and boosting cooperation in such sectors as investment, agriculture, intellectual property rights, infrastructure construction and culture [...] Wen held a series of meetings with leaders of other countries during the ASEAN summits, with his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd having been widely followed [...]. ^ top ^

China in talks with pirates to free crew: Ransom negotiations start for hijacked ship (SCMP)
2009-10-28
Secret negotiations have begun on freeing the 25 mainland crew hijacked aboard a Chinese bulk carrier off Somalia last week amid promises from the pirates that the hostages and the ship would be kept safe. Beijing and Qingdao Ocean Shipping, the owner of the hijacked De Xin Hai, are involved in what is expected within the shipping industry to be a drawn-out affair […] Chinese Shipowners' Association secretary general Zhang Zuyue said the Chinese side had worked "several channels" to reach the pirates. "They made it very clear that they have no intention to harm the crew and the goods on board - they just want a ransom," Zhang said […] Roger Middleton, a specialist in Somali piracy at the independent London think tank Chatham House, said negotiations typically started at about US$10 million for the safe release of a crew and ship, but the settlement reached was more likely to be between US$1 million and US$2 million […]. ^ top ^

China appeals for U.S. to lift embargo against Cuba (Xinhua)
2009-10-28
China on Tuesday called for the United States to lift its almost five-decade trade and travel embargo against Cuba. "The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging the United States to end its embargo against Cuba, which China approved," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a regular briefing. Ma's comments came a day ahead of the UN General Assembly's vote on a similar resolution, the 18th consecutive year that the resolution has been brought to the assembly. "The Chinese government, as always, maintains that all countries observe the purpose and principle of the UN charter and international laws," Ma said […] Over 17 consecutive years since 1992, a majority in the United Nations General Assembly have supported lifting the unilateral U.S. embargo. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Project Hope raises hope for 3.46 mln poor Chinese students in 20 years: organizer (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-30
Project Hope, a Chinese program aiming at financing education for poverty-stricken students, has benefited more than 3.46 million rural students since its establishment in 1989. China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), one of the chief organizers of the project, said in a statement Thursday that domestic and overseas donations for the project surpassed 5.67 billion yuan (830 million U.S. dollars) in 20 years […] Nearly 16,000 primary schools have been built in rural areas through the project and 80 percent of them are in the country's western, central and northeastern regions, where economic development is relatively backward […] The project also sought to improve educational environment in schools by contributing donations to build libraries, digital equipment, and sports and music facilities, according to the CYDF statement. ^ top ^

Bo raises eyebrows by invoking leaders to justify crackdown (SCMP)
2009-10-30
Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai has quoted former top leaders Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji to justify his high-profile crackdown on the city [Chongqing]'s rampant mafia-style activities, in a move that could shed light on the delicate power politics of the mainland leadership. "Fighting against triad forces is in line with the party's tradition," Bo said on Wednesday to law and order officials in the city. "Former party general secretary Jiang Zemin once pointed out that `we must wage strike-hard struggles to wipe out criminals who are puffed up with arrogance'." […] Although he also mentioned President Hu Jintao, the fact that Bo's remarks highlighted Jiang and other retired leaders has raised a few eyebrows among analysts at home and abroad. Since Bo launched the campaign in June, he has received enthusiastic support from the state media and in internet forums, but the mainland's top leaders have remained largely silent […] There has been intense speculation whether the campaign, which has so far netted nearly 3,000 gangsters and officials, is part of the intriguing political manoeuvrings prior to the Communist Party's 18th congress in 2012, when a new generation of leaders is to be elected […] Some analysts have speculated that Bo's remarks suggested he was seeking the support of Jiang. One strong contender with Bo for a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012 is Guangdong provincial party secretary Wang Yang, who in the Nanfang Daily on Wednesday appeared to criticise the Chongqing campaign. ^ top ^

Fresh standards for dairy industry (Global Times)
2009-10-30
A draft of new quality and safety standards for dairy products released by the Ministry of Health on October 20 is a sign that China is serious about protecting consumers and could also change the landscape of the dairy industry, said analysts, consumers and company executives. After a year of discussions, the new standards were posted on the ministry's website, www.moh.gov.cn, for public input, a move designed to upgrade the entire industry and restore consumer confidence following last year's scandal of melamine tainted milk powder that killed at least six children and hospitalized hundreds […] The new standards require milk producers to clearly label their products as "pasteurized milk," "ultra-high temperature treated (UHT) milk" or "reconstituted milk" so consumers know exactly what they are buying […] But due to a lack of dairies, especially in the southeast of China, many dairy producers will continue to use reconstituted milk to maintain their operations, though their businesses may shrink, said Wang Jiaqi, assistant to president of New Hope Dairy Holdings […]. ^ top ^

Distorted GDP figures back in the spotlight: Regional claims of high growth hurt credibility (SCMP)
2009-10-30
The credibility of the mainland's provincial GDP growth figures has come under scrutiny again after more than half of its provinces reported double-digit growth in the first three quarters of the year - a stark contrast to the national figure of 7.7 per cent […] That rate of national GDP growth is eye-catching in a global context, with many developed countries' economies having stagnated or even shrunk since the global financial crisis hit in September last year. But it could only be called "moderate" when compared with the numbers reported by provincial governments. Of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, only Shanxi, Shanghai and Xinjiang reported lower growth than the national number […] The overall GDP number reported by all provinces was 2.5 trillion yuan (HK$2.84 trillion) higher than the 21.78 trillion yuan national figure announced by the bureau […] The discrepancy might have been larger if not for the bureau's intervention. At a national statistics meeting on October 19 in Wuhan, bureau officials ordered half the provinces to cut their GDP numbers because "some of them were artificially high", according to the National Business Daily […]. ^ top ^

China unveils its fastest supercomputer (Global Times)
2009-10-30
The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) unveiled Thursday China's fastest supercomputer, which is able to do more than one quadrillion calculations per second theoretically at its peak speed. The supercomputer, named Tianhe, meaning Milky Way, is theoretically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop) at peak speed […] NUDT president Zhang Yulin said the 155-ton system, with 103 refrigerator-like cabinets lined up on an area of about 1,000 square meters, is expected to process seismic data for oil exploration, conduct bio-medical computing and help design aerospace vehicles. China's national high-technology research and development program and the Binhai New Area, a major economic development zone in the northern port city of Tianjin jointly financed Tianhe, which cost at least 600 million yuan ($88.24 million) […] The performance of Tianhe would have made it the world's fourth most powerful supercomputer in the most recent ranking in June. ^ top ^

Three Gorges Dam 'making drought worse' (SCMP)
2009-10-29
Millions of people living along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River are suffering amid the worst drought in 60 years, and environmentalists and local officials say the giant Three Gorges Dam is making it worse. The government, though, ascribes their plight to climate change. Environmentalist Fan Xiao is in no doubt that the rapid filling of the Three Gorges reservoir to its maximum height in recent weeks has aggravated the drought that has ravaged southern and central China since last month […] Dozens of dams upstream of the Three Gorges had also been trying to fill their reservoirs. At the request of drought-hit provinces, the China Three Gorges Project Corporation, the dam's owner and developer, has now delayed its plan to raise the water level to its peak by the end of this month […] Authorities have denied the dam is to blame for the drought. Xinhua quoted scholars at top government-backed research institutes defending the 185-metre-tall barrage […] Local officials in many areas hit hard by the drought say droughts have become more frequent since the company in charge of the dam […] began trying to raise the reservoir's level to its maximum 175 metres a few years ago. The authorities consider reaching that mark will signal the project's completion […]. ^ top ^

China's discipline watchdog opens national informant website (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-29
China's discipline watchdog Wednesday opened a national informant website, to deal with the public's reports on discipline violation problems of the Party organizations and its members, and to collect suggestions for the Party's anti-corruption work. The informant website, www.12388.gov.cn, was launched by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the Ministry of Supervision. Citizens in China's 31 provinces and autonomous regions can all send their complains through the website, which has 31 portals for citizens from different places sending their appeals […] The discipline watchdogs are also planning to establish informant website in city and county levels, in order to build a nationwide reporting system […]. ^ top ^

Children without a way home (China Daily)
2009-10-29
The 60 children peer out from the screen […] For each of them, the story starts the same: kidnapped, stolen, missing, gone without a trace. And despite the best police efforts […] reuniting them with parents whose names and whereabouts may be unknown can prove impossible. So in a move to reconnect families, the Ministry of Public Security released information on about 60 rescued children on its website yesterday. "It's the first time the ministry has published data about children whose parents couldn't be found through the national DNA database," lawyer Zhang Zhiwei, a volunteer with nongovernmental organization Baby Come Home, told China Daily yesterday. The data includes the 60 children's photos, ages, the time they went missing and how to contact the department in charge […] About 30,000 to 60,000 children are reported missing every year, but it is hard to estimate how many are involved in trafficking cases, according to the Ministry of Public Security. "The national DNA database has only 20,000 to 30,000 records, which is far from enough," Zhang said […] Police have saved more than 2,000 missing children since a nationwide anti-trafficking campaign was launched on April 9, according to the ministry […]. ^ top ^

China approves feasibility report on delta bridge (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-29
China on Wednesday approved a feasibility report on the construction of a bridge linking its economic hub Guangdong to Hong Kong and Macao, a move widely expected to improve economic efficiency in the affluent Pearl River Delta. The decision was made in an executive meeting of the State Council, or the Cabinet, which was chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. The meeting also adopted a blueprint to develop a southwest border ethnic autonomous region amid the country's endeavor to upgrade economic cooperation with its southeast Asian neighbors and warned of the serious challenges posed by the global epidemic of A/H1N1 flu […]. ^ top ^

Enforcement of court rulings challenged by corruption, red tape (Global Times)
2009-10-29
The enforcement of court orders of civil cases are challenged by corruption, government red tape and low efficiency, despite notable achievements, China's top judge said here Wednesday. "Some civil case enforcement officers can not discipline themselves to reject dinner invitations or briberies, and handle cases unfairly for nepotism or personal benefits," said Wang Shengjun, president of the Supreme People's Court. Wang made the remarks in a report Wednesday to the 11th session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature […] Wang pledged to step up measures in improving enforcement officers' professional levels, work style and combating corruption […] In the four and half years ending this June, the country's courts have settled more than 11.5 million civil disputes involving 1.91 trillion yuan (279.8 billion US dollars). ^ top ^

Legislators discuss equal representation for rural, urban Chinese (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
China's top legislature Tuesday discussed granting equal representation in people's congresses to rural and urban people, according to a draft law amendment. A draft amendment to the Electoral Law, tabled at the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), for the first time aims to balance elections of lawmakers […] The law did not specify the exact population that a lawmaker would represent. The top legislature would decide the specific ratio after passing the amendment, said Li Shishi, director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee […] Li said after the last amendment in 1995, the law stipulated that each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy […] Li said that with rapid urbanization and rural economic development, the time was right for equal representation, which was conducive to "mobilizing people's enthusiasm and creativity" and the development of democracy. He said the amendment ensured equal representation among regions and ethnic groups [...] The draft amendment also added stipulations such as "organizing more face-to-face contact between candidates and electors" and "providing basic introductions of candidates" […]. ^ top ^

Murderers in Urumqi riots won't appeal (China Daily)
2009-10-28
Three people who were given death sentences for their crimes in the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, will not appeal the rulings. Eight of 21 defendants tried in court for their violence in the deadly riots, which left 197 dead and more than 1,700 injured, will not appeal sentences handed out by the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi, said Shi Lixin, the court's president. The 21 defendants, the first batch of rioters to be tried, were convicted two weeks ago. Twelve were given death sentences, including some with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in prison. The others were sentenced to life in prison and five to lesser prison terms […] All defendants have the right to appeal but the verdicts handed down after the second trials will be deemed final, according to Chinese law […]. ^ top ^

Chinese lawmakers push for clearer rules on tort liability (Global Times)
2009-10-28
Chinese lawmakers Tuesday began considering specific compensation for losses caused by infringements of personal rights, such as name, reputation, portrait and privacy rights, in a draft amendment on tort liability […] According to the draft amendment, parties that suffer infringements of personal rights are entitled to compensation equal to their losses. In cases where losses are hard to assess, compensation should equal the infringers' gains. People who have suffered infringements of their personal rights could also sue for psychological harm, although no details were given on how this would be assessed […] Lawmakers also considered a proposal to set the same compensation for all victims of an accident that results in "many"deaths. Death compensation is normally case specific, depending on the victim's age, income and other related factors […] Members of the Standing Committee of the NPC said the latest draft needed to be improved as it was still far from a mature draft law […] Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, is presiding over the five-day session. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

No pajama party at Expo (Global Times)
2009-10-30
Shanghai authorities denied Thursday that they had scaled up an administrative campaign to quell a pajamas-wearing phenomenon in public, months before the city hosts the World Expo […] Wearing pajamas in public "goes against the international practice of social ritual," a press officer with the municipal government, who gave his surname as Yang, told the Global Times, saying that efforts to phrase out pajamas on the streets have been ongoing for years with numerous meetings and campaigns held to address the issue. LED public boards in downtown areas, for instance, have been seen advocating not wearing pajamas in public. But the suggestions haven't carried any punitive measures for those insisting on wearing PJs […] Shanghai press officer Yang argued that people in other regions have their improper habits, too. "Some Beijing men prefer to be topless during the summer. That should also be changed," Yang said. Those half-naked Beijingers […] were rarely seen in the summer before the Olympics, as the city cracked down on such practice to improve the city's image. ^ top ^

Shanghai regrets setting drivers up (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
The Shanghai municipal government Monday bowed to public pressure to apologize over its law enforcers' attempts to bait unlicensed taxi drivers, and it overturned its initial investigation due to dodgy evidence collection in a late case that brought about nationwide criticism in the media and on the Internet. A 19-year-old van driver, Sun Zhongjie, a migrant worker from central Henan Province, was briefly detained October 14 for what police said was his operation of an illegal cab after he offered a ride to a person working in the sting operation […] In a press conference Monday, the Pudong New Area government admitted entrapping drivers in their campaign against illegally operated cabs. "We, as a district government, must admit the mistake, and apologize to the media and the public," Local Government Chief Jiang Liang said […] Hao Jinsong, Sun's pro-bono lawyer, told the Global Times that Sun's case was only the tip of the iceberg. "A number of individuals are hired to help law enforcement agencies set up entrapments. Such actions are similar to organized crimes, as they frame many drivers and wheedle a huge amount of property by making up stories and covering the truth," Hao said […] Sun's case has been drawing the attention of newspapers and online forums nationwide, many of them aggressively criticized the law enforcers' entrapment operation as abusing government power for profit […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen asks for entire city to be special zone: SEZ could be twice size of HK (SCMP)
2009-10-29
Shenzhen has formally submitted its proposal to expand its special economic zone (SEZ) to cover the entire city, following tacit acceptance of its expansion proposal by the State Council in May. It is believed an expansion will sharpen Shenzhen's competitive edge and help it keep pace with other economic powerhouses such as Beijing municipality, which is eight times the size of Shenzhen's city area […] The expansion - which would see the zone increase from 395 sq km to 1,948 sq km […] is a key plank in the city's restructuring plan. Shenzhen contends its development has long been held back as only a limited part of it is within the SEZ, and it has had to operate under different legislative systems - inside and outside the SEZ - for 17 years. Xu said he expected problems brought about by "one city, two systems" could be solved after the extension of SEZ status […] Yue Zheng, dean of the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, said that even if the expansion were approved, Shenzhen would not remove the fence surrounding the SEZ. The central and Guangdong governments built an 85-kilometre fence to keep out unauthorised people and prevent smuggling between the once tax-free SEZ and the area outside when the former was founded in 1980 […]. ^ top ^

First look at gov't budget crashes website (Global Times)
2009-10-28
Internet users overloaded the official website of a finance bureau in Guangdong Province Friday, after the bureau released detailed government expense budgets available for free download by the public. The budget disclosures, released amid a heated debate on government financial transparency, attracted 40,000 visits and paralyzed the website […] It is the first time that Guangzhou, the provincial capital, has made its annual spending accounts available to the public. The Guangzhou Finance Bureau posted the budgets of 114 government departments, totaling 20 billion yuan ($2.93 billion) for 2009 […] The budget items include revenues, expenditures and budget summaries […] "As long as the figures are not confidential, every citizen has a right to read them," Zhang Jieming, head of the bureau, told Xinhua Friday […] Some curious Internet users said they were disappointed to find the money spent on overseas travel junkets for government officials were not specifically detailed in the documents […].. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Concession offered on reform plan: Pro-Beijing group favours excluding appointed councillors from Legco poll (SCMP)
2009-10-30
The Federation of Trade Unions has put forward an electoral-reform proposal that is more liberal than both the rejected 2005 package and the one expected to be rolled out by the government next month. The proposal is the first concession of its kind by a major pro-Beijing group. The plan, under which government-appointed councillors would be excluded as candidates and voters for any new district council seats in the Legislative Council, removes a key stumbling-block from the 2005 reform package and seems to offer a chance of building consensus ahead of a public consultation on the reforms. Legislator and FTU chairman Wong Kwok-kin said the idea would be presented to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when he meets lawmakers from all parties next Friday to discuss proposals for the 2012 elections. The government's constitutional reform proposal is tipped to be only slightly more liberal than the one vetoed by pan-democrats in 2005, with 10 additional Legco seats - five directly elected and five elected by district councillors - in addition to the existing single, district council functional constituency seat […]. ^ top ^

Embattled Tsang hits back at the media (SCMP)
2009-10-28
Embattled Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday launched a scathing attack on the media over allegations of favouritism to his relatives, which he described as "fabrications".
But his combative stance was questioned by lawmakers who said he should not casually dismiss public opinion, especially when some key questions remained unanswered […] Tsang said there was a need for him to clarify things as his integrity and conduct had been under fire in the two weeks since he delivered his policy address. "These were absolute fabrications and vicious attacks," he said […] His remarks followed allegations of favouritism towards his elder son's father-in-law, Anthony Mok Kam-chuen, whose business distributes Philips light bulbs, in his policy address announcement of a voucher plan for energy-saving bulbs. This was swiftly followed by the disclosure that his sister-in-law received 60 per cent compensation three months before 16 banks offered most other investors compensation for their investments in Lehman-Brothers minibonds. Tsang has admitted raising the matter with officials but denied exerting pressure to speed up the compensation process […] Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a Chinese University political scientist, said Tsang's latest move would undermine his popularity […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

China firmly opposes arms sales to Taiwan by any country (Global Times)
2009-10-30
China is firmly opposed to arms sales to Taiwan by the United States and any other country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said on Thursday. According to media reports, the Taiwan authorities said Thursday that the US government suspended its sales of F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan because of pressure from the Chinese side. In reply to a question on those reports, Ma said the stance of the Chinese government on arms sales to Taiwan is clear and consistent, and remains unchanged […] The US arms sales to Taiwan remains one of the major obstacles to maintaining the healthy growth of the military-to-military relationship between China and the United States, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Caihou said Tuesday during his visit to the United States. ^ top ^

Taiwan authorities relax restrictions on mainland media on island (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
A Taiwan official said Tuesday local authorities will relax restrictions on media coverage by mainland news organizations in the island. Chao Chien-min, deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council, said mainland correspondents posted on the island no longer need to inform Taiwan's information authorities before making interview trips. Each mainland media organization would be allowed to increase their staff members from two to five, Chao said, adding those policies took effect immediately […] Chao made the remarks before taking his trip to the mainland as a board director of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), an organization authorized by the Taiwan authorities to handle cross-Strait relations […] Currently, five mainland media of the central level and two media organizations from coastal Fujian Province have sent their reporters to the island. Mainland journalists usually stay in Taiwan for three months and can extend to six months after application. The mainland also allows the maximum six-month stay for Taiwan reporters and they are allowed to rent residence on the mainland. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Khampa Tibetan language TV channel opens (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-30
The Khampa Tibetan language satellite TV channel opened in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, on Wednesday, according to the Sichuan Provincial Administration of Radio, Film and Television. It is the third Tibetan language satellite TV channel in China following one in Tibet Autonomous Region and another in Qinghai Province. The channel […] will use the logo of the Sichuan Provincial TV Station and broadcast mainly in the Khampa language, one of the three major Tibetan dialects. Covering Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces, it will offer viewers news, art programs, weather forecasts and dubbed programs. ^ top ^

 

Economy

All 28 stocks more than double as mainland's second board debuts (SCMP)
2009-10-30
The ChiNext stock market, mainland's long-awaited Nasdaq-style second board, debuted on Friday with a speculative surge that more than doubled the price of all its 28 stocks – a good sign for firms lining up to list on the country's main stock markets. The bubbly open to a market that hopes to turn local start-up firms into budding Microsofts or Intels, stirred concerns about speculative froth, but analysts said circuit-breakers would curb excesses while a steady supply of new shares would help keep mainland stock valuations under control […] ChiNext, part of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, started out with market capitalisation more than 100 times that of main Shanghai Stock Exchange when it launched in 1990, and vastly deepens the country's capital markets by expanding funding channels for small innovative firms […] The 28 listees, almost all private companies in contrast with the state-owned corporations that dominate the main board, completed IPOs over the past several weeks at prices averaging a hefty 56 times last year earnings […] The Shenzhen bourse has said it would launch an index system for ChiNext at an appropriate time, but has given no timetable. ^ top ^

China, US pledge no new trade protection measures as Obama's visit in sight (Global Times)
2009-10-30
China and the United States said Thursday they would not stage any new trade protection measures against each other, a significant step which lays the groundwork for the presidential summit next month. "Both sides agreed on not introducing any new trade protection measures against each other as both vowed to oppose trade and investment protectionism and observe the related consensus of the G20 summit," Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said later Thursday […] The comments also came at a time of increasing China-US trade disputes in the past months, involving Chinese tires, cement products, US poultry and others […] At the end of Thursday's JCCT talks, China and the United States signed 11 trade deals covering mutual investment, high-tech and tourism, among others […]. ^ top ^

Giant China banks report rising profits last quarter (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-30
China's Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) and the Bank of China both reported third-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates, buoyed by a loan surge and lower provisions for potential losses on loans and investments. Net income at ICBC rose 19 percent to 33.6 billion yuan (US$4.93 billion), cementing its status as the world's most profitable lender. Bank of China, China's third-largest lender, staked in a profit of 21.1 billion yuan in the last quarter, a gain of 19 percent from a year earlier […] The China Construction Bank, its second-largest bank, posted a decent profit growth last week. China's three largest lenders advanced 3.3 trillion yuan of new loans in the first nine months to finance a $586 billion government stimulus plan, which has helped drive an economic recovery and will accelerate profit growth at the banks to at least 20 percent in 2010, analysts said […]. ^ top ^

China discovers Asia's biggest gas field in Chongqing (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-29
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) discovered a super giant gas field when its exploration team detected a 340 square kilometer area in Chongqing in China's southwest. According to Sinopec, this gas field with more than 120 billion cubic meters of gas reserves, is the biggest in Asia. ^ top ^

China to tighten rules on personal loans (Xinhua)
2009-10-29
China's banking regulator Wednesday issued a draft plan on stepping up rules of personal loans to prevent misuse of money lent from the country's financial institutions. The draft regulation, posted on the web site of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) to solicit public opinions, aimed to enhance prudent management of personal loans and ensure the money to enter real economy, the CBRC said. The CBRC ordered lenders not to give loans to individuals without knowing their proposed usage. The regulations did not raise the threshold for people applying for funds, the CBRC said […] The draft regulation came amid the concerns that part of loans were used for speculation rather than in real economy, increasing risks of asset bubbles and bad loans. In the first nine months, Chinese banks lent 8.67 trillion yuan of new loans, compared with the full year target of 5 trillion yuan after the government eased restrictions to back the economic growth amid the global economic downturn. ^ top ^

Ministry: China's overseas investment nearly triples (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
China's overseas investment in non-financial sectors nearly tripled in the third quarter from the same period last year, the government said on Tuesday, as China has rebounded from the global crisis. Investment in mining, manufacturing and other non-financial sectors reached US$ 20.5 billion from July to September, up 190.4 percent on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. That compared with a total of US$ 32.9 billion pumped into overseas non-financial sectors in the first nine months of 2009, an increase of 0.5 percent on the same period a year ago, it said […] Investment through acquisition amounted to US$14.3 billion in the first three quarters, or 43.5 percent of the total, the statement said. ^ top ^

U.S. sets preliminary duties on China steel products (Xinhua)
2009-10-28
The U.S. government announced preliminary determination in the countervailing duty investigation on imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand from China, according to a statement released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday. The department said that Chinese producers and exporters of prestressed concrete steel wire stand have received net countervailable subsidies ranging from 7.53 to 12.06 percent […] the Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a cash deposit or bond on imports prestressed concrete steel wire strand from China […] The petition was filed on May 27, 2009. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made its preliminary determination on July 13. The Commerce Department is scheduled to issue its final determination in January 2010 […] Trade disputes between China and the U.S. increased this year since the U.S. economy has been experiencing the worst recession after the Great Depression in 1930s […]. ^ top ^

China urges EU to revoke anti-dumping decisions (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-28
China hopes the European Union can revoke the decision and ruling that violate the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and hurt bilateral trade, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement on its website Monday […] after the WTO established an expert panel on Oct. 23 to investigate whether the EU's anti-dumping measures on Chinese-made fasteners violate trade rules. The expert panel, once set up, needs at least half a year to issue a final ruling on the dispute. China initiated the WTO case on July 31, saying anti-dumping measures taken by the EU against the import of Chinese steel fasteners violate WTO trade rules. At the beginning of this year, the EU decided to impose anti-dumping duties of up to 87 percent on fasteners imported from China for the next five years. EU's move had seriously violated WTO rules and China's lawful rights and interests, and both the Chinese government and enterprises have expressed grave dissatisfaction over this, the MOC statement said. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

A/H1N1 accounts for 80% total flu cases (People's Daily Online)
2009-10-30
The A/H1N1 influenza virus is responsible for nearly 80 percent of China's total flu infections and most of the mass cases occurred in schools, according to a senior official with the Ministry of Health (MOH) […] Liang Wannian, vice director of the health emergency office under the MOH, said […] as of Wednesday, a total of 1,502 mass cases were reported in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of the Chinese mainland and 96.4 percent occurred in schools. Liang said the country would act faster in providing vaccines for more people as it was still the most effective way to protect vulnerable groups and keep patients' illness situation from deteriorating. On Wednesday Beijing reported an A/H1N1 death case of a university student, also the fourth on the Chinese mainland […] Based on clinical experiments, at least 85 percent of people receiving the vaccine would get protection from the virus and the effectiveness duration would last till this winter or next spring […] Statistics from the ministry show that the Chinese mainland had reported 42,009 confirmed cases of the A/H1N1 flu by 3 p.m. Wednesday. A total of 30,854 patients had recovered. Twenty-two of 66 patients in serious conditions had been cured, the ministry said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Hu invites North Korea's leader to visit China (Global Times)
2009-10-30
Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited the top leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Il to visit China. The invitation was sent to Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party, who met President Hu on Wednesday in Beijing to consolidate bilateral ties as the two countries celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations […] Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Pyongyang earlier this month during which he had in-depth talks with the DPRK leaders on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and DPRK revealed that it is willing to attend multilateral talks including the six-party talks, contingent upon progress in the DPRK-US talks […] DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il's last official trip to China was in January 2006. ^ top ^

No further U.S.-DPRK bilateral talks decided: U.S. says (Xinhua)
2009-10-30
A senior U.S. official on Thursday denied a report that U.S. Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Stephen Bosworth will visit Pyongyang next month. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Sung Kim, special envoy for the six-party talks on nuclear issues of the Korean peninsula, and Ri Gun, deputy representative of the DPRK at the six-party talks, have agreed in their talks on Bosworth's trip to Pyongyang next month. "I talked to Ambassador Kim this morning. There was no agreement for a specific bilateral meeting and no agreement to make any announcement of that sort, either," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters. Kelly also said that no decision had been made yet for any further meeting between Sung Kim and Ri Gun after the two had talks in New York on Saturday […] "The U.S. has made no decision for Ambassador Bosworth to accept the invitation of North Korea to have bilateral talks," Kelly said […]. ^ top ^

UN expert slams N. Korea on lack of women rights (Global Times)
2009-10-28
North Korea has targeted women in a crackdown on private markets, depriving families of a vital source of food and income, a UN human rights investigator told AFP on Monday after the North's officials rejected his report to the UN. Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, told the UN General Assembly that the plight of women has become worse, with those under 49 prohibited from trading, plus bans on wearing pants and riding bicycles, making it more difficult for them to engage in retail activities […] "The country is not poor, and yet the money is not spent on the people," Muntarbhorn said. North Korea's deputy UN ambassador, Pak Tok-hun, earlier rejected the report, calling it a "politically conspired document, full of distortion, lies, falsity, and devised by hostile forces," Aljazeera reported Friday. Adam Livermore, a British national who visited North Korea in a private tour this month, said he didn't see such violations […] In Muntarbhorn's argument, the reason young women became targeted is that "women have been very active generators of that income because men are doing other things, such as working in the mines” […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Premier resigned (MONTSAME)
2009-10-28
On October 26, the Prime Minister of Mongolia S. Bayar put forward a request to Parliament Speaker D.Demberel to resign him from the Premiership in accordance with the law on the government. This news was reported Monday by the Press and Information Service of parliament. S. Bayar considers that he is not "able to perform the duties as the Premier due to a bad health condition". An irregular plenary meeting of the parliamentary session held on Wednesday discussed a request of S.Bayar to resign from the Premiership. The request has been accepted by 100 percent votes. Due to the resignation, the First Vice-Premier N.Altankhuyag will temporarily carry out the Premier's duties until an appointment of a new Prime Minister. ^ top ^

GDP falls 2.2 percent year-on-year (www.news.mn)
2009-10-28
Mongolia's Gross Domestic Product in the first three quarters reached about USD1.76 billion, down 2.2 percent compared with the same period last year. Total industrial output reached MNT 1,138.1 billion in the first nine months of 2009, registering a 10.5 percent decrease (at 2005 constant prices) against the previous year's figure. Output of main mining products such as copper, zinc, tungsten, gold and fluorspar fell 35 per cent. Construction and installation work worth MNT145.4 billion was carried out in this period, with domestic entities responsible for 85.9 percent of this and foreign entities for 14.1 percent. ^ top ^

Latest Updates on H1N1 Flu in Mongolia (UB Post)
2009-10-27
The Health Ministry has confirmed the information that one more person infected with H1N1 virus died last Saturday […] There have been reported almost 374 laboratory cases of influenza A confirmed, and two people died because of the H1N1 virus. 73 people were hospitalized and treated at the National Center for Communicable Diseases; four of them are in worst condition. On October 28th, Mongolia has to receive flu treatment and prevention drug ‘tamiflu' sufficient for 45 thousand people. In addition, H1N1 vaccines sufficient for two percent of Mongolia's population will be available on November 9th. The Health Ministry recommends all population to wash hands regularly, consume immunity-improving foods and not to go to public places of high risk. Health Minister, Lambaa, called all public and private organizations to grant a five-day-long paid holiday to those employees with cough and fever. ^ 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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