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
  16.11-20.11.09, No. 295  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Censor suspected in missing Obama exclusive (SCMP)
2009-11-20
An exclusive interview with Barack Obama in the mainland's most outspoken newspaper failed to reach some subscribers yesterday, stoking speculation the US president had once again fallen foul of government censors. While copies of Southern Weekend were available at newsstands in Beijing, subscribers in expatriate communities and the offices of foreign media failed to receive the main section of the paper, which contained the interview. The transcript of the interview was not available on the newspaper's website, but a PDF version of the newspaper was available online. Observers were baffled over why the article should appear in copies that were available on the street but not to expatriate readers. One possibility raised was that the article had not cleared the censors by the time the subscriber copies, which are usually the first to be printed, went to press. […] Another editorial staff member said staff had been ordered not to talk about the apparent censorship. Obama's recently concluded three-day China visit was the subject of unprecedented censorship that underscored the increasingly controlled media environment. His town-hall-style meeting with a handpicked selection of Shanghai young people was broadcast only on a local TV station, and not on China Central Television. Similar events involving Obama's predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were televised live by the state broadcaster. Nor was the event streamed online by any major mainland media, with internet users instead having to log on to the White House website. This meant the vast majority missed the US president calling for the free flow of information online. […]. ^ top ^

Wen: China disagrees to so-called G2 (China Daily)
2009-11-19
China disagrees to the suggestion of a "Group of Two" (G2), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a meeting with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama here on Wednesday. China is still a developing country with a huge population and has a long way to go before it becomes modernized, Wen said, stressing "We must always keep sober-minded over it". China pursues the independent foreign policy of peace and will not align with any country or country blocks, Wen said. Global issues should decided by all nations in the world, rather than one or two countries, he added. "Meanwhile, we believe Sino-U.S. cooperation can play a unique role in advancing the establishment of the new international political and economic order, as well as promoting world peace, stability and prosperity," Wen said. Wen noted that the bilateral trade volume between China and the United States has increased greatly since the two countries established diplomatic ties 30 years ago. "This is in the fundamental interests of both countries and their people," Wen said. "We do not pursue trade surplus and I hope the United States would lift its policy of restricting high-tech products exports to China and increase their proportion in the U.S. exports to China. "Meanwhile, our two countries should strengthen mutual investment and cooperation in such fields as energy, environmental protection and high technology for a more balanced bilateral trade," Wen said. The revival of world trade and investment is beneficial to the global effort to cope with the financial crisis and help accelerate the recovery of the world economy, he said. […]. ^ top ^

[U.S., China] Leaders lay firm foundation for ties (SCMP)
2009-11-20
President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barack Obama have agreed to deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries and reached consensus on a wide range of global issues, although their differences over currency and human rights remained unsolved after a summit in Beijing yesterday. Obama reassured his host on issues seen by China as core to its national interests, promising to uphold the "one China" policy regarding Taiwan and recognising Beijing's sovereignty over Tibet. But he also urged Beijing to resume early dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Hu pledged China would co-operate with the US on important international issues, such as anti-terrorism, climate change and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons […] China and the US issued a joint statement after the presidential summit, listing co-operation in outer space, the environment, new energy, scientific research and public health. However, they did not announce any breakthrough on currency or human rights. It was the first joint statement issued by the two countries since 1998 […] Obama reiterated the importance of universal rights and said such rights should be "available to all peoples, to all ethnic and religious minorities". Beijing has agreed to open a new round of dialogue with Washington on rights issues early next year […] Joseph Cheng, chair of political science at City University of Hong Kong, said Obama was under political pressure domestically to raise the Tibet issue on his maiden visit to China, "but he certainly harboured no intention to put it in a confrontational way". The US president also welcomed "steps that have already been taken" by Beijing and Taipei to relax tension and build ties. His comments came a day after the mainland and Taiwan signed a new agreement on trade and finance co-operation […] Beijing also announced that Hu had accepted Obama's invitation and would visit the US next year […] With a new round of global talks on climate change due to take place in Copenhagen next month, all eyes are on China and US - the largest consumers and producers of energy. But the two sides did not announce any breakthrough on that front […] They expressed a stronger commitment on the issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, agreeing on the importance of resuming the six party talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions as soon as possible. In a separate media briefing after the summit, Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei said the two sides had deepened trust, which he hailed as the "most important progress" made during the summit. ^ top ^

IFAD president praises China's model role in fighting hunger (Global Times)
2009-11-20
China's experience in eradicating hunger can be learned by other developing countries, the president of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the World Summit on Food Security, Kanayo Nwanze said China has done a lot both in increasing national funds for agriculture and in supporting other developing countries through strategic rural investments. "I have seen firsthand progress," he said. "China was able in 30 years, from 1978 to 2007, to reduce rural poverty from 30 percent to 1.6 percent through massive investments in rural development and rural areas, focusing on women, right policies and land access." For Nwanze China can be a role-model for other developing countries. "Through her own experience China is able to collaborate with others in bringing its knowledge and technology to other parts of the world," he said. However, "it is then the recipient country's responsibility to ensure that these experiences are properly used," he added. "China's partnership with developing countries, in particular Africa, is able to assist these countries but it is imperative that the developing countries have themselves the right policies to ensure that the investments reach the rural population," Nwanze said. ^ top ^

China, Brazil to advance military ties to a new high (People's Daily Online)
2009-11-20
China and Brazil vowed to advance military relations to a new high as senior officials from both countries met in Beijing Tuesday. As strategic partners and large developing countries, bilateral relations between China and Brazil made strides in recent years, said Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commissions. In meeting with visiting Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, Xu said China would like to work with Brazil for new achievements […] "We are pleased to see the increasingly pragmatic defense and military exchanges," Xu said. Jobim said his country had much in common with China and shared similar views on many issues. He echoed Xu's point in strengthening cooperation to further the bilateral military relations. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier, UN chief meet on food security (People's Daily Online)
2009-11-20
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss food security on the sidelines of the World Summit on Food Security, which opened in Rome on Monday. Hui said the international community is facing the common challenge of food security, adding that the summit is of major significance for all countries to enhance public concerns and take right actions on agricultural development and food security […] China will continue to firmly support the United Nations in playing a greater part in international affairs, he added. Ban said China's participation is very important for guaranteeing global food security, adding that China's participation is necessary in tackling all international issues including food security and climate change. Hui is here to attend the three-day summit at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters at the invitation of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. ^ top ^

China to send trade, investment delegation to Europe (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
A Chinese delegation will leave for Serbia, France, the Netherlands and Ireland this weekend to further China-Europe economic cooperation, China's Ministry of Commerce announced Monday […] the delegation of more than 300 business people from around 170 enterprises would visit the four countries from Nov. 21 to Dec. 4. The tour, organized by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, would involve the sectors of energy, aviation, automobile, telecommunications, machinery, and information technology […] The delegation would hold economic and trade cooperation forum and talks with European enterprises […] Chen Deming, China's Commerce Minister, would hold talks with Christine Lagarde, French Economy, Industry and Employment Minister, during his three-day visit to France beginning on Nov. 26 […]. ^ top ^

China calls for integrated solution to Somali piracy (Xinhuanet)
2009-11-19
China on Wednesday called on the international community to work toward an integrated solution to the piracy menace in Somalia. "An effective fight against Somali piracy still awaits an integrated solution," China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Liu Zhenmin, told a Security Council meeting. He noted that China had provided an escort flotilla and other contributions and would continue to cooperate with international efforts. It was essential, however, that all efforts in that area comply with international law applicable to the sea and maritime commerce, and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of littoral States, particularly Somalia, he said. In that context, it was crucial to support the return of stability in Somalia, even though political reconciliation had been stagnant, he said. Liu said that regional states should be supported to help the piracy fight, and regional initiatives should be encouraged. […]. ^ top ^

China, Sudan agree on agriculture cooperation (Xinhuanet)
2009-11-19
China and Sudan have agreed to further enhance cooperation on agriculture during the visit to Khartoum by Zhou Yongkang, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said sources with the International Department of the CPC Central Committee on Thursday. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, paid a three-day official goodwill visit to Khartoum from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP). During his visit, Zhou and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir held talks and agreed to further oil cooperation and tap potentials for cooperation in the agricultural field, the sources said. "Fourteen years ago, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin and youmade the strategic decision to start China-Sudan oil cooperation, and our bilateral pragmatic cooperation had since entered a stage of fast development," Zhou told al-Bashir. "In 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Sudan and the two heads of state reached consensus on the further promotion of bilateral ties, which injected more energy into China-Sudan relations," Zhou noted. He said that in addition to oil cooperation, China is working on a pilot project on agricultural cooperation between the two countries. […]. ^ top ^

US panel warns of China spying (SCMP)
2009-11-20
A US congressional advisory panel said yesterday that Chinese spies were aggressively stealing American secrets to use in building up Beijing's military and economic strength.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission also said in its annual report to lawmakers that Beijing was building a navy that could block the US military from getting to the region if fighting broke out between the mainland and Taiwan. […] Wang Baodong, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, called the spying allegations "baseless, unwarranted and irresponsible". He called the commission's suggestion that China's navy was being built up to challenge the US in the Pacific a "cold war fantasy". Chinese military spending, he said, was only a fraction of Washington's outlay. Wang said the commission was recycling old, unproven allegations, and called the annual report "aimed at misleading the American public". […]. ^ top ^

Top Chinese political adviser meets Philippines Senate president (Global Times)
2009-11-20
China's top political adviser, Jia Qinglin, and Philippines Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile pledged to boost cooperation between the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the Philippine Senate when they met Thursday.

Jia, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, said China-Philipines ties had witnessed healthy development since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1975. […] China appreciated the Philippine parliament's firm adherence to the one-China policy on the Taiwan issue, Jia noted. He said China and the Philippines could further cooperate in fighting the global economic crisis and China would like to enhance cooperation with the Philippines in such sectors as trade, two-way investment, tourism, education and culture with the principle of equality and mutual benefit, he said. Jia spoke highly of the close contact and exchange between the CPPCC and the Philippines Senate, pledging to step up exchanges and learn from each other to promote the social development of the two countries. […] After their talks, Jia and Enrile witnessed the signing of several agreements on economic, education and disaster relief cooperation. Jia arrived in Malina Thursday afternoon for a two-day official visit as guest of Enrile. He will also visit Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. ^ top ^

Poor English hinders peacekeepers' missions (SCMP)
2009-11-20
A lack of proficiency in English has been one of the main factors hindering Chinese peacekeeping forces in their missions overseas, officials said yesterday at a new training centre outside Beijing. UN peacekeeping missions have given China, which has not been in an overseas conflict for three decades, a channel for diplomatic outreach and military experience as the People's Liberation Army modernises. Beijing has sent more than 14,000 peacekeepers, mostly military observers, engineers and medics, to UN peacekeeping operations in the past 20 years. About 2,000 mainland troops were currently serving, Senior Colonel Kui Yanwei said. The relatively low English standards of peacekeepers ranked after general security issues and a lack of trained teachers with peacekeeping experience among the challenges they faced, Kui said. Peacekeeping veteran Liu Zhao said in fluent English as he showed reporters around a compound modelled on the Chinese camp in Darfur: "We need English for better communications with the other UN personnel and teams." […]. ^ top ^

President's Asian tour, attendance at APEC meeting a complete success: FM (People's Daily Online)
2009-11-20
Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visits to Malaysia and Singapore and his attendance at the 17th Economic Leaders Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on Nov. 10-15 was fruitful and achieved great success, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Sunday […] During the six days, President Hu attended more than 30 multilateral or bilateral events, including meetings with leaders of Malaysia and Singapore, having extensive contacts with people from various walks of life and delivering important speeches at the APEC meeting […] During his visits to Malaysia and Singapore, Hu gave a comprehensive and detailed account of the policies and measures China has adopted to fight the international financial crisis and the successes achieved in this regard […] Hu expounded on China's position on opposing trade protectionism and supporting the multilateral trading system. He said the APEC member economies should advance the World Trade Organization's Doha Round negotiations on the basis of locking in the existing achievements and respecting the Doha mandate […] In his address at the two-day APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, President Hu called on the APEC to reform and improve itself to raise the efficiency of cooperation so as to keep advancing with the changing times […] To promote APEC economic and technical cooperation, he said, the Chinese government will allocate 10 million U.S. dollars for the establishment of the China-APEC Cooperation Fund to encourage and support participation by relevant Chinese departments and businesses in APEC economic and technical cooperation. The Chinese president also called on all parties to take an active part in the Fifth APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting in 2010 and continuously support and take part in activities of the Asia-Pacific Network on Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management […] On the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, the Chinese president made extensive contacts with leaders from other APEC members and held talks with his counterparts from Russia, Indonesia, Chile and Peru […]. ^ top ^

China's international search and rescue team attains IEC certificate (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
Chinese international search and rescue team on Saturday passed the evaluation of International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification (IEC). The event made China the 12th country in the world and the second in Asia to own a heavy urban search and rescue (USAR) team which qualifies for participating in international deployments. Eight experts from the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), an inter-governmental network under the United Nations umbrella, had been in Beijing since Thursday to determine whether the Chinese rescuers have the ability to perform tasks at international levels. Alan Toh, the leader of the INSARAG evaluation team spoke highly of the Chinese team, saying it was "professional and well trained". The IEC concept was established in 2005 […] a heavy USAR team should have the capability for difficult technical search and rescue operations instructure collapse incidents. Chinese international search and rescue team was founded in 2001. It has participated in rescue operations in countries including Algeria, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan. ^ top ^

PLA Navy training ship returns from trip to ROK, Japan (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's training ship "Zheng He" returned to a naval base here on Sunday after a 20-day visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK)and Japan. At the invitation of the ROK's navy and Japan's maritime self-defense force, the vessel has visited the ROK's port of Chinhae and Japan's port of Kure. During its visit, the training vessel sent four Chinese naval cadets to training schools in academies of the ROK's navy and Japan's maritime self-defense force to receive two-day training and study. In return, two cadets from Japan's maritime self-defense force and ROK navy respectively were invited on board the "Zheng He" to receive training with their Chinese counterparts. This was the first time for foreign cadets to take part in the whole course of navigation training on a Chinese naval vessel […] Of nearly 370 people on board the vessel, 230, including 16 female, were cadets from four academies under the PLA Navy. They have had a variety of professional exchanges with their ROK and Japanese counterparts […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Ex-Tiananmen student leader goes on trial a day after Obama leaves (SCMP)
2009-11-20
A student leader of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement, who has long lived in the United States, went on trial on the mainland yesterday, a day after US President Barack Obama finished a visit that raised the issue of human rights. Zhou Yongjun faced fraud charges at the trial in Shehong county, Sichuan province, his long-time girlfriend and a friend at the court said. Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students' Autonomous Union in the 1989 protests that ended in a bloody army-led crackdown in the streets around Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He later obtained a green card from the United States, giving him residential rights, but not full citizenship. "I know from the lawyers that he's on trial today, but the whole process has been kept secret. This came out of the blue," Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend, said from Los Angeles where she lives. She said Zhou's family had also told her of the trial. "Holding the trial at this time was to show the US president," Zhang said. "The Chinese government maybe believes that it has the power and cash to go up against the United States and international society." […] Zhou, 42, was handed to mainland police by authorities in Hong Kong, leading to his detention for nearly a year, Zhang and Hong Kong rights activists said last month. He faces charges of financial fraud involving a bank in Hong Kong, but Zhang and other supporters say the charges were a pretext to punish Zhou for his years of rights activism. ^ top ^

Beijing presented with huge bill to ease Three Gorges problems (SCMP)
2009-11-20
The Three Gorges Dam has left a backlog of problems that may need 170 billion yuan (HK$193 billion) or more to solve, adding to the burdens of the controversial project. A draft plan prepared for the central government states that much of the money would go to supporting people, many of them poor farmers, displaced by the dam in the southwest that will fill to 175 metres above sea level, the overseas edition of the People's Daily reported. If approved, the money would apparently come on top of 254.2 billion yuan already spent on the 2.3-kilometre-long dam, a lock for ships, 26 power generators and resettling 1.3 million residents. […]. ^ top ^

China's Supreme Court opens new petition reception office (Global Times)
2009-11-20
China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) opened a bigger and better petition reception office Wednesday in an effort to better listen to public complaint. Located at the south fourth ring road in Beijing with an area covering more than 15,000 square meters, the new place have four separate buildings to receive petitioners. Inside the hall of the building to receive people who are unsatisfied with court's verdicts, staff were helping petitioners register and categorize their complaints, then sending them to corresponding rooms upstairs for individual consultant with judges. "We are able to receive and provide consulting service to 74 visitors simultaneously," said Jiang Qibo, deputy chief judge of the new office. "The office has much more efficiency and safety than before." […] The SPC also ordered the staff in the office to treat the petitioners in a more friendly and polite manner. Around 80 percent of China's courts across the country have set up petition reception offices. The SPC said it would launch a two-year campaign to standardize the petition-handling practice to offer more professional service. Facing an increasing pressure to ensure fair and efficient trials and fight against corruption, Chinese courts have taken many measures to make trial's procedure more transparent and open. ^ top ^

Snow cuts power supply to 640,000 people in E China (Xinhuanet)
2009-11-19
More than 640,000 people in Anqing City, in east China's Anhui Province, have suffered power shortages since Sunday due to heavy snow, the local power company said Thursday. Almost 115,600 people still had no power supply at all by Thursday afternoon, said Hu Xiaoyan, press officer with the Anqing Municipal Electric Power Company. […] The rare snowfall incurred 37.51 million yuan (5.49 million U.S. dollars) in economic losses to the urban and rural power systems, according to the company. […]. ^ top ^

Heavy snow storms kill 32 in north China (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
Early and heavy snow storms in north China have killed 32 people, destroyed nearly 300,000 hectares of winter crops, and caused nearly 7 billion yuan (about one billion US dollars) of direct economic losses as of 2 p.m. Sunday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The death toll did not include those who died in snow-caused traffic accidents, the ministry said. Ten died in Hebei Province, 12 died in Henan Province, and others in provinces of Shanxi, Shandong and Shaanxi. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, more than 9.6 million people were affectedly snow storms, and 166,000 people had been evacuated from their homes or stranded vehicles jammed on the roads. More than 15,000 buildings collapsed, the ministry said. Heavy snow storms began to fall on Monday in northern and central Chinese provinces, including Hebei, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Hubei and Shaanxi, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Beijing also experienced heavy snow, but no deaths have been reported so far. ^ top ^

Party moves to tighten grip on Shanghai media (SCMP)
2009-11-19
Beijing has appointed a former People's Daily deputy editor to head Shanghai's propaganda machine, a sign the Communist Party intends to tighten its grip on the commercial capital's media. The personnel reshuffle comes after embarrassing stories involving a collapsed residential building and a botched police traffic sting became national talking points and provoked heavy public criticism of the city government. Yang Zhenwu, 54, will replace Wang Zhongwei, who will become a deputy minister of the State Council Information Office, the People's Daily reported. […] Several reporters with Shanghai-based news media said they expected the new propaganda boss to strengthen censorship and set the tone for news reporting because Yang, as a senior editor with the People's Daily, the mainland's flagship newspaper, knew the party line well. A senior reporter with Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily, which is controlled by the party publicity department, said editors had warned of heightened censorship once the new propaganda chief took over. […]. ^ top ^

Hackers' attacks on MOD site failed (China Daily)
2009-11-19
More than 2.3 million hacking attacks were launched against the Ministry of National Defense (MOD)'s new website during its first month online, the site's editor-in-chief Ji Guilin said Wednesday. All of the attacks were repelled. And the site at www.mod.gov.cn was not only popular among hackers. During the three months that followed its Aug 20 launch, 1.25 billion people visited the portal, Ji said. Around 40 percent of the hits came from users in Beijing and the two provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu. "The traffic reached 70 million on the first day and climbed to 130 million the day after," Ji said. He added that the attacks intensified when the military's profile was heightened. "But none of the attacks succeeded." […]. ^ top ^

CPC hopes to set up more branches in non-public sector (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has seen the current campaign of promoting the Scientific Outlook on Development as an opportunity to establish more branches in the non-public sector. Non-public sector is of great importance to the building of Party organizations at the grassroots level, said a circular jointly issued by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and the leading group for the campaign. A Party branch should be set up in a non-public institution when it has three or more CPC members. Leaders of the new Party branches could be elected among the Party members or nominated by upper level Party organizations, the circular said. The CPC currently has about 76 million members. ^ top ^

Dissidents resigned to routine of detention: Obama's visit means trouble for activists (SCMP)
2009-11-20
It has become a routine for Chinese dissidents. They know that at sensitive times they will be rounded up and taken away or tailed by police. US President Barack Obama's visit is one of those times. Activists, Christians from non-government-sanctioned churches and rights lawyers have been warned not to "cause trouble" during Obama's visit, which ends tomorrow. In a repeat of arrangements during the National Day holiday and the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4, a score of outspoken dissidents have been taken away and locked up on Beijing's outskirts […] For those people regarded as security problems by the authorities, but who are not detained, freedom is still a less-than-straightforward proposition when a US president comes to visit […] Obama has been under attack for pushing human rights issues onto the backburner in order to secure Beijing's economic and financial co-operation. No jailed dissidents have been released to mark his visit, unlike gestures which have marked previous maiden trips by former US presidents. Obama is expected to raise human rights issues, but not any specific case. The International Federation of Journalists has called on Obama to stress the social value of freedom and the media during his meetings with Chinese leaders […]. ^ top ^

China appoints six new counselors (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
China's State Council appointed six personages to its Counselors' Office, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, on Friday in Beijing. Four out of the six new counselors are women, including renowned writer Zhang Kangkang, and Liu Pengzhi, principal of the High School Affiliated to Renmin University. All of them are in their fifties or sixties. Also appointed on Friday were four members of the Central Research Institute of Culture and History (CRICH). The institute was established in 1951. It is an academic research agency under the the State Council […] The counselors' office is an advisory organ directly under the State Council, or Cabinet. Currently, there are 53 counselors in the office. The CRICH has 52 members. [Premier] Wen urged the Counselors' Office to advocate independent thinking and be faithful to truth. He also asked its members to study the domestic issues with a global perspective and learn from the experience of foreign countries. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Population of NT new towns cut by 27pc (SCMP)
2009-11-20
The new towns proposed in the northeastern New Territories will accommodate a population of 131,000 and offer sites for the development of pillar industries from 2019, according to the Development Bureau. But the timetable has been criticised as too optimistic, with the government still having to work out how to obtain private sites that comprise 57 per cent of the new town area. The concept plan announced yesterday was a refined version of a planning study, commissioned in 1998, which proposed three new towns housing a population of 180,000 in Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Ta Kwu Ling, Ping Che […] The latest plans would see about 6,000 people from 1,500 households relocated - 75 per cent of the existing local population. They advocate a lower density environment for the developments, with the population cut by 27 per cent and the number of flats reduced by 36 per cent, from 71,700 to 46,000 […]. ^ top ^

1,800 electors enjoy one man, three votes (SCMP)
2009-11-20
While Hong Kong awaits the introduction of full democracy, at least 1,800 people are able to cast three votes in Legislative Council elections. About that number are registered as individual electors in geographical and functional constituencies, and are also authorised representatives of corporate voters, information provided by the Registration and Electoral Office shows. In other words, they can cast three votes in a Legco poll. More than three million people have registered to elect 30 geographical constituency lawmakers, who comprise half the legislature. The other 30 seats, representing 28 functional constituencies, are elected by 229,861 voters - 213,777 individual electors and 16,084 corporate voters. Under the electoral rules, people cannot register in more than one functional constituency as individual electors, and cannot act as the authorised representatives for more than one company or organization […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taipei hopes to sign trade agreement with Beijing (SCMP)
2009-11-19
Taiwan's top policymaker on mainland affairs said yesterday that the island hoped to sign a broad free-trade-agreement-like deal with Beijing in talks early next year. The Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement, (ECFA), which would slash import tariffs and allow more market access in the banking sector, should be signed at the meeting, Mainland Affairs Council chairwoman Dr Lai Shin-yuan said. Her comments came days after Taiwan and the mainland signed a long-awaited financial memorandum of understanding. The signing of the ECFA is likely to open up the financial sector further. […] Lai said Taiwan and the mainland would avoid talks on knotty political issues, such as Beijing's missiles aimed at the island and Taiwan's push to join more international organisations in which statehood is a requirement, until Taiwan's public is more receptive and the two sides build up more mutual trust. "As the public can see advantages, they'll offer support," she said. "As we get more support from public opinion, we can proceed step by step." In an effort to strengthen ties further, Lai said she hoped to meet mainland counterpart Wang Yi , director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, which would be the first meeting between top policymakers on both sides. Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, and Chen Yunlin from the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait are to meet next month in Taiwan's Taichung county. The December meeting will be their fourth since mainland-friendly Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May last year, and the two aim to sign the ECFA deal when they meet again. […]. ^ top ^

BOC, ICBC considering branches in Taiwan (China Daily)
2009-11-20
Bank of China Ltd (BOC) and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) are vying to be the first of the mainland's lenders to open branches in Taiwan after the two sides agreed to widen access to each other's financial industries. BOC, the mainland's third-largest lender, said yesterday it would apply to open a branch. ICBC, the world's most profitable bank, needs a presence in Taiwan and wants to expand there […] The accord deepens financial ties with an island that has accounted for as much as $200 billion of investment in the mainland and has 100,000 companies operating there. It also paves the way for a broader economic agreement as relations between the two sides reach their warmest since a civil war ended 60 years ago. "This is a big step on the political side and mainland banks are keen to show their support," said Li Qing, an analyst at CSC Securities HK Ltd. "The reality is the Taiwan market is too small and saturated for mainland players to care much about. It's more meaningful for the Taiwan counterparts who can expand in a much bigger market." An agreement with the mainland may help Taiwan's drive to consolidate the island's 37 domestic banks. On Nov 12, the island's regulator issued draft rules to tighten requirements for branches of foreign banks […] Financial regulators from the mainland and Taiwan signed three memorandums of understanding on Monday to ease restrictions on investment in banks, brokerages and insurers across the Taiwan Strait […] Sean Chen, chairman of Taiwan's financial supervisory commission, and China Banking Regulatory Commission head Liu Mingkang signed agreements that cover cross-Strait financial supervision, information-sharing and risk management, the statements said […] The agreements will be effective within 60 days. The island and the mainland are scheduled to start talks on an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement next month […]. ^ top ^

Hu Jintao meets with Lien Chan (Global Times)
2009-11-20
Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of Kuomintang (KMT), on the sidelines of the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting on Saturday in Singapore […] Hu said Lien has been following up and actively pushing forward the cross-Strait ties, "we appreciate your clear-cut attitude in this regard". The cross-Strait relations have witnessed important progress and a historic turning point recently, which conform to the common interests and aspirations of the compatriots across the Strait, and were also welcomed by the international community, he added […] "We should continue to follow the approaches of putting aside difficult issues, and making economic issues the priority in advancing the cross-Strait consultation, and strive to launch the consultation process for a cross-Strait economic cooperation framework agreement within this year," Hu said. Both sides should also create favorable conditions for jointly making a breakthrough in the thorny political issues in the future, he said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama willing to talk with Beijing again (SCMP)
2009-11-20
The Tibetan government-in-exile said yesterday it was willing to talk to Beijing after US President Barack Obama called for the resumption of dialogue to resolve the Tibet crisis. "The Tibetan government's standing offer is we are open for talks again if China is willing to listen," Karma Chopel, a senior official in the Tibetan government, said yesterday. "The initiative has to come from them, and we are more than willing to talk," he said. Mainland officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama have held eight rounds of talks, but little has been achieved. The Dalai Lama yesterday said he "very much appreciates the words of Barack Obama on Tibet". The spiritual leader also said he recognised the US had a strong interest in Tibet, but added there were barriers to Washington expressing its true feelings on the matter […] "It is clear that the interest of the White House is very strong," the Dalai Lama said, […] "But it is also clear that there are certain strong limits which prevent the United States from expressing itself as it wishes." The Dalai Lama further urged world powers to push Beijing in the direction of major democratic development. "China is one of the most powerful nations in the world and is the most populated. It cannot avoid this process leading to more freedom and democracy. "The climate in China has changed in an important fashion over the past 60 years and this change will continue," he added. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China Commercial Aircraft plans plant in Shanghai (China Daily)
2009-11-20
Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China plans to build an assembly line for its homegrown C919 jetliners in Shanghai, the latest step in the country's ambitions to become a leader in world aviation. The company announced the showcase project following a signing ceremony Wednesday with officials of Shanghai's Pudong district, where the plant will be located. China is counting on the narrow-body, single-aisle C919, China's newest and biggest homegrown commercial jetliner, to compete against Western rivals in the high-stakes international aviation market. Construction of the factory is to begin soon, with capacity to reach 20 C919s and 50 ARJ 21-series regional jets by 2016, the company, which is also known as COMAC, said in a statement. Shanghai-based COMAC was set up in 2008 to develop and build passenger aircraft. The company also has research and development facilities in Pudong. The C919 is due to make its maiden flight by 2014 and to begin deliveries to customers by 2016. […]. ^ top ^

China's economic growth to top 9% next year: agency (Xinhuanet)
2009-11-19
China's economy is expected to grow by 9 percent next year on robust property and automobile sectors, chairman of CCXI, a China-based credit rating agency said Tuesday. Mao Zhenhua, the chairman, also forecast the country's GDP growth this year would expand by as much as 8.8 percent. He added China's economic growth for the next ten years would slightly fall from the peak in 2010 to around 7 percent around 2020, still a relatively fast pace compared to other countries. But he cautioned the heavy reliance on exports and investment as major drivers to the Chinese economy has not changed currently, and that the structure for economic growth has not been optimized. Mao made the remarks while addressing a conference that also shared outlooks for China's property market, and its automobile industry for the next year. "China's property market is to remain steady in the next 6 or 12 months due to strong underlying housing demand in the country," said Kaven Tsang, assistant vice president of Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Limited. He attributed strong housing demand to rapid economic growth, expanding urbanization and rising living standards in the country. Reduced inventory after strong sales over the past few quarters and improved liquidity of developers are also preventing a substantial decline in the property sector, he said. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), housing sales in China reached 2.75 trillion yuan (403 billion U.S. dollars) in value for the first three quarters this year, a year-on-year increase of 73 percent. Amid weak exports, the Chinese government will also continue to promote domestic consumption and see fixed-asset investment increase, with the property sector remaining "central" to the Chinese economy, said Tsang. NBS figures show investment in the real estate sector in China posted a 28.4 percent growth in October this year. […]. ^ top ^

Differences remain over yuan-dollar rate (SCMP)
2009-11-20
President Hu Jintao urged the United States to oppose trade protectionism, and his counterpart, Barack Obama, at their summit yesterday nudged China to allow the yuan to appreciate. The two also agreed to work to ease trade and economic friction between the two giants, though differences on the thorny currency issue remained unresolved […] "I stressed to President Obama that under the current circumstances, our two countries need to oppose every type of trade protectionism even more strongly," Hu said with Obama at his side. Trade disputes between China and the US have heated up in recent months, with the US having brought three cases against China before the World Trade Organisation and China three against the US. Hu made no mention of the yuan after meeting Obama, and the US leader said only that he was pleased with China's commitment to moving towards a more market-oriented exchange rate. "We agreed to advance... a strategy where America saves more, spends less, reduces our long-term debt and where China makes adjustments across a broad range of policies to rebalance its economy and spur domestic demand," Obama said […] The Chinese vice-minister of foreign affairs, He Yafei, acknowledged that both state heads had exchanged views on the yuan issue […] Few traders expect any near-term changes in Beijing's foreign-exchange policy […] Jing Ulrich, chairwoman of JPMorgan's China Equities and Commodities, said China's policymakers had maintained a stable exchange rate to allow domestic manufacturers and exporters to adjust to market conditions. She said Beijing was unlikely to let the yuan strengthen amid a slowdown in exports in the near future. US manufacturers say Beijing deliberately keeps its currency undervalued against the US dollar to give its companies an unfair advantage. The trade deficit with China is the widest the United States has with any trading partner, and it jumped to a record high of US$268 billion last year. The yuan gradually rose 21 per cent in a crawling peg to the dollar between July 2005 and July last year. Since summer last year […] the currency has been virtually repegged at about 6.83 yuan to the dollar. After the summit, a joint statement said the US and China had pledged to rebalance each other's economies and move in tandem on forward-looking monetary policies for a strong and durable global economic recovery […] The United States, in its turn, will take measures to increase national saving as a share of the GDP and promote sustainable non-inflationary growth. ^ top ^

IMF to increase nation's voting representation (Global Times)
2009-11-20
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) managing director said Monday in Beijing that the fund will give China and other developing countries more voice, while expecting China to play a leading role in reshaping the global economy. The IMF projects China to grow at 8.5 percent in 2009 and 9 percent in 2010, outperforming the rest of the world, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, called Asia, including China, "a part of the solution" to the longer-term reform and rebalancing of the global economy […] Developed countries have agreed to shift 5 percent of their voting power in the IMF to developing countries, with China standing to gain one percentage point of the overall share, according to the IMF. This shift will be done by January 2011, when representation in the IMF will reflect the reality of the global economy, Kahn said at the Beijing International Finance Forum. As of April 30, China had 3.66 percent of the total voting power in the IMF, while the US had 16.77 percent, according to the IMF's 2009 annual report. Wang Yuanlong, director of Overseas Branches for Bank of China, said during the conference that the unfair voting system in the IMF has prevented the international agency from properly supervising financial markets, which was one of the reasons leading to the financial crisis […] The IMF does not rule out the possibility of a double dip in the world economic recovery, and Kahn said it is important for China to maintain its fiscal stimulus into 2010. But the time has come to constrain the lending spree, which raises risks of overinvestment, overcapacity and bad loans, he added […]. ^ top ^

China's industrial output expects to grow 10.5% for entire 2009: minister (Xinhua)
2009-11-20
China's industrial output is expected to grow by about 16 percent year on year this month and in December and the full year industrial output growth could reach around 10.5 percent, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong said Saturday. At the 3-day International CEO Roundtable conference, Li said the industrial output growth would guarantee the manufacturing-based Chinese economy should achieve its full-year growth target of 8 percent […] According to the minister, China's industrial economy stopped falling and began to stabilize and recover in March this year […] Li also cautioned that the recovery base of China's industrial production was not solid and some industries and companies were still faced with production and operation difficulties […] According to the minister, the industrial production accounted for 43 percent of China's total GDP in 2008 and contributed 42.8 percent to the GDP growth last year. Thanks to the global financial crisis, China's economy cooled to its slowest pace in seven years in 2008 and expanded 9 percent from a year earlier to reach 30.07 trillion yuan (4.4 trillion U.S. dollars). ^ top ^

China's BAIC launches new energy auto subsidiary (People's Daily Online)
2009-11-20
Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co (BAIC), China's major carmaker, launched a new energy company in Beijing Saturday to produce pure electric and hybrid cars. The affiliated Beijing New Energy Automotive Company is responsible for the R&D, manufacture and sales of key auto parts, electric cars, hybrid cars and charging systems, according to BAIC. The company is expected to have an annual output of 20,000 to 40,000 new energy cars in 2011 with its own brand "Beijing." […] The "Beijing" electric car costs 12 kilowatt-hour electricity every 100 km. It can save more than 5,000 yuan (732 U.S. dollars) fuel costs every 15,000 km compared with the gasoline-driven cars. BAIC is expected to have an annual sales revenue of 15 billion yuan from the new energy cars in 2015, accounting for 5 to 10 percent of its total sales revenue. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Official refutes A(H1N1) vaccine suspension rumor (China Daily)
2009-11-20
Beijing health authority said on Thursday that the A(H1N1) vaccine inoculation would not be suspended, dismissing a rumor circulating among the city's mobile phone subscribers. "The inoculation would not be suspended," said Zhang Jianshu, director of the publicity department with Beijing Municipal Health Bureau. "Beijing has reported no serious case of adverse reaction." Zhang said some Beijing residents had received text messages saying that the city's municipal government would halt the ongoing inoculation before the A(H1N1) vaccine was reassessed. The messages did not give reasons why such a move would be made. "No such decision has ever been made by the government," Zhang said. "It's totally baseless." He said Beijing Public Security Bureau was tracing the rumor. Deng Ying, director of the Beijing Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, said over 1.5 million Beijing residents had been inoculated as of Wednesday. The A(H1N1) influenza cases accounted for nearly 90 percent of all flu cases reported in the Chinese mainland last week, which reported 10,828 cases of A(H1N1) flu from November 9 to 15, with 28 deaths. ^ top ^

Nearly 90% flu in China last week were A(H1N1) (Global Times)
2009-11-19
The A(H1N1) influenza cases accounted for 89.4 percent of all flu cases reported in the Chinese mainland last week, almost 3 percentage points higher than the figure of the previous week, China's Ministry of Health said Wednesday. The mainland reported 10,828 cases of A(H1N1) flu from November 9 to 15, with 28 deaths, said a notice issued on the ministry's website. The ministry advised the public to keep warm in cold and snowy weather, wash hands frequently and keep rooms ventilated. The ministry also said starting from this Wednesday, it would update A(H1N1) flu information only once a week. Previously, it offered updates three times a week. Latest figures from the ministry showed that almost 70,000 A(H1N1) flu cases had been reported in the mainland by Sunday, with53 deaths in total, and that about 16.6 million people had been vaccinated. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korea's Underground Bunkers (Radio Free Asia)
2009-11-20
North Korea built hundreds of bunkers at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating it from South Korea even as the previous Seoul government pursued its policy of opening to the North, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. A well-informed North Korean defector said in an interview that Pyongyang had built at least 800 bunkers, including an unknown number of decoys, to prepare for a possible invasion of South Korea while South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun was in office. “Each bunker contains military equipment that can fully arm 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers,” the defector told RFA's Korean service, adding that construction began in 2004—the second year of the Roh government […] The defector […] declined to give any personal details and asked to have his voice disguised for broadcast to protect relatives still in North Korea. He is scheduled to arrive in the United States on Monday and attend a closed-door session with U.S. legislators in Washington Wednesday. “In the bunkers, there are South Korean military uniforms and name tags, so that they can disguise themselves as South Korean troops. Also reserved are…60-mm mortar shells, condensed high explosives, and all sorts of bullets.” The bunkers are not linked to a series of underground passages built in the past to attack South Korea, he said. About 70 percent of the roughly 800 bunkers are fakes, he said, decoys “to confuse the South.” […] Nuclear-armed North Korea possesses one of the world's largest standing armies, employing some 1.2 million of its 22.7 million citizens in the military. The bulk of the forces are deployed along the DMZ and make use of a vast and complex tunneling network to hide their movement from the South Korean military in South Korea's capital Seoul—a mere 40 kms (25 miles) away […] “Regardless of Seoul's appeasement policy, or whatever the South does toward the North, Pyongyang hasn't given up its aim of unifying the Korean Peninsula by military force. They are sticking to this principle and teaching North Koreans about it,” [the defector] said […] North Korea allowed ships to carry shortwave radios as a safety measure after a seismic wave struck North Korea's East coast and killed thousands of fishermen in 2005 […] Radio channels were fixed to government frequencies, but North Koreans took advantage of this relative relaxation to begin smuggling in radios from China and are now selling them on the black market. Pyongyang remains deeply wary of international broadcasts […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian Soldiers Head for Afghanistan (news.mn)
2009-11-18
Mongolian troops will participate in peace operations for the first time in Chad and Afghanistan this year. Total of 150 soldiers headed for Afghanistan yesterday after being delayed because of American aircraft last month. The team is being led by major D.Javkhlanbayar. Minister of Defense L.Bold and Director of Military Headquarters Lieutenant General Ts.Byambajav attended the send-off. Mongolian troops will serve for six months in Afghanistan. ^ top ^

H1N1 Victims Exceed 1000 (news.mn)
2009-11-18
Number of people infected with A/H1N1 virus reached 1015 by the latest survey. Total of 746 people in UB and 269 in the countryside were verified by laboratory diagnosis. Number of deaths has not increased from 16 countrywide, 10 of them registered in UB. There are 66 pregnant women in UB being hospitalized because of regular flu and A/H1N1. Also 17 pregnant women being treated in the countryside areas. Among provinces, Gobi-Altai and Dundgobi do not have registered swine flu infection cases while Gobisumber, Orkhon, Sukhbaatar, Selenge have the most cases. On Wednesday, the Government decided to extend “high degree of alert” situation for another 14 days since the infection rate has not been declined consistently. ^ top ^

Vulnerable Groups Receive Additional Food (Montsame)
2009-11-13
In accordance with a governmental decision, an additional food, costing one billion togrog, has been distributed among low income people, students, bed patients, seniors and the homeless from Thursday. This campaign is run with an aim to protect these groups from A/H1N1 virus at financing from a project implemented by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Deputy Premier M.Enkhbold gave the products to some 340 students who live in a dormitory of the University of Agriculture. Each of them received 500 gram of aarts (bitter-tasting dairy product) and 500 gram of sea-buckthorn. This action is to continue in all 50 dormitories with 12 thousand students in the city. The campaign will involve 120 thousand people under control of several organizations. The City's Police Department started distributing products to some 1,000 homeless people, alcohol addicts and children living in nursing homes. Despite of this campaign, the Ministry of Health and doctors advise people to wear masks, keep hygiene rules, and to use immunorestorative products. ^ top ^

New Positions in Mongolian Politics (UB Post)
2009-11-13
Prime Minister of Mongolia S.Batbold replaced his chief of the cabinet secretariat office on Wednesday. The Parliament approved Batbold's appointment of Ch.Khurelbaatar (MPRP), a former State Secretary of Ministry of Finance, to replace B.Dolgor, who was one of two female member of the cabinet. The Parliament also approved MP G.Zandanshatar (MPRP) as the Minister of Foreign Affairs with over 90 percent of majority vote. No changes were made to the structure of the coalition government, that has 11 ministries, and 15 ministers, six of whom are from Democratic Party, and nine are from Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. Democratic Party agreed to keep current ministers First Deputy Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, Minister of Defense, L.Bold, Minister of Nature and Tourism, L.Gansukh, Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development Kh.Battulga, Minister of Finance S.Bayartsogt, and Minister of Health S.Lambaa. ^ top ^

 

Gautier Chiarini
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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