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
  5-9.7.10, No. 327  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Solar-powered plane flies right through the night to prove a point (SCMP)
2010-07-09
An experimental solar-powered plane landed safely yesterday after completing its first 24-hour test flight, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 50 kilometres southwest of the Swiss capital, Bern. […] The record feat completes seven years of planning and brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. "We achieved more than we wanted. Everybody is extremely happy," Borschberg said after landing. […] The team said it demonstrated that the single-seat plane can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, recharging its depleted batteries using 12,000 solar cells and nothing but the rays of the sun during the day. But while the team said this proved that emissions-free air travel is possible, it does not see solar technology replacing conventional jet propulsion any time soon. Instead, the project's overarching purpose is to test and promote new energy-efficient technologies. Project co-founder Bertrand Piccard, himself a record-breaking balloonist, said many people had been sceptical that renewable energy could ever be used to take a man into the air and keep him there. […] Piccard added that the flight was proof new technologies can help break society's dependence on fossil fuels. The team will now set its sights on an Atlantic crossing, before attempting a round-the-world flight in 2013, making only five stops along the way. […] The custom-built aircraft with its thin fuselage and the wingspan of a Boeing 777 passenger jet managed to climb to 8,535 metres and reached top speeds of more than 120km/h. […]. ^ top ^

China not currency manipulator: US Treasury (People's Daily Online)
2010-07-09
The Obama administration announced that it has decided not to label China a currency manipulator in a semi-annual currency report released Thursday. "Treasury has concluded that no major trading partner of the United States met the standards identified in Section 3004 of the Act," the Treasury Department said in its semi-annual report sent to Congress on international economic and exchange rate policies. The report noted that China'a announcement on June 19 to introduce more flexibility into the currency system is a "significant development." The yuan, has risen about 0.8 percent against the dollar since Beijing's June announcement. […] Geithner said. "We will closely and regularly monitor the appreciation of the renminbi and will continue to work towards expanded US export opportunities in China that support employment in the United States." Some American manufacturers say the Chinese currency is undervalued by as much as 40 percent. […]. ^ top ^

Zardari urges Chinese investments in power (SCMP)
2010-07-08
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari urged Chinese companies to invest in his country. […] Zardari made the remarks on the second day of a six-day visit to China that has underscored the strategic bond between the two neighbours, who both look warily at India. His remarks, reported by the Associated Press of Pakistan, the country's official news service, did not touch on a nuclear energy deal with China that has prompted questions from New Delhi, Washington and other capitals. But Zardari made it clear his country was looking to China to help shore up Pakistan's economy and expand an energy sector that has been struggling to keep up with a growing population. Zardari told the Chinese business chiefs in Beijing that "Pakistan was facing [an] acute power shortage and intended to add tens of thousands of megawatts of power to its national grid in the next 25 years through combined hydro, coal, gas, nuclear and renewable energy sources", the APP report said. An executive of China's Three Gorges Corporation said his company had agreed to look to hydro and wind power projects in Pakistan, the report said. The Chinese companies present included Norinco, one of the country's biggest sellers of conventional arms. The report mentioned no Chinese nuclear companies. Beijing and Islamabad appear unlikely to use Zardari's visit to trumpet their nuclear power deal, which has unsettled some other governments, worried that it could erode rules regarding nuclear non-proliferation. Zardari is to meet President Hu Jintao. […] The United States sealed a nuclear energy deal with India in 2008, despite the objections of critics who said it eroded the integrity of non-proliferation rules. Beijing has said it has the right to pursue nuclear power projects with Pakistan - which China treats as a counterweight to Indian influence. Chinese nuclear companies have built one reactor unit at the Chashma atomic complex in Pakistan's Punjab province, and they are building another one likely to be finished in 2011 or 2012. Chinese companies have also unveiled plans to build two bigger reactors at Chashma in coming years. […]. ^ top ^

South China Sea becomes Beijing's latest 'core interest' (SCMP)
2010-07-07
[…] The elevation of a strategic body of water's importance to the level of national interest on par with Tibet and Taiwan speaks volumes not just about China's increasing naval ambition but also an intensifying competition in Asia's oceans. […] Chinese officials told two visiting senior US officials, deputy secretary of state Dr James Steinberg and senior director for Asian Affairs on the National Security Council Jeffery Bader, that it considered the South China Sea as part of its "core interest" of sovereignty. This was the first time Beijing had labelled the South China Sea as a "core" national interest, meaning Beijing brooks no compromise over issues relating to it. […] "China now attaches more importance to its naval capacity build-up as it is in the process of shaping its maritime strategy," said Professor Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University's school of international studies. After centuries of reliance on land power, China has set out to expand its naval presence in recent years thanks to a booming economy, a resulting increase in regional and global clout, and the need to safeguard its sea lanes to ensure economic growth. But with a coastline stretching 18,000 kilometres, China now has territorial disputes with many neighbouring countries over maritime boundaries, which constitute a bigger source of diplomatic tension than those involving land boundaries. And the presence of the US Navy in the region adds fuel to the potential fire. […] Jin said the Chinese officials' remark on the South China Sea was a message for Washington to refrain its surveillance activities. […] China has long adopted the doctrine of "setting aside disputes and jointly developing" the oceans with neighbouring countries, a policy set out by late leader Deng Xiaoping. However, Pang Zhongying, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said the doctrine had apparently failed to resolve all disputes, and China now faced increasing maritime competition in the region. "We now face more pressure from the Asean member countries, South Korea and Japan on maritime territorial disputes, and with the interference from the US, the situation is very grim," Pang said. "China should use deterrent measures if the situation does not improve.". ^ top ^

Top Chinese legislator leaves for European visit (Xinhua)
2010-07-07
Top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo left here Wednesday for an official good-will visit to France, Serbia and Switzerland from July 7 to 20. Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, will also attend the third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Geneva during his stay in Switzerland. Wu is invited by Speaker of French National Assembly Bernard Accoyer, French Senate President Gerard Larcher, Serbian Parliamentary Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, President of the National Council of Swiss Federal Assembly Pascale Bruderer, President of the Council of States of Swiss Federal Assembly Erika Forster-Vannini, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Theo-Ben Gurirab, and IPU Secretary-general Anders B. Johnsson. ^ top ^

China-Pakistan nuclear ties come back to haunt US-India pact (SCMP)
2010-07-06
A 2008 civilian nuclear energy pact between the United States and India was meant to lift a 34-year-old embargo on nuclear trade despite New Delhi's long-standing weapons program, a move seen as bolstering it as a counterweight to China. […] But China and Pakistan are threatening to disrupt India's nuclear aspirations by stepping up collaboration of their own, a prospect that has raised international misgivings and revived concern about the wisdom of making a special case for India. China will display its determination to bolster its ties with Pakistan this week, when visiting President Asif Ali Zardari will meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Their talks may open the way to more Chinese investment in Pakistan, and possibly firm up Beijing's commitment to expanding the Chashma nuclear power complex in Pakistan's Punjab province. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing has been tight-lipped about the deal to build the reactors at Chashma, but a trickle of announcements from Chinese nuclear companies shows they are preparing to start work at the site despite the qualms of Washington, New Delhi and other capitals. China's willingness to risk foreign ire over the nuclear expansion shows its intensified commitment to Pakistan, said Andrew Small, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who has studied China's ties with Pakistan. "For China, the counterbalancing element of the Pakistan relationship is more important than it was a few years ago," Small said in Brussels. […] "We all knew at the time that an agreement such as the India-US one would have consequences for the non-proliferation regime, and that's what you are seeing now," said Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum Centre for Strategic and International Studies. "The India-US deal was a bad, troubling example to set for proliferators - however justified the desire in Washington to improve ties with India." […] Western powers ultimately may have to choose between protecting ties with Beijing and Pakistan or risking a diplomatic brawl. "People don't want to get into an immediate fight with China before it seems absolutely necessary," Small said. […] Both the India-US deal and Chinese nuclear help to Pakistan help the two rivals expand their weapons programmes by providing vital fuel, says Daryll Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based think tank. "Nuclear trade with either country would indirectly contribute to their weapons programmes by freeing up domestic uranium reserves for the production of enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes," he said. ^ top ^

China 'very opposed to' US-Korea Yellow Sea drill (SCMP)
2010-07-05
Beijing strongly opposes a joint military drill between the US and South Korea in the Yellow Sea later this month, a senior PLA official says. General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff in the People's Liberation Army, said: "Since it is in the Yellow Sea, it is very close to China's waters. We are very opposed to such a drill." […] Official news portals, including that of the Communist Party's mouthpiece People's Daily, gave prominent coverage to it yesterday. His comment represents the strongest opposition voiced by Beijing so far. Previously, Beijing had said it is "extremely concerned" about the drill. The PLA is staging live-fire naval exercises in the East China Sea, close to the Yellow Sea, in an apparent protest against the possible presence of a US aircraft carrier on its doorstep. The PLA drill will end tomorrow. Even as he expressed opposition to the US-South Korea drill, Ma said on the same day that Beijing would welcome a visit from US Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates at an appropriate time - indicating the complexity of Sino-US relations. […] The US-South Korea drill is billed as a warning to Pyongyang, which Seoul accuses of sinking its corvette the Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. The hermit state denies it torpedoed the vessel. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Facebook 'could be a spy tool' (Global Times)
2010-07-09
Facebook and certain other social networking sites may be exploited by Western intelligence services and used for subversive purposes, according to a recent report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The Annual Report on Development of New Media in China, released Wednesday, said the increasing use of social networking websites has invaded the privacy of Internet users. Some websites such as Facebook have also released confidential business, political and military information, the report said. "Its special political function can be a threat," the report noted. […] Liu Ruisheng, a deputy researcher at CASS, told the Global Times that all online platforms that allow freedom of expression have a dual political function, not only Facebook. "Of course we advocate free speech and an open platform, but it doesn't mean all information, good and bad, should freely circulate on the Internet," he said. He cited the 2009 Iranian presidential election and last year's bloody rioting in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as examples. "After the clashes in Urumqi, countless posts, pictures and revolting speeches appeared on Facebook. Some organizations used the opportunity to propose independence for Xinjiang, which had a very bad impact," he added. […] Cui Baoguo, vice dean of Tsinghua University's School of Journalism and Communication, told the newspaper that the media has the power to transform an underdeveloped country and dismantle a government. […]. ^ top ^

China beefs up health emergency response to heat wave (Global Times)
2010-07-08
China's Ministry of Health issued a circular Wednesday advising the nation's medical facilities to gear up for a rise in the number of people suffering from heat-stroke and other heat related ailments given the recent hot temperatures. The number of people suffering from heat-stroke and related disorders has risen sharply over the last few days, reads the circular without giving specific figures. […] Beijing-based Chaoyang hospital has 450 cases showing heat-induced symptoms in emergency care each day now, compared to 360 cases just a few days ago. The ministry ordered hospitals across the nation to make sure people suffering from heat stroke get timely and proper treatment. Beijing reported an average temperature of 40.3 degrees Celsius at 4 p.m. Monday, the highest temperature in the first 10 days of July in 50 years. The capital city cooled a little bit Wednesday, and rains are expected for China eastern regions starting Thursday, offering some respite. ^ top ^

Unauthorized births run counter to aims of World Population Day (Global Times)
2010-07-08
The world's population reached 5 billion on July 11, 1987, and the United Nations set that date as World Population Day. The theme of this year's 21st World Population Day is “Everyone counts”, and the activities in China will focus on the 2010 population census and emphasize the right to life. It also aims to stress the importance of efficient population control by means of collecting and analyzing the latest data so as to make an impact on decision-making and improve people's lives. The risks caused by over-population include a lack of living space, the shortage of jobs, sky-high housing prices, environmental deterioration and scarcity of energy and resources. In China, the issue of unauthorized births is at the forefront of its efforts to control the growth of its population as it undermines the country's family planning policy, or “one-child policy”, which was implemented in 1980. According to official Chinese statistics, the national population reached 1.3 billion at the end of 2008, with 6.7 million born that year. Unauthorized births accounted for a large percentage of those births. Since the family planning policy was implemented, local governments strictly controlled the births of each family, and only allowed each couple to have one child, but with a more flexible policy in China's ethnic minority areas. However, not all couples obeyed the rules, especially those in rural areas where awareness was low and monitoring was inadequate. […] Liu says that unauthorized births were common in her hometown because of “the weak awareness of policy and shortage of labor”. The usual punishment was a fine, but if some families could not afford to pay the fine, their belongings, such as a bicycle or television, would be confiscated. In Chinese rural areas, most families prefer boys, partly because they are seen as being able to help with work on the farm. The authorities relaxed the rules in rural areas, allowing couples whose firstborn was a girl to have a second child. But they were not allowed to have a third one. […] This policy of allowing a second child to couples whose firstborn was a girl is still being carried out. However, in 2000 the authorities decided that the age difference between the two children must be at least five years. […]. ^ top ^

Former Chongqing chief justice executed (SCMP)
2010-07-07
Authorities in Chongqing executed the disgraced former justice chief of the country's most populous metropolis on Wednesday, a sentence meted out as part of a crackdown on organised crime launched by the city's top official. Chongqing's flamboyant Communist Party boss, Bo Xilai, has gained popularity nationwide with the high-profile clampdown, in what some analysts saw as a bid to shoehorn himself into the nation's top political body during the 2012 leadership reshuffle. The People's Daily said on its website that the execution of the city's former justice chief and deputy police chief, Wen Qiang, was carried out in the morning. It did not say how he was killed. Wen was sentenced to death in April for protecting gangs, bribery, rape and “property scamming”. He argued at his appeal trial that he had cooperated with the investigation and confessed to “85 per cent” of the questionable assets attributed to him. Chongqing courts have sentenced dozens of people to death or long jail terms over the past several months as part of the crackdown in the sprawling city of more than 30 million. […]. ^ top ^

Police detain writer over critical book (SCMP)
2010-07-06
Prominent dissident writer Yu Jie was taken into police custody yesterday over his online essays and plans to publish a book fiercely critical of the central leadership. His four-and-a-half-hour detention sparked fears among fellow Christians that the authorities have tightened their scrutiny of his calls for freedom and democracy. […] After his release last night, Yu said police had pressured him to stop the publication of his latest book in Hong Kong, in which he lambastes Premier Wen Jiabao for hypocrisy on democratic values. "I said he was just putting on a show for his democratic (leanings). Under the Communist Party's one-party rule, there won't be any changes," Yu said. Police threatened Yu that if he went ahead with his plan to publish the book, he would risk being accused of "endangering national security" and could face the same treatment as jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. Yu said last night that he would go ahead with the book anyway and publish in the next two or three months. Liu was sentenced on Christmas Day last year to 11 years' jail on subversion charges over his role in co-drafting the Charter 08 manifesto, which calls for sweeping political reforms, with intellectual Zhang Zuhua. Yu was detained by police in December 2004 for 12 hours along with Liu and Zhang, accused of "endangering national security" over a draft report on human rights on the mainland. […] A devout Christian, Yu is a leading member of a well-known underground church in Beijing and is a vocal advocate of religious freedom. […] A staff member at the neighbourhood Dougezhuang police station said last night he had no knowledge of Yu's detention and declined further comment. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier solicits expert opinions on health care reform (SCMP)
2010-07-05
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Friday solicited opinions from ten medical experts on the ongoing health care reform during a discussion in Beijing. The experts, including medical professors and hospital presidents, offered advice on some of the top issues in health care reform such as the reform of state-owned hospitals, the establishment of health care service networks at different administrative levels, and the fostering of general practitioners. Li, in charge of the national reform of the health care system, urged medical and health care professionals to fully play their role as the backbone of the reform, according to a statement released late Friday. China launched its massive health care reform last year, which seeks to provide adequate and affordable health care services to all. The State Council, or Cabinet, issued a circular in April detailing specific goals and steps for future reform. Li said more investment and human resources are needed to support health care service providers at grass-roots level to improve the service, a key task and challenge in the reform. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

The great wall of Beijing: official plans may lock down whole city (SCMP)
2010-07-06
[…] Restricted access to some Beijing suburban villages may be extended to the whole city, the capital's party chief said after visiting a walled-off village on Saturday. Dashengzhuang, in Xihongmen town in Beijing's Daxing district, has guards at its entrance and people are only allowed in after showing a pass which includes the holder's name, sex, ethnic background, hometown, occupation, identity card number and mobile phone number. The village is closed between 11pm and 6am. "The community-style village management is a positive and effective experiment in the process of urbanisation and co-ordination of urban and rural development," Beijing Party Secretary Liu Qi told a seminar after a visit to Xihongmen, the Beijing Daily reported. He said the approach had improved village management and cut crime rates and would be promoted across the whole city. […] Many villages swallowed up by Beijing's urban sprawl have floating populations, mainly migrant labourers, that outnumber the original residents, sometimes by 10 to one. The pilot scheme in Xihongmen was launched at a cost of 130 million yuan (HK$149.41 million) after 11 violent deaths in November and December in Daxing district villages, Xinhua's Oriental Outlook magazine reported. […] More surveillance cameras will be installed and hundreds of trained watchmen have been dispatched to work in local police stations, mainland media have reported. The scheme has sparked heated discussion among internet users, scholars and in the mainland and foreign media. […] The Daxing government said participation was voluntary and each village could decide how "closed" they wanted to be. […] Beijing villages implemented similar temporary measures during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, last year's 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic and this year's National People's Congress session. Laosanyu village party secretary Wang Changxiang told the New Century Weekly that village entry passes would help authorities gather information about the floating population. Outsiders could apply for a pass with a temporary residence certificate which required verification of the landlord's and tenant's ID cards. "In this way, problematic people won't dare to apply for a pass," he said. Professor Hu Xingdou, a Beijing Institute of Technology economist, said: "Prison-style management will more or less improve social security in a few small areas, but it's not appropriate to expand to the whole city. "Setting up fences and questioning outsiders is a kind of discrimination and cannot solve the problem fundamentally. It's a promotion of China's traditional 'fence culture'. Hukou (the permanent residency permits required on the mainland) is a part of it. It... represents... closed-mindedness and conservatism.". ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Top political advisor stresses Tibet development (Global Times)
2010-07-08
Top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin Wednesday said emphasis must be put on improving the living standards of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at a conference on deploying "pairing assistance" for Tibet. Under the "pairing assistance" model, which was initiated 15 years ago, other provinces or cities provide technological and financial support, among other things, for the development of areas where Tibetans predominantly live, namely the Tibet Autonomous Region and areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. Jia said the "pairing assistance" is a central government strategic initiative and is crucial to the leapfrog development and lasting stability in Tibet and Tibetan areas in the four provinces. Jia said major projects launched to support Tibet's development should be incorporated into the national social and economic development plan for the next decade, which is currently being compiled. He also said the fight against the separatist forces led by the Dalai clique should be deepened so to sustain social stability in Tibet and Tibetan ethnic areas. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama celebrates birthday with supporters (SCMP)
2010-07-06
The Dalai Lama celebrated his 75th birthday on Tuesday with hundreds of cheering followers in this northern Indian town where he has been living in exile since he fled Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959. Looking at posters depicting his life as a child, a young man and a spiritual leader, the man who has come to symbolise Tibet's struggle against China said: “I remember my past and I feel that I haven't wasted these years.” […] In neighbouring Nepal, police detained at least 22 Tibetan exiles on their way to a celebration for the Dalai Lama, according to an Associated Press reporter who was at the police station in Katmandu. Katmandu Police Chief Ramesh Kharel said the Tibetans were taken in for questioning and would be released. Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a government official in Katmandu, said Nepal will not tolerate protests against ‘friendly nations,' including China, though the exiles will be allowed to hold low-key celebrations inside monasteries and refugee camps. […]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Gays still living in shadows as tensions linger after Urumqi riots (Global Times)
2010-07-08
Tensions that linger one year after the July 5, 2009 riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have not only hurt business, but also have silenced efforts by a gay activist to raise awareness of AIDS prevention. Xiaodai Muyi, 26, who belongs to the Hui ethnic minority group, said it has never been easy to help gay people in Xinjiang. The advocate runs the only registered gay rights and AIDS prevention non-governmental organization (NGO) in Urumqi. He also leads the Caiyuan Xinjiang Gay Working Group to raise awareness of AIDS prevention among Xinjiang ethnic minorities. Xinjiang has 25,694 HIV cases as of March, 2009, according to tianshannet.com.cn. Xiaodai thought he knew all the difficulties in promoting gay rights to ethnic minority. But he was shocked by the July 5 riots and their aftermath. With most streets deserted at night in a city of more than 2 million people, the tensions have forced Xiaodai to assume a low profile. He says police officers frequently visit the gay bar he operates in Urumqi to raise awareness of AIDS. […] "Yet, after the riots, any group of Uyghur people getting together might cause trouble." To avoid trouble, he closed his gay bar on Monday. […] He said someone offered him an opportunity to move to France, but he is determined to stay at home. "I don't want to leave my home country and my family. I can't be as influential if I leave Xinjiang," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Show of force on anniversary of bloodshed (SCMP)
2010-07-06
Teams of police patrolled the streets in the western region of Xinjiang yesterday as stringent security measures were imposed for the one-year anniversary of China's worst ethnic violence in decades. […] The man, who would only give his surname Zhang, said shoppers had to go through airport-style security checks at the open-air market in the city's centre. A receptionist surnamed Fang at the Yilong Hotel in Urumqi said that bags were being checked at airports, train stations, bus stops and government offices. […] Overseas Uygur activist Dilxat Raxit said people in Xinjiang told his organisation by telephone they had been warned by authorities not to hold any ceremonies mourning those who died a year ago. "Many people had planned to mark the occasion, which is traditional to do a year after people have died, but word came through the various neighbourhood committees that it wasn't allowed," he said. Raxit, a spokesman for the Germany-based World Uygur Congress, also reiterated his group's appeal for the government to allow an independent investigation into the riots. […] State leaders say all ethnic groups are treated equally and point to the billions of dollars in investment that has modernised Xinjiang, a strategically vital region with significant oil and gas deposits. But authorities have been accused of alienating the Uygurs, Turkic Muslims who are ethnically and linguistically distinct from the Han majority, with tight restrictions on cultural and religious expression and non-violent dissent. Many Uygurs say they suffer discrimination in jobs and cannot get loans and passports. Ilham Tohti, an ethnic Uygur economics professor at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing who has been detained for his frank criticism of problems in Xinjiang, said too many Uygurs are wary of speaking out. "Uygurs do not even trust their friends and colleagues, let alone Han Chinese and the government. So there has been an overall reduction in trust. Why is this? Because we do not know which one among us could be an informant," said Tohti. "People are afraid to express their opinions.". ^ top ^

Uygurs rally in Japan demanding freedom (SCMP)
2010-07-05
Members of China's Uygur ethnic minority and their Japanese supporters held a rally yesterday commemorating the first anniversary of deadly ethnic unrest in the Xinjiang region.

"Free Uygurs! We want real freedom!" about 70 demonstrators shouted, as they marched from a Tokyo park to mark riots that the Chinese government says killed nearly 200 people after unrest broke out in Xinjiang on July 5. The marchers carried the large sky-blue flags of East Turkestan, home to Uygurs but crushed by China in 1949. Signs read "We don't forgive China's massacre of Uygurs" and "Stop ethnic assimilation". Ilham Mahmut, who heads an association of Uygurs and their supporters in Japan, said many people were still missing a year after the unrest. However, despite attempts to censor information being released from Xinjiang, news from the region was still reaching the outside world thanks to the internet, Mahmut said. "They are fretting. Justice is on our side and we will win for sure," he told demonstrators at the start of the rally. Xinjiang's capital city, Urumqi, erupted on July 5 last year as the mainly Muslim minority vented decades of resentment with attacks on members of the Han population. According to official figures, nearly 200 people were killed and 1,600 injured the worst ethnic violence in China in decades. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan lawmakers brawl over trade pact (SCMP)
2010-07-09
Lawmakers exchanged punches and threw garbage bins at each other yesterday in another raucous session in Taiwan's legislature. […] The scuffles erupted after Wang Jin-pyng of the ruling Kuomintang turned down a bid by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party to debate each clause of the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement separately rather than to consider the pact as a whole. Wang's decision is almost certain to speed up the agreement's passage, which is already guaranteed by the KMT's legislative majority. […] The deal is expected to go into effect early next year. In addition to slashing tariffs on a wide range of items traded across the 160-kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait, the pact formalises mechanisms for dispute mediation, and promises access for the sides to new sectors such as banking and insurance. Ma says the agreement is necessary for Taiwan to avoid economic isolation amid the emergence of regional trading blocs, particularly after a free-trade agreement between China and Southeast Asian countries went into effect earlier this year. The opposition rejects his argument, saying the pact will hurt the island's economy by making it overly dependent on Beijing and ultimately pave the way for political unification, its greatest fear. […] Yesterday's legislative session degenerated into turmoil almost from the moment it began. Lawmakers from the two sides pushed and shoved around the speaker's dais, exchanging blows and throwing objects at each other, including rubbish bins and tea cups. At one point opposition lawmaker Su Chen-ching broke through a phalanx of KMT lawmakers surrounding the dais in an apparent effort to get to Wang, but was quickly overwhelmed and thrown to the floor. The chaotic scenes recalled past legislative brawls in Taiwan, which began a gradual transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1987 and remains riven by passionate fighting between its two major political blocs. ^ top ^

Activists protest at signing of trade pact with the mainland (SCMP)
2010-07-06
Dozens of anti-China activists protested yesterday against a trade pact with Beijing which they claim is the result of a conspiracy between the two governments. The demonstrators assembled outside the island's parliament chanting slogans against the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the island's President Ma Ying-jeou. "The ECFA is a conspiracy of the Ma administration and the Chinese Communist Party," said Tsai Ting-kui, the leader of the crowd, waving his fist in the air. "If it is so good as Ma claims, then why doesn't he let the people decide whether or not they want it?" An anti-Chinese party has filed a second referendum proposal over the ECFA after the first was turned down by the government's referendum review committee. The group pledged to continue the protest over coming weeks as parliament considers an extra session to ratify the agreement. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing deal done, Taipei pursues other trade pacts (SCMP)
2010-07-05
Taiwan has officially declared its plan to seal free-trade pacts with other countries two days after it struck a similar deal with the mainland. The targets would be "major trading partners that can best supplement Taiwan economically", President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday. Those interested in such deals would be Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific Rim nations, he noted. Such a bid - once seen as a distant possibility - became more feasible after Taipei and Beijing signed the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which Taiwan's cabinet sent to the legislature yesterday for review and final approval. The goal is for it to take effect on January 1. The signing of the landmark trade deal in Chongqing on Tuesday has brought the long-term political rivals to their closest point since the end of the civil war in 1949. Both sides hailed the act as a milestone in cross-strait peace and prosperity. But the pro-independence camp in Taiwan, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, argued that the ECFA was merely a sugar-coated poison that could lead Taiwan to succumb to economic and finally political integration with the mainland. The pro-independence camp also snubbed as "wishful thinking" the plan by Ma's government to clinch free-trade agreements with other countries with Beijing's blessing. Ma has repeatedly said that once the two sides signed the trade deal, it would encourage other countries to close similar deals with Taiwan. The initial response from the mainland's Foreign Ministry was that Beijing would never allow official dealings, though it could tolerate unofficial exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland's diplomatic allies. The response lent the DPP ammunition to attack the Ma government and demand that it scrap the deal if it could not seal any other free-trade agreements within a year. On Tuesday, shortly after the signing of the pact in Chongqing, Wang Yi, director of the mainland State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, softened the mainland's position by declaring that Beijing was willing to handle the issue with a more reasonable and practical attitude. […] Mainland Vice-Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said Beijing would "make reasonable arrangements" as to Taiwan's bid for more free-trade pacts as long as the "1992 consensus" was respected. The consensus allows the two sides to have their respective meanings of "China" in order to set aside political differences for practical talks. For Beijing, it would be the People's Republic of China, and for Taipei, it would be the Republic of China. […] Capitalising on the latest changes, Ma said yesterday he would ask that the National Security Council set up a global strategic task force to oversee and co-ordinate the efforts to close free-trade deals with other countries. "From what the mainland side has said recently, there should be chances," he said, referring to the island's plans, which could have been undermined if not for the signing of the ECFA and the softening of the mainland's stance. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Germany grouses about restrictions (Global Times)
2010-07-08
A top official with the German Chamber of Commerce in China complained that the country's market has too many barriers to foreign investment, putting Western companies at a disadvantage. "Regarding training and technology transfer to the Chinese economy, Germany is the country which contributed the most among China's international economic partners in the last 30 years. This results in a close cooperation between Chinese and German companies today," Jutta Ludwig, executive director of German Chamber of Commerce in China, said Wednesday. Ludwig told the Global Times, however, "For the integration of the global economy, more openness and transparency are needed, in particular for China as a marketplace." Germany is ready to further tap into more opportunities of the Chinese market, said Ludwig. Europe's biggest economy has had a modest recovery with improved exports, better-than-expected domestic demand and falling unemployment. […] Ludwig cited the latest survey done by the German DIHK chambers of industry and commerce to 9,000 German companies to show German firms' robust investment intentions. "A total of 32 percent of the surveyed firms wanted to increase investment in China in 2009. The number rose to 37 percent this year," said Ludwig, adding that more enterprises are in China than any other country. The bilateral trade volume in 2009 was 91.9 billion euros ($115.2 billion) between China and Germany, with Germany exporting goods worth 36.5 billion euros ($45.8 billion), according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. That figure outpaced Germany's trade volume with France, Britain and Italy combined. German imports from China, however, dropped in 2009 to 55.4 billion euros ($69.5 billion). ^ top ^

Property market heading for collapse: analyst (Global Times)
2010-07-07
The dynamics of China's property market are becoming more complex as the sales of apartments decline dramatically with little sign of a price drop, more than two months since the central government issued a set of measures to tackle soaring prices. While officials pledged tougher measures to rein in realty prices in the coming three months, analysts warned against a rebound of prices if fundamental problems are not addressed. Apartment sales totaled 33 million yuan ($4.8 million) in May, 11 million yuan less than a month earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). […] Meanwhile, property prices in 70 of the country's largest and medium-sized cities rose by 12.4 percent in May from a year earlier, according to the NBS. […] "House prices will decline in the fourth quarter this year, but how much they will drop by is uncertain," Xu Shaoshi, Minister of Land and Resources, said at a meeting Sunday. This is the first time a high-level official has directly said that housing prices will fall. […] Despite the government's pledge and measures, players in the market adopt a wait-and-see attitude. […] While the sale of properties stagnates, the apartment leasing market has strengthened. In May, the average price of rent for apartments in major cities increased by more than 10 percent. […] "The primary cause of the soaring property prices is the insufficient land supply and the consequent imbalance in supply and demand. But the tightening polices failed to address those causes," Yin Kunhua, president of the Shanghai Weston Real Estate Management Institute said. Meanwhile, Yin said, the current policies, which will possibly result in a decrease in supply of apartments, will instead push up prices eventually. Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, warned that China's property market is heading for collapse, which will derail the country's banking system, according to a Bloomberg report. "They have a lot of tools and some very competent management, but it's not easy," he said. In response to the remarks, Gu Yunchang, vice chairman of the China Real Estate Association, said that situation won't happen. […] "A property collapse occurs in the market where consumers stop buying houses and the price plummets dramatically afterwards," said Gu. "But in China, residents' demand for self-use instead of for speculation is so high that once it drops to a reasonable price, consumers will start to purchase." […]. ^ top ^

Inflation primary threat: EU official (Global Times)
2010-07-05
"It's important for the Chinese government to keep inflation under control," Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, said Friday in Shanghai. In May, the consumer price index (CPI), an index of inflation, rose 3.1 percent compared with the same month last year, overtaking the government's inflation target of 3 percent for this year. China's CPI increased by 2.2 percent in the first quarter from the previous year and rose 2.8 percent in April from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows. […] China's producer price index (PPI), a measurement of inflation in wholesale prices, rose 7.1 percent year-on-year in May. The PPI grew 6.8 percent year-on-year in April, 5.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter and a 5.9 percent in March. […] Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission asked the country's major coal companies to keep coal prices stable, another effort to curb worsening inflation. Some industry insiders expect oil prices, another key input factor for inflation, might drop this month as international crude price slides. The People's Bank of China, the central bank, announced further reform on the yuan exchange rate regime before last week's G-20 Summit to increase flexibility, another move to address inflation. In further proceeding with the reform, continued emphasis would be placed on reflecting market supply and demand with reference to a basket of currencies. Although China has moved into a managed floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand with reference of a basket of currencies since July 2005, the yuan has been pegged to the dollar since the financial crisis hit. "It's about time for the exchange rate reform," said the EU's Tumpel-Gugerell. ^ top ^

China's economic policy faces mounting difficulties: Premier Wen (Global Times)
2010-07-05
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that China's macro economic control policy is facing mounting difficulties with the severity of the international financial crisis and the unpredictable nature of the global economic recovery. "China's current economy remains good, but the domestic and international environment is extremely complicated," Wen said while addressing a symposium held Saturday in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province. […] At the symposium, Wen reiterated the government's stance in maintaining the continuity and stability of macro economic policies, and making these macro policies more flexible and targeted. Wen said the government would "work to promote stable and relatively fast domestic economic growth, restructure the economy and manage inflation expectations to ensure the government's goals for 2010 are met." The government would endeavor to resolve long-term structural problems while targeting urgent issues, Wen said. Before the symposium, Wen also inspected flood prevention and control efforts in parts of Hunan Thursday, and moved on to Changsha, the provincial capital, to visit a number of other venues including companies ranging from machinery, outsourcing to animation companies Friday. While inspecting the companies, Wen enquired about their business, employment and social security, and encouraged them to step up innovation. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK's top leader inspects power station, food factory (Global Times)
2010-07-09
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s top leader Kim Jong Il has inspected a large power station under construction and an army food factory, said the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Thursday. […] "You are carrying out the huge project with your own efforts under the difficult conditions, demonstrating the indomitable great mental power of the Korean people," he said. Kim also stressed the need to thoroughly implement the government's policy on building both large and small power stations to meet increasing demand for electricity of the country's economic construction and people's life. During his inspection tour to the army food factory, the DPRK's top leader underscored the need to accelerate production of more quality foodstuff for the army. Kim was accompanied by Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission Jang Song Thaek and some other senior officials. ^ top ^

DPRK premier meets Chinese ambassador (Global Times)
2010-07-06
Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Choe Yong Rim met Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai here Tuesday. During the meeting at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, Choe said the traditional DPRK-China friendship, which was fostered by the elder generation of revolutionaries of the two countries, has developed to a new level under the attention of top leaders from both countries. Constantly solidifying and promoting the bilateral friendship is the invariable position of the DPRK, he said. Choe also expressed condolence to flood victims in southern China. Liu said the relationship between the two countries and two parties has been developing constantly under the attention from top leaders of the two countries. China will further consolidate and develop bilateral friendship. Choe was elected as premier of the Cabinet of the DPRK in the third session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly on June 7. ^ top ^

Convert pays high price for proselytising (SCMP)
2010-07-06
Like most North Koreans, Son Jong-nam knew next to nothing about Christianity when he fled to neighbouring China in 1998. Eleven years later, he died back in North Korea in prison, reportedly tortured to death for trying to spread the Gospel in his native land, armed with 20 Bibles and 10 cassette tapes of hymns. He was 50. His story, pieced together by his younger brother, a defector who lives in South Korea, sheds light on a little-discussed practice: the sending back of North Korean converts to evangelise in their home country. Little is known about the practice, which is believed to have started in the late 1990s. Missionaries will not say how many defectors they have sent back, citing their own safety and that of the defectors. "It's their country, where people speak the same language. They know where to go and where to escape," said the Reverend Isaac Lee, a Korean-American missionary in Seoul who has dedicated his life to spreading Christianity in the North. "But I agonise a lot whenever I have to send defectors to the North, as I know what kind of punishment they would get if they are arrested." North Korean authorities crack down on Christians, who are seen as a Western-influenced threat to the government. The distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services can mean banishment to a labour camp or execution, defectors say. […] However, observers such as Kim Soo-am at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul are sceptical of purported active underground church movements. Kim said many North Koreans were not even aware of religion. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

China set to become largest importer of thermal coal, making Mongolian miners happy (News.mn)
2010-07-07
Until arrangements are in place for Mongolia to export its coal to other destinations, China will remain its biggest buyer and there is good news in that China is set to overtake Japan as the world's largest importer of thermal coal as soon as this year, only three years after China became a net importer of the mineral used to fire power stations, according to an emerging industry consensus. The speed at which Chinese coal imports are growing is surprising mining companies, traders and policymakers, who had previously not expected China to overtake Japan before 2015. China was a net exporter of coal until 2007. Beijing's appetite for imported thermal coal bodes well for mining companies but policymakers are concerned about the impact of rising buying on global energy prices and carbon emissions. The increase in coal prices will increase electricity prices and increase the cost of manufacturing. China is already the world's largest coal producer but domestic supplies can't meet the growing demand. The surge in coal imports comes on the back of rising power demand. China relies on coal to produce 80 per cent of its electricity, double the world's average. China would add 500 gigawatts of new coal-fired electricity generation capacity between now and 2020, almost double Japan's current total power generation capacity. ^ top ^

Woman with HIV to give birth (News.mn)
2010-07-07
The pregnancy of a 25-year-old woman who has HIV is now being monitored at the National Center for the Study of Infectious Diseases. Three women with HIV have given birth to healthy babies in the past five years. ^ top ^

Parliament rushing to approve Tavantolgoi project proposal (News.mn)
2010-07-06
The draft Government proposal on Tavantolgoi, a project expected to be a powerful levers for Mongolia's economic development, is all set to be approved by Parliament in the present session before it concludes on July 9. Last Friday, the draft got the approval of both party groups in Parliament. The DP group did not attend the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Economy but later announced its support for the proposal. The Standing Committee meeting started around 5 pm and discussed the report of the working group set up by Parliament.

The report made the following recommendations.
1. A new state-owned company to be called Erdenes-Tavantolgoi will be established and it will hold the license to the deposit. It will also sign the final investment agreement with an operator company to do the extraction work.
2. Citizens will get 10 percent of the shares of this new company free.
3. Another 10 percent of the shares will be sold to companies that were registered before June 31, 2010 and that have paid all taxes.
4. Another 30 percent of the shares will be offered in domestic and foreign stock markets
5. The ownership of Erdenes MGL, now state-owned, will be privatized.

The issue was then discussed in Parliament.

MP D.Gankhuyag said apart from Oyutolgoi, exploration of all the other 14 strategic deposits were made with state funds. “How then are some companies operating in Tavantolgoi today without any state participation?” he asked.

The head of the standing committee, Ts.Bayarsaikhan, explained that by the late 1990s, 51 percent of Tavantolgoi had become private property. Energy Resources started work. In 1997, 96 percent of the mine was returned to state ownership under the Minerals Law. The companies were given compensation. Erdenes MGL now owns this 96 percent of Tavantolgoi.

The director of Erdenes MGL said initial Russian estimates that Tavantolgoi held 1 billion 32 million tons of coking coal and 1.3 billion tons of thermal coal are likely to be wrong. After a long discussion, the draft was approved by more than 90 percent of the MPs. It was transferred to Standing Committee to be prepared for the final discussion. ^ top ^

Decree issued to promote Mongolian script (Montsame)
2010-07-06
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, /MONTSAME/ The President Ts.Elbegdorj issued Tuesday a decree to augment the official usage of the Mongolian script. n accordance with the decree, issued welcoming the 100th anniversary of the Revolution for National Freedom, official documents and letters addressed to State Head, Speaker, Prime Minister, cabinet members and other dignitaries of foreign countries must be written in the Mongolian script. To these documents are to be attached their translations into any UN official language or a foreign language of that country. ID cards, marriage certificates, educational certificates and diplomas muist be written in Cyrillic alphabet and Mongolian script both. The second national program on Mongolian script was approved in 2008. The government was ordered to pay an attention to intensifying an implementation of the program and to conclude it within 2011. The President's decree will come into force from July 11, 2011. ^ top ^

Peacekeepers Awaded (Montsame)
2010-07-06
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, /MONTSAME/ Pursuant to a decree of the President Ts.Elbedgorj, state prizes were awarded Tuesday to 264 Mongolian troops who had served as peacekeepers for the "MINURCAT" operations with UN mandate in Chad and the Central African Republic. The Order of Military Merit has been bestowed upon colonel L.Ontsgoibayar, commander of the 150th unit of the Armed Forces of Mongolia; and lieutenant-colonel B.Baatar, an expert from the General Headquarters of Mongolian Armed Forces (GHMAF). With the Honorary Medal of Military have been awarded lieutenant-colonels B.Bat-Erdene, N.Altangerel and captain S.Batbuyan, and with the Medal for Peace--110 servicemen. In accordance with an order of the Defense Minister L.Bold, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class Medals of Military Glory has been given to 20 servicemen; the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class Medals for Homeland--to 113 servicemen. After the ceremony, the state leaders and defense authorities received the troops and paid tribute to them. ^ top ^

 

Corentin Buela
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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