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
  2-6.8.10, No. 331  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Swiss president to visit China (Global Times)
2010-08-06
Doris Leuthard, president of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, will pay a working visit to China from Aug. 10 to 15, at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Asean shows sudden resolve against Beijing (SCMP)
2010-08-06
[…] "No one expected just how pivotal these meetings would be in defining the regional landscape," one veteran Asean envoy said. "But it suddenly seems that we are now looking at a very different region... and that will be keenly felt in Beijing. Everyone is waiting to see how China responds once they digest what has been going on... it is going to be a very interesting few months, to say the least." Several Asean members were among the 12 nations which, led by the US, raised concerns over tensions in the South China Sea at the 27-member Asean Regional Forum, East Asia's only formal security gathering. The performance left Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi exasperated - reflecting a dramatic turnaround on previous meetings in recent years that have seen back-room pressure from Beijing keeping Asean members from significant discussion on the disputed South China Sea. Beijing, many Asean insiders believed, had successfully split the grouping by boosting ties with all nations individually, limiting their desire to act boldly as a unit. But what unfolded in July was not, it seems, an isolated or entirely spontaneous event. And the next few months will see further opportunities to turn discussions into something more concrete. […] Warnings from US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that peacefully solving South China Sea disputes was a US "national interest" and a "diplomatic priority" were designed to provide a fresh boost to efforts to turn a non-binding agreement between China and Asean on the South China Sea into something more meaningful. Yang, meanwhile, and other Chinese spokesmen have since re-asserted the importance of China's "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Sea and warned against moves to internationalise the dispute. Beijing wants to negotiate individual bilateral settlements with claimant countries. […] The US, too, has expanded its reach in other ways, winning approval from Asean during the recent meetings to join, along with Russia, its annual East Asia Summit with China, Japan and South Korea. While in Hanoi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also expanded co-operation with Asean members from the lower Mekong region - Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. It has signed formal co-operation agreements, assigned an ambassador to the grouping and attempted to engage Myanmar's military dictatorship, a move which has helped grease the tracks of broader US-Asean diplomacy. […] Hanoi has been rapidly fostering ties with Washington and other regional powers, including India and Russia, while showing a capacity for regional leadership that was inconceivable just a few years ago. Vietnam is now seen as a bulwark against China within the grouping, providing a safety-in-numbers shelter for countries that may struggle to deal individually with an increasingly assertive Beijing. More than any other nation, it feels its sovereignty under threat as it tries to counter China's growing naval presence, its detention of hundreds of its fishermen and ongoing protests over international oil companies cutting deals with Hanoi to search for oil. […] Asean is starting to show that that message has been heeded, despite its glacial consensus-based decision making. "Through some cunning leadership, Vietnam has worked to show finally that Asean is prepared to find ways of standing up to China," another Southeast Asian diplomat said. "Even for countries that want good relations with China, that provides opportunities to balance the relationship and is proving popular." […]. ^ top ^

PLA ramped up China's stand on US-Korea drill (SCMP)
2010-08-06
Political pressure from the military community forced the central government to change the text of its official statements several times in the past two months to harden its tone over the US-South Korean joint naval drill near its territorial waters, according to diplomats. […] From calling on involved parties to "maintain calm and constraint", to expressing "concern" and "serious concern", then morphing into words such as "oppose" and "strongly oppose", the rhetoric of the Foreign Ministry in Beijing over the drills evolved from neutral to shrill. Diplomats said the military's influence was the result of bargaining between the diplomatic establishment and the powerful military within policymaking circles. […] "The scenario suggested that civilian leaders finally succumbed to enormous pressure from the People's Liberation Army," a Chinese diplomat who is familiar with that process said. […] "In foreign affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can make its own decision if it is not a very big event," the diplomat said. "But when it is a big event that concerns national interest or state security, or when divergent views emerge within the inner circles, the top leadership will call a meeting of the parties concerned to make a decision." […] The diplomat said the PLA had not only pressured the policymakers, but also used the publicity campaign tactic to win public support. […]. ^ top ^

France, China dismantle illegal Chinese immigration network (Xinhua)
2010-08-06
Police in China and France have dismantled a network that tried to smuggle Chinese migrants into Italy and Spain on boats, officials said Thursday. The French Immigration Ministry said several members of the network headed by a Chinese national living in Paris and a number of illegal immigrants were arrested July 27 during simultaneous operations in France and China. The ministry did not detail the number of arrests. Investigations showed that each illegal migrant paid between 12,000 (15,852 U.S. dollars) and 15,000 euros (18,915 U.S. dollars) to book a ticket to Europe. France hailed police efforts and called for stronger cooperation ties with China to crack down on human trafficking. "I congratulated the teams... for dismantling an important network of illegal immigration from China, to Italy, Spain and Luxembourg, whose principal organizers were based in Paris and Shanghai," said Eric Besson, the French Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development. ^ top ^

Beijing defends business ties with Tehran (SCMP)
2010-08-05
China has defended its business dealings with Iran after a senior US official called on Beijing to follow UN sanctions against the Islamic republic to the letter. […] “China's trade with Iran is normal business exchange, which will not harm the interests of other countries and the international community,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, was quoted as saying by the China Daily. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always observed the council's resolutions.” […] On Monday, Robert Einhorn, the US State Department's special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control, appealed to China to fully back sanctions on both Iran and North Korea, also suspected of developing nuclear weapons. “We want China to be a responsible stakeholder in the international system,” Einhorn said during a visit to Seoul. “That means co-operating with the UN Security Council resolutions and it means not backfilling or not taking advantage of responsible self-restraint of other countries.” Einhorn is expected to make a stop in Beijing during his Asia tour. Also on Monday, US lawmaker Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – said investments by state-run firms in Iran's energy sector were “effectively bankrolling” its nuclear ambitions. Ros-Lehtinen did not offer details, but US officials have noted that mainland firms have been stepping in to fill the void left by companies leaving Iran because of UN and US sanctions. “It's time to implement our sanctions laws and demonstrate to Russia and China that there are consequences for abetting Tehran and flouting US sanctions,” she said in a statement. “Russia and China appear determined to continue to facilitate Iran's dangerous policies. This must not be allowed to continue without serious repercussions.” […] China is investing US$40 billion in Iran's oil and gas industry, the Islamic republic's deputy oil minister Hossein Noqrehkar Shirazi said on Saturday. Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi is due in Beijing this week. ^ top ^

PLA war games test military response to aerial assault (SCMP)
2010-08-04
The People's Liberation Army kicked off a five-day defensive drill in Shandong and Henan yesterday based on a scenario of defending Beijing from air assault. The official China News Service said the big exercise was being led by the Jinan Military Command, which oversees the defence of the area south of the capital, including the Yellow Sea region. Xinhua said about 12,000 PLA personnel from land, naval and air force units would take part in the exercise. […] Military experts said the two war games were aimed at dealing with a "decapitation attack", a strategy commonly used by the US military when attacking a foreign country. […] No rehearsals were held for the exercises, which will emphasise real-time responses to unplanned events and the integration of units under separate commands, it said. However, both the five-day anti-air assault drill and the urban warfare exercise are neither offensive nor provocative practices as all games focus on defending Beijing and retaking an occupied city. […] "The PLA wants to show its muscle to the US army and show that we are well-prepared and strong enough to defend our national sovereignty in the South China Sea, which the US has now claimed is also under its national interest." Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert said. Ni said the PLA's key defensive mission would shift from the Taiwan Strait to the South China Sea after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial disputes with many neighbouring countries, was an area of "national interest" and "diplomatic priority" for the United States. Dr Arthur Ding Shu-fan, a PLA expert at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan, said that over the past decade, the PLA had staged a series of similar but smaller military drills in its coastal cities. "The PLA has recently disclosed so many drills because they found that they were capable of dealing with modern war games after several years' training," he said. "Indeed, the high transparency of the PLA drills not only improves the army's image, but also sends a clear message to the US - `Don't provoke us as we are now well-prepared'." With defence spending rising by an average of 15 per cent annually over the past decade, Beijing has lavished funds on its air force, navy and missile forces in recent years as part of a gradual shift away from ground units. The PLA's adoption of more effective training and tactics is widely seen as strengthening Beijing's ability to assert its territorial claims over Taiwan and the South China Sea. Military planners from New Delhi to Washington have taken note, fuelling calls for more attention to Chinese developments and increased regional co-operation with the US military. Beijing repeatedly criticised last month's joint US-South Korean exercises in the Yellow Sea and has expressed concern about US naval surveys in the South China Sea. […]. ^ top ^

US urges China not to take advantage of Iran sanctions (Global Times)
2010-08-03
A US official Monday urged China "not to take advantage of sanctions against Iran," Reuters reported. "We want China to be a responsible stakeholder in the international system," Reuters cited Robert Einhorn, a special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control at the US State Department who oversees sanctions against North Korea and Iran, as saying. "And that means cooperating with the UN Security Council resolutions, and it means not backfilling, not taking advantage of the responsible restraint of other countries," he said at a news conference. Einhorn also reportedly expressed concerns that Chinese companies are aggressively investing in Iran's energy sector, despite the threat of sanctions. Einhorn's comment came after the Chinese foreign ministry reaffirmed Friday that China does not favor unilateral sanctions, referring to recent EU sanctions over Iran. Beijing also said diplomatic means - dialogue and negotiations - are the proper ways to solve the problem. […] However, analysts said that China will not abandon its principles despite its significant economic interests in Iran. "China respects the UN's decision and opposes any act against the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," said Ye Hailin, a researcher at the Institute of South Asia Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was getting "positive" feedback from the Vienna group over a proposal to supply Tehran with nuclear fuel. ^ top ^

China to donate 1.48 mln US dollars humanitarian aid to flood-hit Pakistan (Global Times)
2010-08-02
China will deliver humanitarian aid worth 10 million yuan (1.48 million US dollars) to flood-ravaged Pakistan, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced Sunday. The charitable assistance was offered to help Pakistan' s government fight the flooding and rescue victims, the MOC said in a brief statement posted on its website. The Pakistan government kicked off an emergency rescue and relief operation on July 30 after declaring an emergency in the flood-struck northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). ^ top ^

China disagrees with EU's unilateral sanctions on Iran (Global Times)
2010-07-31
China opposed unilateral sanctions levied on Iran by the European Union (EU), said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in Beijing on Friday. "We hope the relevant parties will adhere to diplomatic means on the issue," said Jiang in response to a question. China maintains that the Iran nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, she added. EU foreign ministers on Monday approved tougher sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program, including measures to block oil and gas investment. EU's restrictive measures, which went beyond UN sanctions imposed on June 9, followed a similar move by the US. On July 1, US President Barack Obama signed a new Iran sanction bill into law, which was described by him as "striking at the heart" of Iranian government's nuclear ability. Iran has submitted a letter to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano on resuming the nuclear talks. The letter, jointly provided by Iran's National Security Supreme Council and Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, expresses Iran's readiness to start uranium swap talks, said Iran's local media on Monday. "We welcome Iran's move on the issue," said Jiang. China hoped the talks between Iran and the Vienna Group, comprising the United States, France, Russia and the IAEA, would start as soon as possible, she said. "We hope the relevant parties will reach consensus on the issue at an early date," said Jiang, adding this will help promote the process of resolving the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Thousands besiege police after beatings (SCMP)
2010-08-05
Thousands of residents clashed with armed police in Lianjie town in Weiyuan county, Sichuan, on Tuesday when two grievances resulted in riots, according to local internet users.

Mainland media and authorities kept silent about the case yesterday. But internet posts by residents spread the story and pictures of the incident until they were blocked. The case follows other incidents across the mainland that are increasingly being caused by people's discontent over violent law enforcement and perceived inequity in the justice system. The internet posts, accompanied by photos showing a large crowd protesting in front of a police station, claimed at least several residents were beaten bloody by policemen. The photos showed thousands of residents blocking the main road of the town in front of the police station and surrounding the building. Web posts said some protesters threw bricks and stones, several police vehicles were damaged and rolled over, police were besieged inside the building and several policemen were injured. An employee at the Kedou Internet Cafe, next to the police station, confirmed yesterday that the riot occurred but refused to offer further details. "I don't want to say anything more," she said by phone. "I don't want to be jailed. Go and ask the government." No one inside the police station would comment. The web posts said the crowd gathered around 3pm and tried to storm the police station after hearing two residents were beaten by policemen. A woman was beaten bloody by urban management officers after she had refused to move her motorbike in front of a store. A man with a bloody hand also rushed out of a local hospital and down the street, shouting he had been beaten by police over a dispute between him and the hospital. More angry residents accompanied the man to the police station. No official has confirmed the reason for the protests. […] In June last year, more than 50,000 people took to the streets in Shishou, Hubei, in protest over the death of a young chef at a hotel frequented by officials. The authorities said the chef had committed suicide, but his family suspected foul play. The sheer number of people involved indicated the level of frustration felt towards the local government. ^ top ^

Flooding this year will not reach 1998 levels: Officials (China Daily)
2010-08-05
[…] "Based on the current situation, there will be no disasters as serious as those in 1998," Shu Qingpeng, deputy director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said in an interview with the central government website www.gov.cn. A flood historic in its magnitude struck the Yangtze River in 1998, causing all sections of the river to surge above their warning levels, claiming the lives of over 2,300 people. "The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River remain slightly above their warning lines", Shu said, "but water levels in these parts and in the Three Gorges Dam have been declining." China' s disaster prevention capabilities, he added, have improved markedly in the past decade, strengthening the nation's ability to fight floods. […] The Three Gorges Dam, he added, has played a vital role in flood reduction. But Shu also warned that parts of the Yangtze River, the upper reaches of Hanjiang River in central China and Northeast China's Songhua River are still swollen as heavy rains continue to batter the regions. Rain-triggered floods have left 1,072 people dead and 619 others missing so far this year in China. […]. ^ top ^

Three kindergarten children killed in horrific knife attack (SCMP)
2010-08-05
After a day of media blackout, authorities have confirmed that at least three children died in a knife attack at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong, on Tuesday. Xinhua's English service yesterday reported the detention of Fang Jiantang, 26, over the killings, citing a statement from the city government. Three other children and four teachers were injured by the attacker, who was armed with a 60cm knife, and taken to hospital. […] The motive for the killing was not known, except that the man was jobless. […] Propaganda authorities quickly enforced a media gag, and internet postings by residents who had witnessed the accident were deleted. Staff members at a Beijing municipal newspaper and a news website said they had received a directive from authorities not to report or comment on the attack. "We got the order on Tuesday evening. No pick-up or comments. Although one local newspaper has covered it, there has been no pick-up by any of the four commercial portals," an editor with the website said. Officials refused to release details of the attack, saying they feared reports could inspire copycat killers. […] Another journalist said orders were given to play down the killings because of concerns over social disturbance. […] Zhang Zhiwei, a Beijing lawyer advocating the rights of children, said it made sense in regard of criminal psychology not to release information about the killings because of the copycat effect. "We see in many cases that the killers themselves were in the underprivileged class who for a long time had no means to vent their frustration or anger. So when they see that someone in a similar scenario had killed someone, he might burst into a killing spree, as well," Zhang said. But sociology professor Zhou Xiaozheng at Renmin University, said it was not wise to stop the flow of information. The key to solving the problem, he said, would be to find a means to prevent crime, such as giving the underprivileged an avenue to have their discontent heard. […] At least seven mainland schools have been attacked this year, raising concerns over the safety of children and pushing social problems up the political agenda. ^ top ^

Chinese Vice Premier calls for prompt reconstruction after floods (People's Daily Online)
2010-08-04
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has urged local authorities to keep flood casualties and losses to minimum and to launch reconstruction work in a timely and orderly way. Hui was speaking during an inspection of flood-affected areas in Weinan and Shangluo cities in north China's Shaanxi Province from Aug. 2 to 3. He visited affected residents, as well as soldiers who were fighting the floods, saying the flood work had entered a crucial stage. […] He also called for the repair of roads and resumption of water and electricity supplies as soon as possible. Homes, schools and hospitals should be reconstruction priorities, he said. Meteorologists forecast higher than average rainfall this month along the province's Hanjiang and Weihe rivers. Hui ordered local governments to intensify flood warnings, improve response plans, reinforce reservoirs and river embankments and replenish emergency materials, so as to be well prepared for more rain and floods. ^ top ^

Mine bosses get a taste of reality (SCMP)
2010-08-04
Mainland coal mine bosses, notorious for caring little about workers' safety in the world's deadliest mining industry, were clearly facing a challenge when Premier Wen Jiabao recently ordered them to enter the pits with their workers every day. A former vice-chairman of the Shanxi provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Lu Rizhou, who backs the premier's call, says one county party secretary was so frightened that he burst into tears when he was taken into a 400-metre-deep pit recently. […] Wen told the State Council on July 7 that managers of coal mines would have to enter the pits with their workers every day, and the regulation was reiterated in a work safety notice on July 23. The rule was seen as a key step in cleaning up the coal industry, because managers would be more likely to improve safety conditions in mines if their lives were put at the same risk as those of ordinary workers. But the regulation has not stopped frequent mining accidents, with five accidents in two days in mid-July killing 49 workers. On Saturday a blast at a workers' dormitory at a mine in Shanxi killed at least 17 people and on Monday 10 workers were killed and seven trapped in a gas explosion in a Guizhou coal mine. That might be due to bad implementation of the order. […] Managers at the mines where the five accidents occurred on July 17 and 18 were found to have either been absent, or to have visited the pits for less than five hours and even then, far away from actual worksites. The managers of the Heilongjiang mine were not with their workers, but at a higher and safer location, just beside the pit's elevator. Commentators say it was more than a coincidence that the two managers were rescued and that all the workers were trapped. […]. ^ top ^

Malaria cases rising dramatically (People's Daily Online)
2010-08-04
With Central Henan Province reporting a sharp rise in its number of malaria cases in the first half of this year, the national Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention plans to release additional figures Wednesday, and the results are expected to be similarly worrying. What is being reported as a national rise in the disease is being attributed to an increase in the exchange of labor across provincial borders and a rise in international travel, a disease control expert said Tuesday. Henan reported 40 cases in the first half this year, already seven cases more than were seen all of last year in the province, the local health bureau reported. National malaria statistics from last year show that nearly half of all reported cases were "imported." That's an increase of 40 percentage points dating back to 2005, when just 10 percent of cases were "imported." Since China says it eliminated malaria by the late 1990s except in the provinces of Yunnan and Hainan, authorities refer to all cases reported outside those provinces as imported. In all, the official number of malaria cases was 1,041 in 2009, with more than 400 cases imported. However, the total cases have plunged dramatically since 2005, when 3,747 people were infected, though just 296 of those were imported incidents, CDC data shows. Zheng Canjun, an expert on malaria at the China CDC, told the Global Times that "the number of imported falciparum malaria cases is rising due to increased international travel and the import and export of labor." In the capital of Henan, Zhengzhou No. 6 Hospital received 16 patients who developed imported malaria during the first half of this year. […] In response to the resurgence of imported malaria cases, China in June laid out a plan to completely eliminate the disease by 2020. […] Cases of malaria, especially falciparum malaria - the most deadly form of the disease - are rising with an increased export of Chinese labor abroad and more foreign workers coming to China. "Provinces with bigger exported labor forces, including Henan, Guangdong, Anhui and Liaoning, tend to have more falciparum malaria cases," Tang Linhua, dean of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases (NIPD), told the Global Times. […] "About 80 percent of the workers might be exposed to mosquitoes with falciparum malaria." […] The lack of strict physical examinations of inbound and outbound workers has also contributed to the rise in falciparum malaria cases, public health experts warn. […]. ^ top ^

PLA calls for upgrade amid new tensions (SCMP)
2010-08-02
[…] In an editorial to mark the 83rd anniversary of the birth of the People's Liberation Army, the PLA Daily said: "Currently, the international trend is experiencing deep and complicated changes, and competition has become fiercer regarding the international order, national strengths and geopolitics." It noted both conventional and unconventional threats to the country's security. "Modernisation is the core of the construction of the PLA, and it should be guided by national core interests. [The PLA] should strengthen preparation for warfare and focus on boosting the core capacity of fighting regional battles against the background of information technology." The call came amid rising tension in several strategic waters, especially the South China Sea, which China and the United States have both recently declared of "national interest". In a recent regional summit in Hanoi, China was ambushed by a US-led drive in which 12 countries - including Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia - expressed concern about China's assertion of naval power in the South China Sea. […] Anthony Wong Dong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, said the editorial gave a point for the recent drills in the Yellow and South China seas. "Terms such as 'national security' and 'integrity of sovereignty' are undoubtedly a response, though in a subtle way, to the emergence of American forces in these two regions, virtually telling the US that China's core interests have been offended," he said. "Anyone with a clear mind can read the hidden meaning in the term 'geopolitics' in the article and, hence, see that it refers to the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asian countries around the South China Sea." Wong views the South China Sea drills with much concern, saying such activity would inevitably trigger anxiety and weapons purchases by nearby countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. ^ top ^

State voices support for media rights after attacks (SCMP)
2010-08-02
[…] The statement was made in an article published yesterday in the China Press and Publishing Journal, the mouthpiece for the General Administration of Press and Publication (Gapp), and carried on its website. "The government has suggested that journalists' rights could be better protected, compared to the past where they were constantly suppressed," said Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. "We might see a better future and freedom for the 'fourth power'." A spokesman from Gapp's newspaper division said that media outlets "are protected by law to exercise their rights in informing, interviewing, publishing, criticising and overseeing, and media workers' reporting activities are protected, as well." The support came after police in Zhejiang scrapped a detention warrant for Qiu Ziming, a Shanghai-based journalist for the Economic Observer who had exposed apparent insider trading and wrongdoing at Kan Specialty Materials, a Zhejiang company that manufactures paper and batteries. Police and local government officials made an official apology to the newspaper in Beijing on Friday, while Qiu was on holiday after having been in hiding. Wang Shengzhong, the newspaper's deputy editor-in-chief, applauded Gapp's move, calling it a "very good beginning" for a greater press freedom. Even so, the press needed more than official support, he said. Public recognition is key to reporting in remote areas. […] A number of threats and assaults have recently been made against journalists who have disclosed business scandals. Song Shinan, a media analyst based in Sichuan, said the violence had prompted Gapp's move. It might be a step towards greater press freedom, but only in the short term. The system still has problems. "Domestic media coverage is... restricted by administrative oversight, and it can be bribed away in a crisis, anyway," Song said. Authorities were happy to let the media have a voice in the community, especially to monitor business practices, Hu said. But when the reporting touches on political and social matters, concerns arise. Hu said what journalists needed most to defend their rights was a media law. Gapp has issued and revised a number of guidelines to step up protection of journalists over the past three years. They pledged to check whether guidelines were properly implemented and ordered media watchdogs below the state level to do a better job of protecting the media's rights. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing plans to soften hukou residency requirements (Global Times)
2010-08-03
Beijing government Monday announced surprising plans to soften its hukou residency requirements less than a week after a leading think tank argued for tightening restrictions on migration into the city. The news came as the government released its talent development plan, envisaging a "capital of talents" by 2020 building the city's own versions of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Manhattan and Hollywood. Beijing plans to ease its ban on the hukou, or household registration, to permit top talent to flow more freely between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province where holders can enjoy equal treatment as citizens for their children's education, healthcare and social security. "With a hukou, you get basically everything from better payment to better welfare," said Han Meng, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. At the heart of the plan came the announcement of a more flexible hukou policy in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province. "The new hukou policy for talented people will be implemented as soon as we have reached agreement in the three regions," Song Fengjing, deputy director of the talent managing office, told the Beijing Daily. In a bid to evolve more creative talent and industrial prowess, the the 2010-2020 capital talent development plan calls for stronger ties between Zhongguancun and Silicon Valley, Beijing Financial Street and Wall Street, Beijing Central Business District and Manhattan and Huairou Movie & TV Industry Zone and Hollywood. "We'll develop the city by following those areas that are regarded as top level in the world," said an official Monday at the talent management office of the Municipal Organization Department. The plan also laid out indexes to measure the "capital of talents" based on Tokyo, London and New York. ^ top ^

Beijing hosts cyber-security conference (China Daily)
2010-08-04
Top cyber-security analysts are gathering in the Chinese capital for a summit to boost security in the sector, amid the increasing threat of computer hacking worldwide. About 300 participants from countries including the United States, Japan and Australia are attending the two-day summit, which starts on Wednesday and is initiated by XFOCUS, a Chinese information security society. […] XFOCUS has organized eight Xcon conferences since 2002 for professionals in the industry to exchange skills and meet friends. The meeting has drawn wide media attention partly because China has grown quickly to become the country with the biggest Internet population in 2009 and consequently experienced frequent cases of cyber attacks, analysts said. […] Veteran US hackers, who recently concluded a meeting in Las Vegas known for attracting rogue software savants that have found ways to "crack" items including smart phones, Web browsers and power plants, are also attending the conference in Beijing, AFP reported. "We want to create understanding between the two hacker cultures," said Colin Ames, who is part of a scouting team setting out for the conference. "It's nonsense that all Chinese hackers are evil and hack for the government." Ames told China Daily through e-mail that he wanted to learn more about the challenges China faces in computer security and share knowledge about the challenges the US faces. […] "The computer security area is experiencing more and more hacker attacks around the world. So this conference is very necessary," said a Japanese attendee, who did not want to be named. […]. ^ top ^

Low-end workers should float away: report (Global Times)
2010-08-04
Beijing officials are proposing that the capital should eliminate many dirty and low-end jobs dominated by migrant workers in order to reduce the population heading to the city for such work, Beijing News reported Tuesday. The suggestion came after the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress released a report saying the floating population in the capital increased by 1.5 million during the past four years to 7.6 million by last year. […] However, experts said such a move could make life more difficult for such workers. Li Xiaojuan, head of the Judicial Affairs Office of Beijing Municipal People's Congress, said Shunyi district managed to control its floating population by cleaning up low-end businesses such as small-scale garment manufacturing enterprises and food stalls. Since 2008, the district invested 150 million yuan ($22 million) to upgrade and renovate 65 farm produce markets, while at the same time, banned roadside stalls. The number of workers in a Beijing village popular for its waste recycling fell from 3,000 to 832 after authorities centralized the recycling business. […] Huo Yuanlian, a waste collector who used to live in Shunyi, moved 3 kilometers to make a living, the newspaper reported. He used to collect empty beer bottles. If he was lucky, he earned 4 yuan a day. But since he could no longer enter the downtown area to collect waste, things have been getting worse. "I don't know how I can survive in Beijing," he said. "If I move back to my hometown in Henan Province, I don't have land to farm. How can I make a living?" […] Zhang Yi, a researcher from the Institute of Population and Labor Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that Beijing needs low-end workforce to keep functioning. "It is like a forest, we need big trees, small tress and grasses to keep the eco-balance," Zhang said. "Beijing people could benefit from the floating population that provides cheap yet good products and services." Zhang suggested that the government should invest in small and medium-sized cities. "The floating population will follow the money and eventually leave the big cities," he said. "By doing so, overcrowded cities like Beijing could reduce floating population and low-end laborers could find jobs.". ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Expo may break budget, mayor says, vowing to open books (SCMP)
2010-08-02
Shanghai mayor Han Zheng has admitted the World Expo may go over its 28.6 billion yuan budget because of high operating costs. In an interview with Taiwan CtiTV, the mayor defended the massive budget - already the largest and most expensive in the history of expos - and vowed to open the accounts books after a thorough audit. Han's remarks were the first confirmation of widespread rumours that the expo's budget was spiralling out of control, and made an ironic contrast to the part of the official slogan that says "run the expo with thrift". To date, officials have stated only that the 5.28 sq km park had cost 18 billion yuan to build, and the fair's operating budget would be 10.6 billion yuan. No breakdown of either figure has been issued. Some unofficial estimates have put the total cost - including the massive indirect investment in upgrading the city's transport network and regional links, plus major renovations of key landmarks - as high as 400 billion yuan, equivalent to the country's annual military budget. Han dismissed such estimates. […] His admission of operational costs running beyond their 10.6 billion yuan budget appear to contradict assurances by Shanghai Communist Party secretary Yu Zhengsheng that the expo would break even. But it reflects a clear acknowledgement of the extent of the extra measures organisers put in place to draw crowds to the 184-day event. […] The total number of visitors passed the 35 million mark yesterday - a significant milestone given the target attendance of 70 million. […] However, official gate figures are widely viewed with scepticism among staff at national pavilions, with many privately stating they believe the statistics are being inflated. The record attendance for an expo was in Osaka, Japan, in 1970, which drew 64 million visitors. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Security bolstered for Asiad in Guangdong (China Daily)
2010-08-05
Governor of Guangdong province Huang Huahua demanded no mistakes in security for the Asian Games and the police pledged to make an all-out effort to safeguard the event, as the 100-day countdown began on Wednesday to the opening of the Games on November 12. Huang required that the security forces fine tune their plans, strengthen preventive measures, increase training and drills, and improve coordination with neighboring provinces to ensure a safe Games. The Guangzhou police authority has invested 2 billion yuan ($29 million) in security for the Games. They have also drawn up 1,698 security measures for the event, which exceed the 910 drafted for the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, as well as 151 guidelines and 36 policies, Guangzhou Daily reported. […] The police will strengthen security already in place at large shopping areas, road-side stores and factories. Control will also be tightened over access to post boxes, telephone booths, manholes and trash cans. More than 2.6 million surveillance cameras are in place across the city, including more than 12,000 within and around the Games' venues. […] Security personnel have also received instruction on the Asian Games, international etiquette and the English language, among others. […] Military personnel have also been placed on standby for any biological, chemical or nuclear incidents. ^ top ^

Backlash as Cantonese protests spur gag (SCMP)
2010-08-03
Measures dished out by Guangzhou authorities after a weekend rally in defence of the use of Cantonese ranged from harassing local and Hong Kong reporters covering the protest to branding the rally as an "illegal gathering" and tightening restrictions on internet searches. Mainland media, banned from sending journalists to cover the rally, were ordered to publish statements denouncing it as an "illegal gathering". After the protest, internet searches of mainland microblog portals for "Beijing Road" and "Martyrs' Park" were blocked, as were searches for other words related to pro-Cantonese rallies. […] Critics and activists say the Guangzhou authorities' intense crackdown on the campaign is an overreaction and may hurt the public image of the Asian Games host city. At least 20 people, including four television journalists from Hong Kong, were arrested on Sunday after hundreds of people gathered in Guangzhou's People's Park and the Beijing Road shopping area. […] Michael Anti, a Beijing-based internet analyst, said the authorities feared the pro-Cantonese protests in Guangzhou could spark copycat demonstrations in other cities such as Shanghai and Xiamen, which have sizeable populations speaking local dialects. "I very much doubt other cities can share the sentiment of Guangzhou, as Cantonese has already been enjoying more privileges than other dialects in China for a long time, especially in terms of TV and radio broadcasting. Defending Cantonese has no national value," he said. […] A former policeman who refused to be identified said the way the authorities had handled the incident showed they were very short-sighted. "The authorities were only thinking about how to contain the crowd. This is an immediate problem they have to deal with and is directly threatening the security of their jobs," he said. "The Asian Games is still 100 days away so that's not what they were thinking about before ordering the arrests and crackdown." He said further heavy-handed responses would only spark more anger, and could backfire if that sentiment was forced underground, because it would be harder to control. The Hong Kong News Executives' Association yesterday condemned the Guangzhou authorities for infringing reporters' editorial freedom. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Kashgar rides property boom as 'new Shenzhen' (SCMP)
2010-08-02
Buying an apartment in the remote desert town of Kashgar is a little like playing Russian roulette. Developers and their agents don't offer price lists, nor do they bother to show flats to home buyers. Purchasers - whether they are end-users or speculators - are entirely at the mercy of vendors. […] Once an important gateway on the fabled Silk Road to Samarkand, Kashgar is now home to the Uygurs and has been earmarked by the central government for economic development along the lines of a new Shenzhen. Under the plan an 8.5-square-kilometre economic development zone will be created, offering tax incentives to lure direct foreign investment targeting trade with Kashgar's neighbours, a latter-day re-engineering of its Silk Road history. […] Security has been tight in Kashgar, known as a hotbed of unrest for years, after bloody clashes between Han Chinese and Uygurs in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, claimed nearly 200 lives and injured 2,000 on July 5 last year. Military vehicles patrol day and night around the mainly Uygur city and troops guard the People's Park in the city centre at night. […] This year alone, property prices in Kashgar have doubled to 4,000 yuan per square metre and in contrast to discounting now taking place in many major cities, Kashgar developers keep revising their prices upwards. […] In the first half of this year, 300,000 sqmetres of Kashgar residential properties have been sold, compared with 400,000 sqmetres for the whole of last year. Meanwhile backers of Beijing's call for financial support for Xinjiang, are reported to be ready to pour more than 10 billion yuan into the biggest and most comprehensive investment in the western autonomous region to date. During a three-day Kashgar Trade Fair that ended on July 2, private businessmen from Guangdong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Shandong committed to investing in 256 projects worth a total of 28 billion yuan. The projects range from real estate, mining, agricultural products processing, tourism and logistics. Beijing hopes the new policy can help reduce poverty, create job opportunities and help Uygurs to get rich - and hopefully alleviate discontent and social unrest. […]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

US to sell Taiwan decommissioned warships (SCMP)
2010-08-05
A Taiwanese newspaper reported on Thursday that the US will sell the island two warships, a move that would almost certainly anger China and further undermine Beijing's already tense relations with Washington. The report, in the mass circulation Apple Daily, quotes an unnamed Taiwanese senior officer as saying that the US Navy will sell Taiwan two Perry class frigates, about to be decommissioned, for US$20 million each. The ships' sale will be formally approved by the State Department late this year or early next year, the paper quoted the officer as saying. Taiwan's defence ministry and the de facto US Embassy in Taipei declined to comment on the report. […] Perry class frigates were designed in the US in the 1970s. They can be used to launch submarine-hunting helicopters. China's submarine deployment in the Taiwan Strait – the 100-mile-wide body of water separating the island from the mainland – is a major concern in Taipei. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Sino-ROK's FTA talks 'likely next year' (China Daily)
2010-08-05
[…] Yu Woo-ik, South Korea's ambassador to China, told China Daily in an exclusive interview that the two Asian nations "are expected to initiate official FTA talks in 2011", after a four-year feasibility study among governments, industrial associations and academies from the two countries was wrapped up recently. Japan, China and South Korea have the largest, second-largest and fourth-largest economies in Asia, accounting for about 70 percent of the Asian economy and 18.6 percent of the global economy. The free trade zone, if established, will hold a consumer population of 1.5 billion. It will be the third-largest economic area in the world, only after the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Union. […] Zhan Xiaohong, an analyst on China-South Korea issues from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said progress on the China-South Korea FTA will act as a catalyst for East Asian trade. […] The Ministry of Commerce did not comment on the FTA issue. […] From the long-term perspective, China and South Korea should sign an FTA "to avoid unfair trade cooperation", Yu said. China is South Korea's largest trade partner, followed by the United States. Last year, China-South Korea trade accounted for 21 percent of South Korea's foreign trade. […] The studies showed that the FTA would benefit both economies. Still, official negotiations cannot start as China and South Korea stakeholders have concerns over the implementation of the FTA. In South Korea, industrial groups from the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors are deeply concerned that the local industries will be hurt when the market is open to each other under the FTA framework, Yu said. But Long Guoqiang from the Development Research Center of the State Council said the FTA will still help South Korea take advantage of the high growth of the Chinese economy. ^ top ^

University report warns of 'sub-recession' in China (SCMP)
2010-08-04
China's economy may face a "sub-recession" in the coming few months, according to a report by the School of Economics with Renmin University of China, which warned that lack of a driving force for long-term development is a more severe problem than the slowdown of economic growth. China's GDP growth will maintain a downward trend in the rest of 2010, although China won't face a double-dip recession, according to the report. The impact of weak export growth, falling fixed-asset investments and the tail-raising factors will come out in the fourth quarter, leading to a "sub-recession" in China, with "quarterly GDP growth lower than 9 percent, monthly CPI growth lower than 2 percent and the deterioration of gross dynamic balance." Yang Ruilong, dean of Renmin University's School of Economics, said "sub-recession" means an economic slump after a rebound, but the slump is not large enough to be considered a double-dip recession. The report defined a "double-dip" as data like employment and consumption recording large declines for over four consecutive months, with GDP growth rate lower than 8 percent for two consecutive quarters. […] The rapid growth of macro economic output and the rebound of price levels are not indications that China has entered a sustainable growth cycle, Yang said. "The drop of some economic metrics starting from the second quarter is unexpected," said Ba Shusong, deputy director-general of the Institute of Financial Studies Development Research Center of the State Council. The growth rate of investments may also decline in future months, he added. "The rebound and recovery of China's economy is based on factors such as the strong stimulus measures and relies on the stimulus policies and global recovery," said Liu Yuanchun, a professor of economics with Renmin University. ^ top ^

Food prices create inflationary pressure (SCMP)
2010-08-02
The last mung beans Wang Yungang sold went for 7.80 yuan (HK$8.90) per kilogram, about the same price as pork. "Taonan has been out of mung beans for weeks. All sold to the south," he said. […] China's price controller, the National Development and Reform Commission, released a tape recording early this month as evidence that traders were manipulating the price of mung beans, and fined the major companies involved between 500,000 and 1 million yuan each. It was part of a crackdown on price increases by the NDRC, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Commerce. Despite all this, the price of mung beans - reputed to have cooling properties when eaten - has yet to cool off. And price rises have not been confined to mung beans. The prices of wheat, corn, cotton, garlic and some leafy vegetables are also soaring. Years ago, government authorities had full control of agricultural products, the most fundamental industry in the country. But now the government seems to have lost its power as dealers, and hot money inflows - foreign money entering China in search of short-term profits from, in this case, betting on price rises - make the market even more complicated. Chen Shuwei, vice-general manager and senior analyst for Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant, said the abnormally high prices for minor products, such as mung beans and vegetables, were originally caused by greatly reduced output and later driven by speculation among dealers. […] At the Agricultural Product Logistics Park in Shouguang, Shandong - a major vegetable wholesale market - prices are driven higher by a complicated supply chain. There are two sets of agents - those who get farmers and local traders together, and agents who facilitate trading between local traders and those from other places at the logistics park. "Everybody has costs, so it's normal to see the price higher at each point," said Liu Zhongxing, an agent at the park. […] Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, said speculation also contributed to soaring prices. "Businessmen used to speculate on grain, such as wheat and rice. But after the government set up the national grain reservoir system, which stores nearly half of the annual grain output now, they can no longer speculate on that. They have shifted to minor products that are less controlled," he said. A rush purchase of wheat occurred in some provinces - including Anhui and Jiangsu - in the past month as farmers expecting higher prices held back sales. But farmers have hardly benefited. "In every round of price rises, 80 per cent of profits go to middlemen. As the producers, farmers get the rest, 20 per cent," Chen said. Li said that four in five farmers specialise in growing just one agricultural product. But as consumers, their lives have not been improved at all, as any increase in their farming income is offset by rising prices. "Compared with 2003, Chinese farmers' farming income rose by 60 per cent in 2009, but the average price for agricultural products also climbed by 60 per cent," he said. Since food accounts for 34 per cent of the mainland consumer price index, soaring agricultural prices have exerted great pressure on overall inflation. Prices for agricultural products had grown by 12 per cent in the first half of this year, which contributed to a 5.5 per cent increase in food prices in the same period, Li said. The government's goal is to keep inflation below 3 per cent for the whole year. Chen said the government needed to be more proactive when it came to stabilising prices. "Instead of a crackdown afterwards, government departments should spend more time researching the market and making correct forecasts about output and demand," he said. "The market needs such kind of guidance, not crude punishment.". ^ top ^

Regional GDP growth rate outpaces nation's economy (Global Times)
2010-08-02
Something is fishy in the provinces. Almost all of the 29 local governments that released their GDP figures over the weekend recorded growth rates of over 11 percent, somehow outpacing the national numbers, according to the Beijing-based Legal Mirror newspaper. The total GDP of these 29 in the first half of the year amounted to 18 trillion yuan ($2.66 trillion), which is 800 billion yuan ($118.11 billion) higher than the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 17.2 trillion yuan ($2.54 trillion). "This is not a new phenomenon," said Yuan Gangming, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "The reported local GDP growth rates have always been much higher than the central one," Yuan said. In the first half of 2009, the difference between local figures and the national figure was even larger, with a gap of 1.4 trillion yuan ($206.69 billion). So where is this discrepancy coming from? It is possible that some local governments have been cooking their books in order to make them look better, Yuan explained. "But there could be double-counting due to cross-region cooperation," Ye Qing, deputy director of Hubei Province Statistics Bureau, told the Global Times. And the sampling methods used for measuring GDP may be different between the central and the local governments, Ye added. The NBS is obviously aware of possible statistical manipulations and miscalculation. Last week, the central bureau issued an announcement clarifying the protocols for carrying out GDP calculations, including checking, double-checking, and then checking again. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Seoul tells Pyongyang to stay away from drill (Global Times)
2010-08-05
South Korea issued a warning Wednesday that it wouldn't tolerate any provocations in its upcoming military exercise and would mount an immediate counterattack if fired upon by North Korean troops. The warning came after Pyongyang threatened "strong physical retaliation" against Seoul's naval exercise near the disputed Yellow Sea border beginning today. "Our military will keep a close eye on our enemy, be ready under any circumstances during the training and will not tolerate any type of provocation," Rear Admiral Kim Kyung-sik said at a briefing. The five-day, anti-submarine drill would involve 29 ships, 50 fixed-wing aircraft and 4,500 army, navy, air force, marine and coastguard personnel. The Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted a military source as saying that North Korea had moved SA-5 long-range anti-aircraft missiles close to areas near the border. "When SA-5 tracer radar is activated, our fighters have to fly low to avoid detection. Their activities are consequently somewhat restricted," the source was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, Washington has declared new sanctions against Pyongyang by adding 10-20 North Korean entities and individuals to its blacklist. The Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency, quoting an unidentified South Korean government source, said one of the individuals is Kim Tong-myong, head of the North's Tanchon Commercial Bank. ^ top ^

Indonesia, DPRK to enhance mutual cooperation (Global Times)
2010-08-03
Indonesia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are committed to enhance mutual benefit cooperation, including in various regional and international activities, an Indonesian minister said here on Monday. "Both sides extended their commitment to always enhance mutual benefit cooperation, including in various regional and international activities," Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters. The commitment was made during bilateral talks between Natalegawa and his DPRK counterpart Pak Ui Chun who is scheduled in Indonesia for five days. During the meeting, they exchanged ideas about progress in Korean Peninsula, bilateral cooperation ties as well as regional and international issues of their common interests. Natalegawa said that his counterpart has explained condition progress in the Korean Peninsula. "We said Indonesia sees that all parties must hold themselves to avoid more tension," he said. This is Pak's first visit to Indonesia since he became foreign minister in 2007. Pak will also pay an honor visit to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Besides, he will attend the ministerial meeting for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Review for Asia Pacific on Aug. 3-4. Indonesia is a leg of Pak's visit to four ASEAN countries aside from Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Many countries likely to be involved in building new railway (News.mn)
2010-08-04
Minister for Roads, Transport, Construction and Urban Development Kh.Battulga has expressed his happiness that Parliament adopted the State Policy on Railway as proposed by the Government, without any major change. He called it a historic event as the decision to set up the existing Ulaanbaatar Railway had been taken in Moscow, while this time Mongolians in Mongolia formulated and adopted a policy aimed at establishing a railway network that will allow Mongolia to export its minerals directly through several points, create many workplaces, and help develop processing industries. He clarified that many countries are likely to be involved in the construction of the new railway. The tracks will be owned by the state, but the carriages and locomotives can be owned by private companies. Work on the 1,100-km Tavan Tolgoi-Sainshand-Choibalsan section of the railroad will begin as soon as financing issues are settled. A preliminary feasibility study is ready and a more detailed study will take 3-5 months. It is easier to build a railway in the Gobi region than elsewhere in the country but maintenance work, especially what will need water, will be more difficult. The construction might take two years. The work will be done simultaneously in sections of 100 km. The Minister revealed that offers have been received from South Korea, China, Russia and Mongolia to build the railway and a choice will be made this year. The gauge will generally be of the broader Russian specification, but the National Security Council, the Government and Parliament may change this in places where the deposit is near the Chinese border. ^ top ^

The Nazis of Mongolia (SCMP)
2010-08-04
Their right hands rise to black-clad chests and flash out in salute to their nation: "Sieg heil!" They praise Hitler's devotion to ethnic purity. But with their high cheekbones, dark eyes and brown skin, they are hardly the Third Reich's Aryan ideal. A new strain of nazism has found an unlikely home: Mongolia. Once again, ultranationalists have emerged from an impoverished economy and turned upon outsiders. This time the main targets come from China, the rising power to the south. Groups such as Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, portray themselves as patriots standing up for ordinary citizens in the face of foreign crime, rampant inequality, political indifference and corruption. But critics say they scapegoat and attack the innocent. […] Though Tsagaan Khass leaders say they do not support violence, they are self-proclaimed Nazis. "Adolf Hitler was someone we respect. He taught us how to preserve national identity," said the 41-year-old co-founder, who calls himself Big Brother. "We don't agree with his extremism and starting the second world war. We are against all those killings, but we support his ideology. We support nationalism rather than fascism." It is, by any standards, an extraordinary choice. Under Hitler, Soviet prisoners of war who appeared Mongolian were singled out for execution. More recently, far-right groups in Europe have attacked Mongolian migrants. […] "We have to make sure that as a nation our blood is pure. That's about our independence," said 23-year-old Battur, pointing out that the population is under three million. "If we start mixing with Chinese, they will slowly swallow us up. Mongolian society is not very rich. Foreigners come with a lot of money and might start taking our women." Big Brother acknowledges he discovered such ideas through the nationalist groups that emerged in Russia after the Soviet Union's fall; Mongolia had been a satellite state. But the anti-Chinese tinge is distinct and increasingly popular. "While most people feel far-right discourse is too extreme, there seems to be a consensus that China is imperialistic, `evil' and intent on taking Mongolia," said Franck Bille of Cambridge University, who is researching representations of Chinese people in Mongolia. […] Critics fear ultranationalists are simply becoming more sophisticated and, quietly, more powerful. Tsagaan Khass say it "works closely" with other organisations and is now discussing a merger. […] The US State Department has noted increased reports of xenophobic attacks since the spring. The UN country review cites a recent vicious assault on three young transgender women. When one of the victims publicly blamed an ultranationalist group - not Tsagaan Khass - death threats quickly followed. "They are getting more support from the public," added Enkhjargal Davaasuren, director of the National Centre Against Violence, who fears that ultranationalists are growing more confident and victims too scared to come forward. […] "We have heard of instances [of violence]. They are not necessarily all right or all wrong," said Javkhlan, a Tsagaan Khass leader. But the group is simply a "law enforcement" body, he maintained: "We do checks; we go to hotels and restaurants to make sure Mongolian girls don't do prostitution and foreigners don't break the laws. "We don't go through and beat the s*** out of everyone. We check our information and make sure it's true." […]. ^ top ^

Mongolia, Japan Agree To Cooperate on Resource Development (UB Post)
2010-08-03
Mongolia and Japan will advance bilateral economic relations into more strategic development of “comprehensive partnership”, two countries agreed this week in Tokyo. On July 29, visiting Minister of Minerals and Energy D.Zorigt met with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada who reaffirmed Japan's strong interest in the development of Mongolia's major mining projects. Okada stated that Japan highly expects the realization of participation by Japanese companies in the development of the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine. Currently Japanese businesses have expressed interests in participating Tavan Tolgoi, high grade coking coal mine in Omnogobi province, and have already stepped into Mongolia's uranium properties in the eastern part of the country. Minister Zorigt said that Japan was a “third neighbouring country”, and that in order to build a mutually beneficial relationship with Japan, which has state-of-the-art technology, there was no change in Mongolia's policy of supporting the participation of Japanese companies. In June, first meeting of the Joint Public-Private Research on a Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was held in Ulaanbaatar. Parties agreed to cooperate in order for the research to move smoothly and swiftly toward the start of negotiations for the EPA. In a separate meeting with Kenzo Oshima, Vice President of JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency), Minister Zorigt requested the Japanese side to accelerate construction project of new international airport, and welcomed Japanese investments to establishing a new power plant in Ulaanbaatar. ^ top ^

Special session of Parliament may be called to discuss case of anti-corruption agency boss (News.mn)
2010-08-03
Speaker D. Demberel is on vacation and Deputy Speaker G.Batkhuu (DP) is in charge until he returns. Yesterday he chaired a meeting of the Speaker's Council to begin preparations for the Autumn session of Parliament, and to schedule the work plan for standing committees and working groups. After the meeting, Batkhuu answered some questions from the media.

Where does the issue of the Anti-Corruption Authority stand?

The Speaker has instructed the concerned standing committee and sub committee to submit their assessment of the contents of the Prosecutor General's letter. If there is need, we may call a special session of Parliament.

The Prosecutor General has already asked for it. Why do you not act on that?

Calling a session is no problem. But the standing committees and the sub committee have decided to study the issue more carefully before passing an opinion.

Does the Sub-committee on Special Inspection plan to meet soon?

No. It will meet only after the working group submits its recommendations. The sub committee will discuss these and submit a report to the Standing Committee on Justice to discuss the issue. ^ top ^

Young chess Player A. Enkhtuul Becomes World Champion (Montsame)
2010-08-01
An international master of sports A.Enkhtuul won Friday a gold medal of the Sixth World School Chess Championship organized by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) took place from July 20 through August 31 in Kayseri city, Turkey. A.Enkhtuul competed in women's contest of under 17 years. At the final match, she defeated her rival from Turkmenistan Jorayeva Govher who is leading the World ranking for female school chess players. By the way, A.Enkhtuul won a gold medal in the Team World School Chess Championship in 2006. The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj has congratulaed A.Enkhtuul for winning the gold medal in the World School Chess Championship. The President's congratulatory letter states that the State Head is very happy for the brilliant success of the Mongolian girl, while the FIDE Women's Grand Prix is being held in Mongolia these days, and then wished Enkhtuul show big success. ^ 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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