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
  15-19.11.10, No. 346  
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Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese president attends APEC economic leaders' meeting (Global Times)
2010-11-15
Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the 18th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) that is opening in Yokohama, Japan Saturday. Hu was expected to speak at the meeting, which focuses on such topics as regional economic integration, growth strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, economic and technical cooperation and an assessment of achievement made by APEC economies in freeing up trade and investment. Hu will put forward proposals on realizing balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secured growth in the Asia-Pacific Region, and will present China's view on future development of APEC, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said in an earlier briefing. Liu said Hu will present China's view on future development of APEC and explain China's stance and propositions on regional cooperation. On Saturday morning, the Chinese president attended the APEC CEO summit, at which he delivered a speech on the theme of "Emerging Economies in the Asia-Pacific Region." […] According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China expects the APEC economies to further implement liberation and facilitation of trade and investment so as to accelerate integration of the regional economy. China also hopes that the meeting will send a definite and positive message on opposing protectionism and supporting the Doha round of WTO talks to achieve balanced, comprehensive results on the basis of existing achievements. Foreign Ministry sources said China hopes that the meeting would make progress in helping developing economies in capacity building and narrowing the gap of development, and improving developing economies' capability of self-dependent growth and internal power of growth. […] The annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is the top decision-making organ of the forum. This year's meeting has the theme of "Change and Action." During the meeting, Hu was also to attend a dialogue with representatives from business circles in the region and to exchange views with them on Asia-Pacific free trade zone, growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises, food security and energy security. ^ top ^

Beijing, Tokyo pursue efforts to mend fences amid tensions (SCMP)
2010-11-15
China and Japan continued fence-mending yesterday, stressing bridge-building gestures and muting tensions over a territorial row, but a senior Chinese diplomat warned that their efforts faced stubborn hurdles. Relations between Asia's two biggest economies soured from September after Japan detained a Chinese skipper whose fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels off disputed islands, igniting tensions over the East China Sea and its potentially rich gas reserves. The boat captain was later released and sent home, but the tensions festered, prompting worries about fallout for Japanese business. President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Yokohama on Saturday, marking an easing of the tensions. Their foreign ministers met yesterday to tackle specifics. […] Also yesterday, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was urged by his Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, to resume talks about reaching a treaty over joint gas field development in the East China Sea, a Japanese official said. But Yang said Japan and China should meet "conditions necessary to reopen the negotiations and create the atmosphere to that end", according to the Japanese official. Beijing has repeatedly said an "appropriate environment" was necessary to hold high-level talks, but has not publicly specified what that means. Tokyo objects to Chinese development of the gas fields, which overlap with what Japan says is the boundary for its exclusive economic zone in the area. The two ministers agreed to improve ties through private and cultural exchanges, the Japanese official said. […] While some of the heat may have gone out of the dispute, Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai sounded a sobering note, stressing that any improvement faced hurdles. Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China's bitter memories of Tokyo's past military aggression as well as present mutual mistrust over military intentions. […] In past weeks, protests in Japan over China have drawn thousands of people, angry that Kan appeared to have caved in to pressure from Beijing. Several hundred protesters rallied in Yokohama yesterday after a 3,000-strong demonstration a day earlier. To rousing applause, Toshio Tamogami, a former air force general who has argued that Japan was not an aggressor during the second world war, called for Japan to build up its military. ^ top ^

China, India to hold high-level talks (Global Times)
2010-11-15
Senior officials from China and India are set to meet in the coming days for a series of talks on bilateral relations and regional issues. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Indian Minister of External Affairs Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna arrived in Wuhan Sunday, the capital of Hubei Province, to attend the two-day 10th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of China, Russia and India. In addition to meetings with their Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Yang and Krishna will hold talks, which come ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's expected visit to New Delhi in mid-December. […] China said Tuesday that it supports India's aspiration to play a bigger role at the UN and will stay in contact and consultation with other UN member states, including India, on UN and Security Council reform. Talks between Yang and Krishna will be followed by tomorrow's Sino-Indian annual strategic dialogue in Beijing. Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo is also set to fly to New Delhi at the end of the month for the 14th round of border talks between China and India. Dai is expected to meet with Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon. The two officials might discuss Wen's visit to India next month. Despite the upcoming spate of meetings between Chinese and Indian officials, New Delhi recently built up its military strength in border areas with China, according to the Financial Times. A military battalion of around 5,000 troops named after "Arunachal Pradesh," India's name for southern Tibet, was formed this week to "defend the northeastern state," the report said. Fu Xiaoqiang, a professor of South Asian affairs at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that India's move is aimed at consolidating its control of the area, which will definitely be opposed by Beijing. "It has been a consistent policy of the Indian government to build infrastructure and increase military strength in the region, which will only bring more disputes and friction between the two sides," Fu said. "Such sensitive issues should have been handled much more carefully.". ^ top ^

Sino-ASEAN relations still being honed (Global Times)
2010-11-16
The friendly and cooperative relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been of crucial significance over the years to maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in Asia as a whole, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said in Singapore Monday. […] "We have successfully completed the first five-year plan of actions to implement the Joint Declaration on the Sino-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. We have started work on the second plan of action. I am convinced that all these will inject fresh impetus and dynamism into the relations between the two sides," he said. China will continue to pursue good relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development with ASEAN, based on mutual respect and equality, and will continue to support ASEAN's community-building efforts and its leading role in regional cooperation, Xi added. China and ASEAN established and launched into full operation the Sino-ASEAN Free Trade Area at the beginning of this year, making China the largest trading partner of the regional bloc. Regarding China's development, Xi said a prosperous and stable China does not pose a threat to any country, and it only means more development opportunities for others. China's per capita GDP is only 10 percent of Singapore's and ranks only about 100th in the world. Chinese will have to work hard for many years to achieve modernization and bring a happy and prosperous life to all the people, Xi added. Xi arrived in Singapore on Sunday for an official three-day visit, which is followed by visits to South Africa, Angola and Botswana. ^ top ^

Russia, India support China's preparation for third BRIC Summit (Xinhua)
2010-11-16
Russia and India Monday reiterated their readiness to coordinate with China as it prepares for the third BRIC Summit and related events in 2011. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Indian Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna made the statements when they met with Yang Jiechi, Chinese Foreign Minister, on Monday. The ministers expressed their determination to work toward strengthening cooperation within the BRIC group, which was acquiring growing importance. During the meeting, Yang said the three countries could cooperate more in safeguarding security in the Asia-Pacific region. […] The foreign ministers agreed to push forward trilateral practical cooperation and decided the next trilateral foreign ministers' meeting would be held in Russia in 2011. […] In recent years, the four nations have strengthened dialogue and cooperation, and held frequent exchanges of views on major issues in the international economic and development fields. During the second BRIC Summit in Brazil this year, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced the next BRIC Summit would be held in China in 2011. ^ top ^

China hopes for peaceful, transparent referendum in south Sudan (Global Times)
2010-11-17
China's UN Ambassador Li Baodong on Tuesday expressed hope for a "peaceful, free, transparent and fair" referendum to be held in south Sudan early next year. "The south Sudan referendum is a key step in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but it is not an end in itself," Li told a high-level meeting of the UN Security Council here."We hope that the referendum will be held in a peaceful, free, transparent and fair manner in accordance with the CPA and reflect the will of the Sudanese people, and that the outcome of the referendum will be respected by all parties. "The ambassador urged the northern and southern Sudan to "try their utmost to expedite the preparations for the referendum," and called on the international community to create favourable conditions for the referendum, "but not to prejudge its outcome." "Neither party must take unilateral actions," he stressed. "Whatever the outcome of the referendum, it is necessary to ensure the overall peace and stability of Sudan and the whole region." The Chinese envoy also expressed concern about "the serious lacking behind of the political process" in Darfur, which poses the "most prominent challenge" for the settlement of the question of Darfur. He urged those Darfur parties that have yet to join the political process to do so immediately and without conditions. Li announced that the Chinese government has decided to make an additional donation of $500,000 to the UN Trust Fund for the political process in Darfur. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president meets with South African president Zuma on ties, cooperation (Xinhua)
2010-11-18
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping held talks with South African President Jacob Zuma here on Wednesday, calling for all-round cooperation and richer content of the comprehensive strategic partnership and strengthened coordination in international policies. During the talks, Xi first conveyed the warm greetings from Chinese President Hu Jintao to South African President Zuma. Xi hailed the Beijing Declaration on the Establishment of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed by the leaders of the two countries during Zuma's visit to China in August this year, saying that it has lifted China-South Africa relations to a new high and will guide the bilateral relations in the new era. Xi, who arrived here on Tuesday for a four-day official visit to South Africa, said the main purpose of his visit is to co-host with South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe the fourth plenary session of the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC). Xi said this plenary session marks a significant step in fulfilling the goals proposed by the two sides in the Beijing Declaration and BNC serves as an important platform to push forward bilateral cooperation in all areas and further implement the consensuses reached by the leaders of the two countries. He said China is willing to work together with South Africa to promote the all-round cooperation, hoping that the two sides will continue to maintain closer high-level political contacts, and further deepen pragmatic cooperation especially in the areas such as trade, economy, agricultural technology and professional training. China wishes to strengthen close coordination in key international issues with South Africa, said Xi. China would also like to coordinate with BASIC countries on occasions of the United Nations such as in the forthcoming climate change conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico. Xi noted that China is to strengthen communication and cooperation with South Africa within the framework of the China- Africa Cooperation Forum so as to realize peace and development in the African continent. […] South Africa hopes that the Chinese friends will play an active role in South Africa's newly-launched New Economic Growth Path including the key projects in infrastructure construction of the African continent, said Zuma. Also on Wednesday, Xi met with Speaker of South African National Assembly Max Sisulu. ^ top ^

China, U.S. call for stronger energy cooperation (Xinhua)
2010-11-18
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Tuesday called for stronger energy cooperation between the two countries. At a meeting in Beijing, Li said China and the United States had broad agreement and a common interest in maintaining energy security and promoting the development of clean energy. He said the fast growth of China's new energy industry provided great opportunities for foreign companies. Li hoped the two sides would strengthen communication and exchanges, deepen pragmatic cooperation in energy, and expand their clean energy cooperation. Chu said the United States attached importance to energy cooperation with China and would endeavor to promote bilateral programs. He called for joint efforts from the two sides in construction of a clean energy research center, and hoped they would promote joint research and development, and technology innovation. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president calls for stronger FOCAC (People's Daily Online)
2010-11-19
Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Thursday called here in Pretoria for concerted efforts to make the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) stronger and to boost the development of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. Addressing a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC, Xi proposed to strengthen strategic planning, practical cooperation and institution building of FOCAC so as to make it a solid base for political mutual trust, a major engine driving common development and an efficient and mature platform for China-Africa cooperation. […] As new problems and new challenges appearing in the second decade of the 21st century, Xi said China and African countries need to properly handle them and to explore new ways and new thinking for FOCAC development in light of the new conditions and new trends in the world economy and in China-Africa relations. "We should be innovative in seeking new development concept and new cooperation model of FOCAC, and give full play to the initiative and creativity of African members of FOCAC. We should strengthen cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in Africa and actively explore cooperation with other parties in the international community so as to strengthen FOCAC's synergy and influence," said Xi. He also called for expanded contacts and cooperation between the governments in such fields as education, science and technology, culture and tourism, and closer ties between political parties, localities, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions and the news media.

Launched in 2000, FOCAC is a platform for collective consultation and dialogue between China and the states in Africa. ^ top ^

Premier Wen's Tajikistan visit to deepen bilateral cooperation (Xinhua)
2010-11-19
Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Tajikistan next week will deepen friendly cooperation between China and Tajikistan, said Cheng Guoping, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Thursday. […] He said because of the joint efforts by the two sides, cooperation in trade, transportation, communications, electricity and infrastructure had been expanding and fruitful. Total bilateral trade volume in the first 10 months this year reached 1.08 billion U.S. dollars, a 2.5-percent rise from the same period last year, Cheng said. The two countries had also supported each other in major issues of mutual concern and maintained close coordination within multilateral institutions like the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), effectively guarding their own interests and making positive contributions to the world peace and development, he said. During the visit, the leaders of the two countries would exchange ideas about bilateral cooperation as well as international and regional affairs. Wen would also attend ninth SCO prime ministers' meeting in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe on Nov. 25, said Cheng. He said the SCO member nations were expected to find common ground in promoting regional cooperation, facilitating investment, and enhancing the organization's internal construction. Sun Yongfu, director general of department of European affairs at Ministry of Commerce, who also attended the press conference, said economic cooperation among SCO members had been fruitful due to their close trade links. He said in the first 10 months this year the total trade volume between China and the other SCO states reached 67.9 billion U.S. dollars, up 37.4 percent year on year. Sun said the close cooperation among SCO member nations had made positive contributions to returning the world economy back to growth. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Vice-premier attacks loose monetary policies (SCMP)
2010-11-16
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang sounded a warning to mainlanders about economic dangers in the world today, in Beijing's latest swipe at US economic pump-priming. Without specifying any country, Li criticized loose monetary policies that might lead to speculative cash flows and spur inflation. His comments built on Beijing's criticism of the US Federal Reserve's recent decision to inject another US$600 billion into the American economy following a US$700 billion bailout that began in late 2008. "Some major economies, in order to stimulate their own recoveries, have adopted policies to seek continuous monetary expansion and massive increase in liquidity," Li wrote in an article published in the official People's Daily yesterday. Such policies "may cause fluctuations in international financial markets and push up prices of major commodities such as energy and resources", he wrote. "The influx of hot money may also impact emerging economies in the meantime." Mainland officials had earlier lashed out at the Fed's latest round of quantitative easing, warning that the move could hurt the global economy and inflate asset bubbles. At the Group of 20 summit in Seoul last week, President Hu Jintao urged the United States to follow "responsible policies" and maintain a stable US dollar, turning the tables after Washington criticized Beijing's currency and trade policies. Li wrote the article to explain the significance of the Communist Party Central Committee's proposal for the mainland's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15). He said the mainland could afford to waste no time in pursuing its "green development" policies and technologies in the global competition for opportunities. […] The article is seen as mainly targeting domestic readers. It is another move to boost Li's credentials to become the next cabinet leader, after the Central Committee completed the draft Five-Year Plan in the middle of last month. Li said candidly that "new pressures" for balancing domestic and international market demand were facing China as a result of the world's slow recovery and demand for Chinese exports. Now was the time for the mainland to shift to an economic strategy led primarily by domestic consumption, the vice-premier wrote. "As indicated by international experience, any major power's development process must be led by its domestic demand." He also reported the Beijing leadership's concern with climate change, energy security, grain and food security, and public health. Those were all issues significant in international relations and involving global co-operation and negotiations. China's new challenge, Li wrote, was how to "play a positive role and to seek possible benefits while steering clear of danger". ^ top ^

Chinese Premier says government drafting measures to suppress price inflation (People's Daily Online)
2010-11-17
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said that the State Council, China's Cabinet, is drafting measures to suppress sharp rises of commodity prices which concerns people's immediate interests. Wen made the remarks during his visit to Guangzhou city of south China's Guangdong Province from Nov. 11 to 12 before attending the opening ceremony of the Guangzhou Asian Games. Wen urged local governments to ensure supplies for daily food and other necessities to maintain market orders. […] On Sunday and Monday, Wen made an inspection tour to Guangdong's Zhuhai city, after attending the opening ceremony of the third Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR). In Zhuhai's Hengqin Island, Wen asked the local government to pay more attention to environmental protection while developing the Hengqin New District. Visiting a company producing lithium batteries for electric automobiles, Wen said development of China's electric automobile industry was in a critical period and the government would continue to promote the industry with supporting policies. ^ top ^

Legislators unite to urge justice for milk activist (SCMP)
2010-11-18
Hong Kong's legislators are rarely united. Yesterday, they found one voice. […] Their appeal for justice came two days ahead of a deadline for Zhao to lodge a court appeal. But whether he could file his appeal documents remained uncertain, as his lawyer was barred from meeting him. No official from the Hong Kong government was present during a debate in the Legislative Council during which lawmakers from both the Beijing-loyalist and pan-democracy camps expressed sympathy for Zhao. […] Pan-democrats placed photographs of Zhao and his family on their desks as they debated the topic. Many linked the case to the imprisonment of democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and Sichuan earthquake activist Tan Zuoren. They said their suppression reflected badly on Beijing's civil rights record. Wong Kwok-kin, vice-president of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions said: "We hope Mr Zhao Lianhai will be released as soon as possible... but under the principle of 'one country, two systems', Legco is a part of the Hong Kong political structure. So we have decided not to participate in this adjournment debate." He said outside the chamber that he was afraid the matter would backfire if Hong Kong lawmakers campaigned for Zhao's release in too high-profile a manner. Twenty-five lawmakers - including 23 pan-democrats and independents Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Dr Leung Ka-lau - jointly signed a letter to the Supreme People's Court calling for the activist's release. "We demand respect for, and protection of, citizens' constitutional rights, and the immediate release of Zhao Lianhai," the letter said. Many in the pro-Beijing camp declined to sign the petition. "There could be repercussions if we over-politicise the case... co-signing a letter is a political action," said Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, who on Tuesday co-signed another letter with her two Professional Forum colleagues to the court urging a retrial. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said it would express its view on the case through other channels. The calls from local lawmakers followed a joint petition by 28 Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress, who wrote to the court on Monday urging a more lenient judgment on the case. […] "This is crucial... if we fail to meet the deadline of applying for an appeal, I won't have 100 per cent confidence.". ^ top ^

Senior Chinese, U.S. officials agree to promote trade cooperation (Xinhua)
2010-11-19
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Thursday agreed with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Faye Locke and Trade Representative Ron Kirk to enhance bilateral trade cooperation. In their latest phone talks, the two sides exchanged views on the China-U.S. economic and trade relations and other issues of common concern. They agreed to deepen communications and cooperation in order to guarantee a successful outcome of the forthcoming 21st session of the China-U.S Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and lay a favorable foundation for a state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States slated for early next year. The JCCT was established in 1983 as a platform for the two countries to promote trade relations and address issues of mutual concern. The last session was held in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in October last year. ^ top ^

China asked to lead fight on piracy (China Daily)
2010-11-19
China is helping lead the charge in the fight to protect intellectual property rights, receiving the world's fifth largest number of international patent applications, Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said on Thursday. "The international community is looking for leadership from China in the field of intellectual property," Gurry said at an international forum in Bejing, jointly held by the WIPO and the National Copyright Administration of China. Intellectual property protection in China has undergone remarkable development since the country joined the WIPO 30 years ago, he said. A rapid expansion of intellectual property rights is currently under way in China, which globally ranks No 1 in terms of the number of trademark offices and third for patent offices. In a knowledge-based world, the demand for inventions and intellectual property continues to increase, Gurry said, noting that 1.9 million patents, 3.3 million trademarks and 700,000 industrial design applications are filed around the world each year. Since duplicate applications are filed in different countries, he said an international administrative system is required to cooperatively process them and keep pace with demand. China also needs to take an active role in fighting copyright piracy, a structural problem that compromises world economies, he said. […] Although there has been a notable increase in domestic and international patent applications in China, officials and experts cautioned that a large number of them have yet to be used productively. In assessing the situation, Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, said earlier this year that the country's innovative ability was out of sync with its economic development and that China lacked its own intellectual property in some key industries and fields. China's economic hub, Shanghai, filed 62,241 patent applications in 2009, but only about 10 percent of them have been put into production, according to an earlier report by China Youth Daily. […] The proposal of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), a national economic and social development plan for the next five years, highlighted the importance of translating intellectual fruit into productivity, he said. "It shows that we have started to wake up to the importance of such issues.". ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing may lower goal for curbing pollution (SCMP)
2010-11-19
Beijing appears to have scaled down its ambition in cutting pollution by setting a much lower target for a key water pollution indicator for the next five years than in the previous five-year programme. The proposal by the Ministry of Environmental Protection - which would halve the target for chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of water pollution - came as a surprise to environmentalists, who said the country's worsening pollution has yet to be brought under control. COD is one of only two pollution control targets Beijing set for the 11th Five-Year Programme, which ends on December 31. Citing ministry sources, the 21st Century Business Herald reported yesterday that Beijing planned to curb COD emissions by 5 per cent by 2015 from the 2010 level and set a 10 per cent control target for acid-rain-causing sulphur dioxide, the other binding indicator in the current plan. […] Beijing's high-profile pollution control campaign began in 2006 amid much fanfare with ambitious targets to cut the two indicators by 10 per cent before the end of this year. But the campaign, which Beijing said was its biggest contribution to the international effort against global warming, suffered major setbacks in the wake of the global financial turmoil, when economic recovery became the overriding priority for local authorities. While the mainland met its target for curbing sulphur dioxide emissions a year ahead of schedule, the ministry admitted this year it would have difficulty hitting the COD target. But it remained confident about meeting its commitment. […] Authorities also admitted COD emissions on the mainland had far exceeded the country's environmental capacity despite the costly cleanup effort. […] Beijing should introduce market-oriented mechanisms and increase transparency in pollution control to enlist public support, he and other environmentalists said. Chen at the think tank agreed, saying controlling COD was far from enough to clean up the country's polluted rivers and lakes. "COD has far less impact on human bodies than some other indicators, such as toxic chemical pollutants and heavy metals," she said. Wang Yongchen, of Beijing-based Green Earth Volunteers, said it would be a shame if the report on lowered targets was confirmed in the lead-up to the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. The targets will be officially unveiled in March during the annual National People's Congress session. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

42 killed in Shanghai apartment block blaze (SCMP)
2010-11-16
At least 42 people died yesterday in a massive blaze in a downtown Shanghai apartment block that took off "like a firework". Firefighters battled from mid-afternoon until early evening at the 28-storey building while thousands of onlookers crowded the surrounding streets. The inferno engulfed the entire structure with intense flames billowing out of windows from ground to roof, sending a giant column of ink-black smoke into the sky. The wail of sirens echoed around Jingan district in the heart of the city as more than 100 fire engines, plus police cars and ambulances raced to and from the scene. […] Around 10 to 15 people, many of them construction workers, were seen in mid-afternoon huddling on the windward side of the building's roof in an effort to stay out of the smoke. Emergency services attempted to rescue them by helicopter but were forced to abandon the effort. The fire was largely put out after about four hours, the Shanghai government said. Firefighters could be seen taking bodies from the building. Earlier reports had put the toll at least eight dead and more than 90 injured. But by the evening the death toll had risen to 42, the Shanghai government said in a statement, which did not give an updated figure for the number of injured. […]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Chinese Premier meets vice chairman of CPPCC National Committee Ho Hau Wah (Global Times)
2010-11-15
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Ho Hau Wah, former chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), who is now the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Saturday.

Ho became the first chief executive of the Macao SAR in 1999 when China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao, and won the election for a second term in 2004. During the meeting, Wen highly praised Ho's work as the chief executive, who facilitated the successful implementation of the principle of "one country, two system" in the SAR and made his contribution to maintaining Macao's prosperity and stability. Wen expected Ho to keep himself concerned on Macao's development and fully support the work of the chief executive and the Macao government. Chui Sai On succeeded Ho as the third-term chief executive on December 20, 2009. Kicking off his two-day visit in Macao Saturday morning, Wen has attended the opening ceremony of the third Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries, and delivered a keynote speech. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan fumes over barred athlete (SCMP)
2010-11-19
The disqualification of a Taiwanese taekwondo athlete from the Asian Games has sparked fury on the island, with calls for a boycott of everything South Korean. Some suspect the mainland, which is hosting the Games, played a role in the fiasco. Taiwanese authorities threatened legal action after gold medal hopeful Yang Shu-chun, 25, was disqualified, and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou also demanded an investigation to ensure she was treated fairly. Yang, a silver medallist at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, was removed from the ring towards the end of the first round of the women's 49kg division in Guangzhou on Wednesday as she was leading Vietnamese competitor Thi Hau Vu 9-0. […] The disqualification, coupled with old grudges about the perceived mistreatment of other Taiwanese gold medal hopefuls at the hands of South Korean competitors or ethnic Korean referees, created an uproar in Taiwan. "Boycott Korean products, boycott their television soap operas," a group of protesters shouted as they burned the South Korean flag in front of the island's sports ministry. Internet users started a campaign on the social networking site Facebook to boycott everything from South Korea. More than 340,000 supporters endorsed the campaign overnight. Some internet users even speculated that the disqualification was a "collaboration between South Korea and the mainland to oust Yang". Politicians taking part in November 27 polls for municipality and city council seats fanned the flames by demanding that the government defend the rights of their athletes and the dignity of Taiwan. "The government of Ma Ying-jeou should not just sit back and remain evasive," said former premier Su Tseng-chang, who is running for mayor of Taipei. His rival, incumbent mayor Hau Lung-bin, said: "I urge Beijing to maintain a fair, open and transparent competition." Wary of the public outcry, Ma also spoke up. "Taiwan's public cannot accept this," presidential spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said. "The president is asking the cabinet and the sports ministry to defend her rights and we hope they can re-evaluate the case and offer better reasoning." Sports Minister Tai Hsia-ling said Taiwan would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if the Games organiser failed to give a "reasonable answer". Taiwan Affairs Office director Wang Yi said the dispute should not be seen as a cross-strait conflict. He said the mainland would never do anything that would disqualify Yang. "We are watching the case closely and will do all we can to help settle the issue," Wang said. The mainland hoped Taiwan would win as many medals as possible, he said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese Vice Premier stresses economic restructuring, warns of global uncertainties (Global Times)
2010-11-15
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang has urged more efforts be made to accelerate economic restructuring to achieve sustainable development amid concerns of global uncertainties. "The global economy is still facing great uncertainties and has not shaken off the deep impact of the financial crisis", Li wrote in an article Xinhua received Sunday, calling for "deep understanding" of the proposal for national development during the 2011-2015 period. The imbalance of the overall world economic recovery remains and trade protectionism is on the rise, Li said in the article while urging correct understanding of both domestic and internation situation. Further, Li warned of the potential damage that will be caused by some governments' excessive debt, noting that some major economies continue their expansionary monetary policies and are pumping enormous liquidity into markets to boost their economic recovery, which may spur turbulence in the global financial market and push up commodity prices. Additionally, the inflow of hot money will affect emerging economies, according to Li. "The world economy is growing slowly and the structure of global demand is changing, which puts new pressure on China in its efforts to stabilize and expand exports and maintain a stable and relatively rapid economic growth," Li wrote. Further, the next five years will be crucial for building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, Li said. "The transformation of the economic development mode brooks no delay, and the key for the transformation is to achieve it at an accelerated speed and with practical effects," he said.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's Proposal on Formulating the 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) on National Economic and Social Development was issued on Oct. 27 after it was adopted at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which ended Oct. 18. ^ top ^

Nation limits housing purchases by foreign entities (Global Times)
2010-11-16
Foreign organizations or individuals seeking to enter the Chinese property market will face new restrictions, China's Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development announced Monday, in a move seen as trying to combat speculative money from overseas. Furthermore, the ministry has joined the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in issuing a circular calling for the standardization of oversight in the purchases of housing by foreign entities or individuals. Foreigners are now eligible to purchase only one home for residential use, and must show proof of having worked in China for at least one year prior to the purchase and of owning no other homes in the country. The new rules stipulate that foreign organizations may only make real estate purchases for office space in the cities where they are registered, and not for residential usage. Previous regulations did not ban foreign companies from buying residential homes for private use. Individuals from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will also need to provide documents proving they are working, studying or residing on the mainland when buying a home. The foreign exchange regulator has repeatedly warned of "hot money" inflows into the country amid heightened fears of asset bubbles, as well as increasing pressure from inflation and recent injections of cash by the United States, which rose to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October. Further worries have risen due to a new round of "quantitative easing" by the US. ^ top ^

Foreign investments rise (Global Times)
2010-11-17
Foreign direct investment into China rose for the 15th consecutive month in October, indicating China remains a favored investment destination for foreign businesses. Inbound foreign direct investment increased 7.86 percent year on year in October to $7.66 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday. Inbound foreign direct investments for the first 10 months of the year totaled $82 billion, a year-on-year increase of 15.71 percent. Foreign businesses have begun to shift their investments from export-orientated sectors to domestic market-orientated businesses. This is due to improvements in the Chinese legal system and expanding consumer markets, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian said. The acceleration in the rate of inbound foreign direct investment growth was due to the United States' second round of quantitative easing, some analysts asserted. The Ministry of Commerce's Yao denied there was any connection between the two but said the Chinese government is closely monitoring liquidity. The Ministry of Commerce spokesman also said the government is working to restrict hot money inflows that are potentially disguised as foreign direct investments. China's foreign exchange regulator has recently stepped up efforts to curb speculative money inflows fanned by loose monetary policies in the US. ^ top ^

Half rare-earth exports to Japan (Global Times)
2010-11-17
China exported 16,000 tons of rare earth to Japan in the first nine months of the year, equivalent to 49.8 percent of its total rare earth exports, the Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday. The figure was a 167 percent year-on-year rise, ministry spokesman Yao Jian said, adding exports to the United States occupied 19 percent of the total exports. ^ top ^

Government drafts measures to curb price rises (People's Daily Online)
2010-11-18
The State Council, China's Cabinet, is drafting a slew of measures to suppress rising commodity prices, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday. The measures include boosting food supplies and other necessities, increasing subsidies for low-income families and taking more targeted policies to maintain market order, according to a statement on the government's official website www.gov.cn. […] The State Council singled out grain, edible oil, sugar and cotton as markets that it wanted to stabilize. It also vowed to intensify a crackdown on price speculation and to punish those found hoarding commodities and pushing up prices by illegal means. The statement made no mention of monetary policy. […] China's consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of inflation, surged 4.4 percent year-on-year in October to a 25-month high, stoking inflation fears, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Nov 11.

Worries that the government could start tightening more aggressively drove China's main stock index down by 1.9 percent on Wednesday to a one-month closing low. The index has dropped 11 percent over the past four trading days. […] The State Council said it would hold provincial governors accountable for the prices of "rice bags" and make mayors responsible for "vegetable baskets". In another development, the consumer confidence index, the main gauge of confidence in the economy, dipped in the third quarter after experiencing five consecutive quarters of increase, due to growing worries over inflation, according to research conducted by the NBS and the Nielsen Company. According to the report, the index fell 5 percentage points on a quarterly basis to 104. […] The confidence index for urban consumers was stable on a quarter-on-quarter basis at 101 while that for rural residents, who are less well-off and more sensitive to price rises, fell 11 points to 106 after five consecutive quarterly gains, the report shows. Mitch Barns, president of Nielsen's Greater China, said the fall in rural consumer confidence was understandable given its previous rises. "Natural disasters that have hit rural areas during the current quarter coupled with an increase in consumer prices are two key factors affecting rural consumers' attitude in this quarter," Barns said. "I would expect the index to be flat or dip slightly in the next quarter." Rising concern over price increases, however, is not expected to affect positive consumer attitude toward the coming year, according to the report. […] Monetary policies such as increasing interest rates can also help manage inflation and prevent price hikes in certain sectors from spilling over into other commodities, she said. ^ top ^

Chinese economy to see stable growth: OECD (People's Daily Online)
2010-11-19
China's economy in 2011 and 2012 will maintain a stable growth rate of 9.7 percent, lower than this year's estimated 10.5 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It said China's renewed buoyancy is projected to continue in 2011-2012, as rising domestic demand offsets a renewed slowdown in exports, stabilizing the current account surplus at around 5.5 percent of the economy. China has already been listed as an enhanced engagement country of the OECD, which is considering accepting it as member. So far, a total of 33 industrialized economies belong to the organization. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the OECD also said that acceleration in non-food prices is to be offset by an easing of food price inflation, resulting in the stabilization of inflation at slightly above 3 percent in China this year. The OECD suggested the stability of the domestic economy would be enhanced if the exchange rate policy were more oriented to allowing an appreciation of the yuan against a basket of currencies. […] With the financial sector returning to normal after the global slowdown, and households and businesses in a position to renew spending and investment, the main challenge facing governments today is moving from a policy-driven recovery toward self-sustained growth. […] But uneven growth within the OECD area, as well as between the OECD and emerging economies, will add to global imbalances, which are among the most significant threats to the recovery. The OECD warns countries against taking unilateral action in response to exchange rate volatility, and says that international cooperation, notably within the G20 process, will be essential in warding off protectionism. The report also highlights other downside risks that could derail the recovery, including the potential for renewed falls in real estate prices, most notably in the US and the United Kingdom, high sovereign debt in some countries and possible abrupt reversals in government bond yields. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

July 1 cases to be reopened (News.mn)
2010-11-14
The State Prosecutor General's Office has notified that it will conduct a fresh investigation into issues relating to public disorder on July 1, 2008 in Ulaanbaatar, and will re-examine the closed cases against some police officials. Four citizens were killed and five seriously injured in police firing. ^ top ^

MPP team to attend Social Intern meeting in Paris (News.mn)
2010-11-15
An MPP team including M.Enkhbold, First Deputy Prime Minister and a party Secretary, has left for Paris to attend a Social Intern Council meeting on November 15 and 16. MPP Secretary-General U.Khurelsukh is leading the team. It will submit a report on the recently concluded 26th General Assembly of the party which changed the name of MPRP to MPP and hold bilateral meetings with fraternal parties from other countries to explore areas of collaboration. ^ top ^

Mongolia gets EITI “compliant” status (News.mn)
2010-11-16
Mongolia and Ghana have received “compliant” status from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a corporate, civil society and government-composed group devoted to increasing financial disclosures in the oil, gas and mining industries. The group requires an independent assessment of a country's disclosure and reporting practices in order to become a compliant state. Peter Eigen, chair of EITI, said in a statement, “Since committing to the EITI in 2005, Mongolia has published payments from its extractive sector in three excellent EITI Reports…This allows all stakeholders in Mongolia to monitor one of the most important sources of government revenue, and to monitor an industry that is transforming Mongolia's economy.”. ^ top ^

About Mongolian-German joint Consultative Meeting (Montsame)
2010-11-16
On November 15, at the Government House ran Mongolia-Germany joint consultative meeting in connection with financial support from Government of Germany. The aim of the meeting is to support the "Beehive" program, approved by the Mongolian Government, and to enhance a capability of the Council that will cooperate with citizens of Mongolia who are living abroad. Among the gathered were a senior advisor to the Premier B.Dolgor, the Council members, delegations of state and NGOs, who will implement this project, also first Secretary of German Embassy in Mongolia M.Rossbach, a Senior Advisor to the Migration and Development project of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development /BMZ/ Dr. Hans Werner Mundt, a director of the Resident representative in Mongolia from the society of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation Sabine Muller. Within the frames of a cooperation between Mongolia and Germany's Governments, the "Beehive" program has received a 200 thousand Euro support. Then the sides exchanged opinions on working out strategies of implementing the program and on selecting executor organizations. A secretary of the Council Ch.Enkh-Erdene gave a report "Implementation and execution of 'Beehive' program in 2010-2011", a Senior Advisor to the Migration and Development project of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development /BMZ/ Dr. Hans Werner Mundt gave strategic advice about program implementation. The joint consultative meeting has been co-organized by the Council and the Mongolian-Germany NGO "Bridge". ^ top ^

Mongolia and Japan: Intergovernmental Agreement (Montsame)
2010-11-17
Currently in Japan with the state visit, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj has received a Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Akihito Ohata. The latter has informed that Japanese Government will officially begin negotiations with Mongolia's Government on conclusion of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Economic Partnership. "This is our Government's gift for Your visit, Mister President," said Ohata. Both sides have actively explored possibility to conclude this agreement from 2009 and established working group which comprises expert of public and private sectors of the two countries. "The agreement which equivalent to a free trade agreement is to regulate trade issues and free financial-service flow between banks of the countries and an important and responsible work for Mongolia," said the President. He proposed to aim at successful negotiations and signing the agreement by the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Japan which is to be marked in 2012. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Japan its participations addressed the issue of establishing a free trade zone in Asia-Pacific region, which has become the focus of international attention. Therefore the decision to conclude the agreement on economic partnership with Japan is one of the vital results of the visit of Mongolian state head. Japan has started establishing the Intergovernmental Agreement on economic partnership with ASEAN members like Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. During the meeting, Elbegdorj also noted that Mongolia is interested in making final products through the introduction into production, based on raw mineral resources, the Japanese advanced environmental equipment and technology and exporting these value-added products to third countries' market. "Here we would like to receive a help from Japan and to cooperate with it," the President has underlined. ^ top ^

Mongolia to Start Talks with Japan on Rare Earth (UB Post)
2010-11-18
Japan and Mongolia are to launch talks on a bilateral free-trade deal, as the President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia has arrived in Tokyo for a five-day visit. The talks include a stable supply of rare earth minerals. Elbegdorj and Japanese Prime Minister Kan will also discuss “ways to cooperate in development of mineral resources in Mongolia, including rare earth minerals” crucial for Japan's manufacturing of high-tech products. The program of President's visit to Japan between November 15-19 includes talks with Kan and with the Japanese Trade Minister Akihiro Ohata, and a visit to Nippon Steel Corp.'s plant. He will also have an audience with Japanese Emperor Akihito. President Elbegdorj is scheduled to attend Mongolia-Japan Business Forum in Tokyo and give a lecture at the University of Tokyo on natural conservation. In addition, the state head is expected to discuss economic cooperation with representatives from big firms of Japan. Japan has worked to strengthen ties with the resource-rich Mongolia amid the rise of their powerful neighbor China and concerns over the supply of rare earth minerals, of which Beijing controls more than 95 percent. ^ top ^

 

Gabrielle Tschopp
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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