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
  13-17.12.10, No. 350  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Cancun climate talks send "positive" signals: Chinese delegation (Xinhua)
2010-12-13
The outcome of the UN climate change conference in Cancun sent "positive" signals to the international community, the Chinese delegation said Saturday. Conference delegates finally reached a deal to fight global warming early Saturday after an all-night session, overruling an objection from Bolivia. "As for the outcome of this conference, first of all, it adheres to the (UN) Convention (on climate change), the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Roadmap, as well as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which ensures that next year's negotiation will continue along the two tracks decided by the Bali Roadmap," the Chinese delegation said in a statement "Second, progress has been made at different levels in the areas where developing countries have concerns, such as adaptation, technology transfer, finance and capacity building, and the negotiation process will move on, which sends positive signals to the international community," the delegation said. It said the conference failed to conclude the negotiation of the Bali Roadmap and this indicated next year's negotiation task would be "extremely difficult." [...] China would continue to make positive efforts towards this end, the delegation said. The delegation reaffirmed that the Chinese government would hold a highly responsible attitude toward the Chinese people and people in the world, and remain committed to promoting green, low-carbon and sustainable development as its contribution to combating climate change. The Chinese delegation also hailed the efforts of the Mexican government and its people during the negotiations and their hospitality. It also appreciated the positive role of the Secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The two-week long talks in Cancun to set new targets and find new ways to combat climate change attracted 25,000 government officials, businessmen and researchers from over 190 countries. ^ top ^

No-show bid to save 5 on death row (SCMP)
2010-12-13
President Benigno Aquino said the Philippines did not send a representative to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in an effort to have Filipinos on death row in China spared. Aquino said in an interview in the Philippine Sunday Inquirer his envoy's absence at the ceremony in Norway on Friday did not mean his government did not champion democracy and human rights. "Our interest [is] to advance our citizens' needs first," he told the newspaper in his first comments since human rights activists criticised the Philippines' decision to boycott Friday's ceremony along with China and 16 other countries. Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao has said his government did not pressure or influence the Philippines. Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo has also said Manila's move should not be interpreted as "taking sides with China". He told reporters on Thursday that his government remained "clear and consistent to its fight for human rights", citing its campaign in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the release of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader. The military junta there released her from a lengthy detention last month. Aquino said he had sent a letter to the Chinese government seeking clemency for five Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking. The Foreign Affairs Department in Beijing said the death sentences were under review by China's highest court. If clemency is granted, they could be commuted to life imprisonment. Aquino also said the Philippines was seeking "closure" with China over the killings of eight Hong Kong tourists during the hostage crisis in Manila in August. The police response to the hostage-taking was widely criticised as inept, and it damaged the countries' diplomatic relations. Aquino said Vice-President Jejomar Binay was expected to meet with Chinese officials next week to discuss the results of the investigation into the hostage deaths. ^ top ^

India visit to help smooth trade ties (China Daily)
2010-12-14
Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India this week will yield a slew of commercial deals, which will help smooth trade relations between the two emerging economies, senior officials said on Monday. Beijing will send a large accompanying delegation to India, comprised of more than 100 senior business leaders, Liang Wentao, deputy director of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce, told a news conference in Beijing. In New Delhi, Peng Gang, commercial counselor of the Chinese embassy in India, told China Daily that the two sides are expected to sign more than 30 deals focusing mainly on iron ore, biochemical products and fabrics. [...] No other country has initiated more anti-dumping complaints with the World Trade Organization against China than India, according to Reuters. Liang said Beijing never sought a surplus against India, and the trade imbalance was due to structural flaws. Beijing's Ambassador in New Delhi Zhang Yan suggested on Monday that the two countries "work together as a world factory". [...] Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said at the news conference that Wen will meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and India's ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi during the visit. "No issues are off the table," he said, adding that the two countries have cooperated in multilateral frameworks like the G20 and BRIC (the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China). According to Hu, the border issue is also on the agenda during the visit. China and India share a 2,000-km border that has never been formally settled. [...] Wen's visit will be the first to India by a Chinese premier in four years and comes a month after US President Barack Obama's trip. [...]. Sun Shihai, a senior scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing's efforts for stronger ties with New Delhi are based on bilateral interests. The convergence of interests of India and China will transcend rhetoric, and manifest itself in substantial cooperation and interaction, Indian Ambassador to China Dr S. Jaishankar said in Beijing on Monday. [...] During Wen's visit to Pakistan, China will announce it has extended cooperation in 36 development projects in Pakistan, its only "all-weather" partner, and will sign agreements in energy, infrastructure and other sectors, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has said. Wen will meet Pakistan's president and prime minister, and address parliament. Pakistan's Ambassador to China, Masood Khan, has said the two governments would launch an energy cooperation mechanism, as well as new efforts to support Pakistan's post-disaster reconstruction. [...] "From the corridors of government to the streets, people are so excited and keen to receive the premier of China," Khan said. ^ top ^

China resumes military exchanges with US (Global Times)
2010-12-14
China and the US resumed military exchanges Friday as senior defense officials from both sides held what the Pentagon called "productive" talks in Washington and agreed that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates would pay a visit to China next month. The talks were co-chaired by Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), and Michele Flournoy, US under-secretary of defense. The two sides also agreed that Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the PLA, would visit the US at a mutually convenient date in 2011, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Guan Youfei, deputy director of the ministry's Foreign Affairs Office, told reporters that the Chinese side attaches importance to Gates' visit from January 10 to 14 and hopes it will deepen mutual understanding between the two armed forces, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Ma told Flournoy that the main hurdles in the two countries' military ties are US arms sales to China's Taiwan Province, Congress' restrictions on military exchanges and US military surveillance operations in China's exclusive economic zones, Xinhua reported. [...] The military talks came amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, resulting from an exchange of artillery fire last month between the two Koreas. [...] "The resumption of the military exchanges between China and the US was necessary, and it came in time," said Li Daguang, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, noting that Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to pay a visit to the US next month. "Gates' visit to Beijing could pave the way for Hu's trip to the US. Military contacts between the two sides will contribute to both the sound development of bilateral ties and regional peace and stability," Li added. ^ top ^

China urges Japans to consider its Asian neighbors on military matters (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-15
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in Beijing Tuesday that Japan should consider the sentiments of its Asian neighbors when it comes to military matters. She made these remarks at a regular Tuesday press briefing when commenting on Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's recent remark about sending his country's Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula in case of an emergency. "China has noticed such reports as well as the responses in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Because of historical reasons, Japan needs to consider its Asian neighbors' feelings and concerns more, and act prudently regarding military matters," she said. A senior official at the ROK foreign ministry said his nation was "rather surprised" by Kan's words. Japanese government spokesman Yoshito Sengoku denied that Japan had any plan of sending its forces to the Korea Peninsula. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets U.S. treasury secretary on economic cooperation (Xinhua)
2010-12-16
Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner here Tuesday to discuss the global economic situation and boost bilateral economic cooperation. The two sides agreed that maintaining healthy and stable China-U.S. economic relations is in the fundamental interest of both countries. They also said that in today's complex economic situation, the two countries should continue to strengthen cooperation in economy and trade, investment and finance. This will promote a strong, sustainable and balanced growth for the two economies and the global economy, they said. The Chinese vice premier arrived in Washington Monday with a delegation of nearly 100 officials for the 21st meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. ^ top ^

China backs UN resolutions on lifting sanctions on Iraq (Xinhua)
2010-12-16
China on Wednesday voiced its support for the new UN resolutions on lifting major sanctions against Iraq, and called on all parties in the country to foster national reconciliation through political dialogue and consultation. The statement came as Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, was speaking at an open Security Council meeting on Iraq, which adopted three resolutions to terminate major sanctions against Iraq, lift the restrictions on the Iraqi civilian nuclear program and end the oil-for-food program. "China welcomes the adoption by the Security Council of resolutions which lift the sanctions imposed according to Chapter 7 of the Charter regarding the mass destructive weapons, missiles and civilian nuclear activities, which conclude the oil-for-food program and provide for appropriate arrangements relating to the development fund for Iraq," Li said. The ambassador expressed hope that Iraq will seize the opportunity to speed up peaceful reconstruction process, and become an active force in maintaining regional peace and stability. He also commended the efforts made by the Iraqi government and people in stabilizing the overall situation in the country. China "supports the Iraqi people in determining the future of their country autonomously," he stressed. "Iraq is still confronted with a complex security situation. China condemns the terrorists attacks that have occurred recently in the country. We support the government and people of Iraq in their effort to preserve national security," said Li. Li also encouraged Iraq to enhance dialogue and cooperation with regional neighbors, find an appropriate solution to outstanding issues in a common effort to preserve regional peace and stability. "We understand and support Iraq's aspiration for complete reintegration into the international community," said the ambassador. ^ top ^

Chinese premier, Indian PM reach consensus on bilateral, international issues (Xinhua)
2010-12-17
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to promote bilateral relations. In their talks, Wen said the relationship between China and India has experienced an unusual course of development over the past 60 years. However, friendly cooperation has always been the main stream, which is not only in the interest of both countries and peoples, but also helpful for peace and development of the region and the world at large. [...] The two countries should grasp the historical opportunity to boost political and strategic mutual trust and move forward the China-India relations along the track of lasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, Wen added. "I hope my current visit is the one to carry on the past and open a way for future, which will further enhance our win-win cooperation," Wen said. [...]

At present, the two countries are at a crucial stage of development, Singh said. He said the enhancement of communications and cooperation was not only conducive to the development of India and China, but also will push forward the rejuvenation of Asia and promote world peace and development. "I believe the visit of Premier Wen will give a new impetus to bilateral relations," Singh said. [...] The two sides should work jointly to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas before the issues are fully resolved, the leaders agreed. Both sides, meanwhile, decided to establish a strategic economic dialogue mechanism and a China-India CEO's forum, and to set a new bilateral trade target of 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. [...] After their talks, both leaders witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation agreements by both sides in the fields of economy, culture, environmental protection and media. The two sides also issued a joint communique. [...] India is the first leg of Wen's two-nation tour. He is also to pay an official visit to Pakistan beginning Friday. ^ top ^

China backs peaceful, comprehensive settlement of Darfur issue (Xinhua)
2010-12-17
China on Thursday voiced its support for a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of the Darfur issue, saying that efforts should be made to remove the root causes that resulted in such an issue. The statement came as Yang Tao, the counselor of the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, was taking the floor at an open Security Council meeting on Sudan. "Currently, it is very important to maintain security and stability in Darfur," Yang said. "It is hoped that all parties to the Darfur conflict can solve their differences in a peaceful manner through political dialogue, and reconciliation should be achieved and violence avoided." [...] "Without a robust political process, there would be no peace and stability in Darfur, neither would there be the protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance, economic recovery and reconstruction," he said. [...] As a mediator of the Darfur peace process, Doha has brokered several rounds of talks between Khartoum and rebel groups over the past years. The Chinese government has decided to make an additional donation of 500,000 U.S. dollars to the UN Trust Fund for the political process in Darfur, he said. "We will continue to work with the international community to contribute to the peace, stability and development in Sudan.". ^ top ^

Cambodia welcomes more Chinese investment: PM (Xinhua)
2010-12-17
Cambodia welcomes more investment from east China's Jiangsu Province, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday. Hun Sen, who is paying a five-day visit in China, made the remarks when meeting with Luo Zhijun, secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in Nanjing, provincial capital of Jiangsu. As an economic power of China, Jiangsu Province has made great contribution in getting China out of the global financial crisis. Cambodia has benefited from the fast development of Chinese economy including that of Jiangsu Province, Hun Sen said. [...] Hun Sen hoped that he hoped both parties could work together to develop the industrial park. Luo, for his part, appreciated the great efforts and contribution Hun Sen has made in promoting the friendly communication, bilateral exchanges and cooperation between China and Cambodia. Luo said he believed that the prime minister's visit would enhance the mutual understanding, promote pragmatic cooperation and establish a win-win relationship between the two countries. [...] We are willing to enhance the communication and cooperation with Cambodia in a variety of areas, Luo said. [...] Hun Sen arrived in Beijing on Monday to start his official visit to China, during which he also visited north China's coastal municipality of Tianjin. ^ top ^

News from China will be more open, official vows (China Daily)
2010-12-17
The government will be more open and transparent in delivering information and news about China to the outside world, a top official in charge of media affairs vowed on Thursday. Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, made the remarks at a New Year reception attended by nearly 400 guests, including representatives of major news organizations, spokesmen from government agencies and diplomats stationed in Beijing. "In the coming year, the office will constantly enhance communication with the media both at home and abroad to make China's voice heard in an accurate, objective and comprehensive manner," he said. [...] "Now foreign media pay more attention to China and report more objectively on the country's changes and developments from varied perspectives," he said. They are playing an important role in promoting understanding between China and the international community, he said. Ian Williams, senior China correspondent at the Beijing office of the National Broadcasting Company, said he found it a lot easier now to report from the Chinese mainland. [...] "I've seen great progress during my eight-year stay here by the Chinese government to enhance the free flow of information," Levent Ulucer, Beijing bureau chief of Turkey's One News Agency, said. He also said that foreign media should respect the laws and regulations of the country while reporting here. ^ top ^

Chinese state councilor meets senior U.S. diplomat (Xinhua)
2010-12-17
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg here Thursday afternoon. "I am glad to meet you here in Beijing," Dai said, noting he believed Steinberg had conducted candid talks with senior Chinese diplomats on bilateral ties and the Korean Peninsula issue. Earlier Thursday, Steinberg met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs. After his arrival on Wednesday, Steinberg also met with Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai. "As two most important countries in the world as well as permanent members of the Security Council, China and the United States strengthening dialogue and exchanges will benefit both sides, and the world's peace and stability," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular press briefing Thursday afternoon. China is ready to work with the U.S. side to push bilateral ties developing along the healthy and stable track, Jiang said. Steinberg is on a three-day visit to Beijing. This is also his third China visit in this year. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese vice premier meets foreign guests attending Asian Para Games (Xinhua)
2010-12-13
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday met with foreign leaders and international sports organization officials who were in Guangzhou to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Para Games. Among the foreign guests Li met were Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, Datuk Zainal Abu Zarin, president of the Asian Paralympic Committee, and Jejomar Binay, vice president of the Philippines. Li extended warm welcome to them and spoke highly of their contribution to the Guangzhou Asian Para Games and the cause for people with disabilities. He also said the Chinese government would further support the cause for people with disabilities to create more favorable conditions for them to integrate into society. Li declared the opening of the games Sunday evening at the Olympics Stadium of Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong Province. The Asian Para Games will last for a week. ^ top ^

Chinese ambassador slams 2010 Nobel Peace Prize as 'provocation' (Global Times)
2010-12-13
China's human rights experts said here on Saturday that the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee could not represent the wish of the majority of the people in the world and Liu Xiaobo does not represent the Chinese people. The head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, insisted during an earlier press conference that "this is not a prize against China. This is a prize honoring people in China." Professor Zhang Xiaoling, director of the human rights research center of the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said, "Liu Xiaobo is an imprisoned Chinese criminal and Chinese courts handled Liu Xiaobo's case according to the law. Therefore, how could Liu represent the Chinese people?" If the committee really wanted to honor people in China, why wouldn't they select China's workers, farmers and scientists? It is they who make contributions to China's development, and international society has widely acknowledged this point of view, she said. China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said Friday night "We are firmly against attempts by any country or individual to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China's internal affairs and infringe on China's judicial sovereignty." [...] Further, China's human rights experts said China was pushing forward its human rights cause in all respects, along with progress in reform and development while maintaining social stability. In the future, China would unswervingly stick to a development road that is in accordance with China's national conditions. China is a vast and populous country, and its stability has a direct bearing on world order. Responsible international organizations and institutions should weigh their actions against the interests of a peaceful world order, rather than confine themselves to a Cold War mentality, said China's human rights experts. ^ top ^

Chinese legislature to further discuss amendment to Criminal Law (Xinhua)
2010-12-14
China's top legislature said Monday in a statement that it will continue discussing a draft amendment to the Criminal Law, which proposes tougher punishments for those involved in organized crime and drink-driving. Members of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee will discuss the draft amendment at an upcoming bi-monthly session scheduled for Dec. 20-25, according to a statement issued after a meeting of the chairman and vice-chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over by chairman Wu Bangguo. The legislature conducted the first reading of the draft amendment in August. NPC Standing Committee members will also continue to discuss a draft revision of the Law on Water and Soil Conservation, and to review a law on safeguarding China's intangible cultural heritage. According to the statement, they will consider a bill on a draft resolution to convene the fourth annual session of the 11th NPC. The NPC annual session will examine three reports from the State Council on boosting economic and social development in ethnic minority areas, deepening reform of health care system and stepping up the development of the service sector. ^ top ^

China to further promote green energy (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-15
China will increasingly promote the use of clean energy, since the country's energy needs are expected to increase by an equivalent of 2 billion tonnes of coal in the next decade, said Dai Yande, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission Tuesday during the 2010 Asia Energy Forum in Guangzhou City "China will use the lever of price to increase the demand for new energy," Dai said, "We will increase the share of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020." "We will increase the installed capacity of nuclear power to 80 million kilowatts and hydroelectric power to 400 million kilowatts by the end of 2020," Dai added. [...] By 2010, the capacity of nuclear power in Guangdong will reach 24 million kilowatts, and new energy will account for 30 percent of the total energy consumed, Li said, an official from the local government of Guangdong. [...] The first Asia Energy Forum was successfully held in Guangzhou in August 2009, and the forum is to be held annually in Guangzhou. ^ top ^

China upgrades anti-corruption regulation (Xinhua)
2010-12-16
China released an amended anti-corruption regulation on Wednesday in which it sets out unprecedented penalties that include imposing punishments for corrupt Party officials, even if they have left their posts or retired. The amended regulation, the latest move of the Communist Party of China(CPC) to battle corruption, was jointly implemented by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, China's cabinet. [...] Those newly added articles were mainly dedicated to detail the supervisory instructions and liabilities by imbedding provisions from various other regulations in recent years. For example, previously, to punish a retired official was something that was rarely heard of in China. One of the notable changes in the past decade was the popular use of the Internet, which opened up a new channel for the public to supervise officials, said professor Wang Yukai with the Chinese Academy of Governance. The public is able to report more corruption cases through the Internet and by implementing the new regulation, and corrupt officials will have to spend a lifetime constantly 'watching their back,' analysts say. [...] In addition, different punishments were specified for the collective leading organizations and individual leaders in the amended version. In article 18 of the amended regulation, the public is asked to supervise CPC officials, despite no specifications being mentioned in how they might participate. Law enforcement and strengthened supervision from the public and mediaare the key to fighting corruption, professor Wang added. ^ top ^

Consumers fear too many antibiotics in meat (China Daily)
2010-12-17
More than 90 percent of Chinese surveyed said they were worried about health hazards posed by the intake of unwanted antibiotics through meat consumption and called for mandatory labeling. China Youth Daily's online survey of 2,528 people aged 20 to 40 followed late November's media reports that revealed feeding antibiotics to livestock is a common breeding industry practice. [...] Antibiotics-resistant diseases cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in the country every year and increase medical costs, experts have said. [...] Nearly 62 percent of respondents said they will not buy meat contaminated with antibiotics. While the government prohibits such practices as feeding animals antibiotics and growth hormones, "the abuse of antibiotics is still rampant", said Wang Dingmian, former chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association. Nearly 81 percent of the survey's respondents blamed poor government supervision. About 58 percent denounced the lack of detailed antibiotics-use standards. [...] Since the 1980s, antibiotics and similar drugs have been routinely used to promote growth, and to compensate for livestock's unsanitary and crowded conditions in China and other countries, like the United States, he said. "Given that animals in such conditions are at risk of diseases, a full ban of antibiotics in fodder would not be feasible," he said. The European Union leads the banning of antibiotics' use in livestock feed worldwide. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing's plan to steer clear of traffic jams (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-14
Authorities have released a draft plan to ease the capital's traffic gridlock - including a cap on government cars. The plan, posted on the municipal commission of transport's website to gauge public opinion, could see Beijing take measures to ease population pressure in the downtown area and speed up construction of traffic infrastructure. It also advocates boosting public transport and strengthening regulations concerning car use. One of the plan's major points is that Beijing will prohibit new government cars for the next five years, Jia Xinguang, an independent auto analyst, told China Daily. The capital has around 700,000 government vehicles, nearly 15 percent of the city's car ownership, state broadcaster China Central Television reported. [...] Controlling the number of government cars is welcome but it is more effective to limit their use, he suggested. Although the plan does not explain how to ease population pressure in central Beijing, the city's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) suggests that residents should be encouraged to live close to where they work to ease congestion. [...] Before the publication of the draft plan, rumors spread that Beijing will take a leaf out of Shanghai's book and limit the granting of license plates. One particular rumor suggested that anyone without a Beijing permanent residence permit would not be allowed to register a plate.

Shanghai granted 8,500 car license plates in November, with an average price above 45,200 yuan ($6,800) for each plate, the Financial News reported. But Beijing charges just 500 yuan for each plate. [...] The plan suggests repeating, "when necessary", a measure used during the Olympic Games, when cars were allowed on the road on the basis of odd-and-even license plates during peak hours. The plan also advocates a congestion-fee charge "at an appropriate time" and preventing car ownership from increasing too fast, though it did not give details. [...] The draft plan was approved by the State Council and it will be open for public response from Dec 13 to 19. To minimize traffic bottlenecks, Beijing now prohibits about 20 percent of cars during weekdays according to the last license plate number. ^ top ^

Beijing plans one million subsidized apartments (China Daily)
2010-12-17
Beijing plans to build one million government-subsidized apartments for low-income families during the next five-year plan (2011-2015) as the housing price continues to rise amid government controls, People's Daily reported Thursday. The plan includes 300,000 public rental apartments and 400,000 apartments reserved for people to be displaced because of demolition. About 100,000 families will receive the housing allowance, according to the plan. [...] Beijing will also change the current housing support model from a reliance on selling low-priced houses to a combination of sales and rental, with the rental to take the lead in the next five years, Xu said. [...] Property prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.3 percent in November month on month and 7.7 percent year on year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan exiles protest as premier begins visit (SCMP)
2010-12-16
Hundreds of Tibetan exiles marched through New Delhi yesterday to protest against the mainland's rule over Tibet, as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao began a visit to the Indian capital.

India is home to thousands of Tibetan exiles including the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader who has been based in the northern hill town of Dharamshala since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising. The Tibetan Youth Congress, which organised the protests in Delhi, said it wanted to highlight China's "occupation and oppression" of Tibet, a mountain region that has seen regular violent unrest against the Beijing authorities. "The conditions of Tibetans in Tibet and the situation of political prisoners have become extremely critical," the congress said in a statement. [...] The congress campaigns for complete independence for Tibet, in contrast to the Dalai Lama who favours autonomy for the region under Chinese rule. However, Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of inciting unrest and wanting to split up China by covertly pushing a pro-independence agenda for Tibet. Decades of on-off talks between Tibetan exiles and the mainland have made no tangible progress. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland hopes Taiwan opposition party realizes "Taiwan independence" a "dead end" (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-16
The Chinese mainland hopes Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) realizes "Taiwan independence" is a dead end, a mainland spokesman said Wednesday. Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, made the remark at a regular press conference in response to a question concerning the DPP's possible adjustment of its hostile mainland policy. "We hope the DPP understands the argument for 'Taiwan independence' is not in line with the basic interests of the Taiwanese people," Yang said. Peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait is the mainstream, he said. When commenting on recent remarks by Lai Shin-yuan, Taiwan's mainland affairs chief, on the island's core interests, Yang said adhering to the1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence" are the foundation and prerequisites for improving cross-Strait relations. The fate of Taiwan is based on the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, he said. He expressed hope that the two sides could properly handle disputes and maintain the right direction of peaceful development in the spirit of building mutual trust, shelving dispute, seeking common ground while reserving difference, and creating a mutually beneficial situation. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China seeks bigger int'l role (Global Times)
2010-12-13
At an annual top-level economic conference that concluded Sunday, Chinese authorities demonstrated their determination for a greater and more decisive role in the post-crisis international community, while also pledging to curb excessive government spending. And with national inflation soaring to a 28-month high in November, the top leadership also vowed to focus on managing inflation expectations in 2011, according to a government statement The global economy is likely to resume growing next year, though many uncertainties will remain, it said. Participants at the meeting agreed that the country should further cultivate its growth areas, thereby strengthening its role in the transformation of the world economic regime. The meeting also stressed steady growth in fiscal revenue, as well as austerity in government-level administrative spending, adding that local governments should strengthen their debt-management efforts. [...] November's inflation rate of 5.1 percent was fueled mostly by soaring food prices, according to data released Saturday. The three-day Central Economic Work Conference, which was presided over by President Hu Jintao and attended by Premier Wen Jiabao and other top leaders, resulted in the agreement to give priority to stabilizing prices next year. On Friday, the day before the inflation data was released, the country's central bank said it would raise banks' reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percent, effective December 20. It will be the sixth such hike this year to ease inflationary pressure. The meeting also said China will seek to accelerate its strategic economic restructuring next year in an effort to shift from an over-dependence on exports and an investment in industries to boosting private consumption and relying on the domestic market. China's economy grew 9.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, slowing from a 10.3 percent increase in the second quarter and an 11.9 percent surge in the first quarter. Wan Jun, an economist from the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times that China has strived in recent years to maintain economic growth while restructuring the economy in an effort to combat the global financial crisis. Now, he said, it is time for the government to take the soaring inflation into consideration in its policymaking. [...] The government at this year's Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee did not provide any specific targets for next year's growth, Wan said. "If we try to maintain a moderate growth in GDP rather than a rapid one, then main-taining economic growth does not run contrary to curbing inflation," he said. China will enhance and improve macro-economic regulation to ensure stable and healthy economic development next year, said a statement released Sunday after the annual Central Economic Work Conference. Next year's macro-regulation should basically be proactive, stable, prudent and flexible, the statement said. The focus will be better handling the relationship between stable and relatively fast economic development, economic restructuring and inflation expectations in an active and stable way, it said. [...] They also agreed to accelerate the strategic transformation of the economic development pattern in order to make economic development more coordinated, sustainable and reliant on the domestic economy. [...] Similarly, growth in the broad money supply (M2) - cash in circulation and all deposits - will surpass the government's full-year target of 17 percent. ^ top ^

ASEAN economic recovery slows down in Q4: OECD (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-14
Except for the Philippines, major southeastern Asian countries are to register slowing down economic recovery pace in the fourth quarter of this year mainly due to weak trade, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Monday. "Overall, the strong economic recovery seen in ASEAN economies in the first half of 2010 is gradually losing momentum," the Paris-based OECD said in its regular ASEAN Economies report. According to OECD's quarterly survey, the Philippines is leading the regional growth with a continuous solid recovery driven by strong exports and an improving business sentiment, but other southeastern Asia members showed slacks momentum. "Activity appears to be slowing down in Malaysia due to weak trade and also in Singapore, due to weak production activity and retail sales," the report said, adding "slight signs of slowing" in Indonesia. For the Thai economy, its outlook "is relatively stable supported by solid production activities," the OECD said. As to risks and uncertainties weighing on the southeastern Asian economy, the advanced-country club suggested the Asian bloc better cope with negative impact from OECD countries. "Large capital inflows, mainly from OECD countries, and inflationary pressures" are major difficulties for southeastern Asian countries, the report said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier urges stable prices (China Daily)
2010-12-15
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang called for more efforts from local authorities to stabilize prices and improve people's lives. Li made the remarks during a two-day inspection tour from Sunday to South China's Guangdong province, where he opened the first Asian Para Games in the provincial capital city of Guangzhou Li said more efforts should be made to stabilize prices and make the country' s macro control policies more targeted, more flexible and more effective. [...] China's consumer price index, a measure of inflation, jumped to a 28-month high at 5.1 percent in November, boosted mainly by soaring food prices. The November CPI figure well exceeded the Chinese government's full-year CPI target of 3 percent. Local governments should build more public facilities, offer better public service and create a more comfortable living environment for the public during the urban construction and municipal management, Li said. ^ top ^

Growing gripes over inflation, wealth gap (SCMP)
2010-12-16
People on the mainland are becoming more disgruntled as inflation pushes prices higher and the gap between rich and poor remains wide, an annual survey shows. The survey, by academics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), found a decrease from last year in the "overall satisfaction level" of rural and urban dwellers with their living conditions. Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, reported the most widespread dissatisfaction with consumer prices in 11 years, with 73.9 per cent of respondents complaining they were "high and hard to accept". [...] According to the 2011 Social Blue Book, by the academy's Institute of Sociology and released yesterday in Beijing, residents' "satisfaction level" was 3.41 out of a possible 5 in the cities, 3.37 in small towns and 3.42 in rural communities this year. [...] Some key indices, such as those showing satisfaction with jobs, social security and after-hours entertainment, hit five-year lows, the CASS researchers said. In particular, they found rural residents' expectation of a rise in living standards, which was already lower than that of urban residents, had fallen. While urban residents showed increasing concern about how they would live after retiring, rural residents worried more about how to raise their current living standards and job prospects, especially their chance of finding urban and non-farm work, the report indicated. After the annual top-level central economic work conference, which ended on Tuesday, Yu Bin, an economist with the State Council's Development Research Centre, said that growing income discrepancy reflected a widening gap between urban and rural incomes. [...] CASS was candid about political implications. Confidence about the national economic situation and the government's ability to run the economy had also fallen, they said. They found "a small decline" in people's assessment of national economic conditions, "an all-round decline" in their assessment of the government's ability, and "no progress" in their assessment of China's international standing as compared with the previous few years. As for the future, 81.7 per cent of those questioned by the PBOC said they were expecting prices to continue to rise, and 55.5 per cent said they expected a rise in income. ^ top ^

China targets foreign trade 'balancing' (People's Daily Online)
2010-12-17
Against a backdrop of a high trade surplus and protectionist measures targeting China strengthening, China is committed to "balancing" foreign trade through "stabilizing" exports and "boosting" imports over the next five years, the minister of commerce said. [...] Customs statistics show China's trade surplus hit $22.9 billion in November, the fifth month it registered above $20 billion this year, although the surplus fell from a peak of $28.7 billion in July and also shrank from October's $27.1 billion. The United States has been threatening to punish China for what some politicians and commentators have called "an undervalued currency". The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said the US Congress was growing impatient with China over the currency issue and may take action next year. Despite claims that the Chinese government has recently made stating that the trade surplus will gradually narrow, most economists believe it will still stay above $20 billion in the foreseeable future. [...] Chen pointed out that China has managed to stabilize exports by helping manufacturers and exporters shift their focus to emerging markets where the financial crisis was less severe than in developed countries. In 2009, China overtook Germany to become the largest global exporter, according to the World Trade Organization. China's exports in 2009 came to $1.2 trillion, while Germany exported $1.12 trillion in goods and services. The US, with exports of $1.06 trillion, was third. [...] Besides "more balanced trade", the ministry is also "encouraging more qualified and capable" Chinese enterprises to invest overseas over the next five years. Chen believes this will play a significant role in "helping China enhance its competitiveness in the global market". From January to October, China's outbound direct investment (ODI) in the non-financial sector reached $47.6 billion, 37 percent of which was realized through mergers and acquisitions. Last year, China's ODI in the non-financial sector rose 6.5 percent year-on-year to $43.3 billion although foreign direct investment slumped worldwide in 2009. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China to make more effort to start six-party emergency consultations (Xinhua)
2010-12-13
China said it will make greater efforts to start six-party emergency consultations because tensions on the Korean Peninsula have not eased. "The six-party talks are a very important way to advance the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula and maintain peace and stability in northeast Asia. We, the concerned parties, should make full use of the talks," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in an interview in Beijing Friday. [...] "While the talks have yet to be resumed, we think it is the proper time for emergency consultations between the heads of the delegations of the six parties," said the foreign minister. Tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula after the DPRK and the ROK exchanged artillery fire on Nov. 23. China proposed emergency consultations among the chief negotiators in December. Amid the international community's repeated calls for restraint and calm, the United States held separate large-scale naval drills with the ROK and Japan in waters near the peninsula. [...] "Stability on the Korean Peninsula is good for all. Chaos there is detrimental for all," he added. During the interview, the foreign minister reiterated China's policy to be a good neighbor and partner in Asia while continuing to make contributions to the rise of the region. Yang said China suggests a new security concept that features "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination," be fostered, adding that countries in the region should step up cooperation in anti-terrorism and non-proliferation work. "China welcomes other relevant countries playing a constructive role in regional cooperation to help shape an open, inclusive, and win-win cooperative framework in the region," he added. ^ top ^

DPRK will agree to new talks, says Beijing (China Daily)
2010-12-15
Beijing said on Tuesday that it had gained Pyongyang's support for easing regional tensions and attending emergency Six-Party Talks on Korean Peninsula's nuclear program. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who visited the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) last week, reached these important agreements with the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong-il. [...] "Both sides believe the Six-Party Talks process should go forward, and strive to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Jiang said, reiterating the importance and urgency of resolving the issue within the framework of the talks. She said the two sides re-affirmed the need for all sides to exercise calm and restraint to avoid further escalations. In another development, Republic of Korea (ROK)'s chief nuclear envoy left for Russia on Tuesday for discussions over tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Wi Sung-lac is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin. He also plans to brief Russian officials on the outcome of a three-way meeting that the foreign ministers of the ROK, the United States and Japan held in Washington last week to discuss how to deal with the situation. The three countries expressed reservations over the Chinese proposal for an emergency consultation of the six-way talks. [...] Wi's trip came as regional powers have been stepping up diplomacy over the growing tension on the Korean Peninsula. US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday, leading a high-level US delegation to coordinate with China on the position on the current tension. US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Washington's envoy to the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim are in the delegation. Campbell is scheduled to travel to Japan and Sung Kim to ROK after the Chinese trip. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Batbold-Putin talks lead to nine cooperation agreements (News.mn)
2010-12-15
Nine cooperation agreements, including those settling Mongolia's debts and laying down fundamentals of the Dornod Uranium joint venture, were signed in Moscow on Tuesday, following negotiations between Mongolian Prime Minister S. Batbold and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. There is also an intergovernmental agreement on training Mongolian teenagers at Russian educational establishments, a communique on the trade and economic cooperation program for 2011-2015, an action plan aimed to create legal, economic and other conditions for further intensification of trans-boundary and regional cooperation in 2011-2012, and a memorandum on transit of Mongolian cargo through Russia. The two sides signed three memoranda, concerning cooperation in geological survey and mineral development, energy cooperation, and mutual understanding between the Russian Business Council for Cooperation with Mongolia and a similar Mongolian institution. ^ top ^

Debt to Russia settled (News.mn)
2010-12-15
Mongolia's USD180-million debt to Russia was also settled on Tuesday. Russian Minister of Finance, Aleksei Kudrin, explained that the money would be transferred and Russia is likely to offer USD125 million as aid to Mongolia. The countries also adopted a memorandum for cooperation in energy and approved a program for trade and economic cooperation for 2011-2015. A Mongolian Consulate will come up in Barnaul in Altai, to help expand trade and regional cooperation in the border could be developed along the consulate activity. The inter Governments Commission is supporting areas. At present the Consulates nearest to the Altai frontier are located in Kyzyl and Irkutsk, which is very inconvenient for Mongolians who live and work across the border. For example, a woman had to leaver her newborn son in a Rodino province hospital after giving birth as her visa had expired, and came back for him after completing formalities. ^ top ^

Uranium agreements reached in Moscow (News.mn)
2010-12-15
Russia and Mongolia have reached an agreement on the conditions on which a joint uranium mining company, Dordon Uran, will be established. The agreement was signed in Moscow on Tuesday following negotiations between visiting Mongolian Prime Minister S. Batbold and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. An agreement on setting up Dordon Uran was signed last year by Sergei Kirienko, head of the Russian state corporation Rosatom, and S. Enkhbat, head of the Nuclear Energy Agency of Mongolia. The product output of the Russian-Mongolian uranium mining joint venture is planned at 2,000 tons per year. The JV of Russia and Mongolia will export all exploited uranium but not to Russia. In another development, according to RIA Novosti, Russia and Mongolia have agreed to own 21 percent each of the Dornod and Gurvanbulag uranium deposits in Dornod aimag, with 58% left to Khan Resources of Canada which held the license before the law limiting foreign investment amount had been passed. ^ top ^

News from Beijing: Matters of Security (Montsame)
2010-12-15
The Minister of the Public Security of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Meng Jianzhu received Tuesday M.Enkhtuvshin, a head of the Council for National Security of Mongolia in Beijing, China. At the meeting, the dignitaries have considered issues on making the bilateral cooperation between the law enforcing organizations closer, combating against transnational crimes, and improving the economic development by protecting the border regions. A protocol of the meeting has been signed as well. Present at the meeting were Meng Hong Wei, China's vice minister of public security; and Ts.Sukhbaatar, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the PRC. ^ top ^

"MPRP" to hold special assembly (News.mn)
2010-12-15
Sections of the MPRP which have not accepted the change of the party's name to MPP and continue to run their party from "the MPRP headquarters" have announced plans to hold a special assembly, without giving any date. The manager of the headquarters, B.Tuya, has said they have more than 10,000 supporters in 311 soums who have been suggesting organizing an MPRP special assembly ever since the headquarters were set up on November 17 and the managing officials now feel the time is ripe for such a conference. A working group has been established to prepare for it. Tuya said they recently surveyed 1,000 people in Narantuul market on what they thought of the change of name and found that 80.4% of them thought there was no need for a change if party reform was the goal. Also 92.6% of the respondents said they were not satisfied with their life, and 73.4% were unsure of their children's future. ^ top ^

External Trade Turnover Reache USD 5,421.8 Million (Montsame)
2010-12-15
In the first 11 months of 2010, Mongolia traded with 130 countries from all over the world and total external trade turnover reached USD 5,421.8 million, of which exports made up MNT 2,550.6 million and import made up USD 2,871.1 million. External trade balance in this time showed a deficit of USD 320.5 million, increasing USD 86.8 million or 37.1 per cent, compared to the same period of the previous year. In the first 11 months of 2010, a total external trade turnover increased by USD 1,831.4 million or 51.0 per cent, of which exports up by USD 872.3 million or 52.0 per cent, and imports up by USD 959.0 million or 50.2 per cent respectively against the previous year. In the first 11 months of 2010, mineral products, natural or cultured stones, precious metal, jewelry and textiles & textile articles accounted for 94.8 per cent of the total export value amount. ^ 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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