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
  11-15.4.11, No. 366  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China calls for further UN help to ensure security of Chinese citizens in Cote d'Ivoire (China Daily)
2011-04-15
China has called for further assistance from the United Nations to ensure security of Chinese citizens in Cote d'Ivoire, where fighting is going on, Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, told [...] Saturday. Li made the appeal in his emergency meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday to exchange views on the current situation in Cote d'Ivoire. During the meeting, the Chinese envoy told the UN chief that the Chinese leaders and government attach great importance to security of the Chinese citizens in Cote d'Ivoire. […] "Given the current grave security and humanitarian situation on the ground, China asks the United Nations to take further steps to ensure security of the Chinese citizens in Cote d'Ivoire," Li said. "It is our hope that the conflict can come to an end at an early date, and the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire can be settled through political means," Li told Ban during the meeting. Li said that he thanked Ban once again for the salvations rendered to the diplomats and other citizens of China time after time by the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI). ^ top ^

China's Vice President calls for stability in West Asia, North Africa (Xinhua)
2011-04-12
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Monday appealed for early stability in West Asia and North Africa. "We believe the affairs of West Asian and North African nations should be left to decide on their own. We expect the regions to resume stability as early as possible," Xi told the visiting Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Taieb Fassi Fihri on Monday afternoon. China was very concerned about recent unrest in some countries in the region, Xi said, proposing dialogue and negotiation as the way to resolve disputes and differences. Xi said China-Morocco relations enjoy a solid political foundation and broad public basis. He proposed stronger political trust, deeper pragmatic cooperation, more people-to-people exchanges and closer coordination in international and regional issues […]. ^ top ^

7th China-U.S. defense ministry working level meeting held in Beijing (Xinhua)
2011-04-12
The defense ministries of China and the United States held their seventh working level meeting here Monday, arrangements for an upcoming visit to the United States by China's senior military official Chen Bingde were discussed among other things, said a news release of China's Defense Ministry. Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office with the National Defense Ministry co-chaired the meeting with his U.S. counterpart Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia. Both sides reviewed the development of the relationship between the two militaries. They compared notes on the guidelines of military relations and discussed how to cultivate mutual trust and maritime security issues [...]. In order to further military ties between China and the United States, both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication at all military levels and to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in non-traditional security sectors. [...] China requested that the United States respect its core interests and major concerns, as well as halt weapon sales to Taiwan and military surveillance operations in China's exclusive economic zone. [...] The working level meeting mechanism between the two countries' defense ministries was established in 2005. It is a key platform for the two countries to exchange opinions on issues concerning military relations. ^ top ^

World's major emerging powers to meet in China (Global Times)
2011-04-13
The world's major emerging powers, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are set to meet on Thursday at a summit in Sanya, China, seeking to give developing nations greater global clout. The heads of the five nations are expected to discuss the international economic and financial situation, developmental issues and cooperation among BRICS.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived on Tuesday. Singh said the five countries should "shape and guide the international discourse on issues of importance" to BRICS [...]. Jin Canrong, deputy director of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that in order to play a greater global role, BRICS should work on developing institutionalization […]. "From the political perspective, they need to institutionalize BRICS to achieve goals such as multi-polarizing the global political system." However, apart from political cooperation, there has been some criticism about how trade is a concern within BRICS. Chinese exports have decimated Brazil's shoe industry and South Africa's textiles. Russia is sparring with Beijing over the price of oil it sells to China, Reuters reported. ^ top ^

China backs a new bloc for the world stage (SCMP)
2011-04-14
Why is China, contrary to its habitual low profile in world affairs, so active in promoting BRICS - the grouping with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa? What does it expect to gain out of encouraging mutual co-operation among the club of the world's largest emerging market economies? Dr Liu Youfa, from a key foreign relations think tank in China, gave a very straightforward answer: "We don't want to put all our eggs into just one basket." As vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liu called the bloc […] "a fairly good basket" that would help China diversify its business interests in the developing world and avoid overdependence on developed economies. At the International Monetary Fund, the BRICS nations would also have a substantial effect on the balance of power if they consolidated all their voting rights, amounting to 11.28 per cent, against the United States' 16.82 per cent, he said. It takes 15 per cent to veto any issue [...]]. The bloc will hold its 2011 summit in Sanya, Hainan, today, [...]. China is trying to make the event more formal, not just an annual summit with a joint final statement, but also matched by more meetings on a ministerial level and among government think tanks. It is also likely that, following the Sanya summit, a BRICS secretariat will be established to facilitate exchanges. Liu said that by 2050, the BRICS' total share of the world economy might exceed that of the developed economies combined [...]. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' first Annual Report on BRICS' Social-Economic Development [...] says that in the first decade of the 21st century, the BRICS averaged annual economic growth of more than 8 per cent [...]. At the same time, the five countries' combined share of the world economy grew from 17.71 per cent in 2001 to 24.22 per cent in 2009. In terms of their contribution to the world's additional wealth, the share of the BRICS nations sky-rocketed, from next to nothing at the start of the 1990s to more than 60 per cent last year. [...] Apart from economics, Liu said, the bloc was a platform for Chinese diplomacy, [...]. In particular, the bloc should form a united voice in post-recession reform of the international financial system and economic order, Liu said. He agreed the bloc had strong common interests in the G20 grouping [...]. The BRICS now needed to help the G20 grow into "a mainstay in the mechanism of global governance" post-recession, to be joined, ideally, by the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, he said. [...] But to achieve genuine equality, such as a better distribution of voting rights in the IMF, the bloc would have to unite more developing countries, indicating that China might expect to enlarge the club to include more members, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing and Delhi agree to restore defence relations (SCMP)
2011-04-14
China and India have agreed to restore defence ties and will exchange visits by their top leaders as well as take steps to enhance their balance of trade, India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said yesterday. The two would also set up a consultation mechanism for a long-running border dispute, Menon said, [...]. India and China suspended military ties last year after Beijing denied a visa to an Indian army general from disputed Kashmir. India also has broad suspicions about China's relationship with Pakistan. But Menon called the meeting between President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh ahead of a summit of emerging powers in Hainan, "very productive, warm, friendly". [...] More broadly on defence ties, Menon said a multi-command Indian Army delegation would visit China later in the year. Asked whether that might mean joint exercises at some point, he said: "It could certainly. We've done so in the past and we'll probably do so in the future." Trade relations have proved tricky too. India has been peeved that the relationship is heavily in China's favour and has worried that China might use India as a dumping ground for cheap manufactured goods." The PM spoke of taking our relationship to a higher level, focusing more on cross-investment, and also spoke of China providing better market access for Indian exports, particularly in IT, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and in the engineering sectors," Menon said. ^ top ^

China, Russia agree to deepen bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2011-04-14
Chinese President Hu Jintao met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday in the southern Chinese beach resort of Sanya and the two leaders agreed to further improve cooperation and safeguard common interests.During [...] Hu outlined four major aspects that the two countries could work on to promote relations.... [...] to carry forward and consolidate the traditional China-Russia friendship.-- Enhance mutual political support and firmly back each other's efforts in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and interests. -- Push forward cooperation on major energy [...] and expand all-round cooperation in sectors such as economy and trade, investment, advanced technologies, finance and culture. -- Strengthen communication and coordination on international and regional issues as well as major issues such as the global economic and financial system reform. [...] Hu and Medvedev are meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Leaders Meeting scheduled for Thursday in Sanya. [...] During their meeting, Hu and Medvedev also exchanged views on issues concerning the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, tensions in west Asia and north Africa as well as the situation on the Korean Peninsula. They agreed to strengthen coordination to promote peace and stability in the regions concerned. ^ top ^

BRICS leaders issue call for faster reform (SCMP)
2011-04-15
Leaders of five of the world's major emerging powers yesterday called for the speeding up of reforms to the United Nations and the international monetary system at a summit intended to showcase the bloc's growing global clout. The five BRICS nations [...] also said in a joint statement [...] that use of force in Libya and the Arab world should be avoided. "A comprehensive reform" of the UN, including the Security Council, "with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative", was essential for the organisation to take on global challenges, according to the "Sanya Declaration". China and Russia have vetoes as permanent Security Council members. India has long pressed for a permanent seat, while South Africa and Brazil are campaigning for better representation for their regions. [...] The five [...] also said their unusual joint presence on the UN Security Council in 2011 offered an opportunity to work together on Libya. "We are of the view that all the parties should resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the UN and regional organisations should, as appropriate, play their role," the countries said. [...] On the economy, the five countries took another step towards cementing their global influence, calling for a broad-based international reserve currency system. But they steered clear of the contentious topic of the yuan's valuation. Assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong said the leaders had discussed the composition of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), the International Monetary Fund's unit of account. [...] They also expressed concern about the recovery of the world economy. "We note that the world economy is gradually recovering from the financial crisis, but still faces uncertainties," the BRICS leaders said. "Excessive volatility in commodity prices, particularly those for food and energy, poses new risks for the ongoing recovery of the world economy," said the countries. On the issue of whether the BRICS would expand, Wu said there had been no concrete decisions. ^ top ^

China, France vow to further expand bilateral trade, investment cooperation (Xinhua)
2011-04-15
China will continue working with France to expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation while looking to new areas for mutually beneficial cooperation, a senior Chinese legislator said Thursday. The two countries have seen continuous growth in the bilateral trade and investment sectors, but still have great growth potential given their sizable economic scales and markets, Zhou Tienong, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, said at the 17th China-France Economic Seminar. Zhou said China hopes to bring more modern technologies from France and welcomes French enterprises to explore the Chinese market. "France needs a more diversified market as it possesses the most advanced technologies in the nuclear power, aviation, spaceflight and railway industries," he said. He hopes that France could further open its market, hold onto its anti-protectionist stance in trade and investment and work with China in more areas, especially in high-tech sectors, to promote competitiveness for both countries. Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin echoed these views, saying that the two countries have huge potential to cooperate in the high-tech, energy saving and emission reduction, and green economy sectors [...] Furthermore, bilateral trade from January to February reached 7.32 billion U.S. dollars, with China's imports from France hitting 3.21 billion U.S. dollars, up 45.8 percent from a year earlier. Also, China became France's 10th largest investment source in 2010 as the country invested nearly 1.5 billion U.S. dollars there. France invested in more than 4,000 projects in China. ^ top ^

China cannot accept Philippines' claiming sovereignty over some S China Sea islands: FM spokesman (Xinhua)
2011-04-15
China cannot accept the Philippines' claiming sovereignty over some islands in the South China Sea, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday. "China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters," Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. Hong made the announcement when asked to respond to the Philippines' protests at the United Nations over some of China's positions in the South China Sea. Media reports said the Philippines had filed a note with the United Nations, claiming its sovereignty over parts of China's Nansha Islands, referred to by Manila as the Kalayaan Island Group. "China owns sovereignty and jurisdiction over the related sea area, seabed and subsoil," Hong said. "The sovereignty of China over the South China Sea and related rights and jurisdiction are well-grounded from both historical and legal perspectives," Hong added. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Ai Weiwei under attack in propaganda offensive (SCMP)
2011-04-11
Detained artist Ai Weiwei was accused of plagiarism in state media last night and described as a "third-grade" artist who only protested to seek media attention. It was the first direct offensive against Ai in an article released by Xinhua, although Global Times, an English newspaper under People's Daily, ran two pieces against him last week, in a move widely seen as an attempt to build a legal case against the outspoken artist [...]. The Xinhua article referred to various accusations against Ai that had surfaced on the internet within hours of an investigation into his activities being announced. One said Ai stole an art professor's idea by using 1,001 ordinary Chinese as part of a "living exhibit" in a show in Germany in 2007. Other online postings accused Ai of dodging income taxes and monopolising funds and resources in the art world, among other things. "None of the claims, however, have been independently investigated," Xinhua said. It also quoted anonymous "participants in Chinese artistic circles" as "evaluating Ai's achievements as third rate" and describing him as an "amateur artist". And it quoted people who challenged Ai's sincerity in his protests, saying he only took part as an onlooker and put others in danger. [...]. ^ top ^

China hits back with report on U.S. human rights record (Xinhua)
2011-04-11
China retorted the U.S. criticism on its human rights situation by publishing a report of the U.S. human rights record on Sunday. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010 was released by the Information Office of China's State Council, or cabinet, in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 issued by the U.S. Department of State on April 8. [...] The United States has taken human rights as "a political instrument to defame other nations' image and seek its own strategic interests," the report said. While illustrating a dismal record of the United States on its own human rights, China's report said the United States could not be justified to pose as the world's "human rights justice." [...] These moves fully expose the United States' hypocrisy by exercising double standards on human rights and its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights, it said. The report advised the U.S. government to "take concrete actions to improve its own human rights conditions, check and rectify its acts in the human rights field, and stop the hegemonistic deeds of using human rights issues to interfere in other countries' internal affairs.". ^ top ^

Don't interfere, says Beijing after Clinton urges release of activists (SCMP)
201104-11
Beijing told Washington not to interfere in its affairs after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for the release of dozens of activists rounded up in a growing crackdown on dissent. Beijing rejected a human rights survey by the State Department last Friday, which said China had stepped up efforts to rein in activists, the media and free internet access, and pursued severe repression in Tibet and Xinjiang [...]. The US report was "full of distortions and accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the United States turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation and seldom mentioned it", the Beijing report said. [......] It urged the US government to "take concrete actions to improve its own human rights conditions" and stop using rights issues "to interfere in other countries' internal affairs". Clinton said Beijing's record on human rights was worsening. "We remain deeply concerned about reports that since February, dozens of people including public-interest lawyers, writers, artists, intellectuals and activists have been arbitrarily detained and arrested," she said. Clinton highlighted the case of Ai Weiwei, […]. US Ambassador Jon Huntsman [...] last week saluted Ai, jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and others who "challenge the Chinese government to serve the public in all cases and at all times". "The US will never stop supporting human rights because we believe in the fundamental struggle for human dignity and justice wherever it may occur," Huntsman said. "We do so not because we oppose China but because we value our relationship.". ^ top ^

China's human rights progress undeniable (Global Times)
2011-04-11
Despite China's eye-catching progress in human rights advances, a huge chasm still exists between China and the West in regard to their understanding of those rights. On the one hand, the connotation of China's human rights has been confined as freedom of speech. Some "pro-democracy activists" in China even advocate that speaking freely is a No. 1 human right. On the other, some Western media outlets, such as VOA, depict China as a notorious country without any freedom of speech. It is safe to say that freedom of speech is a relative concept, rather than an absolute one. The Western community has achieved a dynamic balance in the freedom of speech. That is to say, any radical argument would be counterbalanced by the opposite theory. [...] China values harmony rather than confrontations between different forces. China and other Asian societies are vulnerable when dealing with confrontation. The constant swaps of prime ministers in Japan and the massive street protests in Thailand are examples of this. Besides, the population of China is four times that of the US and 300 times that of Norway. So it is much easier to break down a consensus in China than in the other nations. In China, there is a boundary for freedom of speech... that being not to disturb the country's normal operations, which is a necessity for China's economic and human rights development. Chinese people have enjoyed more freedom of speech in recent years. First, they have more choices in seeking jobs; second, the burgeoning development of the Internet changes the fundamental way people communicate; and third, society has become more tolerant thanks to the spread of democracy. At the same time, it is necessary for the authorities to guide the spreading of words that might be harmful to the entire society. People who believe in democracy should not oppose such an effort by the authorities. Meanwhile, there are a few Chinese people whose lives and spirits have merged into the Western style. The West hails these people's efforts to Westernize Chinese politics, with the illusion that they are pushing the nation forward. [...]. ^ top ^

Fears of new crackdown as 160 Christians held (SCMP)
2011-04-11
More than 160 Christians were taken away by Beijing police yesterday as they tried to attend an outdoor service after being evicted from their usual place of worship, the church's pastor said, in what appears to be the largest crackdown on unofficial churches in years. The move prompted fears that a new round of persecution is under way on underground churches. The Shouwang Protestant Church, one of the largest house churches on the mainland with nearly 1,000 members, has nowhere to worship after losing its rented premises in a spacious film studio. Official pressure forced the landlord to stop renting the venue to the church after last week's Sunday service. [...] Hundreds of police officers - uniformed and in plain clothes - stood guard near a commercial building in the capital's Zhongguancun area, where the church had planned to worship, said members who witnessed the incident yesterday. They started taking away worshippers who turned up around an hour before the service was scheduled to start at 8.30am and shoved them into police vehicles, said a church member who declined to be named. "There were old people among those taken away," said the church member, [...]. Pastorr Jin Tianming, who was among at least five church leaders who were confined to their homes since Saturday afternoon, said 169 worshippers had been taken away by police. He said they were gathered in a school and were later taken to different police stations. Some were asked to promise they would never worship at Shouwang Church again. Ten were released as of last night, he said. "We have not broken the law. There is no reason for the government to interfere," said Jin, who remained under house arrest as of last night. "But we have nothing to worry about, and we are willing to face the consequences." Jin said the 18-year-old church had been harassed by the authorities and forced to move more than 20 times, but had never had so many worshippers taken away by police. The last time the church was kicked out of its place of worship, in November 2009, the church held its Sunday services in a park two weeks in a row. Jin said the church had wanted the authorities to give it a formal approval to worship freely on its own property. In late 2009, the church bought a 1,500-square-metre office space in a commercial building in northwest Beijing for 27 million yuan (HK$32 million), but the property's management was pressured by the authorities not to hand over the property to the church, even though it paid the total price in full, he said. Despite the public confrontation, the pastor and church members said it was not a show of defiance, as they only wanted to obey the Bible's teaching by worshipping every Sunday. The church had told the congregation - largely composed of middle-class, university-educated professionals - that worshipping outdoors was part of a "spiritual warfare led by God. [...]. ^ top ^

80,000 kicked out of Shenzhen in security drive (SCMP)
2011-04-12
More than 80,000 people in "high-alert" groups deemed a threat to security have been evicted from Shenzhen this year by officials aiming to achieve social stability for the Summer Universiade in August. City police launched a 100-day security campaign on January 1 against people local authorities regard as suspicious, mainland media quoted Shen Shaobao, vice-director of the city's Public Security Bureau [...]. "People living in Shenzhen without proper identity, justifiable reasons and those acting suspiciously posing a threat to people and security are what we call high-alert groups," he said. Eight types of people are listed in the high-alert category. They include former inmates; people without proper jobs who are considered to have abnormal living habits; drug traffickers and smugglers; mentally ill people who could pose a danger to others; and residents in rental properties who do not have proper ID cards [...]. Shen called the campaign successful, if only because the number of robbery cases fell by more than 16 per cent during the past four months [...] The evictions, which authorities consider an achievement, were condemned by petitioners and criticised by lawyers and scholars who said the campaign violated mainland law. It comes at a time when the central government is urging local authorities to improve their handling of social unrest and to track dissent more carefully. [...]] Criminal suspects are presumed innocent under human rights until proven guilty, let alone the fact that these 80,000 people so far have done nothing against the law. They deserve the right of residence and work anywhere in their country. [...] Liu Zilong, a Shenzhen activist lawyer said: "It marks a departure from Shenzhen's efforts to cultivate an image as a leader of economic and social reform on the mainland." This is not the first time Shenzhen has forced people to leave the city for big events. In September, when President Hu Jintao came for Shenzhen's 30th anniversary as the nation's first special economic zone, many dissenters and petitioners were offered free trips to and tours of Shanghai. [...]. ^ top ^

Pastor still held after crackdown (SCMP)
2011-04-12
A pastor in Beijing remains detained while most of his nearly 170 worshippers were released after a weekend crackdown on underground house churches in Beijing, a church leader said yesterday. "All but one of the 169 worshippers being detained were released by 9am [yesterday]," said Jin Tianming, a pastor at Shouwang Protestant Church. "Most of them were allowed to go home, although Pastor Li Xiaobai is still being detained since police took him away at around 8am on Sunday." Li was one of at least five church leaders who had been constantly harassed by authorities and forced to move more than 20 times since the church was founded 18 years ago. Shouwang lost its place of worship when authorities pressured the landlord to stop renting it last week. Without giving details, Jin said one new member of the congregation had been beaten, though others were unharmed during questioning. [...] Assemblies are banned at unregistered house churches, of which there are thousands across the mainland. The only legal assemblies are those affiliated with the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee of the Protestant Churches in China or the state-recognised Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. [...] Jin, as one of the church leaders, has been placed under house arrest since Sunday [...]. ^ top ^

Absolute power (SCMP)
2011-04-12
Multitalented artist Ai Weiwei was one of the Chinese government's greatest assets in its quest for "soft power". His imaginative, diverse artworks and his vivid, outspoken personality not only made him a world celebrity but also suggested that the "people's democratic dictatorship" fostered impressive artistic achievement as well as phenomenal economic development and military prowess. The Communist Party has resurrected the formerly reviled Confucius as an icon of its soft power but, for many, the bearded, sage-like Ai Weiwei, son of a famed revolutionary poet, is a more potent contemporary embodiment of China's great culture. Unfortunately for the party, Ai increasingly devoted his artistic energies to fearlessly exposing the Chinese system's negative aspects. [...] Ai's mocking response to the government's arbitrary demolition of his Shanghai studio left no doubt about official refusal to respect property rights as well as personal rights. And his adept use of Twitter and other social media to register protests developed a large following. Ai's April 3 detention has now given him a greater, albeit unwanted, opportunity to demonstrate the injustice of Chinese criminal justice. His case illustrates the abject helplessness of the individual before the unchecked power of the police, despite legislative and judicial measures attempting to curb that power. Because of the notoriety of Ai's detention, police are more likely to comply with the letter of the law in this case than in less visible cases, where they have shown a disturbing tendency to act outside the law. For that reason, Ai's case is especially educational, since it may help us understand what foreign ministry spokesmen mean when they say that China "is a country ruled by law" but that perceived "troublemakers" cannot "use the law as a shield" and "no law can protect them". Ai's family still has not received the formal notification of his detention ordinarily required by law. [...] Ai's lawyers have still not been able to meet him, although the Law on Lawyers guarantees their right to promptly do so. The procedure law, by contrast, gives investigators discretion whether to allow such a meeting in cases they decide involve "state secrets", which are broadly defined in China. [...] Again, neither the judiciary nor the procuracy [...] is allowed to review such police decisions. Also unreviewable is investigators' decision to conduct a search and seize a suspect's property [...]. In principle, a detained suspect is entitled to pre-trial release upon "obtaining a guarantor", but that, too, is within the uncontrolled discretion of investigators and seldom granted. Although the procedure law purports to limit how long investigators may hold a suspect, again police use their unreviewable discretion to apply the law to suit their convenience. In most cases, this law gives investigators only three days to hold someone before releasing him or applying to the prosecutors for a formal arrest warrant that allows them to continue detention for further investigation. [...] Police usually turn the exceptions into a 30-day rule [...]. Prosecutors have seven days to decide whether to approve arrest, so Ai may hear nothing about this decision for 37 days. Arrest virtually assures indictment, conviction and prison time. Eventually, Ai's lawyers will be allowed to visit him, although it may not be until the investigation has concluded, possibly after many months of incommunicado detention. During investigation, such visits are of limited significance, since at this stage lawyers are not yet deemed to be "defenders" but mere "advisers", who are not permitted to learn about the case and can offer only modest assistance. [...] Yet such visits offer the suspect his first contact with the outside and a chance to report torture or other abuse. It is possible, in view of foreign protests and the transparently spurious nature of the charges, that Ai will be released instead of formally arrested. [...] If, on the other hand, Ai is arrested and indicted, his trial will further illustrate the unfairness of the criminal process in a country where "troublemakers" cannot be protected by law. ^ top ^

Chinese official urges more efforts to guarantee social stability (Xinhua)
2011-04-13
A senior Chinese official in charge of public security has called for additional social management efforts in safeguarding social stability. Chen Jiping, deputy director of the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, made the remarks in an interview published by the Guangming Daily newspaper on Tuesday. It remains a crucial task for China to ensure public security in the coming period due to the country's fast-changing social structure, he said. Local authorities across the country should improve and innovate their social management efforts and do more to resolve social conflicts and disputes, Chen said. He added that China should strengthen the crackdown on mafia-style and violent crimes and improve the public security system involving the participation of staff members at grassroots public security agencies. Chen urged local authorities to improve the management and services targeting special groups of people, including the floating population, mentally disabled patients and drug addicts, among others. [...]. ^ top ^

Ministry says land abuses to increase (China Daily)
2011-04-13
The illegal use of land in China is likely to become more common this year since regional governments still encourage economic growth that relies heavily on the use of land for construction projects, the country's land watchdog and analysts said. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Land and Resources early this year, regional governments around the country plan to use 1.08 million hectares of land for the construction of roads, rails and similar projects in 2011. That number greatly exceeds the 448,900 hectares of land that the State Council has said can be put to such purposes. Of all the land wanted for construction projects, about 633,820 hectares have not been approved for such a use by the central government." (The land shortage) partly results from local governments' exaggerating their land needs, since officials have a great desire to invest in large construction projects," Dong Zuoji, director of the ministry's planning department told China Daily on Tuesday. [...] Of the 1.08 million hectares sought for construction, Dong said he thinks 603,000 hectares to 737,000 hectares should actually go to that purpose. He said the central government will guarantee that land will be supplied for the construction of subsidized apartments and other projects that are essential to people's livelihoods. China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) calls for the country's annual Gross Domestic Product to increase by 7 percent from 2011 to 2015. [...] But so far, most regional governments have set higher targets for GDP increases this year. [...] Analysts said precious land resources may be lost to local government's ambitions to spur economic growth by relying heavily on construction projects. [...] From 1996 to 2008, China went from having 131 million hectares of agricultural land to having 122 million hectares, the ministry's statistics showed. ^ top ^

Surge in overseas students (Global Times)
2011-04-14
The number of Chinese students studying abroad surpassed 1.27 million at the end of 2010, making China the No. 1 country to send students to other countries to further their education, an official at the Ministry of Education said recently. Xu Peixiang, an official in charge of students studying abroad, said that in a shift from the past, when most students were sent abroad via government subsidies, 93 percent of them currently depend on their own resources to study abroad. Xu also revealed that 91 percent of them are studying in the following 10 countries: the US, Australia, Japan, the UK, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, France, Germany and Russia. From 1978 to the end of 2010, 630,000 students returned to China after graduation, 66 percent of the total. In 2010 alone, 140,000 students came home, an increase of 25 percent compared with the previous year. ^ top ^

More scholarships for Americans announced (China Daily)
2011-04-14
Visiting Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong announced here on Tuesday an additional 10,000 scholarships for Americans to study in China. The announcement was made during the second meeting of the China-US high-level consultation on people-to-people exchange held in Washington. The new scholarships are made in addition to the pledge by the Chinese government last year of 10,000 "Bridge Scholarships" for American students to study in China. Realizing the strategic importance of the US-China relationship, the US government has called for more Americans to study in China. In November 2009, during his visit to China, US President Barack Obama announced the "100,000 Strong" initiative, a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number of American students studying in China. ^ top ^

No obvious change monitored in radiation levels in China (People's Daily Online)
2011-04-15
China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee said Thursday in its daily notice that no obvious change had been found in the levels of radioactive material in the environment and food samples in the Chinese mainland. No protective measures need to be taken against contamination from these materials, the notice said, adding that a sample survey indicated no abnormality in drinking water. [...] On Wednesday, China's Ministry of Health said "extremely low levels" of radioactive isotope iodine-131 had been detected in various kinds of vegetables in 12 provincial regions. The ministry said the detected amounts pose no threat to public health. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing health indicators reach level of advanced countries (People's Daily Online)
2011-04-15
The main indicators that comprehensively indicate the health status of Beijing residents, such as the maternal mortality rate, the infant mortality rate and the average life expectancy, have already reached the levels of advanced countries, said Fang Laiying, head of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Health, on April 13. Fang said that the average life expectancy for Beijing residents stood at 80.8 years in 2010, the last year of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, which is an increase of 0.34 years from 2009 or 0.72 years from 2005. The maternal mortality rate stood at 12.14 deaths per 100,000 live births, a decline of about 17 from 2009 or about 24 percent from 2005. The infant mortality rate was 3.3 percent per 1,000, a decline of 6 percent from 2009 and 24 percent from 2005. These indicators have all reached the levels of advanced countries. [...] Fang said that Beijing has taken many measures to promote good health and disease control. [...] The "Healthy Beijinger: A 10-Year Plan to Improve People's Health" has also been effectively implemented. [...] Fang said that Beijing health authorities have made great efforts to improve the health of women and children. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

New home sales in Shanghai fall 33 percent (People's Daily Online)
2011-04-12
New home sales dropped one third in Shanghai last week while the average price remained below 20,000 yuan (US$3,058) per square meter for the second straight week. Sales of new homes, excluding those built under the city's affordable housing programs, dived 33.4 percent to 123,000 square meters during the seven-day period ended Sunday, halting a three-week rally fuelled mainly by increased supply, Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co said yesterday. The average price, meanwhile, rose 2.1 percent to 19,992 yuan per square meter. Seven out of the 10 best-selling residential projects in the city by contract area are priced at less than 15,000 yuan per square meter, Uwin data showed [...] The supply of new homes to the market last week plunged 66 percent from the previous seven-day period to only 99,600 square meters. Across the city, a total of 1,145 new housing units [...] were sold last week. [...] "Most real estate developers seemed undecided whether to release more homes and offer more discounts to boost sales," said Lu Qilin, research head at Shanghai Deovolente Realty. ^ top ^

Beating up sparks Shanghai riot (SCMP)
2011-04-15
Hundreds of enraged protesters clashed with police in a Shanghai suburb on Wednesday in an eight-hour stand-off to show solidarity for a local resident who was allegedly beaten by a gang of urban management officers over a traffic dispute. Witnesses estimated the crowd numbered as many as 2,000 and said several police vehicles were damaged in an angry confrontation that closed a main road in Jiuting town on the western edge of Shanghai municipality until late at night [...]. Accounts posted by witnesses online varied about exactly how the incident started, but largely agreed about the main details. Sometime after 3pm, a migrant worker and his wife and young child were either crossing the road on foot or waiting at a red light on an electric-powered bicycle when a vehicle driven by the officers pulled up behind them. They were intent on jumping the red light, and attempted to force their way through the junction, but the migrant worker stood his ground. An argument broke out, after which the eight officers allegedly physically attacked the migrant worker, leaving him seriously injured. Some accounts said the man's wife had also been beaten. The gang fled before police arrived at the scene. The victim then refused to get into an ambulance and lay in the middle of the street, attracting a large audience, which led to a demonstration demanding justice. [...] Photographs posted on blogs and message boards - many of which were quickly deleted by internet censors - showed the man's face to be severely swollen and bruised, while in some low-resolution pictures the wife also appeared to be injured. Officials of neither Jiuting town nor Songjiang district were available for comment yesterday. The district government issued a statement confirming that police had taken away an unspecified number of individuals after they had "a traffic dispute with a motorcycle-riding man that led to physical conflict". ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetans mourn as Yushu marks a year since quake (SCMP)
2011-04-15
Thousands of Tibetans lit yak-butter candles and laid white silk scarves and flowers for the departed yesterday as Yushu marked the first anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed at least 2,700 people and left 200,000 others homeless. At 7.49am - the exact moment when the 7.1-magnitude tremor struck the prefecture on the Tibetan plateau - people across Qinghai province observed a minute's silence, [...]. The school grounds are only temporary, and the students are still studying in pre-fabricated houses in Jiegu town, the prefecture seat that was almost flattened in the quake. Teachers say the foundation has been laid for a new school building and they look forward to moving in this summer, as the government has promised. [...] Locals say the rebuilding process has moved much slower than expected, and most are still tent-dwellers. Water and power supplies remain unstable for many [...]. Teacher Tuding Cairen said: "We don't have a new house yet and my family has been forced to move three times to make way for reconstruction." Local authorities and reconstruction staff from Beijing and Liaoning province cite the average altitude of 3,700 metres and long winters on the Tibetan plateau as the main factors that stalled the work. At the official memorial service in Jiegu yesterday, top leaders, especially members of the Politburo Standing Committee, were conspicuously absent. The highest-ranking officials to show up were Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu and two other Politburo members [...] along with several incumbent and retired ministers. [...] Since Wednesday, monks had been preparing the wax for the traditional yak-butter lamps to be lit on the anniversary. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Radicals will harm cause in long run, says veteran activist (SCMP)
2011-04-13
Increasingly radical protests may serve the purpose of embarrassing government officials, but they also risk diverting public attention from real policy debates, according to veteran democracy activist Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong. Political protests in Hong Kong are traditionally peaceful and mild, but in the past few weeks young demonstrators have shown a willingness to take a more confrontational approach. On Sunday in Central, a young League of Social Democrats member stormed past security and snatched a microphone from Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng while she was speaking, allegedly to protest against rising railway fares. At another public event on the same day, Secretary for Food and Health Dr York Chow Yat-ngok was besieged by protesters angry at the Hospital Authority's decision to suspend bookings of obstetrics services for mainland mothers.[...] Tsoi said the radical protests suggested that some young people were unhappy with the status quo. "Obviously the government has not done a good job in many aspects. But I doubt our society has come to the point where you won't get public attention unless you resort to radical actions." On the face of it, the activists who took part in those protests could claim victory for their roughhouse approach, Tsoi said, but in the long run it might distract the public from the real substance of the debates. Tsoi, who is also convenor of pan-democratic group Power for Democracy, said the radical actions were calculated to draw media attention. [...] The young activists and their sympathisers argue that these radical actions are genuine displays of anger against social injustice [...]. They also claim that they have to turn to more radical forms of expression because normal protests failed to deliver the message to an insensitive government. League member Raphael Wong Ho-ming, who threw cooked rice at the chief executive during a protest last month, said that nobody would take radical action if peaceful protests could make a difference. Wong, [...], said: "Other parties used to confine their actions to chanting slogans and raising placards. "Have those protests made any impact?" [...] Dr Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said some young people had become impatient with conventional methods of expressing their views […]. Government officials have condemned such protests and said they crossed the line. Speaking before the Executive Council meeting yesterday, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said [...] that radical actions would only exacerbate conflicts in society and were not conducive to reconciling differences [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan kicks off annual five-day war games (SCMP)
2011-04-12
Taiwan began an annual five-day military drill involving 100,000 soldiers and reservists that simulates attacks from the mainland despite warming cross-strait relations. Dubbed Han Kuang Operation No27, the first phase of a live-fire war game started in western, eastern and northern Taiwan yesterday, with the air force and the army launching anti-artillery and riverside defence exercises, the defence ministry said. [...] Taiwanese media said the US would have officers and experts on hand to observe the war games, with another round to follow between July 18 and July 22 focusing on a computer simulation of invasion scenarios. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is expected to supervise an air drill today [...]. Ma said yesterday that despite the improvement in cross-strait ties, Taiwan must still be prepared for "possible peril in time of peace", even though the island would never "want to engage in an arms race with the mainland". ^ top ^

Ma Ying-jeou pledges to promote communication with mainland (Xinhua)
2011-04-12
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said on Monday that Taiwan authorities will continue to improve cross-Strait relations by promoting communication with the mainland and opening colleges to more mainland students. Ma made the remarks during a meeting with the delegation designated to attend this year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) [...]. Ma said that, after the mainland and Taiwan signed the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA,) students from the mainland and Taiwan have had more opportunities to interact. These interactions will help to achieve better relations and more opportunities for cross-Strait peace. Ma sung high praises for the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation delegation's participation in the BFA and its help in improving cross-Strait relations. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese Premier urges efforts to prevent price rises, economic fluctuation (Xinhua)
2011-04-11
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged making efforts to maintain the stability and continuity of macro regulation and prevent excessive price increases and drastic economic fluctuations. Wen made the remarks during an inspection tour in eastern Zhejiang Province on Friday and Saturday. Keeping overall price levels stable was the top priority for current macro regulations, Wen said. To this end, the central government has made overall arrangements, including controlling issuance of money, boosting production, ensuring supply, improving distribution networks and enhancing supervision and monitoring. [...] Wen noted that local governments should shoulder the responsibility for tightening regulation in the property market, as the problems of housing supply and home prices would affect social stability and healthy economic development. He also reiterated the central government's determination to rein in runaway housing prices. To ease soaring home prices, China's central government has announced a series of measures since the beginning of last year, including instituting higher requirements for down payments and higher mortgage rates, as well as suspending loans to buyers of third homes. [...] Prices of new homes in February rose in 68 out of the 70 major cities covered by the national price survey. China will continue to implement prudent monetary policies and use multiple price and quantitative tools, such as open-market operations, reserve requirement ratios, interest rates and foreign exchange rates, to eliminate the monetary basis for inflation, he said. The premier also urged efforts to better manage the relationship between taming inflation and promoting economic growth. To mop up the excess liquidity that helps fuel inflation, China's central bank has raised the reserve requirement ratio for commercial banks three times this year and hiked the benchmark interest rates twice [...]. ^ top ^

New energy industries to fuel China's green growth (Global Times)
2011-04-11
With China's ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions for a greener economy during the 12th five-year plan period from 2011 to 2015, new energy industries are becoming even more significant than in the past. These industries will be responsible for serving the country's growing appetite for energy to feed its rapid development. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), China overtook America as the world' s largest energy consumer in 2010. Demand by China, [...] will keep climbing rapidly in years to come, the report said. But with the world oil supply on a downslide and prices heading skyward due to unrest in the Middle East, China will increasingly feel pressure to meet its energy demands. To guarantee enough fuel for economic growth, experts point to the new energy sector [...]. China's new energy sector has witnessed significant developments over the past several years as part of the government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions. According to a report by the Climate Policy Initiative at Tsinghua University, China added 90GW of additional hydropower, 25GW of wind power and 2GW of nuclear power during the period from 2005 to 2008. [...] Huarui Wind Power Technology Company, China's leading wind power company, headquartered in the silicon valley of Zhongguancun, says its work on the most advanced wind turbine with a single unit capacity of 6 MW is progressing smoothly and the first model will come off the line in June of this year. [...] Huarui's robust performance mirrors the sector's boom in the broader market. China installed 18.9GW wind turbines in 2010, up 37.1 percent from 2009, bringing China's total wind generating capacity to 44.7GW, according to figures released by the CWEA. Reports by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA), also show that China has overtaken the US as the largest wind power market globally. With the market expanding, the country sees no end to the growth in green investment. A survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts says that China's clean energy investment topped 54.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 39 percent from the previous year. The study estimates that China now produces nearly half of the world's wind and solar modules. Apart from supplying alternative fuels to China, the emerging energy sector also plays a significant role in promoting the green growth pattern that the country pledged in its 12th five-year plan. The new plan calls for non-fossil fuels to be used in 11.4 percent of primary energy consumption by 2015. It also targets a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP over the next five years and a 17 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP over the same period. [...]. ^ top ^

New rules likely to raise price of rare earths (China Daily)
2011-04-13
Miners and processing companies that don't submit applications or fail to pass the review will be denied environmental assessment approval for new projects, output expansion and IPOs, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. Industry insiders said this will affect production costs and may raise the prices of Chinese rare earths. An executive from Ganzhou Rare Earth Mineral Industry Co Ltd, who declined to be named, said at least 60 percent of producers could not currently meet the standards and they will have to spend more on environmental protection to pass the review. [...] China, which possesses one-third of the world's rare-earth reserves and provides more than 90 percent of the world's supplies, has seen environmental damage from the mining and processing and depletion of the resource. Because of this, the government implemented a number of measures to improve the sustainable development of the industry. The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued new industry standards in March to reduce pollution and regulate the scattered industry [...]. Wu Xiaoqing, vice-minister of environmental protection, previously said that companies will have to increase their investment in pollution treatment facilities. He estimated that the industry will have to spend at least 1.5 billion yuan ($228 million) on building sewage treatment facilities, which will incur an annual operational cost of 280 million yuan, calculated on the basis of 150,000 tons of rare-earth production a year. "The government will allow two years for rare-earth companies to upgrade their techniques. If they don't meet the standards, they will be banned from the industry," said Huang Xiaowei, vice-director of the National Engineering Research Center for Rare Earth Materials and a professor at the Beijing General Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals [...]. ^ top ^

Pact paves way for gradual shift from dollar to local currencies (SCMP)
2011-04-15
The world's five largest emerging economies have decided to move away from the US dollar and use local currencies more in global business, in one concrete result from the just-concluded BRICS summit. This was the central theme of an internal banking co-operation agreement signed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa yesterday [...]. Banking technicalities would be ironed out over the next year before India hosted the next scheduled BRICS summit, said banking officials from participating countries. They will allow increasing the use of the real, rouble, rupee, yuan and rand for the settlement in their mutual trade and investment. [...] Fluctuation in the dollar's exchange rate, especially at a time of a rising threat of inflation, can be a worrying factor for all emerging economies, said Jabu Moleketi, chairman of the Development Bank of Southern Africa. [...] One of the technical issues will be how traders and investors can profit from their China business when the yuan remains inconvertible for the capital accounts. "A third country's currency has to be agreed upon as an alternative," he said. "Or, of course, we can use the Hong Kong dollar." A set of concrete agreements were expected next year in the use of local currencies, Moleketi said, adding that there would be intense efforts on the working group level from the central banks of all member countries. [...] But he admitted that that was only "a future direction" or an open possibility. [...]. ^ top ^

China encourages overseas Chinese talents to start businesses back home (Xinhua)
2011-04-15
China has developed a series of favorable policies, [...] to persuade overseas-educated Chinese to start businesses back home. Firms employing Chinese citizens returned from overseas as their legal representatives or with overseas Chinese employees and venture capital contributing at least 30 percent of the business' s total investment are eligible to enjoy the preferential policies, said a circular made public by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security [...]. Enterprises begun by Chinese entrepreneurs who have returned from overseas, that have good innovation capacity and market prospects, can receive substantial support, such as a proportion of their start-up capital, during their start-up phases, according to the circular. Further, the government will collect corporate income tax from recognized state-encouraged high-tech enterprises begun by overseas Chinese entrepreneurs at a lower rate of 15 percent, it says. [...]< In addition, firms owned by overseas-educated Chinese citizens can benefit from tax reductions or exemptions for profits for running businesses in the agricultural, forestry, herding and fishery sectors, as well as in major government-supported public infrastructure projects and energy or water conservation projects. Leading overseas returned entrepreneurs can also take advantage of a subsidy on house rentals and funds to help them settle down. The policy package is the country's latest move to enhance its cultivation of talents and build an innovative country, according to the circular. More than 632,000 Chinese, or 33 percent of those who studied abroad, have returned home since 1978. Nearly 135,000 Chinese returned home after finishing their education abroad in 2010, up 24.7 percent from 2009, the MOHRSS figures show. […]. ^ top ^

Moody's downgrades mainland property (SCMP)
2011-04-15
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded its outlook for the mainland's property sector from "stable" to "negative", citing the government's tightening measures to curb inflation. […] The firm expects sales of residential properties for the period to drop 25 to 30 per cent in first- and second-tier cities, primarily because of a decline in transaction volume. "Higher inflation has caused the Chinese government to introduce stricter regulatory measures in the sector... and the central government fears high inflation will affect social stability," Peter Choy Sing-yip, senior vice-president of corporate finance at Moody's, said. Flat prices are expected to decline about 10 per cent due to government tightening measures, an abundant supply from developers and the provision of 10 million social welfare housing units by the government. [...] Choy said that given the restrictions, rising interest rates, reduced bank lending and increasing supply, China's property developers would face a tough operating environment. "We believe this will inevitably lead to slowing sales, as well as pressure on profit margins and on balance sheet liquidity for some," he said. [...] The firm predicted property developers would face challenges in securing onshore debt financing in the next six to 12 months. [...]< Kaven Tsang Kai-yin, Moody's assistant vice-president of corporate finance, expects developers' liquidity to weaken this year. Proceeds from resales will slow and developers will have sizable cash outflows to cover unsettled bills for land acquisitions, larger developments and bank loans. ^ top ^

Inflation battle set to redouble (China Daily)
2011-04-15
China's bank lending and money supply accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace in March. That's exacerbating policymakers' concerns about excess liquidity in the world's second largest economy, where inflation is expected to accelerate at its fastest pace since 2008. Analysts said that the faster-than expected growth in money supply and lending may aggravate the country's already high inflationary pressure and prompt policymakers to adopt more monetary-tightening measures. New yuan-denominated loans stood at 679.4 billion yuan ($104 billion) in March, while the country's broad money supply (M2) rose 16.6 percent from a year earlier to reach 75.8 trillion yuan. The figure exceeds the whole-year target of 16 percent set by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) at the beginning of this year, a statement on the central bank's website showed on Thursday. Analysts said that the faster-than-expected growth in money supply and lending may aggravate the country's already high inflationary pressure and prompt policymakers to adopt more monetary-tightening measures. Tackling inflation has become the biggest economic priority for the Chinese government. [...] Sheng Songcheng, head of the statistics department at the PBOC, said on Thursday that China's inflation rate is likely to be more than 5 percent in March, and that "prudent" monetary policies will not be eased over the coming months. [...] According to economists' forecasts, China's Consumer Price Index in March is likely to jump to 5.2 percent or 5.3 percent, higher than November's 28-month peak of 5.1 percent. [...] The central bank on Thursday also made public for the first time an index of financing across the various sectors of society. The figure for the first quarter was 4.19 trillion yuan higher than that a year earlier. [...]< On Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao told an executive meeting of the State Council that the funds raised, excluding those from the financial industry, should be managed within a "reasonable range" by controlling money supply and adjustments to required reserve ratios and interest rates. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korea prepares for generational change (Global Times)
2011-04-14
The US believes North Korea is clinging to its nuclear capability ahead of a transfer of power, as news filtered through of an American being detained in the North [...]. "The North has committed to denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula in the past, but given recent uprisings in the Middle East, it has turned back to a path of national security above all," said Lü Chao, a professor of Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences [...]. The US State Department disclosed Tuesday that Swedish officials, mediating in Pyongyang, "have been able to visit" the detained individual and called for his release "on humanitarian grounds." If confirmed, the man would be the fifth American to be held in North Korea in the past two years. "This case is expected to follow the suit of previous American detainees," Lü told the Global Times. "Close contact between the North and the US would be essential, leading to negotiations that will be beneficial to relaxing the tense atmosphere on the peninsula." Besides, North Korea issued an order Tuesday to promote dozens of senior military officers, including two relatively young generals, seen by some analysts as a generational change to mirror the rise of the heir apparent Kim Jong-un. As his father Kim Jong-il's successor, Kim Jong-un is also expected to visit China as early as late April, according to Seoul's Korea Herald." Since Jong-un is going to succeed his father, at the behest of Chinese leaders, he has reasons to visit China at the proper time," Lü said. ^ top ^

N. Korea says it will charge US prisoner (Global Times)
2011-04-15
North Korea said Thursday an American held in its custody since November would be charged with crimes against the nation, amid reports he was engaged in missionary work. A man identified as Jun Young-su has been investigated "for committing a crime against the DPRK (North Korea) after entering it," the official news agency said. "He admitted his crime in the course of investigation," it said, adding that officials are preparing to bring charges. The agency said Washington had been informed and Swedish diplomats, mediating on behalf of the US, had been given access to the detainee. The US State Department disclosed the detention Tuesday and confirmed Swedish diplomats had seen Jun. It gave no details about the individual but appealed for his release. A source in Seoul familiar with North Korean affairs identified the man as a Korean-American businessman in his 60s who was detained for involvement in missionary work. [...] The source told AFP the man was arrested right after the North's bombing of a South Korean border island in November, that sent cross-border tension soaring." It looks like the North had been watching the missionary for quite some time and arrested him as a political bargaining chip at a suitable time to take advantage of him," the source said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

First step to introduce Cambridge system (Montsame)
2011-04-13
A ceremony took place Wednesday to sign a memorandum of mutual understanding on cooperation between the government of Mongolia and the International Examinations Center of the University of Cambridge. The memorandum has been inked by Yo.Otgonbayar, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, and by Ann Puntis, Chief Executive of the Cambridge International Examinations Center. Present at the ceremony were the Premier S.Batbold and Simon Lebus, a Group Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment. Then a director of the state-owned “New era” school, the city's #115 secondary school in the Khan-Uul district, B.Amartuvshin has gas been granted a certificate to affirm that this school has been selected the Cambridge branch school. The Premier has underlined that Mongolia made important step to introduce the internationally-accepted educational system for developing Mongolia and its people. ^ top ^

New taxis in Ulaanbaatar (news.mn)
2011-04-14
New taxis were introduced to Ulaanbaatar yesterday at a ceremony in Sukhbaatar Square attended by Minister for Road, Transportation and Urban Development Kh.Battulga, Mayor G.Munkhbayar, senior officials of Hyundai Motors, and representatives of the Ulaanbaatar Taxi Transport Service LLC. The company will buy 1200 new taxis from Hyundai, the first 400 of which will be on the roads by May 1. All the vehicles are ecology-friendly and will run on gas from June. Chief of Auto Transport Board B.Tsengel has said many of the taxis now operating would be phased out, as they are old and emit carbon beyond permissible limits. ^ top ^

High UN official in Mongolia (news.mn)
2011-04-12
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific Noleen Heyzer is officially visiting Mongolia between April 11 and 15 on an invitation from Foreign Minister G.Zandanshatar. She has called on President Ts.Elbegdorj and Prime Minister S.Batbold and has held talks with Zandanshatar, Minister for Finance S.Bayartsogt, Minister for Social Welfare and Labor T.Gandhi and Minister for Road, Transportation and Urban Development Kh.Battulga. She also attended the meeting of landlocked countries. Today she visits a herder's family in Tsonjin boldog and will give a talk at the National University of Mongolia. She will also go to the Gobi outlet. ^ top ^

High level Asia Pacific dialogue starts (Montsame)
2011-04-12
A High-level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the Implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other Development Gaps faced by the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) kicked off Tuesday in Ulaanbaatar. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government of Mongolia are jointly convening a High-Level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other Development Gaps faced by the Landlocked Developing Countries on 12-14 April 2011 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The Dialogue has been organized by ESCAP in collaboration together with the Government of Mongolia. The meeting has brought together all key stakeholders of the Almaty Programme of Action, including member governments, the UN system, relevant regional organizations, development partners and the broad spectrum of the civil society from Asia and the Pacific region. The meeting has invited senior policymakers and other stakeholders from the LLDCs of the Asia and the Pacific region, their development partners and other member states. The main objective of the meeting is to facilitate the assessment of the progress so far made in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action in the context of the fast evolving regional and global economic environment and identify key issues and development gaps that would require global and regional cooperation to further advance the objectives of the Almaty Programme of Action, with special reference to other internationally agreed goals including MDGs. Senior government policymakers and other stakeholders from 12 LLDCs Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well as other ESCAP member countries are taking part in the meeting. The UN system, relevant regional organizations, development partners, broad spectrum of the civil society from Asia-Pacific region and private sector also have been invited. A senior official of Mongolia has opened the meeting. The LLDCs will be requested to submit brief country reviews on their respective implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other development challenges faced by them. Based on the 12 Asia-Pacific LLDC country reviews and discussions in the meeting, a draft Outcome Document will be considered and endorsed by the participants. The draft Outcome Document will be presented to the 67th annual ESCAP Commission session in Bangkok in May 2011 for deliberation and guidance to the secretariat by member Governments for further assistance to the LLDCs. ^ top ^

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Ltd ready to export coal (UB Post)
2011-04-12
It was reported at a meeting of the Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj with officials from Erdenes MGL LLC, the parent company of Erdenes -Tavan Tolgoi Ltd. The president was briefed about the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit and TT project, in the presence of parliament members, cabinet members and some experts. According to Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi President Enebish, the company is ready to commence exporting the coal. It started the earth removing in last August in order to extract coal. In order to commence extraction, it needs to select a contract miner as the law requires. Open bidding to select the contract miner and strategic partner is at its final stage. Final decision is expected to be made at the end of April, said Enebish. Erdenes TT must centralize MNT310 billion to the government's Human Development Fund this year. The President was informed that Erdenes TT works hard to make it possible. ^ top ^

 

Jean Binder
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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