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
  3-6.5.11, No. 369  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China says Bin Laden's death milestone for anti-terrorism (China Daily)
2011-05-03
China said here Monday evening that the death of Osama bin Laden was a milestone and a positive development for the international anti-terrorism efforts. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made the remarks when asked to comment on the killing of the al-Qaida leader. US President Barack Obama announced late Sunday that bin Laden had been killed in a US operation in Pakistan. "China has taken note of the announcement," Jiang said, "We believe the death of Osama bin Laden is a milestone and a positive development for the international anti-terrorism efforts." "Terrorism is the common enemy of the international community [...]. She said China has always opposed to terrorism of all forms and has been actively participating in the global anti-terrorism efforts [...]. "China believes that it is necessary to seek both a temporary solution and a permanent cure in fighting terrorism and to make great efforts to eliminate the soil on which terrorism relies to breed," she added. ^ top ^

Wen's visits boost China's ties with Malaysia, Indonesia: FM (Xinhua)
2011-05-03
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visits to Malaysia and Indonesia have enhanced China's relations with the two countries, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Saturday. Given the ongoing profound changes of the global and regional situations, the two-nation trip has contributed to China's efforts in fostering a harmonious, stable and cooperative development environment, Yang told reporters. Both Malaysia and Indonesia [...] play influential roles in regional affairs, the Chinese foreign minister said [...]. During the four-day tour, Wen held candid and in-depth talks with Malaysian and Indonesian leaders and reached extensive consensus on bilateral ties and other issues of common concern. [...] Yang said [...] that the three countries are all at their respective period of rapid economic growth and their economies are highly complementary. Malaysia has become China's largest trading partner among ASEAN countries for three years in a row and China has become Malaysia's largest trading partner for two consecutive years, Yang noted [...]. During his visits to the two countries, Wen highlighted that the three countries should fully explore the favorable policies of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and promote practical cooperation to further bilateral ties, the foreign minister said [...]]. Wen also took the opportunity to expound China's stand on developing China-ASEAN ties and East Asian cooperation, he said. [...] Premier Wen fully recognized the important role that ASEAN plays in promoting regional stability, development and progress, and highly evaluated the historic progress in China-ASEAN ties. During the visits, Wen said China would deepen practical cooperation and cultural exchanges with ASEAN and join hands with the regional organization to safeguard security and stability in the region [...]. ^ top ^

U.S., China further strengthen economic ties: Geithner (Xinhua)
2011-05-04
The United States is building cooperative bilateral ties with China on a broad list of economic fronts, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said here Tuesday. China has scored remarkable economic achievements with a rise of confidence in the past decades, and is making headway in shifting its economic growth mode, Geithner said at a Tuesday meeting hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council. The two nations should be "very direct with each other" in solving possible tensions in one of the most important bilateral ties in the world, he said prior to the coming U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. China and the United States will hold the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue on May 9-10 in Washington. ^ top ^

China not in favor of arbitrary interpretation of UN resolutions on Libya: envoy (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-05
Chinese permanent representative to UN Li Baodong speaks at the Security Council meeting on the situation of Libya at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, May 4, 2011. China is not in favor of any arbitrary interpretation of the United Nations Security Council's resolutions nor any actions that go beyond the Council's mandate concerning Libya, Li said here Wednesday [...]] China calls for complete and strict implementation of the Security Council's resolutions. The international community should respect the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya. The internal affairs and the future of Libya should be left to Libyan people to decide, Li told the council. "We are not in favor of any arbitrary interpretation of Security Council's resolutions nor any actions that go beyond the Council's mandate," he noted. At present, the Libyan crisis shows no signs of abating, and efforts to ending the crisis have entered a deadlock. The humanitarian situation in the country continues to worsen and the civilians are still suffering a great deal [...]. Li voiced China's grave concerns in this regard. "China believed that the priority for the time being is to achieve an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Libya as called for by the Council's resolution, and to establish a ceasefire monitoring system under the leadership of the United Nations," Li said. "Peaceful means of dialogue and negotiations are the right way forward to find a political solution to Libyan crisis," said the ambassador, "We endorse the efforts made by all the parties concerned and the five-points roadmap proposed by the African Union." The Chinese UN envoy also called for a leading role played by the UN and its Security Council in properly solving the crisis in Libya. "China's position regarding the International Criminal Court ( ICC) remains unchanged," Li said, "We hope that the ICC will fully consider the need of properly solving the Libyan crisis when implementing Resolution 1970 and play a positive and constructive role in restoring peace, stability and order in the country at an early date.". ^ top ^

Nobel prize apology call by Chinese ambassador (SCMP)
2011-05-05
Norway's government will have to apologise for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo if Sino-Norwegian ties are to be repaired, the Chinese ambassador was quoted as saying. Ambassador Tang Guoqiang said at a Chinese language competition at the Confucius Institute in Bergen that the Nobel award had made the relationship between the countries very difficult. Marit Warncke, the managing director of the Bergen Chamber of Commerce, who was at the event on Saturday, said: "Tang believed that Norway showed disrespect towards China and offering an apology is the right thing to do" [...]. "He spoke clearly and with emotion." According to a transcript posted on the Chinese embassy website late yesterday, Tang said the Norwegian government's support of the Nobel Committee's decision had seriously hurt the relationship between the two countries. "The Norwegian government should take effective measures to remove the negative impact arising from this," Tang was quoted as saying in the embassy's release, without mention of the word "apology" [...]. Beijing called the awarding of the peace prize to Liu an "anti-China farce" and pressured envoys to boycott the ceremony. Since then, one of the tangible signs of the damaged ties between the countries is the indefinite suspension of talks on a free-trade agreement, which would be the first such deal with a European country […]. ^ top ^

Rudd calls for global effort to woo Beijing (SCMP)
2011-05-05
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd pressed for a global effort to bring China into institutions, saying the future of the world economy depended on it. The China expert said bodies such as the Group of 20 and the East Asia Summit could put Beijing on the right path as its power grew [...]. "And this will not be an easy thing to do." Rudd acknowledged myriad concerns abroad about Beijing - from growing assertiveness to human rights to environmental pollution - but said it was crucial also to look at Chinese leaders' own interests and way of thinking. Rudd said the United States and its allies should talk to China in the terms of its philosophical tradition - such as the concept, often cited by Beijing's leadership, of creating a "harmonious world". He pointed to the G20 [...] as an area where China has had a "positive", "forward-looking" role. "The Chinese recognised, particularly at a time of potential global economic implosion, that they had huge interests at stake in preserving the order," he said. Rudd also stressed the importance of the East Asia Summit, an annual forum created in 2005 and which will include the US president for the first time this year when Barack Obama attends the talks on the Indonesian island of Bali. Rudd welcomed the calm on one issue that has long raised tensions, Taiwan, but hinted at concern next year when Beijing-friendly president Ma Ying-jeou stands for re-election. ^ top ^

China rejects US report on religious freedom (SCMP)
2011-05-05
Beijing yesterday rejected the report of a US commission accusing China and other countries of violating religious freedom, saying the board that wrote it should "abandon its prejudices". "We advise the so-called US Commission on International Religious Freedom to abandon its prejudices, respect facts and stop intervening in China's domestic affairs," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. In an annual report released last Thursday, the commission said it found serious violations in nations including China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam and highlighted what it called a sharp deterioration in Pakistan. The commission, an independent advisory board, said authorities in China had severely curtailed the freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uygurs, and tortured practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement. In the past year, China had detained more than 500 Protestants and kept in custody dozens of Catholic clergy for not registering with the government, it said, adding that China had also destroyed Christian meeting point [...]. Members of the bipartisan commission [...] are appointed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The US State Department lists China as one of eight "countries of particular concern" for religious freedom, along with Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. ^ top ^

China expresses strong will to boost ties with EU ahead of strategic dialogue (Xinhua)
2011-05-06
China on Thursday expressed its willingness to strengthen relations with the European Union, saying that both sides had reached a crucial stage in their development […]. As the world is undergoing profound and complicated changes, and as the global economic recovery is still unstable, both sides are at a critical stage of development, Jiang said. Invited by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission Catherine Ashton and the Hungarian government, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo will pay a visit to Hungary from May 12 to 15, during which he will attend a fresh round of the China-EU high-level strategic dialogue [...]. China aims to develop an equal friendship with Europe, and carry out comprehensive bilateral cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, she said [...]. "It's important for the two sides to accept each other's political reality and path of development, and seek to uplift strategic cooperation based on the acceptance," Jiang said, adding China and EU should enhance dialogue and mutual trust in political areas. China supports the integration process of the EU, and welcomes EU to play a more active role in global affairs, she said. Statistics show that China is now the EU's second-largest trading partner, and the EU is China's largest trading partner and export market. ^ top ^

China to double trade volume with Austria in 5 years, says premier (Xinhua)
2011-05-06
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday vowed to double the country's trade volume with Austria in five years, and boost bilateral cooperation in diversified areas including environmental protection and energy saving. Wen made the pledge during his official talks in Beijing with Austrian Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann, who arrived earlier on Thursday for a three-day visit to China. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Austria diplomatic ties. Both of the two leaders spoke highly of the progress of bilateral relations over the years, agreeing to further boost high-level visits, expand cooperation in trade, energy saving, culture and other areas, to upgrade bilateral relations. The trade volume of China and Austria reached 8.2 billion euros last year. China has overtaken the United States to be the largest trading partner of Austria [...]. The Chinese premier pledged to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Austria and participate in the economic construction of central and eastern Europe, and support enhanced bilateral cooperation in energy saving, renewable energy, modern manufacturing, high technology, cultural and education. He also called on Austria to expand investment in China, and in particular, the country's central and western regions [...]. Faymann agreed with Wen's proposals on deepening bilateral ties, adding it is of vital importance for Austria to develop relations with China. He said he believes that with the joint efforts from both sides, Austria-China relations can reach a higher level. ^ top ^

Military talk added to Sino-US economic summit (China Daily)
2011-05-06
Chinese and American military representatives will join the annual high level China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) next week for the first time since the dialogue's inception two years ago, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell revealed during a press conference on Thursday [...]. They will touch on a broad range of topics in economics and regional issues. The agenda on the strategic side will include the nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran as well as Sudan, and the recent turmoil in the Middle East, Campbell said. On the economic side, the Americans will focus on Chinese currency exchange rate, intellectual property protection, market access and China's financial system reforms, said David Loevinger, Senior Coordinator and Executive Secretary for China and the S&ED at the Department of the Treasury, who co-chaired the press conference. ^ top ^

China says global anti-terror situation still grim (Xinhua)
2011-05-06
China on Thursday said the global anti-terrorism situation is still "grim and complex," calling for more international cooperation to fight the threat. "The international community should boost their cooperation and make more efforts to counter the threat of international terrorism," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said at a regular press briefing [...]. While emphasizing the importance of joint efforts to fight terrorism -- "the common enemy of the international community," Jiang said China holds that the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country should be respected. Jiang said that Pakistan is a country at the anti-terrorism front-line and the international community should "give more understanding and support" to the south Asian country. "We will continue to support Pakistan in instituting their own anti-terrorism strategies and carrying them out based on their domestic situation, and we appreciate Pakistan's active participation in the international anti-terrorism cooperation," she said [...]. Crackdowns on the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces are an important part of the global war against terrorism, Jiang said. "We hope that the international community will cooperate more closely and combat terrorism hand in hand." With the aim of splitting Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region off from China, the "East Turkistan" forces appeared in the 1930s to 1940s and turned extremely violent in the 1990s. The terrorist forces were responsible for at least 200 violent attacks in Xinjiang between 1990 and 2007. ^ top ^

China to help Mali build another university in Bamako (Xinhua)
2011-05-06
China and Mali will sign an agreement of 25 billion FCFA (50 million U. S. dollars) in the coming days for the construction of another university in the capital Bamako, Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure announced on Wednesday. The president made this announcement at a ceremony to outline the tasks to be performed by the country's new prime minister, Cisse Mariam Kadiama Sidibe. "The People's Republic of China will construct for us a new university at Mopti and another at Sikasso. Here are the friends on whom we can always count for our country's development," the Malian president said. The tasks assigned to the new head of government and her team include the continuation of the institutional reform, good preparation for the 2012 presidential elections, proper management of social affairs, the fight against insecurity and terrorism in the north of Mali, resolution of the school and university crisis, as well as youth unemployment. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Intelligence chief calls for huge ID database (SCMP)
2011-05-03
The mainland's top intelligence and security official has proposed building a centralised national population database, based on the identity card information of every adult citizen, to improve control of society. If the plan materialises it would be the world's biggest identity database. In an article published in Qiushi magazine yesterday, Zhou Yongkang, head of the Communist Party's political and legislative affairs commission and the Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security and social stability, said social management was a top priority and would feature in promotion assessments for officials at all levels. The article was entitled "Strengthen and be innovative about social management - building and perfecting a social management system with Chinese characteristics" [...]. Zhou said there was no time to waste in amending the law on residents' identity cards and setting up a dynamic management system based on the information they contained. A few days earlier, a report said that around 13 million mainlanders had been overlooked by the compulsory household registration system, or hukou. Years of rapid economic development have seen the decades old hukou system fail its main social control task, with millions of migrants moving in pursuit of better employment prospects. "The introduction of such a new information system will definitely step up the authorities' social control intensity," said Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at City University [...]. The country's social control system is facing new challenges for several reasons, Zhou wrote. They includes changes in people's ideologies, values systems and moral standards, a growing awareness of fairness, democracy, rights and the rule of law, and an increasingly strong desire to pursue their own interests and seek to benefit from the mainland's economic miracle [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese president stresses public rental housing for low-income residents (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-03
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged local governments to make greater efforts in developing public rental housing units for the country's medium- and low-income earners during a recent inspection tour to the northern city of Tianjin. Local governments should give priority to the development of public rental housing by continuously increasing capital investment and prioritizing the allocation of land for the projects, Hu said during the tour from April 29 to May 1 [...]. The Chinese government is giving greater support in the building of housing units that specifically target low-income groups, Hu said. Also, during a visit to Tianjin Product Quality Inspection Technology Research Institute, Hu said inspection efforts must be tightened to guard the safety of food products for the public [...]. Additionally, Hu heard a work report from local officials on Tianjin's future development plan on Sunday. Hu urged efforts be made to accelerate the speed of development of Tianjin, especially the Binhai New Area, by taking advantage of the country's policy of supporting eastern regions to take the lead in China's development, as a whole. During the visit, Hu, on behalf of the central authorities, extended to the country's industrial workers, farmers and intellectuals, and working people of various circles, festival greetings as the International Labor Day fell on Sunday. ^ top ^

Rights lawyer freed after two months (SCMP)
2011-05-03
China has released a crusading rights lawyer who was detained more than two months ago [...]. Teng Biao returned home yesterday but it was not convenient for him to speak with the media, his wife, Wang Ling, said. "He is okay," she added, in a telephone interview last night. "I can tell you only that he came home this afternoon. It's inconvenient for me to say anything more so far. I hope you can understand our situation, [...]." A law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, Teng was among the most prominent rights lawyers detained in a crackdown in February, with US State Department official Michael Posner denouncing his detention while he was in Beijing on Thursday. Meanwhile, a mainland-born Hong Kong academic jailed for 13 years in 2001 on state secrets charges is due to be released on June 23 after receiving a third sentence reduction, says a US rights group that has been pushing for his release for years. Quoting sources close to the government, the Dui Hua Foundation said the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court recently granted a five-month sentence reduction to Oxford- and Harvard-educated Dr Xu Zerong, 57, for good behaviour. The court refused to comment yesterday. Xu, a Hong Kong permanent resident also known as David Tsui, was detained on June 24, 2000 in Guangzhou, where he was working as a research fellow at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Shenzhen court in December 2001 for "illegally providing intelligence to foreign entities" - a charge under the category of "endangering state security" - and three years for illegal business operations. He was originally due out on June 23, 2013. Xu, an expert on China's role in the 1950-53 Korean war, was accused of collecting and providing copies of sensitive documents on Chinese military tactics during that conflict to a South Korean scholar. Xu had believed the documents, published in the 1950s, were no longer classified, but after he was detained the military certified that the materials he photocopied were still top secret, according to Dui Hua. ^ top ^

Over 30 Christians detained as church clampdown continues (SCMP)
2011-05-04
More than 30 Christians from one of the mainland's most influential unofficial churches were detained and dozens were confined to their homes [...], after they tried to worship outdoors in defiance of government orders amid a crackdown that has continued for four Sundays. At least 31 members of Shouwang Church were taken away near its proposed place of worship amid a heavy police presence in Beijing's commercial Zhongguancun area, [...]. The church's leaders [...] remained under house arrest while many congregation members were prevented from leaving home. The church's pastor, Jin Tianming, has been confined at home since April 9, the eve of the church's first attempted outdoor service. He could not be reached by phone yesterday. Last week, he said many church members who had been detained on previous Sundays were stopped by police from going out on subsequent Sundays. Others were told by local police to sign statements promising not to worship outdoors again. Three journalists from Al-Jazeera English who were trying to cover the event had been stopped by police outside the building where the service was supposed to take place, [...]. They were required to hand over their videotape before being released. The congregation has tried to worship on the podium terrace of a commercial building for the past four Sundays. Police detained 169 worshippers the first time, nearly 50 the second time and 36 on Sunday last week. Most were released within 24 hours in the first weeks, but last week some were held for 48 hours. The church, which has nearly 1,000 members, lost its previous place of worship early last month after official pressure forced its landlord to evict it from a spacious film studio. Officials also blocked the congregation from moving into an office space the church had bought for 27 million yuan (HK$32 million) [...]. It has tried to register with the government, but the state, which controls religious affairs, has repeatedly refused to give it authorisation. Shouwang, which means "to keep watch", was criticised last week by the Global Times for "politicising" religious issues. In response, the church issued an online statement insisting that it had no political agenda and would go back indoors as long as it has "a guaranteed meeting place". [...]. ^ top ^

Lawyer freed, another vanishes (SCMP)
2011-05-05
Missing rights lawyer Li Fangping was released last night after being detained for more than 100 hours. But his release coincided with the disappearance of another prominent rights lawyer, just like the day Li himself disappeared [...]. The release was unexpected as Li had called his wife yesterday morning [...] saying he was "still sorting out some business" and might come home in a few days [...]. Just before Li was taken into custody, the lawyer called his wife to say that "state security police" were waiting for him at an NGO meeting at which he was giving advice on an employment discrimination case for a worker with hepatitis. On that day, rights lawyer and law professor Teng Biao was released after he disappeared for more than two months. And coinciding with Li's release yesterday, Li Xiongbing became the latest to join a list of rights lawyers who have "disappeared" since the government launched a crackdown on dissidents and critics. Associated Press reported that Li called his wife Wu Haiying yesterday afternoon, saying he would be away for a few days and not to be worried if she was unable to reach him during that time. The call was then cut off and Wu was unable to subsequently get through [...]. Wan Yanhai, founder of the Aids advocacy group Aizhixing who fled to the United States with his family a year ago in the face of rising threats, said Li Xiongbing had worked on numerous human rights cases [...]. Li Fangping, who has just been released, had in the past decade defended tainted milk activist Zhao Lianhai, Aids activist Hu Jia and blind rights advocate Chen Guangcheng [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing sets up new body to oversee web content (SCMP)
2011-05-05
The central government has created a new state agency to oversee the world's largest internet market. The State Council said yesterday that the new State Internet Information Office, with resources pooled from the propaganda, industry and information technology and public security departments, would be responsible for strengthening management of internet content and handling day-to-day regulation of news and related services. The new agency is headed by Wang Chen, who is also director of State Council Information Office (SCIO) [...]. It will oversee the development and co-ordination of news portals, penalise offending web services and extend guidance to providers of technological services. It will also monitor online game, video and e-publishing services, Xinhua reported [...]. The new state internet office, headed by a ministerial-level official, centralises the responsibilities and functions. It also has more power to exercise control over the internet because of its enhanced status. The new agency adds a second function to the SCIO and it will not have a separate staff, just a few officials concurrently holding positions in other government departments. In another sign that the authorities are stepping up control over the internet, the internet security general command of the Beijing public security bureau, officially established on April 30, was given a higher status than the municipal bureau's internet operations, becoming "deputy bureau-chief level” [...]. Commentaries in the official media after the new agency was set up called for more effective checks on the growing influence of some harmful online content [...]. The mainland had 457 million internet users at the end of last year, [...]. Its internet surveillance system, also known as the "Great Firewall", requires domestic operators to self-censor content deemed politically incorrect by the government, and blocks overseas services such as YouTube [...]. ^ top ^

Legal cases involving foreign workers on the rise (Global Times)
2011-05-05
[...] According to Wang Huayu, a human resources expert and chief consultant at the Shanghai-based Chi Wan Legal Consulting Firm, the number of legal cases involving foreign workers has increased by 30 percent in the past three years. According to Wang, there are three main reasons behind this trend. First is the fact that the number of foreign workers has grown. The second comes from the tightening of the Labor Law in 2008 and Social Insurance Law in 2010, prompting workers, including foreign ones, to pay more attention to their legal rights. Finally, where foreigners previously tended to work in high-level management positions, more of them are now working in mid-level management as well as ordinary jobs, such as technicians. However, the law hasn't quite kept up with these changes. At present, there is only one regulation covering foreign employees in China: the Administration of Foreigners Working in China Provisions published in 1996 [...]. In fact, a debate has long existed over the necessity of a labor contract distinguishing foreigners from local workers, given that foreign workers' benefits and welfare terms are usually much better than those of local workers [...]. In fact, Shanghai labor authorities issued two notices in 1998 and 2002 allowing foreign employees and employers to set certain terms regarding their rights and responsibilities through contracts, including liability for breach of contract and conditions for the cancellation of the working relationship. However, most foreigners are unaware of these regulations. "Foreign employees, having grown up in a different legal environment, know little about China's Labor Law, let along the regional regulations," Wang Huayu said. "I think it's necessary to make a special regulation on Labor Law for foreign employees in China," he argued, adding that foreigners working in China should also study its Labor Law and regulations. ^ top ^

China's cabinet urges more transparency of government expenditures (Xinhua)
2011-05-05
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Wednesday pledged to increase both the depth and scope of Party and government financial information released to the public in a bid to enhance transparency. "The openness of financial budgets still falls short of people's expectations as some departments lag behind in making their budgets public and some information released is not detailed enough," read a statement released after a regular meeting of the State Council [......]. In China, some Party and government officials purchased luxury cars for their units and used them for personal matters, and unnecessary celebrations, seminars and forums were held using government funds, triggering widespread public concern. According to the meeting, a total of 98 Party and government departments at the central level should make their financial budgets public this year after the documents are approved by the National People's Congress. The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) publicized its annual budget on April 14, […]. Chinese central Party and government authorities demonstrated a resolution to forge a more transparent government, said Wang Yukai, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, in an interview with Xinhua. Meanwhile, the State Council vowed to increase efforts in pushing local governments to release their budget records [...]. ^ top ^

Outcry after chained-up campaigner disappears (SCMP)
2011-05-06
The ordeal of a man locked up in a psychiatric hospital for four years for protesting about his salary and who was then spirited away after he escaped and sought help from journalists has sparked a national outcry. Xu Wu, a former security guard at the state-owned Wuhan Iron and Steel Group (Wugang), was chained up in the psychiatric ward of the Wugang No 2 Staff Hospital from 2007, after a campaign against his employer, which Xu claimed had paid staff with the same workload differently. On April 19, he escaped from the hospital by bending the iron rails on the window in his room with his bed sheet. But he didn't go home, and instead sought out media outlets in Guangzhou to reveal his plight. Then on Wednesday last week, he was abducted in Guangzhou by seven men with an accent from Wuhan, Hubei, where Xu is from. One of them was allegedly the security department head from Wugang, caing.com reported. His parents tried to get him back but were told by a senior official of Wugang that the company was considering releasing him on the condition that Xu promised to drop his campaign. Xu's father, Xu Guibin, told The Southern Metropolis News he wasn't confident that his son would stop campaigning against the company if he was freed. Then on Tuesday, Xu's parents were taken away by unidentified people. Mainland journalists said their whereabouts were unknown. A statement by Wugang posted on xinhuanet.com on Saturday accused Xu of setting off an explosion in Beijing in December 2006 and being arrested by Beijing police. It also said that Xu's parents had planned to send him to the psychiatric clinic to be locked up. Before they disappeared, the parents told mainland reporters that Xu Wu had been forced into confessing to the explosion. They showed a diagnosis certificate from the Wuhan Mental Health Centre issued on December 26, 2006, and claimed it was forged because at that time Xu Wu was in Beijing. Another medical conclusion said Xu Wu had developed paranoid psychosis [...]. A dozen reporters arrived in Wuhan to follow the case, but the propaganda department issued an order that reports on the case were not allowed, reporters confirmed [...]. Intriguingly, the People's Daily, a Communist Party's official mouthpiece, published a commentary yesterday on the case, saying the authorities should abide by the law when they send someone to a psychiatric hospital [...]. ^ top ^

China vows greater efforts to fight corruption among police officers (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-06
Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu has called for greater efforts to fight corruption among police authorities and build a clean police force throughout the country, according to a ministry statement issued Thursday [...]. Stressing that the people's police should serve the people, Meng said efforts should be made to forge an honest and industrious police force to satisfy the public and improve the image of Chinese police, which is a "long-term and critical task." He demanded that police authorities across the country work hard towards this goal and thus be better prepared to greet the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in July [...]. Meng added that greater efforts should be made to prevent corruption among the police at initial stages and target the root causes by strengthening precautionary education and improving supervisory systems. Also, he stressed moves should be undertaken to solve those problems in police law enforcement that were deeply criticized by the public and to further improve public trust in police authorities [...]. Further, he said that the fight against corruption among senior officials of police agencies should be stepped up and the systems that govern the selection and evaluation of police officers should be improved. "Illegal participation of police officers in government-funded materials purchasing and construction projects are strictly prohibited," Meng said. ^ top ^

China tells world: shut up about Ai Weiwei (SCMP)
2011-05-06
China has told other countries they should stop commenting on the detention of prominent artist Ai Weiwei, after Austria this week joined a growing international chorus calling for his release [...]. "The issue is under investigation and the outside should not comment on this issue habitually," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. "We hope that the outside can respect China's judicial sovereignty and judicial authorities handling the issue in accordance with the law." Austria said on Tuesday it had summoned China's ambassador to Vienna to protest against the detention of the internationally known artist, [...]. Faymann, who arrived in Beijing yesterday, made it clear he would bring up Ai's detention in meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. China is under growing pressure to free the burly, bearded avant-garde artist, who angered authorities with his involvement in a number of sensitive activist campaigns and his criticism of the ruling party. Last week, US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner accused China of "serious backsliding" on human rights [...]. Posner indicated that China had rebuffed US appeals to soften a continuing crackdown on dissent and resolve the cases of Ai and other detained activists and dissidents [...]. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also pressed China on detention of human rights activists during a visit to Beijing last week, but Wen denied the country had taken a "backward step" [...]. ^ top ^

Sichuan police apologise for beating teacher (SCMP)
2011-05-06
Sichuan police have apologised to a middle school after one of its teachers was severely beaten by seven policemen who mistook him for a fugitive, even though students and teachers tried to intervene. The policemen assaulted Yu Hui while he was about to enter an awards ceremony recognising him as an outstanding teacher in Shehong county on Tuesday [...]. Angry teachers and students took to the streets demanding an explanation from the county government. A Shehong county police spokesman said yesterday the beating had been caused by a misunderstanding because a suspect "looked kind of similar" to the teacher. Yu fled the police because he thought they were robbers. The seven policemen have been suspended pending further investigation [...]. More than 100 teachers and students at Shehong Middle School had gathered at a farmhouse restaurant for the awards ceremony. Yu was attacked as he stepped out of a taxi. State media said "Yu and police officers clashed after Yu was mistaken as a fugitive", but photos posted online showed the policemen unharmed and Yu covered in blood and bruises. Many postings about the attack on internet forums and blogs have been removed. The senior teacher said Yu was alone when the attack started. "A plain-clothes officer tapped his shoulder and said: `Brother, there's something I need to talk to you about.' But Yu thought he was a robber so he ran and the next thing he knew was that he was beaten severely by seven policemen," [...]. ^ top ^

No let-up as food scandals mount (SCMP)
2011-05-06
The list of mainland food scandals continues to grow, with Shenzhen reporters discovering an illegal workshop that made steamed buns using waste water, flour well past its expiry date and lashings of artificial colours and flavours. The Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday that [...] the workshop sold several thousand steamed buns a day because it only charged 1 yuan for three buns. However, many people who ate the buns suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea. The newspaper said it had reported the case to the food safety watchdog, which had promised to take action on the workshop. On Wednesday, mainland media reported another food scandal in Xinjiang - with bean sprouts found to contain high levels of potentially cancer-causing nitrite and urea. A similar incident was reported in Shenyang, Liaoning, last month, with police seizing 55 tonnes of toxic bean sprouts in a crackdown on several small workshops [...]. A laboratory at the Xinjiang Agricultural University's school of food science and pharmaceutical science found samples of the cheaper sprouts contained 152 micrograms of urea and 9.2 micrograms of nitrite per kilogram [...]. Pang said farmers had used urea, hormones and other additives to spur growth, the newspaper reported [...]. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese leader visits post-quake Sichuan, inspecting rebuilding work (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-06
Senior Chinese leader He Guoqiang has concluded a tour to southwest Sichuan Province to inspect the reconstruction work, three years after a strong earthquake rocked the province. He, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the inspection tour from Tuesday to Wednesday, as the third anniversary of the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, approaches. "The supervision and inspection over the reconstruction work has been carried out strictly, which has helped prevent corruption and ensure that relief and reconstruction are done in a clean and transparent way," said He [...]. He said experience gained from overseeing the rebuilding work could provide reference for tightening monitoring efforts on related major projects. During his third visit to Beichuan, a quake-leveled county of the province, in these three years, He said this time he saw a beautiful new county featuring distinct cultural characteristics of the Qiang ethnic group [...]. The 2008 Wenchuan quake left about 87,000 people dead or missing. A total of 27,564 post-quake reconstruction projects, out of the planned 29,692 projects, had been completed, and 91 percent of the total budget of 865.8 billion yuan, had been spent, said Wei Hong, vice governor of Sichuan, last month. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing ups its security technology game (Global Times)
2011-05-03
More high-definition surveillance cameras and laser scanning equipment will be installed in Tiananmen Square and the areas surrounding Zhongnanhai to ensure safety in the capital's "political center," as well as to improve police security and anti-terrorism efforts, according to a plan released by the city's Emergency Response Office [...]. The plan [...] includes 10 major projects to apply the Internet of Things (IOT) to Beijing's safety and emergency response systems. All projects are to be completed within 2011. Among those 10 projects, one requires that surveillance cameras be upgraded or added to the "political center" that includes Tiananmen Square, Zhongnanhai and surrounding areas of Chang'an Avenue from Dongdan to Xidan [...]. "Key persons" and "abnormal behavior" exhibited by people and passing vehicles will be examined via intelligent image analysis and face recognition technologies, while laser-scanning equipment will be added to the square's nine security checkpoints to obtain accurate information about visitor flow, the plan reveals. The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the Tiananmen administration committee will be responsible for managing those two projects, but neither was able to reveal further details of their work on [...]. "Information about the plan is only available internally," said PSB spokesman Zi Xiangdong [...]. Zi refused to comment on what the terms "key persons" or "abnormal behavior" mean in the plan. The project also includes detection of "key vehicles" entering the center, monitoring of suspicious vehicles and integrating fire alerts for tall buildings within the area into the IOT system. A separate project in the plan will see sensors to detect nuclear radiation, poison gas, smoke and temperature changes installed at Dongdan Station on Line 1 [...]. ^ top ^

One in three Beijingers a migrant worker (China Daily)
2011-05-06
The capital's population rose to 19.6 million in 2010, and a huge influx of migrants contributed to the growth, the city's statistics bureau said on Thursday. Migrants who have come from other provinces to the city are the main contributors to Beijing's population growth. But the municipal government is seemingly reluctant to encourage a further influx of migrants. "After 10 years of high-speed growth, Beijing's economy should slow down and improve. In the meantime, the population should be controlled accordingly," said Gu Yanzhou, deputy director of the Beijing municipal bureau of statistics [...]. However, previous policies, such as restrictions on house and car buying by migrants, have been criticized as discriminatory. The number of Beijing residents, including those without a hukou, or household registration, is now 19.6 million, an increase of 44.5 percent in a decade [...]. According to the sixth national census conducted last year, China had a mainland population of 1.34 billion, 73.9 million more than 2000, and more than 260 million are on the move, living away from the place of their hukou. The number of residents in the capital who come from other regions of China has doubled to 7.045 million, accounting for 35.9 percent of the city's total residents [...]. Most of the migrants in Beijing now work in the service industry instead of manufacturing and construction, as they did 10 years ago, Gu added. The newcomers who are largely between the ages of 15 and 60, have helped to alleviate Beijing's aging problem. According to the census data, Beijing has 1.71 million people aged 65 or above, accounting for 8.7 percent of the total population. That ratio is up 0.3 percentage points from 10 years ago [...]. Meanwhile, the education status among capital residents is the best nationwide. There are nearly 31,500 college graduates for every 100,000 people, far more than the ratio of 8,930 out of 100,000 nationwide. "Beijing's economic and social development depends on new and innovative talent from other regions, as well as a steady supply of labor," Gu said. But he also conceded that the huge population growth is causing problems. Beijing has some of China's worst traffic. Five million automobiles are on its roads and its hospitals are frequently over crowded. "Beijing's population should match its economic development," Gu said [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai encounters worst dusty pollution (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-04
A view, somewhat obscured, of downtown Shanghai yesterday. After a strong sandstorm hit parts of China's northwest, the city is experiencing its worst air quality to date. Experts said the sandstorm significantly increased the level of respirable particles in the air and pushed Shanghai's air pollution level to "severe," the highest level on the scale. Weather forecasters and the environmental bureau say that with more rain and favorable winds over the next few days the pollution should ease. Today, they said, air pollution could be described as "slight," the third level on the five level scale [...]. Weather forecasters and the environmental bureau say that with more rain and favorable winds over the next few days, the air pollution, blamed mainly on sandstorms in the north of the country, should ease [...]. More residents could be seen wearing masks yesterday but for those with respiratory problems it may already have been too late. Many were critical of the authorities, saying they had failed to guide people to take timely precautions. Some urged the city to plant more trees or produce artificial rain to ease the problem in future. But experts said that [...] the current air pollution had little to do with Shanghai's local environment but was caused by two sandstorms [...]. "The longer distance the sand-filled storm or wind travels, the smaller the particulate matters in the air. Given the distance the sandstorm has traveled before reaching Shanghai, rain can only help bring down a small portion of the relatively bigger particulate matter in the air to ease instead of effectively avoid pollution," said Dong Wenbo, an environmental engineering professor with Fudan University [...]. The environmental bureau said the local air pollution index air stood at the 500 ceiling level for both the past two days, the worst situation yet recorded. Air quality is considered hazardous once the benchmark figure climbs to 300 [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan leader lauds improved cross-Strait ties ahead of KMT-CPC forum (Xinhua)
2011-05-04
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said here Tuesday that he hoped the annual forum between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) could serve as an important foundation for solving problems and planning the future. Ma, who is also KMT chairman, made the remarks when he met with KMT honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung and others who will form the KMT delegation, which Wu will lead, to this year's forum on economy, trade and culture to be held on May 6 to May 8 in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province. "Although there are different views on many issues between the two sides, improved cross-Strait ties in the past three years have made people in Taiwan more willingly and confident to deepen cooperation across the Taiwan Strait," he said. Taiwan exported more than 30 billion U.S. dollars worth of products to the mainland in the first quarter, up 14 percent year on year, and the island's first-quarter agricultural-product exports shot up in terms of value to 33 million U.S. dollars from about 2 million during the same period last year, he said. Ma attributed the increase to the initial results of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between the two sides last year [...]]. Topics including the mainland's development blueprint for the 12th Five-Year period (2011-2015) and Taiwan's plan to embrace a "Golden Decade" of development will be discussed at the forum, according to the office. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Debt fears rise as railway industry posts loss (SCMP)
2011-05-04
The state-owned railway industry made a rare pre-tax loss of 3.7 billion yuan in the first quarter of the year amid growing concern about its health. Monday's release of data by the Ministry of Railways' finance department, a major bond issuer on the mainland, also followed reports that the government was under pressure to scale back its ambitious railways spending programme. The mainland built more high-speed railway lines in the past decade than Western countries built over the past 40 years. Railway officials said Beijing would spend 700 billion yuan on railway construction this year as it worked towards its goal of having 13,000 kilometres of high-speed railway by the end of next year [...]. Newly appointed Railways Minister Sheng Guangzu and Finance Minister Xie Xuren said the level of debt was "safe", "reasonable" or "controllable" [...]. Ting Lu, China economist with Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, said it was natural for the ministry to register a deficit as a result of its high debt ratio, although he and other economists found it hard to understand the ministry's financial reports [...]. The ministry did not provide a comparison with the same period last year but said earlier that it made 25.1 billion yuan in operating profits in the first half of 2010 [...]. In Monday's report, the ministry said it had 3.41 trillion yuan in total assets by the end of March and 1.99 trillion yuan in total liabilities. Lu said that debt ratio, at 60 per cent, was too high. Professor Zhao Jian, a railway industry economist at Beijing Jiaotong University and a critic of the ministry's spending plans, warned recently that the industry faced a debt crisis by 2015. Zhao said the ministry planned to repay debt from ticket sales, but reports suggested that on many high-speed rail lines, such as the one linking Guangzhou and Wuhan, some trains ran "nearly empty" [...]. The debate has heated up since February's sacking of former railways minister Liu Zhijun on suspicion of corruption [...]. ^ top ^

Inflation bites harder (Global Times)
2011-05-04
Chinese consumers are more sensitive to soaring prices than people in other emerging economies, mainly because of inaccurate inflation measures, a negative deposit rate and stronger inflation expectations, market researchers said Tuesday. China's inflation rate is still lower than some other emerging economies such as Vietnam and India, but its impact on low-income consumers might be bigger compared with other countries, said Wu Xiaohua, a senior researcher from the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission [...]. Food-driven inflation over the previous months might make the problem more serious, Lee Il-houng, the IMF's senior resident representative to China, told the Global Times [...]. But under the Chinese government's efforts to increase the food supply and fight against market manipulation over the past few months, the food-driven inflation rate is expected to moderate in the second half of the year, the World Bank projected last Thursday. The negative interest rate has eroded purchasing power and made people feel less capable, said Gu Yuanyang, a senior researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences [...]. China's inflation rate was 3.3 percent in 2010, exceeding the 3 percent official target. This year, the government floated the official target to 4 percent, but many economists foresee the actual rate being higher. The 1 percent change on the official target has also pushed expectations higher, Wu said. Both the World Bank and the IMF have estimated China's inflation rate to be 5 percent in 2011, and the Asian Development Bank projects 4.6 percent inflation for this year. ^ top ^

Experts: Time not ripe to float yuan (China Daily)
2011-05-05
Conditions are not ripe at present to freely float the yuan, Chinese economists said on Wednesday after US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner again pressed China on reform of its financial system. China's monetary policy and the further opening of its financial markets to US institutions are expected to be high on the agenda. "It would be inappropriate for China to let its currency float freely at present, given the ongoing second round of quantitative easing initiated by the US and the resulting excessive liquidity," said Chen Daofu, policy research chief at the Financial Research Institute of the State Council's Development Research Center. The US will continue to press for a faster appreciation of the yuan during the annual talks, analysts said. Geithner said on Tuesday that China must improve its financial system, open up its capital market and level the playing field for all players, including foreign firms, if it wants to achieve balanced growth [...].. Some Chinese economists have also urged the government to let the yuan float freely as a way to reduce the country's immense foreign-exchange reserves and to ease inflationary pressure. Yu Yongding, a former adviser to the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said that China should allow its currency to strengthen against the dollar to fight inflation. It should also stop piling up dollar assets to avoid losses as the US currency weakens, he said. Hu Xiaolian, deputy central bank chief, said in March that China will gradually open its capital account by achieving a major breakthrough in full convertibility of the yuan over the next five years [...]. But policymakers, he added, should remain cautious about trading in financial markets, especially those that involve high-leveraged derivative products, to avoid drastic fluctuations and irregular cross-border capital flows [...]. Geithner said that China's current financial system, which favors State-owned enterprises, makes it tough for foreign companies to compete in China and fuels tension among trade partners. The US wants to see a "more fair and efficient allocation of credit and capital" in China, he said [...]. ^ top ^

Average salaries up 13-14% last year as income disparity increases (Global Times)
2011-05-05
Outstripping 10.3 percent GDP growth, salaries went up between 13.5 percent and 14.1 percent on average last year throughout China, according to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Beijing on Tuesday. The average annual income of private-sector employees was 20,759 yuan ($3,194) last year, a 14.1 percent increase on the previous year. "Non-private sector" employee salaries averaged 37,147 yuan a year last year, up 13.5 percent from 2009. "Non-private sector jobs" refer to "State-owned enterprises, foreign enterprises as well as companies funded by investors from China's Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong," according to the bureau. The income disparity between private and non-private sectors reflected a problem with China's wealth gap, commentator Lü Pingbo told the Beijing Times [...]. The financial industry topped non-private sector incomes, with average annual income standing at 80,772 yuan, 2.2 times higher than the average 37,147 yuan income. Farming, forestry and fishing industry employee incomes averaged 17,345 yuan a year, the lowest on the list. Meanwhile in the private sector, information technology employees earned the highest incomes, averaging 31,226 yuan a year. Finance employees averaged 30,513 yuan. Income disparity was also noticeable between different regions, with Shanghai the top earner at 71,874 yuan a year in the non-private sector, Beijing at 65,683 yuan. Fast economic growth and rising commodity prices had driven up incomes last year, Zhao Lipeng, a senior income analyst with Zhaopin, a popular human resource service provider in China, told the Beijing Times. "Increasing the minimum wage is a double-edged sword," Liu Junsheng, a researcher at the Institute for Labor and Wage Studies in Beijing, told the paper. "Too big a raise means companies cut other benefits and lay off workers to save costs.". ^ top ^

'US dumps cars on Chinese market' (China Daily)
2011-05-06
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday in a final ruling that the United States has dumped subsidized sedans and sport utility vehicles with engine displacement of 2.5 liters or bigger on the Chinese market. The move has harmed China's domestic auto manufacturing industries, the MOC said in a statement on its website. However, the statement continued to say that China would not take anti-dumping and countervailing measures on these vehicles until further notice [...]. China launched the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into auto imports from the U.S. on November 6, 2009 at the request of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Chinese car-makers. ^ top ^

China's FDI to help US growth (China Daily)
2011-05-06
Political fear-mongering about Chinese direct investment in the United States could cause the US to miss out on employment and investment opportunities, according to US academics.The warning was spelled out on Wednesday in the form of a recent study on Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US. Entitled An American Open Door? Maximizing the Benefits of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment, the study shows that increases in China's direct investment in the US in the coming decade will help economic growth and job creation in the country. Over the past two years, the value of Chinese FDI assets in the US has grown 130 percent annually, said Daniel Rosen, an economist and one of the two authors of the study. He and economist Thilo Hanemann estimate that in 2010 alone, Chinese investments in the US amounted to $5 billion. By combining data [...], they show that Chinese firms have opened businesses in at least 35 states and created some 10,000 jobs. Profitability is the essential motive behind the Chinese investment, Rosen said, adding that Chinese firms are likely to "place some $1 trillion to $2 trillion in direct investments around the world over the coming decade" [...]. The study has "brought together the best factual bases for understanding both the positive aspects of Chinese FDI in the US and potential risks that exist with FDI in advanced countries", said Roy, who is director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, [...]. The authors addressed the national security issue that has aroused an outcry, particularly in the US Congress, saying that the US should continue its screening through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a group headed by the Treasury department with members coming from the defense and intelligence departments. While Rosen defended CFIUS' role, he did admit that Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's continued failure in major mergers and acquisitions in the US along with other much publicized cases has "already planted seeds of mistrust among Chinese entrepreneurs and Chinese firms that are considering operating in the US or Germany or Canada and someplace else". The flow of investment from China to the US constitutes "one of the fundamental changes in US-China relations", said Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society's Center on US-China Relations. Schell said the US "will suffer" if it cannot find ways to "be as open to Chinese capital as we are to other firms", even when national security issues considered [...]. ^ top ^

China set to snap up $17b in luxury goods, pass Japan (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-06
China will replace Japan as the world's second-largest luxury goods market this year, behind the United States, according to a global management consulting firm on Wednesday. If it happens, it will be the first time that sales of luxury goods in China exceeds those of Japan since records began. Meanwhile, in contrast, the nation still has about 150 million people living in poverty, according to the United Nations' standard that counts people who live on less than one dollar per person per day. China's population of people meeting that standard is the second-largest in the world, behind India. It is expected that luxury goods sales in China will see 25-percent year-on-year growth this year, to $17 billion, while Japan will see a decline of 5 percent, partly because of the recent earthquake, according to Bain &Company's latest report [...]. Statistics from the report show that the global luxury market has experienced a "brilliant" rebound in 2010, rising 12 percent from 2009 following two consecutive years of decline and surpassing its prior worldwide peak of $252 billion in 2007. World famous luxury goods makers, including LVMH, Burberry and PPR, have seen stronger sales increases than expected [...]. "Emerging markets are doing more than generating revenues. New consumers are also forcing luxury brands to become much more nimble in the merchandise selection and customer experience they offer to increasingly diverse consumers." Analysis indicates that China is becoming a testing ground for luxury goods makers and the industry has been trying out ideas that will be transplanted into mature markets and new territories [...]. The study also found that the average age of China's luxury shoppers is 20 to 25 years younger than such shoppers in the West. ^ top ^

Beijing refutes claims of unfair business practice (Global Times)
2011-05-06
China defended its business environment on Thursday after US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke lodged complaints in that regard, less than a week ahead of the two sides' annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue. "China is committed to its reform and opening-up policy and will continue to build an open and transparent legal environment based on relevant laws and regulations, as well as rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to embrace foreign direct investment (FDI)," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said [...]. "All foreign invested companies in China enjoy equal treatment as domestic ones," she added [...]. Jiang was responding to remarks made by Locke on Wednesday accusing China of restricting US investment and adopting policies favoring domestic companies. American companies in China "are frequently shut out of entire industries, or they are forced to give up proprietary information as a condition of operating in China," the Wall Street Journal quoted Locke as saying at a meeting in Washington with the Asia Society on Chinese Foreign Direct Investment. The biggest challenge continues to come from China's efforts to support "indigenous innovation," he added, according to the Journal. Locke, the first Chinese American commerce secretary, had been tapped to be the next US ambassador to China... a decision pending Senate approval. His harsh stance echoed previous analyses that he would be a hardliner on Beijing as a Chinese descendant, who nonetheless needs to prove his representative status for US interests. Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times that Locke's accusations were not fair [...]. Zhou Shijian, a senior researcher at the China-US Relations Research Center at Tsinghua University, noted that instead of blaming China, Locke could have given more information on why the US government always blocks Chinese investments [...]. Regarding Locke's pointing out that US companies sometimes have to transfer technology to Chinese companies in order to enter China, Zhou said such demands are not against WTO rules, considering that China is still a developing country and that India has made similar requirements with the US. In his speech Wednesday, Locke admitted that the US prohibits foreign investment in several industries for safety concerns, adding that Washington welcomes Chinese investments. The Asia Society report also said that Washington should "not play the reciprocity game" by linking approval of Chinese investment projects to China opening its market to more US companies, according to Reuters. Separately, Mei noted that the timing of Locke's remarks indicated that by pressuring Beijing on these long-term disputes, Washington is trying to gain leverage ahead of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK to build special zone for int'l tours at Mt. Kumgang (Global Times)
2011-05-03
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will establish a special zone for international tours at Mt. Kumgang, the official KCNA news agency said Friday. KCNA said, according to a decree issued by the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, the special zone in Kangwon Province would include the Mt. Kumgang township and some areas of Onjong-ri in Kosong County, Lagoon Samil, Sea Kumgang area, Inner Kumgang area of Kumgang County and some areas of Thongchon County. "DPRK sovereignty will be exercised over the zone," the decree said. The DPRK would encourage free investment in the development of the special zone by corporate bodies, individuals and other economic bodies and protect by law the invested capital, properties, income and other profits to be gained through business, the KCNA reported. The Central Tourist Guidance Agency would take measures to increase new tourist destinations, depending on the progress made in the development of the special zone, the report said [...]. ^ top ^

N.Korea jails 2 Japanese on drug charges (Global Times)
2011-05-05
North Korea said on Wednesday that it was holding two Japanese citizens on charges related to drug trafficking and the use of counterfeit currency in its free-trade zone, and had expelled a third. The three were detained in March and had admitted their criminal actions, said the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) without explaining why one was deported. "What they did is a very grave violation of the law of the DPRK and international law, and they will, therefore, face proper legal actions," it said. The three had entered the Rason free-trade zone to work for Japanese firms, the agency said without giving further details of the charges. The trio visited Rason to check machines at a food processing factory, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported last month. The paper said they were detained on charges that they hid drugs in canned goods to be exported to China [...]. North Korea arrested a Japanese man on drug-smuggling charges in 2003 before allowing him to return home on humanitarian grounds in 2009. Pyongyang has no diplomatic relations with Tokyo and customarily describes it as an imperialist aggressor [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Memorandum signed for mining responsibility (Montsame)
2011-05-01
The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy has established a cooperation memorandum with the Initiative of Responsible Mining for Sustainable Development NGO. Signed by D.Zorigt, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy; and L.Baigal, the NGO's executive director, the memorandum has purposes to draw up criteria for mining companies, to reflect it in the state policies, to give complex understanding to state and public organizations about the responsible mining, and to distribute the related information to the public. The sides considered that responsibilities of mining companies for environment and society will be improved, and the trilateral understanding and collaboration among the state, civil society and mining companies will get better. ^ top ^

“UB thermal power station-5” project's info presented (Montsame)
2011-05-04
A Minister of Mineral resources and energy, D.Zorigt spoke about a project “Ulaanbaatar thermal power station-5” at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. As known, the project aims to give energy to UB city especially to its eastern part. According to the hydro estimation, the station ought to be erected as much as to the east from the city. For the time being, the Ministry has worked out three versions of the station locations--the eastern side of Ulaanbaatar or Uliastai of Bayanzurkh district; near the thermal power station-3 based on nowadays infrastructure; and at Baganuur coal mine. There is also a plan to build other stations in the city, the Minister has said. The Government have supported the project deciding to present it to the National Security Council. A head of the State property committee D.Sugar and a Minister of mineral resouces and energy D.Zorigt have been obliged to realize the “Ulaanbaatar thermal power station-5” project by funding a "build-use-own" concession form, or, if it fails, a “build-transfer" form. The cabinet has tasked D.Zorigt and a Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt with appointing the project implementing unit, with reflecting related money in the 2011 year budget and having them approved. ^ top ^

Government to spend several millions on registering Mongolians (Montsame)
2011-05-04
The government will spend 684.3 million tugrik from its reserve funds for involving living-abroad Mongolians in the revised civil registration. This decision was made at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. These money will go to registration of 112 thousand 872 Mongolians who live in foreign countries. When they are listed they can protect their rights and receive "Bounty of motherland" and dividends from largest mineral deposits and own stocks. A registration of the Mongolians in S.Korea already began March 23 during the Premier's visit to this country. The registration has been continuing at 38 Mongolian diplomatic representatives' residences in foreign countries. ^ top ^

Meeting urges anti-air pollution work to continue in summer (news.mn)
2011-05-04
An open meeting called “Smokeless Ulaanbaatar” was held yesterday at Khangarid Palace to discuss measures to reduce air pollution in the city. Among those present were President Ts.Elbegdorj, Mayor G.Munkhbayar, some MPs, and senior officials of the Ulaanbaatar Administration and members of the Civil Representatives' Assembly. The Chief of the President's Office, D.Battulga, opened the discussion and detailed the work done so far by the National Committee, which has responsibility to reduce the smoke in Ulaanbaatar by 50% before the end of 2012. Ger districts produce 60% of the smoke, vehicles 20% and low pressure heating furnaces 20%. Governor of Chingeltei district D.Ganbold said pollution on the ground is as much a problem as air pollution, though it receives far less attention. Most speakers said work on reducing air pollution should continue in summer also, and not only in winter when it is more acute. President Ts.Elbegdorj gave the concluding address and noted that 470,000 citizens have migrated to Ulaanbaatar in the last five years. This overcrowding puts an unbearable strain on the air, water and soil of the city, which now faces ecological disaster. The Government and citizens should work hand in hand to save the situation. Saying that the work of the National Council has begun to show results, he asked officials of the Ulaanbaatar Administration and the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism to prepare a work plan for the summer and implement it by September. ^ top ^

Premier in Khentii (Montsame)
2011-05-05
In Khentii aimag the Premier has held a meeting with people in the province's centre and introduced them to the governmental policies and goals. He has mentioned about the Year of Reforming Business Environment in 2010, saying the cabinet started improving an environment for businessmen who contribute to the country's economics, augmenting the economic growth, refining legal environment in order to abolish a bureaucracy in the state service. "We annulled 101 licenses that were causing troubles in business, decided to distribute shares of the “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” company to every citizen, initiated a construction of the “Sainshand” industrial complex, of 1,100 km railways in several routes and paved-roads to connect all aimags," he said adding that the outcome these works will appear soon.The gathered have appreciated the cabinet's decision to place MNT 24 billion in the state budget in order to create a fund of developing productions in aimags as well as its works to make a reform in the educational sector. “The government has reduced number of state-owned universities and institutes to 16, and prefers to found new vocational training centres and to improve their capability. A vocational training centre of eastern region will be erected next year in your aimag, and it will train over 2,000 pupils a year,” the Premier has said. The government has begun introducing the Cambridge standards, “one of secondary schools of Khentii will follow these standards,” he went on. The locals have said the non-cash allowance of MNT 500 thousand significantly contributed to their livelihood allowing to pay tuition fees of students and banking debts, and have thanked the Government for adding a minimum salary, allowance and pension. The Premier has requested the people to strengthen the achievements their province made. ^ 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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