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
  23-27.5.11, No. 372  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China-U.S. military ties to be further advanced with implementation of heads-of-state consensus (Xinhua)
2011-05-23
Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), is on a week-long trip to the United States, leading a PLA delegation [...]. CChen's visit is part of efforts to implement the consensus reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama. During a speech upon his arrival in the U.S., Chen said that his visit was aimed at implementing the consensus reached by the heads of state of the two nations on promoting bilateral military ties, boosting mutual understanding and trust and encouraging cooperation as to build a new type of cooperative military relations featuring mutual respect and mutual benefit. According to Guan Youfei, deputy chief of the foreign affairs office of the Chinese Defense Ministry, both the Chinese and U.S. sides attach great importance to the top Chinese officer's visit [...]. Three major positive results have been produced as General Chen has reaped a bumper harvest during his visit, Guan said. First, the two sides have reached consensus on advancing military ties. They pledged to boost the relations of the two armed forces within the framework of a mutually beneficial partnership featuring mutual respect and win-win outcomes [...]. Secondly, the two sides have conducted inn-depth exchanges of views on major international and regional issues of common concerns, including the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, anti-terror operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster reduction [...]. Thirdly, the two sides have decided on projects of practical cooperation [...]. The moves are conducive to deepening mutual understanding and fostering mutual trust between the two armed forces at the strategic level, said Guan. During Chen's visit in Washington, one of the major topics discussed by the two sides has been the implementation of the important consensus reached by the heads of state of the two nations […]. The consensus has played a key role in promoting the relations between the two armed forces, said Guan. Cooperation remains the mainstream as the two sides have achieved broad consensus on a number of major issues, he said. Admittedly, the two sides still differ over certain issues, said Guan. Chen and Mullen, however, had a very frank exchange of views instead of avoiding discussing their divisions [...]. Chen said that China and the United States needded to respect their respective core interests and accommodate their respective major concerns. China-U.S. military ties are important, but complicated at the same time, said Chen [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president vows closer ties with Singapore (Xinhua)
2011-05-24
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew here on Monday, vowing to boost closer bilateral exchanges and cooperation in trade, culture, national defense and other areas. Calling Lee the founder of China-Singapore relations and an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi said he appreciated Lee's great contribution in boosting bilateral ties over the past years. Xi also congratulated the success of Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) in the country's general election earlier this month. He hailed the remarkable achievements of China-Singapore relations, citing frequent exchanges among state leaders, increased understanding and friendship, and in particular, the improved cooperation in terms of human resources. "Tens of thousands of Chinese cadres at various levels have gone to Singapore for study tours since China's reform and opening-up, and they have played important roles in cementing bilateral friendship and promoting China's modernization drive," Xi said [...]. In another meeting with senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Liu Yunshan, Lee said the international community including Singapore had benefited from China's development, and Singapore would continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in areas such as human resources and media. Liu, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, also pledged to enhance exchanges between the two ruling parties. "Under the PAP's leadership, Singapore has scored remarkable development [...]. ^ top ^

Wen charms Japan but the distrust remains (SCMP)
2011-05-25
Premier Wen Jiabao's trip to Japan at the weekend garnered praise from earthquake survivors and Japanese academics, but analysts say it did more to enhance his personal reputation than to improve Sino-Japanese ties after four decades of ups and downs. The trip, probably Wen's last official visit to Japan before he steps down in early 2013, may have helped change some Japanese perceptions of China, but mutual distrust remains [...]. Wen gave toy pandas to evacuees, drew a smiley face and wrote the characters for "confidence" and "courage" [...]. As in previous visits by Chinese officials, Japan right-wingers expressed their frustrations towards China, with about 300 protesting against Beijing's claim to the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, in an area close to where Wen was staying. However, some disaster survivors said they were grateful to Wen [...].. The visit did result in some concrete actions, with Beijing agreeing to relax a ban on food products from Japan. The three countries also agreed to step up co-operation on nuclear safety and plan to complete negotiations on free-trade agreement in the next year [...]. However, whether the visit will have a significant impact on the often-troubled bilateral relationship remains in question. The territorial dispute was not on the summit agenda because both sides believe a solution is out of reach. "It is unrealistic to expect significant progress in the Sino-Japanese relationship with Kan placing Japan-US ties before Sino-Japan ties," Professor Zhou Yongsheng an international relations expert at China Foreign Affairs University, said. The Japanese media generally reported positively about Wen's visit. However, commentaries in the Asahi newspaper said there was speculation that Wen needed to stabilise China's foreign relations ahead of a reshuffle of senior Communist Party officials next year [...]. Masayuki Masuda, a senior fellow at the Japanese National Institute for Defence Studies' research department, said many Japanese were concerned about the mainland's military modernisation and activities in the South China and East China seas. He said the goodwill from Wen's latest visit would do little to ease the tension between the two countries. "This earthquake is a humanitarian issue, and it should not be a political one. But Wen has attached too many `political' words to it," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president meets Iran's foreign minister (Xinhua)
2011-05-25
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Tuesday, pledging to work closely with Teheran on the bilateral relationship. Salehi came to Beijing on Sunday for a three-day visit, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Iran diplomatic ties. Xi welcomed Salehi to China, his first since becoming foreign minister in January, saying the visit reflects the tremendous attention Iran gives to its relationship with China [...]. Xi said China was satisfied with its ties with Iran, saying both countries had deepened political trust, boosted economic cooperation and maintained close coordination in regional and international issues over the years. Xi reaffirmed China's continuous attention to Iran's role, saying China would like to work with Iran to keep the good momentum of bilateral relationship and better benefit the two peoples [...]. Xi and Salehi also exchanged views on the situation in west Asia and north Africa. During his talks with Yang on Monday, Salehi invited China to send experts to see its nuclear facilities, in a fresh effort to persuade the world that its atomic activities should not attract sanctions. China did not respond to the invitation immediately, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told Tuesday's news briefing that "China will take it into serious consideration." Jiang again called on Iran to start a new round of nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (G5+1) at an early date [...]. ^ top ^

Peru, China sign 3.07-mln-dollar cooperation agreement (Global Times)
2011-05-26
Peru and China on Tuesday signed an agreement on bilateral economic and technical cooperation, under which China would grant assistance worth 20 million yuan ($3.07 million) to the South American country. The money will be used in Peru's education, culture and health sectors. Chinese Ambassador to Peru Zhao Wuyi and Carlos Pando, executive director of the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation, inked the deal [...]. "Trade isn't the full content of bilateral cooperation. There are many potential areas for both sides to increase cooperation, including sectors such as anti-poverty fight and infrastructure construction," he said [...]. The continued strengthening of bilateral relations has created conditions for increased trade, investment and cooperation in different areas and activities, he said. The agreement will boost projects of education and health infrastructure in the near future, he added. Pando also said the China-Peru cooperation increased over the 2006-2010 period, during which Peru received aid worth 120 million yuan ($18.5 million) from China. ^ top ^

Locke vows to build positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship with China (Xinhua)
2011-05-27
Nominee for the next U.S. ambassador to China and the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, vowed on Thursday that he will work to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship between China and the United States [...]. He said he will support enhanced exchanges between the Chinese and American peoples, especially between the youth, which was described by him as "so important" to the long-term mutual understanding [...]. He believed that improved U.S.-China cooperation is "critical" to the world and there is "so much" the two countries can accomplish when they work together. "While the U.S. and China will inevitably have differences from time to time, it is far from pre-ordained that those differences should lead to conflict," he said. He also said that if confirmed, he will continue to work with China on issues on Korean peninsula and Iran. Locke was formally nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama on March 9 as the next U.S. ambassador to China. If confirmed by the U.S. senate, he will become the first Chinese-American ambassador to China. ^ top ^

Top Chinese legislator makes three-point proposal for China-Africa ties (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-27
Wu Bangguo, China's top legislator, on Wednesday put forward a three-point proposal to lift the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to higher levels. Wu, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, [...], made the proposal in a speech at the National Assembly of South Africa. First, China and Africa should continue to treat each other as equals [...]. China stands ready to work with African countries to continue to view and develop China-Africa relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, conduct closer dialogue and consultation within the the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework, and consolidate the political foundation of China-Africa relationship on a sustained basis. Second, they should adhere to mutually beneficial cooperation. Chinese and African economies are highly complementary [...]. China will step up technology transfers to Africa, gradually increase assistance to Africa, optimize the assistance structure and tilt assistance in favor of projects that promote people's well-being, people-to-people exchanges, energy conservation and environmental protection. Third, they should continue to support each other [...]. As the world moves towards multi-polarity and the international system undergoes profound shifts, the two sides need to vigorously promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, step up collaboration at the United Nations, the WTO and other multilateral forums, actively participate in the reform of the global governance structure and international financial system, and work together to make the international political and economic order more just and reasonable […]. ^ top ^

Myanmar president leaves on state visit to China (Global Times)
2011-05-27
Myanmar President U Thein Sein left Nay Pyi Taw Thursday on a three-day state visit to China, aimed at furthering the two countries' friendly and cooperative ties as well as economic cooperation.At the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, Thein Sein's trip signifies his first to China after he assumed office as the president on March 30 [...]. Accompanying U Thein Sein are about a dozen union government ministers and military leaders. U Thein Sein's China tour came after the visits of Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, in April and General Xu Caihou, Vice-Chairman of China's Central Military Commission earlier in May. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Myanmar in 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Myanmar in June, while former Myanmar top leader Senior- General Than Shwe paid a state visit to China in September. During Wen's visit to Myanmar, the two countries signed 15 documents on cooperation covering areas such as a natural gas pipeline, hydropower station and grant aid. According to Chinese official figures, China-Myanmar bilateral trade hit $4.44 billion in 2010, a 53.2-percent increase over the previous year, with China standing the second largest trading partner of Myanmar.The two countries' border trade amounted to 1.054 billion in the first seven months (April-November) of 2010-11, accounting for 83 percent of Myanmar's border trade, Myanmar official statistics also show. Myanmar's export to China through border trade stood 567 million while its import from the neighbor was registered as 486 million. In recent years, the two sides had expanded cooperation in hydropower, energy, mining, communications, fishery, manufacturing and infrastructure, and there had been frequent exchanges in culture, news and sports. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Police round up 27 Christians (SCMP)
2011-05-23
Beijing police yesterday rounded up 27 Christians who were trying to hold a Sunday service at a public plaza, in the seventh week of a crackdown against one of the mainland's most influential unofficial churches [...]. Among those taken away by police were an elderly woman in her 80s and a two-year-old child, said a church member, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals. Two were released by yesterday afternoon. Scores of church members, many detained on previous Sundays, were placed under house arrest over the weekend. The church's six leaders have been confined to their homes for more than a month. Church leaders said police seemed to be confining more congregation members at home to prevent them from going out to worship [...]. Observers feear that the current impasse will end in an all-out crackdown, with the possibility of the church being banned and its leaders jailed [...]. ^ top ^

Ai Weiwei accused of huge tax scam (SCMP)
2011-05-23
China's anti-corruption chief orders improved supervision on adjustment of economic growth mode Beijing last night said a company controlled by artist Ai Weiwei was found to have been involved in tax evasion and deliberately destroying evidence, signalling a possible harsh punishment awaiting the internationally renowned activist It was the first time the government had spelled out the possible charges against 54-year-old Ai [...]. Xinhua yesterday did not mention when charges would be laid against him [...]. "It is horrible and shameful that a country touted for the rule by law has treated its own law like this," said Ai's mother, Gao Ying. A brief Xinhua statement, released last night, said Beijing Fake Cultural Development, controlled by Ai, was found to have evaded "a huge amount" of tax and "intentionally destroyed accounting documents", citing an initial police investigation. It said Ai was being held under "residence surveillance" - which usually refers to detention - and had been allowed to meet his wife in accordance with the law [...]. ^ top ^

Lawyer offers to assist Ai Weiwei (SCMP)
2011-05-23
The family of detained artist and activist Ai Weiwei have not decided whether to hire a lawyer to prepare for possible charges of tax evasion, although a lawyer friend is ready to help. Xinhua reported on Friday that Beijing Fake Cultural Development - a company allegedly controlled by Ai - was suspected of "huge tax evasion" and "intentionally destroying accounting documents". Gao Ge, Ai's elder sister, said yesterday that the family had not seen any documents from police or the authorities relating to her brother's case. She said she had no idea about the investigation into Ai until journalists read the Xinhua report to her on Friday. Gao added: "We know nothing new in regard to Weiwei's whereabouts." In regard to Ai's case, Liu Xiaoyuan, one of Ai's lawyer friends, said the sooner a lawyer was hired the better. "A legal representative is entitled to talk to his client before giving any advice" [...]. The company was owned by Ai's wife, Lu Qing, and helped produce Ai's art and designs. "He was neither the legally responsible person nor a staff member of the company, so how come the police took him away and treated him in that way?" Gao said. Liu said he was willing to defend Ai, even though he was aware of the "pressure" he might face [...]. ^ top ^

Suspicions finally confirmed over Three Gorges Dam (SCMP)
2011-05-23
To tackle an illness, the first step has to be acknowledging the existence of a problem. That explains why the central government's unusual statement last week, in which it admitted to serious flaws with the controversial Three Gorges Dam, made for very interesting reading. In a statement issued on Wednesday [��] said that while the world's largest hydroelectric project, costing 180 billion yuan (HK$215.5 billion), had begun to deliver "enormous comprehensive benefits", it also faced "pressing issues" that must be tackled urgently. These include the smooth relocation and well-being of 1.4 million people, ecological protection, geological disaster prevention, and the dam's negative impact on navigation, irrigation and water supplies along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The State Council vowed that it would address those problems through the adoption of a 10-year plan. Although officials have commented on some of the problems associated with the dam before, last week's statement was the first public acknowledgement by the highest-level government body of all the serious challenges that have arisen from the dam [...]. In recent years, state media reported deadly landslides, minor earthquakes, pollution disasters and ecological degradation in the dam area, without highlighting any possible link with the dam. Internet chat rooms and blogs have been full of comments using anecdotal evidence to raise concerns over the unfolding environmental and ecological damage associated with the dam, including unusually long droughts and heatwaves affecting most of the cities downstream [...]. Over the past few weeks, the dam has again attracted intense criticism from internet users for contributing to the severe drought hitting most of the cities located downstream along the Yangtze. Since March last year, those cities have reported a severe dry spell, leading to a draining of thousands of reservoirs and narrowing of the shipping lane on the river [...]. While the state media mainly blamed a record-low rainfall, internet users were more aggressive in blaming the dam for contributing to the shortage of water. Now their suspicions are somewhat confirmed by the State Council statement. As expected, some mainland environmentalists, while welcoming the central government's unusual frank admission of the problems, said they believed that the plan unveiled last week would be difficult to implement, given the dam's conflicting functions. But other environmentalists are reportedly heartened by the fact that the central government's statement will help rally support for opposing future dam projects [...]. ^ top ^

Drought warning over grain yields (Global Times)
2011-05-24
Persistent drought in the Yangtze River's middle and lower reaches in southeastern China has led to fears over grain yields and forced the government to discharge more water from the three Gorges Dam and send relief aid to the worst-hit areas, China News Service reported Saturday. Rainfall over the river's middle and lower reaches has declined by 40 to 60 percent this year, [...], said the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH) on Friday. By Wednesday, a total of 98.12 million mu of land (6.54 million hectares) and 33 million mu of crops (2.2 million hectares) in Hubei, Gansu, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces had suffered drought. Overall, 4.42 million people in Gansu, Hunan, Hubei and Yunnan provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region do not have adequate water supplies to meet their daily needs, SFDH said Friday [...]. The SFDH sent water pumping equipment to Hunan and Hubei provinces on Thursday and increased water discharge from the Three Gorges Dam to 10,000 cubic meters per second from Friday to the middle of June, it announced Friday. About 600 million cubic meters of water have been discharged from the dam over the past three days, the Yangtze River Water Conservancy Commission said Sunday. The drought is so severe that China's second-largest lake and its largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, now measures just 1,326 square kilometers in area, a 10th of its size during the high-water season, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Sunday. Wildlife in the Yangtze River region is at risk due to the drought. The finless porpoises in a wildlife reserve region in Shishou, Hubei Province, are facing great threat the water level keeps lowered, according to the Xinhua News Agency [...]. ^ top ^

China probes 57 officials in food cases (China Daily)
2011-05-24
Chinese prosecutors have launched investigations on 57 government staff involved in food safety cases this year, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on Monday. Among the suspects, 18 people allegedly took bribes in 17 cases and the other 39 people were investigated for dereliction of duty, said Qiu Xueqiang, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, at a press conference. The supreme procuratorate has focused on cracking down on food safety crimes and related crimes by government staff in recent years, Qiu said. Procuratorates nationwide have approved the arrest of 220 people for producing and selling substandard and poisonous food between September last year and April this year, he added. They have also initiated public prosecution against 113 people in 65 cases during the period. Investigations by procuratorates were mainly against government staff abusing power or neglecting duty to issue licenses for unqualified enterprises and those who accepted or demanded bribes. ^ top ^

China reporting two-thirds less AIDS mortalities (People's Daily Online)
2011-05-24
The deaths of AIDS patients have decreased by about two-thirds in China, thanks to the government's efforts to provide free-of-charge antiretroviral drugs since 2002, Chinese scientists say in a recent report. Now, up to 63 percent of the patients who need AIDS drugs are getting them, up from virtually zero eight years ago. That has led to a 64 percent drop in the mortality in "person-year". The study, led by the country's national center for control and prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, was published online last week [...]. The number of infected people in China --740,000, according to official estimates by the government � is large by comparison with most countries, but small in a population of 1.31 billion. Of those, 323,252 have been tested and 82,540 are being treated. If the total caseload estimate is correct, China has tested about half its infected people [...]. ^ top ^

Another blow for mainland web users (SCMP)
2011-05-25
Hundreds of thousands of internet users on the mainland are being denied access to many foreign websites because of the widespread disruption of a popular internet tool used to bypass the ''Great Firewall''. It has raised fears that it could be the latest action by Beijing to restrict internet freedom. Virtual private network (VPN) connections at many mainland universities and corporate offices have experienced service outages since earlier this month. Access to sites such as Gmail, Facebook and YouTube through VPN is often blocked [...]. Problems are being reported across the country but seem to be mainly limited to corporate and university users of VPN, with home users mostly left unaffected [...]. Mainland media reported that IBM staff on the mainland were not able to access the corporate website when connected to its VPN. Some internet engineers and programmers at Tencent's Shenzhen branch and Shanghai-based Shanda Interactive Entertainment � two of the mainlandd's internet giants, also said they had experienced disruptions to their VPN service. VPNVIP, a commercial VPN operator based in the United States, recently warned its users to change server name because it claimed its original domain name had been hijacked [...]. The cause of the service disruption is unclear. While some believe it is part of a central government crackdown, others say there could be a commercial reason. People blaming Beijing say the disruption coincided with an announcement by Xinhua on May 4 of a new State Internet Information Office. The office would ''direct, co-ordinate and supervise online content management'' and would be managed by the vice-ministers of industry and information technology and of public security, as well as senior officials from the State Council Information Office, Xinhua said. The webmaster for bestvpnservice.com, a website and blog dedicated to the use of VPNs in evading censorship, said the ban of VPN services and the blocking of foreign websites was ''wholly linked with Xinhua's announcement'' [...]. A spokesman from greatfirewall.biz, a website that tracks search queries and websites that are blocked by Beijing's ''Great Firewal'', said the websites of eight commercial VPN operators were recently blocked. William Long, a Shenzhen-based technology blogger, [...] said the blockade on VPN, if intended, could be commercially motivated. Mainland internet service providers, such as China Telecom, would have to pay extra fees to foreign information service providers for data flow, giving them an incentive to curb the use of VPNs. Professor Fang Binxing, president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, also said that the interruption was due to internet service providers' economic concerns. ''Service providers have to pay the bill of the international internet flow for their users. So there is an incentive for the companies to discourage users to visit foreign websites,'' he was quoted by the Global Times as saying. A researcher from the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law specialising in internet censorship on the mainland, cautioned against hasty conclusions, saying that relevant reports were still weak [...]. He said the most reasonable explanation could be that the service interruptions were an unexpected outcome of ''an upgrade to the 'Great Firewall' or a large-scale test on its blocking or filtering abilities''. ^ top ^

More caution over death penalty (Global Times)
2011-05-25
The country's top court said Tuesday that all the country's death penalty cases will carry two years reprieve with the exception of those criminals who are condemned to immediate execution. Observers said the move shows an increasingly cautious approach on the part of the authorities toward the death penalty. In its annual report, the Supreme People's Court said it would continue to ensure that only small numbers of extremely serious criminals are executed. Those who are not sentenced to immediate execution will get two years' suspension of the death penalty, according to a report of the People's Daily website Tuesday. "The report shows that China is more and more discreet on death penalty," Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times […]. All those sentenced to death have their sentences reviewed, a process enshrined in the first Criminal Law of 1979, which empowered the Supreme People's Court to conduct the review [...]. There are many reasons for the government's caution over the death penalty, experts said. Aside from international pressure over China's execution record, bungled cases involving the death penalty have also prompted a more cautious approach […]. In February this year, 13 offences including the smuggling of cultural relics were taken off the list of charges punishable by death under an amendment to the Criminal Law. ^ top ^

NGO registration rules to be relaxed nationwide: civil affairs minister (Global Times)
2011-05-25
China is expected to roll out a plan that would ease NGO registration by allowing more social organizations to register directly with civil affairs departments without first requiring a supervisory body, a senior official said. Li Liguo, minister of civil affairs, said during an inspection tour in Beijing Monday that associations in the fields of charity, welfare and social services would benefit from the new rule [...]. The government will also enlist more NGO services using public lottery money, Li said. Currently, social organizations must find a government agency to act as a supervisory body before they can be legally registered as an NGO, [...]. The change has been included in the revised versions of three regulations regarding NGO registration, foundation management and the registration of private non-enterprise units, Zheng Yuanchang, director of the MCA's social welfare and charity promotion office, told the Global Times, adding that the regulations are yet to be reviewed by the State Council before implementation. At least 3 million NGOs exist in China but only 440,000 of them were registered with civil affairs departments at the end of last year, according to government figures. Without a legal identity, many NGOs have not been able to enjoy tax breaks, apply for government projects or legally solicit public donations [...]. ^ top ^

Toe party line or be punished, members told (SCMP)
2011-05-26
The Communist Party mouthpiece issued a stern warning yesterday to more than 78 million party members, urging them to toe the party line on politically sensitive issues amid growing signs of divisions within the party and further clampdowns on dissent. Many party members, including ranking officials, have failed to maintain unity and have even been at odds with the party on fundamental ideological issues and key government policies, said the commentary published by People's Daily. The strongly worded article entitled "Resolutely safeguard the party's political discipline" was penned under the pseudonym Zhong Jiwen, believed to represent the press office of the party's top anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection. Analysts noted that the remarks came at a delicate time ahead of the sensitive June 4 anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown and a major party congress next year [...]. Party members involved in illegal groups or religious activities, or who spread rumours about the party, have been severely punished, it said [...]. Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at City University, said the remarks appeared aimed at Premier Wen Jiabao, who has called for reform over the past year, and supporters of that cause. "The commentary was apparently in line with Wu Bangguo's conservative remarks made earlier this year on political reform," Cheng said. Wu, the mainland's top legislator […]. Professor Zhu Lijia, of the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the commentary came as Beijing faced mounting challenges and growing discontent [...]. "Discipline should not be used as an excuse to suppress supervision and deliberation of party theories and policies," Zhu said. Beijing-based political analyst Hu Xingdou said the article was another attempt by hardliners to guard against different opinions deemed as threatening the legitimacy of the one-party rule. "It is a dangerous step backward, which highlights the rapid deterioration of China's overall political and social environment," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Protests after herder is run down by coal truck (SCMP)
2011-05-26
Hundreds of ethnic Mongolians protested outside a local government headquarters in Inner Mongolia on Monday, with hundreds of middle school pupils taking to the streets the next day, after a herder was allegedly killed by two Han Chinese truck drivers, a rights watchdog and online postings said. Unrest is rare in Inner Mongolia, a relatively stable minority region. According to the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre, protesters gathered outside the main administration office of the Right Ujumchin Banner, while hundreds more were blocked on their way. A banner is the Mongolian equivalent of a county. The rights group said campuses were guarded by police to prevent student protests. But bloggers who posted online accounts with pictures yesterday said the incident had provoked hundreds of middle school pupils to march to the city-level Xilinhot government office on Tuesday. The demonstrators were protesting against the brutal death of Mergen, an organiser of the banner's Mongolian herders, who tried to stop coal-hauling trucks from taking a shortcut across fragile grazing land, the centre said. The centre posted photos of Monday's demonstration and others said to be of Mergen's body. It said his head had been crushed under the wheels of a 100-tonne coal hauler driven by two Han Chinese drivers on May 10 and his body dragged by the truck for 150 metres. Xinhua yesterday confirmed the brutal killing of Mergen, although local officials reached yesterday played down the demonstrations. Xinhua quoted Shen Wenyin, deputy chief of the Xilingol League government as telling a press conference on Tuesday night that Mergen had been dragged by a coal truck as he attempted to block it. Shen said two Han Chinese drivers, [...], had been arrested by police after they fled in a taxi. Shen confirmed that there had been another fatal coal mine dispute in the league's Abag Banner [...]. Shen said residents in a mining area in Abag had tried to stop operations at a nearby coal mine on May 14 because of noise, dust and water pollution. One of them, Yan Wenlong, 22, was killed when Sun Shuning, a worker, drove a forklift truck into Yan's car. Sun was arrested for intentional homicide, Xinhua reported. Wu Zhu, the head of the township government overseeing the village where Mergen lived, confirmed that "some locals" had taken to the streets over Mergen's death. But he said: "Maybe it is not that appropriate to put it as `a protest': they simply asked for compensation." Wu said police had been sent to restore order and that the area was calm yesterday. Rising political star Hu Chunhua, widely believed to be a close ally of President Hu Jintao, is party boss of Inner Mongolia. ^ top ^

Lock with no key (SCMP)
2011-05-26
Recent developments in the investigation of the artist-activist Ai Weiwei have again laid bare the extent to which China's police have warped the country's Criminal Procedure Law. On May 16, Ai's family announced that his wife had just been allowed to see him for about 20 minutes of monitored conversation in an unknown place. It might have seemed that the police, perhaps to take the sting out of widespread foreign condemnation of their conduct in the case, were softening their attitude after keeping Ai in unexplained incommunicado detention for six weeks. Yet, [...], instead of demonstrating uncharacteristic police leniency, this visit revealed a new stage in Ai's prolonged detention, one that constitutes a stark violation of Chinese law. That law requires the police to make one of three choices if, within 37 days after detaining a suspect, they do not have enough evidence to convince the prosecutor's office to approve a formal arrest. First, they can unconditionally release the suspect. Second, if the investigation is to continue, under an arrangement similar to bail in many countries, they can release him for up to a year under a guarantee that allows him freedom of the city. Finally, if the suspect has a local residence, they can strictly confine him to his home for up to six months [...]. Only suspects who do not maintain a local residence but are deemed to require "residential surveillance" can be kept at a location designated by the police. Nevertheless, in practice, the police frequently use "residential surveillance" as a pretext for continuing to hold someone in the detention-like custody of their designated location, [...]. They pretend that the local suspect is under "house arrest", but keep him not at his house but at theirs! This is in direct violation of not only the law but also the Ministry of Public Security's own interpretations of the law, which prohibit what they accurately call "disguised detention" [...]. Having apparently failed to come up with enough evidence to persuade prosecutors to approve Ai's arrest, [...], the police at some point placed him in their twisted version of "residential surveillance". This gives them five more months [...] before deciding whether to renew their prosecution efforts, release the suspect unconditionally or restrict him to the city under guarantee for another year. Of course, if further frustrated in their hope of formally convicting Ai of a crime, they can always resort to another major weapon in their arsenal - "re-education through labour", which would allow them to impose up to three years of "administrative punishment" in a labour camp without having to tolerate the inconvenience of submitting evidence to prosecutors and judges [...]. There is broad agreement in Chinese legal circles that the expected revision of the Criminal Procedure Law by the National People's Congress should deal with "residential surveillance". No consensus exists, however, about what the NPC should do. In China's current repressive political climate, one cannot be optimistic that revision will end this abusive police fiction, despite the exposure Ai Weiwei's plight has given it. ^ top ^

At least two killed, six hurt in Jiangxi blasts (SCMP)
2011-05-27
At least two people were killed and six others injured yesterday in three explosions suspected to have been triggered by a disgruntled Jiangxi petitioner outside government buildings. Xinhua said the suspect behind the serial explosions, Qian Mingqi, a 52-year-old jobless resident of the Linchuan district in Fuzhou, in the central province of Jiangxi, died at the site of one of the blasts. Another person died in hospital, while three of the injured were in critical condition. Qian was said to be upset over an illegal land requisition by authorities and at having been unable to seek redress after nine years of petitioning. The three blasts, at Fuzhou's procuratorate office, the Linchuan district government office and the district's food and drug administration, [...] between 9.18am and 9.45am. Police said the first and the third blasts were car bombs, while the second occurred on the ground floor of the district government office [...]. A microblog allegedly belonging to Qian said a six-storey building he owned was illegally demolished by the authorities in 2002 to make way for an expressway. Despite suffering a loss of more than two million yuan, Qian received only about 252,000 yuan in compensation. The microblog had attracted more than 13,000 fans by last night [...].The microblog, with the earliest posting in November last year, said Qian tried Fuzhou People's Court, petitioned the Fuzhou procuratorate's office and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, but failed to gain justice and was forced to return to Fuzhou by the authorities. It also made several mentions of a news report about an earlier bomb attack on a police station in Wuhan. "Seven of my neighbours also suffered economic losses ranging from one to two million yuan... but some 10 million in compensation was embezzled by the Linchuan district's cadres," it said. The microblog claimed that an expressway flyover - built on their land at a cost of tens of millions of yuan - was demolished after 34 months. Mainland journalists said they had been banned from independent reporting of the blasts and all media had been told to use Xinhua's dispatches. Journalists who arrived at a press conference in Fuzhou were taken away by the authorities and told to stay in a guest house. ^ top ^

Milk activist is taken away after protest at office (SCMP)
2011-05-27
Milk activist Zhao Lianhai was taken away by mainland authorities yesterday after trying to enter the headquarters of a dairy industry association in Beijing to ask about a compensation fund set up for the 300,000 victims of melamine-tainted milk powder in 2008. In November Zhao, organiser of the Jieshibaobao (kidney stone kids) parents' support group, which has been fighting for children's rights following the food safety scandal, was jailed for 2-1/2 years after "provoking quarrels and making trouble" [...]. He was released on medical parole in January. Although he was warned that he could be thrown back in jail if he continued to speak out, Zhao expressed support for dissident artist Ai Weiwei and lawyer Li Fangping when they were taken away by the authorities last month. Yesterday, Zhao was taken away himself. A Twitter posting by his wife said there was still no news of his fate by late in the afternoon. Xiang Qingyu, a father from Jiangsu province who went with Zhao to the headquarters of the China Dairy Industry Association, said: "We just want to find out where the money is, and use the money to cure our children" […]. Xiang said they were told in the morning they could not enter the building because they had not made an appointment. They then tried to call association chairman Song Kungang, but he did not answer his mobile phone. During lunch they decided to print "missing person" notices asking about Song's whereabouts. Zhao was taken from the print shop by three men in plain clothes who said they were municipal police. Xiang said the men dragged Zhao out of the shop and into a black car. "They said they wanted to ask Zhao some questions, but did not show their IDs, or say where they were going to take him," he said [...]. ^ top ^

Government crackdown on gift voucher bribe culture (Global Times)
2011-05-27
In a bid to stop prepaid gift vouchers worth tens of thousands of yuan being used for bribes, money laundering and tax evasion, the government is attaching a "real name" security system to their purchase. The State Council's general office issued a notice Monday to ministries including the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Supervision, the State Administration of Taxation and the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention, demanding that they tighten monitoring of organizations that sell gift vouchers, such as dedicated voucher-issuing companies [...]. Gift vouchers have disrupted taxation and encouraged corruption because of a lack of supervision, the notice said. About 1 trillion yuan of prepaid gift vouchers are bought each year in China, Chu Xiuqi, an official with the China Commerce Association for General Merchandise, estimated. Gift vouchers have gained in popularity in recent years because they do not leave a paper trail and some officials have been able to receive bribes worth over 100, 000 yuan in the form of such vouchers, the Beijing Evening News reported. "I don't think real name registration is practical as it calls for lots of supervisors, " Zhu Lijia, an expert in public management in Beijing, told the Global Times Wednesday. ^ top ^

Cyber army is defensive, P.L.A. colonel says (SCMP)
2011-05-27
The mainland's cyber army is deployed to improve the defensive capabilities of the People's Liberation Army, the Ministry of National Defence said in its first confirmation of the existence of the internet security force. The statement came amid rising international concern over China's growing cyberwarfare and intelligence-gathering capabilities. Ministry spokesman Colonel Geng Yansheng said on Wednesday that the PLA's cyber force was established to boost the safety of the military's computer network [...]. Geng was answering a question about whether the internet squad aimed to carry out cyberattacks on other countries' internet systems [...]. In March, the top US intelligence official told a Senate panel that China's cyberforce was a "formidable concern" for the Pentagon [...]. A report by the People's Liberation Army Daily last week said the Guangzhou Military Region had invested tens of millions of yuan on hardware for an offensive cyberteam consisting of about 30 members. The team's codename is Unit Blue [...]. In one exercise, Unit Blue launched attacks on four targets simultaneously, using tactics such as computer viruses, garbage text and infiltration to steal an enemy's logistic statistics and defence plan [...]. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese official urges improvement of "united front" work in social management (Xinhua)
2011-05-27
A senior Chinese political advisor has called for more efforts to integrate the development of China's "united front" work with the country's social management work. "United front" is a term used by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to describe its policy of uniting political forces that represent a variety of interests and entities. Du Qinglin, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks [...]. United front work can strengthen governmental work that is being done at grassroots levels and coordinate diverse interests, Du said, adding that the development of China's united front work is in line with the goals of China's social management system. Du stressed that efforts to improve and innovate in the area of social management should be focused on work being done at lower levels of government, and that united front workers should make greater contact with non-CPC members and industrial associations in order to make their voices heard. He also urged the usage of modern technology to improve the way in which united front work is conducted. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier calls for more efforts to ensure stable grain output (Xinhua)
2011-05-27
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has called for intensified efforts by local government leaders, agricultural experts and farmers to ensure that China will reap another bumper harvest of grain this year. Hui's call comes in the midst of the worst drought to hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in more than 60 years. These areas are key production areas for grain and other agricultural products [...]. Hui's tour concluded on Thursday. He encouraged farmers to improve the way their fields are managed in order to ensure a good harvest for the summer. He also called for preparations against disaster weather, intensifying early warning of drought and rains so as to reduce losses from disasters to the lowest level [...]. In addition, the local government should help farmers to optimize their farms by guaranteeing a supply of agricultural production materials, Hui said. China's grain output rose 2.9 percent year-on-year in 2010 to reach 546.41 million metric tons, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth. ^ top ^

Supplier accused of refusing expired ham (SCMP)
2011-05-27
Confidence in mainland food safety was dealt another blow this week as the nation's largest processed-meat supplier was accused of recycling expired ham in its products. Yurun Group issued a statement yesterday morning denying the accusation, saying the incident in question was caused by a mechanical failure on its automated production line [...]. The questions arose when a chef at a five-star hotel in Hefei, Anhui province, found plastic packaging and two metal buckles in the middle of a piece of Yurun ham he was chopping on May 19 [��]. A label on the packaging said it had been manufactured by the Maanshan Yurun Food company on April 8, 2011. The usual expiration date for cold-storage ham is one month, the report said [...]. The mainland's food industry is struggling to restore confidence after a string of scandals that, in the most recent cases, involved bean sprouts treated with a carcinogenic chemical compounds and recycling old buns treated with sweeteners and dye to make them seem fresh. Two months ago, meat processer Shuanghui was exposed for using pigs fed with clenbuterol hydrochloride, which makes hogs grow leaner but is toxic to humans [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing property market cooling (Global Times)
2011-05-25
The number of apartments for sale in Beijing has increased and house prices have fallen slightly, indicating lower sales volumes and suggesting that the overheated property market has begun to cool down. The number of new apartments for sale grew to 100,868 units on May 22, higher than the year's previous record of 100,362 on January 18 during the winter low season, according to the report from property consultancy Centaline China Real Estate Tuesday [...]]. Centaline China predicted more new apartments will go on sale during the second half of this year. Some developers slowed construction this year to wait for prices to rise, but the report said the "recent dramatic drop in sales volumes and home prices' downtrend have frustrated their confidence and they may complete those projects soon." The number of potential buyers of existing apartments in Beijing declined 21 percent from January to May, according to a report Tuesday from Homelink, a big property brokerage [...]. "Some homeowners, especially those who own more than two apartments, plan to sell their properties at a discounted price in the expectation that property prices will decline further," Zhang added. The sales price of new apartments offered by developers also fell [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai plans foreign investment program (Global Times)
2011-05-23
Shanghai is now planning a scheme to allow its citizens to invest overseas directly, said an official at the 2011 Shanghai Lujiazui Forum over the weekend. In order to conduct investment overseas, current regulations require individual investors set up a company first. But, under the scheme, they could make overseas investments in foreign enterprises and foreign real estate markets without such a requirement, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post Sunday. Xu Quan, an official with the Shanghai municipal government, said the proposal was handed to the State Council last year. Guo Tianyong, director of the Research Center of China Banking at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said encouraging individuals to conduct overseas investment could help balance the country's foreign exchange reserves, which may exceed $3.2 trillion this year. The plan made clear that foreign currency should be used in individual overseas investments [...]. Guo said the foreign capital market should be gradually opened to domestic investors. ^ top ^

Shanghai police employ 4,000 CCTV watchers (China Daily)
2011-05-25
The Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily reported Monday that the municipal police department has deployed 4,000 people as a part of a new 24-hour video surveillance team in the city's latest effort to clampdown on crime. The team of 4,000, comprising of 600 police officers, will monitor a network of closed-circuit television (CCTV) across Shanghai to spot crime, monitor incidents and provide remote guidance to officers on the ground. The scheme, launched by the Shanghai Police Bureau, will cover the main city areas, remote suburbs, including streets, and residential communities, following the success of video surveillance in last year [...]. All 4,000 members of the team will be required to obtain a qualification certificate in video surveillance supervision before performing their duties. In addition to the monitoring force, the Shanghai Police Bureau will also deploy more officers on the streets in a bid to respond promptly once a crime has been spotted. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangdong receives new missile unit, Taiwan says (SCMP)
2011-05-27
Taiwan's top intelligence chief said the mainland had deployed a new missile unit near the island, a lawmaker revealed yesterday, sparking concerns over the fragility of cross-strait ties.Tsai Teh-sheng, head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau, described the new unit while replying to queries last week raised by legislator Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang party [...]. "Over the past few years, the People's Liberation Army has kept increasing its deployment of ballistic missile units in both quantity and quality opposite Taiwan," the intelligence chief was quoted as saying. Taiwanese experts estimate that the mainland has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast, forecasting that the number will reach 1,800 next year [...]. Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since Ma Ying-jeou of the mainland-friendly Kuomintang became Taiwan's president in 2008 [...]. However, Beijing still refuses to renounce the possible use of force against the island, which has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949, should it declare independence. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet marks successful 6 decades (China Daily)
2011-05-24
In a speech at the celebration, Qiangba Puncog, head of the standing committee of the region's people's congress, said six decades of progress had put Tibet at a prime stage in its development. With the support of the central government and people throughout the country, Tibet is sure to embrace an even better future, he said [...]. Five flower baskets were laid at the Monument to the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet in memory of people who gave their lives for Tibet's liberation and throughout its development [...]. Chodron, a 68-year-old Tibetan from Qamdo prefecture, said she came to Lhasa for the ceremony and to make a pilgrimage to Potala Palace. She said, in old Tibet there was not a single highway or railway and it sometimes took her weeks to travel to the capital. Now, her journey has been shortened to a day […]. Jampel Lhasang, a monk from Drepung Monastery, said he had seen huge changes in Tibet in the past decades. "The government has helped us repair and decorate our monastery," he said. "Now, we live in clean and safe dormitories." On May 23, 1951, representatives of the central government and the then Tibet local government signed the Agreement between the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, known as the 17-point agreement [...]. The 17-point agreement established a foundation for Tibetan issues, including calling for the Tibetan people to unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces, and one that said the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the Chinese motherland [...]. A symposium marking the 60th anniversary of Tibet's peaceful liberation was also held in Beijing on Monday. Jia Qinglin, China's top political adviser, said at the symposium that Tibet is "an inseparable part of China" and noted that "its fate has always been closely linked to that of the motherland". Tibet has made great achievements during the six decades, with "people of various ethnic groups in Tibet becoming masters of their own destiny, the economy is growing rapidly, life is improving greatly, religious beliefs are sufficiently respected, traditional culture properly protected and environmental protection greatly strengthened," said Jia. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Tourism income in Xinjiang expected to hit $15b in 2015 (China Daily)
2011-05-26
Income from tourism in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is expected to reach 100 billion yuan (about $15.4 billion) in 2015, local authorities said Wednesday. According to the regional 12th Five-Year Plan, Xinjiang is expected to receive 80 million domestic tourists and 2 million overseas tourists in 2015, said Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of the region, at Xinjiang Tourism Development Conference opened here Wednesday. Annual income from tourism is expected to reach 85 to 100 billion yuan in 2015, making up 8 percent of the region's gross domestic product (GDP), Zhang said. The number of people employed in the tourism industry is forecast to double in the next 5 years, he added. The region received more than 30 million domestic tourists and 1 million overseas tourists in 2010, and the region's tourism industry income exceeded 30 billion yuan (about $4.6 billion) last year, which was a record high, he said. "This is a hard-won result for Xinjiang, after the July 5 riots in 2009 and the the global downturn," he added. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Shopping in Hong Kong becomes a matter of necessity for mainlanders customers (SCMP)
2011-05-27
Throngs of mainland tour groups are a common sight at luxury retailers in Hong Kong's shopping malls, but they are now coming to the city for their daily needs, too. The strong yuan and soaring food prices have prompted some marketing agents to organise shopping tours targeting staple items such as noodles, frying pans and bed linen rather than the usual designer gowns and hand-made wristwatches [��]. While inflation in the mainland rose 5 per cent last month, food prices rose 11 per cent. Albert Hung, a marketing agent for China's Unionpay card, who organised yesterday's trip, said they would organise more if they proved to be popular [...]. A Hong Kong Tourism Board survey found that only about 1.5 per cent of the 60,000 mainlanders spend HK$50,000 or more during a day visit to the city. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chinese mainland calls for joint efforts with Taiwan to safeguard cross-Strait peace (China Daily)
2011-05-26
The Chinese mainland on Wednesday called for joint efforts with Taiwan to seek common ground while reserving differences and jointly safeguarding cross-Strait peace. Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a news briefing in Beijing that the two sides should avoid highlighting differences and make efforts to prevent and properly solve possible problems. Fan's remarks came in response to Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou's recent remarks on cross-Strait ties. Ma told a press conference on May 19 that based on the 1992 Consensus, the island's authorities have improved cross-Strait relations during his three years as leader of Taiwan [...]. Ma said better cross-Strait relations will offer more opportunities to future generations on both sides of the Strait. Fan said the mainland had noticed Ma's above remarks. "The past three years prove that the peaceful cross-Strait relationship accords with interests of the whole nation, and brings concrete benefits for people across the Strait, especially Taiwan compatriots," she said [...]. Fan also told the press that the mainland and Taiwan are now negotiating on such topics as increasing direct flights, cooperation on nuclear power safety and allowing individuals from the mainland to travel to the island. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Sino-Russian crude oil refinery to start (Global Times)
2011-05-23
The construction of a Sino-Russian crude oil refinery is expected to start in the northern industrial city of Tianjin in the second half of the year, local officials said. Oriental Refinery, the joint venture with an investment of 30 billion yuan ($4.62 billion), was co-funded by PetroChina Company Limited and Russia's Rosneft. It is designed to process 13 million tons of crude oil every year. "The project is a priority for construction. We hope it can start operation by 2015," said Wang Junming, general manager of the Nangang industrial zone development firm, where the project is located. The Sino-Russian refinery is expected to generate an annual revenue of 60 billion yuan. Wang said authorities aim to build a complete industrial chain from oil refining to petrochemical engineering in the zone. ^ top ^

Rate hikes preventing lending (Global Times)
2011-05-24
The China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of manufacturing performance, dropped to a record low during the 10 months to May, HSBC Holdings PLC said Monday. The data indicates that the world's second-largest economy is slowing down increasingly quickly following government efforts to curb bank lending to fight inflation. The HSBC PMI, designed to preview conditions in a broad range of industries before official data is released on June 1, fell to 51.1 in May from a final reading of 51.8 in April, HSBC said. A PMI reading above 50 indicates growth relative to the previous month, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction. "With the decline of new purchasing orders, manufacturers have adjusted inventories, leading to slower output growth," Qu Hongbin, HSBCChief Economist for China said [...]. The market reacted negatively after the report, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 2.93 percent to close at 2774.57 while the Shenzhen Component Index dived 3.44 percent to 11742.19. Meanwhile, a report released Saturday by Peking University's Research Center of National Economic Accounting and Economic Growth warned that China now faces the twin dangers of high inflation and slackening growth [...]. But authorities started taking measures to reduce lending at the end of 2010 amid mounting inflation. "Slowing growth and high inflation is caused by the time lag of accumulated effects of government policies on growth and inflation. Stagflation is not caused by dramatic fall of potential economic growth," a report by China International Capital Co suggested. "The policy focus is still on fighting inflation. We expect the current tightening policy will continue in the coming months," Qu the HSBC economist said. ^ top ^

China reviews anti-dumping on Japan, US imports (China Daily)
2011-05-26
China has started reviewing the anti-dumping measures it imposed in 2006 on catechol imported from Japan and the United States, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Wednesday. The MOC will examine the possibility of continuing the anti-dumping measures and evaluate any possible damage that might result if the measures are discontinued, according to a statement on the MOC's website. The Lianyungang Sanjili Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. filed an application for the re-examination of the measures on March 21 on behalf of China's catechol producers, the statement said, adding that the review should be completed before May 22, 2012. China slapped a five-year anti-dumping duty of 4 percent to 46.81 percent on catechol imports from the United States and Japan on May 22, 2006. Catechol is a chemical material that can be used as an antiseptic or photographic developer. ^ top ^

China launches rare earth exchange to stabilize prices (Global Times)
2011-05-27
China's first rare earth spot exchange will be established as early as August this year and will be led by Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co, the country's top rare earth producer. Analysts said a nationwide exchange could help build a unified rare earth pricing mechanism in the country [...]. "Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co will be one of two corporations designated by Baotou's municipal government to set up a rare-earth exchange in the city," said the company in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange Wednesday. No futures trading will be allowed on the exchange, according to the filing [...]. The exchange's registered capital will be no less than 100 million yuan, according to a report in Shanghai Securities News citing a source close to the matter. A nationwide exchange would lead to a more transparent rare earth market, said Yuan Zhibin, an industry analyst with the CIC Industry Research Center. "Recognition of the exchange could gain Baotou Steel, as well as the whole Chinese rare earth industry, a bigger voice in the international rare-earth market," said Yuan. "Once mature trading norms and pricing mechanisms are established, prices of rare earth would return to a reasonable level," added Yuan. Baotou's shares gained 0.93 percent to 70.62 yuan Thursday, a new record. Baotou Steel Rare Earth is the country's largest rare earth producer. It has a total asset of 8.79 billion yuan by the end of 2010. In the first quarter of this year, it reported sales revenue of 2.11 billion yuan, up 116 percent year on year. ^ top ^

China to invest 6.2 trillion yuan in transportation sector over next five years (Xinhua)
2011-05-27
China plans to spend 6.2 trillion yuan (954 billion U.S. dollars) to upgrade its transportation infrastructure during its 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), an official said Thursday. The figure was compared to a previous investment of 4.7 trillion yuan in the sector during the 2006-2010 period, Sun Guoqing, director of the comprehensive planning department of the Ministry of Transport, said during a press conference. The money will pay for the construction of road and waterway transportation facilities, with road construction accounting for a large part of the budget, Sun said. According to a development plan released by the ministry at the conference, China will construct 108,000 kilometers of highway during the 12th Five-Year Plan period. By the end of 2015, the country's highway network will cover more than 90 percent of cities with populations of 200,000 people or more, according to Sun. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Is Kim's journey a search for tips on financial reform? (SCMP)
2011-05-24
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's trip to the eastern city of Yangzhou has led to speculation that he might be meeting former president Jiang Zemin and trying to learn from China's experience of economic reform [...]. Premier Wen Jiabao told South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Tokyo at the weekend that Kim was travelling through China to study "economic development" [...]. Wen said Kim's trip would "offer the opportunity to understand China's development and utilise it for North Korea's development", according to Yonhap. Kim travelled 2,000 kilometres by train to reach Yangzhou after touring industrial sites in the Changchun, Jilin and Tumen regions in the northeast. "The visit to Yangzhou immediately prompted me to conclude that the Korean leader is seeking to meet Jiang Zemin, because that is where he lives," said Professor Wang Xinsheng, a Peking University historian [...]. Wang said the top priority of Kim's visit was seeking to broaden support for his hereditary succession plan, rather than economics [...]. Wang said Kim might be trying to assuage the leadership's discomfort about patronising a dynastic succession in their communist neighbour. Kim met Jiang on trips to China in 2000, 2001 and 2004 […]. Analysts said any talks between Kim Jong-il and Jiang would be kept secret to avoid sending a message that the retired leader continued to influence decision-making. Professor Liu Ming, director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Korean Peninsula Research Centre, said it remained to be seen whether Kim would introduce any reforms to improve the North's faltering economy, ranked among the poorest in the world [...]. "It is impossible for Pyongyang to usher in Chinese-style economic reform and openness," Liu said. Wang said the North Korean leader would be very cautious about economic reform, fearing any economic openness would trigger social instability and suspicion over the legitimacy of his dynastic rule. "There won't be any significant economic reform at a time of power transition," Wang said. ^ top ^

US envoy visits North Korea (Global Times)
2011-05-25
A US delegation arrived in North Korea to evaluate the country's request for food aid, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-il continued his third travel to China in a year [...]. A source working at Nanjing Lukou International Airport Tuesday dismissed a statement saying Kim Jong-un had arrived in Nanjing on an Air Koryo flight. Kim left Nanjing for Beijing Tuesday afternoon, and was suspected to stop in Jinan for one night since streets around the city's train station were blocked. Meanwhile, Special envoy for the North Korea's human rights, Robert King, leads a team of five to assess the North's pleas for food. The visit is the first official US visit to Pyongyang in 17 months, according to Reuters. AFP quoted Samaritan's Purse, one of five US groups that visited the North earlier this year, as saying that a harsh winter had reduced crop yields by half and that some people had resorted to eating grass, leaves and tree bark to survive. King's trip comes after the UN issued a report about North Korea's need for food aid in March, saying that the country's production in the past year was well below what is needed to feed its 24 million people, with harvests hit by bad weather. More than 6 million people are in urgent need of outside assistance, Reuters said. Lü Chao, director of the Center of South Korea Studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that King's trip would bring benefits by resuming US food and economic aid to North Korea. However, Reuters said that the US has stressed that King's trip does not signify an imminent resumption of aid [...]. A series of moves, including former US president Jimmy Carter's criticism of Washington and Seoul for withholding aid after his visit to Pyongyang last month, could help speed matters along, Lü said [...]. ^ top ^

China ready to advance ties with DPRK: Hu (Xinhua)
2011-05-27
Chinese President Hu Jintao said China will work with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to seek continuous growth of bilateral friendly and cooperative relationship. Hu made the pledge in talks with Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK. Kim paid an unofficial visit to China from May 20 to 26 as guest of Hu, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) [...]. Hu spoke highly of the new progress in China-DPRK relations, saying the two sides have frequently exchanged high-level visits, deepened trade and economic cooperation, sought active people-to-people exchanges, maintained close communication and coordination on Korean Peninsular situation and other major issues, and jointly safeguarded peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Hu stressed the CPC and the Chinese government have always dealt with China-DPRK ties from a strategic and long-term perspective [...].. Hu made five proposals on bilateral ties: -- Step up high-level visits and deepen China-DPRK friendship [...]. -- Make more efforts to share experiences on party building and state governance and promote economic and social development. -- Improve mutually beneficial cooperation to benefit the two peoples. -- Deepen exchanges in culture, education and sports, particularly the exchanges among young people [...]. -- Increase communication and maintain coordination on international and regional situations as well as crucial issues, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. Kim expressed appreciation for Hu's warm invitation and hospitality, saying that he fully agreed with Hu's proposals on developing relations between the two parties and countries. He hailed the precious friendship between the two peoples, saying it is a great historic mission for both countries to pass on friendship from generation to generation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the DPRK-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance […]. Kim invited Hu to visit the DPRK, which Hu accepted with pleasure [...]. Members of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang also met with Kim or accompanied him in various activities during his week-long China tour. ^ top ^

Kim, Hu reaffirm ties as trip ends (SCMP)
2011-05-27
Beijing yesterday confirmed North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il had paid a week-long visit to China, with official media quoting Kim as telling President Hu Jintao Pyongyang will concentrate on economic development and is willing to resume talks on nuclear disarmament."North Korea is now concentrating its attention and resources on economic development and it is in great need of a stable neighbouring environment," China Central Television and Xinhua news agency quoted Kim as telling Hu last night. Xinhua also quoted Kim as saying North Korea "hopes there will be an easing on the Korean peninsula, is adhering to the goal of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and advocates restarting the six-party talks at an early date" [...].. China, Pyongyang's historical ally, has often mediated between the unpredictable state and regional powers, keen to prevent the collapse of the Kim dynastic regime on its border. Beijing has also accelerated efforts to resume the stalled talks aimed at denuclearising Pyongyang, which would secure food assistance for the North from dialogue partners. Although North Korea often causes China headaches, being Pyongyang's sole ally gives Beijing some advantages in its dealings with the US-led alliance on issues related to regional security and economics. The Kim regime is under pressure to secure Chinese economic aid as well as Beijing's political support for his son to succeed him. Hu said the Chinese side had adhered to "the spirit of carrying forward tradition, embracing the future, and unswervingly observed the principle of consolidating and developing China-North Korea relations". The remark suggests that China may have given its blessing to Kim's succession plan. Kim has been grooming his youngest son, Jong-un, as his successor [...]. In reply, Kim said "it is a great historic mission for both countries to pass on friendship from generation to generation" [...]. During what is being termed an "unofficial visit" Kim visited factories in industrial parks, farms, hi-tech developments, supermarkets and farmers' families. Kim, 69, also visited IT services provider Shenzhou Shuma in Beijing's Zhongguancun district - sometimes called "China's Silicon Valley". South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Kim and Hu discussed expanding food aid to North, kick-starting economic co-operation and boosting Chinese investment. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

WB will support mining infrastructure investment (Montsame)
2011-05-24
A “Support to mining infrastructure investment" project has started to be co-implemented by Mongolia's Government and the World Bank (WB). A Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt and a resident representative of the WB to Mongolia Coralie Gevers have signed a contract on a soft loan of 25 million US dollars. The money are to go for developing Mongolia's mining sector and for realizing infrastructure supporting projects, for example, as payment for internationally-recognized organization who will make technical and economic justification of the mining projects and programmes, and for strengthening a leadership of Mongolia's south regions' water resources. The loan's term is 20 years, no interest, a basic payment is free for the first 10 years, in last 10 years Mongolia's government will pay 60 percent of loan and the WB 40 percent. ^ top ^

Sendai's people to rest here (Montsame)
2011-05-24
Six Japanese from tsunami-struck Sendai are having rest in Ulaanbaatar city, fully funded by the city authorities. A mayor of Ulaanbaatar G.Monkhbayar has received them. He has expressed condolences for many lifes lost and huge damage caused and added that Mongoians were together with the Japanese in heart from the very first day of the disaster. “From the times of moving to the market economy and until today Japan has been our biggest helper, and now out countries are to elevate the ties into the highest level of comprehensive partnership and to establish strategic partnership relations. I am glad that that the two countries' cities are widening their ties implementing many projects and programmes, said the Mayor and added that "this trip to Mongolia may give a moral support". The visitors have said that donated by all Mongolians their one-day salary in aid has been the most important help among other countries. The three families, arrived here in line of the Business development center, will have rest in health resort, go to Darkhan city, have lunch with famous sumo wrestler Khakuho, and meet with Mongolians who used to work in Japan. ^ top ^

Discussion held to talk about industrial policy (UB Post)
2011-05-25
An open discussion ran Tuesday in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider works expected in accordance with the Strategic Directions on Industrial Policy that have been drawn up by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).A Minister of Foreign Affairs G.Zandanshatar has addressed the gathered. Then, opinions and proposals have been exchanged between representatives of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Ministry of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development, the National Development and Innovation Committee, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), the Institute of Strategic Studies,and other associations and unions. At the end of the discussion, the MNCCI's head S.Demberel briefly presented the export policy of Mongolia and gave the Foreign Minister the Chamber's proposal on the export strategies. ^ top ^

Diesel fuel to excise tax declines to zero (Montsame)
2011-05-26
Excise tax on auto and diesel fuels was reduced to zero from May 25. This decision was made at the cabinet meeting Wednesday. The fuels are imported from the some border checkpoints with special permission. An auto fuel with up to 90 octanes and being imported through “Zamyn-Uud”, “Ereentsav” and “Altanbulag” border checkpoints will be imposed MNT 230.000 tax per ton, whereas the diesel fuel will not be imposed. In respect of the cabinet meeting's decision made May 11, 2011, the excise tax on oil products was declined. By May of 2011, the state has 5,200 tons of diesel fuel nationwide, enough for four days. Thus, the cabinet has made a related decision to take a measure for provision of oil products. A order has been given to D.Zorigt, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, to regulate a matter on temporarily stopping a supply of fuel to thermal power stations for ten days. The Deputy Premier M.Enkhbold has been allowed to take 2,050 tons diesel fuel from the reserved fund, and to sell it to the distributors at the current retail price. The Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development Kh.Battulga, and the City's Mayor have taken an order to reduce the diesel fuel consumption in the public transport. In addition, the cabinet has decided to reflect 32 billion togrog in the budget clarification to create a reserve of fuel for 20 days. The Premier has obliged the related Ministers and heads of agencies to intensify a construction of an oil processing factory and to give report every week to the cabinet. ^ 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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