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
  4-8.7.11, No. 378  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Japan vow to promote bilateral ties amid disputes (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-05
China and Japan on Monday pledged to enhance bilateral ties, as territorial and other disputes linger. "The development of Chinese-Japanese relations conforms with the fundamental interests of the two peoples," Vice President Xi Jinping told visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki. As major trade and economic partners, China and Japan are becoming more dependent on each other, Xi said during [...]. Xi also mentioned the important responsibilities borne by the two states in safeguarding and promoting peace and development in Asia and the world at large [...].. Matsumoto said Japan hoped to enhance cooperation with China in various fields, including post-disaster reconstruction, to push forward the mutually beneficial strategic relations. Matsumoto talked with his counterpart Yang Jiechi prior to the meeting with Xi. And Yang reiterated to Matsumoto that the Diaoyu Islands are China's "inherent territory." Also Monday afternoon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei voiced the demand that some Japanese boats fishing in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands should be immediately withdrawn. Reportedly the fishing boats have already moved away from waters of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan, Hong said [...]. Yang expressed China's concern over the China-related issues being raised by the U.S.-Japan military alliance, and elaborated China's stance on the South China Sea. Japan and the United States issued a joint statement late June, which involved calls for China to play a constructive role in regional stability [...]. In the current and following period, China and Japan should work together to fully implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and promote the bilateral ties through commemorating the next year's 40th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties, Yang said [...]. State Councillor Dai Bingguo also met with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki Monday evening. The two sides exchanged views on further developing the mutually beneficial strategic relations between the two countries [...]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official meets French president on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2011-07-06
He Guoqiang, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on bilateral ties Tuesday afternoon [...]. He, [...], will wrap up hi his four-day official visit to France after the meeting. Before the talks with Sarkozy, He has visited the Chinese Culture Center in Paris, located in the downtown area near the bank of the Seine River. He arrived in the French southern coastal city of Nice on Saturday and then traveled to Paris on Sunday. On Monday, He jointly launched with French officials the Chinese Language Year program in France, a cultural initiative designed to promote Chinese language and culture in the European country. He also met with Bernard Accoyer, speaker of the French National Assembly and gave a speech at a dinner hosted by French and Chinese business leaders in his honor [...]. ^ top ^

Japan warned about 'illegal' interference (SCMP)
2011-07-08
China yesterday accused Japan of interfering with the normal aviation activities of Chinese military aircraft near the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, and warned that it could lead to misunderstandings between the two countries. Japanese defence officials said on Monday that two Chinese military aircraft had been spotted 60 kilometres from the Diaoyus - an uninhabited group of islands which are under Japanese control but which China and Taiwan both lay claim to. The aircraft did not enter Japanese air space, but Japan sent an F-15 fighter to intercept them. Yesterday an official from the Ministry of National Defence was reported as saying the People's Liberation Army Air Force had been operating in accordance with international law. China had indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyus, the official added, claiming also that Japan had stepped up its monitoring of Chinese activities in the East China Sea [...]. On Monday the foreign ministry lodged a formal complaint after 10 Japanese fishing boats were found operating in the disputed waters. The ministry said any measures adopted by Japan in the waters were illegal and invalid, and that the Japanese fishing boats had left the waters after China lodged solemn representations with Japan. Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi earlier this week that he was concerned about China's actions in the South China Sea, where various nations have competing territorial claims. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Yang told Matsumoto freedom of navigation in the disputed waters was fully protected [...]. ^ top ^

China, Mongolia to enhance law enforcement, security cooperation (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-08
Chinese and Mongolian leaders have pledged to step up bilateral cooperation in law enforcement and security. In his meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj here Thursday, Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu said China was willing to work with Mongolia to deepen cooperation in law enforcement and security areas to create a friendly environment for the development of the recently established China-Mongolia strategic partnership [...]. In recent years, China and Mongolia faced threats such as cross-border crime and "the three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Safeguarding peace, harmony, stability and tranquility was in the common interest of the two countries and the common responsibility they should shoulder, Meng said [...]. Mongolia would actively implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, consistently deepen mutual trust and make unremitting efforts for both countries' common prosperity. Meng started his official visit to Mongolia on Wednesday. ^ top ^

Beijing deepens ties with Libyan rebels (SCMP)
2011-07-08
A Chinese diplomat met leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, building deeper relationships with rebels seeking to oust Muammar Gaddafi. The visit by Chen Xiaodong, the ministry's chief for North African affairs, was the second official meeting with Libyan opposition leaders in less than a month [...]. Chen told the deputy head of the NTC, Ali Essawi, that China considered the faction "an important dialogue partner", echoing comments made by senior Chinese officials on rebel diplomatic chief Mahmoud Jibril's visit to Beijing last month [...]. Last week, African Union leaders offered to host talks between the Libyan government and rebels [...]. China also hosted Libya's Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi last month. But Beijing's courting of the rebels has marked something of a practical policy adjustment for China, which generally avoids entangling itself in nations' domestic affairs. Chen said China was "deeply concerned" about the five-month-old civil war and attached "great importance to the NTC's role in solving the crisis", Hong said. The combatants should begin talks on ceasing hostilities and make a positive response to the international community's mediation proposal, Xinhua cited Chen as saying. Reports that Gaddafi was seeking a deal under which he would step down have come amid pressure from advancing opposition forces, sanctions and a Nato bombing campaign [...]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official seeks closer anti-graft cooperation with Poland (Xinhua)
2011-07-08
China will actively explore the possibility of creating a bilateral cooperative mechanism with Poland against trans-border corruption, a visiting senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said here Wednesday. The remarks were made by He Guoqiang, [...], during a meeting with Jacek Jezierski, president of the Supreme Chamber of Control of Poland. The senior CPC official also said the Chinese discipline inspection authorities are committed to strengthening cooperation and exchanges with their Polish counterparts. On China-Poland relations, He stressed the continuous improvement in the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in political, trade and economic, and cultural fields over recent years […]. He Guoqiang arrived in Warsaw on Tuesday night. In a written statement issued upon his arrival, He said China regards Poland as a sincere friend and important partner and is willing to work together with Poland to boost their cooperation and friendship. ^ top ^

Philippine foreign secretary visiting China (China Daily)
2011-07-08
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario arrived in the Chinese capital on Thursday morning, beginning a two-day visit that is expected to help find diplomatic means to resolve South China Sea disputes. He is scheduled to meet Vice-President Xi Jinping and hold talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Friday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the two sides would exchange views on enhancing high-level communications and bilateral ties. [...]. The visit by Manila's top diplomat is also regarded as paving the way for Philippine President Benigno Aquino's China visit, which is likely to take place in late August or early September. Beijing and Manila have signed more than 100 agreements over the past 36 years of diplomatic relations, but tensions have escalated in recent weeks over the South China Sea issue. Zhang Jie, head of the department of security and foreign relations of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a visit at this sensitive time might help ease the tense situation [...]. Zhang said it is important to find a solution as soon as possible to the South China Sea issue to avoid further damage if "national sentiments" continue to be incited. Zhang added that both China and the Philippines benefited from bilateral cooperation in areas such as marine environmental protection, fighting piracy and other non-traditional security issues. "This will not be a zero-sum game. Bilateral relations will be improved with enhanced cooperation and increased mutual trust," Zhang said [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China must continue reform, opening up for future development: Hu (China Daily)
2011-07-04
China has developed rapidly in the past 30 plus years thanks to reform and opening up, and the country must promote its future development by continuing to carry out reform and opening up, President Hu Jintao said Friday. Being a great new revolution carried out by the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the new historical stage, reform and opening up are a critical choice that holds China's future, Hu, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said at a grand gathering marking the 90th anniversary of the CPC in Beijing. "They are what we must pursue in upholding and building socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Hu said. Noting that China suffers from a serious lack of balance, coordination, and sustainability in its development and there are institutional obstacles to scientific development, Hu said these problems must be resolved in the course of deepening reform. "We should identify areas where breakthroughs can be made, set priorities in deepening reform and opening up, advance reform in important areas and key links when opportunities are ripe and continue to reform the economic, political, cultural and social systems in an innovative way," he said. ^ top ^

All people equal before law: Hu Jintao (Xinhua)
2011-07-04
All the comrades in the Communist Party of China (CPC) should bear in mind that all people are equal before the law, President Hu Jintao said on Friday. No one has the privilege to overstep institutions and that no exception should be made in enforcing institutional safeguards, Hu said [...]. To make Party building more scientific under the new historical conditions, we must place power, Party affairs, and Party members under institutional safeguards, improve democratic centralism, and promote Party building in an institutionalized and standardized way and through due process, said Hu, [...]. The Party should develop intra-Party democracy, promote transparency in Party affairs in an active yet prudent manner, ensure the principal status and democratic rights of Party members, improve the system of Party congresses and the intra-Party electoral system, and improve the mechanism for democratic decision making in the Party, he said. In March, China's top legislator Wu Bangguo announced the country has established a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, hailing it as a "major milestone" in the history of the development of the country's socialist democratic legal system [...]. ^ top ^

Road map for the party's future lies within its ranks (SCMP)
2011-07-04
As the Communist Party held grand parties nationwide last week to celebrate its 90th anniversary, at first glance the contrast in coverage between the mainland and the overseas media could not have been any sharper. The mainland media launched unprecedented propaganda to eulogise the achievements and benefits the party has brought to China's people, while the overseas media focused on its enormous challenges, wondering about its future, particularly the lack of a clear strategy for its long-term survival. Taking a closer look, however, it is not difficult to infer that both the party leadership and the overseas media share at least one fundamental observation: the party cannot stick to its present course and that reform is imperative. President Hu Jintao said it himself when he gave a lengthy televised speech on Friday. When expounding on the challenges for the party, he summarised them in "four tests and four dangers" that could threaten the survival of the party […]. "The whole party is confronted with growing dangers from a lack of drive, from incompetence, from divorce among the people, from a lack of initiative and from corruption" [...]. So here comes the ultimate challenge facing the party leadership: while it clearly knows what it does not want - a Western-style democracy including a multi-party political system - it does not have a clear road map and strategy on how the party can move forward and maintain its one-party dictatorship by meeting "four tests" and overcoming "four dangers". In fact, the road map is not difficult to find, and it lies in the party's efforts to push for a so-called intra-party democracy, [...] on which it failed to make any significant progress in recent years [...]. It has a long-standing argument that has won a strong following from both home and abroad - that the mainland, given its uneven development and diversity, is not ready for a Western-style democracy, as this would bring chaos and turmoil. But the party leadership is increasingly hard-pressed to argue against calls for full-scale democratic development within the party, as its 80 million members are the best educated and most enlightened, representing the cream of the societal crop [...]. Here are some measures that the leadership can adopt to strengthen the party's legitimacy and ability to govern without risk of losing control. First, [...], true elections, the starting point of the intra-party democracy, should be introduced at all levels of the party in choosing officials. For important decisions and personnel changes, the party should hold its congress every year, like the National People's Congress, instead of the current arrangement of every five years. Secondly, true elections mean multiple candidates for every post. This calls for making various factions within the party put forward their candidates and allow the best to govern the party and the country [...]. Thirdly, the party should take steps to ensure that its membership does not expand endlessly. The leadership has made its 80-million membership a badge of honour, signalling its strength and popularity. But further expansion of the membership, which is already bigger than the population of Germany, would make it difficult to manage, and would weaken the party's control. ^ top ^

Campaign to promote social insurance law (China Daily)
2011-07-05
China launched a week-long national campaign on Monday to raise public awareness of the new Social Insurance Law. The law, which was adopted by China's top legislature last October, took effect on July 1 this year. The law aims to prevent improper use of social security funds and ensure that all citizens have the access to social insurance benefits. Efforts should be made to promote the awareness of the law among the public, so that they can better use the law to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, said top legislator Wu Bangguo, [...]. Employers should also be told to raise their awareness and better abide by the law, the instruction said. The social insurance system is a crucial part of the country's social security net, and the Social Insurance Law has established a social insurance system which encompasses the old-age pension, basic medical care insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance as well as maternity allowances, said Hua Jianmin, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. The law also stipulates the administrative system for the social insurance and the government agencies' responsibilities in the financing of the social insurance premium, Hua said. The promotion campaign should help to increase the understanding of the law among both the officials and the public, he said [...]. ^ top ^

CNOOC denies oil cover-up (Global Times)
2011-07-05
The country's largest offshore oil and gas producer has strongly denied charges that it attempted to cover up oil spills off the coast of Shandong Province, insisting that the incident is now "under control." "The spills are under control and the oil leakage is almost cleared up. The incident is still under investigation, and we will publicize the results at an appropriate time," China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Limited spokesman Jiang Yongzhi told the Global Times on Monday, more than two weeks after a whistleblower reported the incident online. Quoting an anonymous insider with CNOOC, China National Radio reported Sunday that the spills occurred at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in Bohai Bay and covered an area of 200 square meters. However, the Shandong-based Luzhong Morning Post reported earlier that the spill had, at one point, grown into an "oil belt" about 3 kilometers long and up to 30 meters wide. Jiang denied both reports and rejected accusations that CNOOC sought to cover up the accident [...]. Two oil spills reportedly occurred in June at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield [...]. The State Oceanic Administration (SOA), which is responsible for investigating and evaluating the biological and environmental impact of ocean spills, was not available for comment on Monday, but is set to hold a press conference Tuesday. Reports of the spills were first circulated on the Internet [...]. Little information was available until Friday, when ConocoPhillips China e-mailed a statement to the Beijing Times, claiming that the spills were under control and had not received any report of injuries and impact on marine life, fishery or shipment. Some aquatic farms along the Bohai Bay reported more fish deaths in the past ten days [...]. Another farmer, surnamed Sun, who also reported increased fish deaths, told the China Business Daily that they could not link the trend to the oil spills as they had not seen the oil yet. Han Xiaoping, an energy analyst with china5e.net, said delayed measures could exacerbate ocean pollution and damage marine ecology. "The Bohai Bay is an inland sea and has a weak self-clearance capability. The area is also home to a dense population and a large seafood production base, so oil spills there would be more destructive," he said [...]. Lin Boqiang, director of the Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said it is supposed to inform the public promptly and give updated information on the accident [...]. ^ top ^

Oil spills risk under-reported (SCMP)
2011-07-06
Two oil spills off the coast of Shandong province last month were far more serious than previously claimed by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the central government admitted yesterday, blaming the oilfield's US operator, ConocoPhillips. The State Oceanic Administration said it was investigating the role of the US company, which holds a 49 per cent stake in the oilfield, and that it might demand compensation for environmental damage from the US oil giant. In the first government briefing since the spills a month ago in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, the administration said two spills - on June 4 and 17 - had polluted 840 square kilometres of sea. That is far more than the 200 square metres claimed by CNOOC officials [...]. Li Xiaoming, the administration's director of ocean environmental protection, said yesterday the spills from the two platforms were basically under control and there was no obvious sign of oil floating on the sea, although a small slick could still be seen near the two platforms. The authorities are still assessing the long-term environmental impact of the spills. Wang Bin, his deputy, said the maximum penalty for sea pollution was 200,000 yuan (HK$240,000), but the central government could demand compensation from ConocoPhillips after it had completed an environmental assessment of the spills. A preliminary investigation showed the leaks could have been caused by increased pressure in the oilfield after water was injected while drilling for oil, Li said [...]. Although Chinese law holds the operator responsible for any accident and its consequences, Ma Jun head of a China-based environmental non-governmental organisation, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said CNOOC's trustworthiness to investors, and social responsibility, was also questionable [...]. ^ top ^

Mudslides wreak havoc in Sichuan (China Daily)
2011-07-06
Rescuers have been battling to help people affected by mudslides brought about by intense rain in Yingxiu, Wenchuan county, Sichuan province, but officials and locals said on Tuesday that the situation on the ground still depends on the weather and whether they get more rain. The affected area surrounds one of the towns that was hardest hit by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in 2008. Statistics show Yingxiu has received 384.2 millimeters of rain since June 30, [...]. Mudslides into the Yuzixi River, which flows through Yingxiu, raised the riverbed by between 3 and 5 meters and continuing rain has brought down more and more slides of mud and rock. So far, no casualties have been reported. However, locals are worried that the river will become blocked and flood the town, according to Wenchuan county's meteorological bureau. Downstream, 30 meters of riverbank has been washed away. A team of more than 300 people arrived on Monday with at least 60 pieces of heavy equipment and began to remove debris from the river and repair broken riverbanks with huge rocks wrapped in steel nets. They said on Tuesday the reconstruction of the riverbanks was almost complete [...]. However, lingering heavy rain has hampered the work. Wang Qiang, program manager at Qitian Construction Company, said heavy rain on Monday added more debris to the riverbed and increased the water volume, making it impossible for some machines to work. He said the situation improved on Tuesday and predicted work could be over in three days if the weather holds out. People living close to the river have been packed and ready for a possible evacuation to an emergency shelter. Yun Yuming, 39, said it will hurt him and his family if they lose their house again after it was destroyed in the 2008 earthquake [...]. Meanwhile, National Highway 213 between Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, and Wenchuan was severed for a second time in three days because of mudslides. At least four sections of the highway have been obstructed by the slides. The Minjiang River changed its course on Sunday and cut through the highway and several hundred meters of road was washed away. The problems trapped more than 7,000 vehicles and 30,000 people and led to more than 6,000 vehicles retracing their routes and getting out of the area. Restoration work on the road could take 10 days, according to the local traffic authority [...]. ^ top ^

Home bound (SCMP)
2011-07-06
The release of the artist Ai Weiwei, followed within days by that of the dissident Hu Jia, created the impression that China, for whatever reason, was easing up on political repression. Unfortunately, this is not the case […]. But though one has not yet been tried and the other has served his full sentence, they are similar in at least one aspect: they are no longer incarcerated but they are not free. In part, this is because, under mainland Chinese law, there is the concept of "deprivation of political rights". And both men have been deprived of political rights, which in addition to the right to vote and stand for election includes such basic rights as freedom of speech and the right to meet the media. Hu's sentence included deprivation of political rights for one year after his imprisonment. Thus, while he has spoken to reporters after his release, he has emphasised he was merely chatting with friends rather than being interviewed. The "deprivation of political rights" at the end of a prison sentence has been part of China's justice system for decades, but increasingly the security authorities seem to be imposing this punishment at the beginning of the criminal justice process, without going through the formality of arrest, trial and sentencing. Thus Ai, when he was allowed home, told reporters he could not talk about his case. Beijing, it seems, has succeeded in muzzling one of its most severe critics by simply revoking his political rights, without even the semblance of a trial. Human rights lawyers have been subjected to similar treatment. Teng Biao, a lawyer and human rights activist, was held incommunicado for about 10 weeks, after which he was allowed to return home but not allowed to speak to the media [...]. Beijing seems to have discovered a way to silence its critics pre-emptively, without going through the trouble - and publicity - of holding a trial. They are simply being deprived of their political rights, the most important of which is the right to speak up openly and to meet the media. After Ai was detained in April, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed his detention, saying that "China is a country ruled by law and will act according to law". He said of Ai's incarceration: "This has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression." But now, with the release of a muzzled Ai, it is clear that the case has everything to do with human rights and freedom of expression. In fact, as the cases of Ai, Teng and the others demonstrate, the idea is to create a situation where critics of the regime appear to be free but are no longer critical. ^ top ^

Rumours of Jiang Zemin's death abound amid official silence (SCMP)
2011-07-07
Rumours have intensified in the past 24 hours about the death of former president Jiang Zemin, amid Beijing's heightened secrecy about his health and heavy censorship. Months of speculation reached a climax last night when Hong Kong-based ATV led its main newscast with a report that the 84-year-old former leader had died, citing unspecified sources in the capital. However, the report did not detail the time or cause of death [...]. State media did not confirm the report yesterday despite widespread rumours saying that the propaganda authorities had told government-controlled mainland media outlets to be on standby for breaking news about the retired leader [...]. Mainland internet users broke a long-held taboo on discussions of the health problems of senior party figures in the past two days, with some posts saying Jiang was terminally ill or even dead - including satiric verse and comics - becoming hits in chat rooms and on microblogging sites [...]. Analysts believed rumours about Jiang's failing health were likely to have a big impact on the leadership succession at next year's 18th party congress, because Jiang was believed to wield clout in mainland politics even after his retirement. The apparent defiance in the blogosphere seemed to hit a raw nerve in Beijing, with hundreds of postings and many user accounts on Sina Weibo, the mainland's equivalent of Twitter, deleted after midnight on Tuesday [...]. Most analysts agreed that Beijing had no reason to withhold news about Jiang's death, despite the secrecy over his deteriorating health. Chen Ziming, a prominent dissident in Beijing, said: "There has been no such thing over the years as the death of a leader being covered up for days before it was made public. It is possible that Jiang is in a vegetative state, but it is unlikely that he has died, given the fact that no official confirmation has been provided" [...]. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese official calls for enhanced social management (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has urged Shanghai to serve as a pioneer and good example in strengthening and innovating social management. Party committees and government bodies should promote social development in a healthy and orderly way and play an active role in social services, said Zhou Yongkang, [...], during an inspection tour in Shanghai on Monday and Tuesday. At a neighborhood committee with staff including three foreigners who represent the community's international residents, Zhou encouraged them to "constantly improve self-management, self-education and self-service" in order to build the community into a diverse "family." Zhou, also secretary of the CPC Central Committee's Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, praised the local government's efforts in improving the work in the process of house rebuilding as local people's rights and interests are ensured. "Any difficulty will be solved as long as we put public interests in our heart, respect public opinion and safeguard public interests," he said. Zhou also called for better management of the migrant population to bolster their social security and help them better adapt to local life. ^ top ^

China's top legislator urges better implementation of contract law (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-07
Top legislator Wu Bangguo on Tuesday urged enterprises to better uphold the Labor Contract Law to settle irregularities in labor-intensive small- and medium-sized and private companies. Wu, [...], made the call in a written instruction, asking the inspection teams of the top legislature to check whether the law was being carried out. Wu said the move aims to resolve problems in implementation of the law and impel enterprises to fully carry out the law. Hua Jianmin, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said at a conference in Beijing that the campaign will focus on checking the contract rate of migrant workers in labor-intensive small- and medium-sized enterprises and private ones in the sectors of construction, manufacturing, mining and catering. The two-month campaign, starting from July and covering 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, will also promote the labor contract system and collective negotiation system, Hua said. ^ top ^

Registration for charitable NGOs to become simplified: official (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
Charitable non-government organizations (NGOs) will have an easier time registering with Chinese municipal governments with the arrival of new regulations, an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Wednesday. Charity and social welfare NGOs in Beijing, east China's Anhui Province and the southern city of Shenzhen will be able to directly register with civil affairs bureaus in those areas, the official said [...]. However, the official said it is sometimes difficult for charity NGOs to find appropriate supervisors, as some of their operations run across multiple sectors, the official said [...]. Chinese NGOs have developed rapidly in recent years, especially after the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. However, the difficulty of registering these organizations has long been an area of complaint [...]. ^ top ^

Central govt departments fail to disclose spending (China Daily)
2011-07-08
Almost all central government departments, excluding the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), failed to publish expenses for "overseas trips, vehicles and receptions" by the end of June, a deadline set by the State Council [...]. Since May, the State Council has repeatedly called on its ministries to reduce "squandering practices" and make their fiscal information public in more areas and "provide greater details", especially regarding funds used for the "three public consumptions" - overseas travel, receptions and official cars - as these items have long been criticized as "sources of corruption and waste" [...]. The MST published its 2011 budget in April, with detailed explanations to address public concerns on the "three public consumptions", on which the budget says the ministry plans to spend about 40.2 million yuan ($6.18 million) this year [...]. Statistics provided by Minister of Finance Xie Xuren showed central departments and government-owned public institutions spent 9.47 billion yuan on the three items in 2010 [...]. Meanwhile, many Chinese have accused the government of deliberately omitting information regarding its extravagant spending of public funds on receptions, official vehicles and other personal expenses in their fiscal statements [...]. China issued a regulation on government transparency in 2008, which requested administrative agencies to disclose certain information that involved citizens' interests. Since then, information about the State's central budget and the spending of more than 70 central government departments has been made public [...]. ^ top ^

AIDS patients held by police as they try to visit Hu Jia (Global Times)
2011-07-08
Two AIDS patients said Beijing police detained them briefly on Wednesday for trying to visit Hu Jia, a social activist who was recently freed after serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for inciting subversion. Zhu Longwei, 48, and Sun Ya, 43, both from Central China's Henan Province, told the Global Times on Thursday that a group of unidentified people stopped them outside Hu's apartment [...]. Zhu and Sun were interrogated at a security office inside the residential compound before a police car took them to a nearby police station, where they were held for five hours, Sun said [...]. Zi Xiangdong, a press officer with the Beijing Public Security Bureau, told the Global Times that he is aware of the incident [...]. ^ top ^

Universities' debts rocketing as they expand (China Daily)
2011-07-08
Many of the nation's universities are struggling with mounting debts, according to a recent ranking of their financial health by ifeng.com. "It will become a bit of a gamble when people choose which university they want to go to because they will have no idea whether their choice of university might disappear from the national college entrance exam enrollment list," said Luo Yi, a Beijing resident who graduated from Jilin University [...]. Jilin University in Changchun, the capital of Northeast China's Jilin province, has 3 billion yuan ($464 million) of debts [...]. Jilin University is closely followed by Guangdong University of Technology, which owes 2.3 billion yuan, and Zhengzhou University, which has debts of 2.1 billion yuan. A total of 1,164 universities around the country have heavy debts that together are worth around 263.5 billion yuan, according to Liu Liyun, a senior official from the National Audit Office [...]. Fast-rising interest rates have exacerbated the problem but the main reasons why the universities have been performing poorly financially are the fact that fewer students are enrolling and the decisions by many universities to undertake ambitious campus expansions. More than 9.3 million students took the national college entrance examination this year, 240,000 fewer than last year. It was the third consecutive year that there has been a decrease [...]. Lao Kaisheng, an education policy researcher from Beijing Normal University, suggested that universities should concentrate on improving the quality of their teaching instead of their size. In some provinces, including Shaanxi and Guangdong, local governments have been paying some of the debts accrued by universities [...]. The central government has also strengthened its financial support for education. China's Medium- and Long-term Plan for Education Reform and Development (2010-2020) calls for spending on education to equal 4 percent of the nation's GDP each year, starting in 2012 [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijingers live longer but get sicker (Global Times)
2011-07-05
Beijing authorities released their bound report on residents' health for 2010 on Monday, highlighting major threats to well-being that included strokes, obesity and smoking. It also noted an increase in mental illness in the young. The health report will be released annually [...]. "It could be used as a residents' health handbook," Beijing Municipal Health Bureau spokesperson Ma Yanming told the Global Times on Monday. The report said that children born in 2010 now have a life expectancy of 80.8 years, an increase of 3.6 months from 2009, according to a bureau press release. While life expectancy is up, so is cancer. Malignant tumors, heart disease and stroke were listed as the capital's top three killers, accounting for 73.8 percent of all deaths. Thirty percent of 2010's cancer patients died of lung cancer. The report also found 12 percent of 20,000 interviewees over age 45 were at risk of having a stroke. Mental health problems also appear to be on the rise [...]. Schizophrenia was the diagnosis for 24.48 percent of all registered patients, and bipolar disorder accounted for 30.27 percent […]. The health bureau's release chalked up the capital's mental health challenges to the pressure and competition of living in Beijing. The health index still shows Beijingers have the best health in China, at a level near that of developed countries. The report also claims that 81,410 smokers in total were persuaded to stop lighting up in public, and 1,057 work units were punished by smoking control supervisors. Still, 24.7 percent of middle school students tried smoking in 2010, the report said. ^ top ^

Beijing checks subway stations after fatal crush (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
All 1,331 escalators and elevators at subway stations citywide have been checked for faults, transport authorities assured on Wednesday, in an effort to ease fears following an accident that killed a teenager. The use of 257 escalators made by OTIS, the company that installed the machinery that malfunctioned at Line 4's Beijing Zoo Station on Tuesday morning, has been suspended until after detailed safety checks, transport commission officials said at a news conference. Zhang Wenqiang, who works for the commission, said Beijing's quality supervision bureau is poised to launch an investigation of OTIS escalators and "will demand a product recall if necessary" [...]. Following an investigation, Beijing's quality supervision bureau put the cause of the accident down to a malfunction in the escalator's forward lifting mechanism, which resulted in the chains breaking and the steps falling downwards. A systematic examination of all 14,000 or so escalators and moving walkways in Beijing will be conducted, the bureau pledged in a statement [...]. Meanwhile, authorities say a nationwide safety check is being launched to catch similar safety problems, with quality control chiefs in Shanghai and Shenzhen ordering inspections at airports, department stores, subway stations and other locations where escalators are used extensively. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghainese starting to lose confidence in city economy (Global Times)
2011-07-06
Consumer confidence in the Shanghai economy, particularly the real estate market, dropped in the second quarter to a two-year low amid concerns over rising inflation and a weakening stock market, a survey found on Tuesday. The Shanghai consumer confidence index, a quarterly survey published by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, dropped to 101.2 in the April-to-June quarter, a 4.5 percent dip from 106 in the previous quarter. Index readings above 100 mean consumers are positive toward the economy while below signal negative sentiments. Among the survey's sub-indexes, consumer confidence toward the real estate market stood at 28.6, a drop from the last quarter's 29.7. Shanghai residents are still waiting for central government policies to dampen soaring home prices, Xu Guoxiang, the survey's chief researcher and director of the university Applied Statistics Research Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday [...]. Xu called for further pressure on the market to bring down home prices as only 15.8 percent of people surveyed felt current measures were effective. Some 65.6 percent said they were not satisfied with the policies, a 9.3 percentage point increase from the first quarter of 2011. Runaway consumer prices are the key reason for low consumer confidence in Shanghai, Xu said. The city's consumer price index rose 5.3 percent in May, the fastest growth in 33 months [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Help on way for migrant workers (SCMP)
2011-07-05
Guangdong will soon roll out concrete measures to protect the rights and interests of migrant workers and other disenfranchised groups, provincial party chief Wang Yang says in an online chat with the public. A policy document on strengthening "social construction" was imperative, Wang said yesterday. Despite stellar economic growth in the past few decades, Guangdong still owed a "social debt" to communities whose civil and democratic awareness was on the rise, he said [...]. Wang said his government would meet on "social construction" in the middle of this month and release a policy paper that would include concrete steps on achieving it [...]. "Social development in many ways has lagged behind economic progress; many debts have to be repaid in this regard." He said the government should attach great importance to the public and social services demanded by the more than 36 million migrant workers who make up more than 35 per cent of the Guangdong population [...]. He promised concrete measures to improve livelihoods, boost grass-roots welfare, improve public services, nurture non-governmental organisations and create a more democratic environment. Ding Li, a regional planning expert with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said Wang was trying to roll out a preliminary but solid foundation for the province's happiness, based on solid economic progress and social justice [...]. "In interacting with web users, it seems that Wang is preparing a drive for more democratic governance [...]. He said Wang had shied away from making social justice a political campaign because he was more practical than some other provincial party chiefs. He knew it would not be completed during his time in Guangdong [...]. A researcher at the academy, Peng Peng, said the provision of public services to migrant workers that were equal to those for local residents could cost a lot - 80,000 yuan (HK$96,260) per person per year. Peng said the government could first consider education and housing. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet's largest solar power plant starts operation (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
The largest solar power plant ever built in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region went into service on Wednesday. The plant is expected to help ease the region's recurring power shortages. The 30-megawatt (MW) power plant project is located in Xigaze Prefecture, about 3 km northwest of Tibet's second-largest city of Xigaze. The plant is being built in three phases. The first phase involved the construction of power facilities at a cost of 249 million yuan (about 38.5 million U.S. dollars). These facilities were integrated into the region's local power grid on Wednesday, where they will generate up to 20.23 million kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity annually, according to project manager Gao Yuankun. Gao said the first phase of the project will ease power shortages in the prefecture by supplying electricity for more than 100,000 households. The project will also save 9,000 metric tons of coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17,800 metric tons annually, he said. The project, costing 800 million yuan, is solely funded by the Linuo Power Group, a leading provider of solar photovoltaic power generation systems based in east China's Shandong Province [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang to be more open than ever, says regional government chairman (Global Times)
2011-07-06
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will be more open than ever before to accelerate its development, the regional government Chairman Nur Bekri has said. "We need to be more open than before, and in the future, we will, as always, further increase opening up," Nur Bekri told a symposium on Xinjiang's opening-up on Monday. "There has been a wide gap between Xinjiang's development and coastal provinces since the reform and opening up policy was introduced more than 30 years ago, the major reason of which is the level of Xinjiang's opening up is not enough yet," Nur Bekri said [...]. The regional government is drafting a development plan of westward opening up, he said. The region now has 29 open ports to neighboring countries and 12 national industry zones. The China-Kazakhstan oil pipeline and the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline have been completed and put into use. Totally 308 enterprises which are among the world's top 500 companies and China's 500 leading enterprises had entered Xinjiang by the end of 2010, up by 113 from 2009. ^ top ^

Party bosses push reset button with Uygurs (SCMP)
2011-07-06
Two years on from riots and mass arrests in the restive western region of Xinjiang, the authorities have launched a public relations campaign with pledges to boost the region's development. But an international human rights organisation claims that Beijing has continued to silence those speaking out on abuses during and after the unrest. In a show of ethnic harmony, Xinjiang's party chief paid a high-profile visit to night markets in the regional capital Urumqi on Monday, while its governor pledged to boost the region's economic development, state media reported. Pictures in newspapers and video on news websites showed Xinjiang Party Secretary Zhang Chunxian talking, toasting and tossing back beers with hawkers and locals at two night markets in Urumqi on Monday night. Zhang is known for implementing a soft approach in dealing with the Uygurs, the largest of several ethnic groups in the region [...]. Zhang was named the region's party secretary in April last year, replacing Wang Lequan, a hardliner who held the post for 15 years, in a move that analysts said paved the way for a new development strategy for the remote region. Since Zhang's appointment, the central government has pledged to spend billions of yuan and introduce preferential policies to hasten Xinjiang's development, as the leadership struggles to keep a lid on ethnic tensions [...]. At last year's central work conference on Xinjiang, chaired by President Hu Jintao and attended by political leaders from across the mainland, the central government said it wanted the region to achieve "leaps-and-bounds development" [...]. Meanwhile, Amnesty International said yesterday that hundreds of people were detained and prosecuted since the riots. Several dozen had been executed and hundreds more were serving lengthy prison terms or had been detained for long periods. Managers of well-known Uygur websites and journalists had been jailed for involvement in posting messages announcing the protests or for talking to foreign media, it said. "The government is not only still muzzling people who speak out about July 2009, it is using its influence outside its borders to shut them up," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei yesterday rejected Amnesty International's charge. "Different ethnic groups in the region enjoy various rights to an unprecedented extent," he said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Police accused of forceful action (SCMP)
2011-07-05
Protesters arrested after the annual July 1 march accused the police yesterday of using excessive force to break up demonstrations that disrupted traffic in Central after the main rally. The clashes took place outside the Bank of China Tower, where more than 1,000 protesters were gathered, and outside the Cheung Kong (SEHK: 0001) Center, where another 200 were assembled, late on Friday night to demand the withdrawal of the government's attempt to scrap by-elections. Police arrested 231 demonstrators [...]. League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, who demonstrated outside the Cheung Kong Center and was later arrested in Connaught Road Central, said 11 league members were arrested for "obstruction". He said police would normally issue only a summons for the offence. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the International Federation of Journalists demanded the police explain why an intern reporter from a New York-based TV station was arrested after failing to show her press card. A police spokesman said officers used pepper spray after issuing a warning when protesters threw some objects and charged the officers. He said the police had acted in a restrained manner and used minimal and necessary force. He said some protesters had dashed onto the roads during the arrest operation. He said all those arrested had been causing an obstruction. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen condemned the demonstrators for disrupting public order and said that the police had "exercised a high level of restraint" and professionalism. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao to sign agreements with 4 Asian countries against money laundering (Xinhua)
2011-07-06
The government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) expects to ink new agreements with four Asian countries for the prevention and fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism activities this month, the Macao Daily Times reported on Tuesday. The newspaper quoted Deborah Ng, head of the Financial Intelligence Office (GIF) as saying that the SAR government will sign deals with Singapore's Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office, the Japan Financial Intelligence Center, Thailand's Anti- Money Laundering Office and the Central Bank of Malaysia. "We expect the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding could be completed in July, which is also subject to the internal procedures of the counterparty," Deborah Ng told Macao Daily Times. The agreements entail the exchange of information in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing on a reciprocal basis, and the information exchanged "will be kept confidential by both parties," according to the official [...]. Fears over money laundering between the gaming industries of Macao and Singapore have been raised, especially after Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson revealed last April that he had blocked a money transfer of five million U.S. dollars via Marina Bay Sands because he believed the source was "obviously a junket representative.". ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan unveils new stealth technology (SCMP)
2011-07-05
Taiwan has developed a radar-absorbent material in a breakthrough in the island's development of stealth technology, local media reported on Monday. Tests showed that a navy 50-tonne Seagull-class missile boat painted with the material was not spotted on a radar screen until it could be seen with the naked eye, the United Daily News said. It is the first time Taiwan has developed such material. The navy declined to comment on the report. It was not immediately clear if the material would be used in the navy's fleet of 10 locally manufactured 171-tonne missile boats, whose design is already intended to reduce radar detection [...]. Tensions between Taiwan and its former rival China have reduced markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008 on promises of beefing up trade links and allowing in more mainland tourists. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Central bank vows reform of financial system (China Daily)
2011-07-04
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, vowed on Sunday to improve financial regulation and boost the reformation of the country's financial system. The central bank will "seize an important strategic growth opportunity for the Chinese economy to push forward the reform of key financial sectors, reform the country's financial system and improve the management of foreign exchanges," the PBOC said in a statement posted on its website. The statement was issued after a meeting of the PBOC's Party committee, [...]. The PBOC statement said the central bank will work to ensure that its policies are "targeted, flexible and efficient." It also said the central bank will enhance financial support for China's agricultural industry, as well as the country's medium- and small-sized enterprises. These sectors typically have limited access to bank financing. ^ top ^

Monetary policy of feast and famine is badly hurting China's economy (SCMP)
2011-07-05
When it comes to money, the traditional stereotype of the mainland is that it is a nation of savers rather than borrowers [...]. According to the National Audit Office, though, it is only individuals who are careful with their cash. When it comes to local governments, it's a case of borrow and spend all you can. For the first time ever, the audit office has revealed the extent of the debts racked up by local authorities and they amount to a staggering 10.7 trillion yuan (HK$12.9 trillion), or about a quarter of the mainland's gross domestic product last year. The real debt is probably much higher. The China Banking Regulatory Commission said the debt exposure of local government financial vehicles alone was over 9 trillion yuan. These financial vehicles are set up by regional authorities to circumvent the rules on local government borrowing. Nor does the audit office's figure include the unknown amount of debt amassed by state-owned enterprises. Add in the fact that much of the money borrowed has been spent on projects that have little commercial potential, and Beijing's boasts of financial probity begin to sound very suspect. Both the Asian Development Bank and the credit rating institution Fitch have expressed their concerns about the mountain of bad loans, [...]. Now, it is estimated that up to 30 per cent of the loans may never be repaid. The potentially catastrophic effect that will have on the banking system's stability is why Fitch downgraded the mainland's long-term local currency rating to "negative" in April. Having created the crisis, Beijing has been trying desperately to rein in its profligate regional cousins. The reserve requirements for bank lending have been raised no less than six times so far this year. But swinging from one extreme to another creates its own problems. By making loans harder to get, the 40 million or so small and medium-sized enterprises on the mainland are now struggling to survive. Already hit by rising labour and commodity costs and declining demand overseas, the SMEs are experiencing a cash-flow crisis just as their profits decline [...]. Some manufacturers are already closing their factories, and instead are using the money they are saving in labour and production costs to set up as unofficial banks themselves [...]. But private lenders suffer from the same risks as state-owned banks when it comes to bad loans, only they have no chance of being bailed out by the central government. Their existence adds just another layer of disastrous debt to the ones that already exist. And with SMEs responsible for about 60 per cent of the mainland's industrial output, while employing 70 per cent of all urban workers, the collapse of significant numbers of them will spell calamity for the economy. With even the largest companies experiencing a slowdown, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, all the signs are that the "soft landing" Beijing is assuring the world that the mainland will achieve may be much harder to accomplish than expected [...]. ^ top ^

Stabilizing consumer prices a top priority: Wen (China Daily)
2011-07-06
China's inflation will be kept under control despite strong momentum from the recent surge in pork prices, authorities assured on Tuesday. Inflationary pressures are already restrained but are yet to be eliminated, said Premier Wen Jiabao in a statement published on the central government's website. "Stabilizing the general level of consumer prices remains the top priority of our macroeconomic regulation," Wen said [...]. Vice-Premier Li Keqiang also urged that prices be kept stable. "(We must) cut logistics costs to help keep the overall stability of prices," he said [...]. The rising prices of some products, such as vegetables, have been attributed to exorbitant transportation costs, calling for reforms of relevant fee-collecting policies. He also called for "proper management of inflationary expectations", China Central Television reported. China's consumer price inflation rose to a 34-month high of 5.5 percent in May from 5.3 percent in April [...]. The National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release the data next week. "The peak of inflation could have come in June," said Lian Ping, senior economist at the Bank of Communications. "It will gradually drop in the second half of this year, although the decline will be limited," he said, citing the rising labor costs, brisk economic expansion and high international commodities prices [...]. ^ top ^

China may appeal WTO ruling on resources (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
China is likely to appeal a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against curbs introduced on the exports of raw materials. China's export restrictions on nine raw materials are inconsistent with its obligations, according to a WTO expert panel ruling issued on Tuesday. The panel sided with complaints filed by the United States, the European Union and Mexico, saying that China was driving up prices for raw materials, such as coke, bauxite and zinc, by introducing export duties and quotas. The Ministry of Commerce expressed regret over the ruling on Wednesday, and said that the WTO findings "are not justified pursuant to the general exceptions relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources and the protection of human health", Xinhua News Agency said [...]. According to WTO dispute settlement rules, an appeal can be made to the appellate body within 60 days of the report's distribution [...]. Huang Dongli, a researcher of the Institute of International Law affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China can justify restrictive measures based on "conservation of exhaustible natural resources". The materials affected by the limits are mostly used in producing aluminum, steel, alloys, ceramics, mobile phones and semiconductors. China strengthened its resource management in recent years to protect the environment and prevent depletion [...]. Zhong Shan, deputy commerce minister, said on Wednesday that the country will continue to improve its regulations covering the exports of rare earths according to both Chinese law and WTO regulations. "Rare earths are nonrenewable resources of strategic importance. Improving the exports of minerals will help the country protect the environment and accelerate the industry's restructuring," he said at a conference on rare earths in Baotou, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, according to the ministry's website [...]. Wang Caifeng, a former official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, who is also in charge of establishing a rare earths industrial association, said that stringent measures were introduced to protect resources from being overexploited rather than limiting exports [...]. ^ top ^

China's central bank raises interest rate by 25 basis points (Xinhua)
2011-07-07
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, announced on Wednesday that it will raise bank's benchmark one-year borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points on Thursday. This is the third time for the central bank to raise interest rates this year. The previous one occurred on April 5. Meanwhile, the central bank has hiked the reserve requirement ratio for banks six times this year. The move raises the benchmark one-year deposit rate to 3.50 percent and the one-year benchmark lending rate to 6.56 percent. Inflation data for June will be released on July 15 and many economists forecast it will hit a new high above 6 percent [...]. China will continue to implement a prudent monetary policy as inflationary pressures still remained high, said a statement on the website of the central bank on Monday [...]. The country's top economic planner said recently that overall price levels will be higher in June than May. The interest-rate hike will help check high inflation and the June CPI data will be 6.2 percent, Lu Zhengwei, chief economist for the Industrial Bank, predicted. Xu Xiaonian, an economics professor at China-Europe International Business School, wrote in his microblog that the scale is small and even with a 250-basis-points hike, the real interest rate would still be negative [...]. After this hike, further such moves will not be likely within this year and the need to again raise bank's reserve requirement ratio will also be low, said Zhu Jianfang, chief economist with CITIC Securities. But Li Xunlei, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Shanghai, forecast there will be another interest-rate hike in the third quarter [...]. The interest-rate hike is not good news for local governments, as they will have to pay higher interest on their debts. Local government debt totaled 10.72 trillion yuan (1.66 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2010, said an audit report late June. It's high time to test the local governments (to deal with the debts) as risks of local government debt defaults are increasing, said Xie Guozhong, an independent economist in China. ^ top ^

China rejects Japan's rail patents claims (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-08
The Ministry of Railways has rejected a Japanese claim accusing China of violating intellectual property rights concerning high-speed rail technology. The accusation came after China submitted applications for international patents. Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said on Thursday that China had developed the technology, that it was applying patents for, independently [...]. His remarks came after Tadaharu Ohashi, chairman of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, said last week that the company would take legal action if China's high-speed train patents violated contracts signed between Japan and China [...]. Li Jun, director of the general affairs office at the ministry's transport bureau, told China Daily earlier that China has filed 21 applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty [...]. "All the high-speed rail patents that China is applying for abroad have been developed independently, and they do not infringe on other countries' high-speed rail patents," he said [...]. Kawasaki Heavy Industries transferred the technology for a 200-km/h train to China in 2004. The CSR Corp Ltd's Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd, in partnership with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, produced the train, called CRH2, in China. CSR later developed, on its own, a 300-350 km/h train and the CRH380A train with a designed top speed of 380 km/h [...]. Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto also mentioned the issue to his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on July 4. Yang made it clear that the technology China filed patents for are "China's own innovations", Wang said. He said China absorbed foreign technology but also innovated. Compared to the CRH2 train, produced with technology imported from Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the CRH380A train for the Beijing-Shanghai route operates at much higher speeds [...]. It is ridiculous, he said, for some Japanese to say that China pirated technology from the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train. "The Shinkansen and the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway are on two different levels. There are huge differences in terms of speed, comfort and technology." Countries should continue to improve technology to become leaders in the field, he added [...]. China is now applying for patents to facilitate innovation and the transfer of high-speed rail technology, Wang said [...]. ^ top ^

China's external debt hits $586b by end of March (China Daily)
2011-07-08
China's outstanding external debt came to $585.97 billion by the end of March this year, the country's foreign exchange regulator said Thursday. The amount does not include the outstanding external debts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Macao SAR and Taiwan, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement on its website. Of the total outstanding external debt, registered external debt accounted for $366.87 billion and the balance of trade credit accounted for $219.1 billion. Outstanding long- and medium-term external debt accounted for 29.75 percent of the total, while outstanding short-term external debt comprised 70.25 percent, according to the statement. In terms of types of debt, the balance of international commercial loans totaled $299.02 billion, accounting for 81.51 percent of the outstanding registered external debt. The balance of foreign government loans and loans granted by international financial organizations amounted to $67.85 billion, accounting for 18.49 percent of the total amount. In terms of currency structure, debt in US dollars accounted for 68.3 percent of the outstanding registered external debt, representing a decrease of 2.11 percentage points compared with that at the end of 2010. Debt in Japanese yen accounted for 7.68 percent, down 0.88 percentage points. Debt in euro accounted for 4 percent, down 0.41 percentage points. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

EU sends food aid to N. Korea (Global Times)
2011-07-05
The European Commission announced on Monday that it would provide 10 million euros ($14.50 million) of food aid to North Korea despite South Korean opposition and US doubts as to the veracity of Pyongyang's calls for help. The European Commission said it was convinced that the North's pleas for help were genuine after a team of experts reported seeing in June severely malnourished children in hospitals and nurseries where no treatment was available. "The purpose of this aid package is to save the lives of at least 650,000 people who could otherwise die from lack of food," European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said. The EU's decision comes as Washington also weighs resuming food aid to the North, after suspending its shipments in 2008 in a monitoring row. Analysts said any resumption of US aid would annoy Seoul, which stands firmly against sending food to its neighbour [...]. North Korea held a big rally on Monday denouncing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who ended a decade of aid for the impoverished state, and warned of an exchange of "fire" between the two Koreas. ^ top ^

China, DPRK to boost renewable energy cooperation (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-08
China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have agreed to share their experience and beef up cooperation in exploring and utilizing renewable energy. The agreement was made during a meeting on Wednesday between senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Zhou Yongkang and a delegation from the Korean Workers Party (KWP), led by Thae Jong Su, an alternate member of the KWP's Political Bureau and member of the Secretariat. Thae told Zhou that the main purpose of his current China trip is to learn from China's experience in developing geothermal resources, as specified by the DPRK's top leader, Kim Jong Il. The DPRK hopes to use geothermal energy in its efforts to develop its economy and build a strong and prosperous country, Thae said. Zhou, [...], told Thae that China would like to enhance its exchanges with the DPRK in the field in order to jointly improve their capability to develop and utilize renewable energy [...]. "We are glad to see that the two sides have engaged in high-level exchanges and substantial cooperation in various areas and made concerted efforts for common development and regional peace and stability," he said. Thae also conveyed greetings from Kim to Hu during the meeting [...]. Liu Qi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the CPC, said China and the DPRK currently boast "frequent high-level visits, increasing strategic communication, deepening economic cooperation and active cultural exchanges." "China is ready to make joint efforts with the DPRK to implement the consensus reached by the two top leaders and further expand exchanges and cooperation in all areas," Liu said [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Deputy Premier meets Ambassador of China (Montsame)
2011-07-05
The Deputy Premier and head of Mongolia's side of the Mongolia-China Intergovernmental Commission M.Enkhbold received Tuesday Mr. Wang Xiaolong, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Mongolia. This meeting has been a follow-up to the one between M.Enkhbold and Wang Fukang, the Minister-Counselor of China's Embassy. The Ambassador Mr Xiaolong has said the government of China received the official request of Mongolia to export fuel to it. He has said their side wants to cooperate with Mongolia in this matter by making long-term cooperation between enterprisers of the two countries instead of supplying the AI-92 auto fuel for a temporary time. In turn, M.Enkhbold has thanked the Ambassador for responding to the request, adding that Mongolia will send its proposal to China in the nearest time. Mentioning that the countries' enterprisers may establish related contracts and agreements on the fuel, the Deputy Premier has expressed a willingness to widen the collaboration with China's "Sinopec" corporation. ^ top ^

More Mongolian troops to be sent to Afghanistan (News.mn)
2011-07-07
Minister of Defense L.Bold led a team to Germany on an invitation from the Minister of Defense T. Maiziere and held talks in Berlin between July 5 and 7. The Ministers concluded an agreement and exchanged opinions on bilateral cooperation, including an increase in the number of Mongolian troops in Afghanistan, training by German instructors in Mongolia and technical help to establish a new unit of the Mongolian Armed Forces for peace keeping activity. Members of the team visited several military centers and Minister Bold discussed with the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ways to boost cooperation in mineral resources and mining sector. He also called on the Chief of the Standing Committee on Defense and some MPs and exchanged opinions on bilateral cooperation. ^ top ^

President awarded supreme prize of Ukraine (Montsame)
2011-07-08
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Mongolia Mr. Yurii Kostenko called on President Ts.Elbegdorj Thursday. Mr. Kostenko has granted the supreme prize of Ukraine--the 1st Class Order of King Yaroslav--to the State Head. The Ambassador has underlied that the Order has been given to the President for developing the community of the world and for activating the Mongolia-Ukraine relations. The 1st Class Order of King Yaroslav was established by Ukraine's government in 1995, and is awarded to only State Heads of countries. ^ top ^

Mongolia wants to enter APTA (Montsame)
2011-07-08
The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday obliged a Foreign affairs Minister G.Zandanshatar to found a working group that will start talks on Mongolia's entering the Asia-Pacific trade agreement /APTA/, and to have approved and implemented the group's directives and necessary costs. The Cabinet also backed a “National discount list” that will be forwarded to APTA member-countries as a proposal. There are 229 goods in the list. About 60 percent of Mongolia's total goods turnover is amde with the APTA members. If Mongolia becomes the APTA member, its 338 kinds of export goods will enjoy 40-percent, or ten million US dollars, discount at China and S.Korea markets, and 299 types of imported goods may get 20-percent, or one million US dollars, discount in import tariff. APTA founded in 1975 has members such as Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Republic of Korea, Sri-Lanka and others.

Three times the members have held talks on tariffs, obliging themselves to decrease them on four thousand goods. ^ top ^

UNESCO Director-General to watch Naadam (News.mn)
2011-07-08
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will visit Mongolia between July 9 and 12 on invitation from Prime Minister S.Batbold to attend celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the People's Revolution and Naadam. During her visit, a memorandum of understanding between Mongolia and the UN body will be signed. She will take part in a ceremony to name a street after UNESCO and inauguration of the second channel of Mongolian National Public Radio and Television. Mongolia this year observes the 50th anniversary of its membership of the UN. ^ 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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