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
  18-22.7.11, No. 380  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

China voices strong indignation, objection to Obama-Dalai meeting (Global Times)
2011-07-18
China voiced its strong indignation and stern objection to US President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama and demanded the US side to adopt immediate measures to wipe out the impact. "Such an act has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, hurt the feelings of Chinese people and damaged the Sino-American relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a written statement released early Sunday morning. "We demand the US side to seriously consider China's stance, immediately adopt measures to wipe out the baneful impact, stop interfering in China's internal affairs and cease to connive and support anti-China separatist forces that seek 'Tibet independence'," Ma urged in the statement [...]. The Dalai Lama is in nature a political exile who has been engaged in secessionist activities in the name of religion. "China objects firmly to any foreign leader's meeting with the Dalai Lama in any form and opposes to any country, or anyone, to interfere in China's internal affairs by using the Dalai Lama," the spokesman stressed [...]. ^ top ^

China, Iran celebrate ties of 40 yrs (China Daily)
2011-07-18
Iran and China on Friday celebrated here the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, as a Chinese leader visited to strengthen political and economic ties. He Guoqiang [...], and Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Javad Mohammadizadeh attended a reception held by the Chinese Embassy to mark the occasion [......]. The establishment of diplomatic relations on August 16, 1971 opened a new chapter for the expansion of bilateral relations between China and Iran, He stressed. Although the international and regional situation changed dramatically during the past 40 years, bilateral relations between the two countries have maintained a good momentum. Especially in recent years, high-level contacts between two countries have been deepened and political mutual trust has been enhanced, He said [...]. He said China spoke highly of the traditional friendship between the two sides in recent years. Noting that the international and regional situations are undergoing profound and complicated changes, [...]. Based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit and common development, China is willing to work with Iran to intensify mutual exchange and collaboration and enhance bilateral friendly relations between two countries to a new level, He said. He, [...], is the second senior CPC official to visit Iran in less than a year. Li Changchun, also a member of the Standing Committee, paid a visit to Iran last September. The visits underlined the close political and economic relations between China and Iran, which has been engaged in bitter diplomatic clashes with the United States and some other Western countries over its nuclear program [...]. China also calls for a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation [...]. He travelled to the Iranian capital Tehran on Friday afternoon, where he will meet with top Iranian leaders on Saturday, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Parliament speaker Ali Larijani. He will also witness the signing of government and business agreements that worth over $4 billion on Saturday [...]. ^ top ^

China pledges comprehensive cooperation with Canada (Xinhua)
2011-07-19
China on Monday called for stronger cooperation with Canada in fields ranging from trade and the economy to energy and the environment. "We expect China and Canada to expand substantive cooperation in comprehensive fields covering economy and trade, energy and resources, science and technology, environmental protection, and public health," Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird [...]. Li started the meeting by reviewing the growth of China-Canada relations since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in November 1970. China-Canada relations ushered in a new era of development as President Hu Jintao and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper exchanged visits and reached consensus on developing a bilateral strategic partnership, Li said [...]. "China-Canada cooperation, which is comprehensive, not only benefits the two countries, but also keeps up with the time," Li said. Li said China will deal with its relations with Canada from a strategic perspective and make joint efforts with Canada to advance bilateral relations and benefit their peoples [...]. ^ top ^

China, Iraq pledge further reciprocal cooperation as PM visits (Xinhua)
2011-07-19
China and Iraq on Monday vowed to conduct further reciprocal cooperation in oil exploration, electricity and other fields, and signed two cooperation deals. The pledge was made during talks between Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who's also the first prime minister to visit China in the over 50 years of history of diplomatic relations. "The Chinese government will encourage companies to establish a long-term and stable relationship on oil and natural gas supply and demand with the Iraqi side and expand cooperation in oil exploration, refinery and equipment trade," Wen said. He said China will continue to provide assistance for Iraq's economic reconstruction, seriously implement debt relief agreements, actively participate in Iraq's infrastructure construction, and help its personnel training [...]. After the hour-long talks in the Great Hall of the People, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of a cooperation deal on economic and technology and an exchange of notes on personnel training. In the talks, Wen also reaffirmed China's support for Iraq's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to strive for stability and development. Noting China always respects the hopes and choices of the Iraqi people, Wen said China will strengthen high-level exchanges, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and conduct closer coordination and cooperation with Iraq on major international and regional issues [...]. ^ top ^

China ready for further economic cooperation with Italy, Europe (Xinhua)
2011-07-20
Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday China is ready to further enhance economic cooperation with Italy and other European countries while meeting with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini. "China and Europe are important trading partners, and we hope and believe that the European Union will achieve steady economic growth," Li said [...]. Frattini said Italy holds an open attitude toward high-tech cooperation with China. Li also spoke highly of the current development of China-Italy relations, saying China is willing to strengthen political dialogue and coordination on international affairs with Italy and promote world peace and development [...]. Frattini was invited by his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. Yang and Frattini held talks on Tuesday afternoon. Yang said China is ready to well implement the 2011-2013 three-year action plan for enhancing economic cooperation with Italy, which was released during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Italy in 2010. Yang voiced China's willingness to work with Italy to jointly cope with the profound impacts brought by the global financial crisis [...]. The two senior diplomats also witnessed the signing ceremony of five bilateral deals of cooperation, including a visa-exemption agreement for people who hold diplomatic passports. During Frattini's stay in Beijing, the two sides held the fourth joint meeting of the China-Italy Governmental Committee. The two sides agreed to enhance the role of the Government Committee, which was launched in 2004, with Yang saying that the mechanism has become an important platform for planning and guiding bilateral cooperation [...]. ^ top ^

China, Asean agree on guidelines over claims (SCMP)
2011-07-21
China and Asean yesterday agreed to a watered-down set of guidelines to manage behaviour in the South China Sea - a long-delayed move that clears the way for negotiations over a legally binding code of conduct. The agreement between senior officials from Beijing and the 10-nation bloc comes amid worsening tensions between China and Asean members Vietnam and the Philippines over the disputed but strategic waterway. China's Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin emerged from the meeting in Bali to describe the deal as an "important milestone". But Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed disappointment at last-minute compromises, saying the document was "incomplete" and lacked teeth. Discussions over the guidelines have dragged on for nine years, but diplomats close to the talks said they agreed on last-minute compromises that avoided sensitivities. That would allow the more important [...] work on the code of conduct to begin in earnest. Indonesia, which chaired the meeting, had been pushing hard for a compromise deal, saying talks had dragged on for too long. Asean, which traditionally favours cautious consensus-based decisions, has never attempted to draft a legally binding document before. Liu said the document would foster improved ties, saying "we have a bright future and we are looking forward to future co-operation." Del Rosario, however, said later that the deal had not addressed the core issue of China's co-called "nine-dotted line," which lays claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. The Philippines had attempted to build a framework into the document to sort out disputed waters from non-disputed areas, to foster practical co-operation [...]. "China is saying they own everything. So how do you [... ] have a code of conduct when you partner in the transaction says he owns everything?" The guidelines provide for confidence-building measures such as joint military patrols and combined search and rescue operations. It seeks to build on the 2002 declaration on the South China Sea signed between Beijing and Asean that contained pledges to show restraint and to renounce the use of force. That document demands the creation of a legally binding code. Del Rosario said one key compromise had been the amendment of a draft version of a paragraph that provided for Asean to hold its own internal discussions before dealing with China over territorial disputes. Beijing had objected, insisting that any claims to what it regards as its territory should be discussed one-to-one. Del Rosario said, however, that the removal of this paragraph did not mean that Asean would be prevented from holding its own discussions among members on South China Sea claims [...]. ^ top ^

FM reaffirms stance on S China Sea (China Daily)
2011-07-22
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Thursday reiterated China's approach on resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea, insisting that bilateral negotiations were the only way forward. Yang made the remarks while meeting Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem on the sidelines of a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) related meetings on the Indonesian island of Bali. Yang said the two countries should take bilateral ties and regional stability into consideration, solve maritime disputes through negotiations and avoid heating up the issue again [...]. On the same day, Yang and his ASEAN counterparts officially approved guidelines on conduct in the South China Sea, a sign of progress toward the peaceful solution to the issue. The one-page document is intended to drive the process of making the 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) in the South China Sea more concrete [...]. Yang told his Vietnamese counterpart that China highly appreciates the agreement reached by senior officials from China and ASEAN nations on the guidelines of the DOC and called on all sides to take substantive measures to promote practical maritime cooperation [...]. Also on Thursday, Yang met his counterpart Kim Sung-hwan from the Republic of Korea. They discussed inter-Korean relations and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks aimed at ending the nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. ^ top ^

China pledges to strengthen broad cooperation with Cameroon (Xinhua)
2011-07-22
China on Thursday pledged further cooperation with Cameroon in broad fields as top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao met separately with visiting Cameroonian President Paul Biya. During the meeting between Biya and Wu, [...], Wu pledged to carry out closer exchanges and cooperation between the NPC and Cameroonian parliament. "The NPC is ready for further exchanges and cooperation of all levels and in all fields with the Cameroonian parliament, so as to contribute to the development of bilateral ties," Wu said [...]. "The international financial crisis brought about great losses to the developing countries and consolidated our resolution to strengthen south-south cooperation and to maintain our common interests," Wen said during his meeting with Biya. He added that Cameroon and other African countries are important strategic partners of China, and China will continue to provide assistance in funds, technology and specialized personnel and expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation. Wen also called on the two sides to conduct closer coordination and cooperation in major international organizations including the United Nations, and promote China-Cameroon and China-Africa relations [...]. Prior to meetings with Wu and Wen, President Hu Jintao held talks with Biya on Tuesday afternoon. After his stay in Beijing, Biya will visit Tianjin Municipality. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior Chinese leader calls for enhanced supervision of law enforcement (Xinhua)
2011-07-18
Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang on Friday urged increased supervision over the country's law enforcement agencies and further reforms for its judicial system. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing. Zhou said a classified management system for judical personnel should be established. Social contradictions have posed a challenge to law enforcement officers and political and legal affairs authorities must now take on a heavy task, according to Zhou, [...]. Party Committee and political and legal affairs commissions at all levels should improve and strengthen law enforcement in accordance with Chinese law, Zhou added. ^ top ^

Airlines quick to drop discounts (China Daily)
2011-07-18
Seeing a string of malfunctions and ensuing delays on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway in the past week, domestic airlines stopped giving deep discounts and started charging higher prices for air tickets between the two cities over the weekend. According to Ctrip.com, an online travel service, the cheapest price for flights from Beijing to Shanghai in the next four days are 720 yuan ($111) before the airport construction fee and the fuel surcharge. This amounts to 36 percent off the full ticket price of 1,130 yuan [...]. In comparison, the lowest price offered in the first week since the high-speed rail's opening on June 30 was only around 360 yuan, with many flights having sold for around 400 yuan to compete with the 300 km/h trains' second-class seat of 555 yuan. Without warning, the price adjustment came right after three glitches on the high-speed rail line in four days from July 10 to 13. Passengers complained they were stranded in sweltering carriages for a couple of hours, with no compensation or extra services [...]. Many netizens showed their scorn for the new pricing policy on Sunday, saying airlines were "looting a burning house" and taking advantage of passengers. Mao Zhongxing, a netizen from Shanghai, said in his micro blog that business travelers should not go anywhere on days when thunderstorms are forecast, because neither trains nor planes are reliable [...]. In addition to the frequent malfunctions on the railway, the airlines suffered a smaller impact from high-speed railways than they expected. China Eastern Airlines board secretary Luo Zhuping told China Business News that the number of passengers on its Beijing-Shanghai flights dropped by 18 percent in the first 10 days of July compared to the same period last year. Previously, high-speed trains were expected to take away 20 to 30 percent of passengers from the airlines [...]. Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China, said: "Considering the losses airlines suffered at first, when the ticket price level dropped by 20 percent because of the high-speed rail, the airlines are now trying to recover some of the losses." Li said the long-term impact will depend on the safety records of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line. "Safety is the key factor for travelers in choosing their transport means," he said [...]. ^ top ^

Quickest way to run into problems (SCMP)
2011-07-18
Rushing major infrastructure projects to meet an anniversary is never a good idea. It is a time-honoured tradition on the mainland and we are witnessing the consequences yet again with the much-vaunted high-speed rail line from Beijing to Shanghai. Three times in four days last week it broke down, prompting anger from passengers and crowing from safety experts who had warned that the July 1 opening to mark the Communist Party's 90th anniversary was overly hasty. The persistent delays from equipment failure have not only tarnished the already maligned project, but also threaten to cast a shadow over the country's technological and construction prowess. Politics too often drives projects on the mainland. With the aim of showing the party's achievements, the 200 billion yuan, 1,318km line was pushed to a pre-set completion date, just as was the world's longest cross-sea bridge in Shandong province that opened without lights and gaps in safety fences. Authorities had given both the green light, despite concerns that they were not yet ready [...]. The possibility of teething problems with mega projects can never be eliminated. That means that all systems have to be fully tested and trialled. Safety, the topmost priority, has to be assured [...]. ^ top ^

Death sentence upheld for forklift driver over murder in China's Inner Mongolia (Xinhua)
2011-07-19
A north China court Monday upheld the death sentence of a forklift driver for killing a local resident in a dispute over pollution caused by a coal mine in which he was affiliated. The Higher People's Court of the resource-rich Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region rejected the appeal of Sun Shuning who was sentenced to death on June 21 for murder by the Intermediate People's Court of the Xilingol League in the first-instance trial, the higher people's court said in a statement. The verdict will be submitted to the Supreme People's Court for review and final approval, it said. Sun Shuning was convicted of murdering Yan Wenlong, a resident living near a coal mine operated by Peaceful Mining Co., on May 15 in Abag Banner [...]. Sun knew the consequences of his actions when he intentionally hit Yan with his forklift, which resulted in Yan's immediate death, the higher people's court said. This is the second case in which one of the region's miners has lashed out at a local resident. On July 6, the same court upheld the death sentence of a coal truck driver who ran over and killed a Mongolian herder on May 10 [...]. ^ top ^

Two former officials convicted of bribery executed (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-20
Two former vice mayors of east China's cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou, Xu Maiyong and Jiang Renjie, were executed Tuesday morning for bribery, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said. The SPC approved the executions after reviewing both cases, Sun Jungong, a spokesman for the SPC, said during a press conference held in Beijing on Tuesday. Xu used his official power to interfere with project contracts and to help companies and people obtain land, promotions and tax breaks while acting as chief of the Xihu District government, Party secretary of the district and mayor of Zhejiang Province's city of Hangzhou, Sun said [...]. Jiang took advantage of his position as deputy mayor of Jiangsu Province's city of Suzhou to obtain benefits from real estate development projects for five companies, Sun said. In return, Jiang took bribes, including more than 108 million yuan in cash, from property developers. Xu was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power and sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court of the city of Ningbo on May 12. Jiang was convicted of bribery and sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court of the city of Nanjing in April 2008. Both Xu and Jiang appealed the courts' decisions after their trials. Their appeals were rejected by higher courts.. ^ top ^

Lai case can prove China is changing (SCMP)
2011-07-20
When a crime is committed on the mainland and the suspect flees to another country, it is reasonable to expect that they should have to answer the charges. Beijing's most wanted fugitive, Lai Changxing, has yet to do that, despite 12 years passing since he arrived in Canada. Instead, he has variously spent time in jail, under house arrest and free while fighting deportation. Throughout, his argument has remained unchanged - that he will be executed if sent home. The death penalty is against the spirit of Canada's laws, just as in most countries. It is understandable that there should have been reticence about deporting Lai when he showed up in 1999 with his family and sought political asylum. The mainland still executes more people each year than anywhere else [...]. But Lai is accused of grave financial misdemeanours. He is said to have led a network that smuggled goods valued at billions of yuan into China with the protection of corrupt officials [...]. In Beijing's eyes, his continued freedom sends the worst of messages about corruption. Lai contends he is innocent and says the bribes he is alleged to have paid officials were gifts. Without a trial, it is his word against that of authorities. Beijing has pledged he will not face the death penalty. Commercial fraud is among the more than 50 crimes that attract execution, but pressure has meant courts are increasingly handing down suspended death sentences [...]. Given the high profile of the case and the judicial reforms under way, there is no reason to believe Beijing will go back on its word. Canada should send Lai back. By ensuring he gets a trial that meets accepted international standards, the mainland can prove to the world that it is committed to change. ^ top ^

CPC puts the people first: historian (China Daily)
2011-07-20
The Communist Party of China (CPC) will remain confident in its rule of the world's most populous nation despite mounting pressures on social stability, as long as it represents people's interests, a leading historian has said. Li Zhongjie, deputy chief of the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, disagreed with speculation that the Party is in a dangerous situation, although in his speech on the Party's 90th anniversary, President Hu Jintao issued several warnings to the whole CPC. Hu told Party members to be aware of the "growing danger of a lack of drive, incompetence, divorce from the people, lack of initiative, and corruption". Such phrases have rarely been heard in Party leaders' speeches [...]. Noting that the word "people" was used 136 times in the president's 14,000-word speech, Li said it was undoubtedly the address's catchphrase, which underlined the principle of putting the people first. He also said the speech was a "guidance document of Marxism". However, Li admitted the Communist Party of China, [...], has been facing greater challenges in maintaining social stability due to the unparalleled changes the world's second-largest economy is undergoing. The Chinese government's budget for public security reached an astonishing 624.4 billion yuan ($97 billion) in 2011, a 15.6 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Finance. In response to a widely circulated claim that some establishment cliques have emerged within the Party and are hindering reforms in many fields, Li said he did not think such "special interest groups" exist. He repeated that the Party is working for the people's well-being, not for its own interest. "It is notable that Hu mentioned the 'four dangers' in his keynote speech. This gives a hint that such problems have already been quite serious," Liu Shanying, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily. ^ top ^

China's Internet users rise to 485 mln by June (Xinhua)
2011-07-20
The number of people surfing the Internet in China rose to 485 million by the end of June this year, up 6.1 percent from the end of last year, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) announced Tuesday. The increase of 27.7 million over the six-month period was smaller than the increase of 36 million during the same period last year, the CNNIC said in a report [...]. The Internet penetration rate was 36.2 percent at the end of June, up 1.9 percentage points from the rate last year, it said. About 65.5 percent of China's Internet users, or 318 million people, use mobile phones to surf the net, an increase of 14.94 million from the end of last year, it said. Weibo, a twitter-like social networking website, has enjoyed "explosive growth" in its number of users, it said. The number of microblog users surged by 208.9 percent to reach 195 million by the end of June, it said. The number of group-purchase users also rose 125 percent in the first six months of the year, it said. About 18.75 million used group-purchase websites at the end of last year. ^ top ^

Writer won't give up on ideals (SCMP)
2011-07-21
Popular mainland writer Li Chengpeng, who had earlier announced that he would run for a seat in his local legislature as an independent candidate, said yesterday that official pressure had not suppressed his ideals [...]. Li's enthusiasm was dampened last month when a National People's Congress official said there was "no legal basis" for the term independent candidates. It was widely seen as a gesture to put off more than 100 people across the mainland who had declared their candidacies online. "Many people asked me why I wanted to run for a seat," Li, 43, told a packed room of fans at the Hong Kong Book Fair. "I said it's like chasing girls... that's my right, you don't need a reason." "[But] where I'm from, `independence' is a sensitive word". Asked whether he would give up his ideals, he said, "I think ideals are like luminous pearls: in bright places they have no brightness, but in the dark, they flourish". The crowd applauded. The emergence of high-profile independent candidates - petitioners, activists, authors, professors and businessmen - has apparently unnerved the mainland government. Many such candidates have reportedly been harassed or detained by authorities. Li said in his blog last month that his son was denied a tennis sponsorship by a company under pressure from a "mysterious [government] department". Professor Yu Jianrong, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Social Issues Research Centre, who gave a separate talk at the book fair yesterday, said he told party officials they should protect people's constitutional rights and encourage them to participate in local elections [...]. Yu said people's desire to participate in politics in both eras was "equally significant", but he believed that present-day candidates - ordinary people, rather than intellectuals - had an advantage because they could use the internet as a platform to directly appeal to their supporters. "I also believe that in the internet era, persecution will not be so easy," Yu said, although he added that his support for election rights had made him "a very sensitive subject" in the eyes of the authorities. "I firmly believe that when Chinese people have the courage to pick up the microphone [to speak out], the day we're all looking forward to will soon come" [...]. ^ top ^

More rail officials probed on corruption suspicions (SCMP)
2011-07-22
Yet another senior railway official is reportedly under investigation for corruption, as cadres in the mainland's rail sector are probed following the sacking of former railways minister Liu Zhijun in February. The Communist Party's anti-graft agency put Su Shunhu, deputy director of the Ministry of Railways' Transportation Bureau, under investigation about a month ago, the Economic Observer reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source in the rail sector.

Su was investigated partly because he allegedly helped an Inner Mongolian coal businessman "co-ordinate the planned railway transportation capacity for his coal", and took a piece of property in Beijing as a gift from the man, the report said. Since Liu's downfall, Su has become the second-highest railway official to be investigated after his immediate superior, Zhang Shuguang, then-director of the ministry's transportation bureau, was placed under investigation in late February [...]. The last time he talked to the media was late last month, before the opening of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway [...]. Five other railway officials have reportedly been placed under investigation since Liu's downfall, which resulted from a "severe violation" of discipline. Mainland media recently reported that Du Houzhi, head of the Harbin -Dalian railway passenger line, was dismissed at the end of June. Shao Liping, head of the Nanchang Railway Bureau in Jiangxi ; Lin Fenqiang, the railway chief in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia ; and Ma Junfei, Hohhot's deputy railway chief, were all placed under investigation for corruption last month, according to reports in the Economic Observer and Caixin Century [...]. The Railways Ministry has been at the centre of public debate not only for corruption, but also for the controversial Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. Six failures occurred within its first five days of operation, from June 30, leading to delays for dozens of trains. In a press conference yesterday, a spokesman for the Railways Ministry, Wang Yongping, said it would take about two to three months to work out all the kinks in the line, and that it was normal to have failures before the end of this period. ^ top ^

Mainland media join Murdoch backlash (SCMP)
2011-07-22
The scandal-beset closure of the News of the World - the defunct British tabloid that was part of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's empire - has opened the door for mainland media to rail against hypocrisy in Western journalism. As evidence mounts of the extent of phone-hacking operations sanctioned by the newspaper, Chinese voices are getting louder in their condemnation of the Western media's self-righteousness and its empty slogans of freedom, justice and human rights, according to a commentary by the official news agency Xinhua. Xinhua forecast that the growing scandal "would inevitably cause a major impact" on "the regulatory model of Western media." In the People's Daily, a column yesterday also reminded readers of alleged "prefabricated news" in the United States in the initial stage of the Iraq war [...]. Mainland media experts have published several commentaries stressing the profit-orientated nature of what Ling Haoying, an associate professor of media economics at the Communication University of China, described as "the majority of" Western media. Being objective and true to the facts is impossible in the existing media market in the West, Ling said, due to the profit imperative. Wang Junchao, a journalism professor with Tsinghua University, said Murdoch set a bad example for media throughout the world in terms of the treatment of other people's rights [...]. At the same time, however, there have been voices in the mainland press arguing that the News of the World scandal has less to do with freedom of the press and more with that of information gathering. Its information-gathering methods were so aggressive that they compromised the privacy of all people, which is why so few people mourned its passing, according to an article signed by Ling Bin, a law professor from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in yesterday's Shanghai Morning Post. ^ top ^

Switch flicked at experimental fast reactor (China Daily)
2011-07-22
China's first experimental fast reactor located in the southwest suburbs of Beijing started to supply electricity at 10 am on Thursday. A press officer with the Beijing Electric Power Company, who declined to be identified, confirmed to China Daily that her company was transmitting power generated by the fast reactor. "The thermal power at the reactor is 65 megawatts. Currently we are using 40 percent to generate power, so the temperature and pressure in the generator is low, and the actual power output is only 3 megawatts," said Xu Mi, the leading expert on fast reactor technology at the China National Nuclear Corporation [...]. "Although the power produced by our fast reactor does not contribute very much to the overall electricity supply, it has its significance in terms of technological achievements," Xu said [...]. Unlike a traditional nuclear power plant, a fast reactor is more efficient in using uranium and minimizing nuclear waste [...]. Moreover, a fast reactor can more completely burn or transmute nuclei and shorten the period of radioactive decay to less than 400 years, which makes it easier to dispose of waste. "The commercialization of fast reactors, together with a closed nuclear fuel cycle, will ease the shortage of uranium resources," Xu said [...]. "The control of the nuclear chain reaction is similar to that of a traditional reactor, only we use liquid sodium as a coolant instead of water," Xu said. "And we have very sophisticated designs to control and prevent accidents, for example the automatic monitoring system." China started fundamental research on fast reactors in 1965, began designing them in 1990 and completed the construction of this experimental one by 2007 [...]. "I believe the reason that our government invests in the fast reactor is to develop broader commercial use. But we will submit our design to relative departments after finishing it, and the schedule still depends on how much progress we are making," Xu said. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing's new traffic plan to hit car owners (China Daily)
2011-07-21
Private car owners might have to accept higher charges as the city's traffic authority plans to further improve public transport and reduce the use of vehicles to ease traffic congestion. Liu Xiaoming, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, suggested in a report to the Beijing Municipal People's Congress that the city adopt "both economic and administrative measures" to further reduce the use of private cars and divert private car owners to public transport [...]. Although Liu has suggested that charges for private cars will be increased, neither he nor the commission have specified what measures will follow the raising of parking fees in April. Meanwhile, Liu said that constructing a denser underground transport system in downtown areas will be another key component in reducing congestion on the roads [...]. According to Liu, the commission estimates the public transport system will take up 42 percent of the daily transport volume in Beijing. The average driving speed during rush hour reached 24 km/h in the first six months of the year, a 10 percent increase over the speed during the same period last year [...]. "But tackling gridlock is still a challenging, long-term task." He said the reforms had yielded a measurable effect, even though the number of vehicles on the city's roads in July jumped by more than 600,000 compared to last July's figure. Experts said a more comfortable and convenient public transport system is the key to solving the city's long-standing traffic congestion problems [...]. Zhang Zhuting, an expert on public transport at the Ministry of Transport, believes comfort and convenience levels on the city's buses and trains must be improved [...]. "We need to rate the public transport system through comprehensive indexes, such as comfort, convenience and safety," Zhang said. Experts also said the lack of coordination between buses and the subway remained a problem [...]. Statistics from the commission show that the public transport system had already recorded a daily volume of 19.43 million individual journeys in the first quarter of 2011, a figure close to Beijing's population of 19.61 million residents [...]. Measures such as a license plate lottery system, increases in parking fees and restrictions on non-local cars entering the city during rush hours were introduced earlier this year [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Critics decry plan for police to help demolish illegal buildings (China Daily)
2011-07-21
This city's legislative affairs office has come under fire after it published a draft regulation requiring local police officers to help urban-management officers, or chengguan, demolish illegal buildings. According to a draft of an illegal-buildings regulation, police officers are required to help chengguan enter and demolish illegal buildings. The police are also asked to protect the chengguan against any violence they might provoke through the performance of their duties. The office posted the draft regulation, which was formulated by the city's chengguan authority, on its website on July 13 after it had solicited public opinions on the matter from July 13 to August 12. Once made public, the regulation began drawing criticism from local residents and netizens, who said that requiring the police to assist the chengguan would run contrary to the country's laws and regulations [...]. A senior police officer from the Guangzhou public security bureau, who requested anonymity, said the draft regulation runs counter to a Ministry of Public Security notice that forbids police officers from taking part in the demolition of illegal buildings. "This (helping chengguan deal with illegal buildings) isn't the police's business," the officer told China Daily on Wednesday. "The owners of illegal buildings are not criminals. "Having the police take part will only make the clashes between residents and the chengguan worse." Li Wangwen, a local lawyer, said the police should not be asked to help ease the tensions that arise between residents and city authorities during disputes over the legality of buildings. "Police officers should be sent to the scene only when there is violence that, in breach of laws or regulations, will or already has disrupted social security," Li said [...]. He suggested that the final version of the regulation will not require the police to help chengguan demolish illegal buildings. ^ top ^

New measures urged to solve social conflicts (China Daily)
2011-07-22
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has urged southern China's Shenzhen city to blaze new trails in addressing social conflicts and accumulate experiences for the country's overall effort to improve social management. Zhou Yongkang, secretary of the CPC Central Committee's Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, made the remarks during an inspection tour from Monday through Wednesday of social management work in Shenzhen. Shenzhen in Guangdong province has taken a lead in economic development and also has become one of the regions to first experience certain social problems, Zhou said. He expressed hope that Shenzhen and Guangdong will continue to come up with new ideas in resolving new social problems as well as to bravely push forward the country's social management work [...]. Zhou called on greater efforts to organize and train the floating population so as to increase their ability to secure employment, as well as to provide them with better access to public services. In addition, he said the government should beef up regulation of the cyberspace as its influence is growing stronger. He urged Internet firms to be more self-disciplined and join with the government to make the Internet play a more positive role in serving the public, promoting development, and maintaining harmony and stability. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Xi vows to crush moves by Tibetan separatists (SCMP)
2011-07-20
Any separatist attempts in Tibet would be crushed, Vice-President Xi Jinping vowed yesterday at a rally marking the 60th anniversary of the region's "peaceful liberation". Xi called the remote Himalayan region a "national security screen" whose stability Beijing was determined to protect. In a speech watched closely by analysts, overseas Tibetan communities and Washington, Xi, widely expected to become Communist Party chief next year, also attributed Tibet's development in the past six decades to the party's leadership and promised to continue economic reforms. "The extraordinary development of Tibet over the past 60 years points to an irrefutable truth: without the Chinese Communist Party, there would have been no new China, no new Tibet," Xi told an audience of thousands assembled in front of Lhasa's iconic Potala Palace. "We should thoroughly fight against separatist activities by the Dalai clique by firmly relying on all ethnic groups... and completely smash any plot to destroy stability in Tibet and jeopardise national unity" [...]. Xi's trip to Tibet has been closely monitored for hints of how policy towards the region may change [...]. Analysts say it remains to be seen whether the central government will take a tougher line in Tibet, but Xi is working hard to equip himself for the task. "Xi does not have much connection with Tibet, but he will need to deal with the issues when he becomes the leader," said associate professor Barry Sautman, a social scientist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology [...]. Both Sautman and Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said the central government, by highlighting Tibet's role as a national security screen, was showing its concern that riots in Tibet might affect China's strategy in dealing with India. "Ties between the US and India have strengthened," Sautman said. "Some people in India believe China is their threat. Tibet is in the front line for any potential conflict with India" [...]. In his speech, Xi said: "As long as we stick to Chinese Communist Party leadership, the socialist system, the system of regional ethnic autonomy and the development path with Chinese and local Tibetan features, Tibet will enjoy greater prosperity, progress and a brighter future." Zhao said the reforms taking place in other parts of the country would be implemented in Tibet. "Tibet is part of China, and Tibetans are part of the Chinese community. Tibet and other parts of China share the same vision for development. The central government will stick to the path of opening up and reform," he said. Lian Xiangmin, a research fellow at the China Tibetology Research Centre, said he expected the central government would provide more economic assistance to offset the Dalai Lama's influence. ^ top ^

China's vice president urges Tibetan monks to "stay clear from" separatist forces (Xinhua)
2011-07-21
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called on people from the religious circle in Tibet to "make a clean break with separatist forces" during his visit to the Jokhang Temple, a key Tibetan Buddhism monastery located in the heart of Lhasa. Speaking to more than 100 monks of the monastery and representatives from the religious circle gathering at Jokhang, Xi said Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times and people from the religious circle have helped maintain social stability, national integrity and ethnic unity. "The Party and the government will not forget your positive contributions," Xi said, urging them to carry on the patriotic spirit, stay in line with the Party and the government, and strive for Tibet's development and the improvement of the people's living standards [...]. The vice president said at Tuesday's rally that the fight against separatist activities of the Dalai Lama group is needed so as to "completely destroy any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet and national unity of the motherland." Xi called on people from the religious circle to study for a better understanding of Party's religious policies and the country's laws, to achieve academic accomplishment through fine learning, to uphold integrity and self-restraint, and to be socially responsible [...]. The more than 1,300-year-old Jokhang Temple, which houses a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni as a 12-year-old, is deemed as a top Tibetan Buddhism monastery of all sects [...]. ^ top ^

State Council approves $21b investment in Tibet (China Daily)
2011-07-21
The Chinese central government plans to invest 138.4 billion yuan ($21.38 billion) in Tibet over the next five years to support the region's development and improve local people's lives. The investment will primarily support 226 major construction projects in Tibet that will involve a total investment of 330.5 billion yuan, according to a statement issued Wednesday after a State Council meeting at which the plan was approved. The projects will cover construction of facilities for the region's public services, as well as infrastructure such as railways, highways, airports and hydropower plants. The investment will also be used to promote the region's local industries and protect the environment, the statement said. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Four killed in attack on Xinjiang police station (SCMP)
2011-07-19
At least four people were killed, including a paramilitary police officer and two hostages, following an attack on a police station in Hotan, Xinjiang, yesterday [...]. Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uygur Congress, quoted several sources from Xinjiang as saying that ethnic Uygurs had gone to the police station to secure the release of "innocent fellow Uygurs who had been arrested". He said many Uygurs had planned to stage a protest in Hotan yesterday morning over the local authorities' illegal seizure of land for a resettlement project. Internal security personnel and armed police clamped down on the demonstration, leaving many Uygurs injured and arresting 13. Yesterday's attack was the second targeting police since Zhang Chunxian was named Xinjiang's Communist Party secretary in April last year, replacing hardliner Wang Lequan [...]. Dilxat warned Beijing, saying: "Don't label any clashes resulting from the crackdown on peaceful protests as so-called terrorism. The policy carried out by Beijing is the root of the problem and why the situation in Xinjiang is turning sour." Early this month, in a show of ethnic harmony, Zhang paid a high-profile visit to night markets in Xinjiang's regional capital, Urumqi. Observers in Beijing said they did not think the attack in Hotan indicated a resurgence of ethnic tensions or instability in Xinjiang. Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism research centre at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said although the overall situation in Xinjiang had improved a great deal since widespread rioting by Uygurs in Urumqi in 2009, it was unrealistic to expect an end to violent incidents [...]. "We still have hostile forces overseas which might not be happy to see that the situation has become better," Li said. "Such destabilising factors still exist."Since July 5, the government has sped up economic development in Xinjiang, worked at tackling the slum situation, and paired coastal cities with Xinjiang to ensure sources of aid." Professor Mao Shoulong, a public policy expert at Renmin University, said the latest incident was unlikely to affect Zhang's political standing or dampen general confidence in his governance. "Since he got to Xinjiang he's done a good job addressing problems in government policies, improving economic order and maintaining public order," Mao said [...]. ^ top ^

Finger-pointing over fatal clash (SCMP)
2011-07-20
Xinjiang authorities said Monday's attack on a police station in Hotan that killed four people was an act of terrorism, but overseas Uygur groups alleged that police opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing at least 20. "The attack was violent, of a terroristic nature, organised and premeditated," Hou Hanmin, director of the government's news office in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, told the South China Morning Post yesterday. The incident was briefly reported on Monday by state-run Xinhua news agency, which said a gang of "thugs" attacked the police station around noon, taking hostages and setting fires. According to the report, police had the situation under control by about 1.30pm, having shot dead an unidentified number of "thugs" and rescued six hostages. The four said to have been killed were a paramilitary police officer, a police assistant and two other hostages. Also on Monday, the People's Daily said on its Xinjiang news website that 14 "thugs" were shot dead, but this report could not be found on mainland news portals yesterday. Hou refused to confirm the number of casualties, but provided more information on the attack yesterday. She said the attackers first went for the city's Industrial and Commerce Office, injuring two people there, then charged into the police station next door, where they stabbed the police assistant stationed at the entrance before setting fires inside with explosives and petrol bombs. They also waved black flags that bore white Arabic script, which were the flags of jihad, or holy war, Hou said. She said the authorities would release more information soon. Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the Germany-based World Uygur Congress, said Chinese authorities were distorting the facts. Rexiti said that, according to his sources in Hotan, disgruntled Uygurs gathered at a bazaar near the police station on Monday around 10am, hoping to walk to government departments to protest against the "disappearance" of a large number of young Uygurs [...] as well as other problems Uygurs face, such as land disputes with Han residents in the city. But police "unreasonably" used force and opened fired on the protesters, wounding one person and arresting 13 others, Rexiti said. Thereafter, "things escalated", he said, and many Uygurs stormed government departments to protest against the arrests. During the clashes, police killed at least 20 Uygurs and injured 12, including four women and an 11-year-old girl. "At least 70 people have been arrested since yesterday afternoon," Rexiti said. He did not respond directly when asked if the protesters were carrying flags or explosives. Xinjiang has seen a string of violent attacks in recent years in which police are often targeted. While Beijing often blames these attacks on terrorists calling for an independent East Turkestan, Uygurs in Xinjiang say such claims are excuses for the authorities to continue long-standing unfair treatment of the ethnic minority [...]. ^ top ^

Attack on police station was 'long-planned' (China Daily)
2011-07-21
Police killed 14 rioters and captured four others who had attacked a police station in Hotan, a city in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, at noon on Monday, local government officials said on Wednesday. Hou Hanmin, chief of the autonomous region's information office, told China Daily the incident was "a severe terrorist attack". "It was obviously a long-planned, unprovoked, terrorist attack, aimed at the police station," Hou said. "To attract the attention of police inside the station, the rioters first attacked two passers-by not far from the Naarburg Street police station (where the riot happened on Monday)" [...]. Police shot down the rioters within 90 minutes of the start of the attack and then managed to free six civilians who had been taken hostage in the station [...]. An officer with the local Armed Police brigade and a public security worker lost their lives rescuing the hostages. And two hostages were killed by rioters during the rescue operation [...]. "The rioters were bloodthirsty," Hou said. "One of the injured people was stabbed by a knife. The rioters pierced the knife through the man's neck" [...]. Shouting extremist slogans, the rioters ran to the top floor of the station and came under fire from the police, who were trying to stop them, said a policeman who declined to give his name […]. "The attackers didn't target a specific ethnic group," Hou said. "Both Uygurs and Han are among the dead and injured." "The slogans the rioters shouted showed they were religious extremists." Some Western media have linked the attack to "government repression" and claimed that it was prompted by the police's firing on "peaceful protesters". Hou said no peaceful protest took place on Monday. By Wednesday, business at the police station had not returned to normal, and an investigation into the riot was still under way, Hou said [...]. The attack on Monday took place just days after the second anniversary of the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in which 197 people were killed and 1,700 injured. ^ top ^

Ban on Islamic dress sparked Uygur attack (SCMP)
2011-07-22
Local residents believe that an attempt by the authorities in Hotan, Xinjiang, to gradually ban local Uygur women from wearing black veils and traditional Islamic black outfits was one of the main triggers of a deadly attack at a local police station on Monday. A local government spokesman confirmed that an official campaign had been launched in recent months against a new trend of wearing black veils along with black robes [...] although those in Xinjiang are not exactly burqas. The trend was alarming because such outfits became popular only after the riots in July 2009 [...] and they are not traditional Uygur attire, the spokesman said yesterday [...]. A girl from Moyu, a county under Hotan's jurisdiction, said the authorities in her hometown had barred women from wearing dark veils since May or June, while another woman in her 20s in Hotan said that all the shops at the Grand Bazaar had been banned from selling veils that were dark in colour for about three months [...]. The spokesman also said: "In our point of view, these kind of women have been blindly affected by extreme religious thought." "The black and loose robes enable potential attackers to hide their weapons and, hence, pose a security threat to the safety of the public," he said. The Hotan government had launched a campaign to encourage women to avoid such clothing, he said, using slogans telling them to "show off their pretty looks and let their beautiful long hair fly" [...]. The spokesman said that the government began talking to religious leaders this month, and had asked them to request women to stop wearing black veils with black robes, especially in public. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Teachers-to-be fear plans for 'brainwashing' (SCMP)
2011-07-22
More than half of Hong Kong's future teachers believe that the government's proposed introduction of moral and national education as a compulsory school subject will involve "brainwashing". According to the survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education, which canvassed the views of 200 of its students over its intranet service, 60 per cent also doubt the government's ability to provide balanced views on China and Chinese citizenship. The survey also sought the views of 500 parents of current primary and secondary schoolers and found that 43 per cent of interviewed parents support such a curriculum but, like the city's teachers-in-training, have little faith that the government can do it right, [...]. Under proposals announced by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in May, schools have to provide up to 50 hours a year, or about two lessons a week, for the new subject, in which schoolchildren will be taught to sing the national anthem, attend flag-raising ceremonies, understand the Basic Law, support national sports teams, and "appreciate and understand Chinese culture". The proposals, which are subject to a four-month consultation period, have been denounced by pan-democrats as attempts to brainwash schoolchildren on behalf of Beijing. Commenting on the survey, Liu Sze-ming, president of the institute's students' union, said: "We are afraid of breeding a generation who won't be able to think for themselves. But if national education focuses only on how well China has done, how much GDP has gone up, but not on the plight of the poor farmers, nor the treatment of political dissenters, then we will do that." But Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho, who led the survey said: "Hong Kong children's knowledge and understanding of national issues and identity is not enough, and if this [moral and national education curriculum] is done right - by including a diversity of topics and presenting multiple perspectives - it can really benefit [Hong Kong students'] identity as citizens and enhance their sense of belonging to society" [...]. The curriculum as proposed at present "will fall short of what we need - a well-balanced and well-rounded course that will present not just the pro-Chinese and pro-government views, but even the criticism," Liu said. "Many people just do not have much faith left in the government.". ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

P.L.A. threat to Taiwan 'bigger than ever' (SCMP)
2011-07-20
The mainland's military threat to Taiwan was bigger than ever, the island's military said yesterday, despite efforts by the island's leader to engage Beijing. In its 2011 defence white paper, the Taiwanese military said the island needed to beef up its defensive capabilities to deal with the latest situation. It said the navy and air force of the People's Liberation Army were already strong enough to impose a blockade on Taiwan [...]. "They are also capable enough to occupy our offshore islands, including the Pescadores, and even, to a certain extent, attack Taiwan proper." The report, which summarises various combat techniques and strategies that the PLA could use to attack Taiwan, warns that once the PLA is fully equipped with landing craft and other facilities, it could send forces to occupy Taiwan in the event of cross-strait conflict. The report compares the number of troops and the military budgets of the two sides [...]. In terms of budget, the US$77 billion listed by the PLA last year was about nine times more than the US$9 billion listed by Taiwan. "If hidden expenses were released, it would be even 21 times more than ours," the report said [...]. The report said the PLA had started producing a limited number of Dong-Feng-21 D medium-range missiles, which could be used to attack aircraft carriers should the US send battle groups to intervene in the event of cross-strait conflict. The report also noted that with its modern arms [...], the PLA's army, navy and air force were already far superior to Taiwan's, indicating that the "military balance has gradually tilted towards the communists". Deputy Defence Minister Dr Andrew Yang Nien-dzu said: "We are in a very challenging situation. Although there has been some improvement in cross-strait relations in the past several years, in line with the government's policy, we should never loosen up in boosting our defensive capability and security"[...]. The report drew mixed reactions from lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang and the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. KMT legislators said it was meant to remind people of the latent military threat from the mainland despite warming cross-strait ties, but the DPP lashed out at Ma for failing to increase the island's military budget, which they said had shrunk for three years. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Use of chemicals 'threaten grain output' (China Daily)
2011-07-18
The heavy use of agrochemicals has led to a severe deterioration of arable soil and poses a serious threat to domestic grain output. The situation has led to some leading ecologists calling on authorities to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Despite floods and droughts, China's grain production hit 546.4 million tons in 2010, the seventh consecutive year of growing output. "But this (grain growth) will not last long if the government fails to take timely and effective measures, as the soil is already too poor to support high-yield crops," Jiang Gaoming, a leading researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said. The average level of organic matter in soil, which is crucial in determining crop output, is now 1 to 5 percent for northeast China's arable land, compared with 8 to 10 percent in the 1950s, according to figures from the academy's institute of soil sciences [...]. Jiang said the problems have been caused by the massive overuse of chemical fertilizers over the past 30 years, following China's pledge to realize grain self-sufficiency [...]. However, since 2007 China has been the world's largest consumer of chemical fertilizers, using more than 50 million tons every year, four times the amount in the 1980s. "More chemical fertilizer, more grain output - that's been a common misunderstanding among government officials and farmers for dozens of years. Crops were always fertilized, regardless of cost, to guarantee high production," Jiang said. Experts also argue that an increase in plant disease and the deterioration of the environment have been triggered, partly, by years of chemical fertilizer use [...]. China uses 1.3 million tons of pesticides annually, with usage per unit area 2.5 times the global average, Zhang Weili, a CAAS professor on soil and fertilizer, told China Daily, citing official figures. Also, the country's surface water pollution is grave while its seven major rivers and coastal waters are also polluted, a report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in June. Of the 26 lakes and reservoirs under monitoring, 42.3 percent are "eutrophicated", a process that can lead to a proliferation of plant life caused by excessive levels of phosphorous and nitrogen, the report adds. "China can no longer boost grain production by relying on agrochemicals," Zhang said. Together with her colleagues at the CAAS, Zhang conducted a field investigation on the effects of agrochemicals on soil fertility across the country over the past 10 years [...]. Jiang, from the Academy of Sciences, highlighted the importance of government support. "More subsidies are needed to support intensive cultivation, a traditional way to protect soil fertility. At present, almost no farmers are willing to do so because of higher costs in terms of time and money," he said [...]. ^ top ^

China to launch carbon emissions trading pilot project (Xinhua)
2011-07-18
China will start a pilot carbon emissions trading project, and gradually set up a carbon emissions trading market, said Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), on Sunday at the 2011 Eco-Forum Global in Guiyang. China would also accelerate building a standardized system for energy saving and environmental protection, and tighten regulation on identifying and labeling low-carbon products, Xie said China was determined to straighten out prices of resource-based products, for example, further applying differential power pricing and punitive electricity tariffs, he added. The government would provide more incentives to develop energy-conservation technologies and products, such as preferential taxation policies, according to Xie. China would also continue to boost financial support for green energy and manage growth in energy-intensive industries, said the vice-minister. The capacity of the eco-economy exceeded 1.6 trillion yuan (231.9 billion U.S. dollars) during the period of 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), which created jobs for 28 million people, Xie said. ^ top ^

China-ASEAN trade sees 25 percent bump in first half of 2011 (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-19
In the first half of 2011, the aggregate bilateral trade volume between China and ASEN totaled 171.1 billion U.S. dollars, which was a year-on-year increase of 25.4 percent, according to statistics recently released by China Customs. China's export volume totaled 80 billion U.S. dollars and imports totaled 91 billion U.S. dollars, with an increase of 24 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively, which means there was a 10.9 billion trade deficit. Among ASEAN countries, bilateral trade between China and Indonesia increased by 41 percent while trade with Vietnam grew 40.9 percent. In contrast, trade between China and Philippines as well as China and Singapore saw relatively sluggish growth of 11.2 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively. Compared with other ASEAN countries, the trade gap between China and Malaysia is the greatest, with a deficit of 17.2 billion U.S. dollars. ^ top ^

China increases US Treasury holdings in again (People's Daily Online)
2011-07-20
China, the biggest buyer of United States Treasury debt, increased its holdings in May for the second straight month, after five months of declines. China boosted its holdings by US$7.3 billion to US$1.16 trillion, the Treasury Department said yesterday. Total foreign holdings of Treasury securities rose 0.6 percent to US$4.51 trillion. The report shows that foreign investors didn't lose their appetite for US government debt in May, even though the US reached its US$14.3 trillion borrowing limit that month [...]. ^ top ^

Land sales in major cities decline amid property curbs (Global Times)
2011-07-21
China's 130 major cities witnessed a decline in both the volume and average sales price of the residential-use land in the first half of this year, and analysts said the land market could cool even further as purchase-limit policies are implemented in more lower level cities. The total volume of residential land sales in 130 cities reached to 161.79 million square meters, down 15 percent year-on-year, the China Index Academy, a real estate research institute, said in a report Tuesday. The average sales price in these major Chinese cities stood at 1,451 yuan ($224) per square meter of floor space, a decline of 13 percent over the same period of last year, according to the report. "Only 25 percent of local governments' land sales target of 2011 has been reached so far, and they will speed up land sales in the second half of this year," He Tian, deputy research director at the China Index Academy, told the Global Times Tuesday. "But developers are hesitant to purchase land under the current property curbs," He said [...]. "Developers, especially the large companies with no shortage of funds, don't have the motivation to purchase more land and could even slow the development of their projects amid the current uncertainties about future policies," Chen Baocun, deputy director of the research institute of the National Real Estate Managers Association, [...]. "Local governments, who are facing financing pressures to accomplish the construction target of 10 million units of affordable housing this year, would be in a difficult position in the second half of this year if the revenue from land sales drops too much," Chen said [...]. ^ top ^

Rumors of small business bankruptcy wave not true: spokesman (Xinhua)
2011-07-22
A supposed wave of bankruptcies that has swept China's small businesses in recent time is not a matter of fact, and the central government is mulling new policies to support these businesses, an official said Thursday. "I can assure you it is not true that a large number of China's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are going bust," Zhu Hongren, chief engineer and spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said during a press conference. Zhu said that he has been doing field research in areas where the bankruptcies have been reported, [...]. However, several SMEs have faced difficulties such as a lack of legal financing channels, excessive increases in raw material prices and increased costs for labor and financing, Zhu said [...]. For the sake of social stability, local governments at all levels should provide support in accordance with laws, Zhu said [...]. ^ top ^

China denies manipulation of rare earths prices (Xinhua)
2011-07-22
Price rises of rare earths are not a result of manipulation by the Chinese government, a senior official said Thursday. "It's a misunderstanding to think that government manipulation has caused a resurgence in prices," Zhu Hongren, chief engineer and spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said during a press conference. Considering the huge resource consumption and environment pollution caused by rare earths mining, prices were unreasonably low previously and the recent rises are rational, he said. Besides, the development of new material industries have increased demand, but the price rises were smaller than those of other commodities such as oil, he added [...]. China suffers serious environmental pollution from mining the metals. More than 90 percent of rare earths on the international market come from China. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK accuses S. Korea of smearing on issues of human rights (Global Times)
2011-07-18
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Friday accused the South Korean authorities of smearing it on issues of human rights, the official news agency KCNA reported. The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a bulletin that South Korea's 2011 white paper on human rights of the DPRK is "nothing but a dirty document against the DPRK" and "a politically-motivated unpardonable provocation against the inviolable system and dignity of the DPRK," according to the KCNA. The issue of the white paper clearly proved once again "to what extent the group of traitors' hysteria for confrontation with fellow countrymen has reached," said the bulletin. The South Korean authorities are making desperate efforts to tarnish the international image of the DPRK and let down the people of South Korea who wish for improvement in inter-Korean relations, ignoring its own terrible situation on human rights. "Nothing is more foolish and ridiculous than this," said the bulletin. The bulletin warned that the DPRK will never pardon the South Korean authorities' hurting the inviolable and dignified system in the DPRK. It urged the South Korean authorities to "properly understand the burning hatred of the army and people of the DPRK and their will to wage a sacred retaliatory war against it and stop its rash acts. ^ top ^

Illegal bartering between China, N.Korea drops as trade increases (Global Times)
2011-07-22
Illegal bartering between North Korean and Chinese residents has been falling in recent years as normal bilateral trade grows and the exploitation of border regions accelerates, border police in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, told the Global Times. Cheng Xianying, an officer in the border defense team under Kuandian county's public security bureau, said another reason for the decrease was strengthened security along the border [...]. According to Li Haichao, an officer in the border defense team under Dandong's public security bureau, the complicated situation in the Korean Penisula poses a challenge to Dandong's border security, with various overseas powers seeking to enter the city. In places where the Yalu River is very narrow, people can literally jump between the two countries. Despite being separated by an iron fence, illegal bartering was a frequent occurrence in the past. Residents on both sides reportedly threw goods they wanted to exchange to each other.. ^ 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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