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
  19-23.9.11, No. 389  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China to continue to support Libyans' efforts on protecting sovereignty, conducting reconstruction (Xinhua)
2011-09-19
Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong said here Friday that China will continue its support to the Libyan people on their efforts to protect national sovereignty, conducting reconstruction and promoting development. Li's remarks came as he addressed the UN Security Council after the 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution to ease sanctions against Libya's assets and arms, and set up a UN mission to help restore public security and initiate economic recovery in the North African country. Li said China has repeatedly stressed that four principles should be followed in handling the Libyan issue: First, bring an early end to the conflicts; Second, launch an inclusive political process as soon as possible; Third, respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Libya, as well as the will and choice of the Libyan people; Fourth, give play to the leading role of the Security Council, while other countries, international mechanisms and international conferences should also play a supplementary role under the guidance of the UN Charter and the established principles concerning the Libyan issue. "Based on the above-mentioned principles, China voted in favor of the newly-adopted Resolution 2009," Li said in the explanatory remarks. [...] The resolution was adopted hours after the UN General Assembly approved Libya's National Transitional Council as the legitimate holder of the country's UN seat. ^ top ^

China's top legislator says Sino-Belarusian ties at all-time high (Xinhua)
2011-09-20
China's top legislator Wu Bangguo met here Monday with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, pledging to boost cooperation in various fields and advance bilateral ties. "As the two countries are to mark the 20th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties next year, China-Belarus relationship now stands at new starting point and is facing new development opportunity," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). [...] "The two sides should push forward pragmatic cooperation in various fields and bring more benefits to the two peoples," said Wu, adding that China is satisfied with current bilateral ties that are at an all time high. For future development of bilateral ties, Wu proposed that, first, the two countries keep high-level exchanges to consolidate political trust and strengthen strategic cooperation. Secondly, the two sides should strengthen strategic planning and coordination on major projects, appropriately regulate and guide enterprises cooperation, explore new cooperative model and widen financing channels. [...] China respects Belarus' efforts to continue its development path in conformity with its domestic situation, and supports its efforts to safeguard the country's sovereignty, social stability, economic development and people's livelihood, said Wu. Lukashenko appreciated China's assistance and help, saying China is the most reliable friend and partner of Belarus and it is a strategic choice of Belarus to develop friendly relations with China. Belarus is ready to deepen cooperation with China in areas like trade, technology, education and culture, said Lukashenko, adding that his country firmly adheres to the One-China policy and will stand side by side with the Chinese people on issues concerning China's core interests. [...]. ^ top ^

China calls on U.S. to create better environment for business cooperation (Xinhua)
2011-09-20
Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Monday called on the U.S. government to create a "good environment for business cooperation." Wang made the remark during a meeting with Pat Quinn, the governor of Illinois, a U.S. state that has many cooperative programs with China. "The governments of both countries should help solve problems related to local cooperation through practical action and create a good environment for substantial cooperation between companies, as this will promote employment and economic growth in both countries," Wang said. Wang said China attaches great importance to the exchanges and cooperation that take place between local-level companies, as these companies stand to benefit from the increasing development of China-U.S. relations. Quinn said Illinois is working to become the "most friendly state" in terms of its relations with China and will continue to strengthen cooperation with the country in the environmental protection, tourism, construction and new energy sectors. ^ top ^

China backs Palestine's bid for UN membership (Xinhua)
2011-09-21
China on Tuesday said it backs Palestine's efforts to seek recognition by the United Nations. "China understands, respects and supports Palestine's bid for UN membership," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing on Tuesday. Hong's comments came after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that he will formally apply for UN membership on Friday. China has always supported Palestinians' and Arabs' push to restore their legitimate ethnic rights, Hong said. Seeking independent statehood is the inalienable right of Palestinians, lays a foundation and precondition for the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel and works toward creating lasting peace in the Middle East, Hong said. Hong also urged the international community to enhance efforts to seek peace, promote consultations and push for the early resumption of Palestine-Israel negotiations. ^ top ^

China is willing to boost ties with Japan: top diplomat (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-21
China's top diplomat said Tuesday that the nation is willing to work together with Japan's new cabinet to boost bilateral ties. "The Chinese government attaches great importance to China-Japan relations and pursues friendly policies with Japan," said Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo as he met with Takeshi Noda, visiting chairman of the Japan-China Society. "We are willing to work together with the new Japanese cabinet as well as persons from all fields in Japan to enhance dialogue, exchange and cooperation and to further advance strategic and mutually beneficial China-Japan relations in a healthy and steady way based on the principles of the four political documents between the two countries," he said. [...] During the one-hour meeting with Takeshi Noda, Dai also hailed the active role that the Japan-China Society has played in improving ties between the two countries. Takeshi Noda said that 2012 will mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations and the Society is ready to take the opportunity to push ahead with exchanges and cooperation so as to further improve the relationship between the two countries. ^ top ^

Beijing: China's aid to Europe is unconditional (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-21
Beijing reaffirmed yesterday that its support to European economies to help alleviate its debt woes is “unconditional”, although, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said China is disappointed at EU's inaction to recognize the country as a market economy. "China has set no preconditions for offering help to others. We only hope that we can gain respect when treating others sincerely," Shen Danyang, spokesperson for the ministry, told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday. Meanwhile, EU and China may start negotiations next month for the first pan-European investment agreement with a major trading power. Chinese investment in Europe tripled between 2009 and 2010, and Europe is urging for more. Trade officials from the two sides are expected to meet in Tianjin, a major port city near Beijing, on October 25, to begin the first round of talks aimed at reaching a bilateral investment deal, EU officials said. "I hope that... when we have the EU-China summit in Tianjin, we will be able to launch these negotiations or at least come to agreement in principle to do so," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said. Shen Danyang, the Chinese ministry spokesman, said China has done its best to help EU since the debt woes broke out in Europe in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. He said that China aiding Europe in its time of difficulty and the EU granting market economy status to China are two different issues, and they are not connected. "China was very disappointed that the EU refused to grant the nation full market economy status despite its complete transition from a planned economy to a market economy after 30 years of reform and opening up," Shen said. [...] Market economy status is a designation in international trade law that would grant China more favorable terms in certain trade disputes such as anti-dumping probes. The EU last Thursday slapped a protectionist duty of between 26.3 percent and 69.7 percent on Chinese ceramic tiles. Close to 150 members of the World Trade Organization, including New Zealand and Singapore, have recognized China's market economy status. "Giving China market economy status is a political decision, not a technical issue," Shen said. ^ top ^

China, Laos vow to promote strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2011-09-22
China and Laos issued a joint press communique here on Wednesday, in which the two countries vowed to further promote their comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. The joint press communique was issued on the sidelines of an official good-will China visit of Choummaly Saygnasone, Lao president and secretary-general of the Laos People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee. As guest of his counterpart Hu Jintao, Choummaly met with several Chinese senior leaders including Hu, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping. The state leaders held in-depth discussions on consolidation of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern, and achieved broad consensus. [...] Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of ties, the two sides will take it as an opportunity to further enhance exchanges between political parties, governments, legislative bodies, unions, youth and women organizations and localities, as well as cooperation in culture, education, technology, sports and health. [...] The two sides will further enhance cooperation in national defense, public security and judiciary, so as to safeguard state security and maintain regional peace and stability, the joint press communique said. [...] Laos said it will firmly abide by the one-China policy [...]. Laos will also continue to support a peaceful development of Cross-strait relations and China's peaceful reunification. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing condemns US arms sale to Taiwan (SCMP)
2011-09-23
Beijing condemned the United States yesterday for selling arms to Taiwan, demanding that the Obama administration retract the decision and saying it must take sole responsibility for damaging Sino-US ties. But the harsh words from three government agencies were seen as merely rhetoric, with officials falling short of giving concrete details on what actions they might take against the US. Analysts said this was a sign of the government being cautious and not letting the controversy overshadow a forthcoming visit to the US by Vice-President Xi Jinping or next year's leadership reshuffle. [...] Ministry of Defence spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng said the arms sale would "create serious obstacles to the development of ordinary exchanges between our two militaries". [...] The ministry's deputy head of foreign affairs, Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, summoned Washington's military attache in Beijing to deliver a "strong protest". Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun took similar action with US ambassador Gary Locke. China's ambassador to the US, Zhang Yesui, also lodged a protest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the decision had "infringed on China's national security and great mission of national unification" and called on the US to suspend military ties with Taiwan. [...] When asked whether sanctions would be imposed against US firms involved in the sale, Hong sidestepped, but said those companies would be opposed by Chinese companies and people. [...] The Obama administration notified Congress on Tuesday that it would help Taiwan upgrade its existing F-16 A/B jets, as well as provide new radar, weapon systems, pilot training and spare parts, at a cost of about US$5.85 billion. Washington irritated Beijing last year by approving the sale of US$6.6 billion worth of arms to Taiwan, prompting Beijing to suspend military ties with the US and impose sanctions on companies involved. But some analysts said they did not expect China to take such serious action this time because of the need to maintain positive ties. President Hu Jintao will meet his US counterpart in regional summits and at a G20 meeting in coming months, and Xi will also pay a reciprocal visit to the US later. "There are many common interests between China and the US," said Professor Jia Qingguo, associate dean of Peking University's School of International Studies. "Taiwan is just one of the problems facing the two, and China will not let the issue affect the long-term benefits of bilateral ties." But Professor Sun Zhe, a US affairs expert at Tsinghua University, said China might take strong action in the short run because of nationalistic sentiment calling for a tougher stance. [...]. ^ top ^

China may buy Russian jet engines (Global Times)
2011-09-23
After media reports suggested that China had reached an agreement to buy more than 100 Russian fighter jet engines, Russian plane engine manufacturer SALUT told the Global Times on Wednesday that Beijing had not ratified the deal. "The contract will involve 140 to 150 engines, but it has not been confirmed by authorities in Beijing," Alexander A. Drozhzhin, the head of press for SALUT, told the Global Times at the Aviation Expo in Beijing on Wednesday. The Russian state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport (ROE), announced in July a sale of 123 SALUT-made AL-31FN turbofan engines to China for $500 million, the Washington Times reported late August. The engine is a variant of that used in the Su-27 and Su-30MKK/MK2 fighter jets and is designed to be used on China's single-engine J-10 aircraft, the paper added. [...] China's air force development made headlines earlier this year after news about the prototype J-20 stealth plane emerged. However, aircraft engine design and manufacture have been lagging behind. Since 2009, home-made Taihang engines, developed and produced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), have been fitted to the double engine J-11 fighter jets, its J-15 carrier-based variant and an upgraded version of the J-10 single engine fighter. [...] "The Taihang's appearance on the J-15 meant its reliability and performance had met with high demands, such as those for carrier-based aircraft. That was a significant boost for China's flight engine development," Daniel Tong, Chinese aviation observer and founder of the website Chinese Military Aviation, told the Global Times. ^ top ^

China urges global anti-terrorism efforts (China Daily)
2011-09-23
Terrorism was a common scourge to the international community and China would continue to step up its cooperation with other countries to fight it, China's top police officer said here Wednesday. Meng Jianzhu, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security, made the remarks at the second international meeting of high-ranking representatives in charge of security affairs here. Meng said extremism ideological trends, especially ultranationalism and religious extremism, remained the sources of terrorism. He said China had been plagued by terrorist activities for years, most of them originating from the "East Turkistan" forces and other international terror groups outside the country. The "East Turkistan" forces, as represented by the "Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement", posed big threats to central and southern Asia and caused huge losses to China and other countries and their people's lives and properties, Meng said. China always had been opposed to all forms of terrorism, double standards on counter-terrorism based on political purposes and binding terrorism to certain religions and nationalities, he said. The official said counter-terrorism operations should be in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international laws, adding that the international community should also build a just and rational new international order and push for a fair and just society. Meng introduced China's efforts on counter-terrorism and its cooperation with other countries, saying the country had acceded to 12 international conventions on counter-terrorism and had taken an active part in global counter-terrorism. He raised four proposals on the development of global security cooperation [...]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator proposes stronger ties between China, Central Asia (Xinhua)
2011-09-23
Visiting Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo on Thursday called on China and countries in Central Asia to consolidate traditional friendship and strengthen pragmatic cooperation. Wu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), made the call in a keynote speech delivered at the legislative assembly of the Supreme Council of Uzbekistan during an official goodwill visit to Uzbekistan. Wu spoke highly of China-Uzbekistan cooperation in politics and trade as well as the fight against the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism. He said bilateral trade between the two countries reached 2.48 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 29.2 percent year-on-year. [...] Meanwhile, Wu also called on China and Central Asian countries to earnestly carry out consensus reached by the countries' leaders to promote continuous development of relations. Wu also made a three-point proposal to further boost the time-honored friendship and practical cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. Firstly, political mutual trust needed to be strengthened in an effort to raise the level of strategic cooperation, Wu said. [...] Wu said China and the region should give each other stronger support, at both bilateral and multilateral levels, on major issues concerning each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, stability and development. They also needed to strengthen strategic coordination in international and regional affairs, and maintain active information exchanges on global issues such as global economic governance, climate change, and energy and resources security so as to coordinate their positions and safeguard their common interests [...].Secondly, the two sides should forge even closer economic ties based upon the principle of mutual benefits and win-win results, Wu said. [...] He called on China and the region to seize the opportunity for economic restructuring to give full play to their complementary advantages, saying they should carry out active cooperation in the area of clean energy such as wind and solar power while earnestly implementing existing large-scale cooperation projects and deepening cooperation in oil and gas resources. [...] All sides needed to make great efforts in promoting regional economic cooperation, and actively implement the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation signed by members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with an emphasis on the construction of infrastructure networks, including transportation, energy and communication. [...] Thirdly, Wu said China and Central Asia needed to improve their abilities to defend themselves against real threats by strengthening security cooperation, saying fighting against the "three evil forces" and safeguarding regional stability was a long-term and arduous task for both China and the region. [...] Therefore, Wu called on all sides to build a more efficient security cooperation mechanism and earnestly implement the Shanghai Convention against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism as well as bilateral agreements on security cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China to set up blacklist of bribers (China Daily)
2011-09-19
China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) will set up a national online database of convicted bribers by the end of this year, in a bid to prevent possible corruptions. The database will serve as an admittance control mechanism in the bidding and government procurement procedures, said a statement from the SPP on Sunday. China has put online lists of convicted bribers, making such information available for public inquiry from 2006 and the blacklists have effectively deterred some cases of corruption as well as commercial bribery, the SPP's statement said. The SPP also called on procuratorial organs in the country to improve their crime reporting systems for the reference of policy makers. ^ top ^

Floods claim 57 lives as rain wreaks havoc (China Daily)
2011-09-20
By Monday afternoon, rain-triggered floods and landslides had left at least 57 people dead and 29 missing around the nation, causing the central government to launch emergency response plans. More than 12 million people have been affected by the latest round of heavy rains, while strong flooding has forced more than 1.21 million people to evacuate in Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The ministry and the National Commission for Disaster Reduction dispatched work teams on Monday to help with relief efforts. The flood is expected to be the worst in Sichuan since records began in 1847. Nearly 900,000 people in the province have been evacuated. The rain stopped in Bazhong in Sichuan on Monday morning. It left 13 people dead, 10 missing and 156 injured in the city, Li Minggang, chief of the Bazhong government's information office, told China Daily. The flood affected more than 1.3 million people in the city, with 250,000 being evacuated, Li said. [...] Zhu Zhisheng, deputy mayor of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, said on Monday afternoon that a landslide at about 2 pm on Saturday sent almost 100,000 cubic meters of rock and mud sliding down a mountain in Baqiao, a suburban district of Xi'an. The landslide buried a brick factory as well as the factory's dormitory and destroyed part of a nearby ceramics plant, leaving 17 people dead and at least 15 missing, Zhu said. The rain also caused State Highway 210 to be blocked by falling stones and landslides in Qinling region in Shaanxi. [...] The persistent rain in Shaanxi will continue for days and the water level in the local Weihe and Hanjiang rivers is still rising, the administration said on Monday. The rainy weather in Southwest and Northwest China, which started in August, has delayed the grain harvest in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Henan provinces. [...]. ^ top ^

Dozens held after 3-day anti-pollution protest (SCMP)
2011-09-21
More than 30 people have been detained and 100 sent for unspecified "legal education" following three days of protests against pollution from a solar panel factory in Zhejiang province, a local government announced yesterday. Those detained, who were among several hundred angry protesters, were accused of damaging property belonging to Jinko Solar Holdings, the New York-listed company that owns the factory, and of "seriously disturbing social order", Shen Xianghong, the deputy mayor of Haining city, said at a news conference. The city government ordered that the factory be shut down on Monday after an assessment showed that the mass death of fish in a nearby river was directly caused by sewage discharged by the factory. [...] An expert panel organised by the Environmental Protection Bureau of Jiaxing city, which has administrative jurisdiction over Haining, inspected the factory on Monday, the Haining Environment Bureau said on its Weibo microblogging account. The factory was found to have failed an environmental assessment by the government as recently as April, but no fines or reprimand had been handed down. The incident in the eastern province came just a month after authorities in the northeastern city of Dalian agreed to relocate a chemical plant following similar protests. Zhang Jian, the environmental chief of Jiaxing, said in a Weibo post on Monday that local officials should tighten supervision of big companies to raise environmental standards, not lower them. Shen, the city's vice mayor, said the area around the factory would be guarded more heavily in the coming days to prevent more riots. The government would also send grass-roots cadres to households to persuade them to be "rational" when voicing their demands and discontent. ^ top ^

Independent human rights commission proposed (China Daily)
2011-09-22
Scholars have proposed setting up an independent human rights commission in line with internationally recognized standards. The proposal was made on Wednesday at the opening of a human rights forum by a panel of experts from China University of Political Science and Law. The experts initiated a study in 2004 on the establishment of a human rights institution, Zhang Wei, one of the experts, said in a paper submitted to the fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights. Zhang, deputy director of the university's Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, suggested including the establishment of the human rights commission in the constitution with a guarantee of independence and non-interference. "Independence is crucial to a national human rights commission. It is a precondition for the institution to conduct its work of protecting human rights," Zhang said. "Considering China's political and legal framework, it will be an unprecedented attempt to set up a commission in full compliance with the Paris Principles." These principles, adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the UN General Assembly, concern the status and functioning of institutions protecting human rights. Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, told the forum that China has made significant progress on human rights by developing its economy and enacting relevant legislation. [...] "Limited by natural, historical, cultural, economic and social conditions, the cause of China's human rights still confronts many challenges," Wang said. [...]. ^ top ^

Reporter killed in robbery, police say (SCMP)
2011-09-22
Police have rejected speculation that a journalist was murdered because of his reporting, saying yesterday that he was killed while being robbed. Internet users and some reports had suggested that Sunday night's attack in which television reporter Li Xiang was stabbed at least 10 times was linked to a scandal involving recycled food oil. [...] Police in Luoyang city in Henan province said yesterday that Li was killed during a robbery, and two suspects had been caught. "The investigation shows that the two suspects did not know the journalist Li beforehand, and they were not hired by others. The case involves a murder during a robbery," said Li Hongjiang, deputy director of the Public Security Bureau in Luoyang. Xinhua reported both suspects, 24-year-old Li Junzhao and 28-year-old Zhang Xiaobo, were unemployed residents of a village near Luoyang. The case underscores widespread public anger over the "gutter oil" scandal, the latest to tarnish the mainland's food safety record [...]. [...] It also points to concerns that intrepid reporters exposing wrongdoing, corruption or abuse are sometimes attacked or threatened to silence them. Fang Xuanchang, a science journalist in Beijing, was attacked last year by two thugs hired by a doctor who was angry about media coverage about him. Another reporter Sun Hongjie died after being beaten by six men at a construction site in western Xinjiang region - an attack that many journalists believe was in retaliation for his investigative work. ^ top ^

Maternal, infant death rates drop sharply in China: ministry (Xinhua)
2011-09-22
Maternal and infant death rates in China have dropped sharply over the past decade, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said Wednesday. The maternal mortality rate stood at 30 out of 100,000 in 2010, down 43.4 percent from 2000's mortality rate, said Qin Huaijin, a senior official from the MOH. The infant mortality rate was 13.1 per 1,000 in 2010, dropping 59.3 percent from 2000, while the mortality rate for children under five fell 58.7 percent to 16.4 per 1,000 in 2010, according to a report released by the MOH on Wednesday. [...] An increasing rate of birth defects in recent years is also a concern. "China is a country with a high birth defect rate. The rate's rise in recent years was caused by various factors, including environmental changes and a reluctance to undergo premarital health check-ups," Qin said. Qin stated that insufficient numbers of hospitals and medical workers specializing in child care have also created health issues for the country's children. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese see first polio outbreak in 12 years (SCMP)
2011-09-22
Polio has broken out in China for the first time since 1999 after being imported from Pakistan, and there was a high risk of the crippling virus spreading further during the annual haj pilgrimage, the World Health Organisation said. Nine cases have been confirmed in China so far, six children and three adults, all in Hotan prefecture in the western province of Xinjiang, WHO spokesman Oliver Rosenbauer said. [...] China had been considered polio-free since the last known case imported from India in 1999. Chinese authorities were investigating whether the latest cases were related to each other and had launched a vaccination campaign targeting millions of children, he said. [...] The outbreak marks the latest setback to a global campaign to eradicate polio, now endemic in only four countries - Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria. [...] "The WHO rates as `high' the risk of further international spread of wild polio virus from Pakistan, particularly given the expected large-scale population movements associated with Umrah and the upcoming haj," it said in a statement. [...]. ^ top ^

China to launch lunar probe around 2013 (China Daily)
2011-09-22
China is shooting for the stars in preparation for the future launch of its Chang'e-3 lunar probe, a move that is in line with the country's desire to eventually build a space station. National authorities said Wednesday that China will launch the Chang'e-3 around 2013, marking the first time for a Chinese spacecraft to land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. The mission will also mark the first step of the second stage of China's ambitious three-phase lunar exploration program, although a timetable for a manned moon landing has yet to be announced. The probe's mission is to land safely on the moon and carry out a number of scientific experiments, according to sources with State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. [...] During the third phase of the country's lunar probe program, another rover will land on the moon and return to Earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research around 2017. Although the country's attempt to sent an experimental satellite into Earth's orbit failed in August, China is still working to promote its space program. [...]. ^ top ^

China shuts down websites trafficking guns, explosives (Xinhua)
2011-09-23
Chinese authorities have shut down several websites that were found to be trafficking guns and explosives, as well as websites that contained information on how to manufacture the items, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday. The ministry investigated 15 websites, including domestic search engine giant Baidu, resulting in the shutdown of five websites. The ministry also ordered the deletion of 23,000 online posts containing illegal information. The ministry began a three-month crackdown on online weapon trafficking in August, vowing to stop domestic websites from trafficking illegal items or providing information on how to manufacture them. Website administrators have been told to review their sites and delete illegal posts, as well as report illegal content to the police. Chinese law prohibits civilians from possessing guns, ammunition, explosives and certain types of knives. Minor violations can lead to jail sentences of up to three years, while major violations can lead to jail sentences of up to seven years. ^ top ^

List shows nation's wealthy raking in the dough (Global Times)
2011-09-23
Shrugging off the impact of the global financial crisis, Chinese billionaires were found to have mounting wealth on the Hurun Rich List for 2011. The list named 1,000 of China's richest with Liang Wengen, president of heavy machinery producer Sany Group, at the front. The average worth of the top 1,000 richest Chinese this year was reported at 5.9 billion yuan ($0.923 billion), 51 percent higher than two years ago, according to the Hurun Rich List released on Thursday. The cutoff to make the Hurun 1,000 shot up to 2 billion yuan ($ 310 million) this year. [...] But Hoogewerf also noted the actual number might be double since many billionaires have been left out due to their unlisted enterprises and opaque assets. A share price surge for Sany Group doubled the 55-year-old Liang Wengen's fortune last year to $11 billion, making him top of the list. Liang was followed by Zong Qinghou, head of beverage giant Wahaha Group and Li Yanhong, chairman of search engine, Baidu. [...] Besides, real estate remained the biggest source of wealth for the top 1,000 while sectors including commodities, healthcare, IT and retail had growing momentum. The proportion of real estate' s contribution to the wealth accumulation of the rich list increased by 3.4 percent to 23.5 percent this year after a decade of downward trends from its original 50 percent, according to Hoogewef. Wang Zhongming, a deputy secretary-general of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, said at on Thursday's press conference that Liang's position shows the country's manufacturing still has an irreplaceable role in the economy. The rise of IT and entertainment also revealed the industry is on its way to reform and restructuring, Wang added. South China's Guangdong Province is home to more rich-listed people than any other region in China. In terms of cities, Beijing leads the list at 1,113 billionaires, followed by Shenzhen and Shanghai at 83 and 81 respectively. With growing wealth, Chinese billionaires were found to be actively involved in the country's politics. About 15.4 percent of the Hurun top 1,000 were found holding official political offices and 30 percent of the top 50 are delegates to the National People's Congress and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. ^ top ^

Nation's Internet speed stacks up poorly against global counterparts (Global Times)
2011-09-23
Chinese Internet users are suffering connection speeds roughly half as fast as the global average, according to a global network speed study released by US-based Pando Networks on Thursday. The study said Chinese speeds are about 245 kilobytes per second (KBps), while the rest of the world averages around 590 KBps. The study was based on 27 million downloads by 20 million around the globe from January through June 2011. [...] China's network infrastructure has lagged behind for some time, and its expensive charges from Internet Service Providers (ISP) also restrain user demand, said Hu Yanping, director of the Data Center at the China Internet (DCCI). The average payment from Chinese broadband subscribers was 83.3 yuan per month in 2008, which is equivalent to $6.7 per MBps, according to a 2010 report from the State Information Center. The cost is 18 times higher than South Korea, which is $0.37 per KBps. [...] However, Zhu Jun, a deputy director of the telecom development department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, claimed in August that more than 80 percent of fixed broadband Internet subscribers enjoy a speed above 2,048 KBps. "Due to marketing and pricing strategy, some ISP's broadband speeds are actually half or only one third of the advertised speed. Many allegedly high-speed broadband connections are much slower," Hu said. State-owned enterprises monopolize the market, so such a phenomenon likely won't be changed soon, according to Hu. ^ top ^

China's healthcare more accessible (China Daily)
2011-09-23
China's reform of its healthcare system has put it on the right path, Health Minister Chen Zhu told the Harvard America-China Health Summit in Boston on Wednesday. The plan has lowered medical expenses for Chinese patients and has made healthcare more accessible, affordable and equitable, Chen said. As part of the plan, the government has spent at least 850 billion yuan ($133.2 billion) to improve the healthcare system between 2009 and 2011, which had lowered the cost of essential medicines by at least 30 percent. Chen also said the wide gap between health services in rural and urban areas is slowly closing and government subsidies for subscribers to the new rural medical plan are 10 times higher than subsidies in 2003. China's reform of its healthcare system, dubbed "Healthy China 2020", began three years ago and aims to provide universal national health service. [...] In the last decade the government's share of total health expenditures has increased from 16 percent to 29 percent. [...] The summit takes place at a timely moment in global health, said Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and head of the Harvard School of Public Health China Initiative. "Both China and the US are embarking on major health reform. China's health reform is one of the most observed in the world. We are at this historical moment where the world is searching for ways to finance healthcare and to combat diseases and malnutrition," Frenk said. "China is a nation of complex problems but it also has great energy for innovation. This is probably the health reform that will not only benefit China but the rest of the world," Frenk said. [...]. ^ top ^

China cracks down on 2,000 plus ganglands in the past five years (Xinhua)
2011-09-23
Chinese authorities have eradicated 2,131 gang-like organizations in a nationwide campaign launched five years ago to tackle the country's underworld of organized criminal gangs, or ganglands, according to official statistics released this week. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said that 1,779 cases related to gangland crimes have been prosecuted and 1,462 cases received first-instance judgements. The MPS also confiscated over 10 billion yuan (1.6 U.S. dollars) in gang-related assets and punished a number of government officials who served as umbrellas, including hundreds at the grassroots level in rural areas and villages. [...] Liao Jinrong, a senior official with the MPS and deputy director of the National Anti-gangland Office, said that social safety conditions have been significantly improved after these ganglands were eradicated, and the number of severely violent crimes has decreased. [...] Earlier this month, authorities in central China's Hunan Province captured a gang leader who used violence to control the local vegetable market. Vegetable prices declined by an average of 20 percent after the gangland was eradicated. Despite making progress, Liao said China still faces challenges of gangland crimes, as ganglands increasingly use legal institutions to cover up their crimes and gangsters transition from severe violence to "soft violence" tactics, including verbal intimidation, harassment and tracking. In the meantime, some ganglands operating on the Chinese mainland are now collaborating with counterparts in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, putting crimes like opening illegal casinos, drug trafficking and money laundering on the rise. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Police disrupt independents' campaigning (SCMP)
2011-09-22
Beijing police disrupted a gathering of 13 independent candidates for seats in grass-roots people's congresses yesterday and took away one of the contenders. It was the second time in a week that police had tried to block election campaigns by the group of independent candidates seeking to stand in district-level polls in November. The unprecedented push for participatory democracy by internet-savvy and rights-conscious independents has apparently hit a raw political nerve in Beijing, with analysts saying such high-handed treatment of group campaigns underlined the stability-obsessed government's abhorrence of organised defiance. [...] A dozen uniformed policemen and more than 20 plain-clothes officers tried to stop the candidates from getting close to the home of Wang Xiuzhen, one of the 13 people running a joint campaign, said Ye Jinghuan, 58, another candidate. [...] Security guards and more than a dozen women in their 70s and 80s were also employed to prevent the candidates from entering the Chaoyang district residential compound where Wang lives. "We protested that it was illegal for authorities to intercept us from visiting one of our friends, but police ignored us and insisted we should leave," Ye said. Wang, 65, who has serious vision problems, was confined in a temporary holding facility within the compound at first. She was then taken by police to an unknown location in the suburbs after her co-campaigners threatened to visit her the next day. Zheng Wei, 55, another candidate in the group, noted a recent change in tactics by Beijing police after a mass government-organised election campaign opened on September 15. "Our first two campaigns went smoothly, but all of a sudden we were not allowed to campaign together last Friday," she said. Zheng and 10 other candidates who showed up at the election campaign at Zheng's home in Dongcheng district were detained by police for several hours on Friday. [...] According to mainland law, citizens over 18 can stand for elections held every five years as long as they have the support of at least 10 voters and their candidacies are recognised by a vetting process managed by the Communist Party. Yao Bo, an independent commentator who has announced he plans to run, said campaigning in groups might run bigger risks. "While it is lawful to run for elections under the law, we may need to work out certain strategies and try not to hit the government's sensitive nerve on stability," he said. ^ top ^

New plans to cut leftovers (Global Times)
2011-09-23
Restaurants should encourage Beijingers whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs not to order too much food, says a new government report about garbage management published on Thursday. The city wants to better manage its domestic trash system, particularly aiming at restaurants and households. The new report includes draft regulations to clearly define the prohibitions for dumping domestic waste, and suggests that restaurants inform clients not to order too much, to prevent excessive leftover food. The government will publicize the times and locations in which households and restaurants can dump garbage, and forbids throwing trash into storm sewers, rivers or public toilets, the Beijing Evening News quoted the report as saying. Restaurants should attempt to reduce the amount of catering waste, and should prominently display signs to remind customers how to properly order, the report said. "There is still too much leftover food even after our staff remind customers," the manager of Weigongcun branch of Beijing Origus Catering Company Ltd, surnamed Wang, told the Global Times on Thursday. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

1% of Shanghai's population from overseas (Global Times)
2011-09-23
Nearly 1 percent of people living and working in Shanghai hail from overseas, according to the 2010 census, which counted individuals from outside the Chinese mainland for the first time since the country started the reports in 1953. Of the 0.91 percent of people from overseas – or 210,000 people – some 44,900 people from Taiwan make up the largest overseas group, accounting for 21.6 percent of the demographic. Some 29,700 Japanese comprise the second-largest of the overseas crowd, while American trail behind in third with 23,600 people. [...] In the nation's sixth headcount, overseas residents living on the Chinese mainland for at least three months were counted in November of last year, proving that more than 214 nationalities have since called the city home. But although the latest census proves that Shanghai fares better than its counterpart in the capital when it comes to attracting international crowds – Beijing has only about half as many people in the same category, or 107,445 overseas residents – the metropolis coined as "China's Big Apple" has yet to really compete with other major Asian players such as Hong Kong and Tokyo, which have 437,000 and 417,000 overseas residents, respectively. A lack of suitable recruitment policies, tax incentives, simple and reliable foreign-friendly services along with transparent government services are leaving Shanghai out of the worldly race, according to Cheng Yuan, a researcher who specializes in population studies at Fudan University. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Angry villagers riot over land grab (SCMP)
2011-09-23
A massive riot that broke out in Lufeng city, Guangdong province, on Wednesday morning persisted yesterday, with villagers raiding their local Communist Party headquarters and a police station apparently over a land dispute. Residents of Wukan village said thousands of locals took part in the clashes, in which many were injured and several were detained. A statement issued by the Lufeng government last night put the number of rioters in the hundreds, and said more than a dozen police were injured and six police cars were overturned on the second day of unrest. The statement did not give details about the land dispute said to have sparked the violence, but locals said they suspected that land collectively belonging to the villagers might have been sold by local cadres without their consent. On Wednesday morning, more than 200 villagers staged a demonstration outside the Wukan party headquarters and then at an industrial park. They later blocked a major road. The protest turned violent in the afternoon as some villagers besieged and damaged government buildings, including the headquarters. [...] The riot continued yesterday as villagers raided a police station, injuring more than a dozen officers and overturning at least six police cars. A businessman said by phone yesterday that several thousand villagers had joined the demonstration outside party headquarters since Wednesday morning. [...] Villagers suspected that the cadres, led by party secretary Xue Chang, had sold land covering several hectares to Country Garden, a leading mainland developer, for more than one billion yuan (HK$1.22 billion), the businessman said. He said city officials, as they arrived on the scene, stood with the party members. "They could have pacified the villagers by detaining the village officials, but they resorted to dispersing the people," he said. [...] Village cadres and representatives from the city government retreated and took shelter in the village's police station, calling the city for more backup. In the afternoon, massive troops of armoured police arrived, carrying batons and shields, and stood between the villagers and officials. The government said no civilians were injured, but residents said eight to 12 were hurt. There were also rumours that some were killed. A special investigation team led by the Lufeng party boss and mayor had been set up, the government said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Earthquake in India rumbles through southern Tibetan county, leaving 7 dead (Xinhua)
2011-09-20
At least seven people died and 24 others were injured in Yadong County in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region after a strong earthquake occurred in the state of Sikkim in northern India on Sunday evening, according to a county official. [...] The earthquake caused hundreds of landslides that have disrupted traffic and snarled power and water supply lines in Yadong County. The county borders Sikkim, the epicenter of the 6.9-magnitude quake. However, telecommunication services have been restored in the county seat [...]. Local authorities in Xigaze Prefecture, which administers Yadong, have mobilized workers to clear debris from major roads in order to ensure that relief supplies can reach affected areas. [...] The county's disease control and prevention center started disinfecting schools, hospitals, government buildings and other public areas on Monday morning to prevent epidemics. [...] According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the earthquake affected 13 counties in Tibet. The ministry sent a work team to Tibet on Monday morning to help carry out rescue and relief work. Meanwhile, the Tibet Military Area Command has dispatched more than 1,000 officers, soldiers and paramilitary reserve forces to participate in the quake relief work. The command has also sent relief materials, including tents, food and medicine. As of Monday morning, military rescuers have pulled 23 people out of the debris and dug out four bodies, according to the command. They have also given treatment to 50 injured people and evacuated more than 800 local residents. Tibet's regional government allocated 10 million yuan (1.56 million U.S. dollars) in relief funds to the affected areas on Monday. An emergency rescue and disaster relief group consisting of military troops, armed police and firefighters was set up Monday morning, with Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, acting as the group's coordinator. A medical team organized by the General Hospital of the Tibet Military Area Command will arrive at Yadong to treat others who have been injured. Four temporary shelters have been set up in the county, providing shelter for about 2,000 local residents, according to Ji. Emergency supplies are still being transported to affected areas as road traffic resumes. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Exco resignation clears way for Leung to chase top job (SCMP)
2011-09-21
Leung Chun-ying tendered his resignation as Executive Council convenor yesterday to run in the chief executive election in March, raising the curtain on a race which will be more competitive than some in the pro-Beijing camp originally expected. In a few days' time, Leung will leave Exco to officially launch his campaign. His would-be opponent, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, is also expected to resign from the administration in coming days. [...] While Leung's resignation came as no surprise - he dropped several hints in the past few weeks - veteran Beijing loyalists said his refusal to give up the fight put the central government in a difficult position, meaning there would be more than one contender for the top job. [...] Ng Hong-mun, a former local deputy to the National People's Congress, said: "The more the scene develops, the harder it is for Beijing to ask any candidate to withdraw from the race. Hongkongers may feel Beijing is interfering with the election, anointing a particular candidate." Ng said a big concern for Beijing was ensuring a high "safety coefficient" - making sure the election would not be thrown into doubt by a pan-democratic candidate. He was optimistic the Election Committee seats held by pan-democrats would not amount to a critical minority. The pan-democrats would only be able to get a maximum of one-sixth of the 1,200 seats, Ng predicted. A candidate needs at least 601 votes to win the race. "Allowing Leung and Tang to contest the election will raise legitimacy for the final winner," Ng said. Political commentator Allen Lee Peng-fei said the election would differ from previous races as there would be intense competition within the pro-establishment camp. "No one's leading now," Lee said. [...]. ^ top ^

HK still freest economy, but ranking at risk (SCMP)
2011-09-21
Hong Kong has again been named the freest economy in the world, but the city could be heading downhill from here on, a Canadian free-market think tank says. For the 33rd consecutive year the city has topped the ranking, but the minimum wage law, the competition law now under debate, and the city's increasing economic ties with the mainland may mean the best is in the past, the Fraser Institute said. [...] The city scored 9.01 out of 10 for economic freedom in the annual report released yesterday by the Vancouver-based think tank - down from last year's 9.08, amid an overall drop in levels of economic freedom around the world. The global average fell to 6.64, the lowest in three decades. [...] China placed 92nd, but when judged on its legal system and property rights placed 122 out of 141. [...] Countries were rated on the size of government, legal structure, security of property rights, impact of inflation, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour and business. Professor Vernon Smith, who shared the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel Kahneman, said the city's free-economy status depended on Beijing. "Whether the integration between China and Hong Kong will hinder Hong Kong's economic freedom depends a lot on how much China controls it," Smith said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao acts as liaison between Portuguese-speaking countries and China's largest regional market (Xinhua)
2011-09-23
Portuguese-speaking countries are seeking to attract more Chinese investment at an ongoing forum hosted by China's major manufacturing region through the initiatives of Macao, a Chinese territory once occupied by Portugal but returned to China in 1999. The Macao Special Administrative Region, a trade and economic co-operation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs), is sponsoring a business seminar at the 7th Pan Pearl River Delta (PPRD) Regional Cooperation and Development Forum. The PPRD forum, initiated in 2004, seeks to stimulate the region's economy, which covers nine provinces and autonomous regions as well as Hong Kong and Macao. With a population of more than 470 million, or 35 percent of the country's total, the PPRD region is one of China's largest regional markets. [...] Macao has been closely connected in trade and economy with PSCs, as it can provide services for mainland companies, including those in the PPRD region, to take advantage of opportunities in PSCs countries' markets, said Jackson Chang, president of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute. [...] In the 12th Five-Year Plan, the central government has established a development orientation for Macao to accelerate the construction of a better service platform of economic and trade cooperation between China and PSCs, Chang said. Since 2003, Macao has on three occasions successfully organized the Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and PSCs with the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum being based in the city. The latest figures from the secretariat show that trade volume between China and the PSCs surged 27 percent year-on-year to 62.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months of 2011. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Poll bid likely to split KMT faithful (SCMP)
2011-09-21
The chairman of Taiwan's opposition People First Party formally announced his bid for the presidency and his choice of a running mate - a move that analysts say will split supporters of the ruling Kuomintang in the January polls. "I am willing to fight bravely for Taiwan's people and seek new hope for Taiwan's future," James Soong Chu-yu said yesterday. The 69-year-old former provincial governor said he opted to join the race, set for January 14, because he hopes to restore the island's core values - that people can live in dignity and be proud of a free and democratic system. He also wants to further improve cross-strait ties under the premise of peaceful development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. [...] The People First Party was split off from the KMT by Soong in 2000, costing the KMT some support. "We have this epidemic called 'political confrontation' between the KMT and the DPP which is bad for Taiwan's public health, and this is why I invite a public health expert to seek to restore the [political] cleanliness of Taiwan," he said in introducing his running mate, Dr Lin Ruey-shiung, 72, a retired epidemiologist with no political background. [...] Under local law, endorsement is required for aspiring candidates, unless they represent a political party that won at least 5 per cent of the total valid ballots in the last presidential or legislative elections. As Soong's party failed to get the 5 per cent in the last legislative race, he must run as an individual and must get the required number of endorsements before he can register. [...] Soong's bid would turn the presidential election into a three-way race, pitting him against President Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT and Dr Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the main opposition DPP. It would be Soong's second attempt at the presidency, if he is able to garner enough endorsements. Soong ran in the 2000 presidential poll as an independent after failing to get the KMT nomination. He finished just behind the DPP's Chen Shui-bian and beat the KMT's Lien Chan. [...] Analysts pointed to the 2000 race, when Soong's participation in the election split the votes of the KMT, as a harbinger for the coming election, in which Soong's participation would be expected to hurt Ma's chances. "If Soong is able to win 300,000 to 500,000 votes, it could sabotage Ma's hope for a second term," said political analyst Professor George Tsai Wei of Chinese Cultural University in Taipei. ^ top ^

Taipei hails U.S. upgrading of fighter jets (SCMP)
2011-09-23
Taiwan hailed the US decision to upgrade the island's ageing fighter jets, calling it a consolidation of the American commitment to aid the island's defence. [...] "This indicates US-Taiwan relations have become very close in the past three years and that the foundation for mutual trust has become very solid," cabinet spokesman Philip Yang said yesterday. Noting Washington had already sold some US$18 billion worth of arms, including the most recent US$5.85 billion arms package, to Taiwan since the mainland-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became the island's president in 2008, Yang said the move demonstrated Washington's support for Taiwan's resolve to defend itself as well as its concern for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. [...] Taiwanese media said that although falling short of the Ma government's request for the more advanced C/D versions, the US approval for upgrades to the A/B jets ahead of the island's January 14 presidential election should benefit Ma, who is seeking re-election. "With the arms deal, at least Ma is able to prove that he is not selling out Taiwan as the pro-independence camp has alleged," the Now News website said, referring to Ma's mainland engagement policy which the pro-independence camp labelled a surrender to Beijing policies. [...] Ma sought to quell the mainland's wrath yesterday by saying the package did not mean Taipei was engaging in an arms race with Beijing. "Our arms procurement policy is merely to maintain our self-defence capabilities while pursuing peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait," he said. To demonstrate his government's determination to defend Taiwan, he said: "We have to develop peaceful ties with mainland China, but we haven't for one second let our guard down when it comes to Taiwan's security." Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers heaped scorn on the Ma administration's willingness to accept the upgrade instead of seeking the more advanced versions, saying it was like "being slapped twice in the face" by the US. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Property prices fall in more Chinese cities in August (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-19
More cities reported lower or unchanged property prices in August amid cumulative government efforts to cool the market, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In August, some 46 cities out of the statistical pool of 70 major cities saw new home prices decline or remain unchanged from a month earlier, compared with 31 cities in July, the NBS said in a report. Sixteen cities saw month-on-month declines in new home prices in August, up from 14 in July. Meanwhile, prices in 30 cities remained unchanged, according to the NBS. As for resold housing units, 26 cities reported second-hand home price declines month-on-month in August. Second-hand home prices stayed unchanged in 17 major cities in August from July, according to the NBS. In the latest effort to curb property prices, the State Council, China's Cabinet, required local governments to establish new home price control targets based on economic growth and increases in disposable income. The government has started to prepare home purchase restrictions in the country's second and third-tier cities to prevent prices from further increases. Previously, the government has restricted residents in major cities from buying second or third homes. Home buyers were also required higher down payments for mortgages, and property taxes have been levied in the cities of Chongqing and Shanghai. ^ top ^

IMF puts China's economic grow at 9.5% in 2011 (Xinhua)
2011-09-21
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Tuesday China's economic growth was expected to remain robust at 9.5 percent this year after growing 10.3 percent in 2010. Investment growth had decelerated with the unwinding of the country's fiscal stimulus, but it remained the principal contributor to growth, said the IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report. Although inflationary pressure persisted, property price inflation and credit growth had softened from recent record levels due to efforts to withdraw credit stimulus, the report said. These efforts included administrative limits on credit growth, higher interest rates and tighter reserve requirements, said the report, adding that China also set loan-to-value limits in mortgage credit and restrictions on multiple home purchases to rein in property prices. The Fund also predicted China's output would grow 9.0 percent in 2012. [...] China would continue to outpace other economies but the average economic growth of 9.0 to 9.5 percent during 2011-2012 was less than the average of about 10.5 percent during 2000-2007, as ongoing policy tightening and a smaller contribution from net external demand moderated activity, the IMF said. ^ top ^

ODI makes dramatic rebound amid optimism (Xinhua)
2011-09-21
China's outbound direct investment (ODI) rebounded in August to grow 33 percent from a year earlier, following a sharp decline in July. The data underscores an increasing interest in overseas activity from the world's fifth-largest investor amid the growing global debt crisis. Experts at home and abroad are upbeat about the ODI prospects over the next few years, citing the government's "going overseas" policy, the increased capacity of domestic companies and the global economic recession. According to the Ministry of Commerce, China's non-financial sector ODI gained 33.3 percent year-on-year to $6.57 billion in August. In July the figure fell 58 percent year-on-year to $3.73 billion, signaling the first decline this year. Between January and August, the nation's non-financial sector ODI gained 6.9 percent to $34.2 billion. Earlier this month, commerce ministry officials said the July decline was a temporary phenomenon, and that the global debt crisis presents more opportunities than challenges for Chinese companies planning to invest overseas. "China's outward investment will continue to expand strongly and they (the officials) are correct," said John Ross, a visiting professor at Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University [...]. According to the ministry, during the first eight months of this year, ODI from the Chinese mainland into Hong Kong surged by 42.2 percent, and investment directed toward the ASEAN trading bloc grew by 17.2 percent. [...] “Investment in natural resources and commodities in emerging markets is more favorable for Chinese companies, but in the developed regions, they (Chinese companies) are willing to buy high-tech companies to acquire better technology," said Yan Lan, managing director for China at the global investment bank, Lazard Ltd. [...]. ^ top ^

China defends regulation on reviewing foreign M&A of domestic firms (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-21
China on Tuesday defended its regulation that reviews mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of domestic companies by foreign investors, saying it does not impose a new threshold for such practices. The policy targets the practices that will affect national security or have the potential to be a threat, Shen Danyang, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce said at a regular news briefing in response to foreign investors concerns over M&A of domestic firms. The regulation, which took effect as of September 1, "does not mean a new threshold has been set up for acquisitions and mergers by foreign investors or a new recognition procedure," he said. According to the regulation which was issued in February, the review process will involve foreign M&A of domestic military-industrial enterprises and supporting firms, companies near "major and sensitive military facilities" and other M&A that are deemed to be relevant to national security. Shen said foreign M&A of domestic companies accounted for 3.1 percent of the foreign direct investment (FDI) that China attracted last year. From January to August this year, foreign M&A projects amounted to 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, a big increase from past years, he added, without giving comparable figures. Total FDI for the first eight months of this year reached 77.63 billion U.S. dollars, the ministry said last week. ^ top ^

China officially launches iron ore price index (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-21
After a trial period lasting more than one month, China officially launched its iron ore price index Tuesday, a move believed to better reflect the domestic market and give the country a greater say in global pricing. The China Iron Ore Prices Index is compiled by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters, and the Metallurgical Mines' Association of China (MMAC), the CISA said. The index, which will be released on a weekly basis starting in October, is made up of two sub-indices: the domestically-produced iron ore price index and the iron ore import price index. The CISA said both sub-indices take iron ore prices in April 1994 as the base. The domestic iron ore price index is based on the prices of iron ore concentrates in 14 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities as well as in 32 mining areas. The import price index is collected based on data from eight ports. [...] Last year, the three global mining giants, including Rio Tinto, Vale and BHP Billiton, announced the end of the long-term iron ore contract pricing mechanism and started adjusting iron ore prices quarterly or monthly based on price indices. This made iron ore price indices increasingly important and pushed China to release its own data. [...] Chinese demand for iron ore jumped along with its rising steel production. [...] The country's increased dependency on foreign iron ore has kept prices of the key industrial ingredient close to historic highs this year, which has become the greatest factor affecting the profitability of the country's steel industry, said Zhou Wangjun, deputy chief of the Price Department of the National Development and Reform Commission. [...]. ^ top ^

China's manufacturing continues to contract in Sept (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-23
China's manufacturing activity continued to contract for the third consecutive month in September, according to a preliminary reading of the HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) released on Spet 22. The HSBC preliminary PMI for China's manufacturing sector fell to a two-month low of 49.4 in September from August's final reading of 49.9. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion of the manufacturing sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction. The PMI of China's manufacturing has remained below the boom-or-bust line since July when the index dropped to a 28-month low of 49.3, marking the first contraction this year. [...] "This is a similar moderating growth picture as in the previous two months. Fears of a hard landing are unwarranted," said Qu Hongbin, the chief China economist at HSBC. Qu said resilient domestic demand is sufficient to support around 8.5 percent to 9 percent growth in the coming quarters, with the country becoming less dependent on exports. New export orders contracted at a faster pace in September than August, the statement said, amid deepening economic woes in the United States and Europe, which are major importers of Chinese exporting products. The September preliminary reading is yet to be finalized on Sept 30. ^ top ^

Domestic liquidity remains tight in China despite central bank's net cash injection (Xinhua)
2011-09-23
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, injected more cash into the banking system through its open market operations on Thursday, but liquidity remains tight among Chinese banks. Completing its open market operations this week, the PBOC auctioned only 1 billion yuan (156.7 million U.S. dollars) of three-month bills at a yield of 3.1618 percent on Thursday. Hedging against 80 billion yuan in matured seven-day repurchase agreements, the PBOC released 48 billion yuan into the money market this week through open market operations on Tuesday and Thursday. Even though the central bank pumped a total of 399 billion yuan of cash into banks through its open market operations in the past 10 weeks, banks' liquidity remained tight, as suggested by the rising Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (SHIBOR). According to a report by the Industrial Securities Co., Ltd., the amount of capital that can be released into banks from matured bills and repurchase agreements will decline in the coming months -- 451 billion yuan in September, 377 billion yuan in October, 155 billion yuan in November and 22 billion yuan in December. In contrast to the tight money conditions among domestic banks, more liquidity from overseas is entering China seeking arbitrage from the discrepancies of interest rates. Currently, the overnight SHIBOR moved up 14 basis points to 3.5042 percent, compared with 0-0.25 percent of the U.S. Federal Funds rate, a rate banks charge each other for loans in the United States. According to the PBOC data, the yuan-denominated funds outstanding for foreign exchanges surged 72 percent month-on-month to a five-month high of 376.94 billion yuan in August, adding to China's pressure to stop the inflow of speculative capital, or "hot money." Cao Fengqi, director of the Finance and Securities Research Center with Peking University, said the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to maintain its ultra-low interest rate will consolidate the interest rate difference between China and the United States. "This will encourage the continuous inflow of hot money into China and add to policymakers' difficulty in controlling liquidity," Cao said. . ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China expects improving south-north ties on Korean peninsula (Xinhua)
2011-09-19
China said Friday it supports the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in their efforts to improve bilateral relations. "The southern and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula are both the masters of the peninsula, and improving the south-north relations is fundamental to safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Jiang made the remarks at a regular press briefing regarding a planned visit to the DPRK by some religious leaders from the ROK. The heads of the ROK's seven largest religious groups are scheduled to travel to the DPRK's capital of Pyongyang next week to hold talks with religious officials from the DPRK. China hopes that the two sides will take a forward-looking attitude, give priority to safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and enhance mutual trust through exchanges and dialogues in order to achieve reconciliation and cooperation, Jiang said. ^ top ^

China urges making of conditions for resumption of six-party talks (Xinhua)
2011-09-20
China urged on Monday all the countries involved in the six-party talks to "create conditions" for the resumption of dialogue on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "We are happy to see that there are a new series of positive interactions between the parties concerned with the resumption of the six-party talks," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a forum in Beijing to mark the sixth anniversary of a "milestone" joint statement. The document was struck by China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia, and the United States in 2005 during the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks. [...] Yang said that the joint statement is a document guiding the six-party talks and the parties' moves. Although the talks have been stalled at the end of 2008, there has been strong expression recently for them to resume. Kim Jong-Il, top leader of the DPRK, said last month that the country was ready to resume the talks without preconditions, saying the DPRK adheres to the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and is ready to fully implement the September 19 joint statement along with all sides. [...] Yang said that the denuclearization on the Korean peninsular and the normalization of relations between countries concerned is a historical process that cannot be completed "overnight." He said that all the parties should work together to build up confidence in the six-party talks as the mechanism has proved an effective one to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsular and safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia. [...] "As a responsible country, China will continue to fully implement its commitments made in the joint statement," he said, adding that the chair nation of the talks will keep playing an active role in advancing the six-party process. [...] Over 20 officials and scholars from the six countries and Australia and Singapore attended Monday's forum, including Wu Dawei, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Korean Peninsular and Ri Yong Ho, the DPRK's Vice Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ^ top ^

S. Korea, DPRK nuclear envoys meet in Beijing for talks (Xinhua)
2011-09-22
Nuclear negotiators from North and South Korea sat down in China's capital Wednesday for their second round of talks in two months. South Korean envoy Wi Sung-lac and North Korea's Ri Yong Ho met at a private club in central Beijing to discuss terms for a resumption of six-nation talks on the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs. Wi said during a break that the talks were going well. "We had good talks, we have discussed many issues," he said. "We will continue our talks this afternoon at 3.30pm and we will have to see after that. Sorry.'' [...] South Korean officials said Tuesday that Wi is seeking a promise from North Korea that it will meet the South's conditions for restarting the talks. South Korea and the United States have insisted that Pyongyang show it is serious by fulfilling past commitments to disarm. North Korea, which walked away from the talks in 2009, has been pressing, with China's backing, for the talks to be re-started without conditions. Japan and Russia round out the six nations involved in the talks, which would offer North Korea economic and diplomatic benefits in exchange for dismantling its nuclear programs. Russia announced after a recent summit in Siberia that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has offered to impose a moratorium on the nuclear programs if the talks resume. However, U.S. and South Korean officials said the offer was inadequate. Among other things, they want a halt to a uranium enrichment program revealed by North Korea last year. [...]. ^ top ^

WFP starts multi-million-euro food distribution in DPRK (Xinhua)
2011-09-22
The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) says it has started distributing food funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The 8.5 million euro (11.6 million U.S. dollar) emergency operation would feed mainly young children and women threatened by rising malnutrition in the DPRK, WFP said in a press release. [...] "The European Union has shown its true humanitarian heart in supporting our vital work, helping the youngest and weakest - the people who are least able to fend for themselves," said WFP DPRK Country Director Claudia von Roehl. "Our in-country stocks have been at an historic low, so the arrival of this food means we can make good on our plan to deliver vital supplies to those most in need," she said. The bulk of the wheat is being distributed in four provinces considered to be among the most chronically food-insecure - North Hamgyong, South Hamgyong, Ryanggang and Kangwon. The balance is being sent to WFP's networking factories around the country where it will be used to produce specialized nutritious food products to give children a nutritional boost of the vitamins and minerals frequently lacking in their regular diets. These products would be ready for distribution by early October, WFP added. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar business center to work Irkutsk (Montsame)
2011-09-19
The “Ulaanbaatar business center” opened in Irkutsk of the Russian Federation (RF) has become the very first foreign investment project, which has been openly announced by the administration of Irkutsk Oblast. The business center will be built with capital of USD 150 million, and its opening has been attended by S.Batbold, the Prime Minister of Mongolia. It is expected the center which is located in the city's center would create a flow of business into Mongolia. By the Lunar New Year of Mongolia, the center's works will be put in normal order. It will have Mongolian national restaurants and other business activities, and then will become a bridge for business collaboration between Mongolia and Irkutsk Oblast. ^ top ^

President: “receiving back nuclear waste? – No” (Montsame)
2011-09-19
President Ts.Elbegdorj has underlined that a matter on burying nuclear waste in Mongolia became a center of the public attention in the last two months and that is creating a worry among people. As we informed before, the President by his decree and directives banned on Tuesday the government from dealing with nuclear waste issues. "In other words, we must re-examine the law on nuclear energy and other policy documents in order to prevent causing consequences. The matter of nuclear energy and burying nuclear waste is similar to playing with a fire, the nuclear waste of other countries is a 'snake grown up in another body', he said. “Receiving back the nuclear waste after exploiting and exporting uranium must not be, as I think, this is a pressure from foreign superpowers, and we must throw out this delusion,” the President stressed. Present at the meeting were some MPs, cabinet members and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nuclear Energy Authority (NEA). A head of the NEA S.Enkhbat was not there due to health condition. ^ top ^

President to chair UN meeting (News.mn)
2011-09-20
President Ts.Elbegdorj arrived in New York on Monday to take part in high-level meetings being held in connection with the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly. He will also chair a meeting titled, “A Mediator's Duty to Solve International Disputes in a Peaceful Way.” The President also will also attend high-level meetings on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases; on desertification, land degradation, and drought; and on nuclear safety. Ts.Elbegdorj will also open a meeting of the Democratic Community and the UN Democratic Group on September 22 and 23. He will talk about the goals and activities of the DC and appeal to other countries to join the organization. ^ top ^

Mongolia may join Open Government Partnership (Montsame)
2011-09-20
Being invited by the U.S President Barack Obama, the State Head Ts.Elbegdorj took part in an opening of the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGPI) Tuesday in New York, USA. It was initiated by Barack Obama for strengthening the open governance. The leading council of the partnership includes some 10 governmental and civil society organizations from the USA, Brazil, Great Britain, South Africa, Mexico, Norway, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is co-chaired by the USA and Brazil. Recently, they have released a list of 79 countries, including Mongolia, that may join the partnership. In this, some criteria exist such as having basic principles on ensuring a civil participation in the decision-making procedure, making state leaders' income and budgetary information transparent and others. A statement has been inked by leaders of USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and Canada's PM. Mongolia's President met with his counterparts from these countries to share views. They have appreciated Ts.Elbegdorj's attention, paid to the civil participation in governance, as well as activities aimed at making the governance transparent and combating corruption. ^ top ^

SSC redresses 144 victims of political persecution (News.mn)
2011-09-21
Between January 1 and July 18, 2011, the State Supreme Court received 304 applications for the redressing of victims of political persecution. So far the court has redressed 144 citizens, while the remaining applications are still under review. Relatives of victims of political persecution have received 27 certificates through branches of the Redressing Commission. Also, the SSC has made it possible for victims to register electronically. ^ top ^

Ivanhoe: No talks with Government about changing Oyutolgoi agreement (News.mn)
2011-09-21
A published report says ivanhoe mines, the Canadian company that owns a controlling interest in the massive Oyutolgoi copper and gold mines, has not held talks with the Mongolian government about changing its 2009 investment agreement. “There have been no discussions between Ivanhoe mines and the Mongolian government about potential changes to the Oyuyolgoi investment agreement,” an Ivanhoe spokesman told fox business news. The statement was issued in response to reports on news.mn that a group of 20 mps would like to make changes to the agreement. ^ top ^

L.Bold: entire battalion going to eastern Sudan
2011-09-21
Defense Minister L.Bold told our correspondent that Mongolia's military has strengthened its ties with foreign nations in recent years. He also said arms, technology, and equipment worth USD 100 million have been imported from Russia under an intergovernmental contract signed in 2008. The ministry is also cooperating with the United States, Germany, South Korea, and Turkey. The Minister said that altogether 5,671 military personnel have taken part in international peacekeeping operations so far, and the reputation of the Mongolian Armed Forces has grown. Mongolian troops have served in Iraq, Sierra Leone, Chad, Sudan, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. And the Government recently decided to send an entire battalion or 850 personnel to eastern Sudan, site of an ongoing civil war. L.Bold visited Mongolian troops in Afghanistan, flying in a military helicopter and wearing body armor. He told the troops he appreciated their courage and mental strength in a hard situation. ^ top ^

 

Gregor Muischneek
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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