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
  26-30.9.11, No. 390  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Russia pledge to further military cooperation (Xinhua)
2011-09-26
[...] During an official visit to Moscow, Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, met with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on bilateral military relations. Guo noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, adding that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership have maintained the momentum of a robust growth. He stressed that Chinese President Hu Jintao's successful visit to Russia in June and the consensus reached by both countries' leaders during Hu's visit have determined the future direction of the development of bilateral ties and laid solid political foundations for the further promotion of military relations between the two countries. Under the current complicated and changeable international situation, the strengthening of pragmatic military exchanges and cooperation between the two sides is of great significance, Guo said. He added that China have been always seeing military relations with Russia a priority in its foreign military contacts and is willing to endeavor with the Russian side to actively implement the consensus reached by Chinese and Russian leaders, boost bilateral military cooperation in all fields, and push the relations between the two armies to a new high. Serdyukov extended warm welcome to Guo and recalled his visit to China in last November. He said bilateral ties between Russia and China have achieved unprecedented development and there are still huge potentials in bilateral cooperation. Serdyukov said Russia will work together with China to further promote bilateral military relations. ^ top ^

Kuwait says joint refinery with China to promote bilateral oil cooperation (Xinhua)
2011-09-26
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Busairi said Sunday that the China-Kuwait joint oil refinery would help promote cooperation between the two countries in the oil sector. The 9-billion-U.S.-dollars project is one of the pillars of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)'s expansion strategy for 2030, Al-Busairi said when meeting with Wang Tianpu, president of the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec. During the meeting, Al-Busairi and Wang also reviewed the latest developments of the joint refinery that would be built in southern China's Guangdong province. The project, expected to be completed in 2013, would have an oil refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day and will also produce 1 million tons of ethylene per year. The refinery is among China's largest joint ventures in the oil sector when put into operation. Kuwait, the fourth largest exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has a strategy to increase its daily output to 4 million barrels in 2020 and retain the level till 2030. ^ top ^

Investment boost for China and India (SCMP)
2011-09-27
China and India pledged yesterday to deepen bilateral investment co-operation and to further open up markets to each other. This came during their first strategic economic dialogue in Beijing, following a dispute between the countries over the South China Sea. The two-day talks, led by National Development and Reform Commission chief Zhang Ping and India's Planning Commission deputy chief, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, saw both sides giving an upbeat assessment of bilateral ties. The Indian delegation met Premier Wen Jiabao after talks with Zhang. Wen said both sides should co-operate on investment, energy conservation efforts and environmental protection. But the talks were overshadowed by a dispute over exploration in the South China Sea, which erupted as Vietnam - in a territorial row with China over the waters - awarded exploration bids to Indian state-owned oil and gas company ONGC Videsh. [...] But the two sides have pledged to improve the investment environment. "The development of Sino-India ties is relatively stable, and the world is still full of potential for co-operation between China and India," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing yesterday. In his opening remarks, Ahluwalia said India could learn lessons from China's experience in transforming its economy. "China's economic reforms began a decade and more before those of India. Your achievements in transforming your economy are well recognised all over the world," he was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying. [...]. ^ top ^

New aircraft to improve capability in the Antarctic (Global Times)
2011-09-27
China will purchase its first fixed-wing aircraft for use in Antarctic research expeditions to facilitate aviation support, said a research leader on Sunday. Aircraft are commonly deployed during Antarctic research expeditions by other countries and their use demonstrates a country's expedition strength in the region, said Sun Bo, a scholar with the Polar Research Institute of China. Sun made the remarks at the annual seminar on China's polar region expedition and research in Shanghai. The Basler BT-67, a fixed-wing aircraft produced in the US, is likely to be the choice for China's Antarctic expeditions, Sun said. The model has already gained a strong reputation for its multi-functionality of transport, emergency rescue and scientific research. With the aircraft, China will upgrade its capabilities in scientific research and emergency security in Antarctic expeditions. China is now actively mapping an aviation network, including both aircraft and supporting infrastructure in the South Pole region, he added. China has launched 27 expeditions to the Antarctic since 1984. It plans to launch five more by 2015, with the 28th Antarctic research expedition in early November, said an official with the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration on Sunday. ^ top ^

China, DPRK underscore further promotion of bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2011-09-28
China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) affirmed on Tuesday their stands on developing bilateral ties, pledging to push cooperation to a higher level. "The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government cherish the friendship with the DPRK. It is our unswerving policies to promote friendly relations with the DPRK," President Hu Jintao said in a meeting with DPRK Premier Choe Yong Rim on Tuesday afternoon. [...] In their hour-long meeting, Hu reviewed the progress of China-DPRK relations in recent years, citing close political exchanges and fruitful cooperation in all fields. [...] Hu called for both countries to maintain high-level visits, strengthen strategic communication, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation and safeguard regional peace, stability and development. Choe said the DPRK would like to work with China to bring bilateral relations to a new high. On the situation of the Korean Peninsula, Hu called for more dialogue and negotiations to resolve relevant issues. It is in the common interests of all sides to realize the denuclearization of the Peninsula and safeguard peace and stability, which also meets the aspirations of international community, Hu said. "China supports the positive efforts by the DPRK to ease tensions on the Peninsula and improve the external environment," Hu said, adding that China believes the DPRK will seize the current good opportunity and promote the improvement of the Peninsula situation. [...] Choe reaffirmed Kim's stance, saying it is DPRK's consistent stance to seek a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and safeguard peace and stability. Later Tuesday, top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin also met with Choe. [...] After Beijing, Choe will travel to China's economic powerhouse of Shanghai and also east Jiangsu Province. ^ top ^

Pakistani President vows to help China counter terrorism (Xinhua)
2011-09-28
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated that Pakistan will extend full support to China in the fight against terrorism. He made the remarks when he held talks with Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu on Monday in Islamabad. Zardari vowed to promote bilateral relations to a new level, saying that Pakistani-Sino friendship has gone beyond general international relations and the two countries have supported each other on major international and regional issues. Meng said China and Pakistan are good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers. [...] China has always regarded China-Pakistan relations as one of its diplomatic priorities, no matter how international situations have changed, he added. This year has been named China-Pakistan Friendship Year to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. Meng said that China is willing to work with Pakistan to push the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership to a new level. He stressed that Pakistan has made great contribution and enormous sacrifice for international fight against terrorism. Pakistan's sovereignty and dignity should be respected and Pakistan's legitimate concerns should be understood. Meng spoke highly of fruitful cooperation between security departments of the two nations. [...] He expressed that China is willing to cooperate with Pakistan in combating the "three forces of evil" and to deepen bilateral and multilateral security cooperation so as to safeguard the security and peace of the two nations. Meng also exchanged views with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Khalid Shameem Wynne and Minister for Narcotics Control Haji Khuda Bux Rajar respectively on cooperation in security and law enforcement. ^ top ^

Trilateral cooperation secretariat opens in Seoul (Xinhua)
2011-09-28
The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat involving South Korea, China and Japan held an opening ceremony in Seoul on Tuesday. The Seoul-headquartered office was founded after the leaders of the three countries agreed at a summit last year to set up a standing organization devoted to promoting three-way cooperation through joint projects. The ceremony was attended by South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung-hwan, Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen and Japanese Ambassador Muto Masatoshi. [...] The Chinese side believes that the Secretariat will play a crucial role in expanding and promoting trilateral communication and cooperation, Zhang said. Shin Bong-kil, who recently served as South Korea's ambassador for international economic cooperation, was picked as the first Secretary General for two-year term. The three countries will rotate naming Secretary General in office. ^ top ^

New surface to air missile ready for action: PLA (Global Times)
2011-09-28
Official military media for the first time acknowledged Monday that China's new land-based mid-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system has reached operational capability. Military observers say that deployment of this missile system will boost China's air defense capability. The new SAM system, dubbed by foreign media as the Hongqi-16, or Red Flag-16, has been delivered to an air defense unit in the Shenyang Military Region. In a recent drill, two HQ-16 missiles fired by the unit successfully hit their aerial targets, the official website of the People's Liberation Army Daily reported Monday. As well as being able to engage aerial targets at high altitude, the mid-range HQ-16 is also able to intercept very low-flying targets at a distance of up to about 40 kilometers, filling the gap between the HQ-7 short-range SAM and the HQ-9 long-range SAM systems, Lan Yun, editor of Modern Ships, a Beijing-based military magazine, told the Global Times. According to Modern Navy, the official magazine of the PLA Navy, the naval variant of the missile system, which has been fitted on Type 054A frigates, can intercept sea-skimming missiles that fly less than 10 meters above the sea surface. [...] "Besides the low-altitude engagement capability, the HQ-16 is also more accurate than the HQ-12. The deployment of the land-based HQ-16 can greatly enhance the mainland's capability to counter modern air attacks," Lan said. ^ top ^

Sino-US war games will stall, ministry says (SCMP)
2011-09-29
The US decision to upgrade Taiwan's F-16 fighters will affect military exchanges and high-level visits between Beijing and Washington, the Ministry of National Defence said yesterday.

"In light of the serious damage resulting from the US arms sale to Taiwan, planned China-US military exchanges, including high-level visits and joint exercises, will definitely be impacted," ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said. [...

] The Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, General Chen Bingde, had called his US counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, about the deal and reiterated Beijing's "solemn stance", Geng said. A series of exchanges had been planned before the US announced the deal last week, including anti-pirate drills in the Gulf of Aden, mutual visits between the PLA and the US Asia-Pacific command, and also the Eighth US-China Counterterrorism Consultation. Geng did not detail what activities would be affected. [...] Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command, said in Washington that Beijing might delay or cancel some meetings, but not sever all contacts with the US military. [...]. ^ top ^

China expresses "deep regrets," "opposition" to Israel's new housing plan in East Jerusalem (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
China expressed "deep regrets" and "opposition" to Israel's approval of 1,100 new homes in East Jerusalem, urging the country to resume peace negotiations with Palestine as soon as possible. China encourages Israel to act cautiously and take constructive approaches while actively coordinating with international efforts to resume negotiations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing on Wednesday. Israel's move came after the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, known as the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, called on Israelis and Palestinians last Friday to resume peace negotiations within one month. [...]. ^ top ^

China opposes attempts to internationalize South China Sea disputes (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
China's military authority on Wednesday repeated its stance on the South China Sea issue, saying attempts to internationalize it would further complicate the issue. "Any move, which is designated to multilateralize or internationalize the South China Sea issue, will make the question more complex and neither will it help," Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly press briefing [...]. When asked to comment on the Philippines' attempt to contest with China on the issue by engaging other countries, Geng said China always advocates for a peaceful solution through bilateral talks and friendly consultations. "We hope that concerned parties will behave in line with the interests of regional peace and stability," he said. On the navigation freedom in the waters, Geng said such freedom has never been affected due to sovereignty disputes, and China opposes any interference on the issue under the guise of such an excuse. ^ top ^

China, South Africa sign deals on mineral resources, finance cooperation (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
China and South Africa on Wednesday signed two deals on geology and mineral resources, and financial cooperation on the sidelines of the South African vice president's visit to China. The memorandum of understanding on geology and mineral resources cooperation and an agreement for the development of financial cooperation were signed after talks concluded between Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and South African Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe in the Great Hall of the People. According to the memorandum of understanding, the cooperation will focus on geology and sustainable mineral resources management, utilization and development in both countries on the basis of mutual benefit. According to the agreement signed by China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa, the two banks will provide financial support for bilateral cooperation in infrastructure construction, transportation, water resources utilization, housing, health and education. [...] Calling the development of bilateral relations in the past 10 years "a great leap forward," Xi said China and South Africa should join hands and promote their comprehensive strategic partnership for "better and faster" development in the next 10 years. China and South Africa established a comprehensive strategic partnership in August last year. [...] Motlanthe echoed Xi, saying South Africa will work with China to further expand cooperation in trade, investment, aviation, mineral resources and international affairs. [...]. ^ top ^

All systems go as spacelab lifts into orbit (SCMP)
2011-09-30
China's first space laboratory blasted off from its launch site in Gansu province last night and will orbit until it docks with an unmanned Shenzhou spaceship next month. The Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, gives China its first liveable outpost in space. The eight-tonne craft can accommodate three astronauts for an extensive stay. President Hu Jintao and most of the top Politburo Standing Committee members watched the take-off from a control centre in Beijing while Premier Wen Jiabao and another committee member were at the launch site. The success of the launch cleared any doubts about the reliability and safety of the launch vehicle, a Long March 2 rocket. After the failure of a Long March 2 last month, the launch of Tiangong came under heavy pressure and encountered probably the longest delay in the nation's manned space programme in the past two decades. [...] Tiangong uses a universal locking mechanism and could theoretically hook up with other nations' spaceships or the International Space Station, showing that China, despite plans to develop an independent space station by 2020, has not shut the door on co-operation with other countries in space, according to some analysts. [...] The ground command in Beijing, with the assistance of three observation ships in the Pacific Ocean, two communication satellites and a couple of new stations in South America, has positioned Tiangong in an orbit of 350 kilometres. Engineers will run extensive checks of the craft's systems before the launch of another spaceship next month. Unlike the United States and Soviet Union in the 1960s, China put its first rendezvous and docking experiments into one mission and, if successful, will become the third country with the ability to carry out the job independently. Xinhua reported that before the launch of the unmanned Shenzhou, Tiangong would orbit at 343 kilometres, where it would wait to dock with Shenzhou. When attached, Tiangong will be used as a laboratory by the three astronauts for a wide range of jobs, from surveying the earth to creating new materials in a micro-gravity environment, for at least two years. ^ top ^

DM spokesman: China advocates exploring outer space for peaceful purposes (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
A Defense Ministry spokesman on Wednesday reiterated China's stance regarding the exploration of outer space, stating that the country wishes to explore space for peaceful purposes and is firmly opposed to the weaponization of space exploration programs. Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng made the remark in response to a question about the upcoming launch of the Tiangong-1, China's first space lab module. International media reports have implied that the module may be used for military purposes. [...] "The military enjoys unique advantages in organizing and coordinating such large-scale activities, and its involvement in aerospace missions is an international practice," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

China honors outstanding foreign experts (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-30
The Chinese government on Thursday honored 50 foreign experts from 21 countries for their outstanding contributions to China's development. "Foreign experts have contributed a lot to China's social-economic development," Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang said at the annual "Friendship Award" ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People. [...] Congratulating all honored experts, Zhang said China will adopt more open policies to attract overseas talent and boost international cooperation. "We will improve relevant laws and regulations, protect intellectual property rights, perfect our services and provide better working and living conditions for foreign experts," Zhang said. Further, Zhang said China will focus on attracting more and higher-level foreign experts during the 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015), a period "key to China's reform and opening-up, economic restructuring and its endeavors to build a well-off society." [...] A total of 1,199 foreign experts from 62 countries have been awarded the honor since it was started in 1991. ^ top ^

Caves, vessels part of naval boost (Global Times)
2011-09-30
It appears China is constructing caves for ammunition and nuclear submarine storage in Hainan Province in a bid to enhance its naval capacity. It also may lease a battle cruiser from the Ukraine for its aircraft carrier battle group, according to Hong Kong media. The program Observation Post Military on the Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite TV reported Wednesday evening that China may have built four underground caves with 30-meter-thick walls in Sanya. Analyzing satellite images, there are exits both on the sea and land at the large naval base, and two nuclear submarines were seen in the base, the report said. "China is building naval bases to meet its navy's demand," Li Jie, a researcher with the PLA's Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday. [...] In addition, the Hong Kong-based Mirror Magazine said in its October edition that China could lease the Slava class missile cruiser, Ukraina, from Ukraine to guard its aircraft carrier in a future battle group, citing four shortages in Chinese warships, including poor endurance and weak air defense and anti-submarine capability. [...] After a few years, China could build its own ships, the magazine said. "If possible that China could lease the missile cruiser, it would surely enhance the strike capability of China's navy on the ocean," Li said. [...] "The cruiser could be used for battling on land and sea, and may be used specially for air defense," said Li, adding such a cruiser would fix the disadvantages of China's future battle group. ^ top ^

China urges int'l cooperation to address network security challenges (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
A senior Chinese official said Thursday that countries are in urgent need of strengthening international cooperation while boosting their respective capacities in addressing the growing network security challenges. Wang Chen, chief of the Information Office of China's State Council, made the remarks while addressing the fourth UK-China Internet Roundtable meeting. "Like other countries, China also faces a grave and growing network security situation," he said, noting that China has become one of the world's primary victims of hacking. "China is opposed to all forms of network hacking, network war and cyberspace arms race," he said. As China and other developing countries face an expanding and graver number of network security challenges than developed countries do, developed countries should make use of their visible advantage in network technology and security support capacity and provide help to developing countries, Wang said. Wang said the international exchanges and cooperation over the Internet should respect the principles of full equality, as well as mutual respect and benefit, and should refrain from using "network freedom" to seek "network hegemony," adding that China would like to play an active role in this process. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Officials nailed for beating (Global Times)
2011-09-26
Six officials from an office of letters and calls in Luoyang, Henan Province, have been punished after a report revealed that a tourist in Beijing was savagely beaten and driven back to Henan after being wrongly taken as a petitioner. The case has triggered social concern online. More than 10 days ago, Zhao Zhifei, a tourist from Luoyang, checked into a hotel near the State Bureau of Letters and Calls in Beijing alone. But, his other three roommates were petitioners from Longluo district, Luoyang. Meanwhile, the Letters and Calls Bureau of Luolong District received a report from their liaison office in Beijing that a Beijing-based security company had discovered six Luoyang petitioners in the hotel, the Beijing News reported. "Under heavy security in Beijing as the National Day holiday draws near," the bureau paid the company 16,000 yuan ($2,504) to help repatriate the "petitioners," the report quoted Xue Liying, the bureau's director as saying. When they fell asleep at the hotel, a gang of men broke into their room and kidnapped the guests plus two female companions in the next room. They were stuffed into a van, which was spotted later heading back to Henan. Zhao's bags and cell phone were taken away and he was brutally beaten on the way. Zhao's father found him lying on the roadside in a coma in Luolong district the next day after local police informed him of the incident. According to a video uploaded on the Internnet by Zhao's brother, Yang Qi, the director of the Letters and Calls Bureau in Gucheng County said to Zhao's father, "Your son should take a lesson from now on and not go to Beijing. He was lucky to be found after this mistaken arrest, but what if next time he's not found?" "It is risky to go to Beijing, and you should be careful when choosing a hotel," Sina Weibo users soon responded after the news broke. Some people angrily wrote that the local petition authority committed a crime. The punishment of six officials related to this case was announced on Friday afternoon, among which Xue received an inner-Party disciplinary warning and Yang was removed from his position. It is not known if criminal charges will be laid. "No matter if the petition is proper or not, violence and unlawful imprisonment is not allowed," Jia Fangyi, a civil rights lawyer at Huacheng Law Office in Beijing, told the Global Times. "It's against the law." Jia said Zhao could sue the hotel and security company for mental anguish and physical harm and the Luoyang petition authority is liable for violating Zhao's personal rights. ^ top ^

China's police sorry over case of sex slaves (China Daily)
2011-09-26
Police in Luoyang, Henan province, have apologized over a case in which six women are alleged to have been held as sex slaves. Two of them were murdered. Guo Congbin, director of the public security bureau of Luoyang, told a news conference that four district police officials had been suspended for negligence. [...] Police allege Li spent more than a year building a dungeon under a basement he had bought in an apartment building before kidnapping the six women, aged 16 to 24, at different times and forcing them to perform erotic shows on the Internet. [...] Li also allegedly took the women out to prostitute themselves at night whenever he needed money, and killed two who had disobeyed before burying their bodies in shallow graves in the dungeon. [...] Earlier reports said the four rescued women had been detained because they might have helped Li kill the other two women. Police confirmed the women are being held, but would not say why. Investigations are continuing, said the director of Luoyang public security bureau, Guo Congbin. He apologized on Saturday to local residents, saying police "should have detected the crime earlier had they done their work more meticulously". Guo acknowledged that there had been "insufficient communication" with media about the case, but stressed this was because it needed to be investigated further. Regulations had been followed, he said. Li was detained on Sept 3, but the case was only made public after Southern Metropolis News in Guangzhou reported it on Thursday. [...] On Friday police said that updates on the case would be posted on their Sina Weibo microblog. Guo promised to reinforce public security so similar crimes could not be committed, starting with a "crackdown" in the city. [...]. ^ top ^

Making China's richest man a top official is a brave step (SCMP)
2011-09-26
Liang Wengen, chairman of Sany Heavy Industry, the mainland's largest maker of construction equipment, is on a roll, despite the fact that he had to put on hold the company's HK$26 billion Hong Kong listing last week because of global economic uncertainties. Earlier this month, two business publications named him China's richest man, putting his personal wealth in the range of 60-70 billion yuan. (HK$73-85 billion). Since last week, Liang, 55, who wove bamboo into baskets for sale at a young age in a poor Hunan village, has also become the centre of intense press and internet speculation that he could become a deputy governor of Hunan and a member of the Communist Party's elite central committee next year. [...] To be sure, tapping top business executives to become government ministers or provincial bosses has become common these days, but all those managers are from major state-owned conglomerates. Inevitably, a sharp debate has already begun in earnest over the mainland's internet chat rooms, with supporters and detractors crossing swords. For the supporters, Liang being given a high-ranking government job would send a very positive message and boost the status of private businessmen, who are under siege commercially and politically. Over the past few years, they have found themselves in a deteriorating environment where the main state-owned enterprises are consolidating control over key sectors of the economy with the help of easy credit and monopolies, while the private sector, though employing most workers, is faced with tight credit, soaring labour costs and inflation. [...] For the detractors, Liang's political appointment could be seen as a further sign of collusion between business and politics at a time when there is widespread social discontent over the widening income gap, and particularly as enmity against the "filthy" rich is gaining strong momentum nationwide. It is in this context that the mainland leadership deserves praise for tapping Liang, and he deserves even more commendation for his courage to take up the challenge. However, people should also exercise caution over reading too much into Liang's possible appointment, as it remains unclear if this will turn into a trend or if it is just a political gimmick. [...]. ^ top ^

China finds over 170,000 violations in campaign to regulate use of government cars (Global Times)
2011-09-26
Over 170,000 cars purchased and used by government officials have been deemed to be unnecessary or "too luxurious" for official use under a campaign to regulate the use of government cars, the top anti-graft official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said on Friday. The next stage of the campaign will consist of correcting the violations and intensifying daily supervision, He Guoqiang, head of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), said during an anti-corruption conference. China launched a campaign in May to regulate the use of public funds for government vehicles in order to reduce unnecessary public spending. Another campaign targeted at corruption in the construction industry resulted in 38,000 reports of violations and over 19,000 investigations, He said at the conference. A third campaign to cut public spending on unnecessary meetings and official banquets has saved taxpayers about 840 million yuan, He said. He called on the leaders of the campaigns to work on coordinating their efforts and focusing on major areas of the campaigns. ^ top ^

Police urged to boost use of micro blogs (China Daily)
2011-09-27
Police should use official micro blogs, or weibo, to share more details about their work and provide more services to the public, Huang Ming, deputy minister of public security, said on Monday. Speaking at a national conference in Beijing on the functions of micro blogs, the minister urged security officials to use the platform to release useful information in a timely and transparent manner. The number of official police weibo already exceeds 4,000, and almost 5,000 officers use the services to help in their work, Huang said. Zhao Feng, a Beijing police officer in charge of maintaining the force's official account on Sina Weibo, China's largest micro blogging website, said the account has attracted more than 1.68 million followers since last August. He said at least 10 posts are uploaded to it every day. "We often publish police officers' moving stories, developments in important cases and provide residents with tips, such as how to avoid telecom fraud," he said. "The micro blog has become our main way to communicate with residents. We know their demands quickly and they can supervise our work directly," Zhao added. [...] However, 29-year-old Lei Ting, who works for a foreign company, raised questions about the practice. "What public security authorities should do is to publish information they must tell residents, about criminal or big cases, instead of superficial stuff," she said. At the start of this year, a weibo campaign against human trafficking attracted more than 220,000 netizens and, according to Chen Shiqu, director of anti-trafficking operations for the Ministry of Public Security, helped save several poor and abducted children. ^ top ^

Politburo meets to discuss cultural reforms (Xinhua)
2011-09-27
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held a meeting here Monday to study a proposal on the country's cultural reforms, according to an official press release. Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting, which is a major gathering of Party leadership prior to the Sixth Plenary Session of the CPC's Seventeenth Central Committee scheduled to convene in the nation's capital on Oct. 15 to 18. At the meeting, participants heard and discussed a report on a drafted resolution of the CPC Central Committee regarding cultural reforms. The resolution will be revised on the basis of the results of this meeting, and is expected to be handed over to the forthcoming plenary session. Different Party organizations and departments throughout the country and representatives of the 17th Party Congress have contributed their ideas for improving the resolution, so as to make it a directive document on cultural reforms under the new situation, says the press release. Currently, it says, the world is experiencing major developments, changes and readjustments. Meanwhile, China has entered both a critical period for building up an overall prosperous society as well as the final phase for deepening the ongoing Reform and Opening Up Drive and accelerating the country's economic development shift, it says. Culture has increasingly become a major element bringing together the people and the creative power of the Chinese nationality. It is a major factor in the nation's comprehensive competitiveness as well as a backbone of the country's economic and social development, it stresses, adding, "it has, increasingly, become a cordial aspiration for our people to enrich their spiritual and cultural lives." The meeting called for precisely mastering the new demands of the country's economic and social development, new trends in cultural development and new expectations for the spiritual and cultural lives of Chinese people from all ethnic groups in a bid to "work hard to open up a new situation in the country's socialist cultural development, along with the process of building up an overall prosperous society on the road of scientific development." It reiterated the principles of insisting on sociocultural development with Chinese characteristics, deepening cultural restructuring, and promoting the grand development and prosperity of the cultural sector. It pledged to implement the essence of the 17th Party Congress, uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of "Three Represents" as the guiding ideologies, and further implement the Scientific Concept of Development. ^ top ^

5,000 firms shut in additives crackdown (SCMP)
2011-09-28
Beijing is hailing its efforts in the crackdown on illegal food additives, with a senior food-safety official telling state media that more than 5,000 companies have been shut down and more than 2,000 people punished. "The crackdown on adding illegal additives and on the abuse of food additives since April has effectively contained the outbreak of such cases and achieved considerable results," the official, from the General Office of the State Council's Food Safety Commission, was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Monday. Among the cases, 120 involved the addition of clenbuterol - a chemical stimulant that reduces fat, encourages muscle growth and colloquially referred to as "lean meat powder" - into feed for pigs. Some 980 people involved were detained. [...] So far this year, the authorities have uncovered sales of drug-tainted pork, bean sprouts treated with a carcinogenic chemical compound, expired buns dyed to make them look fresh, and sweet potato flour made with corn, ink and paraffin. Following rising public anger and panic about such scandals, the State Council in April ordered local governments to clamp down on illegal additives used in the production of food. It also ordered the regulation of additive production, while calling for the building of a long-term supervisory mechanism and for industry self-discipline. [...]. ^ top ^

Fugitives offered official amnesty (SCMP)
2011-09-29
Fugitives who turn themselves in to police or other relevant authorities by December 1 will be granted leniency, according to a state media report published on the website of the Supreme People's Court. A joint statement is expected to be officially released in the coming weeks by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice, according to the report by Xinhua. The order will be handed down to all judiciary levels on the mainland, encouraging fugitives to turn themselves in at local police stations, prisons or even grass-roots units in towns and counties by December 1, with misdemeanour offenders being exempt from punishment, Xinhua said. The notice said fugitives could entrust relatives and friends to help in their surrender, that they may also call authorities or send them letters of confession before surrendering and that those who turn in accomplices in crimes will also be granted leniency. It stressed that fugitives who failed to surrender before the deadline would receive severe punishments, while people found to be harbouring criminals would also be punished. [...] When the order is made official, it is intended for it to be widely circulated through mainland media outlets, online and by text message. [...]. ^ top ^

China mulls second action plan on human rights (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
China will publish a second action plan on human rights, a senior official said on Wednesday. The new National Human Rights Action Plan of China will guide the country's human rights work in the next four years from 2012 to 2015, said Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Wang said problems remain with China's human rights conditions due to uncoordinated and unsustainable economic development, such as the increasing income gap between urban and rural dwellers, adding that the new plan will continue to attach more importance to improving people's livelihoods. The new plan will cover economic, social and culture rights as well as civil and political rights. It will also make commitments to improving the rights of ethnic groups, women, children, senior citizens and disabled people, Wang said. A major goal of the new action plan is to offer more effective protection to citizens' political rights, according to Wang. Human rights will be considered throughout all the process and fields in building democracy and rule of law, said Wang. China published the first Action Plan in April 2009, the first of its kind that the country has made [...]. In the assessment report of the first action plan published in July, the SCIO said that China has fulfilled its commitments in the plan [...]. The new Action Plan will be formulated through discussions with more than 56 organizations, including government departments and non-governmental organizations. ^ top ^

China's railways expect 69 million travelers during National Day holiday (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
Railway travel "rush hours" began on Wednesday in anticipation of the upcoming National Day holiday, a time when 69 million passengers are predicted to take to the country's trains for a 10-day period, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said. The projected passenger volume represents a year-on-year increase of 8.5 percent, with an average of 6.9 million passengers traveling daily from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7, the MOR said in a statement on its website. The travel peak is expected on Oct. 1, or National Day, when 8.5 million passengers will take trains to see their families and visit scenic areas, according to the MOR. To guarantee safe and smooth railway transportation, the MOR has prepared reserve trains, strictly maintained and examined its equipment and facilities and increased its manpower and logistical support. ^ top ^

Typhoon slams into southern China (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-30
A powerful typhoon slammed into China's Hainan Island yesterday after skirting Hong Kong. Typhoon Nesat made landfall on the eastern tip of the island at 2:30pm and was packing winds up to 150 kilometers an hour. [...] About 300,000 people have been evacuated across the province with nearly 58,000 of them from low-lying areas in eastern Wenchang City. Flights were canceled at the island's airports. Hainan authorities closed schools, suspended ferry services and recalled fishing boats as the storm made its way across the South China Sea from the Philippines, where it killed 35 people and left another 45 missing. The storm had swept past Hong Kong earlier in the day, forcing the stock market to suspend trading and shops and businesses to close but causing little damage. [...] Ferry services to Macau were suspended. At Hong Kong's airport, 245 flights were delayed, 20 were canceled and 22 diverted to other airports by 3pm. The National Meteorological Center reported that fishing boats were in port and schools along the coast had been shut in advance of the typhoon, the 17th to hit China this year. According to Hainan's meteorological bureau, precipitation in 72 townships in the province exceeded 100 millimeters between 8am and 4pm. [...] The storm seriously disrupted local transportation services. All flights were canceled at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport on Thursday, while 143 flights were canceled and 32 delayed in Haikou Meilan Airport. Passenger ferry services across the Qiongzhou Strait have been suspended since Wednesday, while railway services stopped yesterday morning. As a result, vegetables could not be transported from other parts of the country, causing prices to surge. In Haikou, prices of vegetables rose by as much as 33 percent. ^ top ^

Leaders attend National Day reception in Beijing (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-30
China's senior Party and state leaders attended a reception at central Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Thursday to celebrate the 62nd founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Jia Qingling, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), addressed the reception in the presence of Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang. All the three are members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. In his speech, the top political advisor extended, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, or China's Cabinet, a warm welcome to all the guests, particularly those from the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs), compatriots living in Taiwan, and overseas Chinese. The CPC, which celebrates its 90th founding anniversary this year, led the Chinese people in a 28-year struggle before the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, and, in the glorious 62 years since, the Chinese people have made a miracle in building and developing the nation, said Jia. [...] The central government will continue insisting on the policies of "One Country, Two Systems," "Hong Kong People Govern Hong Kong" and "Macao People Govern Macao," as well as a high degree of autonomy for the SAR governments to handle their internal affairs. Regarding the issue of achieving a "complete, peaceful reunification" of China, Jia reiterated that it is the common aspiration of all Chinese living both at home and abroad. In his speech, Jia also praised the "unique role" of overseas Chinese in realizing the great reinvigoration of the Chinese nation. ^ top ^

Govt bodies flunk 'transparency' test (China Daily)
2011-09-30
On a recent test meant to gauge the transparency of government agencies, 35 out of the State Council's 43 departments received failing grades. The institution that did the worst was the Ministry of Supervision, the very ministry responsible for making sure officials release information in accordance with the law. The report, published by Peking University's Center for Public Participation Studies and Supports, said governmental agencies are still reluctant to disclose information in a timely manner even though China's regulation on government information disclosure, the first of its kind in the country, was adopted in 2008. After polling about 200 government administrations in the past year, professors and students from eight universities throughout the country concluded that provincial governments are more willing to disclose information than are central departments. They also said officials in coastal areas are more forthcoming than their inland counterparts. [...] The best test results were secured by the country's intellectual property office, followed by the banking regulatory commission and the family planning commission. On the other end of the scale were the Railways Ministry, the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office and the Ministry of Supervision, the same agencies that had ranked at the bottom the year before. [...] "Access to government information is the cornerstone of government supervision," said Ying Songnian, a senior legal expert on administrative laws. [...]. ^ top ^

Social network websites 'pose a challenge' (China Daily)
2011-09-30
Networks such as Facebook and Twitter pose new problems for social management, Wang Chen, minister of the State Internet Information Office, said in a keynote speech [...] at the 4th UK-China Internet Roundtable. "Many people are considering how to prevent the abuse of these networks following violent crimes that took place in some parts of the world this year," he said. Parts of Britain were rocked by riots in August, many of them organized by utilizing social network sites. China has more than 500 million netizens, of which 300 million are users of Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, he said. "Everyone involved should observe the law and safeguard the norms of social morality. The Internet should not be used to jeopardize the national or public interest, or the legitimate rights and interests of other citizens," Wang, also minister of the State Council Information Office, said. As more people, especially the young, get involved in online and virtual worlds, the greater the chance that this could have a negative impact on real life, said Xie Yungeng, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. [...] On Wednesday, a "prostitute" who had more than 250,000 followers, including several prominent Chinese Internet celebrities, on "her" micro blog account, turned out to be a 31-year-old man. [...] Some of his entries were re-posted as many as 10,000 times. [...] He was fined 500 yuan ($78) for disturbing public order and his micro blog account was permanently deleted. Xie Yungeng said that young people are easily influenced by information on social networks, as it is very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. There are 212 million Chinese teenager Internet users, accounting for 46 percent of netizens, according to Xie. "Fraud, porn and violence are easily found on social network websites. All of this can be seen by teenagers, which places them in potential danger," he said. The professor suggested establishing a law protecting online rights and interests of teenagers. ^ top ^

Chinese 'peace prize' ditched after one year (SCMP)
2011-09-30
The controversial "Confucius Peace Prize", unveiled hastily last year after jailed mainland dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize amid furious protests from Beijing, has suddenly been cancelled. The award this year was scrapped for "violating relevant regulations", the organisers' parent association said in a letter posted on the Ministry of Culture website. The Chinese Local Art Association, which itself is overseen by the ministry, also said the organisers, known as the "cultural protection department", had been disbanded. The department was not authorised to stage such an event and had "severely breached regulations on social organisations", it said. It addressed the letter to the department, which had set up the prize. [...] Two weeks ago, the organisers announced candidates who were in the running for this year's prize. Analysts said the choices baffled the public. The line-up included Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, known for his dictatorial style, and the 21-year-old 11th Panchen Lama hand-picked by Beijing. [...] Zhu Dake, a well-known culture critic at Shanghai's Tongji University, said the prize was worthless "in terms of [raising] cultural standards and it's bound to confuse public judgment of cultural value". The many similar prizes nowadays ran the risk of degenerating into commercial, profit-making tools for organisers using eye-catching names, he said. The first Confucius prize went to former Taiwanese vice-president Lien Chan, though Lien, unaware of the proceedings, did not show up to claim it. [...]. ^ top ^

China orders safety check over production of dangerous chemicals (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
China on Thursday ordered a nationwide safety and environmental check over the production of potentially dangerous chemicals after protests forced the closure of a controversial chemical plant in the country last month. All producers of potentially dangerous chemicals like paraxylene (PX) and the owners of plants that produce such chemicals must immediately conduct full self-inspections and eliminate hidden risks in a timely manner, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, in an urgent circular. "Those manufacturers that can not rectify their problems must suspend production at once," said the NDRC. Local authorities must also conduct special inspections on manufacturers, according to the circular, which was jointly issued by the NDRC and four other ministries, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The move came after authorities ordered a PX plant in northeast China's city of Dalian to halt production last month, following protests by local residents demanding that the plant be relocated over safety concerns. [...] The incident "sparked concerns from some Dalian citizens over the PX project and triggered an incident involving mass participation," said the circular. Some enterprises ignored safety management in the production of dangerous chemicals in recent years and a series of accidents occurred, "making a negative impact on society and leading to mass incidents if not tackled properly," it said. It urged local governments and enterprises producing dangerous chemicals to make emergency response plans to guard against accidents and natural disasters. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Int'l design week opens in Beijing (Xinhua)
2011-09-27
Hundreds of world famous designers and even more fans of design gathered in Beijing on Monday to celebrate the opening of the 2011 Beijing Design Week. Presidents of renowned design weeks in London, Milan, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Seoul, as well as over 200 internationally-acclaimed designers showed up Monday night at the opening ceremony of this year's Beijing Design Week. The event, running under the theme "Design Beijing," will host over 130 different activities including forums, exhibitions and presentations of design awards. Beijing Design Week 2011 aims to raise design awareness in China while strengthening creative, commercial and government ties between China and the rest of the world, organizers said. The event was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Beijing government, according to a statement on the event's official website. More than 500,000 fans of design are expected to attend design week activities which will last until October 3 [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing in top 10 - of dirtiest capitals (SCMP)
2011-09-28
A global air pollution survey by the World Health Organisation ranks Beijing near the bottom of a list of nearly 1,100 world cities. Despite its brief success in combating smog during the 2008 Olympics, Beijing is now the 10th dirtiest capital city in the world, only cleaner than Ulan Bator, Gaborone, New Delhi, Islamabad, Riyadh, Dakar, Cairo, Dhaka and Kuwait City, according to WHO's first global survey. Even more embarrassingly, the capital ranks 26th among the 30 mainland cities included in the study, with its 2009 reading of PM10s (tiny vehicle and dust particles of 10 micrometres or less) of 121 micrograms per cubic metre. [...] Hainan's Haikou, which scores the best among mainland cities, ranks 814th on the pollution scale, with an annual average PM10 reading of 38mcg per cubic metre. Lhasa and Nanning come second and third, while Guangzhou ranks sixth with 70mcg. The WHO recommends an upper limit of 20mcg for PM10s, which can cause serious respiratory problems, including lung cancer. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Lead plants shut on pollution fears (SCMP)
2011-09-26
Authorities in Shanghai said yesterday they had halted production at most of the city's lead battery plants - including a US-owned factory - on pollution concerns. The announcement came after local media reported that 32 children living near two plants using lead in production, including one run by US Fortune 500 company Johnson Controls, were found to have excessive lead in their blood. Authorities shut those plants last week, but the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said it had decided to close a total of 14 out of 17 factories for "rectification", giving no further details. New York-listed Johnson Controls said the shutdown would last until the end of the year, but said it did not believe its plant was responsible for the high lead levels in children. [...] It added the government had asked it to suspend operations because it had already used up an annual quota for use of lead. The state-run Shanghai Daily quoted officials as saying the number of children with excessive lead levels living near the plants had risen from 25 last week to 32, following tests on more than 1,100 children. Of the 32 found to have high lead levels, 15 had been admitted to hospital. The Shanghai environmental bureau said last week that an initial investigation had found that the Johnson Controls factory had been emitting dust and smoke containing lead. The second plant, called Shanghai Xinmingyuan Auto Accessories Company, had been found using lead in production without proper approval, it said. [...]. ^ top ^

Crash 'could have been avoided' (SCMP)
2011-09-29
Tuesday's crash on Shanghai's subway system has triggered a surge of fear and anger among mainlanders, with most pointing fingers at the government for the nation's public transport safety woes. Rail safety experts said the accident, together with the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou just over two months ago, had exposed weaknesses which, if they had been taken seriously by the authorities earlier, could have been avoided. Professor Ai Bo, deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Rail Traffic Control and Safety, said yesterday that the Shanghai accident had exposed a series of well-known problems involving equipment, technology and management in the construction and operation of the mainland's passenger rail transport system. [...] Ai said he could not reveal more details about the problems because he was not authorised to expose design, manufacturing and maintenance flaws publicly, but he believed that the Shanghai subway authorities were ultimately responsible. [...] Shanghai's subway has had many problems in the past few years but they have been shrugged off because none of the previous operational glitches resulted in deaths or injury. On July 28, a malfunctioning signal device cause a train full of passengers to reverse an entire stop. The equipment supplier escaped punishment, saying a similar accident would not happen again. [...] On the internet, many people expressed their fury. "Should the same mistake not be corrected before it is repeated 100 times in the blood of ordinary people?" one blogger wrote. Professor Zhao Jian, a Beijing Jiaotong University economist, said that the Shanghai subway accident should not be used to argue against the development of subway systems in other mainland cities. "Public fury will decline over time," he said. "People will realise, sooner or later, that more than 74,000 people are killed on the roads in this country every year. The death toll on metros is zero." [...]. ^ top ^

Operator admits human error (SCMP)
2011-09-30
Shanghai Metro, under renewed fire after admitting human error was the cause of Tuesday's train collision, yesterday posted a fresh apology for the accident, thanking the company's critics for their "scolding". "To scold is to love, and the deeper the love the greater the responsibility," the statement, on the company's official microblog last night said. That was two days after the crash that injured almost 300 people and provoked a furious reaction. [...] An apology posted on the microblog on the day of the accident - before being removed and then reinstated - had described Tuesday as the "darkest day" in the underground's 16-year history. The accident happened when a train on Line 10 rammed into the rear of a stationary train. [...] Shanghai's Municipal Health Bureau said 284 people were injured, 95 of whom remained in the city's hospitals on Wednesday morning. [...] The municipal government is investigating but has yet to release any information on the cause of the collision. However, a statement issued by the metro operator on Wednesday night said initial findings of an investigation by its parent company, Shanghai Shentong Metro, pointed to human error as the main cause. Staff in the control room failed to follow correct procedure while conducting trains manually after a power cut disabled the signalling system on the line. The admission appears to vindicate Casco Signal, the Sino-French joint venture that produced the signalling system and rolling stock, and which had been a target for anger over the accident. The company declined to comment yesterday. [...] Alstom, Casco's French part-owner, issued a statement yesterday agreeing with Shanghai Shentong Metro's findings. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Vow of land-grab probe silences Lufeng uprising (SCMP)
2011-09-26
Residents in Guangdong's restive Wukan village have agreed to a truce after government officials pledged a thorough investigation into illegal land grabs that triggered days of sometimes violent protests last week. Village representatives promised to co-operate with the government and not do anything "too drastic" while talks continue with Lufeng city officials, according to a statement posted on the government website yesterday. One leading villager told the South China Morning Post [...] that Lufeng vice-mayors Qiu Jinxiong and Zheng Shengkun vowed to send three government-led task forces to Wukan today. The groups, which would include representatives from the Communist Party's disciplinary body, would look into accusations that village officials illegally seized and sold off the community's collectively held land. Villagers claim tracts have been sold to developers to build factories with little or no compensation, and that their appeals have been ignored. Rumours that a village-owned pig farm had been sold to a mainland developer for more than one billion yuan (HK$1.22 billion) were blamed for setting off waves of protests and riots that had gripped the city since Wednesday afternoon. The vice-mayors promised an investigation of village finances and consider a democratic election to replace village officials, including Xue Chang, who has been the party secretary for 39 years. [...] The unrest began when villagers blocked a highway, holding banners and chanting slogans, while others mobbed the local village Communist Party committee office, a police station and several factories. More than a dozen people were hurt. The protests - which involved anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of residents depending on the account - drew international attention as an example of unrest over the mainland's growing wealth gap. Village representatives said they were warned not to talk to foreign media and that doing so would be viewed as supporting the "secretive agenda to overturn the rule of the Communist Party". One of the village representatives said they briefed fellow villagers about the talks on Saturday afternoon. By 5pm, all of the protest banners raised in the village over the past few days had been removed. Several villagers refused to speak to reporters. Some said the incident had been resolved while others asked reporters to leave. One young villager welcomed the outcome and believed the problem was being resolved. [...] Village officials and police officers, who were targeted during the violent protests, have returned to work. Villagers, however, remained wary of retaliation by the government, even though the vice-mayor promised that people involved in the uprising would not be punished. Others remained unconvinced by the government-led investigation and worried it could simply white-wash their concerns. "No one in this small village is a professional accountant," one villager said. "So, whatever the result is, we villagers can do nothing but listen to what the investigators say.". ^ top ^

 

Tibet

The 'Roof of the World' rises higher still (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-26
They once owned nothing but their shadows and footprints. As "walking and talking tools," the lives of serfs in Tibet 60 years ago were worse than those of their peers in Medieval Europe. Their misery finally came to an end in 1951 when the Central Government in Beijing and Tibet's local government signed the agreement that brought about the region's peaceful liberation. This year marks the 60th anniversary of that epoch-making event. For 60 years, miracles have taken place on the "roof of the world." Millions of former serfs have become the masters of their own society and destiny. Tibet has marched from autocracy to democracy, from poverty to affluence, and from seclusion to openness. The region has undergone an extraordinary historic process: starting with democratic reform, proceeding to the establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region, and to the reform and opening up drive. The past six decades have witnessed remarkable progress in the region's political, economic and social development. Native Tibetans now occupy Tibet's top jobs, including chairman of the regional government and chairman of the regional People's Congress. Tibetan and other ethnic minorities constitute 78 percent of all government employees at regional, municipal and county levels across Tibet. A host of other figures attest to the remarkable changes. Per-capita GDP in Tibet topped 17,000 yuan ($2,631) in 2010, which is 34 times the figure in 1959. Tibet's population has increased to 3 million from 1.23 million in 1959. Of that population 95 percent are Tibetans or other minority people. The life expectancy of Tibet's residents has reached 67 years, almost double the 35.5 years of 60 years ago. ^ top ^

We choose next Dalai Lama, says Beijing (SCMP)
2011-09-27
In the latest indication that Beijing will intervene in the administration of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Beijing said yesterday that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has no right to decide who will take over from him after he dies. The title of Dalai Lama should be conferred upon by the central government, otherwise it is not legal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing. "The 14th Dalai Lama himself was conferred the title by the government of the Republic of China. There has never been a case of a previous Dalai determining the next Dalai. At the same time, the Chinese government has already issued rules about religious affairs and the administration of the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism," he said. "The reincarnation of living Buddhas is a form of succession special to Tibetan Buddhism, and the policies of freedom of religious beliefs observed by China naturally include respecting and protecting this form of succession in Tibetan Buddhism." Hong said the reincarnation of any living Buddha, including the Dalai Lama, should respect the religious rules, historical standards and state laws and regulations. His remarks came after the Dalai Lama made a lengthy statement over the weekend that he and the high lamas of Tibetan Buddhism will decide who will take over from him. [...] The current Dalai Lama previously stated that he would not be reborn in the People's Republic of China if Tibet is not free. This has raised prospects of two successors holding the title, with one recognised by Beijing and the other chosen by Tibetan exiles with the blessing of the current Dalai Lama. That happened in 1995, when Beijing rejected the Dalai Lama's choice to be the 11th Panchen Lama and picked its own reincarnation. [...] Tanzen Lhundup, from the China Tibetology Research Centre, said it was "obvious" that the Dalai Lama's latest statement would worsen his relationship with Beijing, and the reincarnation without conferment from Beijing would not be authoritative. ^ top ^

Monks set themselves ablaze (SCMP)
2011-09-27
Two young Tibetan monks set themselves on fire to protest against government religious controls in western China yesterday, two exiled Tibetan sources said, the third such protest this year that could spark fresh tension in the unstable region. The 18-year-old monks, Kelsang and Kunchak, belong to the Kirti monastery - a major site of protest against Chinese policies and the scene of a harsh crackdown by security forces in May - one India-based exiled Tibetan activist said. The monks' self-immolations could lead to a renewed crackdown in Aba prefecture, a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that many advocates of self-rule say should form part of a larger homeland under Tibetan control. The two monks suffered slight burns and were in stable condition, Xinhua reported, citing doctors. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

US consulate accused of encouraging secession (SCMP)
2011-09-30
A senior official from Beijing's liaison office has lashed out at the US consulate in Hong Kong for stirring up trouble and trying to encourage the city to secede. Hao Tiechuan, director general of the department of publicity, cultural and sports affairs, labelled US Consul General Stephen Young an "old hand" in trying to instigate Taiwanese independence as well as secession in eastern European countries. He made the comments on Sina Weibo, the mainland's popular micro-blogging service, on Wednesday night. But he deleted them the same night. His remarks came just two days after the Hong Kong office of the Foreign Ministry warned that Washington should stop meddling in the city's affairs. According to a report by the semi-official China News Service on Monday and carried on the front-page of the official China Daily on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Office of the Foreign Ministry Commissioner in Hong Kong said cables released by WikiLeaks showed that the US consulate was interfering in the city's constitutional development by holding meetings with selected people and conducting so-called opinion exchanges. "Many mainlanders do not know that forces like the US have been attempting to use Hong Kong as a bridgehead to contain the rise of China," Hao wrote in his blog. "They don't hope for China to attain democracy and the rule of law. They just want China to fall into turmoil." [...] Hao questioned why the US consulate hired several hundred staff. "What are they doing in such a tiny place as Hong Kong? They intend to stir up trouble in an attempt to secede the city from China. [...].". ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan to boost Spratly defences (SCMP)
2011-09-27
Taiwan plans to bolster the defences of Taiping Island, the largest islet in the Spratlys, after increased tensions in the South China Sea. [...] Taiwan's defence ministry has agreed to help the Coast Guard Administration beef up security on Taiping, the only islet in the group to have fresh water, weeks after the Philippines said it would build up its air and sea defences in the region. "The Coast Guard Administration has recently asked for review of its current defensive deployments, which have become obsolete over the years, in order to beef up the security of both the Pratas and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea," Taiwanese defence ministry spokesman Luo Shou-he said yesterday. Taiwan used to station marines on Taiping, but replaced them with the coastguard personnel in 1999 in the hope of reducing tension. [...] He said the military had provided a list of weapons for the coastguard to choose from. According to Taiwanese media reports, the coastguard has chosen 40mm anti-aircraft guns and 120mm mortar systems. Luo said the military would respect whatever decision the coastguard made. He said coastguards posted to Taiping and the Pratas were given military marine training. [...] Last week, Manila proposed joint economic development by Southeast Asian nations in the disputed parts of the South China Sea, which would count out Beijing and Taipei, a move certain to upset the mainland. Tension has been on the rise since March with the mainland, Vietnam and Philippines staging military drills in surrounding waters to demonstrate their claims over the region. Since June, Beijing has called several times for co-operation with Taipei in dealing with the issue, only to be rebuffed by the administration of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. To avoid being sidelined on sovereignty and to increase its visibility, Taiwan sent a group of academics to Taiping on a navy ship in July to conduct academic research. This month, Taipei sent a group of officials to install a solar panel system. Taiwanese media have also reported that Ma might visit Taiping to stress Taipei's claim, but Taiwan's Presidential Office said Ma had "no current plan" to visit. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China faces pressure of price rises, capital inflow in short term (Global Times)
2011-09-26
China faces pressure of price rises and capital inflows in the short term while its economic outlook remains positive, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has said. "At present and in the following period, China's economic growth momentum remains relatively strong, but in the short term, China faces challenges of rapid price increases and more capital inflows," Zhou said, according to a statement posted on the website of the People's Bank of China on Sunday. Zhou made the remarks at the meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the steering body of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), held in Washington Saturday. The Chinese government will properly handle the balance between stable and relatively fast economic development, economic restructuring and inflation expectations, he said. The government will keep consumer prices generally stable and prevent big fluctuations in economic development, he said. China's economy grew at an annual rate of 9.5 percent in the second quarter of this year, slower from a 9.7 percent rise for the first quarter. August's inflation rose to 6.2 percent year-on-year, well above the government target of around 4 percent for the year. "The global economic recovery is weakening and the risk of declines is increasing", he noted, urging nations to strengthen cooperation. ^ top ^

China to invest 2 trln yuan in green economy: report (Global Times)
2011-09-26
China will invest two trillion yuan (313 billion US dollars) to promote low-carbon economy in the five years to 2015, the China Daily reported on Sunday, citing a senior official from the country's top economic planner. The investment will help reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product in China by 16 percent at the end of 2015 compared with the level of 2010, the newspaper said, quoting Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. During the five years to 2010, energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 19.1 percent, according to the report. Xie said China will develop circular economy projects, establish 100 demonstration bases for resource comprehensive utilization and launch low-carbon pilot programs in five provinces and eight cities during the next five years. ^ top ^

Production of China's machinery industry up 26.42% in first 8 months (Xinhua)
2011-09-26
China's machinery industry experienced expanded growth in both production and sales volumes in the January-August period of this year, a senior official with the China Machinery Industry Federation said here on Friday. During the period, the industry's production volume grew by 26.42 percent to reach 10.66 trillion yuan (1.67 trillion U.S. dollars), while sales volume increased by 26.16 percent to stand at 10.4 trillion yuan, according to Wang Ruixiang, the federation's president. In June, the industry's output value hit a record 1.5 trillion yuan, Wang said at an ongoing campaign aiming to promote China's equipment being distributed throughout the world. Between 2001 and 2010, the industry's total output value grew from 1.44 trillion yuan to 14.38 trillion yuan, registering an average annual growth rate of 25 percent on the heels of a series of policies issued by the State Council, or China's Cabinet, which aimed to stimulate and invigorate the development of the country's equipment manufacturing industry. [...] So far, China's annual production of electricity generating equipment has exceeded 1 trillion kilowatts for five consecutive years, making up half of the world's total. In 2009, China produced and sold over 13 million units of automobiles, taking the top position worldwide for the first time. [...] In the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), the industry faces the challenges of structure readjustment, production method transformation, and independent innovation improvement. [...]. ^ top ^

China issues growth plan for SMEs (Global Times)
2011-09-27
In face of the severe survival predicaments, China issued its first nation-level special plan for small and medium-sized enterprises last Thursday. The Growth Plan for SMEs in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) was released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology at the 8th China International SME Fair held in Guangzhou. A group of key projects and action plan will be launched, including building the public service platform network and improving SMEs' capacity, according to Zhu Hongren, chief engineer at Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. According to the plan, the number of China's SMEs will grow steadily in the next five years with an average annual growth rate of 8 percent. There are five primary missions in the plan. First, to improve the capacity of establishing business and creating jobs; Second, to optimize the structure of SMEs; Third, to boost the development of the "new, distinctive, specialized and sophisticated" industries and the industrial clusters; Fourth, to upgrade enterprise management level; Fifth, to refine the service system of SMEs. SMEs contribute to 60 percent of China's industrial output and create 80 percent of the country's jobs. They are experiencing the greatest hardships this year and are at great risk of debt disputes. Shortages of electricity, capital and labor have led them to this predicament, and the soaring costs have made things worse. [...] To square the circle of curbing inflation while sustaining economic growth, the central bank and the National Development and Reform Commission have highlighted the necessity of encouraging financial institutions to support small and medium-sized enterprises while controlling total credit. [...]. ^ top ^

Country to overtake Japan as top luxury goods consumer (Global Times)
2011-09-27
China is expected to top Japan to become the world's largest luxury consumer this year, a research report on luxury goods released last week by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) said. Statistics revealed by the report said China overtook France to become the world's third biggest importer of Swiss watches in the first half of this year, a 49 percent increase over the same period last year. The report said that part of the cause is the mindset of Chinese to show-off, saying some Chinese overspend on luxury items, a habit they cannot necessarily afford. As well, it is widely thought in China the possession of luxury goods factors a lot in judging a person's social status, according to the report. "It is not weird for China to become the largest luxury consumer owing to its overwhelming population and its recently intensifying purchase power prompted by the surging economy," Yan Jun, the CEO of the Beijing-based Ecole Fashion and Luxury Consulting Limited, told the Global Times on Monday. Yan said there might have been a number of people who purchased extravagant products only to show off their wealth five years ago, for example, the Shanxi coal bosses. "But an increasing number of consumers bought luxury goods because they can afford them either for their daily necessities, or as reward for themselves, or even only to experience the luxury rather than to satisfy their showy vanity," Yan added. There were 146 Chinese billionaires on the Forbes China Rich List, released on September 8 this year, 18 more than that of last year. China has 500,000 people who each own investment assets worth more than 10 million yuan, said the 2011 Chinese Private Fortunes Report released by the China Merchants Bank in April. There were 197 million women aged between 30 and 49 in China in 2009, accounting for 17 percent of the total population. The research shows the group has an increasing potential in luxury goods consumption, the HSBC report said. "Billionaires and women play a role, but not a dominant role in booming the luxury industry," said Yan, adding that a growing number of luxury manufacturers are also now offering low-end luxury commodities, such as small wallets and pendants, to gain more consumers. ^ top ^

Chinese banks study bond sale to raise capital (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-28
The Chinese government's stricter liquidity requirement on domestic banks has prompted them to consider sales of subordinated bonds to replenish their capital. The board of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has approved a plan to sell up to 70 billion yuan (US$10.94 billion) in subordinated debt with a maturity of not less than five years, the world's biggest lender said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday. The Shanghai Pudong Development Bank has won approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to sell as much as 18.4 billion yuan in subordinated debt, according to a statement it filed to the Shanghai bourse. [...] The CBRC, the banking regulator, has ordered systemically important banks, including the country's five largest banks, to have a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 11.5 percent by the end of 2013 to limit potential risks in their credit expansion. [...]. ^ top ^

"9% GDP growth" for 2011 (Xinhua)
2011-09-29
GDP growth is predicted to remain above 9 percent this year amid growing fears over a global economic meltdown due to evolving debt crises in both Europe and the United States, a senior government think-tank economist said on Wednesday. However, the world's second-largest economy may see declining GDP growth in the longer term, due to global conditions, said Lu Zhongyuan, deputy head of the Development Research Center of the State Council. [...] "Economic fundamentals are still very strong in China, thanks to the booming demand of both investment and consumption," Lu said. [...] According to Lu, the slight slowdown in GDP growth results from the government's economic tightening measures targeting the real estate sector and tight monetary policies. [...] But the rising cost of labor, land and resources is likely to gradually lead to a slowing economy in the five-year period starting 2016, with a possible average expansion rate less than 8 percent, said Lu. Europe's sovereign debt woes and tepid global economic growth will also add uncertainty to domestic policymaking. China's year-on-year GDP growth rate in the second quarter was 9.5 percent, slightly down from the 9.7 percent in the first three months. [...] Weakened external demand was deemed to be a main drag on the economy, Qu Hongbin, chief economist at HSBC, said. But trade data still showed solid export growth, and fears of a hard landing are unwarranted, according to Qu. September consumer inflation may reach 6.4 percent year-on-year, possibly fueled by expected rising food prices during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, Peng Wensheng, an analyst with China International Capital Corp said. "We should also pay attention to the rapid increase of non-food prices, which can be imputed to climbing labor costs," he said. Non-food prices had increased by 3 percent in August from a year earlier. [...] Lu, from the State Council research center, said that macro-economy policies should remain to keep inflation at bay. "If the US launches a further round of quantitative easing (QE3) this year it will strongly affect the Chinese economy in 2012. If this comes to pass, the government should react with flexible policies," Lu said. [...] China International Capital Corp said in a report that the People's Bank of China, the central bank, may raise the one-year benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year. There is still a possibility that Europe's sovereign debt crisis could worsen. This will probably force Chinese authorities to ease credit slightly, analysts said. CCB International Securities said in a research note that surveys of domestic commercial banks show that lending quotas will increase in the coming months. ^ top ^

Chinese banks' forex surplus hits 37.8 bln USD in August (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-29
China's foreign exchange watchdog said Wednesday that Chinese banks' foreign exchange surplus from bank-to-client transactions reached 37.8 billion U.S. dollars in August. In August, institutional and individual clients sold 144.4 billion U.S. dollars in foreign currencies to banks while purchasing 106.5 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in an online statement. From January to August, more foreign currencies were sold than purchased through Chinese banks, resulting in 354.8 billion U.S. dollars of foreign exchange surplus during the period, the statement said. Foreign exchange surpluses, which make up part of China's foreign exchange reserves along with current account surpluses and foreign direct investment inflow, do not include banks' own foreign exchange transactions or interbank transactions, according to SAFE. Last year, foreign exchange surpluses created through Chinese banks' transactions with domestic clients increased 51 percent year-on-year to reach 397.7 billion U.S. dollars, SAFE data showed. ^ top ^

China splits power industry, launches two new SOEs to boost reform (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
China's state-owned assets watchdog on Thursday announced the completion of restructuring of its bloated electricity industry, breaking up the design and construction businesses from power grids and firms and establishing two new companies. The two new firms, PowerCorp China and China Energy Engineering Group Co. Ltd. (CEEG), are both solely funded by the state, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC). The separation of auxiliary businesses from the nation's power grids and power generating companies was part of the country's efforts to reform the power industry as formulated by the State Council in 2002, said Wang Yong, head of SASAC. [...] After the restructuring, the state-owned Sinohydro Corporation, HydroChina Corporation, together with the design and construction units previously affiliated with the State Grid and the China Southern Power Gird in Shanghai, Hebei, Jilin and 11 other regions, will merge into PowerCorp, with assets totaling 196 billion yuan (30.63 billion U.S. dollars) and 202,700 employees. Meanwhile, CEEG has taken over the other two state-owned enterprises, the China Gezhouba (Group) Corporation and the China Power Engineering Consulting Group Corporation, along with auxiliary units previously operated by the State Grid and the China Southern Power Gird in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi and 13 other provinces or regions. CEEG has assets totaling 120 billion yuan and 160,000 staff. ^ top ^

Global textile equipment manufacturers drawn to promising Chinese market (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
More than 1,300 textile equipment manufacturers from around the world are attending an ongoing exhibition in Shanghai as Chinese textile producers turn to high-end technology to boost their businesses. "China's textile companies are focusing on technological upgrades, which has opened up an expanding market for textile equipment," said Lin Jianlong, vice president of the China Sewing Machinery Association. [...] The potential value of China's industrial textile market is expected to reach 1 trillion yuan (156.74 billion U.S. dollars) in the future, according to the China National Textile Industry Council. The industrial textile market has posted an annual growth of more than 18 percent over the last two years. In 2009, output of domestic industrial textile products totaled 7.23 million metric tons, valued at about 240 billion yuan. ^ top ^

China's coal supply to grow in Q4: official (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
Coal output will grow in China in the fourth quarter of this year to essentially meet the energy demand of the world's second largest economy, an official forecast on Thursday. There will be "a marked increase" in the country's coal production capacity as more medium-sized and large mines go into operation, said Wei Pengyuan, deputy head of the coal department of the National Energy Administration, at a press conference. [...] China's coal output rose 14 percent year-on-year to 323 million metric tonnes in August, according to data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association (CCTD). [...] Coal contributes about 70 percent of China's total energy consumption. The Bohai Rim Steam Coal Price Index, China's government-run coal price gauge, has rebounded since the beginning of this month after a nine-week fall. Soaring coal prices are sucking up the profits of many thermal power generators in China as electricity prices are set by the government, which is cautious on price hikes in order to check inflation. [...] The predicament of some thermal power producers has contributed to power shortages in some areas of the country this summer, said Jia Fusheng, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning agency. The government has tried to boost coal production and expanded coal imports to ensure power supply, he said. ^ top ^

Self-sufficiency in ore expected to pass 50% (Xinhua)
2011-09-30
China will achieve a self-sufficiency ratio of domestic ore over 50 percent, and moderately enhance Chinese-invested overseas ore resources, a move that signals the nation intends to prudently seek overseas mining resources. Zhang Changfu, the vice-chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), said at a conference on Wednesday that the Chinese steel industry has set a target in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) to achieve a self-sufficiency ratio of domestic ore at 50 percent and moderately enhance the ore proportion from Chinese-invested overseas resources. CISA earlier said China currently owns less than 10 percent of the imported iron ore and urged the country to increase ore imports from Chinese-invested resources. China has overseas mining rights capable of producing 150 million tons of ore annually, but most of the mines have yet to start production, according to data from CISA. [...] Han Qing, president of Shougang Co Ltd, a listed arm of Shougang Group, said at the same conference that Shougang is working with a US investment company to acquire an open-pit magnetite iron ore mine in Western Africa, estimated to hold 1 billion tons of deposits. He said the company plans a $1 billion iron ore mine expansion in Peru. Han also said Shougang expects to be self-sufficient in iron ore supplies by 2015 by gaining domestic and overseas iron ore rights, from the current self-sufficiency of 50 percent. [...] Imports from suppliers other than Australia, Brazil, India and Africa account for 18.4 percent of total imports and are up more than 5 percent from last year, he said. "Those countries that have never exported iron ore to China are now listed among the exporting countries, such as Iran and Indonesia," he said. He said global supply and demand conditions for iron ore may reverse sooner than expected, as a flurry of investment in mining due to rising ore prices resulted in huge production expansion. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

S Korea's ruling party chief to visit industrial park in DPRK (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-28
South Korea's ruling party chairman said Tuesday he will travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Friday to visit an industrial complex jointly managed by the two sides, an attempt to reduce tension on the divided peninsula. "It's difficult to directly resolve impending political and military issues," Hong Joon-pyo of the Grand National Party told reporters. "The party believes economic cooperation could help build trust in inter-Korean ties." The conservative lawmaker said he plans to meet with South Korean business operators at the joint industrial complex, located in the DPRK border town of Kaesong, in what will be the first-ever such visit by a South Korean ruling party chief. "I believe the North Korean (DPRK) side also sees this trip as a meaningful one," Hong said, adding the DPRK's approval for the visit came unusually early. The factory park, opened in 2003, stands as the last-remaining symbol of reconciliation between the two wartime enemies as they remain hostile following two deadly border incidents that killed 50 South Koreans last year. [...] Hong's Kaesong visit comes after he proposed earlier this month pilot projects between the South Korea and DPRK to help the DPRK cope with its chronic food shortages, a move observers said hinted at Seoul's shift in its hard-line stance against the northern neighbor. [...]. ^ top ^

Trade zone projects on border 'are going well' (People's Daily Online)
2011-09-29
A detailed plan is expected to come out at the end of the year for the joint development of a trade zone in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) along the border, a senior official in the border city of Dandong told China Daily on Tuesday. An economic zone on the Chinese side of the border has been established to provide support to the zone in the DPRK, and all work is progressing smoothly, Dai Yulin, Party secretary of Dandong, said. The latest development was announced as DPRK Prime Minister Choe Yong-rim met President Hu Jintao in Beijing on the second day of his five-day visit to China. [...] Beijing and Pyongyang agreed in June to establish two development zones along their border. Both zones are located in the DPRK. One is on the Gold Flat and Granville islands near Dandong, Liaoning province, while the other is near Yanbian, Jilin province. A joint China-DPRK management committee for the development of Gold Flat and Granville islands has been formalized, Dai said. [...] "The progress signals that economic cooperation between China and the DPRK has entered a key phase," said Liu Youfa, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies. [...] Choe, accompanied by a slew of high-ranking business officials, is scheduled to visit several companies and factories in the commercial hub of Shanghai and the wealthy eastern province of Jiangsu. [...]. ^ top ^

France on verge of opening office in N.Korea (Global Times)
2011-09-30
France is on the verge of opening an office in North Korea to develop cultural ties and to represent French aid groups working in the totalitarian state, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. The office is to be headed by French diplomat Olivier Vaysset, "given the needs that have been identified in the cultural and humanitarian domains," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. Vaysset's mission does not represent France reopening diplomatic ties with North Korea. With Estonia, France is one of only two European Union powers to have no formal links with Pyongyang. Most EU countries recognized North Korea in 2000 or 2001 at a moment of relative warmth in relations between the country and the international community following a summit between North and South Korea. France did not follow suit, and North Korea's relations with the outside world have worsened dramatically since, in particular after Pyongyang withdrew from the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in 2003. Paris has argued that North Korea must improve its human rights record and address international concerns over the regime's nuclear weapons program before full diplomatic ties are agreed. France's former special envoy to Pyongyang, ex-culture minister Jack Lang, visited the North in November 2009. He said afterwards that France had offered to forge cultural links but not full diplomatic ties. The French move comes as ties between North and South Korea are tense. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

First Lady Kh.Bolormaa Partakes in High-Level Meeting (Montsame)
2011-09-27
First Lady of Mongolia Mrs. Kh.Bolormaa has attended a high-level meeting entitled “Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases” held in the UN Headquarters, New York City. Within the meeting, as a leader of the “Trust” National Fund for Cancer-free Mongolia Mrs. Bolormaa has held meetings with several experts of some countries with aims to intensify activities combating against cancers and to support it. For example, Mrs. Bolormaa has discussed matters on conducting vaccination against cancers of women in Mongolia, with Mrs. Laura Efros, a director of the U.S Vaccine Public Policy; and its executive director Joan Benson. Furthermore, Mrs. Bolormaa has proposed the U.S Merck Company to supply vaccines to Mongolia at a discounted price. Present at these meetings were S.Lambaa, the Minister of Health; A.Monkhtaivan, a director of health project at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC); and E.Erdene, an executive director of the national fund. ^ top ^

Parliament Might be Getting Bigger (News.mn)
2011-09-28
A group of MPs says it will submit a draft law to Speaker D.Demberel that would increase the number of MPs from 76 to 99. The proposal is sure to be one of the most hotly debated issues during the autumn session. The group says the change would make MPs less fearful of a proportional system of representation, since, by increasing the number of seats by nearly a third, their chances of being reelected would be improved. ^ top ^

B. Khurts Returns to Mongolia More Than a Year After his London Arrest (News.mn)
2011-09-28
More than a year after his arrest in London and subsequent deportation to Germany to face kidnapping charges, National Security Council Administrative Chief B.Khurts returned to Mongolia on Tuesday afternoon. He landed at Chinggis Khaan Airport on the same plane as President Ts.Elbegdorj, who was returning from the UN General Assembly in New York. ^ top ^

Mongolians in Europe to Discuss Development of Mongolia (Montsame)
2011-09-29
A forum of Mongolians themed "Our participation in development of motherland" will take place from September 29 through October 2 in Berlin, Germany. In conjunction with the event, the cabinet has allowed Yo.Otgonbayar, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science; and L.Bold, the Defense Minister to attend the forum for chairing the official delegation comprised state and private sector delegates. It is expected the forum will be attended by 150 delegates from 17 countries, and the participants will discuss issues on attracting well educated Mongolians to the great constructions of the country. Moreover, an open day called "Beehive-job places" for job place mediation will be organized in a scope of the Year of Supporting Employment. It will give information about professions to be needed at the domestic market in 2011-2012 and job places. The forum also intends to consider intensifying the "Beehive" program which has the goals to attracted highly-educated Mongolians, to introduce the latest technologies, to develop beneficial collaboration in attracting investments and transferring knowledge. ^ top ^

Latest Harvest Numbers Announced (News.mn)
2011-09-29
According to Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry spokesperson G.Odonkhuu, farmers in Mongolia have harvested 342,000 tons of wheat, 174,300 tons of potatoes, and 88,500 tons of vegetables. A total of 297,700 hectares of grain are expected to be harvested, with 40,000 hectares to be harvested in the next few days. G.Odonkhuu said all remaining grain should be harvested by October 5. 100,000 tons of the harvested wheat will be reserved in the Agriculture Support Fund, 100,000 tons will be sold to domestic factories, and 100,000 tons will be kept in state storage. ^ top ^

Finance Minister Proposes Revised 2011 Budget (News.mn)
2011-09-29
On Wednesday, Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt submitted to Speaker D.Demberel proposals to revise the 2011 budget, the social insurance budget, and the Human Development Fund budget. As originally passed, the 2011 budget projected revenue of MNT 3,304,6 billion (42.2 percent of GDP) and expenses of MNT 4,084,1 billion (52.1 percent of GDP), with a deficit of MNT 779,3 billion (9.9 percent of GDP). But Bayartsogt noted that industrial production increased by MNT 69.3 billion (6.8 percent of GDP) at the end of July 2011, significantly increasing government revenue. Therefore, the revenue projection has been increased by MNT 615.3 billion. Expenditures on projects and programs will be increased by MNT282.1 billion. Investments will be increased by MNT 914.8 billion. The revised deficit is 9.8 percent of GDP. The Minister said that the increased investment will spur economic growth. D.Demberel asked about the negative impacts of revising the budget. S.Bayartsogt replied that the monetary supply increased by 67.2 percent at the end of July 2011 (compared to the same period the previous year). He said the Government must work to keep petroleum and meat prices in check, but he said the Ministry does not believe inflation will exceed ten percent. ^ 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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