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
  10-14.10.11, No. 392  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Myanmar agree to cooperate on suspended joint hydropower project (Xinhua)
2011-10-11
China and Myanmar on Monday agreed to properly settle matters related a suspended joint hydropower project in Myanmar, and both sides pledged to increase cooperation and work toward bringing mutual benefits to the two nations. The agreement was reached in Beijing during talks held between Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Myanmar counterpart U Wunna Maung Lwin, who is visiting China as a special envoy of Myanmar President U Thein Sein. According to a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after the talks, the two sides have conducted a thorough consultation over the Myitsone hydropower plant project, which was ordered to be suspended by Myanmar's president. [...] Vice President Xi Jinping also met with U Wunna Maung Lwin on the same day. [...] China always attaches great importance to the China-Myanmar good neighborly and cooperative relations and is willing to continue its efforts to promote the bilateral pragmatic cooperation based on principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, the press release quoted Xi as saying. U Wunna Maung Lwin conveyed and passed on greetings and a personal letter from Myanmar President U Thein Sein to President Hu Jintao. He said U Thein Sein and the Myanmar government highly value its friendly relations with China and has been paying close attention to China's relevant concerns. Myanmar will work closely with China to strengthen the mutually beneficiary cooperation and further enrich the comprehensive and strategic partnership between the two nations, U Wunna Maung Lwin said. [...]. ^ top ^

Russian-China gas deal near, boosting relations: Putin (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-12
Russia said yesterday it was nearing the final stage of a huge gas export deal with China, in what would be a landmark trade agreement between the giant neighbors. A deal to supply the world's second-biggest economy with up to 68 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year over 30 years has long been delayed over pricing disagreements. "We are nearing the final stage of work on gas supplies," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told reporters in Beijing after talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. He also said that Russia and China are working on new energy transportation routes. "Russia began to supply oil to China through the Skovorodino-Daqing oil pipeline on January 1 this year," Putin said. The nearly 1,000-kilometer China-Russia crude oil pipeline originates in the town of Skovorodino in east Russia's Amur region and ends at Daqing in northeast China. The pipeline should supply 15 million metric tons of oil annually. Putin is hoping his two-day visit - his first trip abroad since revealing last month that he plans to reclaim Russia's presidency - will broaden trade with China, which he expects to grow to US$200 billion in 2020 from US$59.3 billion last year. "Our goal is to diversify our economic ties," Putin told reporters. [...] An agreement on Russia's gas deliveries to China would boost Moscow's efforts to reduce its export dependency on the European market. [...] Russia aims to supply China with 68 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas - compared with up to 155 bcm it will supply Europe this year - starting in 2015 [...]. Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said there had been "significant" progress in the gas talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan yesterday. "We have agreed that within the next two weeks we will outline a road map which will include a demand analysis, sources of supplies, the place of Gazprom in the structure of supplies," he told reporters, referring to the Russian company set to supply the gas. [...] The two leaders witnessed a signing ceremony for nine agreements covering areas such as agriculture, tourism and the economy. Russian state bank VEB and the China Development Bank signed a deal for the Chinese bank to invest US$1.5 billion in building the first stage of UC RUSAL's 750,000-ton Taishet aluminium smelter. As well, the China Investment Corp agreed to invest US$1 billion in a joint Russia-China Investment Fund set up in partnership with a Russian state-backed vehicle to promote direct investment. Putin said Russia will strengthen nuclear energy cooperation with China after the two nations' success with the Tianwan nuclear plant in east China's Jiangsu Province. [...]. ^ top ^

Viet leader's visit focuses on future ties (China Daily)
2011-10-12
China and Vietnam on Tuesday agreed not to let maritime problems affect relations, as the neighbors have been recently involved in a maritime dispute. The two countries also signed an agreement of basic principles, which they consider "highly important to the proper settlement of the maritime dispute". The agreement was reached as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and met Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president. [...] "No action should be taken to complicate or exacerbate the maritime dispute before a final solution is reached," Hu said. [...] Hu also urged Vietnam to consider joint development of disputed areas of the South China Sea, and to "take concrete steps as soon as possible". In response, Trong said if the maritime problem is not properly managed it will affect the broad picture of bilateral relations. [...] He also said Vietnam is willing to implement the principle agreement on settling the maritime dispute reached on Tuesday, and to continue dialogue and negotiation. The two leaders pledged "not to let the maritime problem affect ties between the two countries, two peoples and the peace and stability of the maritime region". The guidance agreement, long awaited by both countries, was one of five agreements signed on Tuesday. The others involved agreements on boosting party-to-party cooperation, economic cooperation, education and transport. [...] [T]ension has lingered as some countries have continued their maritime development in disputed areas. In a recent case, Vietnamese companies had been reportedly seeking partnerships with foreign countries to tap gas resources in the disputed maritime region. The guidance agreement signed on Tuesday is the first of its kind signed directly between China and the other claimants, with all sides giving it high praise. [...] China and other claimants have held negotiations in recent years to reach similar agreements. [...] China has been Vietnam's leading trade partner since 2004, with two-way trade exceeding $27 billion in 2010 and reaching $15.7 billion in the first half of this year. Trong said the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam and the government view developing ties with China as a diplomatic priority. [...] The five-day tour will also bring Trong and his high-ranking delegation to visit some of China's economic hubs to see firsthand the latter's rapid economic growth. [...]. ^ top ^

Remote medical station opens in South China Sea (China Daily)
2011-10-12
A remote medical station was established on Tuesday near Yongshu Reef, located in the Nansha Archipelago in the South China Sea, according to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. The station will provide Chinese servicemen and fishermen living on the Nansha islands with advanced medical support and equipment, the PLA Navy said. The station is part of the "Remote Medical Supportive System" developed by the Navy's General Hospital to provide medical assistance and consultation for naval forces deployed offshore, on islands and on the sea itself, the PLA Navy said. The station is of great importance in terms of upgrading medical services in the Nansha sea area, according to the PLA Navy. The Nansha Archipelago is the southernmost part of China's territory and belongs to South China's Hainan province. ^ top ^

China voices firm opposition to pressuring RMB exchange rate with U.S. domestic legislation (Xinhua)
2011-10-12
China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning urged the U.S. government, Congress and communities to firmly oppose the action of pressuring Chinese RMB exchange rate with its domestic legislation. "China called on the U.S. government, Congress and various communities to firmly oppose the wrong doing of pressuring RMB exchange rate by way of the domestic legislation, to resist protectionism, and to resist the politicization of economic and trade issues, so as to safeguard the healthy development of China-U.S. economic and trade relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a written statement. Ma's remarks came in response to the U.S. Senate's passing of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act on Tuesday. [...]. ^ top ^

China warns US over interference (Global Times)
2011-10-12
Beijing strongly complained to Washington about its interference in China's domestic affairs and interests at the second round of consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs in Beijing on Tuesday [...]. In the wake of the first consultation in Hawaii in June, the latest talks were co-chaired by Chinese vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai and Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. According to a press release issued after the closed-door consultation, the Chinese delegation voiced strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to US "interference in China's domestic affairs and infringement upon China's interests," referring to issues surrounding Taiwan, Tibet and the valuation of the yuan. Reiterating their stance on the South China Sea issue, the Chinese side expressed hopes that the US will respect Beijing's core interests and concerns, and cooperate with the Chinese side to promote the sound and stable development of bilateral ties, the press release said. In response, the US side expressed welcome and support for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and vowed to properly handle disputes with Beijing. The two sides stressed they shoulder common responsibilities and share common interests in maintaining regional stability, promoting economic development, dealing with security challenges and promoting regional cooperation. [...] Proposed by China during this year's China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the Asia-Pacific consultation serves as a platform to solve misunderstandings through direct talks and avoid malicious rivalries between the two nations on regional leadership [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing and Moscow agree to deepen trust and links (SCMP)
2011-10-13
Beijing and Moscow vowed yesterday to deepen mutual political trust and enhance strategic partnerships, signalling that the two powers may get closer at the United Nations, as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ended his two-day China visit. Putin, on his first overseas trip since announcing last month that he plans to serve again as Russian president, played up co-operation with China, saying the Sino-Russian relationship was at an all-time high, while describing the global dominance of the US dollar as "parasitic". He said in his meetings with President Hu Jintao and National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo yesterday that developing ties with China was the priority for Russia's foreign affairs. "Russia is willing to work hard with China to further enhance mutual strategic trust, maintain frequent high-level exchanges and deepen co-operation in various fields to push the development of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership," he said. Hu made a similar pledge at the meeting, and said he believed a series of documents signed by the two countries on Tuesday would strengthen bilateral ties. [...] In a joint communique released after the visit, the two countries pledged to improve co-operation when handling international affairs in addition to strengthening cultural exchanges. "Both sides stress that the UN, with its Security Council, should play a core role in international affairs," the statement said. They said they would continue efforts to bring about a multi-polar world. They will also strengthen co-ordination on energy and food security and other global issues within the framework of the UN, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation and the five-country BRICS bloc, which also includes Brazil, India and South Africa. The statement said a timetable for reforming the UN Security Council should not be set without the support of the majority of UN members. The two sides signed a series of documents boosting economic and trade ties, and agreed on Tuesday to co-operate on energy development [...]. ^ top ^

India, Vietnam oil deal slammed (Global Times)
2011-10-14
Vietnam and India inked an oil exploration deal Wednesday in South China Sea waters claimed by China, a day after Hanoi signed an agreement with Beijing on settling maritime disputes. In defiance of previous warnings from China, India's State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) signed the exploration deal with PetroVietnam in New Delhi after talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. The deal included new investments and exploration, as well as the supply of oil and gas to the two countries, the AP reported. The Wall Street Journal said the ONGC is planning to begin exploration next year. The move came amid a five-day visit to China by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong. After the talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Trong, the two sides signed a six-point agreement Tuesday outlining basic principles guiding the settlement of existing maritime issues [...]. Ye Zicheng, director of Peking University's China Center for Strategic Studies, told the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV that Vietnam breached its agreement with China a day after signing it, a move that could further intensify tensions in the region. "China must make a solemn protest and demand an explanation. The oil deal violates China's maritime interests. Beijing must take measures to stop such an act from expanding," Ye said. [...] The oil deal between Hanoi and New Delhi was first unveiled in 2006. Since then, Beijing has warned India not to step into the South China Sea issue. [...] India has recently been expanding its ties with Vietnam. [...] "On one hand, Vietnam seeks support from India both economically and politically. On the other, the development of the ties fits India's ambition of expanding its influence eastward," Zhuang Guotu, director of Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University, told the Global Times. [...] "China needs to issue stern warnings to those outsiders who try to step into the South China Sea issue," he said, adding that dialogue is still the way to resolve disputes. ^ top ^

China calls for action to prevent ship attacks (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-14
China has demanded swift action by three Southeast Asian countries to prevent attacks on Chinese nationals on the Mekong River after 12 sailors died near the Thai-Myanmar border last week. "The Chinese government values the life and safety of every Chinese citizen and demands a thorough investigation into what happened and that the murderers be brought to justice," Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao told envoys from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar yesterday. He told them their countries should "step up their investigation, get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible, report their findings to China in a timely manner and severely punish the assailants." The safety of Chinese sailors on the river must be assured and China will assist in making that happen [...]. On October 5, 12 Chinese sailors were confirmed killed and one missing after two cargo ships, the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8, were attacked and hijacked by an unknown group of armed men on the Mekong River. The ships were in the "Golden Triangle," where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, a region notorious for drug smuggling. [...] The three envoys expressed their deep condolences over the deaths and said they were committed to working with China to deal with the aftermath of the incident. China is sending patrol ships to pick up Chinese sailors stranded in Thailand since the incident [...]. The vessels set out for Thailand along the Mekong River yesterday to escort the sailors and ships back home. The patrol vessels [...] left from Guanlei Port in southwest Yunnan [...] for Chiang Saen Port in Thailand, where 164 Chinese sailors as well as 28 cargo ships are currently stranded. The two vessels which were attacked will remain in Thailand while the other 26 ships will return to China via the Mekong River under the protection of the Chinese patrol boats. [...]. ^ top ^

Foreign gov't should respect "One Country, Two Systems" policy: HKSAR spokesman (Xinhua)
2011-10-14
The implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy according to the Basic Law is part of the internal affairs between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government (HKSAR) and the Chinese central authorities, and foreign governments should respect the policy, a spokesman of the Hong Kong government said Thursday. "We hope and believe that foreign governments will continue to respect this principle," a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR said in response to the comments in the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2011 Annual Report relating to Hong Kong [...]. The Annual Report claimed Hong Kong's constitutional development package for 2012, which was passed by the city's 60-member Legislative Council in March this year, "fell short of" the ultimate aim in the Hong Kong Basic Law. [...] The various systems that contribute to the success of the HKSAR have been preserved and maintained in accordance with the Basic Law. The central authorities have fully respected Hong Kong's autonomy and not interfered in Hong Kong affairs. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Hu makes case for reunification (SCMP)
2011-10-10
President Hu Jintao yesterday made the celebration marking the centenary of the 1911 revolution a case for reunification with Taiwan, a cause he said served the best interests on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and should therefore be pursued as a common goal. Hu was speaking at a ceremony held at the Great Hall of People in Beijing for the 100th anniversary of the revolution, which ended the nation's long imperial history. The event was attended by all nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party's Central Committee, as well as by former party secretary Jiang Zemin and several other former party elders. In his 20-minute speech, Hu said Beijing and Taipei should end antagonism, "heal past wounds and work together to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation". "Achieving reunification by peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese, including our Taiwan compatriots," Hu said, adding that both sides should increase economic competitiveness, promote Chinese culture and build on a sense of a common national identity. [...] The ceremony, which lasted about 40 minutes, featured 10 red flags that flanked a giant portrait of Sun Yat-sen, who led the 1911 revolution and became the president of the first republic in China. [...] Despite singing the praises of Sun in his speech, including calling him "a great national hero, a great patriot and a great leader of the Chinese democratic revolution", Hu barely elaborated on the key elements of Sun's political guidelines on nationalism, democracy and people's livelihoods, and instead went to great lengths to push the idea of national reunification by peaceful means. He emphasised that "Taiwan independence" must continue to be opposed, and once again called for the upholding of the "1992 consensus" - an informal, oral understanding that there exists only "one China", inclusive of the mainland and Taiwan, with both sides agreeing to differ on its precise political definition. The Communist Party hails the 1911 revolution as a milestone for the nation's development, but the party also says the event failed to change the nature of the country from a half-colonial and half-feudalistic society, characteristics the party says it was able to do away with on its ascension. Hu called Chinese communists "the most resolute supporters" and "the most faithful successors" of the revolutionary causes that Sun undertook and said the party remained vital for hopes of political unity. "To achieve the great revival of the Chinese nation, we must certainly firmly uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party," Hu told hundreds of officials at the event. ^ top ^

Mass migration, major problems (China Daily)
2011-10-10
China's migrant population now numbers 221 million, or 16.5 percent of all citizens, and as the numbers grow so do the problems these people face. Most migrants do not enjoy the same rights as local people and therefore face difficulties integrating into urban life, according to a government report issued on Sunday. The 2011 Report on China's Migrant Population Development was issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and will serve as a guide for the central government as it formulates plans for urbanization and population management. "Good management of China's colossal floating population is crucially linked to overall national economic and social development, and it needs to be urgently improved," said Zhang Chunsheng, director of the general office of the commission, at the launch of the report. During the last three years, China's migrant population increased by about 10 million each year and another 300 million rural people are expected to move to urban areas in the next 30 years, the report said. "With such large and rapid population shifts, China's urbanization is entering a critical period and its management has to be further strengthened to deal with emerging problems," Zhang said. These problems include "city illness", which covers a series of social problems stemming from huge population movements into big cities, poverty, forced housing demolitions, and challenges to the sustainability of megacities in terms of natural resources and the environment, sound social management and supply of public services, experts said. "Of these, the problems from a widening wealth gap between migrant workers and urbanites are crucial because they upset social stability," said Wang Qian, who heads the floating population management division of the commission. [...] Based on lessons learned from the recent waves of urbanization, the central government has issued policies and introduced measures to help improve the lives of migrants. These include basic health services and social security benefits provided at migrants' workplaces, Zhang said. "Also, the central government has begun to regulate ruthless and poorly managed urbanization, ordering that it be done step by step with more regard to migrants' welfare," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Environmental rule set to shift (China Daily)
2011-10-10
Local governments at all levels are expected to face stronger obligations to protect the environment, and polluters will face much heavier fines, according to a draft proposal to amend China's decades-old Environmental Protection Law. The environmental and resources protection committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) is currently soliciting advice on the draft proposal, which is expected to be reviewed by the standing committee of the NPC as early as December, said Bie Tao, a senior official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. One highlight of the draft is a proposal to strengthen local governments' legal responsibilities in environmental protection, Bie, deputy director of the policy, law and regulation department, said on Sunday. [...] Environmental experts say some local governments, in their blind pursuit of economic growth, have become the true culprits of the country's rampant pollution problems. [...] Meanwhile, polluters who refuse to stop dumping industrial waste will face daily penalties while their polluting activities continue, according to the draft proposal. Such a mechanism has proved effective in Western countries as it can result in huge fines. Previously, low maximum fines in China encouraged some enterprises to violate environmental laws. [...] The draft proposal also pushes for greater transparency on pollution information from both government and enterprises. Public interest litigation, which allows individuals, NGOs and government bodies to sue polluters on behalf of the public, will for the first time be endorsed by law if the draft proposal is approved by the legislature. [...]. ^ top ^

Promotion of energy-saving goods cuts 14 mln tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in China (Xinhua)
2011-10-10
A program to promote sales of energy-efficient consumer goods launched by the Chinese government has reduced emissions by 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year since it was implemented, official data showed. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, and the Ministry of Finance started the program in June 2009, which offered at least 16 billion yuan (2.5 billion U.S. dollars) for consumers of energy-efficient home appliances and automobiles. So far, the program has promoted the sale of at least 34 million air conditioners, one million automobiles and 160 million light bulbs. The total sales revenue has reached at least 120 billion yuan, the NDRC said in a statement on its website. According to the program, buyers of the selected air conditioners will enjoy various levels of price cuts based on their energy-efficiency level. The Ministry of Finance provides compensation for the losses caused by the price cuts. The project has also saved 22.5 billion kilowatts of electricity and 300,000 tonnes of fuel every year, the NDRC said. It has also lifted the market share of energy-efficient air-conditioner to 70 percent from originally 5 percent. And vehicles with a displacement of less than 1.6 liters was raised to 30 percent from 7 percent, according to the NDRC. [...]. ^ top ^

Over 17,000 arrested in crackdown on illegal food production, gambling, drug trafficking (Xinhua)
2011-10-10
Over 36,000 cases were investigated and more than 17,000 suspects detained during the first 45 days of a nationwide crackdown on illegal food production, gambling, drug trafficking and other offenses, according to public security authorities. A statement issued on Friday by China's Ministry of Public Security summarized the "preliminary progress" of the campaign, stating that 7,165 venues used for illegal activity have been shut down so far. The statement also mentioned a group of cases concerning the manufacture and sale of clenbuterol, an illegal fat-burning drug that is sometimes illegally used as an additive in pig feed, and "gutter oil," or reprocessed cooking oil that is illegally produced using waste oil from restaurants. The statement also highlighted police officers' attempts to gather tips from the public through phone calls, e-mails and microblog posts. Over 28,000 tips were received and more than 9,200 of them were confirmed to be accurate, according to the statement. The campaign was launched on Aug. 22 to eliminate illegal food producers and vendors, factories producing counterfeit goods and markets built for the disposal of stolen goods, pornography, gambling and drug trafficking. The ministry did not specify the ending date of the campaign in its statement, but described it as a "long-term" task. ^ top ^

Student gains win over ministries (China Daily)
2011-10-11
A Tsinghua University law student has finally had some success in her quest for information about the duties of government deputy ministers. Li Yan, a graduate student in Tsinghua University's Law School, said she will drop a case against three government agencies after the departments disclosed some of the information she needed for an academic paper she was preparing. Li said she had reached agreement with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Education after receiving information on the responsibilities of their deputy ministers. The 24-year-old student had asked for information about the responsibilities of the deputy ministers of every central department. When this request was turned down, she filed a case at Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court in early September against the three departments. "Although the court said my case could not be filed, they urged the departments to disclose the information and helped us reach a reconciliation," she said. [...] Ying Songnian, an administrative law professor with China University of Political Science and Law, said Li's request, which was in line with the country's regulation on disclosure of government information, should have been met. "It's good to see a young student fighting for her rights, since to establish a transparent government requires efforts by both the authorities and the public," Ying said. [...]. ^ top ^

Natural disasters leave 1,074 dead or missing in China (Xinhua)
2011-10-11
Natural disasters left 1,074 people dead or missing in China over the past nine months, according to a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) and the National Disaster Reduction Commission (NDRC) on Monday. Between January and September, natural disasters affected 480 million people nationwide, resulting in the evacuation or relocation of 9.12 million people, the statement said. The disasters also incurred a total of 302.8 billion yuan (47.7 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses. [...]. ^ top ^

China's population to hit 1.39b in 5 years (China Daily)
2011-10-12
China's population will hit 1.39 billion people over the next five years, posing greater challenges for the country's economic and social development, a family planning official said on Tuesday. Major population challenges will include greater numbers of birth defects, unbalanced sex ratios and an aging society, said Cui Li, vice-minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at the China-ASEAN forum currently being held in Nanning [...]. According to the sixth population census, China's population amounted to 1.37 billion as of November 1, 2010. According to Cui, birth defects in China have increased in recent years, a fact that will influence China's labor supply in the future. [...] Cui also mentioned the constant growth of China's migrant population. Rapid urbanization boosted the migrant population to 221 million people as of the end of 2010. [...] In the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), the government stated that it will adjust its family planning policies to promote gender equity, manage unbalanced sex ratios and handle migration and aging by providing more public services. ^ top ^

Tencent launches China's first English microblog service (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-12
Tencent, China's largest instant messaging service provider, on Tuesday officially launched an English version of its microblog service or Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, in a move to meet the social networking needs of English-speaking users. The English version of Tencent Weibo is the first of its kind in China [...]. Xing Hongyu, general manager of the Tencent Weibo Business Unit, said that Tencent Weibo will deliver a high-quality user experience with the company's 12 years of experience in Internet services. Xing said the English version of Tencent Weibo will enhance the company's influence globally. [...] Weibo users in China are rapidly expanding, with the number increasing to 195 million, up 208.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2011, according to the latest data from the China Internet Network Information Center. ^ top ^

Activists renew bid to visit lawyer (SCMP)
2011-10-12
Online calls by activists to visit a blind lawyer being held under house arrest have drawn unusually large support, with some traipsing to his village and being detained, questioned and even beaten. The appeals, which began appearing last week, have brought renewed attention to Chen Guangcheng, turning him into a rallying cause one year after he was released from prison but confined to his home surrounded by police and thugs to keep outsiders away. About 20 people have tried to visit the lawyer in the eastern province of Shandong in the past week, by one activist's count, among them people not previously known to be human rights campaigners. One of the newcomers is a 45-year-old man surnamed Xu. He was caught by police at a long-distance bus station in Linyi, near Chen's village, last Wednesday. He was detained at a police station and questioned on suspicion of drug trafficking before being driven back to his hometown two hours away. [...] Authorities have turned Chen's village of Dongshigu into a hostile, no-go zone, trapping the lawyer, his wife and child inside. Activists, foreign diplomats and reporters have been turned back, threatened and had stones thrown at them by men patrolling the village. Blinded by a fever in infancy and self-taught as a lawyer, Chen became an inspiring figure among rights activists for his dogged pursuit of justice. He documented forced late-term abortions and sterilisations in his rural community, angering authorities. He was eventually imprisoned for four years. Since his release, he has once beaten unconscious by his captors, and his six-year-old daughter is believed to be barred from leaving the family home, even to attend school. The calls to visit Chen began appearing on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like service, apparently to capitalise on the week-long national holiday that ended on Friday. Support for the lawyer has come in many forms, with several microblog users using pictures of Chen as their profile images, some making donations to activists trying to visit Chen, and others making the journey. Newspaper reporter Shi Yu wrote on his blog that he was beaten, robbed and detained for hours after attempting to enter Chen's village last Wednesday. Shi confirmed in a telephone call that he had authored the blog post but declined comment. ^ top ^

China to increase investment in water conservation projects (Xinhua)
2011-10-12
China will continue to increase its investment in water conservation infrastructure construction and accelerate its pace of building water conservation projects, a senior official said Wednesday. This year China had invested nearly 260 billion yuan (40.63 billion U.S. dollars) in water conservation infrastructure construction by the end of September, with the central government's investment reaching 113.9 billion yuan, Jiao Yong, vice minister of water resources, said at a press conference. The investment has been used to improve the availability of safe drinking water for 63.5 million rural residents, teachers and students, reinforce 6,595 dangerous reservoirs, harness 800 rivers and build early warning systems for flooding in 1,100 counties, Jiao said. Despite severe flooding this year, the country reported no breaches of major rivers and tributaries and no bursts in mid- to large-sized reservoirs, Jiao said. China aims to harness more than 5,000 rivers over the next five years, reinforce 5,400 reservoirs and speed up the construction of early warning systems for flooding and storm tides. The country will also work to ensure safe drinking water for residents, renovate key irrigation facilities, prevent and control land soil erosion, and restore the ecosystems of some environmentally-deteriorated regions over the next five years, Jiao said. [...] China aims to double its average annual spending on water conservation during the next decade from its 200-billion-yuan investment in 2010. ^ top ^

Gloomy outlook for pollution targets (Global Times)
2011-10-13
The first six months of this year have seen a 6.17 percent rise in nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere than in the same period a year ago, challenging the realization of the pollutant reduction goal of 1.5 percent for 2011, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). Statistics shows discharge of chemical oxygen demand – a measure of water pollution – and sulfur dioxide decreased by 1.63 percent and 1.74 percent respectively compared with the same period last year, while ammonia nitrogen decreased 0.73 percent. [...] Nitrogen emissions, which are a major cause of acid rain and smog, are harmful to the human respiratory system and can cause cardiovascular disease. [...] Beijing stands out as the only city that saw a decrease in all the four major pollutant emissions. [...] From 2011 to 2015, China hopes to reduce its emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia nitrogen by 10 percent below what they were in 2010, and to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand by 8 percent during the same period. ^ top ^

China bans sex-related ads on radio, TV (China Daily)
2011-10-13
China's top broadcasting watchdog on Wednesday ordered a ban on sex-related advertisements on the country's radio and TV. In a circular issued Wednesday, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) demanded greater self-discipline from radio and TV stations in handling commercials. The broadcasters should not insert any commercial advertisements between the titles, the body and the trailer while airing TV dramas [...]. Broadcasters should examine advertisements related to drugs, medical equipment, health supplements and TV shopping in a serious manner before airing them [...]. The administration also said commercial advertisements should not be aired under the guise of a news report, or in the form of a news interview. News anchors should never serve as product endorsers for commercials, the circular added. ^ top ^

1.28 bln Chinese covered by medical insurance (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-13
China's three basic medical insurances programs currently cover 1.28 billion people, or 95.5 percent of the nation's total population, the government said on Wednesday. The number of people covered by a medical insurance program for urban employees, an insurance program for unemployed urban citizens and the new rural cooperative medical care system is 154 million greater than that of 2008, a State Council healthcare reform office said [...]. The government accelerated its healthcare reform in April 2009 by unveiling a three-year plan with an investment of about 850 billion yuan to provide affordable, fair and high-quality healthcare services. The reform gives special priority to China's vast rural population [...] As of June, 832 million people, or more than 90 percent of China's rural population, have joined the rural cooperative medical care system, thanks to enhanced subsidies for rural residents. The system has allowed rural residents to recover as much as 70 percent of their hospitalization fees in 2011, much higher than the 50-percent cap created in 2008. The release said the system, which is largely funded by donations and government allocations, acquired 16.6 billion yuan in funding this year, a 75-percent increase over the amount of funds raised in 2008. The assistance system has benefited nearly 100 million people, mainly poor, disabled and elderly people. ^ top ^

China calls for a "healthy" environment for microblogs (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-14
China's Internet watchdog on Thursday urged the building of a healthy, orderly environment for microblogging, stressing that there must be no avenue for spreading rumors or illegal information online. Wang Chen, director general of China's State Internet Information Office, urged the strengthening of regulation over microblogs in a bid to use them to "serve the works of the Party and the nation," as well as the people. Wang, also deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a seminar themed "how microblogs can serve society." Social networking sites, such as microblogs and Facebook-like services, have become major platforms for social associations and information-sharing in China. Sina Weibo, the most popular microblog service in terms of registered users, now has more than 200 million users. With 485 million users, China is home to the world's largest number of registered web users. The rising popularity of microblogging has allowed segments of the population to voice their opinions in a way that has never been seen before in China. Wang said that in accordance with laws and regulations, the government will punish those who use microblogs to spread lies, rumors, and pornography and subsequently threaten online information security and public security. He stressed that the government will not allow illegal information to be posted on microblogs. Wang added that microblogs should be used for "popularizing sciences, advancing culture, and projecting social morality," adding that this type of information and the platforms that provide it should be increased to meet people's demands. [...]. ^ top ^

China's avg life expectancy reaches 73.5 years (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-14
In the past 25 years, China's average life expectancy has grown from 68 years to 73.5 years, the level of semi-developed countries, according to the latest report issued at the China-ASEAN Forum on Population and Family Development, which was held in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi province on Oct. 11, 2011. "It is all thanks to our country's family planning policy," says Li Bin, chief of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at the Forum. "Our country has been paying high attention to the population issues." [...] China has approximately 400 million households, and the total population of China is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2015. At that time, the working population will reach its peak while population aging will accelerate, and citizens will become increasingly mobile. ^ top ^

Nationwide system to help combat bribery (China Daily)
2011-10-14
A national system to keep track of bribery convictions will be set up by the end of this year, said a senior official of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Individuals or companies found to have offered bribes are likely to be disqualified from bidding for other projects, said Song Hansong, director of the department of duty crime prevention of the procuratorate [...]. Cases of bribery have become increasingly rampant in recent years. In 2010, there were 3,194 suspects prosecuted of providing bribes, a 30-percent increase from the year before, Song said. "These bribers, often targeting government officials, offer money to gain illegal returns. They have seriously disordered the market economy," he said. According to Song, bribery tends to occur in capital-intensive industries such as construction, finance, education, health and medicine, as well as government contracts. Prosecuting departments across China began to use a bribery record system in 2006, but it was only available at the provincial level, he said. "The limited inquiry system can't serve the aim of data sharing and meet cross-regional demands. [...]" he said. [...] According to Song, the new system will be effective in provincial, city and county levels. "The system will allow organizations and individuals to submit an enquiry about a certain company, and will be sent a bribery record of the company if the company has problems," he said. Companies with records of bribery may face restriction of their market access, canceling or degrading of their qualifications or the termination of their business. [...]. ^ top ^

Ai vows to continue his crusade (SCMP)
2011-10-14
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei, named the contemporary art world's most powerful figure by an influential art magazine this week, says he will continue to struggle for freedom of expression on the mainland despite restrictions imposed on him. Ai, whose detention for 81 days this year sparked an international outcry, said yesterday that his top rank on London-based ArtReview's 10th annual "Power 100" list showed the media and art world were becoming more aware of the political situation in China. "My art is about communication and about consciousness," he said. "My so-called activism is part of my art and I cannot really separate them because my purpose is to protect the very essential right [to] freedom of expression." The 54-year-old artist, who also made it to Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world this year, said he had no political ambition, but the right he was promoting "happened to have become very political". [...] Ai said his political activism was "quite dangerous", but vowed he would not back down. [...] "Today is a time of change not just in China but also in the world - Arab, Asia, Africa... so artists always have to play an important role in this kind of change." [...] "I can use myself as an example for people to understand that... China is not just some nation which is getting rich, but there is a price to pay for not having these essential rights." Ai, who is officially barred from giving press interviews as a condition of his bail, described the government pressure on him as "huge". He remains under close watch following his release, although he has resumed speaking out for other dissidents on his Twitter account. [...] At a daily press briefing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the magazine's honouring of Ai was politically motivated. "To make judgment from a political perspective and political prejudice is against the purpose and principle of the magazine," he said. ^ top ^

Rescuers pump out water to save 13 trapped miners (China Daily)
2011-10-14
China's safety watchdog said on Thursday that a mine owner failed to inform local authorities about a flood on Tuesday that trapped 13 miners in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. The local government did not know about the accident until it was tipped off by the public on Wednesday afternoon, the State Administration of Work Safety said. Twenty-four miners were working underground at the Jindi coal mine in Jixi city, Heilongjiang province, when the accident occurred, with 11 of them managing to escape. The owner of the mine, surnamed Xiong, initially denied having workers trapped at the flooded mine and finally revealed the truth after four hours of police interrogation, authorities said. He has already been in police custody. As of Thursday, 480 rescuers have been dispatched to the rescue scene, including rescue forces from neighboring coal mines. [...] An inspection team has been sent by the State Administration of Work Safety to investigate the accident. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing wrapped in blanket of smog (SCMP)
2011-10-11
Dense, choking smog has blanketed Beijing over the past week, with the capital's air quality at the weekend plunging to one of its worst levels since before the Olympics three years ago. It was so bad at one point on Sunday night that a pollution reading from the US embassy described it as "beyond index" [...] But figures by the central government indicated that the air was only slightly polluted, despite poor visibility throughout the city due to the thick haze [...]. Although there were no reports of the pollution causing disruptions at outdoor sporting events on Sunday [...] local meteorological officials issued a rare warning advising residents to avoid going outdoors, citing health hazards. [...] According to the hourly pollution data published on Twitter by the US embassy, levels of PM2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns, surged past 500 micrograms per cubic metre against a maximum rating of 500 between 8pm and 10pm on Sunday. By US standards, a level above 100 is considered unhealthy to those with lung or heart diseases, and readings above 300 are deemed "hazardous for the entire population". The US data, based on a single monitoring station near the embassy in eastern Beijing, has been no stranger to controversy since being introduced in 2009. Mainland authorities, who insist that Beijing's air quality has improved steadily with the city's decade-long pollution-control efforts, have frequently been embarrassed by the embassy's shocking pollution readings, which stand in stark contrast to those released by the city. In November, air pollution readings that also hit the maximum 500 for several hours were described in one embassy tweet as "crazy bad", sparking an outcry among expatriates and locals. The embassy soon deleted the tweet and has replaced the controversial description with "beyond index" ever since. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Independent candidates win poll on mainland (SCMP)
2011-10-12
Two independent candidates have been elected to a district people's congress in Guangdong. Theirs are the first successful grass-roots campaigns in a year that has seen an unprecedented number of candidates contesting polls across the mainland without Communist Party backing. [...] Both have been involved in fighting for the rights of residents affected by illegal land grabs. They are the first successful independent campaigners to emerge in what has been viewed as a breakthrough year for independent candidates running for local legislatures. Previously there have been sporadic efforts by a handful of candidates not affiliated with the Communist Party to run for local congresses, but they received virtually no media coverage and few votes. This year independent candidates - academics, journalists, bloggers, lawyers and farmers - attracted widespread publicity and mounted serious campaigns. [...] Analysts said the success of independent candidates in rural areas indicated the breadth of grass-roots interest in politics and marked a potential turning point in the mainland's political evolution. But they also warned against over-optimism, saying the success may hold more symbolism than actual meaning. Chen Yongmiao, a Beijing-based political analyst and rights activist, said it was unlikely that local lawmakers would be able to exert any real decision-making power. Local congresses - the lowest rung in the government structure - are relatively powerless bodies in a complex political system. This year's independents have also met with interference in some areas, where the authorities either disrupted campaigns or harassed candidates. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Religious activities remain normal in Sichuan (China Daily)
2011-10-12
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that religious activities in Southwest China's Sichuan province remain normal, despite the fact that several local monks have set themselves on fire in recent months. "Religious activities in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture and other Tibetan autonomous areas remain normal. The religious demands of local worshippers have been fully satisfied," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said [...]. Several monks have attempted to self-immolate in Sichuan's Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in recent months. Local police extinguished the fires and sent the monks to local hospitals for treatment, Liu said. An investigation of the incidents is underway, Liu said. Following the attempted self-immolations, the "Dalai Lama clique" did not condemn this extreme behavior, and actually openly embellished and played it up, and spread rumors to incite more people to follow the example, Liu said. The clique's behavior was a disguised form of violence and terrorism, as the group has actively tried to pursue separatism by harming people, Liu said. The clique's behavior, which went against human conscience and Buddhist teachings, has been condemned by local residents, including those in religious circles, Liu said. Liu said the government will continue to adhere to its policy of protecting religious freedom, make efforts to deal with religious affairs in accordance with the law and maintain social order and religious order. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China offers more support to economic zones in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2011-10-10
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Saturday unveiled guidelines giving more support to the construction of two economic development zones in the western Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. According to guidelines released on the central government's website, the State Council will adopt measures such as fiscal subsidies and tax preferences to facilitate the construction of the Kashgar and Korgas economic development zones located in western and southern Xinjiang. The central government will work to develop the two zones into new sources of economic growth in Xinjiang and grow the cities of Kashgar and Yining as regional hubs for China's opening up to central, southern and western Asian countries as well as eastern Europe. [...] The central government will increase investment in major infrastructure facilities construction projects in the two zones, including the construction of the China-Kyrghyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and the China-Pakistan railway. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

The home stretch (SCMP)
2011-10-13
With his days in office growing short, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen used his swansong policy address yesterday to roll out a series of long-term policy commitments that target some of Hong Kong's most pressing social issues, including housing. Tsang proposed the city restart the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) in 2016 for aspiring homebuyers priced out of the property market, and offer old-age allowances from 2013 for elderly people who choose to live in Guangdong - measures that will be left to the next government to implement. He also proposed a flat rental scheme for young people designed, analysts said, to ease discontent among twenty- and thirty-somethings. [...] The source said the chief executive had solicited the views of chief executive hopefuls Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying in preparation for the address, a 62-page document entitled "From Strength to Strength". [...] Tsang, who steps down in June, defended initiatives that carried financial implications for the next government. "I believe for any policies, as long as they are good and enjoy public support, the next government will carry them on," he said. [...] Tang, who quit as chief secretary two weeks ago to clear the decks for a run for the top job, said he supported restarting the HOS to build subsidised flats for sale; the government decided to scrap the scheme in 2002 to reverse a property slump. [...] In an apparent attempt to distance himself from the Tsang administration, Tang said the government had done too little to ensure land supply for both public and private housing. "The next government should adopt new thinking and tackle the issue from a new angle to increase the land reserve," he said. Leung, the former Executive Council convenor, said he had been calling for the HOS programme to be restarted. "Of course it's better to do it today rather than tomorrow." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Chinese mainland's trade with Macao rises 11.8 pct in first 8 months (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-14
The Chinese mainland's trade with Macao increased by 11.8 percent year-on-year to reach 1.63 billion U.S. dollars during the first eight months of the year, China's top economic planner said Thursday. The mainland's exports to Macao climbed 9.2 percent year-on-year to hit1.52 billion U.S. dollars during the first eight months, while Macao's exports to the mainland totaled 110 million U.S. dollars, a rise of 63.3 percent year-on-year, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission's website. Mainland authorities approved 189 Macanese investment projects during the period, a year-on-year increase of 16.7 percent, the statement said. Macao's investment in the mainland fell 11.4 percent from one year earlier to hit 430 million U.S. dollars during the period, according to the statement. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

'Accept history' Taiwan's Ma urges Beijing (SCMP)
2011-10-11
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged Beijing to pursue democracy and "face the existence of the Republic of China", as the island celebrated its national day and the centenary of the revolution that was a precursor to both governments. Stressing that the 1911 revolution launched by Sun Yat-sen to overthrow the Qing dynasty was a shared memory on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Ma urged Beijing to remember the ideals of Sun, who was later honoured as the founding father of the Chinese republic. "The aspiration of our founding father Dr Sun Yat-sen was to establish a free and democratic nation with equitable distribution of wealth," he told thousands of local and foreign dignitaries in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei. He asked the mainland to "courageously move in that direction", saying it was the "only way for the two sides to shrink their gap". Ma called on Beijing not to "deliberately cut out certain parts of history", but to take note of the "actual facts of history and face the existence of the Republic of China head-on". [...] Ma said his government had pressed for improved cross-strait relations under the framework of the Republic of China's constitution and the "1992 consensus" - that each side adheres to the "one-China" principle, but each has its own interpretation of what "one China" means. "Within this framework, we are maintaining the status quo of 'no unification, no independence and no use of force'," he added. His remarks were considered an indirect rejection of a call for cross-strait unification made by his mainland counterpart Hu Jintao on Sunday in another address marking the revolution's centenary. "The two sides both honour Sun Yat-sen as founding father of the republic, but Beijing merely focuses on Sun's nationalism, while Taipei pushes for democracy," said Professor George Tsai Wei, from Taipei's Chinese Cultural University. The chairwoman of Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, was conspicuously absent from the gathering at the Presidential Office. Tsai, who is challenging Ma in the January 14 presidential election, was instead campaigning in southern Taiwan yesterday. She attended a Taiwanese flag-raising ceremony in Tainan, one of the strongholds of the pro-independence camp. Cities and counties around the island held similar events to mark its national day. The focus of the celebrations was in Taipei, where Ma reviewed an hour-long military parade, jet fighters flying over the Presidential Office and tanks and trucks carrying missiles rumbling past. [...] Official media outlets on the mainland have been largely silent on Taiwan's national day celebrations. ^ top ^

Ex-leader Chen and wife handed new jail terms (SCMP)
2011-10-14
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, already jailed for 17-1/2 years for corruption, has received another 18-year prison sentence for accepting bribes in relation to two bank mergers during his time in office. His wife, Wu Shu-chen, was sentenced to an additional 11 years in prison on top of her 17-1/2-year sentence for corruption. [...] The new convictions were issued yesterday after the Taiwan High Court overruled a district court's acquittal of the couple, dealing a blow to Chen, who had taken heart at the district court's ruling in November. According to the high court, Chen and Wu accepted some NT$600 million (HK$155 million) in bribes from a group of bankers and business people between 2002 and 2005 to facilitate the merger of two banks with two other financial institutions when Taiwan was staging its second round of financial reform. [...] Chen Shui-bian insisted the new sentences were motivated as part of an effort by the mainland-friendly government of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to punish him for his promotion of independence. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China urges improved distribution system for agricutural products (Xinhua)
2011-10-10
China's State Council, or the Cabinet, on Saturday urged the building of an efficient, safe and regulated distribution system for agricultural products in a bid to lower prices. The government will work to boost the country's logistics capabilities and better link producers and consumers to cut intermediary costs, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. An information network should be built to monitor production, distribution and consumption of farm produce, while cities should have enough storage for emergency supplies to avoid large price fluctuations, said the statement. It also seeks the improvement of the tracking system and the establishment of a regular quality inspection system for agricultural products. The government will spend more to renovate the current wholesale and retail farm produce markets and also build new ones while cutting rent and management fees for sellers in those markets, according to the statement. Private investment should be encouraged in the farm produce logistics industry sector, it said. China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 6.2 percent year-on-year in August, far above the government's target of around four-percent for the year. Food prices account for about a third of CPI calculation in China. ^ top ^

China announces first cuts in gasoline, diesel prices in 16 months (Xinhua)
2011-10-10
China announced on Saturday its first fuel price cuts in 16 months, a move that will bring down domestic prices from record highs and is expected to ease stubbornly high domestic inflation. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, will reduce retail prices for gasoline and diesel by 300 yuan (47 U.S. dollars) per tonne starting Oct. 9. As a result, the benchmark retail price of gasoline will be cut by 0.22 yuan per liter, while diesel's price will decline 0.26 yuan per liter. The decrease marks the first fuel-price reduction since June 1, 2010. Over the past 16 months, the NDRC has raised fuel prices four times following escalating global crude prices. However, the price of crude has fallen remarkably since August amid the worsening debt crisis in Europe and United States, and fears of a double-dip recession of the global economy that sapped oil demand. [...] Prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil dropped to 75.7 U.S. dollars from 86.8 U.S. dollars per barrel in early August. While Brent crude slumped to 99.8 U.S. dollars per barrel from 107.3 U.S. dollars per barrel. Despite that, China's domestic fuel prices have long remained intact and that has aroused public complaints. [...] The cut "will work to lower social operational costs, reduce price hike pressures and promote steady and relatively fast economic development," the NDRC said. However, analysts said the latest cut is too mild to tame CPI and will exacerbate the nation's refinery's losses. China's refiners have long complained about rigid oil product prices and volatile crude prices creating uncertainties for their businesses. The government gives handsome subsidies to major refiners such as Sinopec and PetroChina in compensation for their annual losses, as oil prices have a strong bearing on social stability in China. By the end of last year, China's annual oil refinery capacity stood at 560 million tonnes, of which Sinopec and PetroChina account for 75 percent. [...]. ^ top ^

Houses see first drop in prices for a year (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-10
China's home prices fell for the first time in a year last month as a result of slack sales and tightening austerity measures, according to data released by China Index Academy. Home prices fell an average 0.03 percent from August to 8,877 yuan (US$1,398) per square meter in 100 major cities across the country, the first monthly decline since September 2010, the property research company said. Prices rose in 54 of 100 cities and fell in 44 cities in September from a month earlier. On a year-on-year basis, they climbed 6.15 percent, the academy said. [...] "The first monthly decline in a year actually indicates that central government's continuing rein-in efforts to fight runaway home prices are taking effect and very likely September might be a turning point," said real estate economist Xie Yifeng. "With tightening measures remaining in force, more real estate developers are prone to offer price cuts so as to trigger sales and replenish capital." During the last three months of this year, home prices around the country would most likely stay stable or decline a little, Xie said. "No significant price drops should be anticipated as demand from buyers seeking house upgrading will still be robust. Moreover, expectation of high inflation risk through next year continues to dominate the general public." [...]. ^ top ^

China introduces nationwide resource tax, adjusts tax rate (Global Times)
2011-10-11
The State Council, or China's cabinet, announced on Monday it will tax all resource products starting Nov. 1, extending the resource tax on domestic sales of crude oil and natural gas from some regions to the entire country. The list of taxable resources widened from crude oil and natural gas to coal, rare earth, salt and metal from Nov. 1, according to the country's revised resource tax regulations. The expansion of the resource tax is part of China's efforts to encourage energy conservancy and limit environmental damage. Sales of crude oil and natural gas nationwide will be taxed at a rate between five and 10 percent of their sales value, according to the revised regulations. [...] China's current resource tax is levied based on production volume instead of sales value, thus preventing the government from benefiting from energy and commodity price increases. Nonetheless, energy giants and mining companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec have enjoyed large profit margins on the sale of resources under the current tax scheme. [...]. ^ top ^

Most listed companies forecast upbeat results for first three quarters (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-11
Earnings forecasts of listed companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses suggest that over 60 percent are poised to post upbeat results for the first three quarters, Shanghai Securities News reported Monday. By Sept. 30, 826 listed companies in the two bourses had unveiled their earnings forecasts for the first three quarters, and 61.74 percent announced good news. Of the 510 well-performing companies, 484 have forecasted earnings growth compared to the same period last year, while 26 companies managed to get out of the red. Despite the general upward trend in profits in the first nine months, quarter-on-quarter growth slacked. Net earnings of these companies in the third quarter edged up 0.39 percent over the previous quarter, much lower than the 33.6 percent quarter-on-quarter growth posted in the second quarter. Real estate and non-ferrous metals led the quarterly decline, down 45.5 percent and 35.03 percent, respectively. The listed companies are expected to release their quarterly reports from Oct. 11 to Oct. 31. ^ top ^

China / Politics Local govts curb lending to indebted universities (China Daily)
2011-10-12
Several local governments in China have moved to curb lending to indebted universities amid worries of default under tight credit conditions. This came after the central government showed concern over rising default risks in local governments funding platforms that followed tightening measures to curb inflation. The local governments have been urging indebted universities to pay back bank loans and have introduced new policies to curb university expansion. [...] China's higher educational institutions have been expanding rapidly following a government decision to enroll more university students in 1999. Now 6.6 million students graduate from college annually, compared with only 1.15 million a decade ago, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Education. To cope with the rapid expansion, many universities went to banks for huge loans to support construction of dormitories, dining halls and classrooms. Statistics released by the National Audit Office show a total of 1,164 Chinese colleges were saddled with 263.5 billion yuan ($41.5 billion) of debt by the end of 2010. [...]. ^ top ^

China lends helping hand to cash-strapped small firms (Xinhua)
2011-10-13
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Wednesday took a new approach toward helping the country's cash-strapped small- and micro-sized enterprises, pledging stronger financial and fiscal support to allow them to plow through current economic difficulties. Small firms play an irreplaceable role in fostering economic growth, increasing employment, facilitating scientific and technological innovation and maintaining social stability, according to an official statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. The State Council admitted that some small- and micro-sized enterprises have encountered difficulties due to heavy tax burdens and difficulty in accessing financing. [...] Financial and fiscal support will go to the nation's real economy, particularly to small firms in sectors that meet the nation's industrial and environmental protection requirements and can create more jobs for the country, according to the statement. [...] According to the State Council's statement, banks should increase credit support for small businesses, while lending to small firms whose credit lines are below 5 million yuan (786,000 U.S. dollars) should grow at a rate no lower than the average loan growth of the country's banks. Small financial institutions that meet the loan growth target for small businesses may be subjected to lower required reserve requirements than the 21 percent currently required for major banks, the statement said. Commercial banks are prohibited from charging fund management fees, financial consulting fees and other unreasonable fees for their services to small firms. The State Council also offered more financing channels for small businesses to help them raise funds, promising a greater issuance of collective banknotes, bonds and short-term papers that involve two to 10 small firms. [...] Wen said banks should increase their tolerance for the non-performing loan (NPL) ratios of small enterprises, set targets for the proportion and growth of loans to small companies and reduce the cost of securing credit. Concerning the unstable private lending market that operates outside the official banking system, the State Council said governments must take effective measures to reduce informal lending, as well as crack down on illegal fund-raising and financial pyramid schemes. To support small businesses, the State Council has also formulated fiscal policies, such as raising the tax threshold for small firms paying corporate value-added taxes and business taxes, forgiving banks' stamp tax on lending contracts with small firms for three years and boosting the scale of special funds designed for small- and mid-sized enterprises. [...]. ^ top ^

Banking regulator to enhance liquidity risk management for Chinese banks (Xinhua)
2011-10-13
China's banking regulator said Wednesday that it has begun soliciting public opinions on a new draft in a bid to improve banks' liquidity risk management and safeguard the safety and stability of China's banking system. The draft is expected to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2012, according to a statement by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on its website. The CBRC draft arrives at a time when many Chinese banks face a liquidity crunch, as the government has implemented tightening measures this year to tame soaring inflation. As the global financial crisis showed, the lack of liquidity created trouble for many banks, even though their capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was quite good, the CBRC noted in the statement. "This underlined an evident defect in their liquidity risk management scheme, which failed to fit the principle of being prudent when managing liquidity risks," the CBRC said. With the rapid development of financial innovation and financial markets in recent years, commercial banks are under greater pressure to manage liquidity risks, the CBRC said. It is urgent and imperative for China to improve liquidity risk management according to changes in business environments, business models and sources of capital, according to the CBRC. The draft gives equal priority to both liquidity risk quality and quantity, said the CBRC. The draft introduced a multi-dimensional, multi-scenario liquidity risk supervisory and monitoring system based on a reference to the Basel III framework, a set of new global banking requirements agreed upon by G20 leaders last year. The draft ordered regulators and commercial banks to closely monitor and study the adjustment of macroeconomic and financial policies, as well as their impact on banks' liquidity. Banks need to spot signs, such as market liquidity squeezes or increases in financing costs, as quickly as possible and take corresponding action, according to the draft. The CBRC said the draft will apply the same supervisory requirements to all domestic and foreign banks, as well as other financial institutions. As more Chinese banks are pursuing cross-border business and syndicating, the CBRC stressed requirements for liquidity risk management in the banks' consolidated statements and has asked the banks to separately list major foreign currency-denominated liquidity risks. The draft also raised stress test requirements and emergency plans to make them more targeted and workable. New supervisory indicators such as the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) and the net stable funding ratio (NSFR) are also included in the draft. According to the CBRC, commercial banks will have to meet the new LCR regulatory standards by the end of 2013 and fit the NSFR requirements by the end of 2016. [...]. ^ top ^

Ministry of Railways to auction 20 bln yuan in bonds (Xinhua)
2011-10-13
China's Ministry of Railways (MOR) announced Tuesday it plans to auction 20 billion yuan ($3.15 billion) worth of bonds today to finance the construction of the country's railway network. The issuance will be overseen by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top planning agency. [...] The State Council halved the income tax on earnings on the bonds issued by the MOR between 2011 and 2013 under the supervision of the NDRC, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance Monday. “Obviously, the government's move is helpful in easing the fundraising difficulties of the highly indebted MOR,” He Yifeng, a bond analyst at Beijing-based Hongyuan Securities, told the Global Times Tuesday. He said the preferential tax policy reflects the State's efforts to encourage investors to buy the ministry's bonds with trust and confidence. [...] China normally levies a 25 percent tax on earnings on bonds. The new tax rate of 12.5 percent will apply to bonds issued by the ministry between 2011 and 2013, according to the preferential tax policy. At the end of June, the MOR's outstanding debt stood at 2.09 trillion yuan. ^ top ^

AstraZeneca to build $200-mln center in China (Xinhua)
2011-10-13
AstraZeneca PLC, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, said it would invest $200 million to launch a new manufacturing facility in China to meet growing demand [...]. Construction work on the project, in the China Medical City in Taizhou of East China's Jiangsu province, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, creating approximately 600 jobs. [...] The new plant will produce intravenous and oral solid products, the company said. "The new facility will significantly enhance our capacity and allow us to meet the growing healthcare demand of the Chinese population, and help us expand into the 900 million (rural) people outside of the big cities and hospitals," Mark Mallon, president of AstraZeneca China, told China Daily [...]. The Chinese pharmaceutical market grew from $10 billion in 2004 to $41 billion in 2010, according to market research agency IMS Health Inc, and it is expected to reach $102 billion by 2015. Mallon said that he believes the Chinese government's focus on healthcare reform and investment in improving healthcare infrastructure and expanding insurance coverage will continue to drive the company's business growth and increase access to quality medicines over the longer term. [...] The company, which entered China in 1993, has invested about $500 million in the country, including an innovation center in Zhangjiang, Shanghai. ^ top ^

Weak demand hits trade surplus (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-14
China's trade surplus continued to narrow last month as export growth weakened and imports increased. [...] The nation's trade surplus fell to US$14.5 billion in September as exports increased 17.1 percent year on year to US$169.7 billion while imports rose 20.9 percent to US$155.2 billion, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday. The surplus was lower than August's US$17.7 billion, and was well below a 30-month high of US$31.5 billion in July and June's US$22.3 billion. The smaller gap in August was the first monthly surplus contraction in six months. The pace of exports last month moderated from 24.5 percent in August, while imports softened from August's 30.2 percent. "September export growth came in weaker than expected, driven by deteriorating demand from Europe," said Chang Jian, an economist at the Barclays Capital. [...] Chang estimated that weakening external demand will slow export growth further in the last quarter [...]. Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said last month in Shanghai that China was not seeking a trade surplus and the country would vigorously boost imports to balance its trade this year. However, the passage of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act on Tuesday by the US Senate may work to slow that effort and could even trigger a trade war if it became law. Xue Jun, an analyst at CITIC Securities Co, said that although it was unlikely the bill would be passed by the House of Representatives, where it lacks the support of the majority Republican leadership, it had already soured the atmosphere for bilateral trade and investment. [...] Qu Hongbin, chief economist at HSBC, said the bill wouldn't affect the yuan's exchange value as the US had expected, given the fact that the value of China's trade surplus has decreased to below 3 percent of China's gross domestic product, compared with more than 8 percent in 2007. "Such a rate has fallen into a sustainable range, and we believe there is no necessity for the yuan to have a sharp appreciation," Qu said. China's trade with the US increased 17 percent from a year earlier to US$325 billion in the first three quarters, slower than China's overall trade growth of 24.6 percent. But the US remains China's second-largest trading partner after the European Union whose bilateral trade value with China topped US$422 billion in the year to September. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland had 535,000 millionaires in 2010: report (Xinhua)
2011-10-14
The Chinese mainland registered a 12-percent year-on-year increase in its number of millionaires last year, boosted by economic growth and equity market gains [...]. The combined wealth of the mainland's 535,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) topped 2.66 trillion U.S. dollars, up 13.2 percent from 2009, according to a joint report issued by Capegemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. [...] The mainland's HNWIs had 42 percent of their investments in equities and 27 percent in real estate last year, the report said. [...] The report also said the number of millionaires in Hong Kong reached 101,300 up 33.3 percent from 2009, the fastest growth globally for the second consecutive year due to rising asset prices. Their total wealth reached 511 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 35 percent from a year earlier, marking the world's top growth rate, the report said. The number of HNWIs in the Asia-Pacific region hit 3.3 million last year, replacing Europe for the first time as the world's second-largest HNWI market after North America. HNWIs are defined as individuals who have investable assets of one million U.S. dollars or more, excluding primary residences, collections, consumables and consumer durables. ^ top ^

Business climate index, entrepreneur confidence drop in Q3 (Xinhua)
2011-10-14
China's business climate index, a major measure of macro-economic outlook, fell in the third quarter while entrepreneur confidence further weakened over the previous quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday. The quarterly business climate index, based on a survey of about 20,000 Chinese firms, dipped 2.2 points form the previous quarter to 133.4 in the third quarter, the NBS said in a statement on its website. The survey showed 90 percent of the enterprises interviewed believed production and the operational situation in the third quarter was better than or the same as in the second quarter. The index ranges from zero to 200. A reading above 100 shows economic expansion, while a reading below 100 indicates contraction. [...] Specifically, the index for the industrial sector posted declines both on quarterly and yearly bases, indicating slower growth of the country's manufacturing industry, according to the NBS. The business climate index for the real estate sector fell for three consecutive quarters due to the government's measures to curb the runaway property market [...]. Analyzed by ownership, the index for the foreign- and overseas-funded business, as well as the private sector, posted gains in the third quarter, beating state-owned enterprises and other public-owned companies. If looking at the size of a company, large enterprises still outperformed the mid-sized and small companies in the third quarter [...]. In addition, the entrepreneur confidence index, a gauge of the understanding, views and projections of business people faltered to 129.4 points for the third quarter, snapping a streak of standing above 130 points for six consecutive quarters. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Pyongyang warns over South Korea propaganda (Global Times)
2011-10-10
North Korea's military Saturday threatened retaliation against "provocative" acts from the South including the scattering of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border. The warning came as activists in South Korea opposed to the North plan to float balloons carrying the leaflets across the border in time for the 66th anniversary of the North's ruling communist party inauguration on Monday. "The north side reminds the south side once again that the army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) are compelled to make a physical retaliation against the south side's ceaseless provocative war moves," a statement released by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. The warning was served by the head of the north's delegation to the inter-Korean general-level military talks. It also accused South Korean warships of trespassing into the North's waters in the Yellow Sea. [...] The two sides agreed in 2004 to halt state-level cross-border propaganda, but the South resumed "Voice of Freedom" broadcasts after accusing the North of torpedoing a warship in March 2010. North Korea Saturday also accused the US military of carrying out "crimes" in South Korea, a day after a senior US official apologized for the alleged rape of a teenager by an American soldier. A commentary released by state media repeated long-standing calls by Pyongyang for the withdrawal of American troops. [...]. ^ top ^

North Korean capital gets anniversary facelift (Global Times)
2011-10-12
North Korea said on Tuesday a plan to build 100,000 new homes in Pyongyang and give the capital a facelift is going well, despite earlier South Korean reports of major delays in the showpiece project. The project is intended for completion before the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding president Kim Il-sung in April next year. The regime headed by his son has set the goal of becoming a "great, powerful and prosperous nation" by then, despite persistent severe food shortages in several parts of the country. "The construction of 100,000 dwelling houses is progressing apace in the city," the North's official news agency reported, with high-rise apartments, a theater and public service facilities being built. A public service complex featuring equipment for bathing, haircuts and beauty treatment and an outdoor ice rink had been built in the east of the city, it said, and a greening campaign was also under way. In June, a South Korean source said the 100,000-home project had been drastically downsized due to a lack of funds and building materials. [...]. ^ top ^

S. Korea OKs operation resumption at Kaesong complex in DPRK (Xinhua)
2011-10-12
The South Korean government said Tuesday it will allow stalled construction at a joint factory park in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to resume, a move hinting at warming cross-border ties. Seoul's unification ministry, which oversees inter-Korean relations, said it will also expand commuter bus service for DPRK workers working at the industrial complex, located in the border town of Kaesong, and improve the conditions of the road connecting to the complex. [...]. The joint industrial complex, opened in 2003, stands as the last-remaining symbol of reconciliation between the two former wartime enemies as they remain hostile following the two incidents that killed 50 South Koreans. [...] Tuesday's move might indicate a partial lifting of sanctions against the DPRK, put in place after the border conflicts, which ban new investment in the joint factory park. The measures are also widely seen as part of Seoul's ongoing efforts to mend ties with Pyongyang, with new, dovish unification minister Yu Woo-ik at the helm of the ministry tasked with handling inter-Korean exchanges. Yu [...] has pledged to adopt a "flexible" approach in the country's DPRK policy and allowed rare civilian visits and civilian aid to the DPRK. [...] The unification ministry said plans to resume construction at the industrial complex were made in consideration of pleas by South Korean business owners in Kaesong. Operators of 123 South Korean firms, capitalizing on cheap labor provided by some 47,000 DPRK workers, have said they feel threatened by tensions near the border. The punitive sanctions on Pyongyang, however, are still in place, according to the ministry. ^ top ^

S.Korea military denies reports on DPRK's unusual military movement (Xinhua)
2011-10-13
South Korean military confirmed late Wednesday that it had beefed up combat readiness against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but denied the move came after "detecting unusual military movement by the DPRK's armed forces." Seoul's Ministry of National Defense said that the move was merely in line with President Lee Myung-bak's order to maintain strong vigilance against the north neighbour. Lee's order comes before his ongoing visit to the United States. In a meeting with senior military officers on Monday at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, Lee said the military should keep a close eye on the North's movement while Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin would travel with him to visit the United States. Lee left on Tuesday and is scheduled to return home on Sunday. Meanwhile, the ministry denied earlier reports by local media that unusual movement by the DPRK's military have been discovered. Earlier in the day, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency quoted a senior government official, who requested anonymity, as saying that Seoul recently detected the North's "unusual military movement", noting that it is "similar" to the situation shortly before a deadly exchange of fire last November between the two sides. The official said the North's army forces had relocated its fighters, a ground-to-air missile and multiple rockets to front- line bases near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), and in addition, the DPRK fired several missiles off the western and eastern coasts recently. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Premier: Mongolia has Biggest ever Harvest (Montsame)
2011-10-11
This year the country has harvested 433.4 thousand tons of grain, 191.5 thousand tons of potatoes and 97.2 thousand tons of vegetables, breaking a record in the volume of harvest. About it said T.Badamjunai, a Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, at a press conference Monday. "Such results have been reached thanks to the cabinet's good policy," T.Badamjunai said and thanked the Premier on behalf of himself and all agrarians. S.Batbold PM attached an importance to the all year round supply of the people with own high quality grain, potatoes and vegs, and said this is not only a matter of Mongolia's security, but also is a guarantee of the development. The Premier stressed that now the agrarians must focus on the harvest transportation and fresh products delivery, and promised to give financial support to these works. Then Batbold PM said Selenge province has the biggest ever harvest--some 214 thousand tons of grain. ^ top ^

PM Meets ADB President (Montsame)
2011-10-12
S.Batbold PM received Tuesday Mr Haruhiko Kuroda, a head of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and congratulated him on being re-elected the ADB president. Real investments made by the ADB to Mongolia reached about one billion USD, which is a one fourth of all loans and assistance give us since 1991, and it means that the ADB is the biggest partner-international organization of Mongolia, he said. S.Batbold underlined that it is a great honor to cooperate with the ADB. The Premier said Mongolia intends to implement strategical projects and programs in order to ensure the intensive economic growth and sustainable development, with financing from international organizations. “In the very first turn, we must abolish our dependence on import of petroleum products, so Mongolia will begin a big project on processing brown coal,” S.Batbold said. In response, Mr Kuroda said Mongolia managed to become one of the few countries who got big achievements in the macroeconomic stability in the last 20 years and who proved to be the country that strengthened the democracy. “As predicted, Mongolia's GDP will increase in 10-20 years to come, and a good policy based on this growth will bring closer times when Mongolia will be a developed country,” Mr Kuroda said. It is important for Mongolia to develop all sectors, not only the mining, he advised and said the bank increased the status of drawing rights for Mongolia. Now Mongolia can take big commercial loans, he added. ^ top ^

Over 580 Thousand Persons Insured (News.mn)
2011-10-12
In the first nine months of 2011, 580.8 thousand persons were registered became insured, where 373.9 thousand or 64.4 percent were from establishments, and 206.9 thousand or 35.6 percent from government budgetary organizations. Compared to the same period of previous year, a number of the insured went up by 64.2 thousand or 12.4 percent, number of insured establishments--by 60.0 thousand or 19.1 percent, of insured government budgetary organizations--by 4.2 thousand or 2.1 percent. Social welfare pensions and benefits were allocated to 56.8 thousand persons increasing 1.1 thousand persons or 2.0 percent, a total amount of the fund allocated increased 5.9 billion togrog or 31.1 percent against the same period of 2010. In the first 9 months of 2011, 552.4 billion togrog were distributed to 2.7 million people (double counting) from the Human development fund. ^ top ^

Angela Merkel is in Mongolia (Montsame)
2011-10-13
An official visit of Germany's Chancellor Mrs Angela Merkel began Thursday to Mongolia. This is the very first visit paid ever by Chancellor of Germany Mongolia. A ceremony of welcoming Mrs Merkel took place at 9.00 a.m on the Sukhbaatar square in the presence of G.Zandanshatar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; B.Davaadorj, the Ambassador of Mongolia to Germany; L.Bold, the Defense Minister; D.Zorigt, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy; D.Terbishdagva and other officials. From the German side there were Bundestag members Jurgen Koppelin, Michael Fuchs, Dagmar Enkelmann, Ute Kumpf; and Stefan Seibert, the Spokesman of Federal Government. The German delegation paid tribute to the Monument of Chingis Khaan and left their signatures in the Note of Honorary Guests. ^ top ^

German Chancellor Addresses Parliament (News.mn)
2011-10-13
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at a special session of the Mongolian Parliament on Thursday. In it, she congratulated the Mongolian people for replacing communism with democracy and a market economy. She also said she supported efforts to reform the country's electoral system. She applauded the moratorium on capital punishment announced by President Ts.Elbegdorj in 2010, and encouraged the country to abolish the practice altogether. She noted that Germany is ready to invest in Mongolia's mining sector, which will benefit future generations. She also signaled Germany's willingness to cooperate on issues of mineral resources, infrastructure, and education. She concluded the speech by thanking the Mongolian and German troops taking part in peacekeeping operations in northern Afghanistan, which, she noted, is an especially dangerous area. ^ 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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