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
  24-28.10.11, No. 394  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China makes single largest grain donation to Africa: official (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-24
China has delivered food donations worth 443.2 million yuan (69.58 million U.S. dollars) to the Horn of Africa which is suffering from severe drought and famine, a Chinese official said Sunday. [...] "When faced with natural disasters and special difficulties, China and Africa always lend each other a helping hand in the most prompt manner," said Lu, also the secretary-general of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). [...] Meanwhile, China-Africa trade volume surpassed 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, and reached 79 billion dollars in the first half of this year, growing by 29.1 percent year on year, Lu said in an interview with Xinhua. With rapid growth of Chinese investment, Africa has become the fourth largest investment destination for China, Lu said. [...] The FOCAC will hold a Senior Officials Meeting from Oct. 26 to 27 in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, to make a mid-term review on implementing the consensus of the 4th Ministerial Conference, and make preparations for the 5th Ministerial Conference to be held next year. In addition to more frequent visits and exchanges on various levels, China and Africa have achieved progress in many fields, including debt cancellations, tariff exemptions, preferential loans, agriculture, education and clean energy, Lu said. [...] The FOCAC was jointly proposed and established by China and more than 40 African countries in 2000. It consists of meetings at three levels: the ministerial conference, senior officials meeting, and negotiations between the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum and the African Diplomatic Mission in Beijing. ^ top ^

China's trade with N. Korea soars 87% (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-24
China's trade with North Korea nearly doubled in the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2010. The 87 percent increase to US$3.1 billion was announced yesterday at the start of a visit to North Korea by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang that reaffirms strong ties between the neighbors. [...] China wants to work with all parties in promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and safeguarding regional peace and development, Li's statement said. [...] Bilateral trade between China and North Korea still is dwarfed by economic ties between China and South Korea. China is South Korea's largest trade partner. Trade between China and South Korea rose more than 20 percent in the first eight months of the year to US$159 billion and is expected to hit about US$250 billion for all of 2011. [...]. ^ top ^

North Korea urged to build on U.S. talks (SCMP)
2011-10-25
China wants North Korea to deepen talks with South Korea and the United States in the hope of restarting nuclear negotiations, visiting Vice-Premier Li Keqiang told his North Korean counterpart, state media reported yesterday. Li also told North Korean Premier Choe Yong-rim that Beijing would remain a firm ally of Pyongyang, which is battling food shortages, international isolation and trying to ensure a smooth succession. In Geneva, US and North Korean envoys began talks yesterday on Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the second direct encounter between the sides in less than three months. Li, 56, is the favourite to become premier from early 2013, when Wen Jiabao steps down. [...] "China supports North Korea maintaining a correct focus on engagement and dialogue," Li told Choe, according to Xinhua. It was in China's and other countries' interests for Pyongyang to improve ties with Seoul and Washington, avoiding instability on the peninsula, Li said. North Korea should seek "early outcomes from the dialogue, and restart six-party talks as soon as possible to advance the denuclearisation of the peninsula", he said. [...] Stephen Bosworth, the top US envoy on Pyongyang, said the two sides had not met on Sunday despite staying - by design or coincidence - in the same hotel. He was accompanied by Glyn Davies, the US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is taking over the negotiating brief in future talks. Their opposite in the North Korea delegation is First Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan. [...] Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing hoped the talks in Switzerland "would help to enhance mutual confidence and understanding. We also hope that this engagement will create conditions for appropriately resolving problems facing the restart of the six-party talks". ^ top ^

Top DPRK leader meets Chinese vice premier on ties (Xinhua)
2011-10-25
Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Monday met visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to promote bilateral ties. Li first passed to Kim, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, the genial greetings and good wishes from Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and other Chinese leaders. [...] China is willing to work together with the DPRK to carefully implement the consensus to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields, push forward bilateral ties, pass down their traditional friendship from one generation to another and continuously boost it, Li said. [...] He said China buttresses the DPRK in keeping and strengthening contact and dialogue with relevant parties, working for positive achievements, creating conditions for reopening the six-party talks at an early date, and pushing forward further mitigation of tensions on the peninsula. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in helping improve the ties between the DPRK and South Korea, and maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, he added. Kim, for his part, asked Li to pass his genial greetings to Hu and other Chinese leaders, saying the DPRK is encouraged and pleased by the achievements of China's socialist construction. Kim said the DPRK, against the backdrop of the current profound and complex changes of the international situation, will further boost friendly exchanges and practical cooperation with China to yield rich fruits as regards bilateral ties. Kim said the DPRK hopes the six-party talks should be restarted as soon as possible. All the six parties should fully implement the Sept. 19 joint statement, signed by them in 2005 in Beijing, on the principle of simultaneous action, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

China, EU pledge to strengthen military ties (Xinhua)
2011-10-25
China and the European Union pledged to strengthen military relations on Monday. The pledge came during Defense Minister Liang Guanglie's meeting with Catherine Margaret Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. China and the EU have interacted well with each other in defense security, and enjoyed particularly good cooperation in escort operations in waters off Somali and the Gulf of Aden, which has become the new area for China-EU practical military cooperation, Liang said. The two sides share broad prospects in military collaboration, and with joint efforts, the friendly relationship of defense cooperation will be continuously promoted, Liang noted. Ashton said the EU is willing to continue working with China in escort operations and other areas of defense and security, and hopes to deepen friendly cooperation with China. [...]. ^ top ^

China to play more constructive role in UN: state councilor (Xinhua)
2011-10-26
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo said Tuesday that China will unswervingly pursue a path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in the United Nations. Dai made the remarks at a reception commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations (UN). [...] "This opened a new chapter in the external relations of the People's Republic of China and promoted the friendship and cooperation between China and all countries and peoples who love world peace and justice," Dai said at the reception hosted by the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. [...] This year marks the beginning of the second decade of the new century, and the world has undergone great, rapid and drastic changes, Dai said. [...] He said the United Nations, as the most universal, representative and authoritative inter-governmental organization, should seize opportunities and meet challenges in the political, security, economic, development, social, humanitarian, cultural, arms control, and judicial fields, among others, and reinvigorate itself with fresh vigor and vitality. "Under the new circumstance, the role of the UN should only be strengthened, rather than weakened, and its authority be upheld, rather than impaired," he said. [...] China will work actively, through peaceful, open, scientific and common development, to expand international cooperation, take part in international affairs, honor its due international responsibilities and obligations, and play a constructive role in the UN, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

China supports int'l efforts in bridging Israeli-Palestinian differences: envoy (Xinhua)
2011-10-26
China welcomes and supports all the international efforts in bridging the differences between Israel and the Palestinians and in promoting resumption of dialogue and negotiations between the two sides, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Li Baodong said on Monday. Li's remarks came as he addressed an open debate of the UN Security Council on the question of the Middle East. He noted that the Israeli settlement is the direct cause of the impasse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as well as the major obstacle of the resumption of the talks. China deeply regretted and was opposed to the recent Israeli decision of building new settlement in East Jerusalem. "We urge Israel to stop the project immediately, actively coordinate international peace efforts, and create condition for building mutual trust between the two sides and break the impasse," Li said. China welcomed the recent agreement between the two sides on the exchange of prisoners. [...] "The settlement of the Middle East issue cannot be separated from the support and assistance from the international community," Li said. [...] China expects all parties concerned to make joint efforts for early resumption of peace talks and substantial results, Li said, adding Beijing supports the UN Security Council in playing a bigger role in solving the Middle East question. As one of the first countries to recognize the state of Palestine, China supports the membership of Palestine in the United Nations, Li said. [...]. ^ top ^

China's 1st icebreaker to be completed in 2013 (China Daily)
2011-10-26
The construction of China's first domestically manufactured research vessel and icebreaker will be completed by the end of 2013, an official from the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) said on Tuesday. Built with an investment of 1.25 billion yuan (about $196.5 million), the construction of the icebreaker was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in July and has already begun, said Qu Tanzhou, director of the CAA, at a polar scientific investigation report conference in the city of Tianjin. The icebreaker will improve China's ability to conduct polar research expeditions, joining the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon," Qu said. [...] China plans to launch five Antarctic research expeditions and three Arctic expeditions between 2011 and 2015, with researchers focusing on monitoring weather and environmental changes in the Earth's polar regions. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets South Korean president (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met here Wednesday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for talks on bilateral ties and regional issues. During the meeting, the Chinese vice premier said China and South Korea had seen rapid development in exchanges and cooperation in various areas [...]. Bilateral trade volume surpassed the target of 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, two years ahead of schedule, and it was expected to achieve new breakthroughs this year [...]. The high-level contacts should be continued, and more efforts should be made by the two sides to strengthen economic and trade cooperation and promote the establishment of a free trade zone between the two countries [...]. Li also said the two countries should expand their currency swap lines from the current 180 billion yuan (28 billion U.S. dollars) to 360 billion yuan (56 billion dollars), to further boost bilateral trade and investment and help stabilize regional financial markets. [...] Lee said South Korea and China maintained sound cooperation in various areas. His country appreciated China's support on the Yeosu World Expo, to be held in South Korea next year, and highly praised China's important role in dealing with the impacts of the international financial crisis. Expansion of the South Korean won-Chinese yuan swap deal would help maintain regional financial stability and boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Lee said. [...] With regard to situation on the Korean peninsula, the visiting Chinese vice premier said maintaining peace and stability of the peninsula served the common interests of countries in the region. Under concerted efforts of the relevant parties, the situation on the peninsula had eased in the second half of this year, Li said. China hoped the various parties could make further efforts to maintain and cement dialogue and the momentum of detente [...]. China sincerely supported South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in improving their relations through dialogue, and realizing reconciliation and cooperation so as to achieve common development, Li said. Lee said South Korea appreciated China's major constructive role in the Korean peninsula's issues. Seoul was willing to make concerted efforts with various parties to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula, and push the denuclearization process forward. South Korea hoped to engage in dialogue with the DPRK and improve inter-Korean ties with a pragmatic attitude. [...]. ^ top ^

China's proposal unveiled ahead of Durban climate talks (China Daily)
2011-10-27
China will urge implementation of the Bali Action Plan and inclusion of all developed countries into the Kyoto Protocol at the next month's climate talks in Durban, South Africa, said a senior official. Describing the proposal as constructive, Chinese Vice-Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission Xie zhenhua said China's call to implement of the Bali Action Plan means the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol should be upheld, as a major disagreement in Durban may be focused on the issue. [...] As for developing countries, their volunteer efforts for emission reduction should also be embodied under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Xie said. The seasoned environment affairs official said China's proposal is in accordance with the principals of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and "respective capacities," and is realistic because relative targets are actually commitments already approved by individual countries. Therefore, the proposal has won a lot of support, Xie said, adding that "the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) will make the proposal together with the 77-nation Group." [...] Meanwhile, Xie admitted there would be difficulties in Durban as the conference's multilateral mechanism would possibly lead to a result "not satisfactory, but acceptable to all parties." [...]. ^ top ^

China-ASEAN Expo boosts economic cooperation, mutual trust (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
The eighth China-ASEAN [...] Expo closed in the city of Nanning in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Wednesday, with economic ties and mutual trust greatly enhanced between China and the 10-member ASEAN. "This expo has made new contributions toward friendly exchanges and economic cooperation between China and ASEAN countries," Zheng Junjian, secretary-general of the China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat, said [...]. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the total trade volume at this year's expo reached 1.8 billion U.S. dollars, up 5.6 percent from the previous expo, said Zheng. Zheng said 105 international economic agreements were signed, with total investment up 10.9 percent from last year's expo to 7.4 billion U.S. dollars. About 2,300 enterprises participated in the six-day event, up by 4.6 percent from last year, he said. As a platform for both economic and diplomatic exchanges, the expo also brought together Chinese and ASEAN state leaders, who held bilateral and multilateral meetings to improve mutual understanding and trust, said Zheng. [...] "The attendance of state leaders and high-level officials from China and ASEAN member countries showed that governments are resolved to enhance reciprocal cooperation and boost the development of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) for common prosperity in face of a complex global economic situation," said Zheng. China-ASEAN trade surged 37.5 percent year on year to 292.8 billion U.S.dollars in 2010, the year when the CAFTA was founded, according to customs figures. [...] China is now the largest trading partner of ASEAN, while ASEAN ranks as China's third-largest trading partner. The two sides aim to increase annual bilateral trade to 500 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. [...]. ^ top ^

Japan's reconnaissance missions undermine China's security interests: defense ministry (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
China's Defense Ministry said here Wednesday that close-in reconnaissance activities by Japanese planes and ships against China have undermined China's security interests. Defense Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun made the remarks at a monthly press conference in response to a question concerning alleged Chinese incursions into Japanese airspace. Japan's accusations against China are groundless, said Yang, adding that flight activities by Chinese military aircraft operate in accordance with international law and international practice. In recent years, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has stepped up China-targeted patrols over the East China Sea, he said. According to statistics, sorties of Japanese planes conducting reconnaissance activities off the shores of China have increased by 44 percent year-on-year from January to September [...]. The high-frequency close-in surveillance by Japanese planes and ships has affected China's security interests, severely disturbed China's relevant military training activities and endangered the safety of Chinese aircraft and vessels, Yang said, adding it is the origin of threats to the air, sea and land security of both countries. He hoped that the Japanese side will take effective measures to avoid and prevent accidents both at sea and in the air. ^ top ^

China says its military contributes to peace, security in Africa (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
China on Wednesday said its military's involvement in Africa contributed to continental peace and security. "The Chinese military's exchanges and cooperation with militaries of African countries are in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations(UN) and relevant international law," Defense Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun said [...]. Yang reviewed the Chinese military's active participation in African security issues over recent years, including its participation in 15 UN peace-keeping missions in Africa that involved more than 15,000 Chinese peacekeepers. China sent its first convoy fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters in December 2008. By Oct. 25 this year, Chinese naval flotillas had escorted a total of 4,228 vessels, protecting them from pirates, Yang said. China also helped train African militaries to sweep mines and provided them with mine-sweeping equipment [...]. When African countries were devastated by serious natural disasters, Chinese militaries helped the government provide those countries with emergency humanitarian aid, including medical teams and medicine [...]. ^ top ^

"Peace Ark" visit upholds humanitarian spirit: top Chinese general (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-28
The ongoing Latin American trip of Chinese navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" carries forward the international humanitarian spirit, visiting Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong said Wednesday. Guo made the remarks during an inspection to the vessel. He also described the visit of the "Peace Ark" as an activity which expands international friendship and advocates Chinese traditional medicine. The hospital ship arrived in Havana Friday, the first stop of its four-nation goodwill visit to the Caribbeans and Central America. It left Cuba later Wednesay to continue a trip which also takes it to Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Costa Rica. The visit exhibits China's fulfillment of international obligations and its image as a responsible major country, Guo said. He called on the crew members to actively provide humanitarian medical services to civilians and armies in visited places, carry out medical exchanges with their counterparts, and fully display the image of a civilized force and a force of peace. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu's message to Europe after debt crisis deal (SCMP)
2011-10-28
President Hu Jintao praised French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy and other European leaders yesterday for showing "determination" in containing the region's escalating debt crisis, but stopped short of pledging direct help from Beijing. Instead, Hu hinted China would work with other countries at next week's G20 summit in France to "send out a strong signal" and help stabilise the world economy. [...] Sarkozy told a press conference in Brussels that EU countries would welcome support from China and called Hu just hours after the deal was hammered out. The phone call was the lead news item on China national television's main bulletin last night. It indirectly quoted Hu as praising the EU for the latest measures. [...] Meanwhile, in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said the country was ready to work with Europe to stabilise markets, but did not disclose details. [...] The European Financial Stability Facility chief executive officer Klaus Regling will visit Beijing today to court Chinese investment. The EFSF, established last year to sell bonds to finance loans for distressed euro nations, has since also gained the authority to buy sovereign bonds on the secondary and primary markets, offer credit lines to governments and recapitalise banks as the Greece-triggered debt troubles have spread. The EFSF said Regling's visit to China is linked to the fund's original debt-issuance role. [...] Mainland experts believed Beijing would prefer to make its contribution through an established international framework - such as the IMF, instead of injecting funds into the EFSF. [...]. ^ top ^

China's envoy calls for halting violence in Syria (China Daily)
2011-10-28
China's special envoy to the Middle East Thursday called for halting all forms of violence in Syria and taking all necessary measures to prevent the bloodshed, expressing support to the Arab League's efforts to bring the months-long crisis in Syria to a close. "The people's legitimate demands should be respected as it's a pre-condition for pushing the reform process," Wu Sike told a press conference in the capital of Damascus on Thursday. His visit came in the wake of a visit to Syria by an Arab League (AL) ministerial committee delegation that has reportedly proposed an Arab initiative to end the crisis in Syria and embark on dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition. "China supports the AL efforts in backing the dialogue and reform in Syria," said Sike, who arrived in Damascus Wednesday for a three-day visit. [...] He made it clear that the Syrian people's demands could be met by expediting an inclusive process of reform participated by all related parties. Wu Sike said that he held separate meetings Thursday with Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, during which he "deeply exchanged views with them" and "expressed hope the Syrian government will accelerate the reform process." Sike voiced his country's keenness about Syria's stability and security, which, he said, are "important for the stability of the entire Middle East." [...] He said that China desn't side with any Syrian party but it seeks to take a just stance as a member of the Security Council, stressing his country's commitment to the principle of non- intervention in other country's internal affairs. [...] The Chinese envoy called on the international community to respect Syria's sovereignty and stability and to deal with the Syrian situation cautiously and carefully. He pointed out that his country didn't introduce an initiative to the Syrian leadership but shared some thoughts and suggestions. [...]. ^ top ^

Joint patrol cruise ends mission in Beibu Gulf region (Global Times)
2011-10-28
A joint patrol fleet consisting of four ships from three regions in China has completed its mission in the Beibu Gulf area and returned to Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the local maritime safety administration. Four ships from maritime authorities in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guangdong and Hainan provinces completed their two-day mission Thursday and had returned, Xu Biyuan, an official with the Guangxi Maritime Safety Administration, told the Global Times. According to Xu, the joint patrol mission was deemed of a high technical level, as it included the Haixun-31, the largest patrol vessel in China today. [...] The aim of the joint patrol mission to the Beibu Gulf was to investigate maritime affairs in the region and maintain the security of major sea routes, said Shen Chunsheng, a deputy director of the Guangxi Maritime Safety Administration at the launch ceremony on Wednesday morning. Shen also added that the joint mission would demonstrate China's sovereignty over the area, according to a report from the China News Service. Xu told the Global Times Thursday that such missions constituted the actual work of local maritime authorities, and are regularly held once or twice a year, though this one was on a much larger scale. The Beibu Gulf waters, located on the east of Vietnam, is a major channel through which China connects with the Association of South East Asian Nations and is regarded as one of the areas with the greatest economic potential in China. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's non-Communist parties endorse CPC's decision on boosting cultural development (Global Times)
2011-10-24
China's non-Communist parties on Friday endorsed the decision on promoting cultural development adopted by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee during its recent session, a statement from the country's top political advisory body said. According to the statement released by the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) after its standing committee meeting on Friday, all the eight non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce expressed support to the CPC's decision. The 17th Central Committee of the CPC concluded its sixth plenary session in Beijing Tuesday with the adoption of the decision to improve the nation's cultural soft power and promote Chinese traditional culture. The statement said the participants of the CPPCC meeting agreed that all the non-Communist parties and social organizations should study and firmly implement the guideline. The leaders of all the non-Communist parties made suggestions for cultural development at Friday's meeting. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, attended the meeting. ^ top ^

China's senior legislators meet to read draft laws, amendments (Xinhua)
2011-10-25
China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), opened its bimonthly session Monday to read draft laws and amendments concerning civil procedure, military service and other areas. According to a report on the results of a review of a draft amendment to the Military Service Law, the draft amendment perfects the resettlement system for demobilized servicemen, stating that they will get preferential treatment when they register for the civil servants examination. Licensing authorities for construction projects will be given criminal sanctions if their actions violate the law, says the draft amendment to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control, which was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for its second reading at Monday's session. [...] Health Minister Chen Zhu briefed a draft of the Mental Health Law for legislators attending the session, saying that the major concern in the draft law is to ensure the legal rights of people with mental illnesses. Presided over by Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, the six-day session is the 23rd of its kind for the 11th NPC Standing Committee. Legislators also reviewed a draft amendment to the Resident Identity Card Law, which was introduced by Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning [...]. Yang said that the draft amendment proposes adding fingerprints to residents' identity cards to prevent counterfeiting and terrorism. A review of a draft amendment to the Law on Clean-Production Promotion will also be conducted. [...] Legislators also reviewed a bill on strengthening anti-terrorism efforts. The bill proposed that the funds and assets of terrorist groups and individuals will be frozen after their names are published by public security authorities. Legislators also discussed a report on the implementation of the Labor Contract Law, as well as several appointments and removals. ^ top ^

Revisions will make lawsuits easier to file (SCMP)
2011-10-25
Mainlanders should have an easier time filing lawsuits over environmental concerns or consumer disputes under revisions the NPC Standing Committee may make to the law governing civil proceedings. The changes to the Civil Procedural Law allow for "public interest" litigation, meaning legal action can be taken by people on behalf of a wider community. Previously, lawsuits were restricted solely to individuals directly involved in a legal claim. According to state media, the revision is the first overhaul of the law since it was passed in 1991. The changes have not yet been made public. The revision targets two main problems with the mainland's civil courts - the difficulty in successfully filing a lawsuit and, once heard, seeing the judgment enforced. Courts would be required to state in writing why a lawsuit was rejected, and a plaintiff can appeal the decision. There will also be changes to the summary and small-claims procedures, pre-trial procedures, retrials, enforcements and use of evidence. Wang Shengming, the deputy head of the Standing Committee's legal works committee, said the revision allowed for organisations or social groups to file lawsuits on behalf of the public interest. Wang said the change was needed due to the rising number of cases related to pollution and food safety. [...]. ^ top ^

Two jailed in clampdown on leaked data (SCMP)
2011-10-25
Two former officials have been jailed for leaking confidential economic data in a move that acknowledges flaws in the mainland's loose financial regulations and sends a warning to journalists seeking scoops. [...] Du Yongsheng, a spokesman for the National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, said at a briefing that journalists should be wary of accessing such information and exposing it before it was officially released by the government. Otherwise, they could face similar charges. Sun Zheng, a former deputy director of the secretary's office at the National Bureau of Statistics, had been sentenced to five years in prison [...]. Meanwhile, Wu Chaoming, a former deputy director of the People's Bank of China's financial history research centre, was sentenced to six years in prison. The leaked data pertained to the mainland's gross domestic product, consumer price index and money supply figures between June 2009 and January this year. Such data is closely watched by domestic and international investors in financial markets [...]. While economists said the crackdown would help bring balance to the financial markets by discouraging well-connected people from using access to sensitive information to make a profit, journalists fear the move represents a further clampdown on limited press freedoms. [...] Professor Yin Hong, from Tsinghua University's School of Journalism and Communication, said he feared the crackdown would place journalists, particularly foreign ones, in a more difficult position in a country where the press is tightly controlled. "We need to speed up legislation to make more specific laws in regard to defining and protecting journalists' right to report and people's right to know," Yin said. Du warned foreign journalists working on the mainland not to obtain any secret information or report it before the government's approval. "Whenever you [foreign journalists] get access to China's state secrets by accident, please report [to the government] as soon as possible and don't touch them, or you will get trouble," Du said. [...]. ^ top ^

Survey raises alarm over polluted water (SCMP)
2011-10-25
A government survey has shed rare light on a less talked about aspect of the mainland's water woes: massive contamination of groundwater. Only a small part of the findings of the nationwide survey appears to have been made public by the Ministry of Land and Resources. But it paints a grim picture that analysts say yet again highlights the severity of the country's water pollution problems - and the government's failure to tackle environmental challenges. It contains startling revelations that support Premier Wen Jiabao's recent warnings about worsening water quality - especially pollution of underground water sources, from where nearly 70 per cent of the population get their drinking water. [...] His administration approved an ambitious 10-year blueprint to address the issue and vowed to bring the problem under control by 2020. But analysts say Beijing's new commitment and the nearly 59 billion yuan (HK$72.2 billion) earmarked for the plan may not be enough to restore public confidence in its ability to curb pollution, a growing source of tension and unrest. [...] More than 57 per cent of groundwater is substandard and 17 per cent of extremely poor quality, according to the survey of 182 cities last year. [...] Groundwater provides 18 per cent of the nation's water supply and is the lifeblood of the parched northern region, according to Xinhua. It provides 65 per cent of the freshwater supply for domestic use, 50 per cent for industry and 33 per cent for irrigation and farming in the north. [...] About 40 per cent of groundwater in urban areas was considered undrinkable by 2008, affecting more than 40 million people in about 400 cities, according to a preliminary draft of the plan available on the internet. In rural areas, the situation is even worse: 360 million people are without access to clean drinking water. The draft document even makes rare reference to the appalling human cost of the water problems. "Cancer villages have emerged in Henan, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangdong, Heilongjiang and Shandong", it says, estimating direct economic losses from water pollution of at least several billion yuan per year. [...] But analysts were doubtful about the plan's impact and speed - with a target of bringing the situation under control in five years - given Beijing's poor track record on enforcing laws and regulations, and its failure to rein in development-minded local authorities and industrial polluters. [...] Wang Yongchen, of the Beijing-based Green Earth Volunteers, said the plan was unlikely to solve the problem without public participation and media scrutiny. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese lawmakers hear reports on housing, environmental protection, work of county-level courts and procuratorates (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-26
Chinese lawmakers Tuesday heard government reports on the construction of housing units for low-income earners, environmental protection and the work of county-level courts and procuratorates. In a report submitted to the ongoing bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Jiang Weixin said that nearly 22 million low-income households have been sheltered with housing units thanks to government-sponsored affordable housing projects from 1998 to the end of last year. The number of new low-income housing units to be constructed and housing units in run-down areas to be renovated during the coming five years will total 36 million, Jiang said. [...] Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian in his report said China has made positive progress in environmental protection in the past five years but still faces an arduous task. Over the next five years, Zhou said China will continue to improve pollution treatment in major water basins and seas, while constantly improving policies and rules concerning environmental protection. Zhou promised to resolve environmental problems affecting people's health, make the system that takes pollution emission achievements into account when assessing the work of local governments more strict, and further promote the use of clean energy. Wang Shengjun, China's chief justice and president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), in his report to the lawmakers, said the number of cases in county-level courts increased by over six percent annually in the last three years. As of June, more than 250,000 staff members were working in China's 3,115 county-level people's courts [.... More than 30 million cases were tried in county-level courts from 2008 to 2010, accounting for 89.28 percent of the country's aggregate cases [...].¨Wang urged improving the enrollment system for judges and the national judicial examination, holding more professional training, and raising incomes in a bid to address the lack of judges in county-level people's courts. Procurator-General Cao Jianming in his report said China's 3,205 county-level procuratorates investigated an annual average of more than 36,000 civil servants for suspected duty crimes. Cao said grassroots-level procuratorates have been active in fighting duty crimes and those crimes that undermine public interests and safety. China currently has a total of 3,205 county-level procuratorates with around 176,600 procuratorial staff, accounting for 88 percent and 74 percent of the country's totals, respectively, according to Cao. [...]. ^ top ^

Taoist principles to salve world ills (China Daily)
2011-10-26
Taoist principles could help address problems including conflicts and inequality, according to a declaration drafted as part of an international Taoism conference concluding Tuesday. The declaration was composed in Chinese and English on behalf of over 500 delegates who traveled from 21 countries and regions to attend the three-day event at the foot of Mount Hengshan, in Nanyue, Hunan province. The desires of mankind grow unchecked, which drives people to fight each other for personal gain, making it ever more difficult to reconcile their mutual grievances, according to the document. These desires disturb the balance between nature and man held as so important by Taoists. The declaration stressed that the philosophies of Taoism - including adhering to simplicity and truth, honoring and rejoicing in life, joining together in benevolent and charitable love - might help solve these problems. As a conclusion, it called upon the general public to take responsibility in promoting world peace and harmony between nature and mankind. [...]. ^ top ^

Fun TV makes way for lessons in morality (SCMP)
2011-10-26
The mainland's fun police will limit the number of entertainment shows allowed on television from next year, replacing them with compulsory moral education programmes. The move comes in the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television's (Sarft) anxiously awaited comprehensive regulations to clean up the national airwaves. The rules, released yesterday, are part of an ongoing crackdown following the Communist Party Central Committee's recent meeting, at which leaders discussed boosting the nation's soft power and cultural security, and asserted the party's role as the arbiter of social morality before a leadership transition next year. The restricted programmes include talent, dating and game shows, as well as evening performance galas, talk shows and reality shows. No more than nine such shows will be allowed to be aired on the 34 cable channels between 7.30pm and 10pm each day. Each television network will be limited to two such shows each week and to no more than 90 minutes of such shows between 7.30 and 10 on any given night. The broadcasting regulators also demanded that cable television networks improve the quality of news programming and introduce more documentaries as well as shows related to news, the economy, culture, science education and children. Each cable television channel must air at least two hours of news-related programming from 6pm to midnight every day, plus two independently-produced news programmes, each at least 30 minutes long, from 6pm to 11.30pm each day. Every channel should broadcast a programme on ideology and morality to promote traditional Chinese culture and "socialist core values". [...]. ^ top ^

Three punished for spreading rumors online (China Daily)
2011-10-26
Three people, including a website editor, have been punished for spreading rumors online, according to a statement issued by the State Internet Information Office on Tuesday. A Shanghai resident surnamed Li was held in local police custody for 15 days for posting a falsified personal income tax document from the State Administration of Taxation in August, and misleading the public, the statement said. A university student in Southwest China's Yunnan province was detained for posting a fake news item about a sick man who killed eight village heads in Yunnan, it said. The editor of a leading gateway surnamed Pei received a warning from his employer for publishing a microblog entry about an air force fighter crash without confirming the source and facts, the statement said. According to the statement, investigations found that three other popular online news items were not true, and the police are looking for those who were responsible. Authorities will step up efforts to stop rumors and punish individuals and websites spreading rumors, the statement said. ^ top ^

Chinese ministry finds more illegal land grabs during January-September period (Xinhua)
2011-10-26
China reported a year-on-year rise of 4.1 percent in cases of illegal land seizure that occurred in the first nine months of this year, the Ministry of Land and Resources said on Tuesday. The ministry uncovered 37,000 cases of illegal land use involving 246,000 mu (16,400 hectares) of land in the first three quarters, up 10.8 percent year-on-year, the ministry said in a statement on its website. The amount included 90,000 mu of arable land, up 6.7 percent, it said. The extensive use of resources led to the increased amount of illegal land use cases, said Wang Ling, an official from the ministry's inspection department. She said that local governments have funded some of the projects that were built using illegally seized land. The area of misused land in the less-developed central and western regions of the country accounted for 81.1 percent of the total amount, she said. China has been striving to crack down on illegal land grabs to ensure sufficient arable land to feed its 1.3 billion people and protect farmers. However, local governments heavily rely on land sales for revenue and have been known to give preferential treatment to property developers. In the first nine months, authorities recovered 45,000 mu of land, including 9,436.3 mu of arable land and recovered 1.97 billion yuan (309.6 million U.S. dollars) in fines, the report said. A total of 1,964 people were punished for their involvement in the cases, it added. ^ top ^

Nestle promises improvements after Chinese farmers' allegations (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
Swiss food giant Nestle will work with its partner city in northeast China to make improvements and replace a manager in charge of milk collection at a local subsidiary that has been accused of cheating local farmers for years, a company executive said. Nestle does not tolerate cheating and is carefully investigating the matter, said Eldert Heijkoop, general manager of Shuangcheng Nestle Co., Nestle's joint venture in the city of Shuangcheng in Heilongjiang province. [...] Heijkoop said that Shuangcheng Nestle has reset its point-of-sale (POS) devices to make them more accurate and abolished the rounding method, adding that the company will replace the manager in charge of milk collection with a new manager next week. "Nestle's presence has boosted the development of the dairy industry, increased the city's fiscal revenues and made positive contributions toward industrial restructuring. The Party committee and government attach great importance to the opinions of milk farmers regarding the milk-collecting stations," said Shuangcheng's Communist Party of China (CPC) chief Lu Zhimin. An investigation found that several milk collectors adjusted their POS devices to allow themselves to manipulate their measurements, according to Luan Xue, the chief of Shuangcheng's animal husbandry bureau. Shuangcheng will welcome social supervision by placing a "fair scale" for weight verification in each of the 76 milk-collecting stations and launching service hotlines for farmers, Luan said. The city is also organizing a vote by farmers to decide if the station chiefs should go or stay, Luan added. "A station chief must be replaced if he cannot get 30 percent of their votes," he said. Nestle (China) Ltd. Spokesman Dong Yuguo told Xinhua late Tuesday that Nestle and Shuangcheng have mapped out a plan for the development of the local dairy industry, including mechanized production and large-scale cattle farming. Heijkoop confirmed that Shuangcheng Nestle will buy 1,000 milking machines for farmers, adding that the machines will be put into use by the end of this month. "After seeing the reports, Shuangcheng decided to put its planned large-scale cattle farming program into action at an earlier date. By the end of 2012, the city will have 187 farms with more than 1,000 cows each, and Nestle has agreed to pay 0.36 to 0.6 yuan more for every kilogram of milk purchased from these farms," Luan said. As for Nestle's alleged monopoly in Shuangcheng, Heijkoop said that his company, which began operating in 1990, has helped a lot of farmers develop their businesses and does not intend to monopolize, as other dairy firms are welcome to compete. Heijkoop said that the city government's share in Shuangcheng Nestle is a "historical issue" and that the share has decreased from 15 percent to 2.99 percent as Nestle's investment has expanded. Ex-mayors of Shuangcheng are not paid for acting as board chairmen in the joint venture, but their posts have enabled them to help the company and the industry grow while protecting farmers' interests, Heijkoop said. The current mayor is not on the board, he added. ^ top ^

Arts fairs called off; politics cited (SCMP)
2011-10-27
Two art exhibitions featuring works carrying political and social messages have been cancelled over last weekend, the artists involved said. That came after the nation's leaders said at the Communist Party Central Committee's annual session last week that they would boost "core socialist values" and shore up "cultural security". A conceptual art exhibition featuring works by about 30 artists had been scheduled for last Saturday at the Mobile Museum of Art in the Shunyi district of Beijing. However, it was cancelled after police told Yue Luping, the managing curator and one of the artists, that some works were too politically sensitive. In one of his works, titled Anaesthesia/Sensitive, Yue used Unicode, a computer language, to represent five sensitive phrases that are blocked by most mainland search engines: princelings, Tiananmen mothers, jasmine revolutions, Wang Dan and Radio Free Asia. "These words were randomly picked among sensitive words and don't represent my political opinions," Yue said. [...] "Artists should have the right of free expression. Otherwise there is no point in engaging in art." [...] The other event that was cancelled was a solo exhibition featuring photos and oil paintings by Yu Jianrong, a rural expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The theme was "petition [...]. The exhibit was to be part of the Songzhuang Arts Festival at the Dingshun Art Museum. [...] "The museum said the situation this year is tense and no sensitive topics are allowed to proceed," Yu wrote. [...] "It feels like a freezing cold winter right now," Yue said, referring to the political crackdowns on artistic freedom. However, Yue said he believed that authorities had become more relaxed about controlling the arts in the past three decades, though they have tightened their control as the political climate changed. "I am still cautiously optimistic about the future of art," Yue said. ^ top ^

Party tightens grip on social media sites (SCMP)
2011-10-27
The Communist Party will tighten its control over booming social media sites and instant-messaging services, according to a communique approved at last week's Central Committee meeting. It is the highest-level document setting out the party's response to thriving microblogs. The party will "strengthen guidance and management of social media and instant-messaging tools to regulate the dissemination of internet information in a civilised and rational environment", according to the document published on Xinhuanet.com on Tuesday [...]. Approved on October 18, the document vows to develop a "healthy and positive" internet culture by cracking down on cybercrime and establishing an online security-evaluation mechanism to protect the public's interests and the security of sensitive state secrets, dubbed "national information". The document, which doesn't specifically mention microblogs or measures that will be taken, was revealed following three months of speculation by analysts, internet users and industry insiders about a looming crackdown on microblogs [...]. Bei Feng, a Hong Kong-based internet analyst, said microblog operators would exercise more self-censorship. "But [authorities] still lack proper measures to tackle social media... What authorities fear is not the spreading of rumours, but the truth," he said. ^ top ^

Official support to cultural institution prolonged to boost socialist value (Global Times)
2011-10-27
China will prolong its official support by five years to State-owned cultural institutions, which are gradually transferring from being government-funded to being independent enterprises, in a move to further enhance citizens' cultural awareness and understanding. The cultural institutions, including State-owned artistic organizations, apolitical print and web publications, publishing presses,film enterprises and TV stations should be categorized scientifically in terms of their essence and function, as a move to better promote its public service ends, according to a resolution on promoting cultural system reform published on Tuesday and approved on October 18 by the sixth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The resolution also provides for media outlets affiliated with the CPC to further improve their management and operation mechanisms and elevate their capability to provide services for citizens, in keeping with a prevailing notion that a large portion of the mass population is lacking in morality and credibility and holds distorted social values. [...] “Media outlets are one of the most influential approaches the government can adopt to elevate citizens' cultural tastes,” Xia Xueluan, a sociologist at the Peking University, stated [...]. ^ top ^

China delays 7 billion day for 5 years (China Daily)
2011-10-27
Without China's family planning policy, the world's seven billionth person would have been born five years ago, a leading Chinese demographers said Wednesday. "The population of China would now be around 1.7 billion had it not been for the family planning policy," said Prof. Zhai Zhenwu, dean of Beijing-based Renmin University's School of Sociology and Population. "And the world's population would have hit seven billion in 2006." Zhai calculated that the family planning policy in the world's most populous nation, often referred to as the "one-child policy," prevented 400 million people from being added to China's population, which is 1.34 billion at present. [...] China introduced its family planning policy in late 1970s in a bid to curb the large population's pressure on the environment and resources, as well as to raise the population's quality of life. According to statistics from China's National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), the proportion of China's population in the entire world has fallen to 19 percent, at present, from 22 percent three decades ago. In the meantime, the average education term reached nine years, and the average life expectancy jumped to 73.5 years. The decreased growth rate of population also promoted the building of a sustainable economy and society. "China spent 30 years transforming the development pattern of its population, a process that developed countries took one century to finish," said Zhai. However, Zhai said China is still facing a variety of challenges with its population, such as an increasing gender imbalance and aging population, among others. ^ top ^

Bill Gates open doors to help China (China Daily)
2011-10-27
China's Ministry of Science and Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest together in research and development of new products and technologies to help with global health and agriculture. Under the $300 million project, for every dollar the foundation gives to support selected China-grown products and technologies that can help advance health and agriculture, particularly in the developing world, the ministry will offer $2 as grant money. Human and animal vaccines, diagnostics for tuberculosis and other diseases, hardier varieties of rice and other crops, and more productive livestock are among the innovations likely to be considered first. "Innovation to advance human welfare is a goal that China shares with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and together we can do more to improve agriculture and health in some of the poorest nations worldwide," said Vice-Minister Zhang Laiwu at the signing ceremony in Seattle, the United States. According to Zhang, this was the first time the ministry has formed a partnership in such fields with a foreign non-governmental organization. [...]. ^ top ^

China respects and upholds human rights: white paper (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
China respects and upholds human rights, and China's Constitution has comprehensive stipulations on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens, says a white paper titled "The Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics" issued on Thursday. The state has promulgated a series of laws and regulations and has developed a comparatively complete legal system to protect human rights, according to the white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council. The state ensures the citizens' right to subsistence and development, personal rights and property rights, freedom of religious belief, of speech, of the press, of the assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration, the right to social security and education, as well as other economic, political, social and cultural rights, the white paper says. The Constitution stipulates that Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief. [...] The Constitution also provides that citizens who have suffered losses as a result of infringement of their civic rights by any state organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with the provisions of the law. ^ top ^

Beijing boasts of building system of laws in 30 years (SCMP)
2011-10-28
Beijing issued a white paper yesterday touting its "Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics" as a milestone in the building of a legal system that serves the country's development needs, while adequately protecting human rights. But officials at the press conference were reluctant to address a question on the de facto house arrest of Shandong lawyer Chen Guangcheng and the wife of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, with the question and answer subsequently removed from the transcript and video broadcast of the press conference. [...] Since the end of last year, mainland officials have been boasting of completing a "Socialist System of Laws", which now covers basic laws in all areas of domestic and foreign affairs and allows the government to rule the country according to law. [...] The white paper is the first to detail modern China's legislative history, and offers a comprehensive introduction to the country's body of laws, which now comprises 240 national laws, 706 administrative regulations and 8,600 regional regulations. The white paper said this system of laws "studies and draws on the good legislative experience of other countries and learns from their legislative achievements, but never slavishly imitates their models". The white paper reaffirms the pre-eminence of the constitution, which guarantees basic rights. However, as noted by many rights lawyers, it is not possible to pursue a lawsuit in mainland courts based on the infringement of constitutional rights alone. [...]. ^ top ^

Factory workers launch riot against garment tax (SCMP)
2011-10-28
Hundreds of indignant owners of small factories and their workers have rioted in Huzhou, Zhejiang, since Wednesday afternoon, smashing public facilities and overturning and setting fire to vehicles, in a protest against a rise in local taxes. Xinhua reported yesterday that several police officers and city management officers had been injured when more than 100 protesters went to the Zhili township government office on Wednesday, hurling stones at buildings and smashing street lamps and signs, after a scuffle between a factory owner and local tax collectors. Authorities had detained 28 people, including five for alleged criminal offences. [...] Xinhua and Huzhou's official news portal said the rioting had calmed down by noon yesterday, but local residents and online postings insisted it was continuing. Residents and internet users said the number of protesters was larger than Xinhua reported, with thousands taking part. It remained unclear how many ordinary people and protesters had been injured or if anyone was killed in the rioting. Hundreds of police in full riot gear were sent in to crack down on the riot yesterday. [...] In Huzhou, some internet users posted photographs said to have been taken at the scene and wrote on their Weibo microblogs that hundreds of vehicles, including dozens belonging to the local police, had been overturned by angry rioters. Blogger Kang Shaojian said anger had been simmering among factory owners from Anhui province and their workers after a tax on each sewing machine in some garment factories was doubled from 300 yuan (HK$365) to 600 yuan. [...] Kang said people took to the streets on Wednesday afternoon after tax collectors beat factory owners who refused to pay. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Sporting spat a telling tale of modern China (SCMP)
2011-10-26
Shenzhen has declined an invite to participate in Guangdong province's first farmers' sporting games in 23 years, claiming there haven't been any farmers in the town since its urbanisation drive in 2004. The controversial decision has attracted waves of online criticism calling Shenzhen too posh for farmers. This came after local media reported this week that the city said it wasn't appropriate for it to compete in the tournament, given the lack of farmers. [...] Farmer-athletes from 20 provincial cities are competing in this year's games, with Shenzhen being the lone holdout. The games' organising committee tried with repeated invitations to get Shenzhen officials to change their minds, and the city eventually opted to send a delegation of agricultural-business employees to participate as spectators who also staged a dance performance instead of competing in eight sports categories at the event. [...] Addressing criticism, a spokesman from Shenzhen's agricultural and fisheries bureau said the city was a modern metropolis so it would be inappropriate to participate in the farmers' games. "The games stipulate that only those registered as farmers under the hukou (household registration) system can attend the event. We can't go beyond what has been allowed under the games' regulations because we don't have anyone registered as a farmer," the spokesman said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan monks receive legal knowledge (Global Times)
2011-10-25
Legal education has been well-received by Tibetan Buddhist monks at the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, a monastery official said. Regular sessions about legal issues are designed to teach monks about their legal standing as citizens, Pubu Tseren, deputy standing director of the administrative committee at Sera, told the Global Times. “It is, in the meantime, embedded in the Tibetan Buddhist doctrines that a monk is supposed to love his motherland and religion. That means a monk or nun should abide by the law. Any monk or nun with wisdom should accept this,” he said. The involvement of monks in the deadly riots on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa caused the authorities to launch a legal education campaign in Tibet's 505 monasteries, local officials said. The sessions were to dissuade monks and nuns from being duped by separatist forces and ensure the normal practice of Buddhism, authorities said. [...] The freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups in Tibet is respected and protected, the white paper said. People are free to learn and debate Buddhist doctrines, get ordained as monks and practice Buddhist rites, it said. [...] The latest monastery renovation projects funded by the central government, estimated to cost 570 million yuan, covered 22 historic relics in Tibet, including leading monasteries in Lhasa - Jokhang, Drepung, Sera, Ganden and Tashilhunpo Monastery in Xigaze. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibetan monk is 10th to set himself on fire (SCMP)
2011-10-27
A Tibetan Buddhist monk doused himself in fuel and set himself ablaze in far western China on Tuesday [...]. The Free Tibet group said the latest self-immolation happened outside a monastery in Ganzi in Sichuan province, about 150 kilometres south of Aba, the site of eight of the last nine self-immolations since March in protest against religious controls imposed by Beijing. Free Tibet said it had no information about the monk's name, whereabouts, or whether he survived the incident. Government officials, police and workers at several hotels in Ganzi, called Kandze by Tibetans, said they did not know about the reported self-immolation. "I don't know about this, and even if I did, I couldn't be loose-lipped," said a Ganzi county official. Most people in Ganzi and Aba are ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers, and many see themselves as members of a wider Tibetan region. [...] The group reported "significantly increased numbers of security personnel including in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, hundreds of kilometres away from where the self-immolations have taken place". For Beijing, the protests are a small but destabilising challenge to its regional policies, which it says have lifted Tibetans out of poverty and servitude. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibet to receive 1.7 bln yuan for historic preservation in 2011-2015 (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-27
The Chinese government will invest more than 1.7 billion yuan (about 267.58 million U.S. dollars) in a cultural relics preservation project in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region in the 2011-2015 period, local authorities said Wednesday. The total is 300 million yuan more than the central government's entire invested capital for historic preservation in Tibet since the early 1980s, said Gyarab Losang Danzin, vice president of the regional government. The project will cover three categories with 44 subprojects, including executing 40 cultural relics repair projects, building three new city museums and expanding the Tibet Museum. "The historic preservation project in Tibet is China's relics preservation project with the highest specifications, most investment and largest scale," said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. In the past thirty years, China has put about 1.4 billion yuan toward maintaining and preserving cultural heritage, important historic sites and revolutionary heritage in Tibet. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Delta bridge can go ahead as legal challenge ends (SCMP)
2011-10-26
The legal challenge to construction of a bridge across the Pearl River estuary to Macau and Zhuhai is over. Yesterday's deadline for the plaintiff, 66-year-old Tung Chung resident Chu Yee-wah, to take the case to the city's top court passed without her lawyers receiving any instruction to do so. [...] The government will now be able to press ahead with the project. An environmentalist said the case had raised public awareness of the complex assessment process and opened an avenue for a review of the law. [...] The council wants a meeting of experts in the field to identify areas for improvement, in particular how to increase transparency and public participation in assessments. Lawmakers will now discuss a request from the government for funding to build the bridge and related works. Officials have put the cost of a border post, to be built on 130 hectares reclaimed from the sea, at HK$33 billion and say a link road will cost HK$16 billion. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland welcomes possible peace agreement (China Daily)
2011-10-27
A Chinese mainland official said Wednesday that a peace agreement is [...] the inevitable future of the peaceful development of Cross-Straits relations. Ending hostility across the Taiwan Straits and reaching a peace agreement is in line with the interests of the Chinese nation and is the common aspirations of the compatriots on both sides of the Strait, said Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office. Yang's statement follows remarks earlier in October by Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, who raised the issue of a possible peace agreement and mentioned three premises for Taiwan authorities to seriously consider it. [...] Yang said he hopes the mainland and Taiwan can strengthen communication and mutual trust to create conditions for a possible peace agreement. Yang said the will of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should be taken into consideration and the stable development of cross-Strait relations should be safeguarded. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Mainland data helps power surge in stocks (SCMP)
2011-10-25
Hong Kong stocks were the best performers in Asia yesterday after a survey showed the mainland's manufacturing output grew for the first time in four months and hopes rose that a meeting of European leaders tomorrow will result in a deal to rein in the region's debt crisis. Local stocks traded at their highest levels in a week after the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a five-month high of 51.1 points this month. The preliminary survey swung into positive territory for the first time since June. [...] The rebound marked "a steady start to manufacturing activities in the fourth quarter", HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin said. "Meanwhile, inflation components within the PMI results confirmed stable output prices growth and slower input price inflation. The data confirms our view that there is no risk of a hard landing in China." The news helped spark a market rally, with the Hang Seng Index closing with a gain of 4.14 per cent. [...] The quick-read PMI results helped ease concerns that the mainland economy is slowing drastically in the face of weak demand in key export markets Europe and the US. Mainland stocks also rallied on the news, with the Shanghai Composite Index rising for the first time in five days to close up 2.29 per cent. [...] Stocks were also buoyed after a weekend meeting of European leaders inched closer to a deal to solve the Greece-led debt crisis and raised hopes that more substantial measures can be reached when the heads of the 27 European Union member states meet again tomorrow. [...]. ^ top ^

China's current account surplus-GDP ratio to fall to 4% in 2011 (Xinhua)
2011-10-25
China's ratio of current account surplus to its GDP will narrow to around 4 percent this year, the nation's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said Monday. The ratio was 5.2 percent in 2010 and 2.8 percent in the first half of this year, Zhou said [...]. The decline in the ratio indicated further improvement in China's international balance of payments, he said. But he added that the surplus in the country's international balance of payments might still be "relatively large" this year. He also said that the foreign direct investment (FDI) China has attracted this year will be "robust" as international liquidity was ample in the post-financial crisis period and emerging economies were attracting more capital inflows given the grim economic situation in developed economies. [...]. ^ top ^

China to simplify foreign exchange rules in trading of goods (Xinhua)
2011-10-25
China will begin a trial program for simplifying the procedures for passing foreign currencies between banks and companies in the trading of goods, the country's foreign exchange regulator said Monday. Effective from Dec. 1, the new rules will not require verification for information about prepayments for goods, payment cancellations or delays, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement on its website. The trial program will be held in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Hubei, Zhejiang (excluding Ningbo), and Fujian (excluding Xiamen), as well as in the cities of Dalian and Qingdao, it said. ^ top ^

Wen pledges fine-tuning to keep economy strong (People's Daily Online)
2011-10-26
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday that the government will "fine-tune" its macroeconomic policies and maintain "reasonable" credit growth after economic expansion slows and inflation eases. The comments indicated the authorities may temporarily stop further tightening, such as hikes in interest rates. But an immediate policy easing in all sectors is unlikely to prevent a rebound in inflation, market watchers said. "We will fine-tune our policy at an appropriate time and by an appropriate degree," Wen told an economic summit in Tianjin, which was attended by top government officials from the municipality, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces. [...] At the summit, provincial government officials and company executives expressed concerns that capital-strapped small firms in China are facing pressure from slowing exports and tight bank lending, in addition to higher raw material prices. In response, Wen said that China should take measures such as "structural tax cuts" and public housing construction to promote stable economic growth. He added that a major lesson of the 2008 global financial crisis is that countries should focus on developing their real economies. "By focusing on developing its real economy, China can cut its exposure to financial bubbles and fluctuations in international markets," Wen said. "China should focus on boosting innovation. Start-up firms with innovative ideas should have their taxes cut." China's inflation eased for a second straight month in September, making way for a possible adjustment in policies supportive of growth, analysts said. [...]. ^ top ^

9.94m urban jobs created, beating target (SCMP)
2011-10-26
Significantly more jobs have been created in mainland cities this year than in 2010 as the world's second biggest economy shrugged off slowing economic growth and a rise in the minimum wage. Figures from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security show 9.94 million new jobs were created for people in urban areas in the first nine months of the year, topping the full-year target of nine million. Of those, 6.55 million were created between January and the end of June. In the whole of last year 9.31 million urban jobs were created. Ministry spokesman Yin Chengji said 21 provinces including Beijing and Tianjin raised minimum wages in the first nine months of the year by an average of 21.7 per cent compared with a year earlier. [...] The urban jobless rate was steady at 4.1 per cent at the end of the third quarter, unchanged from the second quarter, he said. That was 0.2 percentage points lower than a year earlier. The urban jobless rate measures only a small part of the mainland's labour market as it excludes tens of millions of farmers, who have migrated to cities from the vast countryside to earn a living. [...] The economic slowdown had not had a significant effect on the job market, Yin said. The ministry was "closely monitoring" economic developments and would take targeted measures to maintain stability in the jobs market if needed, he said. The government has set a target of keeping the urban jobless rate below 4.6 per cent this year, and seeks to create enough new jobs each year for millions of university students and rural migrant workers to maintain social stability. Premier Wen Jiabao said last week that the government would make job creation a more urgent priority in the face of slowing economic growth and weakening exports. [...]. ^ top ^

Private input leads China's investment growth in Jan-Sept (Xinhua)
2011-10-26
China's private sector was more aggressive in investing than the public sector in the first nine months of this year, with a fixed-asset investment growth of 34.2 percent year-on-year, said the country's top economic planner on Monday. Excluding investment by rural households, fixed-asset investment from January to September rose 24.9 percent from a year earlier to 21.23 trillion yuan (3.34 trillion U.S. dollars), of which about three-fifths came from the private sector, according to a statement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Tuesday. The growth rate of private investment was 9.3 percentage points higher than the nation's average fixed-asset investment growth, said the NDRC statement. Analyzed by regions, over half of China's fixed-asset investment in January-September was made in the country's economically underdeveloped central and western regions, where the investment growth were 29.9 percent and 29.5 percent, respectively. [...] Specifically, investments in primary and secondary industry reached 495.7 billion yuan and 9.28 trillion yuan, respectively, while investment in the tertiary industry totaled 11.45 trillion yuan. ^ top ^

Chinese banks' domestic assets, liabilities up at end of September (Xinhua)
2011-10-26
The total domestic assets of China's financial institutions in the banking sector hit a record high of 105.71 trillion yuan (16.67 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of September, up 16.6 percent year-on-year, the nation's banking regulator said Tuesday. Their combined liabilities totaled 98.96 trillion yuan at the end of September, a year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said. According to preliminary statistics, domestic assets of the country's large-scale commercial banks climbed 12.2 percent from one year earlier to 50.50 trillion yuan, while their liabilities grew 11.7 percent year-on-year to 47.32 trillion yuan, the commission said. Financial institutions in the banking sector refers to commercial banks, deposit-taking urban- and rural-credit cooperatives, and policy banks in China. ^ top ^

Industrial growth to slow again (SCMP)
2011-10-27
Growth in industrial output is likely to slow further this quarter as firms cope with rising costs fuelled by a stronger yuan and weakening global demand caused by the euro zone debt crisis, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says. But this year's industrial growth will still meet the government's target of 11 per cent, Xiao Chunquan, director of the ministry's Bureau of Operation Monitoring and Co-ordination, said in Beijing yesterday. Industrial output rose 13.8 per cent last month from a year earlier, up from 13.5 per cent in August. However, the figures were lower than the 14 per cent rise posted in July and 15.1 per cent in June. In the first three quarters of this year, output increased 14.2 per cent year on year. The pace of industrial production growth will probably slow to 11 per cent next year, according to Xiao. An intensifying economic restructuring as well as efforts to cut emissions and save energy would also contribute to the slowing growth in industrial output in the world's key manufacturing economy, Xiao said. Zheng Xin, director of the ministry's small and medium-sized enterprises bureau, told the same news conference that Xiao was briefing that some small and medium enterprises, especially micro-sized companies, faced greater difficulties such as limited access to bank loans, expensive raw materials, higher labour costs and heavy tax burdens. This was despite a string of government measures to help small and medium enterprises, including tax breaks and financial support. [...]. ^ top ^

China works to replace turnover tax with a value-added tax (Xinhua)
2011-10-27
The government will replace turnover tax with a VAT on select service sectors, such as the transport sector, in Shanghai from Jan. 1, 2012, said a statement issued after a State Council meeting [...]. If the pilot program is successful and the conditions are right, the policy will be extended to some service businesses nationwide, it said. The reform aims to incrementally replace turnover tax with a VAT in all sectors nationwide [...]. The policy change is considered a taxation reduction, especially for the service sector. Current VAT rates include two ranks, 17 percent and 13 percent. According to the statement, the government will also add two lower ranks, 11 percent and 6 percent. ^ top ^

Mainland banks see improved profits (SCMP)
2011-10-27
Major mainland banks yesterday reported improvements in profits and asset quality but analysts warned net income growth would cool and bad loans would pick up in the near future. Three listed banks released third-quarter results, with Bank of China, the nation's largest foreign exchange lender, posting a 9.4 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to 29.79 billion yuan (HK$36.44 billion) but missing the 16 per cent gain forecast by analysts. Agricultural Bank of China said net income surged 40 per cent from a year ago to 34.09 billion yuan in the July-September period as loan and fee incomes grew in line with market expectations. Net profit of China Citic Bank [...] Corp soared 41.4 per cent to 9.2 billion yuan. Beijing's tight monetary policy has raised banks' bargaining power in pricing loans and private companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, have been suffering from higher borrowing costs. In response to calls to help struggling companies, the central government has indicated it will fine-tune policies. That's likely to mean banks making less profit on loans. [...] The third quarter would probably become a turning point for profit and asset quality, according to analysts. Profit growth is expected to slow and asset quality to fall. [...]. ^ top ^

Bankers predict interest rate reform (Global Times)
2011-10-27
Around 55 percent of bankers surveyed estimate the Chinese mainland will officially promote interest rate marketization, which would give banks more freedom to set interest rates, in the next three to five years, according to a report released by the China Banking Association Wednesday. Among all the respondents, 16.9 percent expect the reform to happen this year or next year. Meanwhile, over 80 percent of the bankers surveyed in the report expressed their support for interest rate marketization, saying that the reform will optimize the banking sector's operations. ^ top ^

China's inflation will continue to ease: official (Xinhua)
2011-10-28
Growth of China's consumer prices will continue to cool after slowing from this year's peak in July, the nation's top economic planner said Thursday. Peng Sen, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country's consumer prices have stabilized and were "generally controllable." But he said maintaining price stability wouldn't be easy as price increases of farm produce and resources was inevitable given the rapid industrialization and urbanization in China. Peng said the government should seek to control consumer price increases at a reasonable level, lower than the pace of economic growth and income rises. The government should also better deal with the relationships between stabilizing prices and maintaining economic growth, market adjustment and government regulation, producers and consumers and between promoting pricing reform and stabilizing prices, he said. [...] Although the government aimed to keep inflation at around 4 percent this year, the consumer price index rose 6.1 percent year-on-year in September, moderating from 6.2 percent in August and hit a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt set to impose nationwide property tax (Global Times)
2011-10-28
The Chinese government will study the effect of private property taxes in cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing before implementing the tax nationwide, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Finance, a move that has drawn a mixed reaction from experts. At a government conference on the construction and management of affordable houses in cities Thursday, Assistant Finance Minister Wang Baoan said that the tax policy is one of various government measures aimed at regulating the housing market [...]. Taxes on properties in Shanghai and Chongqing were imposed earlier this year, and the next step is to improve the tax system, analyze the experience gained in the two cities and then speed up the application of the policy, said Wang. Jiang Weixin, minister of housing and urban-rural development, said [...] that the government is trying to build a platform that integrates systems of personal housing information, banks, finance, tax and public security. "The housing information system has been developed for more than two years. Once the platform is built, the house purchase restriction method will be dropped," Jiang said. [...] Zhang Dawei, an analyst with the consultancy Centaline China, said that levying taxes is more effective than housing purchase restrictions to curb housing prices. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

US, North Korea hold direct talks (Global Times)
2011-10-26
US and North Korean delegations kicked off direct talks in Geneva Monday on reviving the Six-Party nuclear dialogue, as Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang visited North Korea and stressed the importance of Pyongyang improving ties with Seoul and Washington. The talks were held at the US mission in Geneva, respectively led by US special representative Stephen Bosworth and North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan. It is their second direct engagement in three months after the first one in New York in July. "We had initial presentations of our respective positions, and I think these were useful presentations," Clifford Hart, a US special envoy attending the two-day talks, told reporters after Monday's meeting, without elaborating. [...] Liu Ming, Director of the Center for Korea Studies at the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that regardless of its outcome, the latest engagement was another step toward the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. "The two sides are struggling over whether North Korea should halt uranium enrichment as a precondition for the restart of the multilateral talks. I think Pyongyang will finally accept the terms, but will demand food aid and light-water reactors provided by the US in return," Liu told the Global Times. He added that Pyongyang seeks a favorable international environment before the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung on April 15, and the US is likely to seize the opportunity to make some progress in resuming the nuclear dialogue. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Helen Clark: Mongolia's natural resource boom must benefit all citizens (Montsame)
2011-10-24
The revenue generated from Mongolia's abundant natural resources should benefit all of its citizens, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mrs. Helen Clark said on Thursday wrapping up her three-day official visit to the country. “I am convinced that natural resources can drive human development if they are managed in transparent, inclusive, and sustainable ways,” Clark said at an international conference on extractive industries. “UNDP exists to support human development, and we want to see the wealth that a country has actually flow through to lift living standards on a more uniform basis,” she added. “We have seen so many cases where extractive industry booms generate a lot of GDP growth and wealth, but it does not affect poverty reduction.” Mongolia has experienced huge growth in its mining sector during the past decade, with mining representing 70 percent of exports. Coal is the largest commodity, followed by copper. The conference, co-hosted by UNDP and the Government of Mongolia, addressed how countries have handled their extractive industries' sectors, and how the wealth generated can best be used to support sustainable human development and avoid the “resource curse”. She said that with good government policies and a sound long-term development plan, countries can avoid the effects of “the resource curse”, and provide quality public services such as education and health care to their citizens. During her visit, Clark met Mongolia's PM S. Batbold; the Minister of Finance S.Bayartsogt; senior government officials and civil society organizations. In all of the meetings she discussed the country's progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)--eight internationally-agreed goals which seek to end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015--and how to address the areas that are lagging. Mongolia has shown an average growth of nine percent per year, largely due to copper prices and gold production, and good progress towards the MDGs, but poverty has persisted: More than 30 percent of the population live on less than US$1.25 a day. At a celebration marking Mongolia's 50th anniversary of United Nations membership, Helen Clark cited Mongolia's significant contributions to UN peacekeeping, its participation in important decisions related to global security and development, and its cooperation in a wide range of social and economic mandates of the UN agencies. Ms. Clark also met with more than a dozen Mongolian women leaders to exchange ideas on promoting women's political empowerment. Women are active in most arenas of the economy and society in the country, but significant gender-based disparities persist including in political decision-making where there are only three female MPs. ^ top ^

Research in population's nutrition presented (Montsame)
2011-10-27
A report on the fourth national research into nutritional level among Mongolia's population has been published in Mongolian and English languages. The research was conducted throughout the country in 2010, and a report presentation took place on Thursday in the Health Ministry. This year's research is different from previous three ones, for an access to the nutrition among children and women has been divided into four zones and is compared with the situation in Ulaanbaatar city. It gives more opportunities to accord activities with the specific features of the zones. The research is conducted by the government every five years. This year's work was successfully run by the Sitology Center at the Social Health Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, the UNICEF, the WHO and the World Vision Mongolia International Organization. Present at the presentation were over 100 representatives of the above organizations and experts from health departments of NGOs. ^ top ^

More than one hundred students win scholarship (Montsame)
2011-10-27
112 leading students from low income herder families have won in the seventh scholarship programme announced by Swiss agency for Development and cooperation /SDC/ in Mongolia and the "Zorig" foundation. These students major in finance and economy, jurisprudence, geology, mining, medicine sciences, language and literature. Of them 66 are from provinces, the rest are from Ulaanbaatar. In the last seven years, 649 students have received the scholarship. A specific feature of the scholarship has become a tradition when the students awarded work out sub-projects needed for society and actively participate in their implementation. The 112 students will be divided 10 teams, implement good deed projects initiated by themselves. Receiving ceremony of the certificate has run on October 27, in Mongolia's State University. This year's students will be divided into ten groups to rewalize projects. On October 27, a ceremony to grant the scholarship ran in Mongolia's State University in the presence of deputy country director of SDC in Mongolia Matthias Meier and "Zorig" foundation head and MP S.Oyun. ^ top ^

Government approves anti-child labor program (News.mn)
2011-10-27
A national program to abolish the worst forms of child labor by 2016 was approved by the Government at its meeting on Wednesday. The Government has asked relevant ministers, aimag governors, and Ulaanbaatar's mayor to allocate funding in their budgets to implement the program. A report on the progress of the implementation of the program will be submitted to the Government on the World Day Against Child Labor, which is annually observed on June 12. According to statistical data, in 2006 and 2007 more than 71,000 children aged five to 17 worked in Mongolia, 89 percent of them in the agricultural sector. Sixteen percent, or 11,000 children, worked in harmful conditions, some for longer hours than are allowed by law. ^ 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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