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
  14-18.11.11, No. 397  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

Chinese president outlines four-point proposal on Asia-Pacific economic development (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-14
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday brought forward a four-point proposal on the economic development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In a keynote speech delivered here at the CEO summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Hu called on economies in the region to be firmly committed to maintaining growth and promoting stability so as to add momentum to the regional economic development. As his first point, Hu highlighted the importance to improve the mechanism for global economic governance and build an equal and more balanced global partnership for development. The new mechanism should "reflect the changes in the economic landscape" and "observe the principle of mutual respect and collective decision-making and increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries," said Hu. Second, APEC members need to implement the APEC Leaders' Growth Strategy adopted last year in Yokohama and achieve green and innovative growth. [...] Third, Asia-Pacific economies need to uphold the multilateral trading regime and deepen regional economic integration. [...] As the fourth point, the Chinese president called on the business community to strengthen public-private partnership and jointly promote world economic growth and business cooperation. Government departments should better appreciate the role of the business community in promoting growth, listen to its views and suggestions, and encourage its active participation in economic development and regional cooperation, Hu said. [...] Dwelling upon China's development, Hu said that China will deepen economic structural reform, grow a green economy, enhance protection of intellectual property rights and open wider to the outside world. [...] Hu then briefed the summit about China's four-pronged efforts to achieve the goals, with the first being that China will deepen economic structural reform and improve business and investment environment. Second, China will honor its commitment to growing a green economy and promoting the conservation culture, Hu said. From 2011 to 2015, China's investment in the environmental sector will double that of the previous five years to about 3.1 trillion yuan (about 488.5 billion U.S. dollars), Hu said [...]. Third, China will step up protection of intellectual property rights and make itself a country driven by innovation, he said. [...] Fourth, China will open wider to the outside world and take an active part in global economic governance and regional cooperation, Hu said. China, he said, will give equal importance to import and export and focus more on increasing import while maintaining a stable level of export. [...]. ^ top ^

China, U.S. vow to increase co-operation (SCMP)
2011-11-14
China and the US agreed to expand co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region where they are jockeying to secure leading positions, but also had heated exchanges yesterday on issues ranging from currency reform to trade protectionism at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum summit. US President Barack Obama, in a speech before a meeting with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, demanded that China "play by the rules" in its currency reform and protection of intellectual property rights. [...] Hu stressed that China's currency should not be blamed for the US' economic problems, and called on Washington to remove restrictions on exporting hi-tech goods to China, and to remove restrictions placed on Chinese companies investing in the United States. "The trade deficit and unemployment problems are not caused by the yuan exchange rate. Even a major appreciation of the yuan would not resolve the problems facing the United States," Hu told Obama. The summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, is being used by the US to showcase its diplomatic shift to Asia with a number of ambitious goals - mainly a new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. After it ends, Obama will go to Indonesia for the East Asia Summit on Saturday, and is expected to strengthen security ties with Asia. "The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay," Obama said in remarks to an Apec business forum. In talks with Hu, Obama said both China and the US were extraordinarily active in the region, and co-operation between the two was conducive to prosperity [...] in other countries. Hu voiced support for measures, including the TPP, to lower trade barriers between Apec nations. China earlier said it had not been invited to join the TPP negotiations and criticised the initiative for setting a high benchmark that some Apec countries had failed to meet. "China supports steady efforts to promote the establishment of an Asia-Pacific free-trade area and the realisation of the goal of regional economic integration on the basis of the East Asia Free Trade Area, the East Asia Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the TPP," Hu said at the business forum. During his meeting with Obama, Hu said China respected the legitimate interests of the US in the region, but he also expected the US to pay a reciprocal attitude towards China. Hu said Sino-US ties had entered another critical period, and he called on both sides to step up co-operation to face the complex changes and uncertainties in the global economy and in regional security issues. ^ top ^

Noda plans visit to Beijing to boost ties (SCMP)
2011-11-14
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda accepted an invitation to visit China within this year after meeting President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Apec forum in Hawaii yesterday. At the meeting, Noda told Hu that Sino-Japanese relations were "very important" for the Asia-Pacific region, and that China's development created a "major chance" for Japan. "I think it is important for both Japan and China to deepen engagement in the region and in the international community. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of relations between our two countries. I would like to strengthen bilateral relations." Hu said he was ready to work with Noda to explore ways to boost bilateral ties, and maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia, Xinhua reported. He said high-level visits by both countries should continue to enhance mutual trust, and disputes should be handled properly through dialogue and negotiations. Noda urged China to further remove restrictions on importing Japanese agricultural and food products. China imposed the restrictions after Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March that caused radiation leakage at a nuclear power plant. [...] Hu also met Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang in Honolulu. Hu urged both sides to enhance political mutual trust and properly address problems in bilateral ties. ^ top ^

China to cement ties with SAARC nations: Vice FM (Xinhua)
2011-11-14
China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and its member states and raise ties to a new height, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said here Friday. Zhang, who led the Chinese delegation to the two-day 17th SAARC Summit in Maldives, told the conference that "facilitating peace, development and cooperation is the fundamental point of departure of China's SAARC policy." Since China became an observer of the SAARC in 2005, China has sent senior delegations to SAARC summits and expanded cooperation with the organization in all fields. [...] Zhang said that since the last summit, bilateral cooperation has grown to include a total of 15 projects that are either underway or about to get started. "All this has laid a solid foundation for the growing China-SAARC relations," he said. [...] He pledged that China will continue to support SAARC and assist its development in the future. The theme of the summit is "Building Bridges" which reflects SAARC's commitment to integration, unity, coordination and joint response to challenges, Zhang said. ^ top ^

China voices support for AL's efforts in Syria (Xinhua)
2011-11-15
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that China backs the Arab League's (AL) efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis in Syria. "China supports the AL's efforts to end the crisis in Syria and has called on concerned parties to implement the AL's resolution at an early date and in a substantial and appropriate way," spokesman Liu Weimin said during a routine press conference in Beijing. Under the resolution, activities conducted by Syria's delegation to the pan-Arab body will be suspended effective Wednesday. The AL has also called on its members to withdraw their ambassadors in Syria and urged sanctions on Damascus until a peace plan that it brokered is implemented. "Concerned parties should make concerted efforts and the international community should create favorable conditions for the implementation process," Liu added. He also called on relevant parties, including the Syrian government, to cease violence and start a balanced political process as soon as possible in order to carry out the AL's resolution. [...]. ^ top ^

China, UK to enhance military cooperation (China Daily)
2011-11-15
A senior Chinese military official said Monday China valued friendly relations with Britain and hopes to enhance military cooperation. Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), made the remarks while meeting with Stephen Dalton, British Chief of the Air Staff. Hailing the establishment of the Sino-British comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation in various fields, including technology, education, culture, business and trade, Chen said he hopes both sides will work to strengthen bilateral ties for the long-term. "As an important part of bilateral relations, the Sino-British military ties has developed well; we hope to advance the relationship to new heights with the joint efforts of Britain," Chen said. Dalton said the British side attaches great importance to its military cooperation with China and hopes to further boost communication and exchange with China in both international and regional affairs. ^ top ^

China begins military drill with Pakistan (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-15
China kicked off a two-week joint anti-terrorism drill on Monday with its western neighbor Pakistan near Islamabad. The exercise, dubbed "Friendship 2011", is the fourth of its kind between the two countries. A total of 260 soldiers, special forces and army aviation helicopters from the Chinese side, as well as 230 of their Pakistani counterparts, are participating in the drill, according to the Ministry of National Defense. The two countries held their first joint anti-terrorism exercise in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2004. [...] The latest drill is aimed at "enhancing the two armies' joint capability in responding to unconventional security threats", the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement, echoing its earlier remark that the drill is "not targeted at any third nation". [...] China and India, meanwhile, are planning to hold a joint military exercise in 2012 during the next round of annual defense consultative talks to be held in mid-December, a top Indian army official was quoted as saying by New Delhi-based IANS News Agency on Sunday. The world's two most populous and largest developing countries have so far held two bilateral military exercises [...]. ^ top ^

AU Chief meets with a senior Chinese official in Ethiopia (Xinhua)
2011-11-16
The African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Jean Ping on Tuesday met and held talks with a high level Chinese delegation led by Jiang Yaoping, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce. The discussion between the two sides was mainly focused on the cooperation between China and Africa in different sectors. Ping said AU is ready to do all possible to further strengthen its ties with China. The Chairperson said China has been working in cooperation with AU member states on various areas, including trade, investment, and diplomatic exchanges. "We are happy to meet the delegation; a delegation not only as an important partner but as a friend of Africa, a friend with which we are strengthening cooperation constantly," said the Chairperson. He also reiterated that Africa is benefited from the relations with China. He said Africa has established an important relations with China within the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), and the two sides are now engaged in strategic dialogue on very crucial areas. [...] The Vice Minister stated that China has become one of the most trading partner of Africa, and the trade volume between China and Africa is increasing from time to time. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Zimbabwe pledge to seek practical cooperation (Global Times)
2011-11-17
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday pledged to develop stronger practical cooperation with Zimbabwe during a meeting with visiting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Calling Mugabe an old friend of China, Xi said the 87-year-old is a renowned leader of national liberation movement in Africa and has made great contributions to China-Africa relations. Xi said China would like to promote cooperation with Zimbabwe in trade, agriculture, mining and infrastructure and seek closer coordination in international affairs. [...] China appreciates Zimbabwe's firm adherence to the one-China policy and supports Zimbabwe to explore its own development path in accordance with its national conditions, Xi said. Mugabe said the people of Zimbabwe and China enjoy profound friendly relations despite the great distance between the two countries. Zimbabe appreciates China's long-term support towards its economic and social development, Mugabe said. Mugabe said China is Zimbabwe's trustworthy friend, saying his country would like to work more closely with China in sectors of agriculture, minerals and infrastructure. [...]. ^ top ^

China-Africa trade likely to hit record high in 2011 (Xinhua)
2011-11-17
The level of trade between China and Africa in 2011 is expected to set a new annual record, as the bilateral trade has already almost matched 2010, a commerce official said Wednesday. China-Africa trade volume rose 30 percent year-on-year to reach 122.2 billion U.S. dollars during the first three quarters of 2011, compared with the 126.9 billion U.S. dollars recorded last year, said Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, at a regular press conference. China has become Africa's biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade growing at an annual rate of 28 percent over the past 10 years, Shen said. By the end of 2010, more than 2,000 Chinese companies had invested in the continent. China invested 1.08 billion U.S. dollars in non-financial sectors in Africa during the first three quarters of 2011, up 87 percent from one year earlier, he said. "China-Africa cooperation in various sectors, including telecommunications and tourism, has shown great growth momentum. Many Chinese financial institutions operate in Africa, and Chinese airlines have opened direct routes to the continent," Shen said. ^ top ^

China, Sudan pledge to boost military ties (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-17
China and Sudan on Wednesday pledged to strengthen military relations and deepen potential cooperation between military forces. The pledge was made during the talks between Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein. Hailing the traditional friendship between the two countries and the political, economic and cultural cooperation after the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, Liang said China and Sudan always supported each other in international affairs. "As an important part of bilateral relations, China-Sudan military ties have developed well. We hope to advance the relationship with the joint efforts of Sudan," Liang said. Hussein spoke highly of Sudan-China military relationship. He said Sudan will stick to the one-China policy and appreciated China's assistance to Sudan's economic and social development. ^ top ^

China signs first pact with EAC, mapping out working mechanism (Xinhua)
2011-11-18
Chinese government and the East African Community (EAC) signed a Framework Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation here on Thursday, establishing the working mechanism with the regional bloc, first of its kind in sub-Sahara region. Jiang Yaoping, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, signed Framework Agreement among other documents with Richard Sezibera, EAC's Secretary General at headquarters of the regional bloc that groups five member states including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. [...] The visiting Chinese official and Sezibera also co-chaired the first session of China-EAC Joint Economic and Trade Commission before the signing of the framework agreement. Jiang said that Chinese government attaches great importance to the ties with EAC and fully support the regional integration of the EAC. "The Chinese government will continuously develop economic relationship and enhance cooperation in the fields of infrastructure construction, trade, investment, development assistance, agriculture and food security," he said. [...] Jiang, who was accompanied by a large delegation of about 40 executives from 28 Chinese enterprises, banks and investment foundations, is currently on a two-day visit to the EAC headquarters before heading to Dar es Salaam to continue his visit to Tanzania. [...] The EAC member states are in the process of negotiating a single currency for the bloc, the last step before heading to the ultimate political federation, after it successfully implemented a common custom and common market. According to statistics, the bilateral trade between China and EAC member states reached 3.89 billion dollars in 2010, showing a 39 percent surge from the past year. By the end of September this year, China had invested more than 750 million dollars in EAC countries and provided financial assistance to EAC countries in road construction, agricultural facilitation centers, stadiums, hospitals, and schools. ^ top ^

China calls for resumption of six-party talks (China Daily)
2011-11-18
Relevant parties should strengthen dialogue to create favorable conditions for the early resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks, a senior Chinese diplomat said here on Thursday. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula had been further eased thanks to increasing interactions among the relevant parties, including dialogues and talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as between the DPRK and the United States, said Cheng Jingye, China's permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna. While welcoming the efforts by all relevant parties, China hopes all sides will seize the opportunity by maintaining the current momentum of contact and dialogue and make concerted efforts towards positive outcomes, Cheng told a board of governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [...]. ^ top ^

Bali summit to focus on regional development (China Daily)
2011-11-18
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) does not want specific political and security issues to become topics of discussion at the approaching East Asia Summit, the Indonesian president told Premier Wen Jiabao on this Indonesian resort island on Thursday. If they do, they could draw attention at the event away from other important business, said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The remarks referred to the calls that the US and several ASEAN members have made for territorial disputes in the South China Sea to be discussed at the East Asia summit on Saturday. Yudhoyono said on Thursday evening that, against the backdrop of world economic difficulties, ASEAN countries should concentrate more on development and ensure the summit advances "in the right direction". "ASEAN is not in favor of discussing detailed political and security issues at the summit," Yudhoyono said, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry. Initiated in 2005, the East Asia Summit was designed as a forum for discussions about regional development. Wen said Beijing wants to see the summit stick to its original purpose. China has long insisted that its territorial disputes with some ASEAN members should be settled through bilateral consultations. It announced this week that Beijing is willing to work further with ASEAN nations to find a way to prevent accidents by observing the code of conduct for the South China Sea. According to the Foreign Ministry, Yudhoyono holds China's work to solve the dispute in high esteem. The two leaders' meeting came a few hours after Indonesia echoed Chinese concerns about a strengthening of the US military's presence in northern Australia. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warned that may foster tension and mistrust. [...] Washington has prominently announced plans to "pivot" its foreign policy toward Asia. That announcement quickly drew criticism from China, widely seen as the target of the plan. The foreign ministry questioned whether strengthening the troops' presence was appropriate or "in the interest of countries in this region". [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China rejects reports on budgetary spending on stability management (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-15
A Ministry of Finance official said Monday that foreign media reports about the country's hefty budget on keeping internal stability are misleading. [...] Some foreign media reports emphasized that China paid more on weiwen, or stability management, than on military purposes, saying the move suggests China has to address "growing public discontent" by spending huge sums of money. "In government categories, China only has budgetary funds for necessary public security, which covers, for example, public health, public transportation and construction safety," said the official, adding that some reports have misinterpreted or distorted the fact. "Many countries spent more on public security than on national defense," the official said. The official quoted the International Monetary Fund statistics for a proof, showing that expenditures on public security outstripped those on military by 14 percent, 5 percent, 57 percent, 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in Germany, Britain, Japan, Australia and Russia. [...]. ^ top ^

Wen stresses removal of system obstacles to development (China Daily)
2011-11-15
Premier Wen Jiabao Monday stressed government authorities should make further efforts to remove system obstacles to economic and social development. Addressing a meeting on reform of the government's administrative examination and approval system, Wen said the reform, a key aspect for transformation of government functions, must be carried out unswervingly. Wen noted that the State Council over the past 10 years has removed or modified a total of 2,183 administrative approval items, or 60.6 percent of the original total, in an effort to improve government administration and transform government functions. Wen said the reform of the government administrative system, including of administrative examination and approval system, still lagged behind the requirement of China's socialist market economic development. [...] Furthermore, Wen called on greater efforts to remove or modify administrative approval items, especially in areas of investment and social development, and areas not subject to administrative approval. Wen urged authorities to conduct administrative examination and approval practices in accordance with laws strictly and move forward in the building of a service-oriented government. Meanwhile, Wen called for further supervision over the use of power by government officials to further promote the building of a clean government. ^ top ^

China cracks down on online black markets (China Daily)
2011-11-15
The Ministry of Public Security has launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on online black markets selling illegal goods including weapons and human organs, the ministry said Monday. The campaign, to last till February next year, is to investigate and punish online trafficking of items such as guns, explosives, some kinds of knives, highly poisonous chemicals, wiretapping software, fake identity cards, counterfeit money, personal information and human organs, the ministry said in a statement. The police will not only shut down websites that are implicated or punish their owners, but suspend related phone numbers and online accounts and impose penalties on the offenders, the statement said. According to the statement, the supervision and investigation will be focused on search engines, instant messaging services, e-commerce platforms and online blogs and forums. If the websites fail to delete the illegal information promptly after notice, they will receive orders of suspension of operation, and the police will close those websites that are knowingly or repeatedly spreading the illegal information, the statement said. The ministry has also set up a tip-off website, www.cyberpolice.cn, for the public to report related offenses and is promising rewards for those who provide valuable clues, the statement said. ^ top ^

China issues white paper on poverty reduction in rural areas (Xinhua)
2011-11-16
The Chinese government on Wednesday unveiled a white paper on its poverty reduction efforts in the past decade, highlighting achievements and challenge for China to bring common prosperity to its more than 1.3 billion people. The white paper, titled New Progress in Development-oriented Poverty Reduction Program for Rural China, was released by the State Council Information Office. The white paper introduces China's policies, achievements, special programs, social involvement and international cooperation in the fight against poverty. [...] According to the white paper, China's poverty-stricken rural population fell from 94.22 million at the end of 2000 to 26.88 million at the end of 2010, an equivalent to lifting the entire population of France out of poverty in the past decade. The proportion of poor people in the country's rural population decreased from 10.2 percent in 2000 to 2.8 percent in 2010. The Chinese government defines those who earn less than 1,274 yuan (about 200 U.S. dollars) in income a year as "poor people" after the nation raised the national poverty line for rural residents from 865 yuan in 2000 to 1,274 yuan in 2010. China has basically solved the problem of providing adequate subsistence, food and clothing for its rural residents, the 36-page white paper declares. "The Chinese government has always made poverty reduction an important goal and task of national development...and worked hard to enable all the people to enjoy the fruits of economic and social development," the white paper says. [...] China's development-oriented poverty reduction program in the rural areas has promoted social harmony and stability, fairness and justice, and contributed to the development and progress of the country's human rights. [...] The white paper stresses China has realized, ahead of schedule, the goal of cutting the poverty-stricken population by half, as listed in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, thus making great contributions to the world's poverty reduction efforts. ^ top ^

Climate of public opinion (China Daily)
2011-11-16
The climate of public opinion will be monitored in environmental protection campaigns, according to a senior official. Public satisfaction will be taken into account in a comprehensive system to assess the performance of local governments on environmental protection, said Bie Tao, deputy director of the policies, laws and regulations department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. [...] Zhou Shengxian, the environment minister, confirmed that the ministry is revising air quality evaluation standards, aiming to bring them in line with internationally recognized appraisal systems. [...] Under the existing system, officials are not promoted if they miss the preset targets. Consequently, local officials concentrate on figures and are "poorly motivated" to address public concern, Bie said. "Local governments endeavor to reduce carbon emissions, but whether their work has made any difference to people's lives is open to debate," he said. The ministry has proposed that public opinion should be part of the evaluation system in the Environmental Protection Law. "Opinions from students, professionals, and non-governmental organizations should be valued as a necessary supplement," Bie said. The proposal appeared to address the mismatch between public discontent over the environment and figures indicating an improvement in air quality released by the government. [...] Commenting on the reluctance of local governments to shut polluting plants, Bie said it might be due to local governments and plants being "interconnected". [...]. ^ top ^

High tech used for online crackdown of illegal publications (China Daily)
2011-11-16
China will use advanced technologies to crack down on illegal publications and "harmful information" posted online, according to an cooperative agreement signed on Tuesday between the authorities and the country's top sciences academy. According to the agreement signed between the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publication (NOAPIP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Tuesday, the two sides will make joint efforts in research and development of core Internet technologies in cracking down on illegal and pornographic publications. Those core technologies include related monitoring and administering methods, discovering and recognizing of online publications, and evidence collecting of "illegal promulgation" on the Internet, according to the agreement. Liu Binjie, deputy director of the NOAPIP and general director of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the press watchdog, said at the signing ceremony that cases are increasing of promulgating "harmful information" over the Internet or mobile communication technologies. [...] The GAPP and NOAPIP announced Monday that they had launched a two-month-long special campaign to crack down on illegal media organizations and fake reporters, as well as falsified reports. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese leader asks judiciary, police officers to be loyal, clean-handed (Xinhua)
2011-11-16
Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang has called for loyalty and justice from the country's judiciary and police officers. The judiciary and police personnel should be loyal to the Party, country, people and the law, said Zhou, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Political and Legislative Affairs, in his article in Wednesday's edition of the CPC's flagship magazine, "Qiushi." The judiciary and police officers should always keep the people in mind and enforce the law for the people, wrote Zhou, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Zhou also urged them to uphold justice and social equality in law enforcement while remaining clean-handed in order to create a better environment for development of China's socialist culture. ^ top ^

'Let patients enlist deputies to protect interests' (China Daily)
2011-11-16
Xu Wu says that after he was illegally forced to live in a mental hospital for more than 1,600 days, he cherishes nothing more than freedom now. The Hubei province resident and four other people who say they were wrongfully placed in a mental hospital sent a letter to the country's top legislature on Monday, calling for a policy that will let patients enlist deputies - either relatives or lawyers - to help them appeal diagnoses they disagree with. The letter offers advice about two draft laws that are now being discussed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee - the draft mental health law and the draft amendment to the Civil Procedural Law. Both of them attempt to protect the rights of the mentally ill and to prevent people from being forced into hospitals illegally. [...] By Tuesday, the top legislature had not issued an opinion about the proposal, Xu said. The 43-year-old said he had been illegally kept in a hospital from 2006 to this year after he had complained about making low wages when he had worked as a security guard. Although Xu was discharged from the institution in May, an official investigation concluded that he should still receive medical treatment for paranoid disorder. [...]. ^ top ^

Regional poverty-relief pilot scheme launched (China Daily)
2011-11-16
A trans-provincial trial scheme for poverty relief was launched in China's central and western regions on Tuesday in a new initiative to reduce poverty and boost balanced development. A ceremony was held in the city of Jishou, Hunan province, to mark the launch of the pilot scheme at the Wuling Mountain region that covers 71 underdeveloped counties in the provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, and Chongqing municipality. Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu, who chaired the ceremony, said the pilot project would pave the way for full implementation of the trans-provincial poverty-relief work nationwide in the coming decade. It is a key innovation project in line with goals set in the development-oriented Poverty Reduction Program for Rural China (2011-2020), Hui said. The central and local governments should exert concerted efforts in injecting financial support, mobilizing the public as well as establishing effective oversight and evaluation system, in order to boost regional development and alleviate poverty, he added. Apart from Wuling Mountain, the central government pledged to set up 10 other trans-provincial poverty-reduction projects, located mainly in mountain areas in central and western parts of China. Meanwhile, three special regional projects are also target regions with concentrated populations of ethnic groups, including Tibet autonomous region, the Tibetan prefectures in Sichuan province, and the southern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [...] Hui said these projects would help balance regional development and boost social harmony. The implementation of the projects would also promote national unity and the nation's efforts to build a comprehensively prosperous society for its people, Hui said. [...]. ^ top ^

Tax battle part of bigger struggle, Ai Weiwei says (SCMP)
2011-11-17
Artist-activist Ai Weiwei yesterday described his detention and clash with authorities over tax-evasion charges as emblematic of countless other lesser-known cases of detainees held in jails and labour camps on the mainland. For the first time since he was released from secret detention in late June, Ai met publicly with authorities at the Beijing tax bureau, which approved his payment of 8.45 million yuan (HK10.35 million) - contributions from tens of thousands of supporters - allowing him access to an administrative review of the charges. Surrounded by media outside the bureau, Ai said tax authorities told him they would "carefully handle" the review, in which a panel would re-examine the merits of an decision to bill him for 15 million yuan. "I'm speaking up, not for myself, but for those who have no voice," Ai said. "I hope that when society looks at me, they'll remember that I'm not an individual case." [...] He has ignored efforts to silence him and has instead become a rallying point for China's dissidents and activists. "I was a hostage half a year ago," said Ai, 54, who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his face and the words "missing" and "found". "Now I've paid the ransom. I feel like I'm being robbed." Ai said he would not pay an additional fine of about 6.6 million yuan that he says would amount to an admission of guilt, although he said he remained pessimistic about his chances to beat the charges. ^ top ^

Green experimental zone planned (China Daily)
2011-11-17
The State Council decided on Wednesday to establish an experimental zone for ecological protection in Sanjiangyuan on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The experimental zone, which covers 21 counties in four Tibetan autonomous prefectures as well as a township in Golmud in Qinghai province, is expected to explore a mechanism for the ecological development and environment protection, according to the State Council executive meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao. The Sanjiangyuan region, with an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, is the source of three rivers - the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Lancang River. [...] The protection and restoration of the vegetations in the zone will be emphasized, and the balance between the grass fields and the number of livestock will be monitored and adjusted according to the ecological condition, said the draft. Construction of infrastructure in the zone will be strengthened with an eye on ecological protection to improve the life quality of the local people, according to the draft. The source lakes had experienced shrinking as a result of environmental damage caused by human activities and overgrazing by animals since late 20th century. Measures were taken to prevent soil erosion, artificially increase rainfall, forbid overgrazing and move herding families out of the region. About 50,000 people have been moved out in the past six years, according to official data. [...]. ^ top ^

Tighter air quality index proposed from 2016 (China Daily)
2011-11-17
China's new and tighter air quality index could be fully implemented as soon as 2016, said the environment watchdog on Wednesday amid mounting public criticism of the current air pollution monitoring standard. An unidentified official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection confirmed that the ministry begun soliciting public feedback on Wednesday on the draft of the revised Environmental Air Quality Standards, which includes the measuring of PM 2.5 (particles less than 2.5 microns) and ozone density. The new index standard is scheduled to be fully implemented nationwide in 2016, said the official, adding that the central government may designate certain regions to adapt to the new standard ahead of the national deadline and provincial-level governments could also decide to implement it earlier. The proposed revision follows the public's challenges on the country's standard of measuring air quality and the official statistics released by the local authorities in Beijing. ^ top ^

Party officials urged to improve research, investigating (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-17
Senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged Party officials at all levels to boost their investigating and researching abilities so to better address public concerns. "Party officials should often step out of their offices and conduct various investigations and research at grassroot levels... It is good for them to know about reality and adjust themselves accordingly," said Xi at a semester opening ceremony for the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. Xi is the president of the school. "Investigations will help officials improve their working style, communicate better with people and learn more about people's demands, aspirations, creativity and experiences," added Xi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Xi stressed investigating and researching were necessary factors that should effect the entire decision-making process. According to Xi, investigations and research should be focused on rural areas and grassroots communities and enterprises where many obvious problems exist, and Party officials should listen to as many local people as possible and "bear in mind both the good and the bad." In addition, Xi called for further expansion of investigation channels and innovation in methods so as to enhance the efficiency and scientific nature of investigations. ^ top ^

Demand for bus safety after Gansu crash (SCMP)
2011-11-18
The Ministry of Education has ordered a nationwide inspection of school buses for kindergarteners and primary school students after a minibus crash in Gansu province left 19 children dead and more in critical condition. [...] The father of another victim said his child had a broken arm and suffered a concussion. The 40-year-old man said the kindergarten, called Xiaoboshi, was the only one in the town of Yulinzi. "We had no choice but to send them to the kindergarten, although we parents were worried about their safety," said the man, who identified himself as Lao Wu. The Ministry of Education yesterday also ordered local authorities to inspect all school vehicles and government permits for renting transportation for students after Wednesday's accident sparked outrage over lax rules on bus overloading. Local authorities blamed the accident on the driver, accusing him of driving in reverse and speeding, apart from overcrowding the bus. Overloading is rampant on the mainland. [...] To stem public anger across the nation, Zuo Jianghua, deputy director of the information department in Qingyang city, which oversees Zhengning, said at a news conference yesterday that they had suspended four officials. Those sanctioned were two deputy heads, the county's education bureau chief and a traffic police supervisor. Meanwhile, the kindergarten was accused of endangering students' lives by removing all nine seats on the minibus to fit more passengers. Lu Huadong, education chief in Qingyang city, told Xinhua that they had warned the kindergarten against overloading three days before the accident. He also noted the city had no funds to subsidise privately owned kindergartens, which may rely on overcrowded transport to cut costs. But some internet users argued Lu glossed over reports the city spent more than 14 million yuan (HK$17 million) on decorating its office. [...]. ^ top ^

Senior leader calls for better handling of petitions (China Daily)
2011-11-18
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has called for better handling of people's petitions and complaints in a bid to promote social harmony. Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, urged authorities to address people's pragmatic problems and better implement government policies aimed at giving more benefits to the masses. Efforts should be made to ensure those in need get more benefits from China's economic development, Zhou said at a meeting on Wednesday in Beijing in which participants discussed how to handle public petitions. At the meeting, Zhou called on authorities to do more research and follow "new situations" and "new problems" and respond to reasonable appeals from the public. Zhou also highlighted the importance of dealing with "long-standing" appeals. The petition system of China allows those who receive wrongful and unfair treatment, particularly from officials and law enforcers, to seek justice through special government offices by sending them petition letters. ^ top ^

Suspicious death cases will be investigated (Global Times)
2011-11-18
The Ministry of Public Security will launch a special investigation next month into cases of "unnatural deaths" amid police investigation and enforcement procedures, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the ministry's website. These cases have occurred in two kinds of police-run detention centers holding suspects who are under investigation or awaiting trial. A liability system should be established to rigorously look into each case and hold responsible people accountable, the statement said, quoting Vice-Minister Liu Jinguo as saying at a working conference on Tuesday. The police should try to prevent new cases from occurring and intensify the education and training of newly-recruited police officers, Liu said. The death of 24-year-old inmate Li Qiaoming at a detention center in Southwest China's Yunnan Province in 2009 is one attracting public attention. [...] In August, China's top legislature, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, reviewed a new draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing govt opens press release micro blog (China Daily)
2011-11-18
The Beijing municipal government Thursday launched a news release platform on Sina's weibo.com, China's popular Twitter-like microblogging service. Twenty municipal government agencies will post newly-unveiled policies and regulations, work developments, and information of news conferences on the joint micro blog account, said Wang Hui, head of the Beijing municipal government's information office. The government departments will also timely answer hot topics and social concerns, Wang said. Many government departments have their own micro blog accounts. The municipal public security bureau, for example, opened its micro blog in August last year and now has over 1.8 million followers. "I'm happy I can communicate directly with the government. And I hope my viewpoints and suggestions can get attention," said weibo user 1910060523. Many, however, question the move. "Is it really the case that everything can be said here and the government will read the comments and give responses?" said another user. Wang Hui said, "We are not just making a show. We shall be sincere to answer public's concerns over hot topics.". ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai bonds snapped up (SCMP)
2011-11-16
The Shanghai government issued 7.1 billion yuan ($HK8.7 billion) in bonds yesterday and it proved an easy sale, as institutions indicated confidence in the city's financial strength by snapping them up. The mainland's first sale of local-government debts in 17 years, buoyed by strong demand by banks and insurance companies, were auctioned at lower-than-expected yields, helping Shanghai to save borrowing costs. The Bank of Communications [...], one of the deal's three major underwriters, said 3.6 billion yuan in three-year bonds were sold at a yield of 3.1 per cent, while 3.5 billion yuan in five-year bonds were sold at 3.3 per cent. Bankers participating in the auction said expectations of a monetary easing by Beijing also helped lower the yields. "Buyers had a firm belief in Shanghai's economic might and the profitability of its infrastructure projects," said Gu Weiyong, the chief investment officer at Ucon Investment Management. "Consequently, the borrowing costs turned out to be lower than expected." A strong demand by bidders results in lower yields, or the annual interest paid to the bondholders. [...] Beijing is allowing Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shenzhen to sell local government bonds directly under a pilot scheme this month to help them boost their coffers. Following Shanghai's success, Guangdong will auction its 6.9 billion yuan debts on Friday. Local governments have been barred from directly selling debts since 1994, with the Ministry of Finance responsible for issuing bonds on their behalf with a sovereign guarantee. The solvency problem facing the so-called local government financing vehicles (LGFV) - the investment arms in charge of fundraising and construction of local infrastructure projects - prompted the central government to deregulate bond offerings by the local governments. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Land grabs blamed again for rioting in Guangdong (SCMP)
2011-11-14
Hundreds of villagers carrying rocks and clubs clashed with riot police outside Zhongshan, Guangdong province, this weekend in protest over a long-running dispute over alleged land grabs by local officials. Zhongshan police said the violence occurred when "a small number of villagers from Yilong village" attacked an industrial estate at around 7am on Saturday, "fighting, smashing, looting and setting fire". However, other media reports and unconfirmed microblog posts suggested the incident was much larger, involving upwards of 3,000 villagers and hordes of riot police. Photographs uploaded on Sina Weibo [...] and other websites showed unconfirmed images of burning factories emitting plumes of black smoke, columns of black-clad riot police trooping through the village and crowds of residents engaging in stand-offs with the police and a nighttime sit-down protest. Yilong village is a kilometre-long ribbon of houses outside Dongsheng township, northwest of Zhongshan. The incident occurred in an industrial park south of the village. Blog posts also showed protest banners complaining about "weak and inept" officials, and claimed the protest came after Dongsheng government officials sold off village land for their own personal gain. [...] The police force posted a statement on its official microblog - under the username "Ping'an Zhongshan" (peaceful Zhongshan) - on Saturday night, saying that the situation was "basically under control". [...] The microblog later dismissed online reports of a death occurring during the clashes as "rumour", and defended the police's use of force. "Nobody died in yesterday's handling [of the protests]," one post read, uploaded yesterday afternoon. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet monks to receive universal benefits (Global Times)
2011-11-14
Monks in the Tibet Autonomous Region will receive universal social welfare as part of a new policy to help limit economic difficulties and to boost regional stability, Tibet's top official said over the weekend. Chen Quanguo, the newly appointed secretary of the CPC Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, pledged in Lhasa on Saturday that more measures would be taken to help monks and nuns. "The government will make efforts to ensure public services such as transportation, power supply, telecommunication and TV programs to monasteries in Tibet," Chen said, adding that social welfare, including pensions, healthcare and minimum living allowances, will cover all monks and nuns in the autonomous region. An official with Tibet's religious affairs committee told the Global Times that the new policy will start at the end of this month and would cover more than 46,000 monks in Tibet. [...] In the wake of a fatal riot in Lhasa on March 14, 2008 that killed 18 civilians and one policeman, legal education was imposed to improve the management of Tibetan temples to help maintain social stability. During Saturday's meeting, Chen proposed to establish a model of temples in Tibet with patriotic, law-abiding monks being praised and honored, and with more efforts being made by monks in their religious and legal studies. Chen warned the exiled 14th Dalai Lama not to interfere with the reincarnation of living Buddhas, a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that also concerns who will replace the Dalai Lama. [...] "The Dalai Lama group has taken different means to sabotage Tibet's stability and prosperity. His plot of 'Tibet independence' and separatism has never changed," Chen said at the meeting, warning officials to be cautious of separatist activities. Xu said it is crucial to enhance the management of Tibetan monasteries and education while improving monks' social welfare. "This should not be a free meal charity mission. Monks covered by the welfare mechanism should at least protect the unity of the country and local stability. Separatists should not be included in the program," Xu said. ^ top ^

Self-immolations by monks blamed on hardline rule (SCMP)
2011-11-18
An exiled leader of a Tibetan monastery hit by a spate of self-immolations has blamed repressive Chinese rule for the protests, but stressed he had no authority to stop them. Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, chief abbot of the Kirti Monastery in the predominantly ethnic Tibetan area of Aba in Sichuan, said at least 11 monks, nuns and laymen had set themselves on fire in the area since March. Six died and the rest were taken away by the Chinese authorities and had not been heard of since. But the respected religious figure told an online press conference hosted by Human Rights in China in New York that he was unable to call for a stop to the extreme protests. "Because it's not us who told them to take this sort of action in the first place, I feel that we don't have the moral authority to tell them what to do and what not to do," said the monk, who followed the Dalai Lama into exile to India in 1959. His rhetoric echoed that of the Dalai Lama, who blamed the selfimmolations on the central government's hardline policies but similarly did not urge Tibetans to refrain from carrying out such protests. Last week, the 25-year-old Karmapa Lama, one of the most senior religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism and a possible successor to the Dalai Lama, urged Tibetans in China to "find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet." [...] Kirti Rinpoche, who quoted underground sources loyal to him, said 800 Chinese officials moved into the Kirti network of monasteries in March to implement "patriotic re-education" programmes among monks and monitor their activities. He said the fate of around 300 Tibetan monks reportedly arrested in April was largely unknown, but many were tortured. He said there was now a "pervasive climate of fear" in the Aba region and "every monk has been living in a state of terror." He also said the level of repression was similar across Tibet, which he said was "under virtual martial law". [...] Human Rights Watch last month documented a huge rise in security spending by the Sichuan government in the Aba region since 2002. Per capita annual spending on public security in Aba in 2009 was five times the equivalent in non-Tibetan areas in Sichuan, it said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang AIDS attack rumor denied (Global Times)
2011-11-18
Both public security and health authorities on Wednesday refuted a rumor claiming that a large group of HIV/AIDS carriers had infiltrated large cities and intended to transmit the virus by contaminating food sources. The rumor, that went viral, claimed that some 20,000 HIV-positive sufferers from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had gone to major cities across the country and laced restaurant food with their blood. It said those attackers were incited by separatists and terrorists, and warned people to not eat Xinjiang food. [...] The MOH rebutted the rumor Wednesday, saying that the virus can be transmitted only through blood, sexual contact and pregnancy. [...] On the same day, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB) also refuted the rumor, saying their investigation had turned up not a shred of evidence to corroborate it. Li Li, a deputy director with the XPSB publicity office, told the Global Times that authorities had not discovered the origin of the rumor and no arrests had been made. [...] Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, speculated that the rumor could be cooked up by some hostile groups. [...] In July 5, 2009, a riot in Urumqi left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 others injured. The riot was confirmed as a premeditated crime orchestrated by separatists from outside the country. [...] Apart from speculation of a terrorist plot, the rumor also highlighted social problems in China caused by faulty information online. [...] The State Council Information Office also vowed to firmly crack down on online rumors. "Such rumors are cancer to the Internet and the society. To clear them up needs joint efforts from the whole society," the office said in a statement on September 30. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

President Hu: Total support for Hong Kong (China Daily)
2011-11-14
Chinese President Hu Jintao said Friday that the central government would spare no efforts on matters that benefit Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and the development of the mainland and Hong Kong. He made the remarks while meeting in Hawaii with Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on the sidelines of the 19th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). During the half-an-hour meeting, Donald Tsang briefed the President on the current situation of Hong Kong [...] Tsang also voiced his appreciation for the central government's support to Hong Kong. [...] Hu spoke highly of the efforts made by the Hong Kong SAR government and Tsang. The President said Hong Kong now keeps a good momentum, with its economy developing fast and its society stable. The central government has been unwavering and consistent in supporting Hong Kong economic prosperity and stability, said President Hu. [...] Hu called on the Hong Kong government to closely follow up and ward off the impact of the global financial crisis, and also continue its efforts in addressing economic and social issues that the the majority of Hong Kong residents have been concerned about, in a bid to safeguard the long-term stability and prosperity. [...]. ^ top ^

Constitutional reform in Hong Kong internal affairs: city gov't spokesman (Xinhua)
2011-11-17
A spokesman of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said Wednesday that the implementation of constitutional reform in Hong Kong according to the Basic Law is part of the internal affairs and it is a matter for the Hong Kong SAR and the Chinese central authorities to deal with according to the Basic Law. "We hope that foreign governments and legislatures will continue to respect this principle," he said in response to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2011 Annual Report on Hong Kong. "On Hong Kong's constitutional development, both the central authorities and the HKSAR government are fully committed to promoting constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law, with a view to achieving the ultimate aim of universal suffrage. "The 2012 Constitutional Reform Package was based firmly on the Basic Law and the 2007 decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and the HKSAR government has taken full account of the views and suggestions expressed during the consultation period," he said. With the passage of the package in the summer of 2010, Hong Kong is now moving towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, said the spokesman. [...] "The HKSAR government has made it clear that the future universal suffrage models should comply with the Basic Law and the principles of universality and equality. [...]. ^ top ^

HK may fall into recession, says I.M.F. (SCMP)
2011-11-17
Hong Kong could slide into a recession next year because of depressed trade and instability in the financial sector, the International Monetary Fund warned. In a report released yesterday, it said the rapid growth in bank loans also raised the risk of rising bad loans. "Credit has been growing at an extraordinary pace, particularly for loans in foreign currency," the IMF said. "International experience would suggest that this rapid pace of credit growth has the potential to lead to a worsening of average credit quality, particularly if the business cycle swings to reverse." The IMF also cautioned that Hong Kong's growth would slow to 4 per cent next year, or even become negative, should the euro-zone crisis spin out of control and hurt the city's trade and financial sectors. The warning comes a week after Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said Hong Kong might see "a couple of quarters of bad times", amid a 50 per cent chance that the global economy could shrink. [...] Craig said the IMF's assessment was that Hong Kong was performing very well economically. However, as a small, open economy it was highly vulnerable to shocks. [...]. ^ top ^

Coy duo shy away from starting gate (SCMP)
2011-11-18
Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying announced yesterday in all but the strictest sense that they will run to be the next chief executive, but their messages were delivered in the ambiguous and confusing manner that has become a feature of this race. In the afternoon, Leung announced he would declare his candidacy to be the next chief executive on November 27. Ten minutes later, Tang said he would declare to run by the end of this month. Neither explained the rationale for holding off before giving the final words, even though their actions over the past weeks have left no doubt about their intentions. Tang has paid more than 30 visits to different districts since resigning as chief secretary on September 28. [...] Leung announced he was "preparing to run" for the chief executive's job as early as September 9, and has been openly canvassing for support since. [...] Experts say both sides are afraid of committing first because whoever formally announces their candidacy will have to face the restrictions of the election law, such as the cap on their election expenses. [...] Dr Ma Ngok, a Chinese University political scientist, said Tang was trying to hold on in the hope that Beijing would give him its blessing. It is widely believed that Tang and Leung are waiting for the Electoral Affairs Commission to release the final guideline for the chief executive election next Friday. This will define election details such as what constitutes an election advertisement. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Biggest handout yet for Macau residents (SCMP)
2011-11-16
Macau residents will receive their sixth and biggest cash handout next year - 7,000 patacas for permanent residents and 4,200 for non-permanent ones, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on said in his policy address yesterday. The handout is part of the Macau government's spate of schemes to help residents fight inflation and share in the city's economic boom. It will also spend 8.57 billion patacas on extra subsidies for the elderly, students and low-income families. "The government is very concerned about the underprivileged and the impact of inflation on residents' living conditions," Chiu said. The government is also injecting 6,000 patacas into every resident's account in its central savings system, a non-mandatory scheme to give retirement benefits to those whose companies do not offer pensions. [...] The government also promised to provide 19,000 public housing flats next year. [...] However Macau lawmaker Antonio Ng Kuok-cheong said the giveaway was not enough to alleviate the pressure escalating inflation was putting on the public, but was just a "pain stopper" to appease residents' grievances over various unjust issues in the community. "The handout was necessary, but not a solution," he said. "The government has yet to address lingering problems like business-government collusion and political reform.". ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

'92 Straits Consensus reaffirmed (China Daily)
2011-11-14
Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, met on Friday with Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang, and both reaffirmed the "1992 Consensus" as the foundation for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. [...] Hu said the situation across the Taiwan Straits has experienced "major and positive changes" over the past three years due to efforts made by both sides, and new prospects for peaceful relations have been opened. "It is a proven fact that the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties is in line with the common aspirations of the people on both sides of the Straits, and serves the interests of all Chinese," Hu said. Hu urged both sides to firmly grasp the theme of peaceful development of cross-Straits ties, consolidate the common political foundation for opposing "Taiwan independence" and recognizing the "1992 Consensus". That consensus, reached by non-governmental groups from both sides under official authorization, is an objective reality, said Hu, adding that the soul of the agreement is to seek common ground while reserving differences. Hu said recognizing the "1992 Consensus" is essential for cross-Straits dialogues and the major foundation for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. Echoing Hu, Lien said it has been a pleasure to see peaceful development of political ties, reciprocal trade arrangements and social interactions across the Straits in recent years. [...]. ^ top ^

James Soong qualifies to fight Ma for presidency (SCMP)
2011-11-16
Taiwan's Central Election Commission has allowed the chairman of the opposition People First Party (PFP) to contest the presidential election set for January 14. Election officials said yesterday that James Soong Chu-yu had secured qualification to run against Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, of the Kuomintang, and Dr Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. "Soong has endorsements from 445,864 eligible voters, exceeding the minimum requirement of 257,695," commission spokeswoman Chen Ling-ling said. That meant Soong and his running mate, Lin Ruey-shiung, had qualified to run for the island's top posts. Media commentators and political analysts have seen Soong's presidential bid as more of a threat to Ma than Tsai, given that he and Ma both come from the pan-blue camp, comprising the KMT and two splinter groups, the PFP and the New Party. The latest poll by the United Daily News shows Ma leading Tsai by 6 percentage points, but if Soong were to join the race, Ma would tie with Tsai. [...] Soong said yesterday that with the support of more than 400,000 voters, he would not retreat from the race. "We have continued to receive endorsements from voters even after the deadline, and for this, we will run until the end," he said, adding that he would formally register his candidacy on Monday. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Shandong drug makers fined for price-fixing (SCMP)
2011-11-15
Two pharmaceutical companies have been fined a total of more than seven million yuan (HK$8.57 million) for price-fixing, the first time the country's central planning agency has used its power under the anti-monopoly law to slap heavy fines on rule-breaking companies. State media reported that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) found that two pharmaceutical companies from Shandong province - Weifang Shuntong Pharmaceuticals and Weifang Xinhua Pharmaceutical Trading - were controlling the market for a drug ingredient and driving up the cost of making a blood pressure medicine that is included on the government's national drug list for sale at a retail price of eight fen a tablet. [...] The NDRC fined Weifang Shuntong Pharmaceuticals 6.877 million yuan and Weifang Xinhua Pharmaceutical Trading 152,600 yuan for forcing downstream manufacturers to raise bidding prices and interfering with the drug bidding system. Lawyer Wang Junlin, from the Yingke Law Firm, said these two cases suggest that the NDRC is ready to take more action to ensure fair competition. "This is in line with market trends and is also a natural step after the commission passed two regulations on price-fixing at the end of last year that took effect in February," Wang said. "The antimonopoly law is relatively new but now the NDRC has detailed guidelines to base its action on." [...]. ^ top ^

Banks get nods to issue special bonds to finance MSE (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-15
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has given green light to three banks to auction special bonds worth 110 billion yuan to finance loans to the micro- and small-enterprises (MSE), in its latest efforts to lend support to struggling businesses. China Minsheng Bank, Industrial Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank were permitted to issue bonds of up to 50 billion (7.73 billion U.S. dollars), 30 billion and 30 billion yuan respectively to channel loans to enterprises borrowing below 5 million yuan. The loans under the policy will be excluded from the banks' loan-to-deposit ratio calculation. The move, which is yet subject to approval from the People's Bank of China, comes after the CBRC issued a guideline last month to allow Chinese commercial banks to sell tailored bond products to support MSE credit. As of the end of September, outstanding loans made to small- and micro-sized companies totaled 14.75 trillion yuan, accounting for 27.9 percent of all outstanding loans. ^ top ^

China's R&D investment 2nd in the world: report (China Daily)
2011-11-15
China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second biggest spender on industrial research and development (R&D), trailing only the United States, a report by the United Nations (UN) said on Monday. Chinese investment in R&D rose to 12.8 percent of the world total in 2009, up from just 2.2 percent in 1993, according to the report by the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Investment into R&D, driven by China's businesses and its state-funded universities, easily outstripped money poured in by Germany, France and Britain, countries that were near the top of the list two decades ago. [...] R&D is seen as a key driver of technology-based industries but spurs growth across all sectors. The report also showed sharp rises in the number of Chinese applications for patents and trademarks, to protect innovations produced by Chinese research. [...] The public sector was the main funder of R&D in most middle income countries, predominantly in Latin American and Asia. [...] The private sector carried out most research and development in China and other high income countries. ^ top ^

Mainland financial system exposed (SCMP)
2011-11-16
China's financial system was increasingly vulnerable as threats such as worsening credit quality and a bursting property bubble were growing, the International Monetary Fund said in its first review of the country's financial system. Chinese banks, however, would be able to withstand a range of sector-specific shocks occurring in isolation, including rising bad loans in the property sector, local government financial vehicles, the export sector and other industries, the IMF said in the Financial Sector Assessment Programme review of China released yesterday. But stress tests showed the financial system could be "severely impacted" if several major shocks happened at the same time. Such a scenario assumed economic growth of 4 per cent, sharply below the 9.1 per cent in the third quarter; M2 money supply growth of about 10 per cent; a 26 per cent drop in property prices; and a change in deposit and lending rates of 95 basis points. The report is in line with prevalent views that risks are growing in the mainland financial system and only reforms to further commercialise banks and liberalise financial markets can help address the underlying problems. [...] The report was conducted with the World Bank in the second half of last year when analysts and regulators started to worry about credit quality after banks, responding to government calls, pumped an unprecedented 9.6 trillion yuan (HK$11.76 trillion) into the economy to fund stimulus projects in 2009. [...]. ^ top ^

FDI grows at faster pace in October (Global Times)
2011-11-17
Foreign direct investment in China rose 8.75 percent in October to $8.33 billion from a year earlier, improving from a drop in September and signaling the country remains one of the most favored destinations for foreign capital, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday. The world's fastest-growing economy drew $95.01 billion in FDI in the first 10 months of this year, up 15.9 percent year-on-year, the ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference. Capital inflow from 10 Asian nations and regions soared 20.67 percent in the first 10 months to $81.9 billion, with investment from Japan surging 65.5 percent. Many Japan businesses acknowledged the benefits of investing in China after Japan's earthquake and some accelerated their relocations of plants, a primary reason behind the surge, Shen noted. Investment from the EU inched up 1.05 percent to $5.51 billion in the first 10 months, while that from the US slumped further, down 18.13 percent from a year earlier to $2.57 billion, dragged by economic woes there, he said. Some observers see a slowdown in FDI after a decade of marked growth since China joined the WTO in 2001, as indicated by a downward trend in the recent months. FDI grew 7.88 percent year-on-year in September from 11.1 percent in August and 19.83 percent in July. However, others said the FDI growth, despite being affected by the global financial turmoil, remains strong. [...] China's outbound investment climbed 14.1 percent in the first 10 months year-on-year to $46.3 billion. ^ top ^

Trade surplus expected to drop to $150b (Global Times)
2011-11-17
China's trade surplus is expected to decrease to approximately $150 billion this year, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday in Beijing. The world's second-largest economy has already seen its trade surplus decrease this year, and the annual total could shrink by around $30 billion from 2010 if the downward trend continues, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference. He attributed the surplus drop to the government's efforts to promote trade balance and boost imports. Shen predicted that annual imports will rise by $360 billion this year, noting that the increase will contribute to global economic growth. The government will keep expanding imports, he said. China's trade surplus fell 36.5 percent year-on-year to $17.03 billion in October, far below the estimate of $25.8 billion. China's foreign trade may reach $3.6 trillion to $3.7 trillion this year, up from nearly $3 trillion in 2010, Shen said. Foreign trade in October fell 8.3 percent from September to $297.95 billion, but still rose 21.6 percent year-on-year, according to official data. While the US and EU are still struggling to revive their economies which will dampen China's exports to these regions, China foresees a pickup in Africa. ^ top ^

PBOC: Too soon to loosen grip on economy (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-17
China can't loosen inflation control because the foundation of domestic price stability is not yet strong enough, the central bank said in a quarterly report on its website on Wednesday. Inflationary pressure might arise from "extremely loose" global monetary conditions, still robust domestic economic expansion and rising labor costs as well as a potential increase in resource product prices, though the fall in prices could accelerate if economic growth declines further, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said. "We will continue the prudent monetary policy... and fine-tune macroeconomic policies when it is appropriate in accordance with changes in the domestic and global economic situation." The central bank said it will maintain reasonable credit growth and continue interest rate liberalization and yuan exchange rate reforms. A survey the PBOC conducted in the third quarter found that inflation expectations for the fourth quarter have risen among Chinese households. Nearly 50 percent of the 20,000 households surveyed in 50 cities believed consumer prices will rise [...]. However, analysts have predicted that the tight monetary policy will relax somewhat because the government vowed to fine-tune its economic policies to keep a balance between still hot inflation and sliding economic growth. [...] The central bank lowered yields on one-year bills on Tuesday again following last week's first decrease in almost two years, sparking concerns over a possible loosening of its monetary stance such as an interest rate cut. The PBOC sold 52 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) in one-year central bills, a significant increase from 10 billion yuan last week. In addition, new yuan lending grew by 586.8 billion yuan in October, a significant increase over the 470 billion yuan in September. And growth of M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, fell slightly to 12.9 percent in October from 13 percent in September. ^ top ^

World Bank to issue 1.5-bln-USD in loans to China over next 5 years (Xinhua)
2011-11-17
World Bank will extend 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in loans to China every year over the next five years, Rachel Kyte, the bank's vice president of sustainable development, said Wednesday in Beijing. The loans will be used to support transportation, environmental protection, natural resource management, rural poverty alleviation and renewable energy projects, Kyte said at a press conference. She said the bank will also provide policy suggestions and loans for China to help promote the development of the country's cultural industry. Since 1993, the bank has issued 260 million U.S. dollars in loans to the country to finance cultural heritage protection projects, Kyte said. The bank has thus far granted 49.15 billion U.S. dollars in loans to support 337 projects in China since 1981, with 73 projects currently under way. ^ top ^

China signals denial of W.T.O. talks on yuan (SCMP)
2011-11-18
A top mainland trade official indicated yesterday that Beijing would reject a move by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to discuss China's currency, amid reports that the WTO had agreed to do just that for the first time since its founding. "China will make its views clear to the WTO on the issue of currency," Assistant Commerce Minister Yu Jianhua said, responding to a question about reports that the 153 members of the Geneva-based trade body had agreed to examine the issue at a meeting in March. "The WTO so far has never set any single Dispute Settlement Panel for exchange rates," Yu said, adding that different international agencies had different tasks and that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) oversaw exchange-rate issues. "Work division in international organisations must be co-operative but clarified," Yu told a briefing in Beijing yesterday. Media reports on Wednesday said the WTO would examine whether international trade rules cover efforts by governments to manipulate the value of their currencies - a debate driven by China's currency policy. Other reports said Brazil was filing a complaint to the WTO to seek protective measures to shield its manufacturers from exports by countries, including China, whose currencies it said were artificially under-valued. [...] Yu said an academic study had found that China's trade surplus with the US could be overstated by as much as 60 per cent. However, he did not specify which study he was referring to. He said China would continue to liberalise its economy and engage "more proactively" in globalisation 10 years after joining the WTO. China would also continue to open its consumer goods, financial, logistics and medical services markets, Yu said. [...]. ^ top ^

China launches IT Market Index (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-18
The ceremony for the launch of the China IT Market Index was held on the afternoon of Nov. 15 in Shenzhen, indicating that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT)'s work of monitoring the IT market has been fully started and made a delightful achievement. The China IT Market Index is a sales index that reflects the situation of China's IT product circulation links. It is jointly constructed by the electronic product blocks of various cities, and its implementation is authorized to the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC) by the MIIT. The launch of the China IT Market Index means that China's terminal (distributing) market of IT products will be monitored via the index. The project is led and supervised by the Bureau of Operation, Monitoring and Coordination under the MIIT and organized and implemented by the CECC. In the first stage, monitoring of the special IT market channels will be carried out. In the second stage, monitoring on distribution channels of 3G products and e-commercial channels will be carried out. The first value of the index will be released in the 13th China High-Tech Fair, and then new values of the index will be upgraded periodically. [...] The index is compiled step by step in different places and according to different products. [...]. ^ top ^

Nestle finishes acquisition of 60 pct stake in Yinlu (Global Times)
2011-11-18
Swiss food giant Nestle SA Thursday officially finished the acquisition of a 60 percent stake in China's Yinlu Foods Group. At a ceremony in the southeastern city of Xiamen, home to the headquarters of Yinlu, the two also announced they will jointly invest 2.5 billion yuan (394 million U.S. dollars) in Yinlu to expand current and build new production facilities nationwide. Chen Qingyuan, chairman of Yinlu, said the company will seek the help of Nestle to make Yinlu an international brand and to expand into the international market. Roland Decorvet, chairman and CEO of Nestle China, said Yinlu has a very good understanding of the tastes of Chinese consumers and the Chinese market and also has very extensive distribution and sales network, while Nestle has rich experience in fields like research and development and management. [...] Yinlu, known for its peanut milk and instant porridge products, reported a revenue of 5.4 billion yuan in 2010, up 52.5 percent from a year ago. ^ top ^

3rd gas pipeline to open in '13 (Xinhua)
2011-11-18
China's third West-to-East gas pipeline is expected to become operational by the end of 2013 and will carry about 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually, mainly from Central Asia to southeastern China's Fujian province, a company source said on Wednesday. The 5,200 kilometer (km) project will include one artery, six branch lines, three gas storage facilities and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, the source said, adding that the pipeline will run from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to the city of Fuzhou in Fujian province. Work on pipelines four and five will be initiated sometime after 2015. Each pipeline will have an annual transmission capacity of about 30bcm and support the supply of gas to the country's industrialized coastal regions, the source said. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan will be the major sources of supply for all the planned pipelines. Figures released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Wednesday show that Chinese imports of natural gas rose 86.5 percent year-on-year to about 25 bcm, of which 12.3 bcm came from Central Asia and the remainder was tanker-transported LNG. [...] The project is operated by PetroChina Co Ltd, the listed arm of the country's biggest energy conglomerate, China National Petroleum Corporation. [...] Demand for natural gas has soared in China over recent years, partly because of the fuel's relatively low price when compared with oil, but also as the government pushes to replace dirty fossil fuels with cleaner energies to lower emissions. The nation's "apparent" consumption of natural gas - including domestic production and imports, but excluding exports - hit 104.1 bcm between January and October, a rise of 20.4 percent year-on-year, according to the NDRC. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese multinationals' worldwide reach limited (People's Daily Online)
2011-11-18
China's major enterprises have a low average level of transnational operations, according to the China Top 100 Transnational Companies and Multinational Index for 2011 recently released by the China Enterprise Confederation and the Chinese Entrepreneur Association. The transnational activity of China's multinationals is not only lower than that of the world's top 100 multinational companies but also is markedly lower than that of developing countries' top 100 multinational companies, according to the index. In terms of overseas operations, the combined overseas assets of China's top 100 multinational companies for 2011 have reached 3.3 trillion yuan, accounting for 21 percent of their total assets. Their overseas revenue totaled 3.1 trillion yuan, about 15 percent of the total. The number of their overseas employees reached 329,000, which is a little more than 4 percent of the total. [...] The average multinational index of China's top 100 transnational companies stood at 13 percent, which is not only far lower than the average level of 61 percent for the world's top 100 multinational companies but also markedly lower than the average level of 40 percent for developing countries' top 100 multinational companies. Of the top 100 Chinese transnational companies, only nine companies' transnational indexes were above 30 percent.. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK defectors in limbo (Global Times)
2011-11-14
Chinese authorities have not confirmed if a group of 19 North Korean defectors arrested in Northeast China would be sent to South Korea, according to a press official with the foreign ministry. "We have not been told to change our regular practice regarding this case," the official told the Global Times Sunday, on condition of anonymity. China will make a rare move of allowing 19 North Korean defectors to leave for South Korea as early as this month, the Yonhap News Agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying in a report on Friday. This exception comes for diplomatic considerations, as public arrest of defectors is turning into an international issue. The source, who requested anonymity, mentioned Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's recent visit to Seoul has also had an impact on the case. Liu Ming, a researcher with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times China would consider factors including family background, time in China and personal intentions when making policy for North Korean defectors. "More North Koreans will cross the border into the country if China allows them to arrive in South Korea," Liu said. "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea will then strengthen border force, which will bring in tension between the two countries." A total of 20 defectors, including two South Korean nationals, were arrested in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, in September, according to the Yonhap report. [...] Another 18 North Koreans were taken into custody in the city of Tumen, Jilin Province. They will take a flight from Tumen or the neighboring Yanji to South Korea around November 20, the report said. Chinese authorities have decided to issue the defectors travel certificates, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

North Korea seeks social network publicity by opening up to Web 2.0 (Global Times)
2011-11-15
North Korea's main government website has introduced a feature allowing users to post its critical statements about the US and South Korea on popular social networks including Facebook. Stinging postings attacking Seoul and Washington were posted on the North's official site (www.uriminzokkiri.com) with icons linking to Twitter, Facebook and two South Korean portals, NHN and Daum, allowing users to share its content on the social networks. The development was first reported Monday by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, which monitors the North's media. Pyongyang joined Twitter under the name @uriminzok ("our own nationals") in August last year, months after its foray on to the popular videosharing site YouTube. The country has attracted more than 10,000 followers on Twitter. In January, the official news agency began posting video footage on its website, and a month later, the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun launched its own site. Separately, a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity that North Korea opened a department store, Potongkang, in its capital in February, selling imported highend brands such as Chanel and Giorgio Armani as well as medicine, furniture and foods. ^ top ^

Energy consortium to demand DPRK pay for failed project (Xinhua)
2011-11-15
A multinational energy consortium will demand the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) pay 1.89 billion U.S. dollars in compensation for the collapse of the project to provide the country with two light-water reactors, local media reported Monday. The demand by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), which involves South Korea, the United States and Japan, comes after the DPRK asked the consortium in September to pay 5.8 billion U.S. dollars for financial losses associated with the failed project. The KEDO, established in 1995, had planned to build two 1,000- megawatt light-water reactors in the DPRK in exchange for suspension of nuclear facility at the DPRK's Yongbyon atomic complex. Since the consortium was officially called off in 2006, the KEDO has been asking the DPRK to pay compensation for its violation of the agreement, according to Yonhap News Agency. The DPRK never responded to such calls. ^ top ^

Work on new DPRK reactor will 'strain ties' (Global Times)
2011-11-17
Significant progress in North Korea's construction of a new nuclear reactor would cause bilateral relations between Pyongyang and Seoul to reach deadlock once again, a Chinese analyst said Wednesday, as satellite imagery showed rapid work being done on a light-water reactor, which Pyongyang said it would start operating soon. Pyongyang said that the experimental reactor and an associated uranium enrichment plant are designed to provide electricity, AFP quoted North Korea's official news agency as saying. However, scientists said they could be reconfigured to produce material for nuclear weapons. The 38 North website (38north.org) this week carried the satellite images of the work in cooperation with DigitalGlobe's Analysis Center, and said significant progress over the past year could indicate a desire to push ahead as fast as possible with uranium enrichment, to produce fuel for the reactor and possibly fissile material for weapons, AFP reported. [...] The construction of the nuclear reactors by North Korea is a way of putting up pressure on the US and South Korea, Lü Chao, director of the Center of South Korea studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, noting that once there is no progress on talks, Pyongyang's construction would be the obvious push. [...] The photographs come amid growing concerns over North Korea's nuclear program, as US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday that Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program and construction of a light-water reactor violate United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as their commitment to the 2005 joint statement. Also on Tuesday, South Korea's Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo urged the Lee Myung-bak administration to seek summit talks with the North regardless of timing, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Meanwhile, Beijing wants Pyongyang to hold deeper negotiations with Seoul and Washington in the hope of reviving nuclear talks. [...]. ^ top ^

North Korea sees 169 percent jump in mobile phone users (Global Times)
2011-11-17
North Korea has seen a sharp rise in mobile phone use, with more than 800,000 subscribers as of the end of September, according to the Egyptian company which provides the service. Orascom Telecom said the figure represents a 169 percent increase year-on-year. The company, in a quarterly earnings report seen on its website Wednesday, said its network now covers areas where 94 percent of the population live. North Korea strictly controls access to outside information by its 24 million people and fixes the tuning controls of radios and televisions to official stations. It began a mobile phone service in November 2002 but shut it down without explanation 18 months later and began recalling handsets. But in December 2008 the country introduced a 3G mobile phone network in a joint venture with the Egyptian firm. Seoul-based activists say it is difficult for users to make or receive overseas calls due to limited service and tight oversight. The North clamps down on unauthorized use of mobile phones smuggled from China and used in border areas. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president meets DPRK youth delegation (Xinhua)
2011-11-18
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met Thursday with a youth delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Xi welcomed the 100-member youth group. China's Communist Youth League Central Committee invited the group to the country. Since diplomatic ties were forged in 1949, China and the DPRK have consolidated good-neighborly friendship, enhanced mutual-beneficial cooperation with mutual trust and support, contributed to regional peace and stability, he said. He hailed the current bilateral ties and cooperation achievements, saying China will constantly consolidate and develop the friendly cooperative relations so to preserve and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity [...]. ^ 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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