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
  5-9.12.11, No. 400  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Japan hold strategic dialogue (China Daily)
2011-12-02
China and Japan on Friday held their 12th strategic dialogue, pledging to enhance mutual trust. "The two sides exchanged views in a candid and in-depth way mainly on the direction of the China-Japan relationship and the mutual political and strategic trust between the two nations," according to a press release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry after the dialogue between China's Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and his Japanese counterpart Sasae Kenichiro. The two sides agreed that they should fully implement the consensus reached earlier between the two nations' leaders and strengthen their dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and enhance their mutual trust to ensure that their strategic relationship of mutual benefit will develop in a "healthy and stable" way, said the release. The strategic dialogue came days after Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba's visit to Beijing. Reports said that Gemba's visit to Beijing could pave way for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's planned tour of China later this year. During Friday's meeting, the two sides agreed to "proactively" make preparations for Noda's visit and take advantage of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries to further advance bilateral relations, said the release. [...] According to the release, the two sides also agreed to appropriately handle "sensitive issues" between the two nations through dialogue and consultation. "The two sides exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern as well," it added. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese warships visit Oman for goodwill visit (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-05
Two warships from China on Sunday docked at Port Sultan Qaboos in the Omani capital of Muscat to begin a five-day goodwill visit to the southwestern Asian country. The tour was made by the destroyer "Wuhan" and the frigate " Yulin," which were part of the ninth Chinese naval convoy to conclude its escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. During their escort mission, the Chinese warships had stayed in Oman's port for replenishment and were well-supported by the Omani side, said Commander of the flotilla Guan Jianguo. Guan said that he hoped the visit by the Chinese warships could help enhance the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries as well as their navies. Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Oman Wu Jiuhong, who attended a welcome ceremony of the flotilla, hailed the friendly ties between China and Oman, saying that the visit would certainly help further the relationship and display China's image as a responsible country. [...]. ^ top ^

Panda pair lands in Edinburgh under 10-year research partnership (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-05
Two pandas loaned to the UK left Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Sunday morning and landed in Edinburgh after an 11-hour flight as part of a 10-year research project, according to a report released on the website of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. The 7-year-old pandas Sunshine and Sweetie (Yang Guang and Tian Tian in Chinese) from the center's Ya'an Bifengxia Base in Sichuan Province were escorted by their keeper Xie Hao and Tang Chunxiang, a veterinarian from the center, who will stay at Edinburgh Zoo to look after the pandas until they adapt to their new environment, said the report. [...] Early this year, China and the UK signed a 10-year research agreement and the center loaned the two pandas to the zoo as part of the partnership. [...] The two pandas are not the only pair to have been loaned to foreign countries. On Saturday afternoon, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the France-based ZooParc de Beauval signed a 10-year agreement in Beijing to loan two pandas to France. The pandas will be sent to France next year and will live there for a decade, the Beijing Times reported on Sunday. "Panda diplomacy is a typical Chinese style. Pandas are an endangered species. Traditionally, Chinese tend to lend or present precious things to express sincerity and good wishes," Liu Jinghua, a professor with Beijing Normal University's School of Political Science and International Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday. ^ top ^

China requests Philippines ensures safety, lawful rights of Chinese fishermen (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-06
China on Monday demanded the Philippines ensure the safety and lawful rights of six detained Chinese fishermen. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily news briefing. The six Chinese fishermen were detained by Philippines authorities for allegedly entering the country's territorial waters, according to media reports. "China attaches great importance to the incident and has already lodged representations to the Philippine side," said Hong. China has demanded that the incident be handled promptly, appropriately and in a fair manner, he said, adding the Chinese Embassy in Manila has dispatched officials to visit the six fishermen. ^ top ^

China to further ties with Russia after Duma poll (China Daily)
2011-12-06
The results of Russia's parliamentary election will benefit the country, and China will further bilateral ties after Sunday's polling, China's Foreign Ministry said. "We believe that the election results will be beneficial for Russia's social unity, national stability and economic development," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. China respects the choice of the Russian people, and will work with the Russians to push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, he said. Russia's ruling United Russia party has won nearly half the votes of the 95.71 percent of ballots that have been counted, according to Russia's election watchdog, the Central Election Commission (CEC). United Russia may gain 238 of the 450 seats and enjoy a majority in the State Duma, or the lower house of the parliament, according to the CEC. However, the party received nearly one-third fewer votes than in 2007 and fell short of the 315 seats it secured in the last Duma election. [...]. ^ top ^

Vice president pledges coordination with Cambodia on int'l affairs (Xinhua)
2011-12-07
Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday vowed to further consultations and coordination with Cambodia on regional and international affairs. Xi made the pledge during a meeting with Heng Samrin, president of the Cambodian National Assembly at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing. "The close contact and cooperation between China and Cambodia at last month's East Asia Summit has contributed to the success of the leaders' meeting," Xi said. Xi said China will enhance consultation and coordination with Cambodia on regional and international affairs regarding the United Nations, East Asian cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. [...] China attaches importance to the relationship with Cambodia and will work with Cambodia to deepen substantial cooperation and strive for common prosperity, he said. Heng Samrin said he appreciates China's long-term assistance to his country, saying Cambodia will learn from China's experience in economic development and improving people's livelihoods. Cambodia will also enhance cooperation with China in investment, tourism, anti-terrorism and in combating cross-border crime, he said, adding that the Cambodian parliament will also contribute to the growth of bilateral ties. ^ top ^

China sets conditions on binding climate change commitment after 2020 (Xinhua)
2011-12-07
China will agree to participate in a legally binding treaty on climate change after 2020 under certain conditions, a senior Chinese official said here Monday. China is still a developing country, and other countries should respect a founding principle of the existing agreements that recognizes wealthy nations must do more since they are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, said Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China. [...] The conditions include: new carbon-cutting pledges by rich nations in the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; fast launch of the Green Climate Fund agreed on in Cancun under a supervisory regime; implementing the consensus of adaptation; technology transfer, transparency, capability building and other points agreed upon in the former conferences as well as appraising developed countries' commitment during the first period of the Kyoto Protocol. "China is willing to bear the obligations of a legally binding commitment matched with China's economic development and capabilities based on the principal of common but differentiated responsibilities, fair and environmental integrity," Xie said. He insisted that all parties obey the Bali Roadmap and other existing legal frameworks to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a multilateral mechanism. [...]. ^ top ^

China joins FAO efforts to support South-South Cooperation (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-07
China is playing its part in projects of the United Nations to improve global food security under the framework of South-South Cooperation (SSC), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday. FAO recently co-signed two new tripartite agreements with China, Liberia and Senegal respectively to support implementation of a series of food security initiatives and projects in Liberia and Senegal, the organization said in a press release. The Rome-based food agency said the agreements were signed in the context of the Strategic Alliance between FAO and China on SSC in support of programs for food and nutrition security in selected countries. The funding provided through the new agreement comes from a FAO-China Trust Fund of 30 million U.S. dollars, it said. Under the agreement with Liberia, China will contribute over one million dollars and provide technical assistance through 24 Chinese experts and technicians to support implementation of the country's National Program for Food Security over a two-year period. In Senegal, China will provide assistance through 26 experts and technicians. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese President meets deputies for military meetings (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-07
President Hu Jintao on Tuesday met deputies of the Party congress of People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and attendants for the meeting of the PLA's armament work. Hu, who is also Chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged the Navy deputies to promote the fine traditions of the PLA, accelerate the transformation and modernization of the Navy in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for warfare in order to make greater contributions to safeguarding national security and world peace. [...] Vice President Xi Jinping also attended the two meetings. ^ top ^

China to launch satellite for Turkmenistan (China Daily)
2011-12-07
China will launch a communications satellite for Turkmenistan with its Long March-3B carrier rocket in 2014, the Chinese launch contractor said on Tuesday. The satellite will be Turkmenistan's first communications satellite. It will be sent into orbit at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province, based on the SPACEBUS 4000C2 platform made by Thales Alenia Space France (TASF), according to a contract signed by the French company and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). [...] As the only Chinese company engaged in international commercial satellite launching services, CGWIC, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, has launched 38 foreign satellites since 1990. ^ top ^

P.L.A., Pentagon officials resume regular talks (SCMP)
2011-12-08
Chinese and US defence officials met in Beijing yesterday for their highest-level contacts since recent frictions over arms sales to Taiwan and plans to strengthen the American military presence in the Pacific. The 12th round of US-China defence consultative talks are a barometer of relations between the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army and the US military, which is repositioning itself in the Pacific following the winding down of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the PLA has lashed out at the recent US moves, Beijing's decision to proceed with the talks appears to show it is placing a new importance on regular talks between the sides, even as their rivalry sharpens. China's lead delegate, General Ma Xiaotian, said the decision to proceed with the meeting showed both sides were committed to improving relations. "We attach great value to this platform to enhance communication, to expand common ground, to promote mutual understanding, to manage and control risks and to avoid miscalculation, thus maintaining the stability of our military-to-military relationship," Ma, the People's Liberation Army's deputy chief of staff, said in opening remarks at the defence ministry in central Beijing. Representing the US, Defence Undersecretary Michele Flournoy said next year would be a "very significant" year for relations and "it's very important to co-operate on a number of issues that impact both of our countries," apparently referring to the leadership transition in Beijing and the US presidential election. [...] On Tuesday, Vice-President Xi Jinping urged the US to "curb its tendency of politicising economic issues", after a recent step-up in US criticism of Beijing's trade practices. Xi made his remarks during a meeting with former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson in Beijing. [...]. ^ top ^

Japan PM's visit put back (Global Times)
2011-12-08
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's planned trip to China next Monday and Tuesday has been postponed at the request of China amid concerns over historical issues, the Kyodo News reported. Chinese authorities are concerned that the scheduled visit may spark anti-Japanese sentiment as the original dates fall on the 74th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, the report quoted observers of bilateral relations as saying. Neither side has given an official explanation for the delay or whether the anniversary was the reason for the rescheduling of Noda's visit. Hong Lei, spokesman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at Wednesday's press conference that the two countries have been negotiating on the date of Noda's visit and that the ministry will release the information when the date is settled. He added that China hoped Noda's visit would deepen the two countries' mutually beneficial strategic relationship. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura confirmed the delay on Wednesday, saying that China had requested a rescheduling due to its domestic affairs, the Xinhua News Agency reported. "The two countries are still looking forward to a visit later this year. Japan hopes the visit will be successful and held in a good atmosphere and rescheduled before Noda's trip to India on December 28," he added. [...]. ^ top ^

The nostalgia of "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" and beyond (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
[...] A ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of "Ping Pong Diplomacy" was held at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing Thursday. Vice President Xi Jinping and visiting former U.S. President Jimmy Carter attended the ceremony and watched friendly Ping-Pong matches. Apart from recalling the fond memories, Xi called on China and the United States to bear in mind the spirit of seizing the day and hour. "The two countries must fully draw on historic experience and strengthen dialogue, mutual trust and cooperation," said Xi at the ceremony. Xi urged the two sides to handle sensitive issues carefully and properly on the basis of mutual respect and equality while efficiently managing differences in an effort to ensure the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. [...] In the 40 years since those historic Ping-Pong games, bilateral ties have withstood ups and downs, he said. Facts prove that working together is the only correct choice for the two countries and is also an irresistible trend, Xi said. Carter, recalling his memories of 40 years ago, said he felt excited after hearing Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai invite U.S. table tennis players to China.[...]. ^ top ^

China refutes "land grab" claims in Africa (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
China on Thursday refuted claims that it has been buying up land in Africa, calling for "concrete" efforts to help the continent's agricultural sector develop in a sustainable way. "China always seeks food self-sufficiency through its own domestic output," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing. Instead of grabbing land in Africa, China has been providing as much technical assistance as it can to help develop agriculture there and enhance the continent's capability of using its natural resources and addressing issues such as climate change and food security, Hong said. "Those efforts are welcomed by the African nations," he added. In response to a question on neo-colonialism, Hong said that "there is indeed neo-colonialism in Africa, but absolutely not from China." The spokesman did not identify which countries are the neo-colonialists. [...] "As an important strategic partner, China has made great contributions to the economic development and the betterment of people's livelihood in South Africa," Hong said. The spokesman said that some Chinese enterprises are carrying out small-scale cooperation through internationally-accepted business models with their partners in Africa, and sell their products to meet local demand. This year, China donated 443.2 million yuan (about 70 million U.S. dollars) in emergency grain and funds to famine-stricken countries in the Horn of Africa, which Hong said was China's largest donation since 1949. "Africa is victim to agricultural neo-colonialism," Hong said, adding that it is the common obligation of the international community to promote the sustainable development of Africa's agricultural sector. [...]. ^ top ^

US 'should explain' Australia military plans (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-09
A top Chinese military official has asked his US counterpart to explain Washington's intention to expand its military presence in Australia during their annual defense talks, the US official said on Thursday, one day after the talks. Michele Flournoy, US undersecretary of defense for policy, told Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army General Staff, that Washington's planned deployment in Australia is not aimed at containing China. Flournoy made the remarks at a briefing at the US embassy in Beijing. She said Ma asked about Washington's intentions behind the plan to locate as many as 2,500 US Marines as well as aircraft and ships at a base in Darwin, northern Australia. "We assured General Ma and his delegation that the US does not seek to contain China. We do not view China as an adversary," she said, adding that the moves were "first and foremost" about strengthening US-Australia ties. US President Barack Obama announced the deployment plan on a trip to Asia last month, during which he said the US was "here to stay" in the region. China's military denounced the plan, warning that it could erode trust and fan Cold War-style antagonism. [...] The China-US defense consultative talks (DCT) were held on Wednesday in the Chinese capital. This was the first high-level meeting of US and Chinese defense officials since Washington angered Beijing in September by announcing an arms deal with Taiwan. Beijing later delayed some planned military exchanges with the US. A news release issued by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday said the DCT was "candid and constructive" and "reached the expected target". [...] Although the consultations took place as scheduled, the issue of arms sales to Taiwan could not be avoided, said Luo Yuan, a researcher with the PLA's Academy of Military Science. Ma urged the US side to remove the obstacles to promoting China-US military relations during the consultations, according to the news release. Arms sales to Taiwan serve to restrict the two militaries' contacts, and reconnaissance activities by US aircraft and ships remain major obstacles, Ma said. ^ top ^

Asia's giants resume quest for better ties (SCMP)
2011-12-09
A fourth round of Sino-Indian defence and security consultations will be held today in New Delhi, and analysts hope it will help reopen delayed border talks and lessen the long-held mistrust between the two countries. General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army's general staff, will lead a delegation to New Delhi for the talks with Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and ministry officials, according to a report released by the Chinese Defence Ministry. The last such talks were held in January of last year in Beijing. Sun Shihai, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said today's meeting would help restart Sino-Indian border talks, which were supposed to have resumed on November 28. Those talks were abruptly postponed on November 25 because the dates clashed with the Global Buddhist Conference in New Delhi, The Hindu newspaper quoted an unnamed Chinese diplomatic official as saying. "The border dispute and India's political stance of supporting the Dalai Lama are still the key obstacles in Sino-Indian ties," Sun said. "But fortunately, both Beijing and New Delhi are keen on strengthening mutual trust, even though they realise that they are also competitors in economic and security issues." [...] Sun also said India's involvement in South China Sea oil exploration had complicated the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region, which he said would likely be one of the important issues at today's meeting. In October, India's state-run explorer, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, signed a three-year deal with to co-operate in the South China Sea, where China has territorial claims with many neighbours in Southeast Asia.[...] "A real improvement in bilateral ties is, however, far off, as key issues such as the border, the Dalai Lama, the China-Pakistan nexus, India's role in the South China Sea and New Delhi-Washington ties are likely to persist for a long time," he said. "The India-China trust deficit is not going to disappear soon." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Weibo asking users to register identities (China Daily)
2011-12-03
To prevent the use of fake identities and make it easier to trace the source of online rumors, Sina Weibo, which runs the most popular micro blog website in China, has set up a system to verify the identities of users. Micro-bloggers can now go to the site and voluntarily submit their names, ID numbers and their cell phone numbers. Sina Weibo will then have public security departments check that information for accuracy, Mao Taotao, a public relations manager at Sina, said on Friday. He said micro-bloggers whose ID numbers jibe with police records will receive an "honor medal", which will be displayed under their user names on the website. "We are encouraging micro-bloggers to apply for the real-name system, but we don't expect all users to do that," he said. [...] He said the company's "rumor-control" team will work around the clock to monitor Weibo posts and remove false information. Tan Chao, director of the team, said the identity system will make it easier to find Weibo users who have fake identities and to eradicate online rumors. He said posts containing false information must be eliminated as soon as possible. [...] "The police will crack down on online rumors and we are asking residents and netizens to report fake information to us," said Zi Xiangdong, spokesman of the Beijing public security bureau. However, the new policy raises concern among Weibo users. "I will not submit my personal information to the company, because I'm afraid my information might be leaked when the company transfers it to the police for validation," said Zhang Fan, an employee at a media company in Beijing. [...]. ^ top ^

Rise in smuggled women reported (SCMP)
2011-12-04
An increasing number of women from Southeast Asia are being smuggled into China and sold into marriage or forced to work as prostitutes, state media reported yesterday. "The number of foreign women trafficked to China is definitely rising," the China Daily quoted Chen Shiqu, director of the office for combating human trafficking in the Ministry of Public Security, as saying. Without giving figures, he said many of the women came from poor rural areas of Vietnam, Myanmar or Laos and were lured by transnational criminal gangs with promises of good jobs or marriage with rich Chinese men. The victims were often sold to villagers as brides or forced to become prostitutes in underground brothels in coastal or border areas such as Guangdong and Yunnan, he said. Women were sold for between 20,000 yuan (HK$24,450) and 50,000 yuan each, with prices varying with appearance and nationality, said Jin Yulu, an official at the Ruili border crossing to Myanmar. [...]. ^ top ^

China to accelerate establishment of social security and service system for disabled (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-06
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Monday said China will accelerate the establishment of a social security and service system for people with disabilities. Hui made the remarks during a meeting with Shybe Chalklen, UN special rapporteur on Disability of Commission for Social Development. "The Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the rights and interests of the disabled," Hui said, adding that the Chinese government has taken a series of measures in the past to improve the living standards of people with disabilities. Hui said China will make great efforts to create a better environment for the disabled to participate in social activities equally. [...]. ^ top ^

Authorities aim to end child begging (Global Times)
2011-12-06
Chinese authorities will take measures to eradicate child begging in city streets by the end of 2012, Chen Shiqu, an official at the Ministry of Public Security, said on Monday. Chen, the director of the anti-human trafficking office under the ministry, said in a Sina microblog interview on Monday that various ministries, including public security and civil affairs, will crack down on child abduction to ensure their rights and interests. Chen also said that abduction and trafficking have now been brought under control. According to Chen, DNA analysis technology has been used to crack down on the practice and a mechanism to gather information on missing children has also been set up. A special campaign targeting trafficking in women and children was landed in April 2009 in which more than 1,500 children and women were rescued in the first two months, the Xinhua News Agency reported. [...]

Chen explained that most child beggars were brought into cities by relatives and only a small proportion were abducted. [...] Chen also pointed out that the constant demand from buyers is the main reason for failing to root out child abduction and trafficking. [...]. ^ top ^

Harsh restrictions eased on blind activist and family (SCMP)
2011-12-06
Legal expert who exposed forced abortions can now receive medicine, but he remains under heavy guard. Authorities have eased restrictions on a blind legal activist whose smothering, secretive detention in his village has become the focus of protests at home and condemnation abroad, sources close to his family said. Activists said the government of Linyi in Shandong in October allowed the 77-year-old mother of Chen Guangcheng to leave their home village to buy supplies for the family - a hint that officials have softened some of the harshest restrictions on him and his relatives, all under house arrest for nearly 15 months. He Peirong, an activist based in Nanjing, said the Shandong provincial government had responded to some of the requests of Chen's supporters, including allowing Chen to receive medicine they sent and to allow his six-year-old daughter to go to school. [...] County and town officials near Chen's home declined to comment on the case. Chen remains under heavy guard but has been allowed to receive ulcer medicine. [...] Chen's daughter, Chen Kesi, was allowed to go to school in mid-September, but remained under constant guard even at school. [...] One activist said a village official involved in beating up the blind activist last month visited the family and offered compensation, which Chen rejected. Chen angered Shandong officials in 2005 by exposing a programme of forced abortions as part of the country's one-child policy. He was formally released in September last year after four years in jail on a charge of "blocking traffic". ^ top ^

China's first human rights base established (China Daily)
2011-12-06
China's first human rights education and training base was opened in Tianjin's Nankai University Sunday, chinanews.com reported.The university will advance its current human rights courses and have three additional courses on human rights each year to complete the system. It also vowed to provide human rights training to society. Luo Haocai, head of China's Human Rights Research Society, said the base will beef up China's human rights theories, bring up more professional human rights workers and enhance peoples' awareness of human rights. Luo said there will be more human rights bases in China. Three universities are currently approved to engage in human rights training and education. They are Nankai university in Tianjin, China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing and Guangzhou University in Guangdong province. ^ top ^

New year deadline to resolve back-pay disputes (SCMP)
2011-12-07
Beijing has set a January 23 deadline, Lunar New Year's Day, for the settlement of most back-pay disputes involving migrant workers amid concerns about social unrest caused by labour disputes in recent months. Nine central government agencies including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the National Development and Reform Commission have launched a crackdown targeting rogue employers who hold up payments to migrant workers, the ministry said. A new directive gives law enforcement departments seven days to settle back-pay disputes involving more than 10 workers. [...] The back-pay issue prompted a revision to the mainland's criminal code in February which stipulated that employers could face up to seven years in prison for the ill-intentioned withholding of payments to workers. However, few have been prosecuted. Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin vowed on Monday to make back-pay disputes involving migrant workers a priority ahead of the Lunar New Year to head off possible social unrest. But Zhang Zhiqiang, a Beijing-based lawyer who specialises in migrant labour issues, said the latest directive, involving so many government agencies, might prove just as toothless as February's revision because of a lack of accountability. [...]. ^ top ^

Better handling of petitions, complaints urged (China Daily)
2011-12-07
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Tuesday urged cadres in party and government organs to handle people's petitions and complaints by themselves, in a bid to enhance the relationship between the masses and the Party. Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting held in Ningbo, in eastern China's Zhejiang province, to discuss the handling of people's petitions and complaints. Zhou urged authorities to give priority to applicants' interests and address their most direct and pragmatic problems, requiring party cadres at all levels to handle the people's petitions and complaints personally, removing potential conflicts that could undermine social stability. [...] Zhou called for structures to be built at grassroots levels of the Party and government, as well as enhanced monitoring of their work, in a bid to ensure appropriate solutions to people's reasonable appeals. ^ top ^

Villagers stage sit-in after being blamed for violence (SCMP)
2011-12-07
Thousands of residents rallied in Wukan village, Guangdong, yesterday to protest against the authorities' branding of previous petitions as illegal. They vowed not to budge in their fight against corrupt officials. The sit-in followed a statement by a Lufeng county government spokesman on Saturday that blamed violence that erupted in the village on September 21 on the organisation of illegal meetings that were exploited by "a few people harbouring hidden agendas". [...] The spokesman said villagers were not allowed to organise illegal activities or use criminal or violent means to hinder the government's efforts to tackle the issue. Villagers also expressed disappointment yesterday at the recent naming of the unpopular Zhu Maoquan as the village's Communist Party secretary. [...] A village representative said another villager, Zhuang Liehong, 26, had been detained by the State Security Bureau when he attended a wedding banquet in Shenzhen last week. "As one of our core members, Zhuang is responsible for contacting journalists from foreign media organisations and knows a lot of secrets about our planning and actions," the villager said, claiming that a senior Shanwei city official told him over the weekend that Zhuang would be jailed for at least 10 years for "colluding with foreign forces and jeopardising state security". [...] The county government spokesman said village leaders could face serious charges. Its statement said that it would severely punish the leaders of the protests and warned that "overseas forces wanted to sow divisions between the government and villagers" and take advantage of the negative publicity caused by villagers' actions to jeopardise the national interests. The head of the Donghai township government was besieged by hundreds of villagers when he visited Wukan on Monday morning, the village representative said. Some villagers, including Zhuang's relatives, suggested that the official be held hostage in exchange for Zhuang's release. He was not allowed to leave until Monday afternoon. To prevent public security officers from detaining their leaders, young villagers began evening patrols over the weekend, a Wukan resident said. ^ top ^

Workers refuse to back down (SCMP)
2011-12-07
A wave of strikes in the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas over pay and compensation gathered momentum yesterday. The increasing regularity of walkouts in the industrial heartlands is a sign of rising labour tensions as an ever more combative workforce faces off against employers battling the effects of a global slowdown. Police clashed with strikers at a factory in Shanghai, detaining at least 10 picketers, as the plant's Singaporean owners adopted a hardline approach in a bid to break a deadlock on its seventh day. "We arrived at the factory at 6am, but the gates were locked and we were not allowed in," said a woman on strike from the Hi-P International electronics plant. "There were about 200 police there and they wouldn't let us protest. Lots of workers were taken away." She said workers were taking their case to the municipal government, as they believed they had been fired for participating in the strike. The walkout started last Wednesday in protest at plans to relocate the factory to the outskirts of Shanghai. [...] In nearby Taicang, Jiangsu province, there have been reports of an ongoing strike at an electronics plant of KOA Electronics, a Japanese firm. The strike occurred after a Japanese manager had allegedly abused a Chinese worker verbally late last month. [...] In Shekou, an industrial zone in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, more than 1,000 assembly workers continued to strike for a sixth day yesterday, mainland media reported. Hundreds of workers have been blocking the factory's main gate since Thursday after their employer, Topsearch Industries, a Hong Kong-listed circuit board maker, decided to relocate production lines to Shaoguan, in a more remote part of Guangdong. [...] Two Topsearch clerks said yesterday that the strike was continuing and that Shenzhen labour officials had arrived at the factory for mediation. Police were dispatched to prevent unrest triggered by the strike. [...]. ^ top ^

178 kids rescued (Global Times)
2011-12-07
Police in 10 provincial-level regions have jointly cracked two child trafficking gangs that were deemed "seriously harmful," arresting 608 suspects and rescuing 178 children. According to a statement released by the Ministry of Public Security, police discovered Cai Lianchao's group in Sichuan and Chen Xiumei's group in Fujian in two separate cases. Following sophisticated operations, more than 5,000 police officers took joint actions on November 30 and finally seized Cai and Chen along with their associates. ^ top ^

Third of toys tested too toxic for children (SCMP)
2011-12-08
Nearly a third of the toys on store shelves contain heavy metals and about 10 per cent have lead levels that exceed national safety standards, Greenpeace said in a report released in Hong Kong yesterday. Greenpeace campaigner Ada Kong Cheuk-san said she and her colleagues had bought toys in Hong Kong and four big mainland cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan. In a month they gathered 500 samples and screened them with a handheld X-ray scanner that could detect six kinds of heavy metals - antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury - that were known to have lasting and devastating health effects even when present in small quantities. The highest reading, from a green toy ring, recorded a lead level of 120,960 parts per million - more than 200 times the safety standard on the mainland and more than 1,300 times the standard in the United States. [...] Greenpeace said the fact nearly 70 per cent of the samples, mostly made on the mainland by Chinese manufacturers, did not contain heavy metals showed the industry was capable of making safe toys. [...] A national inspection conducted by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine early this year, which examined more than 240 samples on the mainland, found only one product with excessive levels of heavy metal. Sun Xiaogang, sales manager for the China Certification & Inspection Group, said the discrepancy could be the result of different testing methods. While Greenpeace detected the total amount of heavy metals on the surface of a product, the government used a more sophisticated method [...]. "Big toy makers tend to be more careful about heavy metals because they earn lots of money from exports," Sun said. "Small factories, under the pressure of tough competition, pursue low production costs and allow more flexibility in their choice of raw materials and quality control.". ^ top ^

China to adopt a tighter air quality index (Global Times)
2011-12-08
On the basis of public feedback, China will likely adopt new air quality standards, which for the first time will include readings of concentrations less than PM2.5, a major indicator of pollution harmful to health, according to a report from the Beijing Morning Post Wednesday. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) began soliciting public opinion on November 16 on the draft of the revised Environmental Air Quality Standards, which includes measurements of PM2.5 (particulate matters smaller than 2.5 micrometers) and ozone density. As of Monday, the ministry had received more than 1,500 letters and emails, which generally approved the new standards, the MEP said on Tuesday. The ministry said the new and tighter measures will be fully implemented nationwide in 2016, adding that the central government may designate certain regions to adopt the new standard ahead of the national deadline, while provincial-level governments have the option to implement it earlier. The proposed revision follows the public's challenges on the country's standard of measuring air quality and official statistics released by local authorities in Beijing. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese leader stresses improving social management (Global Times)
2011-12-08
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has urged more developed regions to improve public services and create a new model of social management. Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark during an inspection tour of the city of Ningbo in east China's Zhejiang province on Monday and Tuesday. Economically developed regions like Ningbo should devote more resources to social management and explore new ways to crack difficult problems, Zhou said. While visiting community service centers, legal assistance agencies and traffic police departments, Zhou urged community-level social workers and officials to improve their services. While inspecting a local Internet management center, Zhou urged employees to follow the development of the Internet, understand the principles of online communication and play both a constructive and regulatory role in Internet management. ^ top ^

China's top legislator urges improvements to People's Congress system (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, has urged Party members working in the line of the National People's Congress (NPC) to make further contributions to the country's People's Congress system. Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to a meeting for Party member representatives under various NPC organizations that was held from Wednesday to Thursday. Party organizations and members at all levels under the NPC should improve their abilities to advise and serve the National People's Congress and the National People's Congress Standing Committee to improve our country's People's Congress system, Wu said. ^ top ^

Bill Gates envisions nuclear future for nation (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-08
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates confirmed on Wednesday that a company he helped found is cooperating on the development of a new type of nuclear reactor in China. "TerraPower is working on what we call Generation-4 nuclear energy. And the idea is to be very low-cost, very safe and generate very little waste," Gates said at a news conference after he discussed cooperation with Ministry of Science and Technology officials in Beijing on Wednesday. [...] TerraPower, co-founded by Gates several years ago, is working on the idea of new technologies with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), though Gates said adoption of the technology will not happen quickly. Under discussion is a traveling-wave reactor, or TWR, a new type of reactor that could reduce the need for the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium. If successful, TWRs would be smaller, cleaner nuclear reactors that would create less nuclear waste and could be used for years without refueling. [...] Moreover, Gates said the development of the new reactor design may require investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years, and demonstration plans and construction would cost "billions". He also promised the new designs would be "totally safe" in all circumstances, "including earthquakes". [...] The Ministry of Science and Technology said it is glad to join hands with Gates. "When we cooperate with Gates, what we value so much is not Gates' money, but his social influence, his rallying power and his innovation ability," said Zhang Laiwu, vice-minister of science and technology. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier calls for tougher measures against food safety crimes (China Daily)
2011-12-08
Vice Premier Li Keqiang has called for "more forceful measures" to deal with food safety problems and crack down on food safety crimes. In a written instruction forwarded to a recent national meeting attended by officials in charge of food safety offices, Li pushed for practical efforts to ensure food safety in a bid to boost consumer confidence and promote social harmony. In a separate written instruction, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu urged authorities to "resolutely guard against major food safety incidents" and strengthen law enforcement and regular supervision. Food safety has become one of the most troubling issues since various scandals, such as tainted infant formula and cooking oil collected from sewers, have been exposed by the media. To address food safety issues, authorities have requested the death sentence be applied in the most serious food crimes. In the latest scandal, Henan province penalized 113 people, including 77 government employees, over chemically-tainted pork that was reported in March. ^ top ^

The world in 140 characters (China Daily)
2011-12-08
2010 was dubbed as the "inaugural year" of micro blog, or weibo in Chinese, in China. 2011 is marked by its unstoppable growth. The number of micro-bloggers has grown from 63.11 million by the end of 2010 to 300 million in 2011. For many individual users, spending time on micro blogs has become a daily necessity. It is their way of interacting with friends, following their favorite celebrities, sharing the pictures of cute pets, reading and commenting on news updates. Just as "tweet" has become a verb in English, "zhi weibo" - literally "weave a scarf" - has entered the lexicon in China. Weibo means micro blog but sounds like scarf in Mandarin. More importantly, intense participation by a humongous number of people often adds real value to the seemingly-inconsequential 140-character messages, throwing light on different aspects of society. Traditional media and reporters are facing more challenges as well as opportunities. NGOs are learning to use micro blogs to promote charity and raise social awareness. Businesses and celebrities use it to promote their brands and personal images and interact with their fans and consumers. Government officials are beginning to use new media for a variety of tasks - from accessing public feedback to coming up with fast responses to sudden developments. It aptly shows how the rise of social media is changing traditional media and journalism in China. Statistics released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences show that 70 percent of weibo users consider it the most important platform to get news. [...] It estimated that more than 2,000 micro blog accounts had been set up by government departments at Sina's weibo.com. Sina is one of China's biggest micro-blogging service providers. [...] Earlier this year, public security departments opened several accounts. Now other departments are catching up as well. Last month, Beijing municipal government launched an official micro blog, covering 21 city departments. [...]. ^ top ^

Online praise for embassy car (Global Times)
2011-12-09
A microblog posting from the Canadian Embassy to China Wednesday has sparked an extensive online discussion about Chinese officials' misuse of government cars. Canadian Ambassador David Mulroney posted a picture of the Toyota Camry Hybrid he uses, and said that government cars are rarely seen in Canada. "Only Minister or Deputy Minister-level officials have government-authorized vehicles in Canada," he said in the Sina Weibo post, explaining there are certain requirements for executive vehicles. [...] The entry received around 900 comments and 2,500 reposts by yesterday evening. Many Web users approved of the Canadian government's rules on official car use, saying it is better than China, where a village official can use an Audi or a Bentley. "I provided the information because we get a lot of questions about how we operate at the embassy, what rules govern our work, and how much money we spend. This information is all readily available to Canadians who ask," said Ambassador Mulroney in an e-mail reply to the Global Times yesterday. [...] There were 62,026 government vehicles in Beijing at the end of 2010, including those authorized to Party and government organizations, the municipal bureau of finance released on March 31. Many doubted that number, and a CCTV program on November 3 last year revealed the city has approximately 700,000 government vehicles. "Government vehicle issue in China is a mess, and our government is the most unwilling in the world to talk about it," said Ye Qing, a National People's Congress deputy known for his studies into the matter. Although China's regulations on official cars stipulates only officials that are deputy minister-level and above are entitled to a car, officials below that level can have a vehicle for "working use," which leads many officials to misuse these vehicles full-time as their own, Ye said.[...]. ^ top ^

Man-made rain program to secure grain targets (China Daily)
2011-12-09
China will begin four regional programs to artificially increase precipitation across the country before 2015, according to the newly released 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for meteorological development. Together with the existing program in Jilin province, to influence weather in northeastern parts of China, the five regional weather control programs will increase artificial precipitation volume by 10 percent, according to the plan. Each year, an average of 3 trillion cubic meters of water passes over China in clouds, and only 20 percent of it falls to the ground, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

Currently, 50 billion cubic meters of rain and snow are gained annually in artificial precipitation, but the volume could reach 280 billion cubic meters if more effective weather intervention measures are taken, according to the CMA. [...] Zheng said the programs can play an important role in guaranteeing the nation's plan to boost the annual grain yield to 550 million tons by 2020 - that target was exceeded this year with a record 571 million tons.[...] "The program in Jilin was finished late this year and is working well. The successful operation will accelerate the construction of the other four," Zheng said. They will cover the northwestern, southern, southwestern and northern parts of China, but a detailed plan has not yet been released, he said. A national weather intervention command center will also be established before 2015, according to the plan. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Smog cripples traffic, prompts mask sales surge (China Daily)
2011-12-07
The ongoing foggy weather and decreasing air quality that have shrouded parts of China since Sunday has prompted a surge in mask sales and affected the vegetable supply by crippling traffic and closing expressways. According to statistics from Taobao Mall, China's largest online marketplace, more than 30,000 masks were sold on Sunday, more than 20,000 of which were bought by customers from Beijing. The Beijing Meteorological Center on Sunday afternoon issued a yellow alert, the second-lowest level in the country's weather warning system, to warn about fog and smog in the capital, saying visibility would drop to less than 500 meters in most parts of the city. The city's air pollution index (API) was between 150 and 170 on Monday. Beyond masks, residents in many major cities are facing rising vegetable prices as the smog has closed expressways heading to Shouguang, the country's largest vegetable production base, located in Shandong province, where about 10 expressways have been forced to shut down, local authorities said. The delays and difficulties in transporting vegetables shortens the preservation period, which in turn contributes to higher prices, said Zhang Yanxiang, chairman with the Yanxiang Organic Vegetable Ltd. Visibility was reduced to less than 1,000 meters in north, central and east China, and less than 200 meters in a few areas, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) reported Tuesday. As of 2 pm Monday, 207 inbound and outbound flights were canceled at Beijing Capital International Airport. Scattered snow fall Tuesday morning has prolonged the fog and low visibility in Beijing. In an effort to combat the smog and aid traffic, Beijing has increased lighting on roads. Authorities with the Beijing Electric Power Corporation said they will initiate an emergency response lighting plan based on visibility standards. ^ top ^

Undercover street cops (Global Times)
2011-12-09
Beijing police established a plainclothes investigative team to mainly deal with street crime, the Beijing Evening News reported on Thursday. Police said they arrested a suspect who stole a woman's purse as she was riding a bike at Chaoyangmen, Chaoyang district, Monday, the day that the plainclothes team started operating. The Municipal Public Security Bureau will allocate more plainclothes policemen at places where robberies and other street crimes often occur. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Factory workers strike over Hitachi unit's sale (SCMP)
2011-12-08
Hundreds of workers of a Hitachi affiliate protest at their plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong, against what they said was uncertainty over their compensation and work tenure after a US firm acquired the company. Workers of Shenzhen Hailiang Storage Products said the demonstration had been in full force since Sunday evening. "The company has around 4,500 workers and technicians, none of whom have worked since Sunday night. More than 2,000 of the employees have been involved in the sit-in," said Xu Xunhua, who said he represented the workers. Hitachi signed a deal in March to sell Hailiang to Western Digital, a leading US manufacturer of computer hard drives, and the acquisition was set to be completed by March next year. "We don't know whether the new company will fire us or not. We also don't know whether the new company will treat us as fresh employees," Xu said, adding labourers had asked for a settlement allowance. [...] More than a dozen workers, out of hundreds who could be seen at the site yesterday, sat in front of the company's warehouse to stop the products from being shipped from the site. They held banners calling for compensation and other slogans such as, "Shameless Japanese oppressing Chinese employees". The workers are also disputing arrangements and payments for overtime work, which were previously cited as reasons for Hailiang workers striking in 2007. One technician, who said he had worked for Hailiang for 12 years, said he saw his monthly salary shrink from 4,000 yuan (HK$4,900) when the firm was owned by IBM to just over 3,000 yuan today. Sara Wang, a company spokeswoman, said senior officials from Hitachi Global Storage Technologies visited the city yesterday to discuss the labour issue with the government and Shenzhen's trade union. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Beijing won't let up on the Dalai Lama (SCMP)
2011-12-08
A senior Communist Party official vowed Beijing would continue its "vigorous struggle" against the Dalai Lama, state media said yesterday. It is the first time a senior official in charge of Tibetan affairs issued such a strongly-worded statement after a spate of self-immolations by Tibetans in protest against Chinese rule. Zhu Weiqun, a vice-minister of the party's United Front Work Department responsible for managing relations with Tibetans and other minorities, issued the warning in Lhasa at a recent meeting with Tibet Autonomous Region government officials, the Tibet Daily reported yesterday, without giving a date. The United Front Work Department reports directly to the Central Committee, the highest authority in the Communist Party. Zhu's comments are significant as they are a clear message from the leadership that dissent will not be tolerated. "The central government's stance towards the Dalai clique remains unchanged; its struggle against that clique remains unchanged," Zhu was quoted as saying. "Our struggle is long-term, vigorous, complex and even intense." [...] Zhu warned against complacency, saying local officials in Tibet must maintain "a clear head" and be mindful of national security, the crisis they face and their responsibilities, as well as being constantly vigilant about social stability. "[We] must firmly, efficiently, decisively and completely crush any plan that would jeopardise the stability of Tibet and endanger national unity," Zhu was quoted as saying. [...] The Dalai Lama and senior exiled Tibetan monks blamed the self-immolations on what they say are Beijing's hardline policies in predominantly ethnic Tibetan areas. [...]. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama 'successor' charged in investigation (SCMP)
2011-12-09
Indian police have brought charges against Tibetan Buddhism's third most important leader following an 11-month investigation into a land deal and the seizure of US$1.4 million in undeclared foreign currency from his monastery in January. The 26-year-old Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is head of the Kagyu sect, one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He joined the Dalai Lama in exile in 2000, and is widely seen as his religious successor, but Indian media have long reported suspicions he could be a Chinese spy. Ten people have been charged, Indian police said yesterday. A court in Himachal Pradesh province - where the Tibetan government in exile has its headquarters - will decide whether there should be a trial. The deputy general secretary of the Karmapa's office, Karma Chungyalpa, said it had not received any formal notice or a copy of the charge sheet, and only learned of the police charges from the media. "We are surprised and shocked... because we have been co-operating fully with the authorities in their investigations since January," Karma Chungyalpa said. "The Karmapa is not involved in the financial operation of the monastery or the trust, directly or indirectly." Indian police raided the Karmapa's Gyotu Monastery on January 27, confiscating Indian and foreign banknotes worth about US1.4 million, including a large sum of Chinese yuan. The raid followed the seizure of 10 million Indian rupees (HK$1.5 million) from two men who were allegedly buying land for a new monastery for the Karmapa. Foreigners are not allowed to buy land in India. Since the raid, Indian media have revived allegations, widespread when the Karmapa fled to India, that he is a Chinese spy. The Karmapa's office said in January that the money had been donated by devotees from around the world. ^ top ^

1.3m Tibetan farmers out of poverty in past decade (Global Times)
2011-12-09
The population of impoverished farmers in the Tibet Autonomous Region had been reduced from about 1.48 million in 2001 to 168,000 by the end of 2010. With government efforts, more than 1.3 million Tibetan farmers, whose annual per capita income was under the poverty line of 1,300 yuan ($205), have overcome poverty, said Cewang Dobgye, head of the region's Aid-the Poor Projects office yesterday. Over the past 10 years, an accumulative investment of 3.675 billion yuan was allotted for 4,000 projects designed to meet the needs of locals and alleviate poverty for farmers, he said. Theses projects include labor skills training, integral moving of the peasant families living in the regions with serious endemic and improvement of infrastructure. With the implementation of these projects, the annual per capita income of farmers increased from 1,404 yuan in 2001 to 4,138 yuan in 2010. "The poverty-reduction projects have accelerated the growth of farmer incomes and improved the living and working conditions, which all contributes to social stability in the farm regions of Tibet," he said. From 2011 to 2015, the regional government will allot more than 300 million yuan annually to help 122,000 households with low-income families out of poverty. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China launches trans-border trade center near Kazakhstan border (Xinhua)
2011-12-02
China on Friday launched a trans-national free trade center near the China-Kazakhstan border as part of its efforts to boost economic cooperation with central Asia. Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang and Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Aset Isekeshev attended a launching ceremony for the center in the city of Horgos in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The ceremony also celebrated the joining of a China-Kazakhstan railway. [...] Zhang said the completion of the two projects will bring new opportunities for cooperation between China and Kazakhstan. Isekeshev said Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the two projects, adding that he hopes both sides will further enhance relations in order to promote the prosperity and development of both countries. The center is the first trans-border international cooperation center in Eurasia and will serve as a free trade center, an industrial innovation park and a trans-border logistics center. [...] The trade center will help to reduce barriers and facilitate bilateral trade, said Liang Xinyuan, executive vice director of the management committee of the Horgos Special Economic Development Zone. [...] The center is being opened at a time when China is building Horgos and Kashgar, two border towns in Xinjiang, into key financial and manufacturing hubs, the latest move in the country's efforts to bring prosperity to the land-locked west. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Google triples investment in HK data centre (SCMP)
2011-12-09
Google has tripled to US$300 million its investment in a data centre in Hong Kong, one of three the company plans to establish in East Asia as part of an aggressive expansion programme in support of its growing business. The world's biggest internet-search provider, which had earlier committed to spend more than US$100 million on the Hong Kong facility, yesterday broke ground at its 2.7-hectare site in Tseung Kwan O, with operations expected to start by early 2013. The two other centres will be built in Singapore and Taiwan. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan leader election candidates debate on TV (China Daily)
2011-12-04
A televised debate among three candidates for the upcoming election of Taiwan leader was held Saturday in Taipei, with cross-Strait issues highlighted in the first face-to-face debate before the Jan 14 election. The candidates - Ma Ying-jeou, chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, Tsai Ing-wen who represents the island's major opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and People First Party (PFP) chairman James Soong - stated their political views respectively and debated with each other. Both Ma and Soong stressed the adherence to the 1992 Consensus in order to maintain peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. In November 1992, the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation reached the consensus that each of the two organizations verbally acknowledges that "both sides of the Taiwan Straits adhere to the one-China principle." Ma said the 1992 Consensus was "the best way" for the two sides to settle disputes and achieve win-win situation. [...] However, Tsai continued to deny the 1992 Consensus and said that a "Taiwan consensus" should be made before negotiating with the Chinese mainland. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China Telecom, China Unicom pledge to mend errors after anti-monopoly probe (Xinhua)
2011-12-02
Following last month's government-initiated anti-monopoly probe, China's two telecommunications giants announced Friday they will substantially raise their broadband speeds while further lowering broadband costs over the next five years. China Telecom and China Unicom said Friday that they have sent applications to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to end the investigations. The NDRC also confirmed Friday it had received the applications, which were sent on Nov. 17. The NDRC said it is addressing the applications in accordance with relevant laws. [...] In a statement on its website, China Unicom said that it found improper price charges for Internet service providers during its checks following the anti-monopoly probe, and its network was not fully integrated with other networks. It pledged to enhance broadband access speeds during the next five years and further lower broadband service charges for the public. China Telecom also said in an online statement that it found improper charges for Internet service providers, and its network integration with other major networks did not meet regulatory requirements. During the next five years, China Telecom will lower broadband service charges by around 35 percent for the public, the online statement said. ^ top ^

Growth of China's non-manufacturing sector slows further in November (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-03
The growth of China's non-manufacturing sector slowed further in November, as indicated by the drop of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Saturday. The non-manufacturing sector's PMI, a key economic indicator, fell sharply to 49.7 percent in November from 57.7 percent one month earlier, the CFLP said. [...] The decline represents a further pullback following a month-on-month drop in October. [...] "Less active consumption in the off-season and the sluggish demand in the construction sector combined to weigh down the index," said Cai Jin, vice president of the CFLP. [...]. ^ top ^

China-US trade up 17% in first ten months: commerce minister (Global Times)
2011-12-03
Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Friday that China-US trade rose 17 percent year-on-year to reach 363 billion US dollars in the first ten months of the year. The increase led to China and the United States becoming each other's second-largest trading partners, Chen said at a dinner held by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China). Trade between China and the United States will likely exceed 400 billion US dollars in 2011 and the figure will further increase in 2012 according to forecasts from the ministry and customs authorities, Chen said. "Next year will be a difficult year (for global economy), and a year in which China and the United States should deepen cooperation and join hands in coping with the crisis," Chen told Chinese and American entrepreneurs who attended the banquet. [...] To boost bilateral trade, China will make efforts to increase imports from the United States while China hopes the United States to relax its restrictions on high-tech exports to China, Chen said. While continuing efforts in promoting US investment in China, the country also expects the United States to create a fair and transparent environment for Chinese firms that intend to invest in the United States, Chen added. He said the two countries should explore new cooperation opportunities in fields such as energy saving, environmental protection, information technology and biomedicine. The two countries should also strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction. Chen said China is willing to turn the US debt it holds into investment in the United States, which will help solve its employment problems. [...] Chen also said he expects the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, to slightly exceed 5 percent this year in China. The figure is above the government's target of 4 percent. The country's CPI increased 5.5 percent year-on-year in October, easing from a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July. Analysts expect the November figure, which is due to be released next week, to drop under 5 percent. ^ top ^

China becomes biggest investor in renewable energy (China Daily)
2011-12-04
China has become the world's biggest investor in renewable energy sources, said a senior environmental official on Saturday during a forum held in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. China invested over 300 billion yuan ($47.31 billion) in renewable energy sources in 2010, outranking every other country, said Wang Yuqing, deputy director of the Committee of Population, Resources and Environment of the CPPCC National Committee. The official of China's top advisory body estimated that more than 3,000 billion yuan ($473.1 billion) would be poured into industries related to environmental protection from 2011 to 2015. [...] The Chinese's government is now fully aware that China must develop its economy in a green way, and is striving to nurture green industries, Wang added. ^ top ^

Chinese economy slows down, but remains steady (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-06
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a main gauge of manufacturing activity, dropped to 49 percent in November, falling below 50 percent for the first time since March 2009, according to statistics released on Dec. 1. The decline indicates a further slowdown in China's economic growth. Industry insiders believe that the pace of the economic slowdown will remain steady, and the chance of a sharp fluctuation is slim. " The PMI dropped below 50 percent in November, indicating a further slowdown in China's economic growth. As domestic investment has maintained relatively rapid growth and domestic consumption has been growing slowly yet steadily, the pace of the economic slowdown will remain steady, and there is little likelihood of a slump," said Zhang Liqun, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council. [...]. ^ top ^

Banks under increasing strain (Global Times)
2011-12-06
Chinese banks are under increasing strain even though the central bank has cut the reserve requirement ratio, a senior analyst at Fitch Ratings said on Monday. A 50 basis point reserve ratio cut "is quite small, when we talk about 315 or around 400 billion yuan ($61.84 billion) being released," Charlene Chu, head of ratings of Chinese banks at Fitch Ratings, said during a phone conference on Monday. [...] Chu said Chinese banks' cash positions are already under strain, and a rising debt forbearance burden will only add further claims on these resources. The current 21 trillion yuan in commercial bank credit capacity plus 16 trillion yuan in deposit reserves is sufficient to prevent any major short-term dislocations. "But if current rates of erosion continue, it is conceivable that cash constrains in 2012 could become more binding," Chu wrote in a report. Banks are also faced with the stress of slow repayments by borrowers, and cash withdrawals by depositors are less predictable because of higher competition from wealth management products, noted Chu. And some small banks will have a diminishing capacity to extend new credit next year and may require substantial relief in reserve requirements, she warned. [...]. ^ top ^

China issues first white paper on foreign trade, explaining surplus (Xinhua)
2011-12-07
China's trade surplus is resulted from globalization and the international division of labor, and the government's measures to promote balanced foreign trade growth have achieved obvious effects, said the country's first white paper on foreign trade released Wednesday. [...] Of the nine nations with the largest trade balances (favorable or unfavorable), China was not high up in the league table in terms of the two ratios, according to the paper. "With the transfer of large numbers of labor-intensive processing and assembling sectors to China from Japan, Singapore and other nations and regions, their surpluses with the United States and Europe were also transferred to China," the paper said. This explains why China runs trade surpluses with the U.S. and Europe, but has long-term deficits with Japan, Republic of Korea, ASEAN and other major intermediate producers. The paper noted that China's surplus in trade in goods mainly comes from foreign-invested enterprises and processing trade. Last year, the surplus created by foreign-invested enterprises reached 124.3 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 68.4 percent of the total surplus of China's trade in goods. Meanwhile, some developed countries still impose restrictions on high-tech exports to China, which also contributes to the country's large trade surplus, the paper said. [...] The government has adopted a series of policies to curb overheated surplus growth, including moves to expand domestic demand, increase imports, adjust export tax rebates, restructure and upgrade the processing trade and reform the yuan exchange rate mechanism, according to the paper. During the period from the exchange rate reform in July 2005 to the end of August 2011, the nominal exchange rate of the yuan against the dollar appreciated by about 30 percent, said the paper. Due to the nation's efforts to promote balanced foreign trade, China's surplus in trade in goods has been on a steady decline since 2009, and the proportion of surplus in the total import and export trade volume and the GDP has also dropped since 2008, according to the paper. [...] The white paper also introduces China's historic progress, international contribution and policies in foreign trade. ^ top ^

China eyes emerging markets for exports (SCMP)
2011-12-08
China will focus on boosting exports to emerging economies next year in the face of "severe challenges" from sluggish demand in Europe and the US and rising costs at home, a senior trade official said yesterday. "Next year I think that we will face severe challenges in our exports and imports," Wang Shouwen, director of the Ministry of Commerce's foreign trade department, said on the release of a white paper on foreign trade marking the 10th anniversary of China joining the World Trade Organisation. "However, some developing and emerging economies are enjoying sound economic performances," he said. "So we will attach more importance to exports to these countries." [...] Wang blamed slow export growth on weakened demand from the United States and the euro zone and rising costs - as a result of higher wages and prices for land and raw materials, Compounding the problem is the yuan's appreciation against the US dollar, which makes China's exports less competitive. Although the yuan-dollar exchange rate dipped over the past week, Chong Quan, deputy representative for China's international trade talks, said the yuan may rebound again. [...] Beijing harbours no hopes of a rebound in US and euro-zone demand, but can expect "a certain level of growth" in overall exports next year, Wang said. [...] China also is involved in the largest number of international trade disputes, which Li Chenggang, the ministry's director for treaties and laws, described as unavoidable for a developing economy. Li blamed a considerable proportion of the disputes on protectionism by other countries, and the rest on Chinese companies' inadequate understanding of trade rules and inappropriate management. The white paper said that in 1978, when China had just begun market reforms, its merchandise trade was US$20.6 billion, ranking 32nd in the world. It rose to US$2.97 trillion in last year, making it the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer. China expects to import up to US$8 trillion of goods in the next five years. Foreign trade has directly created jobs for 80 million people in the country, of whom 60 per cent came from rural areas, officials say. ^ top ^

Gov't think tank predicts China's GDP growth rate to reach 9.2 pct in 2011 (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
A government think tank on Wednesday predicted China's economy to grow 9.2 percent this year before gliding to 8.9 percent in 2012. The growth rate of China's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, which would be 1.2 percentage points lower than that of 2010, was set against the background of sluggish economic recovery worldwide, China's prudent monetary policy and the withdrawal of stimulus measures on consumption, according to a Blue Paper issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The paper, which predicts China's economic prospects for 2012, said the 8.9-percent GDP growth rate next year remains at a "reasonable growth zone" that features stable and relatively fast economic development. China's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, is expected to rise 4.6 percent in 2012, lower than the 5.5 percent the CASS forecasted for 2011. Despite some progress, taming inflation and stabilizing commodity prices will remain the priorities of China's macro-control for the time being, according to the report. The CASS warned that China should prepare for economic growth to be threatened by pessimistic exports, as it may take the world ten years or more to recover from the current financial crisis, which has affected the world economy since 2008. However, the CASS said in the paper that China will see a drop in its exports against a slow global economic recovery, and the country will see a chance to shift its economic growth mode that is currently based on imports and exports, to one that is backed mainly by domestic consumption. ^ top ^

Nestle's stake buy leaves sweet taste (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-08
China's confectionery company Hsu Fu Chi International yesterday said the Chinese government has approved Nestle's proposed plan to gain a major stake in the company. On completing an anti-monopoly review, the Ministry of Commerce has approved Nestle's US$1.7 billion investment in Taiwan-based Hsu Fu Chi for a 60 percent stake, Hsu Fu Chi said in its statement to the Singapore Stock Exchange. The Hsu family will hold the 40 percent. Nestle plans to delist Hsu Fu Chi from the Singapore Exchange and will announce a specific date later, its statement added. Nestle, the maker of instant coffee, candy bars and ice cream, has been banking on acquisitions to increase its exposure in China under a strategy to lift revenue from emerging markets. Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke earlier said the company plans to get 45 percent of revenue from developing countries by 2020, up from a third now. According to Euromonitor, Nestle takes 1.9 percent share of China's candy and chocolate segment in 2009, lagging the 4.2 percent for Hsu Fu Chi and 15.5 percent for Mars Inc. Based in Dongguan in southern Guangdong Province Hsu Fu Chi, which has a market capitalization of about US$2.6 billion, makes wide range of Chinese snacks such as peanut candies. The company has four plants in China with a strong distribution network in first-tier cities and rural areas. Last year, Hsu Fu Chi boosted its revenue by 14 percent to 4.3 billion yuan (US$678 million) while its net profit grew 31 percent to 602 million yuan. In a separate statement yesterday, Nestle said it will halt retail sales and close an ice cream factory in Shanghai by the end of this month. ^ top ^

China's inflation controlled: former statistics official (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
With the central government's resolute efforts, the trend of surging prices this year has been controlled, said Yao Jingyuan, the former chief economist with the National Bureau of Statistics.This round of inflation is not yet so serious in its time span, said Yao at the annual session of the China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce, which was held on Thursday in Shenzhen, in Guangdong province. [...] October's consumer price index (CPI) growth of 5.5 percent marked the slowest surge since an index of 5.5 percent in May, softening from 6.1 percent in September, 6.2 percent in August, 6.5 percent in July and 6.4 percent in June. Inflation concerns have been eased as the CPI has declined for the third consecutive month.

Even though its severity has been limited, this round of inflation has shown the features of structural inflation with surging food and housing prices, which directly affects the living standards of low-income residents, Yao said. "It is significant for next year's economy that inflation has been controlled, but we still have many deep-seated issues, and we should maintain the current policies," he added. ^ top ^

Difficult year ahead for export companies (People's Daily Online)
2011-12-08
China's exports, a major engine of the country's economy, may slow further next year on weakening demand in developed economies and rising costs at home, Ministry of Commerce officials said on Wednesday. "Foreign trade is facing a severe situation next year," Wang Shouwen, head of the foreign trade department of the ministry, said at a news conference in Beijing as the ministry released a white paper on China's foreign trade. Demand will not improve in Europe and the United States - China's major export destinations - and costs such as wages and land prices are rising, he said. Growth of China's overseas sales has seen a setback in recent months. Exports in October increased 15.9 percent year-on-year, the slowest growth in eight months. Chong Quan, deputy representative for China's international trade talks, said export growth in November slowed even more. The November figures will be announced later this week. Chong's remarks confirmed expectations that worsening external markets are dragging on the world's second-largest economy.[...] Wang Tao, an economist with financial company UBS AG, even expects China's exports will cease to grow in 2012 because of "significantly weakened external demand". [...] Wang Shouwen with the Ministry of Commerce said the ministry will help exporters in terms of brand building, research and development, and sales networks. Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said recently that the government plans to reduce taxes and provide more financial support to exporters.[...] "China will put more attention on exports to emerging markets, as those countries performed well," Wang Shouwen said. [...]. ^ top ^

Global supermarkets conquer China in its first 10 years as WTO member (Xinhua)
2011-12-08
China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a decade ago opened the floodgates to foreign investment in a variety of areas, but the retailing sector is surely the most potent symbol of how foreign businesses have come, competed and conquered on the levelling field. [...] The landing of supermarkets, with their open shelves, abundant variety and lower prices, changed everything, transforming the way people shop in China. To see supermarkets' appeal as China marks the 10th anniversary of its accession to the WTO, observers need only look at the growth of French-based chain Carrefour. Just days ago, it celebrated the opening of its 200th store in China. [...] The retailing sector was among the first areas in which China loosened its grip and welcomed foreign businesses upon entry into the WTO, when it allowed the forming of joint ventures in five special economic zones and several other cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Wuhan. [...] Global retailers including Carrefour and Wal-Mart have successfully forayed into the market with lower prices and better services. They have also tailored their offering to Chinese customers. Wal-Mart has tied with some 20,000 local suppliers and over 95 percent of its products are made in China, for example. [...] Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that there were 2,864 foreign retail companies in China by the end of Jan. 2011, involving foreign capital of 6.38 billion U.S. dollars. Li attributed the robust growth partly to China's policy improvements since its inclusion into the WTO. [...] With China's fast pace of urbanization and rapidly growing numbers of middle-class consumers, analysts forecast the country will have become the largest retail market by 2014. Moreover, China's determination to spur the domestic market in the 12th Five-Year-Plan period (2011-2015) will create more opportunities for the sector, said Li. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

U.S. envoy on DPRK to travel to Asia (Xinhua)
2011-12-06
The U.S. envoy for policy on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will travel to South Korea, Japan and China this week, State Department said in a statement on Monday. U.S. special representative on DPRK policy Glyn Davies will arrive in Seoul, the capital of South Korea on Wednesday and then travel to Tokyo, the capital of Japan on Sunday, and finally go to Beijing on next Tuesday, according to the statement. The statement said Davies will meet with senior government officials in these three cities to "exchange views on Korean Peninsula issues," said the statement. U.S. special envoy for six-party talks Clifford Hart will accompany Davies, who replaced his predecessor Stephen Bosworth in October, on this trip, the statement added. The six-party talks were launched in 2003, but got bogged down in December 2008 after holding six rounds. The DPRK quit the talks in 2009. The DPRK has said that it is ready to resume without preconditions the multilateral negotiations, a mechanism involving the DPRK, South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Employment Program Reports 68,071 Hires (News.mn)
2011-12-07
The Government says 68,071 people were hired through its “Employment Support Year – 2011” program through the end of November, including some 29,000 women. It says 8,424 people in the western aimags, 11,423 in the Khangai region, 11,281 in the central region, 4,855 in the eastern region, and 32,088 in Ulaanbaatar were hired. Khovd aimag leads the western aimags with 1,898 hires, Arkhangai aimag leads the Khangai region with 2,293, Tuv aimag leads the central region with 2,349, and Dornod aimag leads the eastern region with 2,031. The Government says 12,602 new hires are working in the construction sector, 11,867 in the agriculture, forestry, and hunting sectors, 8,470 citizens in retail and wholesale trade and auto repair, and 7,800 citizens in processing factories and mining. ^ top ^

President Starts his Official Visit to Kuwait (Montsame)
2011-12-06
The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and accompanying him officials started on Monday the official visit to State of Kuwait. At the welcoming ceremony has taken place at the Kuwait international airport in the presence of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; the Crown Prince Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah; the Speaker of the National Assemly Jassem Al-Kharafi; the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah; the Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah; the Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Halid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah; and other high-level officials. Within the visit, the President will hold meetings with the Emir of Kuwait and the Prime Minister to exchange views on the bilateral relations and cooperation. ^ top ^

Economic Ties of Mongolia and Kuwait to be Widened (News.mn)
2011-12-07
President Ts.Elbegdorj is continuing his official visit to Kuwait. The purpose of the visit is to hold talks to widen economic ties between the two countries. On Wednesday, President Ts.Elbegdorj met with Kuwait Fund Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader. The President noted that the Kuwait Fund has played a crucial role in the development of the two nations' relations and cooperation. He said that three infrastructure projects have been implemented through loans from the Kuwait Fund and two projects are being implemented at present. Abdulwahab Al-Bader stated that the Kuwait Fund is ready to continue its cooperation with economic development projects in Mongolia.Ts.Elbegdorj requested a loan to build the Shuren hydroelectric station and a road from Tarialan to Murun. The sides agreed that the Development Bank (DB) of Mongolia will cooperate with the Kuwait Fund. Kuwait Fund Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader and DB Vice Director L.Bolormaa signed a memorandum of cooperation between the DB and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. ^ top ^

Speaker Urges to Approve Law on Election (Montsame)
2011-12-07
On Wednesday, the Speaker D.Demberel received O.Enkhtuvshin, a leader of the Mongolian People's Party's faction at parliament, and Ch.Saikhanbileg, a head of the Democratic Party's faction. They talked about how to accelerate the discussion on draft law on election. The Speaker emphasized that the law on parliamentary election must be approved in the nearest future and demanded that the factions reach an agreement and start urgent measures to approve the law. In response, the factions' heads promised to tackle the issues through a consultation and to approve the draft soon. ^ top ^

State Plans Fuel Reserve (News.mn)
2011-12-07
The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy informed the Government meeting on Tuesday that the ministry is planning to reserve MNT 5 billion in gasoline. The estimated 15-day reserve will be used in case of a fuel shortage or price increase. The reserve will be solely for public transportation and state vehicles, said Mineral Resources and Energy Minister D.Zorigt. He said that money to buy the fuel is allocated in the budget. Eventually the ministry would like to have a reserve of two or three months.D. Zorigt stated that reserve tanks will be built in 2012 and the budget will allocate capital for their construction. The minister added that the current fuel reserve is sufficient and the fuel supply is stable. ^ top ^

 

Gina Schmied
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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