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
  2-6.1.12, No. 404  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese president delivers New Year address, stresses world peace, development (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
In a New Year's address broadcast on Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed that China will continue to develop friendly exchanges with other countries and positively participate in international cooperation on global issues. While addressing domestic and overseas audiences via state TV and radio broadcasters, Hu urged the acceleration of the transformation of the country's economic development pattern and structural adjustments while making more efforts in ensuring people's livelihood. The country will continue to balance maintaining steady and relatively fast economic growth with adjusting its economic structures and managing inflation expectations, he said in the speech titled "Jointly Improve World Peace and Development," which was broadcast by China Radio International, China National Radio and China Central Television. China will stick to the guidelines of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong," "Macao people governing Macao," and a high degree of autonomy in maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao, Hu said. "We will adhere to the principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems,' continue to push forward the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, ensure the basic benefits for those of the Chinese nationality, and endlessly work for the common benefit of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," he said. [...]

China was also actively engaged in international cooperation to boost the growth of the global economy and financial stability, and it was involved in resolving international and regional issues, he said. The world is currently witnessing multipolarization and globalization, and various countries are increasingly interdependent, Hu said. [...] China will stick to peace, development and cooperation, adhere to independent foreign policy, maintain world peace and promote common development, Hu said. The country will stick to the principle of mutual benefit when opening itself up, he said. "We will develop friendly cooperations with all countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence, and we will continue to actively participate in international cooperation on global issues," Hu said. [...] An article by Hu on boosting the country's cultural development will be published in Qiu Shi (Seeking Truth), an official magazine of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Jan. 1. ^ top ^

Chinese, S.Korean presidents exchange new year greetings (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-02
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak exchanged new year greetings Sunday and announced the start of the "China-South Korea Friendly Exchange Year". In his message, Hu spoke positively of the relations between the two countries. Seizing the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-South Korea diplomatic relations, China is willing to work together with South Korea, by launching various exchange programs, to further promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, deepen communication and cooperation in all sectors, and push for constant progress of the bilateral relationship, Hu said. For his part, Lee said on the basis of the accomplishments achieved over the two decades of the bilateral diplomatic ties, South Korea looks forward to joining hands with China to build a better future for the bilateral relationship. ^ top ^

Bigger role for China in shaky 2012 (SCMP)
2012-01-04
China responded proactively to a world troubled by a spreading financial crisis and regional instabilities last year, and will be expected to deal with more uncertainties in the coming year, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in a year-end review posted on the ministry's website on Monday. Yang [...] said the international situation "had undergone very deep and complex changes" last year and despite overall peace, fluctuations were prominent and "changes in international relations and international order have sped up". He said some of the main trends last year were the deepening financial crisis, the slowdown in the global economy and regional instability, especially in western Asia and North Africa. Yang also pointed to the continued elevation of the strategic status of the Asia-Pacific region. Despite the "chaotic" circumstances, China had responded proactively, Yang said, "in order to create an international environment and advantageous conditions for the construction of a moderately prosperous society in China". Yang said there would still be many uncertainties this year, with China tipped to play a bigger international role, though it would face more risks and challenges. Overall, he said "the opportunities are still more than the challenges". Strengthening relations with major countries was vital, especially those with elections coming up, Yang said, "in order to prevent domestic political reasons from interfering with bilateral relations". Strengthening ties with neighbours and developing countries are next on China's list of priorities, along with participation in regional multilateral forums and co-operation on tackling the financial crisis. [...] Other mainland international relations analysts said the review and the 2012 forecast were predictable and showed little change in the direction of the country's foreign policy. "China has long talked about being proactive," said Professor Shen Dingli, from Fudan University in Shanghai. "But it doesn't see itself as a superpower, nor does it have the capability. So there won't be any change." [...] Professor Niu Jun, from Peking University, said there would be no adjustments in foreign policy this year, because of the upcoming leadership change. ^ top ^

Diaoyu Islands visit sparks protest (China Daily)
2012-01-04
The Foreign Ministry lodged a solemn representation and a strong protest with Japan after four right-wing local city assembly members landed on one of the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday morning. "The Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islets have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times, over which China has indisputable sovereignty," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, stressing that China is firmly determined to defend its sovereignty of the islands. According to Kyodo News, the four illegal intruders were all members of the Ishigaki city assembly in Okinawa Prefecture. A patrol ship of Japan's coast guard confirmed Hitoshi Nakama and two others landed first at around 9:30 am local time, followed 20 minutes later by Tadashi Nakamine, the fourth member. All four assembly members left at around 11:55 am. This was not the first time Nakama, one of the four city councilors, had set foot on the Diaoyu Islands. [...] "Though the landings on the islands were just the individual actions of some city councilors, Japan has still got off on the wrong foot at the very beginning of this year, the 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan," Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japan studies at Tsinghua University, told China Daily. [...] The Japanese government had said it prohibits its citizens from landing on the Diaoyu Islands to avoid conflicts with China. [...]. ^ top ^

Nigerien president meets Chinese foreign minister (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-05
Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou met with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi here on Wednesday and discussed with him on friendly relations between their two nations. President Issoufou said that Foreign Minister Yang's visit to Niger at the beginning of the year shows the importance that China attaches to its relations with Niger and Africa. Niger also attaches great importance to the friendly relations with China which has played an important role in the international affairs. Issoufou said, Niger and China have enjoyed close political and economic ties and his country would like to actively create conditions for Chinese enterprises to invest in Niger, to strengthen cooperation with China in the field of economy and infrastructure, as well as to reinforce its coordination with China in the United Nations and other multilateral affairs. On his part, Foreign Minister Yang said China and Niger have a relationship of mutual trust and equal treatment politically, close coordination in international affairs, and cooperation in economy and trade that has gained fruitful achievements. He noted that China regards Niger as one of its important cooperation partners in West Africa. [...] Yang said China would like to join hands with Niger to boost political trust, expand pragmatic cooperation in economic, trade and other fields, enrich people-to-people exchanges and strengthen cooperation and exchanges in various areas to push the friendly cooperation relations to a higher level. [...]. ^ top ^

Reports of 'abused diplomat' inaccurate (China Daily)
2012-01-05
China on Wednesday said media reports that an Indian diplomat was mistreated and hospitalized when offering consular services to two Indian traders on trial in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu were not factually accurate. "China has always strictly abided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other relevant laws and regulations, protected the personal safety of foreign consular officials and provided them with assistance when carrying out their duties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said [...] at a regular news briefing. [...] Hong said the two Indian businessmen involved in the hearing were now staying in a hotel under police protection, and had freedom of movement. Police had detained five other people on suspicion of "illegal detention". An advisory on the website of India's Beijing embassy on Tuesday urged Indian nationals not to do business in Yiwu after the release of the reports, because they could be "mistreated" there and had "no guarantee of legal remedies". China is a country under the rule of law, and relevant Chinese departments have always protected the legal rights of Indian citizens in China, Hong said. The spokesman added the case was an individual one triggered by economic disputes and China's judicial authorities are now handling the case in accordance with the law, and China attaches great importance to friendly relations with India and hopes the Indian side will treat the case in an objective and fair manner. "We hope that Indian authorities could deal with this matter fairly and objectively" and ensure the country's businessmen in China abide by Chinese laws and regulations, he added. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier vows closer military exchanges with Pakistan (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
Premier Wen Jiabao met with Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday, vowing to support closer military exchanges between both countries. "China will consistently support Pakistan's efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as back the country's economic growth and improvement of its people's livelihoods," he said. [...] In the face of complicated regional and global situations, cementing coordination between China and Pakistan and jointly meeting challenges meets the common interests of both nations, Wen added. The premier said Pakistani armed forces have made important contributions toward maintaining bilateral relations and boosting the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership. He pledged to support stronger military exchanges and cooperation between both countries. Kayani, who is currently on a six-day visit to China, expressed gratitude for China's efforts to aid Pakistan's economic growth and social stability, as well as China's support for Pakistan's efforts to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Developing the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership is a cornerstone of the foreign strategies of both countries, Kayani said. Pakistani armed forces will unswervingly boost cooperation with China and firmly support China's efforts to maintain its core interests, he said. ^ top ^

China, Vietnam vow to enhance parliamentary ties (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
China and Vietnam on Thursday vowed to enhance parliamentary exchanges and cooperation and serve the development of bilateral ties. The pledge came out of the meeting between China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, and visiting Vietnamese National Assembly Vice Chairman Tong Thi Phong on Thursday afternoon at the Great Hall of the People. "The in-depth development of China-Vietnam ties raises higher requirements for cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body. The two sides, on the basis of existing cooperation, should give full play to their legislative bodies, conduct closer friendly communication and strengthen exchanges on governing, democracy, legal systems and improvement of peoples' livelihood. He called on the two sides to continue to consolidate the foundation of public opinion for the development of China-Vietnam relations, and to inject new vitality into parliamentary exchanges. [...] "China and Vietnam are both developing countries, under the leadership of communist parties, and pursue socialism. Under the complicated and changeable international situation, it is in the fundamental interests and common will of the two peoples to strengthen our unity and cooperation," he said. [...] Describing China as a good comrade and brother of Vietnam, Phong expressed gratitude for the long-term support given by the Chinese party, government and people to Vietnam. He said the party, government and people of Vietnam all put relations with China as a priority of Vietnam's foreign relations. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese, Namibian FMs meet on bilteral ties (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks Thursday with his Namibian counterpart, Utoni Nujoma, on bilateral friendly relations. During their talks, Yang said that China attaches great importance to its ties with Namibia and stands ready to make concerted efforts with Namibia to implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two nations on further advancement of their relations, cement their traditional friendship and promote political trust. To strengthen China-Africa friendly cooperative relations is an important bedrock of China's foreign policy and a long-term strategic choice, said Yang. China is willing to work with African nations, including Namibia, to make preparations for the fifth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in China later this year and further promote the development of the new-type China-Africa strategic partnership, said the Chinese foreign minister. Nujoma, for his part, said that China enjoys a special status in the hearts of African people. [...] The Namibian government will firmly adhere to the one-China policy and is committed to mutually beneficial cooperation with China in a broad range of areas, such as politics, economics and trade, culture and infrastructure, said Nujoma. He expressed the hope for more Chinese investments in Namibia. [...]. ^ top ^

China opposes interference in name of human rights (China Daily)
2012-01-06
China on Thursday expressed opposition to other countries using so-called human rights issues to interfere in China's internal affairs. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a press conference in response to a statement recently released by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. The statement, issued by Ashton's spokesperson on Wednesday, said that Ashton regretted China's sentencing in relevant cases. Hong said people involved in the cases had violated China's laws, and they must be punished according to law. China is a country under the rule of law, and everyone is equal before the law, he said. Hong said Chinese public security and justice departments independently handle cases, which are entirely within China's judicial sovereignty, and the outside world has no right to interfere in the handling of these cases. The Chinese government protects and promotes human rights in accordance with the law, and safeguards the rights of Chinese citizens, including their freedom of speech, Hong said, noting that China has scored achievements in this regard. ^ top ^

White papers light up bright future for China (China Daily)
2012-01-06
White papers have played a more important role in introducing China to the world, with more white papers published by the government in 2011 than any other year, according to a statement from the State Council Information Office on Wednesday. "The white papers issued by the government have served as an important channel through which the international community and the public can know about the national conditions, values, development path, and internal and foreign policies of China," said Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office. A collection of China's nine white papers issued in 2011 has been published in Chinese and English, according to a statement issued by the office on Tuesday. The nine white papers cover subjects like national defense, law, climate change and international trade, which helped to present a true, progressing China, the statement said. Since 1991, when China issued a white paper on China's human rights, the country has published 78 white papers. [...] The white papers have also gained wide attention from overseas media. "China's government has released a policy document that lays out its vision for the country's future," said the BBC when reporting on the release of a white paper on China's peaceful development on Sept 6, 2011. The white paper shows that China "wants to be a rich, strong nation at peace with other countries", the BBC report said. ^ top ^

China to foster healthy cyberculture (China Daily)
2012-01-06
China will continue to manage the Internet in accordance with relevant laws in 2012, according to a statement from a national meeting that sets the annual agenda for China's international communication. China will use the Internet positively, develop it scientifically and strive to foster a "healthy and upward" cyberculture, it reads. The two-day meeting was attended by leading officials in charge of international communication from provincial-level administrations, organs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the central government, as well as officials from leading news organizations. At the meeting, Wang Chen, deputy head of the publicity department of the CPC Central Committee, pushed for greater efforts to spread China's voice and project a positive image of China worldwide. Efforts would be made to promote China's basic national condition, values and development pattern, as well as its internal and foreign policies, according to the meeting. As the country looks to promote its soft power, it will cultivate world-class media organizations and encourage media organizations to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with their foreign counterparts, according to the statement. Greater efforts will be made to train more professionals in the field of international communication, it says. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior Chinese leaders call on CPC members to be sober-minded for corruption (Xinhua)
2011-12-31
Senior leaders have warned that despite remarkable progress and achievements, members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) should keep sober-minded for the grim situation and arduous tasks in the country's anti-corruption drive. Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee met here Friday to discuss China's anti-graft cause in 2011, and to make plans for next year's battle against corruption. Participants of the meeting heard a report by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). The CPC members should be fully aware of the Party's resolution to combat corruption, strictly abide by the Party's discipline and firmly uphold the unity of the Party, said a statement issued after the meeting presided over by Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The statement called for efforts to intensify the supervision over the Party cadre selection procedures. [...] The statement asked the Party discipline watchdog to launch inspections in the implementation of the CPC Central Committee's important decisions to ensure that the decisions are smoothly executed. The statement also urged that preventative efforts be increased along with punishment of corruption and the strengthening of investigations of violations. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese court accepts oil spill-related compensation claims (Xinhua)
2011-12-31
A maritime court in the northern coastal city of Tianjin on Friday accepted a case of compensation claims from aquaculture farmers who believe the oil leaked from the ConocoPhillips-operated oil field platforms in Bohai Sea resulted in their businesses losses. The Tianjin Maritime Court took up the lawsuit filed by a group of 29 aqua-farmers against ConocoPhillips China and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The Penglai 19-3 oil field, where the leak had first been reported in June from platforms B and C, is being operated by ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of the U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips under a development agreement with CNOOC, the oil field's owner. The court Friday also said there was another lawsuit regarding compensation claims against ConocoPhillips China lodged Thursday by a group of 107 aqua-farmers, over which the court is conducting a routine check over the plaintiffs' identities before accepting the case. The 107 aqua-farmers renewed their lawsuit after a previous lawsuit filed on Dec. 13 failed to be taken up by the court. The court had asked them to modify documents and produce more evidence in accordance with laws. The court gave no details on the amount of compensation being sought by the aqua-farmers in both lawsuits. In their previous lawsuit, the 107 aqua-farmers said the oil spill killed many of their clams and sea cucumbers, and they were seeking 490 million yuan (around 77.78 million U.S. dollars) in damages. ConocoPhillips, who is responsible for the oil spill, last week promised to issue compensation for damage caused by the oil spill but offered no details. [...]. ^ top ^

Latest website leak hits Security Bureau (SCMP)
2011-12-31
Personal details of more than four million Guangdong residents who applied online for travel permits to Hong Kong and Macau have been leaked because of a glitch in the Guangdong Public Security Bureau's website, mainland police have confirmed. It is the latest in a spate of internet gaffes. In the past week the passwords to more than six million accounts on a popular programmers' website have been leaked, along with information about eight million users of a computer game website; 40 millions users of Tianya.cn, one of the mainland's largest internet forums; and the details of tens of millions of accounts from the online shopping website 360buy.com and the third-party online payment platform Alipay. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has promised to investigate the leaks. A technician who detected the security bureau glitch a month ago described it as an entry-level mistake which allowed unauthorised users access to more than 4.44 million entries that included Guangdong applicants' names, identity card and travel document numbers, birthdays, mobile phone numbers and addresses without having to log in. [...] The problem was not repaired until 1.30pm on Thursday, and the authorities refused to confirm the huge data leak until 9pm that day. The public security bureau, when asked why it took a month to stop the leak, said: "It takes time to verify," and refused to comment on whether the police should publicly apologise to affected residents. But Chen Shifeng, a veteran web security expert, said the huge leak was only the tip of an iceberg, because the mainland's government websites had not been put through the necessary third-party security tests. "As far as I know, most mainland government websites have similar glitches and hackers have been taking advantage of it for a long time," Chen said. [...]. ^ top ^

China revises laws on occupational illness prevention (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, or China's top legislature, ended Saturday its bimonthly session, adopting amendments to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control and the Macao Basic Law. Top legislator Wu Bangguo presided over the closing meeting which was attended by 144 members. President Hu Jintao signed presidential decrees to promulgate the two amendments. The amendments to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control makes it clear that employers bear the full responsibility of the prevention and treatment of occupational illness and strengthens the supervision of related departments, Wu said. The amendments also simplify the occupational illness diagnosis procedure and labor arbitration. Wu said that draft interpretations on two annexes to the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) clarify the methods for the selection of the SAR chief executive as well as for the formation of the SAR Legislative Council. [...] Wu reiterated the central government's determination to implement the "one China, two systems" policy and support the SAR government and the chief executive. [...] The legislature also decided to further review amendments to the Criminal Procedural Law at the 5th session of the 11th NPC in 2012, and it adopted a decision on strengthening anti-terrorism efforts. [...] The legislature ratified two treaties between the Chinese and Italian governments regarding extradition and mutual judicial assistance in criminal cases. [...] The legislature approved a decision to appoint Wang Xia as minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission. [...] Wu urged lawmakers to summarize effective work experience and practices and strive to boost work quality in handling all motions. He also called for making full preparations for the 5th session of the 11th NPC, which was decided to be held on March 5, 2012. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu urges bigger confidence in tasks in 2012 (China Daily)
2012-01-02
President Hu Jintao here on Sunday called for strengthened confidence to accomplish the tasks of 2012 in a speech, as he and other senior officials celebrated the New Year with political advisors. "To accomplish tasks of this year, we must strengthen confidence, tackle thorny problems and advance in a pioneering spirit," Hu said. China must stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics and adhere to the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and "move toward established goals with unbounded confidence," Hu said. Hu called for efforts to tackle problems in economic and social development and overcome various risks and challenges within and outside the country. Progress should be achieved in transforming the economic development pattern, deepening reform and opening-up and improving people's livelihoods, Hu said. Hu made the speech at a tea party held by the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang also attended the tea party. [...] The leaders were joined by senior members of the central committees of non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, personages without party affiliation, officials of the central government, and representatives from all walks of life and all ethnic groups. ^ top ^

Activist lawyer in prison in Xinjiang (SCMP)
2012-01-02
The mainland has jailed a prominent dissident lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, in its far western region of Xinjiang, the first confirmation of his whereabouts in more than 20 months, his brother and a rights group said yesterday. Gao - who defended some of the most vulnerable mainlanders including Christians and coal miners - was arrested in February 2009 and has been held largely incommunicado by authorities except for a brief release in March 2010. "I received the decision letter this morning saying Gao Zhisheng is in Shaya prison in Xinjiang," his brother, Gao Zhiyi, said, adding the document was issued by a Beijing court. A telephone operator said the phone number for the Shaya prison was restricted and could not be released to the public. An officer with the Shaya County Public Security Bureau said he did not know anything about Gao's case. Xinhua said last month that Gao had been sent back to prison after a court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation, though it gave no date. A Beijing court sent him back to jail for three years after ruling he had "seriously violated probation rules a number of times", the report said. [...] While he was missing, Gao's case was raised by the United States and European governments, drawing cryptic responses from Chinese officials. In December last year, the US urged China to release Gao "immediately" and to clarify his whereabouts. Days later, UN officials also called on China to release Gao after state media said he had been sent back to prison for three years. ^ top ^

Elections concluded in 19 provincial level regions (Global Times)
2012-01-04
Nineteen of China's provincial-level regions have completed their elections for lawmakers at the county and township levels, according to a statement from the top legislature's standing committee Tuesday. The Standing Committee of National People's Congress said in the statement that of those 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, 11 had finished both the elections and the first session of people's congresses by the end of 2011. Seven provincial-level regions have begun their elections, and another five regions will finish their elections this year, the statement said. More than 2 million lawmakers at the county and township levels will be elected during the quinquennial nationwide elections in over 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, and more than 900 million people are expected to vote. In those 19 regions which had finished the elections, an average of over 90 percent of those qualified registered for voting, the statement said. The statement made particular note of measures taken in response to the 2010 amendment to the Electoral Law which highlighted equalizing the representation ratio between urban and rural populations and a new requirement on candidates' exposure to the public. The migrant population's right to be elected has been ensured by loosened restrictions on candidates' household registration, it said. The percentage of workers, farmers and women elected as deputies has risen, and the amount of deputies who are returned overseas Chinese or from ethnic minorities also reached the legal requirements, the statement said. ^ top ^

Scam victims take to the streets (Global Times)
2012-01-04
Demonstrations against the insufficient crackdown on illegal fundraising in Anyang, Henan Province, simmered as the local government pledged to increase measures to combat related crimes. About 30,000 people gathered at the local train station on New Year's Day for the protest, the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday. An investment guarantee company reportedly disappeared with about 40 billion yuan ($6.35 billion) collected from locals, Beijing-based news portal hexun.com reported. [...] The local government soon held an emergency meeting and vowed to investigate any breach of duty, according to a statement issued on its official website Monday. "The demonstration has revealed loopholes in our work to curb illegal fundraising activities," the statement said, citing lack of coordination. It also pledged to "exact the utmost effort" to investigate the crimes, retrieve funds and reduce losses of those affected. [...] According to a report by Securities Times in November, in Anyang, with a population of 5 million and an annual GDP of 130 billion yuan, nearly 80 percent are estimated to be involved in illegal fundraising. The demonstration was met with sympathy, as well as complaints from some locals. [...] Song Shukui, a deputy director of the Anyang Public Security Bureau, said there were two demonstrations on December 23 and 26 in the city, the Anyang Daily reported. Song said they would punish those who fomented the demonstrations through the Internet and mobile phones, as their actions seriously disturbed social order. [...]. ^ top ^

Morality situation improving: report (Global Times)
2012-01-04
The morality situation in China has been improving, according to an article published in Qiushi, the Communist Party of China Central Committee's flagship magazine devoted to policy-making. The article came at a time when cases including Guo Meimei, who plunged the Red Cross Society of China into a credibility crisis, and Yueyue, a 2-year-old girl who was run over by two vehicles and ignored by 18 passersby, led to discussions of a morality crisis last year. "The reason for the hesitation in helping strangers is that the Chinese traditional culture of 'social acquaintance' is transforming into a 'strangers' society' culture, while the system of social controls and curbs is weakening," it said. Besides, it also put forward the "enlarging effect" by the media as a reason. The article said that although the morality situation is getting better, there are still problems to be tackled due to the severe tests stemming from the Party's rule, reform and opening-up and the market economy that will necessarily be reflected in the field of morality. Existing moral problems are focused on certain periods, such as the early stages of reform and opening-up and the implementation of a market economy system. In those periods some officials, businessmen and cultural celebrities, who are vulnerable to corruption of money and power, would fall from grace when their scandals are exposed. "It is the bad situation in these fields and incidents concerning a few people that brings huge pressure on public morality as well as a bad psychological impact," said the article. The article also explained the reasons for immoral conduct, such as flaws in the relevant systems. "The deeper reason for officials' corruption lies in the fact that more power and money transactions happen under the market economy system but the corresponding system of supervision lags behind the change in the situation, the article said. Experts agreed with the stance of Qiushi by saying that the morality situation is no worse than in the past, and historically, the public has always worried about the morality situation. [...]. ^ top ^

Two-thirds of entertainment shows cut from channels (Global Times)
2012-01-04
A recently implemented rule has effectively curbed the "excessive entertainment" trend as two-thirds of the entertainment programs on China's 34 satellite channels have been cut, according to the country's top broadcasting watchdog. The total number of entertainment shows airing during primetime every week was reduced to 38 from 126 by the end of 2011, marking a 69 percent plunge before the new rule came into effect on January 1, according to a statement Tuesday from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). According to a SARFT directive last October, each of the country's satellite channels is limited to broadcasting two entertainment programs each week and a maximum of 90 minutes of content defined as entertainment every day during primetime – 7:30 pm to 10 pm. The directive also required channels to broadcast at least two hours of news programming between 6 am and midnight. Restricted programs on the SARFT list include dating shows, talent contests, talk shows as well as emotional stories that were deemed "excessive entertainment" and of "low taste.". ^ top ^

Chinese VP stresses efforts to arm university students with socialist values (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-05
Vice President Xi Jinping Wednesday stressed efforts to arm university students with socialist core values through the reinforcement of on-campus Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations. Xi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark while meeting delegates to a national meeting on party-building in higher education institutions. Describing universities as a key ideological front for equipping young people with socialist values, Xi said on-campus party-building should aim to cultivate qualified builders and reliable successors for China's socialist cause Xi said ideological and political work concerning university faculty should be improved, as their morals and qualities exert a gradual and imperceptible influence on students. He also urged greater efforts to encourage young university teachers to join the CPC. ^ top ^

Senior leader urges healthy online culture (China Daily)
2012-01-05
Senior Chinese leader Li Changchun on Wednesday called for more efforts to strengthen the Internet construction and management and promote a healthy online culture. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a national conference of publicity officials. Li also urged the officials to work and fortify the leading status of Marxism in the country's ideological field, and to provide spiritual support for the economic and social development. The publicity work should help create a favorable environment for the country's efforts to stabilize economic growth, regulate commodity prices, adjust the economic structure, improve people's livelihood, carry forward reform and promote social harmony, Li said. Moreover, Li called for efforts to deepen the reform and promote development in the country's cultural sector. ^ top ^

China enables migrant workers better blend in city (China Daily)
2011-01-05
The Ministry of Civil Affairs has worked out a guideline to give the country's migrant workers greater access to urban community-based public services and help them better adapt to life in the city. The guideline urges efforts to extend public services offered in urban communities, including employment, public health, social insurance, legal aid and educational services, to cover migrant workers living in urban areas, according to a ministry statement issued Wednesday. More initiatives will be introduced to promote the employment of migrant workers by encouraging community-based companies and public institutions to employ them, the guideline says. It calls for greater efforts by community management authorities to help migrant workers solve labor disputes and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests. The guideline also urges efforts to find ways for migrant workers to take part in the selection of members of community management committees. Helping migrant workers get along with urbanites and adapt to city life will be of great significance for social harmony, according to the guideline. Official statistics show that there are 164 million migrant workers nationwide. ^ top ^

73 cadres hit with penalties (Global Times)
2012-01-05
A total of 73 Communist Party of China (CPC) officials were penalized for discipline violations during the 2011 reshuffling of leading officials in local Party committees, according to the party's top disciplinary watchdog. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement on Wednesday that discipline authorities nationwide investigated 52 cases regarding "irregularities" during the reshuffling, which resulted in the punishment of the 73 officials. Leading officials in CPC committees at the provincial, municipal, county and township levels were reshuffled last year. The CCDI vowed to boost disciplinary measures to ensure that only ethically sound officials would be promoted during the reshuffle. ^ top ^

Food safety campaign slashes dairy numbers (China Daily)
2012-01-06
The "tough battle" to clean up the food sector saw the closure of more than 40 percent of the mainland's dairies, Zhi Shuping, head of the country's top quality watchdog, said on Thursday. "Food regulation supervisors looked into all the 1,176 dairy product manufacturers last year," Zhi, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said at the 2012 national work conference on quality supervision. "The licenses of 426 were revoked and another 107 were required to carry out improvements within a fixed period of time." The number of cases transferred to the police doubled from the previous year, he said. "We fought a tough battle to rectify the dairy industry." Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association, said that there were nearly 2,000 domestic dairies in 2008 when the melamine-contaminated baby formula scandal exploded. "It is really a good job that the authorities have closed unqualified dairies," Wang said. Comprehensive checks have been carried out since last year on dairies and their products and supervision has been increased, Zhi said. [...]. ^ top ^

Better medical insurance coverage in rural areas (China Daily)
2012-01-06
Basic medical insurance coverage in China's rural areas reached 97 percent in 2011, outnumbering that of urban areas, Health Minister Chen Zhu said on Thursday. Coverage in urban areas reached 89 percent last year, while national overall coverage reached 95 percent, Chen said at a national work conference, citing records in 2003 when only 55 percent of urban citizens and 21 percent of rural citizens were covered. Chen attributed the progress to the reform of the country's health care system, which has brought "positive structural changes" in recent years. In recent years, the country has invested heavily in health care and community-level basic medical services in rural areas, the minister said. As a result of the reforms, the percentage of total medical costs paid by patients decreased from 60 percent in 2001 to 35.5 percent in 2010, with the government budget and social funds covering the rest, Chen added. Chen's speech also revealed major objectives and plans for future health care reform. In terms of financing health care services, Chen cited a four-year campaign against the practice of subsidizing services with drug sales, although this practice remains a key source of income for medical institutions. [...] Chen also proposed new solutions for doctor-patient disputes. Specialized institutions or social organizations should be formed or incorporated to receive and handle disputes, Chen said, adding that third-party mediation and medical liability insurance may also be helpful. ^ top ^

VP calls for boosting ethnic areas' development (China Daily)
2012-01-06
Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu on Thursday pledged to further facilitate the development of the country's ethnic groups and ethnic areas. Promoting the development of ethnic groups and areas is a fundamental way to resolve the problems ethnic minorities face, Hui said at a meeting of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission. The government is dedicated to improving people's livelihood in ethnic areas and helping minorities benefit from the fruits of reform and development, he said. Hui said great importance should be attached to stimulating ethnic minorities' entrepreneurial initiative, and preferential policies are needed to help them equally participate in local development. ^ top ^

China vows to have top bio scientists by 2020 (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
China will boost its bioscience technology development and produce three to five top scientists by 2020, chinanews.com reported Thursday. China's Ministry of Science and Technology issued a National Program on Bioscience Technology Development 2010-2020 on Wednesday, which aims to strengthen the development of bioscience and roll out a map for a prosperous bioscience industry in the future, the report said. The program includes training successful bio-technological scientists, innovative bioscience technical researchers, and industrial and management staff. The report also admits to the lack of top talent in China's bioscience field, where only 25 percent of Chinese students studying aboard return home after their graduation. ^ top ^

A nation on the move during holiday (China Daily)
2012-01-06
Authorities said ensuring safety is the main task during the Spring Festival travel period as the transportation system nationwide braces for a tough test. China's annual Spring Festival travel rush will begin on Sunday, and authorities estimate 3.158 billion passenger journeys will be made during the 40-day travel period. Passenger flow will increase by 9.1 percent from last year and "the fact that the New Year holiday and the Spring Festival fall close together will further toughen the challenge," said Liu Tienan, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, in a nationwide video and teleconference on the Spring Festival rush. Feng Zhenglin, vice-minister of the Ministry of Transport, stressed the need for measures to ensure road safety, after a road accident in Hunan province claimed 13 lives on Tuesday and another in Guizhou province on Wednesday claimed 18 lives. [...] Major passenger traffic will rush from Beijing, the Yangtze River delta and the Pearl River delta before the festival. After the festival, pressure on the transportation system will increase in provinces with a large number of migrant workers. The Ministry of Railways warns train service may fall short of demand. Hu Yadong, railways vice-minister, said 2,064 temporary trains will run daily to meet the increasing demand, and the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will run for a longer time each day. More measures will be taken to counter the problems the railways' new online ticket booking system has encountered due to huge Web traffic. The Civil Aviation Administration of China estimates 34.88 million passenger trips will be made during the 40-day period, a 7 percent increase from last year. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing bureau to review hefty tax fine on Ai's firm (SCMP)
2012-01-06
The Beijing tax bureau agreed on Wednesday to review a 6.6 million yuan (HK$8.1 million) tax-evasion fine slapped on a firm related to artist Ai Weiwei - a penalty that many saw as an effort by authorities to stifle his activism. "I can't say I'm surprised," Ai told the South China Morning Post [...] yesterday. "There are indeed lots of problems with the case, and I believe they will treat this review seriously. I believe nothing is fixed, and every step is a test of the law. That's how authorities should see it too. "But I don't think this is a sign of the authorities softening their stance either, as we still don't know the result." Ai's lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, said on his microblog account that he welcomed the decision, saying it was "within reason and expectations". In November, the Beijing tax bureau issued a bill for about 15 million yuan in alleged back taxes and penalties to Fake Cultural Development, a firm founded by Ai but registered to his wife, Lu Qing. The request for administrative review, approved this week, was just for the penalty part, and in a few days the company will file a request for another administrative review of the alleged back taxes in excess of eight million yuan, Ai said. [...] The 9,000-word request for review of the penalty, made available online by Ai, said the legal basis for the penalty was itself illegal, and that the penalty was implemented in ways that violated procedures, including the illegal early interference of police. By law, the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau now has two months to come to a decision on whether the penalty was rightfully or wrongfully imposed. If Ai and his team think the decision is unfair, they can bring an administrative lawsuit against the tax bureau. ^ top ^

Online booking of European train tickets available (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
With the realization of the cooperation between Rail Europe and China's leading online travel service provider Ctrip.com, Chinese travelers to Europe can now inquire ticket information and book train tickets in Europe on Ctrip.com. Ctrip.com has offered a section for European railways on its website, in which Chinese visitors can book railway tickets in more than twenty countries such as Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy. Through tickets are also available on the Ctrip.com. Point-to-point tickets of about 16 European main cities are also provided. What's more, tickets booked on this website are at the lowest price. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing opens three subway lines to ease traffic (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
Beijing put three subway lines into operation Saturday as the city seeks to expand the rail transit network to ease severe traffic congestion. The lines include an extended section of the current No. 8 Line, a section of the existing No. 15 Line, and the southern section of the new No. 9 line. With the No. 9 line, the capital city now has its first subway line connecting the busy Beijing West Railway Station to the downtown area. The new lines bring the number of metro lines in Beijing to 15, with a total length of 372 kilometers, said Jia Peng, spokesman of Beijing Metro. The metro network hauls an average of 6.2 million passengers per day. The three new lines are expected to carry 500,000 more passengers a day, Jia said. The city has turned to public transport, particularly the rail transit lines, to tackle massive traffic jams as the city streets are too crowded with five million vehicles. Beijing is building more subway lines. The number of lines will reach 19 by 2015 with a combined length of 561 kilometers. By 2020, the total subway length is expected to increase to 1,000 kilometers. Amid other measures to ease traffic, in 2011, city authorities decided to allow only 240,000 vehicles to be registered each year, slashing the new car registrations by two-thirds from the 2010 level. Also, vehicles are banned from roads one day per week according to plate numbers. ^ top ^

Beijing advertisement video debut in Times Square on New Year's Eve (Global Times)
2012-01-04
Beijing launched its new publicity campaign to attract tourists by screening a publicity video during the New Year's Eve Countdown Ceremony in Times Square in New York City. The video features famous world heritages in Beijing, such as the Great Wall and Summer Palace, as well as modern architecture like the Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest) and Water Cube. The ceremony, which began in 1904, was adorned with traditional Chinese elements for the first time, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. Ren Jianghao, meeting and incentive director at the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, told the Global Times that the activities helped promote Chinese culture, so as to attract more to travel to China. "We aim to establish a global brand, and the ceremony is a platform we can use to promote our rich tourism resources and increase our overseas influence," he said. [...] According to The New York Times, signs in top-drawer locations in Times Square can rent for as much as $300,000 to $400,000 a month. However, some foreigners believe the video is a cliché lacking any substance about people's real lives in Beijing. [...] "Advertisement is one way to promote a city, but we should pay more attention to solving the existing problems. Providing better services for tourists and reducing traffic jams in Beijing are just some examples of the things that need to be done," Wang Qiyan, director of Renmin University's Research Center of Leisure Economy of China, told the Global Times Tuesday. ^ top ^

Beijing set to release figures on pollution (SCMP)
2012-01-06
The municipal environmental authorities in Beijing will release air pollution readings for PM2.5 - fine particles with a diameter less than 2.5 microns - before the Lunar New Year, Xinhua reports. Beijing is among the first batch of mainland cities planning to release PM2.5 data. [...] The information released by Beijing will be partial, with only six of the city's monitoring stations equipped to take such readings. The municipal government said it aimed to install equipment for taking PM2.5 readings in all 27 monitoring stations and release real time figures by the end of this year. The United States embassy in Beijing has been conducting its own monitoring and publishing PM2.5 readings on the internet, winning praise from the public and giving the authorities a headache. A Beijing official quoted by Xinhua admitted that the government had been monitoring PM2.5 since 2006. But the data was primarily collected for research purposes, the authorities said. [...] US government standards describe PM2.5 readings above 300 as "hazardous for the entire population". The US embassy's readings in Beijing exceeded 500 - the maximum rating - several times last month. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

China's Shenzhen raises minimum wage by 14 pct to country's highest (Xinhua)
2011-12-31
China's southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen Friday said it will hike the minimum monthly wage by 13.6 percent starting February 2012 to help attract workers and buffer their rapidly rising living costs. The move raises the minimum monthly wage for full-time workers to 1,500 yuan (240 U.S. dollars), the country's highest, the Shenzhen municipal human resources and social security bureau said in a press release. The hike is aimed at easing the labor shortage after the Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 23, when many migrants usually seek higher-paid jobs after returning from home, it said. "It's a clear signal to people from all walks of life, particularly the laborers. The businesses can also better arrange their annual capital expenditure," it said. Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, has been hit by a chronic labor shortage for years as many migrants return to work in factories closer to their hometowns that offer competitive wages. [...] Severe labor shortages, sporadic workers strikes, and rising living costs in cities prompted wage hikes both this year and last year. Twenty-four provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities raised the minimum monthly wage by an average of 22 percent this year, said Yin Weimin, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security. ^ top ^

Probe confirms villagers' complaints (SCMP)
2012-01-01
Villagers in Wukan, Guangdong, who made headlines with their protests over illegal land grabs, have welcomed the preliminary findings of an investigation by the provincial government that confirms their complaints and that local officials had taken bribes. The special top-level team announced its results on Friday, saying former village party head Xue Chang and other village officials had sold farmland without consent, the China News Service reported. Besides illegal land deals, Xue and others had taken bribes from land buyers, it said, and officials from the land resource bureau of Lufeng city, which overseas Wukan, also behaved corruptly. Zeng Qingrong, deputy director of Guangdong's Provincial Supervision Department, who led the probe, said accounts showed Xue and subordinates had taken funds earned from the land deals but shared very little with villagers. Villagers complained that up to 400 hectares had been stolen by Xue and Chen Shunyi, who headed the village party committee for more than four decades, China News Weekly reported. Not only were Xue and Chen involved in embezzlement, but they had been negligent, Zeng said. [...] It said the officials and others involved in the land deals were being investigated for corruption. Villagers said that they were satisfied with the investigation's preliminary findings, but were not sure how they would be handled. "It's too early to say whether our local government will follow up and implement the instructions of the provincial government," one of the villagers' representatives said yesterday, adding that they were worried the authorities would not allow them to elect new leaders to replace Xue and Chen. [...]. ^ top ^

Guangdong official back-pedals on bird-flu death (SCMP)
2012-01-02
Guangdong authorities said yesterday they were unsure whether the death of a bird flu victim in Shenzhen was related to migratory birds, changing their tone a day after they described a wetland park visited by the victim as "highly suspicious". Media reports last night, meanwhile, said the Shenzhen Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had found genetic mutations in the virus that infected the victim. But the mutated virus was not transmissible between humans. [...] He Jianfeng, from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Guangdong, told Xinhua he was not yet able to determine how the 39-year-old bus driver, only identified as Chen, contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus, although Chen went for regular morning jogs at the wetland park, Waterlands Resort. "There are two channels for humans to be infected with bird flu: through poultry and migratory birds. At the moment there is no solid evidence to prove Chen had contact with poultry or birds," He said. [...] On Saturday, He told Guangzhou Daily that investigators were "highly suspicious" that the driver had picked up the deadly virus from bird droppings at the park. Waterlands Resort covers 1.7 million square metres, with an artificial lake and wetland, in western Shenzhen. [...] The authorities' comments on wetland parks as the source of the virus had unnerved many people who had been planning to spend the three-day New Year break outdoors. [...]. ^ top ^

Base reforms on 'Wukan way', party boss says (SCMP)
2012-01-05
Guangdong party chief Wang Yang said the southern province would use the "Wukan approach" as a template to reform the governance of villages and townships at the grass-roots level. Some analysts said Wang's latest remarks, regarding protests last year over land-grabs in Wukan, demonstrated courage and proved he was a liberal-minded modern leader. In a speech delivered to the provincial party congress on Tuesday, which gave a glimpse of Guangdong province's future policy direction, Wang said an emphasis would be placed on restructuring the province's economy rather than pursuing growth, along with promoting the development of social organisations. "Guangdong has grown out of an era of high-speed economic growth," Wang said. [...] Wang said the province was formulating new measures to replace past policy that referred to migrant workers as "peasant workers", to eliminate discrimination and ease the process of urban integration. He also reiterated his earlier calls to delegate social management power to non-governmental organisations in a bid to improve people's lives. According to a China News Service report on Tuesday, Wang said the handling of the Wukan incident should be used as a lesson to be studied across the province. [...] "Guangdong deputy party secretary Zhu Mingguo leading a delegation into Shanwei's Wukan village was not only meant to solve problems in the village, but also to set a reference standard to reform village governance across Guangdong," Wang was quoted as saying. This year, Wang said, concrete measures would be taken to address disciplinary problems among local cadres at grass-roots level. "People's democratic awareness is increasing significantly in this changing society," Wang said. "When their appeals for rights aren't getting enough attention, that's when mass incidents happen." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

SW China's Tibet sees strong growth in foreign trade, up 31 pct (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
Tibet's foreign trade continued to see robust growth this year as the government stepped up efforts to improve infrastructure in inland port cities and the efficiency of customs clearance, local authorities said. The region's foreign trade volume is expected to top 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, up 31.6 percent from last year, according to this week's regional economic work conference. The double-digit growth was the fastest among Chinese provinces and regions, Ma Xiangcun, head of the region's commerce department, told China News Service earlier this week. The government offered more support to export-oriented cities, foreign trade companies and export products this year, Ma said. Border trade played a major role in Tibet's foreign trade, accounting for 60 percent of the total volume, said Ma. Nepal is Tibet's top trade partner. Last year, bilateral trade between Tibet and Nepal stood at 542 million U.S. dollars, up 65 percent over the previous year. Tibet mainly exports sheep, wool, Tibetan carpets and Chinese caterpillar fungus - a valuable ingredient in traditional medicines that is believed to boost the immune system. ^ top ^

Tibet spends $507m building eco-security barrier (China Daily)
2012-01-06
Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region spent 3.2 billion yuan (about $507 million) last year to turn the area into an "ecological security barrier," the local government said Thursday. The spending financed 10 major projects including the conservation of Tibet's pastureland and wetland, measures to prevent forest fires and pests, wildlife protection and environment monitoring, said Zhang Yongze, the regional environment protection chief. Tibet, covering more than 1.2 million square km, plays a vital role in maintaining the eco balance on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. With abundant glacier resources, rivers, wild animals and plants, the plateau region is widely recognized as a potential regulator against climate change for Asia and the entire Northern Hemisphere. The State Council, China's cabinet, approved plans for the construction of Tibet's eco-security barrier in 2009. [...] According to the national plan, 27 eco-conservation projects will be launched from 2011 to 2015, with a combined investment of 9.8 billion yuan. Last year, Tibet put nearly 3.5 billion yuan in ecological compensation funds, and 3.2 billion yuan was spent, said Zhang. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Uygur abductors 'headed for overseas terror training' (SCMP)
2011-12-31
Fifteen Uygur men who were branded as "terrorists" after they took two herdsmen hostage in the restive Xinjiang autonomous region this week had been trying to sneak out of China for jihad training through a county that bordered Pakistan and India, but got lost on the way, the Xinjiang government said yesterday. Regional government spokesman Hou Hanmin said the 15 Uygurs lost their way in Pishan, which borders the Kashmir region, while trying to cross into neighbouring countries to receive terrorist training. They forced two local herdsmen who were looking for their lost sheep to lead the way, but the pair managed to escape and contact police, leading to a police operation on Wednesday. Police shot dead seven of the kidnappers, while a police officer was hacked to death. Hou declined to disclose where the Uygurs had come from or which terror group they belonged to, saying only an investigation was continuing. Officials have warned of a growing trend of terrorists sneaking back into China after training in South and Central Asia. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Ma has the edge in poll countdown (SCMP)
2012-01-04
With 10 days to go before the January 14 vote, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou maintains a narrow lead over his opponents in his campaign for re-election, according to the latest opinion polls. But a number of factors, including an allegation against Ma of spying, have added uncertainty to the presidential poll, whose result could affect the future development of cross-strait relations. Yesterday - the last day opinion survey results could be legally published - two major Taiwanese dailies both showed Ma enjoying a lead over his main opponent, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ma was far ahead of another challenger, James Soong Chu-yu of the People First Party. While an opinion survey by the United Daily News showed that Ma, chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, would receive 44 per cent of the vote versus Tsai's 36 per cent and Soong's 7 per cent, a survey by the Taipei-based China Times indicated that Ma would garner 39.5 per cent, ahead of Tsai's 36.5 per cent and Soong's 5.8 per cent. Legislative elections will be held alongside the presidential ballot. [...]. ^ top ^

Taiwan official stresses ‘1992 Consensus' as basis for ties (Global Times)
2012-01-05
A Taiwanese official in charge of Chinese mainland affairs reiterated yesterday the significance of the "1992 Consensus," stressing it as an "important basis" for negotiations between Taiwan and the mainland. In November 1992, the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) reached an agreement stating that both organizations have verbally acknowledged that "both sides of the Taiwan Straits adhere to the one-China principle." The "1992 Consensus," as the agreement came to be called, has since served as a basis for negotiations. Lai Shin-yuan, head of the "Mainland Affairs Council" under Taiwanese authorities, told a press conference that the spirit of the "1992 Consensus" is to shelve disputes and negotiate pragmatically. "If this basis does not last in the future, cross-Straits relations could be thrown into uncertainty," Lai said. Lai said after the two sides resumed institutionalized negotiations in June 2008, the ARATS and SEF held seven rounds of talks and signed 16 agreements concerning cross- Straits exchanges in the areas of trade, health and food safety. She said Taiwanese authorities' cross-Straits policies were successful in 2011 and the effects of several cross-Straits agreements have been noticed by Taiwanese people. Taiwanese authorities will "steadily" continue to promote cross- Straits consultations and exchanges in the future, she said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China to scrap 253 types of administrative fees (Xinhua)
2011-12-31
China will scrap 253 types of administrative fees on enterprises charged by provincial-level governments from Feb. 1, 2012. The cancellation was announced by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the National Development and Reform Commission in a joint circular on the MOF website. The move is expected to reduce enterprises' financial burdens by 10 billion yuan (1.59 billion U.S. dollars) annually, and will further improve the nation's business environment, the circular said. China has abolished 182 types of administrative fees charged by central government departments since 2008, and enterprises have been exempted from fees totaling 178 billion yuan. ^ top ^

China announces support for SMEs in government purchasing (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
The country's Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced Saturday that the nation's government departments will allocate at least 30 percent of their purchasing quota to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the start of 2012. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the allocated quota will be reserved for small and micro-sized businesses, according to a new guideline jointly issued by the MOF and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a statement on the MOF website said. The guideline urges relevant units to step up making plans to buy from SMEs in 2012. It also forbids any institution or any individual from impeding or restricting SMEs' access to the government purchasing market, the statement said. Furthermore, in regards to projects that are not especially oriented to SMEs, the government purchaser or purchasing agency should first implement a 6-10 percent cut in product prices as reported by SMEs, and use the reduced pricing for bidding in order to give them advantages. [...]. ^ top ^

Central bank stresses prudent monetary policy for 2012 (Xinhua)
2012-01-01
China's central bank said Saturday it will continue the prudent monetary policy and maintain the continuity and stability of its policies. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will give full play to the counter-cyclical function of macro-prudential policies and properly handle the intensity, pace and focus of macro-control, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in a new year's address to the bank staff. He reiterated the line of making the macro-control more targeted, flexible and forward-looking in 2012. "Systematic financial risks will be effectively prevented to promote the healthy and fast development of the national economy," Zhou said. While keeping a reasonable social financing growth, the bank will also optimize the lending structure, deepen financial reforms and improve foreign exchange management, he added. China's economic growth has slowed all year to hit 9.1 percent in the third quarter but remains above the global average. [...]. ^ top ^

China's official PMI rebounds to 50.3 pct in December (Global Times)
2012-01-02
China's PMI, a preliminary readout of the country's manufacturing activity, rebounded to 50.3 percent in December of 2011, indicating a stabler slowing trend of the country's economic growth. The December Purchasing Managers' Index was up 1.3 percentage points from 49 percent in November, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Sunday. A PMI reading of 50 percent demarcates expansion from contraction. The CFLP's sub-index for new orders in December was 49.8 percent, up 2.0 percentage points from November. The sub-index for purchase prices rose 2.7 percentage points from November to 47.1 percent in December. In December, 12 industries, including petroleum refining and coking, clothes, shoes and fur and feather products manufacturing, agricultural food processing and food production, enjoyed a PMI of over 50 percent, while sectors such as facility manufacturing, general equipment manufacturing, industrial chemicals manufacturing registered under 50 percent. [...]. ^ top ^

China bracing for a sluggish start, Wen says (SCMP)
2012-01-04
Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that China's economy could face difficult times in the first quarter, but said the government was ready to "fine-tune" monetary policy. Wen [...] said people should be confident the nation would surmount economic hurdles and usher in stable growth. "We have a relatively cool market, which is the core of today's problems," he told local businessmen during a tour of Hunan province on Sunday and Monday. The premier said China had to deal with the twin pressures of an economic downturn and high prices, Xinhua reported. Dwindling external demand and rising costs for enterprises made the situation more complicated than after the 2008 global financial crisis, Wen said. While the focus of boosting domestic demand would be stimulating consumption, it also required attracting investment, Wen said. Still, he reiterated that the government's policy was to rein in industries that were heavily polluting, used a lot of energy or suffered from overcapacity, and to curb wasteful construction. [...] Last month, after a three-day central economic work conference, Beijing set "making progress while maintaining stability" as its guiding theme for this year. "We should stabilise economic growth, keep the overall price level basically stable and promote social harmony and stability," Wen said. In response to concerns about a lack of working capital caused by monetary tightening, Wen said the government would adjust in line with the needs of various industries. "We can't talk about the scale of loans and liquidity on a general level, but should instead analyse the situation of different industries and companies... one by one," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing moves to clean up problems with local debt (SCMP)
2012-01-05
The central government said yesterday it had cleaned up nearly half the 530 billion yuan (HK$649 billion) worth of local government debt from 2010 found to have irregularities during an investigation. Economists, however, said the effort to correct financing problems affecting 259 billion yuan - or 40 per cent - of these loans would do little to address the mainland's underlying debt problem. In June, the National Audit Office said local government debt had reached 10.7 trillion yuan by the end of 2010 - or roughly a quarter of the mainland's economic output. The National Audit Office detailed the moves in a report published on its website. The report outlined common problems with the local government debt, including 73 billion yuan in loans secured against insufficient collateral and 244 billion yuan in loans secured against "fake" or inadequate registered capital. The office said steps had been taken to correct irregularities with 23 billion yuan of loans in the first category and 98 billion yuan in the second. [...] The audit office's report came as a follow-up to a June report that first brought to light details of the explosive local debt problem resulting from excessive borrowing to bolster the economy in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Economists said cleaning up 40 per cent of the irregularities found does little to reassure that the underlying debt problem has improved. [...] About 5 trillion of the 10.7 trillion in credit the audit office says was issued went to local government financing vehicles (LGFVs), companies set up to borrow money from banks on behalf of local governments who are themselves usually restricted from doing so. Both figures are still subject to debate, as many economists have higher estimates. Economists believe most of the loans to the LGFVs are not going to be paid back because many of the projects that they funded, such as infrastructure construction, do not generate enough money. This means the government would be ultimately responsible for their repayment. [...]. ^ top ^

China's foreign trade to top 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2015: MOC (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-05
China's foreign trade will expand at an annual rate of 10 percent to reach 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2015, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday. The full-year volume of China's imports and exports stood at 2.97 trillion U.S. dollars in 2010, according to official data. The ministry also predicted that retail sales will grow at an average annual rate of 15 percent to top 32 trillion yuan (about 5.1 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015, while sales of production materials will grow 16 percent annually to top 76 trillion yuan by 2015, according to the ministry. The service trade will post a year-on-year growth rate of 11 percent to reach 600 billion U.S. dollars by 2015, the ministry said. The ministry said China will place an emphasis on the development of e-commerce during the 2011-2015 period, targeting an annual growth rate of over 30 percent. The ministry also said China will attract 120 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment annually, with foreign direct investment growing 17 percent annually to a total of 560 billion U.S. dollars during the five-year span. [...]. ^ top ^

China seize $844.5 in fake goods in 2011 (China Daily)
2012-01-06
China's quality supervision departments investigated and seized counterfeit goods valued at 5.33 billion yuan ($844.5 million) through law enforcement last year, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said Thursday. At an AQSIQ work conference, the administration's chief Zhi Shuping said that the administration's work last year focused on inspections of dairy products, liquor, meat and food additives, as well as intellectual property rights infringements. The quality supervision departments revoked 15,000 licenses for industrial enterprises found to be producing counterfeit food products and shut down 426 dairy companies. Zhi said the administration will blacklist companies that have been found to be violating the law and will punish offenders more harshly in the future. ^ top ^

Sinopec eyes doubling in equity crude production (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
China Petrochemical Corp aims to more than double overseas equity oil output by 2015 as the nation's second-largest oil producer continues to boost its presence globally Also known as Sinopec Group, it plans to produce more than 50 million tons of equity oil from overseas projects by 2015, or 1 million barrels per day, up from 22.88 million tons last year, according to a newsletter yesterday. During the first 11 months of 2011 China's total crude imports totaled 5.07 million barrels per day, according to customs data. Equity oil refers to the output a company is entitled to in certain projects under production sharing agreements with partners. This year, Sinopec aims to gain 27 million tons from such output. Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu has led a spending spree since taking the position in April last year, buying energy assets in countries from Australia to Brazil and the United States. Earlier this week, Sinopec agreed to invest US$2.2 billion for a one-third stake in five emerging oil fields in the US operated by Devon Energy Corp as it made its first foray into the America shale sector to seek growth in the unconventional fossil fuel business. ^ top ^

China's 2011 welfare lottery sales hit 127.8 bln yuan (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-06
China's welfare lottery sales hit a record 127.8 billion yuan (20.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, up 32 percent year-on-year, the Welfare Lottery Distribution and Management Center (WLDMC) said Thursday. It was the first time for welfare lottery sales to exceed 100 billion yuan. Around 96 billion yuan in welfare lottery tickets were sold in 2010, according to official data. The lottery raised a total of 39 billion yuan for public welfare funds in 2011, the center's statistics showed. The WLDMC is administered by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which was authorized by the State Council, or China's cabinet, to raise welfare funds through lottery sales in 1987. ^ top ^

China's 2011 foreign trade to grow by 20 pct, trade surplus narrows (Xinhua)
2012-01-06
China's foreign trade last year is expected to grow by 20 percent to 3.6 trillion U.S. dollars, while its trade surplus will continue to narrow to around 160 billion U.S. dollars, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said here Thursday. The total trade surplus is likely to account for about 2 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) last year, compared to 183.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, which accounted for 3.1 percent of GDP that year, Chen said. China maintained a stable and balanced development in foreign trade in 2011, with more favorable policies and credit to support exports and boost the expansion of imports, said Chen at a national conference on commerce. The country has also accelerated adjustments in the foreign trade structure and the transfer of processing trade to the central and western regions in the past year, he said. Chen also noted that China's domestic consumption witnessed rapid growth in 2011, which is likely to surge 17 percent to 18 trillion yuan(2.83 trillion U.S.dollars). ^ top ^

China's patent applications in 2011 surge 33.6 pct (Xinhua)
2012-01-06
The number of patent applications filed to China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in 2011 surged 33.63 percent from a year earlier to 1.63 million, according to data released by the office on Thursday. The SIPO said that it granted 961,000 patents last year, up17.91 percent from a year earlier. Tian Lipu, commissioner of the office, said Thursday at a conference on intellectual property rights that China's patents saw rapid growth last year, adding the quality of the patents is also steadily improving. This year, China will strive to nurture key enterprises with competitive advantages in developing intellectual property rights, said Tian. ^ top ^

UK drugmaker builds 200-mln-dollar facility in east China's Jiangsu (Xinhua)
2012-01-06
British drugmaker AstraZeneca has broken ground on its planned 200-million-dollar manufacturing facility in east Jiangsu Province, local authorities said Thursday. Construction of the facility, which the company said is its largest ever investment in a single manufacturing facility globally, started Wednesday at China Medical City - a medical high-tech zone in the city of Taizhou, said an official with the zone's management office. The new facility will produce both intravenous and oral solid medicines for the company's growing business in China, according to a statement from AstraZeneca - Britain's second biggest drug maker. Construction of the site is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013 and annual sales revenue is expected to reach 6 billion yuan (950 million U.S. dollars) after it commences operation. [...] "We believe the Chinese government's focus on the healthcare reform, its investment in improving the country's healthcare infrastructure, and its expansion of insurance coverage will continue to drive growth and demand for high-quality medicine over the long term," said David Smith, executive vice-president in charge of the London-based drugmaker's global operations. AstraZeneca will also establish one of its three global hubs in Shanghai, according to Smith. ^ top ^

Chinese investors choose Denmark as hub to expand European operations (Xinhua)
2012-01-06
A group of top Chinese investors has picked Denmark as one of three European countries from which to expand their European operations, Denmark's Foreign Ministry said in an official statement Thursday. The decision to open joint headquarters in Denmark follows a working visit to European countries in December 2011, by some 25 Chinese investors. They represented up to 500 Chinese companies who are members of the Aigo Entrepreneur Alliance (AEA) in China. "Denmark's strong focus on design and innovation enables Chinese brands to learn from and collaborate with Danish companies in order to become successful in the rest of Europe," said Feng Jun, who is initiator of AEA, and Chairman of consumer electronics group Aigo. "Denmark also provides good opportunities for partnerships with universities and design institutions in order to further develop our brands," he added in the statement. The AEA aims to promote privately-owned Chinese brands globally, and its members include leading companies within industries such as electronics, maritime, real estate and clothing. [...] Feng said that Denmark's investment climate and ease of doing business helped in choosing it as a hub for expanding AEA member companies' European operations. The group of investors, who also visited the Netherlands, Britain, and Belgium, among others, will recommend the country to other AEA members. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK's Kim Jong Un becomes top military commander (Global Times)
2012-01-01
Kim Jong Un has become the top military commander of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the official KCNA news agency reported Saturday. A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Friday proclaimed that Kim assumed the supreme commandership of the Korean People's Army according to a will made by his late father Kim Jong Il on Oct. 8, said the KCNA. At the meeting, the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee adopted a document entitled "On Effecting a Great Surge in Building a Thriving Nation True to the Behests of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong Il," which says the army and people of the DPRK will carry forward and accomplish the cause of building a thriving socialist nation and the revolutionary cause of Juche under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, said the KCNA. The document underlines the need to hold Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of Kim Jong Il, as "the only center of unity, cohesion and leadership of the WPK" and devotedly defend him politically and ideologically. It calls upon all party members, the military and people to "turn sorrow into thousand-fold strength and courage" and struggle to "win a great fresh victory in the Juche revolution under the leadership of Kim Jong Un," according to the KCNA. Kim Jong Un was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK last year. [...]. ^ top ^

S. Korea's Lee says window of opportunity open in inter-Korean relations (Xinhua)
2012-01-03
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that the country leaves a "window of opportunity" open for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the situation on the Korean peninsula enters a "new turning point" after the death of DPRK's former leader Kim Jong Il. "The most important goals for us at the moment are peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," Lee said in a nationally televised New Year's address. "We are leaving a window of opportunity open." He said that the two Koreas could open a new era in inter- Korean relations if the DPRK shows a sincere attitude. Lee stressed that there could be a resumption of the stalled six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear program if the DPRK halts its ongoing nuclear activities. [...] He also warned that South Korean will "strongly respond" to any provocation from the DPRK. Lee's remarks came after the DPRK's powerful National Defense Commission warned the South and the rest of the world last week not to expect a change in its policy under the new leader, Kim Jong Un. "We declare solemnly and confidently that foolish politicians around the world, including the puppet forces in South Korea, that they should not expect any changes from us," the commission said. It also said there would no dealings with South Korea's Lee Myung-bak government. ^ top ^

US wants China's help on North Korea (Global Times)
2012-01-06
Washington Thursday urged China to help restrain the new leadership in Pyongyang, said a top US diplomat who started his trip to South Korea on Wednesday following his visit to China, amid the North's leadership transition. In the second stop of his tour around Northeast Asia, Kurt Campbell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, held talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and other senior officials to discuss the North Korean issue, according to Yonhap News Agency. After the meeting with Kim, Campbell said that he has asked China to consult closely with the US on developments in the North. "We urge China to make clear the importance of restraint by the new North Korean leadership," Campbell said. He added that Washington also stressed that Pyongyang should take steps to improve relations with Seoul and to abide by its international obligations and commitments. [...] After the death of Kim Jong-il, South Korea expressed optimism about enhancing ties and holding dialogue with the North, as South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has said there is a "window of opportunity" for better ties. Thursday, South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said that the North "seems to be focused on solidifying the new leadership under difficult conditions", but Yu added that "we see no major problems in the process." "We are open to dialogue with North Korea," Kim Sung-hwan told reporters in Seoul Thursday, "The ball is now in North Korea's court." But he said it appeared North Korea had not yet decided on its "postures in dealing with the outside world." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

About preliminary result of livestock census (Montsame)
2011-12-31
According to a preliminary result of the livestock census for this year, number of livestock reached 36,005.8 thousand heads by end of 2011, reflecting an increase by 3276.3 thousand or 10.0 per cent against the previous year. The number of horse has reached 172.7 thousand, cow--139.1 thousand, camel--10.0 thousand, sheep--1028.7 thousand and goat--1925.8 thousand. ^ top ^

Mongolia to introduce new electronic passport (News.mn)
2011-12-31
Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister G.Zandanshatar presented a sample of Mongolia's new electronic passport to President Ts.Elbegdorj on Wednesday. G.Zandanshatar said the new passport conforms to the international standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization, as well as Mongolia's national security and foreign policy goals. He said the new passport will make it easier for Mongolians to travel abroad. He also said the new passport contains the latest technology, including anti-counterfeit measures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade plans to introduce the new passports in 2012, in connection with the centennial of the establishment of Mongolia's diplomatic service. The passport contains 27 security features, said G.Zandanshatar. ^ top ^

Students still waiting for stipends (News.mn)
2012-01-02
Students at institutes and universities will be granted a monthly stipend of MNT 70,000 under the law on higher education financing and student stipends. President Ts.Elbegdorj submitted the draft law to Parliament, which passed it in June 2011. The total cost of the stipends is estimated at MNT 130 billion. The law was to take effect on January 1, but the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has not issued rules for granting the stipends yet. Ministry spokesperson N.Zorig told our correspondent that the ministry submitted draft rules to the Government in December. After the Government approves the rules, the stipends will be granted. He added that money for the program has already been allocated in the state budget. ^ top ^

Mongolia's economy to be second fastest-growing in 2012 (News.mn)
2012-01-03
Mongolia will be the world's second-fastest growing economy this year, according to a forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The EIU's “World in 2012” report predicts Mongolia's economy will grow by 14.8 percent in 2012, just behind Macau, which is predicted to grow by 15 percent. Next in the ranking come two oil-rich states bouncing back from years of war and internal conflicts: Libya (up 13.6 percent) and Iraq (10.9 percent). In more good news for Mongolia, the EIU expects China to grow by a healthy 8.2 percent this year, although the EIU is worried about the country's growing debt. ^ top ^

China gives non-refundable aid to Mongolian frontier service (Montsame)
2012-01-04
An agreement on a non-refundable aid of CNY 4 million and a protocol of CNY 2 million have been established. The financial assistance is rendered to the Mongolian frontier service from the People's Liberation Army of China. The documents were signed on December 30, 2011 by Ts.Batbayar, the Charge d'Affaires of Mongolia in the People's Republic of China (PRC), representing the General Authority for Border Protection, and by Major-General Guan Youfei, a deputy chief of the PRC Defense Ministry's foreign affairs office. During the ceremony, Mr. Batbayar underlined that opening of the Mongolia-China peacekeeping center in 2011 was one of the biggest achievements of the bilateral cooperation. ^ top ^

Road and transportation sector creates 3,000 jobs (News.mn)
2012-01-04
The Road and Transportation Office says new road construction and other projects generated 3,000 new jobs in 2011. The office says unemployed workers were trained for road construction and repair projects, and were employed in other capacities in the transportation sector. The Government has praised the office for its investment, improvements in management, and job-creation programs as part of the Government's year of employment support in 2011. ^ 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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