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
  7-13.1.12, No. 405  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China to boost diplomatic efforts in Asia in 2012: official (Xinhua)
2012-01-09
China will strengthen diplomatic efforts in Asia in 2012 and enhance coordination with Asian countries, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here on Sunday. In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Liu said the regional situation will continue to undergo profound changes in 2012, posing challenges for China's diplomatic work. To properly handle differences, China will enhance political trust and expand common interests with countries in the region, in a bid to create a favorable environment for China's economic growth and contribute to peace in both Asia and the world. There will be important meetings between Chinese leaders and their counterparts from other Asian countries in 2012, [...] Liu said. "We will take the opportunities of high-level visits, strategic dialogues and exchange mechanisms at various levels to enhance strategic coordination and mutual understanding with Asian countries," he said. China will continue to play a constructive role in resolving hot regional issues, and will properly settle existing differences with neighboring countries through dialogues, Liu said. The country adheres to an open policy of mutual benefit, he said, adding that China will speed up the building of an interconnected infrastructure network, boost regional financial cooperation, encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in neighboring countries, and beef up the construction of free-trade areas with Asian nations and overseas economic cooperation zones. Meanwhile, China will also strengthen cultural exchanges with Asian countries, including celebratory activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations, the 40th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic ties, the 20th anniversary of China-ROK diplomatic relations, and the 10th anniversary of China-East Timor diplomatic ties, according to Liu. China plans to set up more Chinese culture centers and Confucius Institutes in Asian countries, to cement educational and cultural exchanges and cooperation with neighboring countries, he added. ^ top ^

China, ROK hail development of bilateral ties (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-11
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) hailed the development of ties since 2008's establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation in a joint press communique issued here on Wednesday. Coming amid ROK President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China, it says the two countries are pleased with achievements scored during the visit. The two sides spoke highly of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, saying they are committed to work together to make two-way trade volume hit 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. The two countries agreed that an early deal on a bilateral free trade zone will create a more favorable institutional environment for trade and economic cooperation, which will also serve both countries' interests. According to the document, China and the ROK will launch negotiations on the free trade zone once the ROK completes relevant domestic procedures. Concerning maritime cooperation, the two countries agreed to maintain dialogue on sea demarcation, which is of great significance to long-term, stable development of bilateral ties, the document said. China and the ROK agreed to properly handle problems emerging in the field of fishery while advancing existing cooperative mechanisms and coordination, so as to jointly protect order in fishery and ensure sustainable exploration in fishery resources. The two sides also agreed to launch dialogue and consultation which can involve bilateral foreign affairs and fishery departments, in efforts to boost cooperation on the sea. The communique also touched on areas including politics, culture, and regional situation. [...]. ^ top ^

China, ROK reiterate importance of maintaining peace, stability on Korean Peninsula (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-11
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Wednesday reiterated that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and realizing the lasting political stability of northeast Asia are in line with the common interests of relevant parties. The reiteration was made in the joint press communique signed by China and the ROK during ROK President Lee Myung-bak's three-day visit to China. Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region and realize lasting political stability, the communique said. China and the ROK expressed their hopes of working together with the international community to create conditions to resume the Six-Party Talks. The two countries reiterated support for improving relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the ROK through dialogue and negotiation, and boosting reconciliation and cooperation in order to finally realize peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula, the communique stated. The two sides recognized that beefing up regional cooperation in east Asia is significant for realizing peace, stability and development in the region. They agreed to sign an investment treaty as soon as possible and make efforts to push for the construction of a free-trade area among China, ROK and Japan. China and the ROK pledged to keep close communication and cooperation under the regional cooperative mechanisms of China-ROK-Japan cooperation, the 10+3, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forums (ARF), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and APEC. [...] Both countries acknowledged that the Group of 20 (G20) has an important role in facing the world economy and financial crisis and realizing the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy. China and the ROK decided to continue strengthening their cooperation in the G20. The two sides reiterated that the United Nations (UN) should play a central role in resolving global issues, the communique said, and they agreed to keep close cooperation in the affairs of the UN. They also agreed to boost cooperation in fighting international terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy, financial fraud and cyber crime. ^ top ^

Attack on Iran 'would be a disaster' (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-11
China strongly opposes the use of military force against Iran or Syria, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday, warning that a war in the region will be a disaster both on a humanitarian level and for the world economy. Chen Xiaodong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of West Asian and North African Affairs, also told China Daily that unilateral sanctions intensify the causes of conflict rather than resolve them. Chen's remarks come a day after Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told China-based foreign reporters that sanctions alone cannot solve the Iran dispute and stressed that normal trade relations and energy cooperation between China and Iran have nothing to do with the nuclear issue. The diplomats were speaking against the backdrop of rising tension between Iran and the West over the purpose of Teheran's nuclear program. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, allegedly, to seek support from China for US sanctions on Teheran's oil industry. "We prefer negotiation and dialogue in resolving conflict between countries," Chen said. "We oppose the use of military force against Iran as it is against international law to use force on a sovereign country." [...] Chen said a war in the region would be a disaster for the countries involved and depress the global economy as 40 percent of oil shipments pass through the strait. ^ top ^

Two pandas to France (Global Times)
2012-01-11
Two giant pandas will embark on a journey to Paris on Sunday from Sichuan Province, breeders announced Tuesday. China and France have agreed a deal that will see the pair stay in a French zoo for 10 years under a conservation and research program. The couple - named Yuan Zai and Huan Huan - were both born in 2008. They will stay in the Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan to allow staff to study panda breeding as well as training the endangered species before reintroducing them into the wild. ^ top ^

China to recruit up to 1,000 high-caliber overseas experts in 10 years (Global Times)
2012-01-11
China will continue to carry out a program to recruit 500 to 1,000 high-caliber foreign experts over the next 10 years in key industries of economic and social development, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) said Tuesday. Under the government-funded program, each of the selected overseas professionals will be offered a subsidy of one million yuan (158,373 US dollars) to cover their living expenses, according to a statement issued by the SAFEA. Another subsidy of 3 to 5 million yuan will be offered for scientific research, it said. According to the statement, applicants should be under 65 and not Chinese. They are also required to work in China for three consecutive years, or 36 months, with no more than 3 months' leave each year. [...]. ^ top ^

Media to get boost overseas (Xinhua)
2012-01-11
The Chinese government plans to increase support for publishing and media companies seeking to expand abroad, especially to areas in Africa, Latin America and China's neighboring countries, a senior press and publication official told China Daily on Monday. Chen Yingming, deputy director of the international exchange and cooperation department under the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), said investment abroad and copyright exportation both increased during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period. "The funds used for boosting the industry abroad will continue to increase in the coming year," he said. Many of the current projects are in developed countries, Chen said, but the government will guide more businesses to less-developed areas in the future. One of the benchmark goals of the plan is to bring China's copyright import-export ratio down from nearly 3-to-1 to 2-to-1 by the end of 2015. The government also aims to increase revenue from media exports to $42 million, according to a guideline released by GAPP on Monday. The guideline aims at improving the global competitive strength and influence of China's publication and media industry. To that end, the guideline mandates policy and resource support for publishing and media companies that launch foreign-language publications. Preferential policies will also go to private enterprises and joint ventures with publishing businesses that sell their products exclusively in foreign markets. Foreign cultural organizations, media, intermediary agents and individuals that have contributed to China's exploration of the world market will also receive commendations. Wu Shulin, deputy minister of GAPP, said there is an urgent need for China to become further integrated in the international cultural market. [...] "Without the 'going-out' plan, China's publication and media industry will remain in the current situation: large numbers but small influence." [...]. ^ top ^

China says Geithner's visit "significant" for boosting Sino-U.S. trade, ties (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
Chinese leaders said on Wednesday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's China visit is significant for the stability and development of China-U.S. economic relations and the development of bilateral relations in 2012. Premier Wen Jiabao said in a meeting with Geithner Wednesday afternoon that he is fully aware of the significance of this visit by Geithner as a special envoy of President Barack Obama. [...] Wen said under the complicated international economic situation, China and the United States should fully take care of each other's core interests and major concerns, enhance mutual trust, and properly handle differences. [...] He called on both countries to adopt concrete measures to push for wider, closer and balanced cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, infrastructure, high technologies as well as cooperation at local levels. Geithner said both countries have cooperated closely in coping with the international crisis, adding the U.S. side expects to continuously enhance dialogues and exchanges, deepen mutual understanding and trust, so to seek cooperation in wider fields and effectively cope with difficulties and challenges. In a separate meeting with Geithner Wednesday morning, Vice President Xi Jinping said that Geithner's China visit is significant for the stability and development of China-U.S. economic relations and the development of bilateral relations in 2012. [...] Geithner said he hopes to use his visit to explore how to work together to create a stronger economic relationship between the U.S. and China. [...]. ^ top ^

AU recommendations conducive to peace, stability in Somalia: China (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
China on Wednesday welcomed the latest proposals by the African Union (AU) to strengthen its peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, saying such recommendations are conducive to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa country. Li Baodong, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks at during an open debate at the UN Security Council on the current situation of Somalia. "The AU plays a very crucial role in addressing the problem of Somalia, its requests and recommendations are something that the United Nations should attach great importance to," Li said. Recently, the AU adopted the Strategic Concept for the Future Operations of AMISOM, calling for the growth of AMISOM troop strength, the expansion of AMISOM's areas of responsibility and the increase of the UN logistical support. "This will be conducive to peace and stability in Somalia. China welcomes these recommendations, and we hope that the Security Council can positively respond to these recommendations," Li said. [...] China is very much concerned at the grave humanitarian situation in Somalia, Li said. [...] China also called upon the international community to give more effective assistance to Somalia. ^ top ^

China keen to cooperate with West in Africa (China Daily)
2012-01-12
China is open to trilateral cooperation with the West and the international community in Africa, based on Africa's consent, to enhance local development, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday. Lu Shaye, director-general of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, said Western countries have proposed trilateral cooperation with China in Africa many times, and China is willing to cooperate with the international community to enhance Africa's development. "The trilateral cooperation must be based on each side's interests and have Africa's consent," he said. "The most fundamental thing is that the cooperation must benefit Africa's development and benefit the efficiency and effectiveness of the international community's cooperation on Africa. Besides, the three sides in the cooperation must be equal." [...] Lu said what China has done in Africa is far from "neocolonialism", noting that some Africans have sharply complained that the West is "recolonizing" Africa. [...] He added that China doesn't intervene in any country's internal affairs or impose its own culture and values on Africa, but communicates with them on an equal basis so both sides can learn from each other. [...] He added the cooperation between the two sides is a type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. [...] He said that, for China, helping Africa is an international responsibility and would not affect China's own poverty reduction efforts. [...] According to Lu, challenges to the development of future bilateral relations come from both China and the international community. [...] Western countries' jealousy of the current China-Africa relationship and misunderstanding among the African public due to Western media influence are also challenges ahead. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese naval escort squads to Somali waters escorted 4,411 vessels in three years (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
Chinese naval escort squads to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters have completed 409 missions and escorted 4,411 Chinese and foreign vessels over the past three years. To date, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has sent 10 batches of escort fleets with 25 vessels, 22 helicopters and more than 8,400 officers and soldiers to this area, Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA Navy, said at a forum on the escort missions held Wednesday. The fleets have rescued 40 ships from pirates' pursuits, taken care of eight vessels that were attacked and released by the pirates, and offered humanitarian aid to foreign vessels four times, Wu said. The fleets also escorted four ships delivering humanitarian supplies for the World Food Programme and provided adequate protection to the ships and the crewmembers, Wu said. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official pledges further cooperation with Mongolia (Xinhua)
2012-01-13
Zhou Yongkang, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), vowed Thursday to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with Mongolia to further bilateral ties. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the pledge during a meeting with Gombojab Zandanshatar, Mongolian minister of foreign affairs and trade. [...] He called on the two states to approach developing bilateral ties from a strategic perspective, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, and enrich the strategic partnership. He appealed for the two countries to expand exchange in education, culture and between the youth so as to consolidate friendship. Zhou also suggested that the two states properly handle each other's concerns, strengthen law-enforcement cooperation, jointly fight against cross-border crimes and safeguard peace in the border region. Zandanshatar said it's one of his country's priorities to develop relations with China. And he said that Mongolia would stick to the "one-China policy," and continue to regard Taiwan and Tibet as inalienable parts of Chinese territory. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy stresses Arab League's role in solving Syrian crisis (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-13
Chinese special envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike said on Thursday China supported the efforts exerted by the Arab League (AL) in solving the Syrian crisis. After talks with AL chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo, Wu told reporters that the pan-Arab body is the proper framework to resolve the Syrian crisis and that the AL and its members are capable of doing this. China opposed the internationalization of the Syrian crisis and urged all sides in Syria to immediately stop violence and carry out inclusive political dialogue, he said. As to the AL's observer mission, Wu expressed regret over the recent attacks on observers in Syria. China supported the AL to dispatch observers and hoped the observer delegation to continue fulfilling their mission, Wu said. China called on the Syria government and different blocs to create favorable environment for the activities of observers, he added. [...] Around 160 observers are monitoring the situation in Syria as part of the AL peace initiative to end the months-long turmoil in Syria. The Syrian government said some 2,000 army and security personnel were killed since the unrest began in March, 2011, while the UN said more than 5,000 people have died in the violence. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Officials punished over safety accidents (China Daily)
2012-01-07
Four ministerial-level officials found to be responsible for "major safety accidents" in China last year have been punished for disciplinary violations, Vice-Minister of Supervision Qu Wanxiang said on Friday. They were among 269 officials who were punished for dereliction of duty in 13 major road and railway accidents, pipeline explosions, building fires and mine accidents, with 107 cases transferred to judicial departments for further investigation and punishment, Qu said at a press briefing on disciplinary and supervision work. [...] According to the press briefing, from July 2009 to November 2011, discipline watchdogs uncovered more than 20,000 corruption cases involving land use, transportation, railway, hydropower and urban infrastructure building projects. During the period, more than 15,100 officials received disciplinary punishments. Among them, 89 were prefecture-level officials and 1,465 were above the county level. Land disputes, which have often been a flashpoint for conflict in years past, were well-attended to last year, an official of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said at the press briefing. Cui Shaopeng, spokesman for CCDI, said in 2011, about 1,480 cases of illegal land appropriation and demolition were handled, and 509 people involved were held accountable. Food and drug safety is another concern for discipline authorities. [...] 2011 saw a total of 4,843 Chinese officials above the county head level punished for discipline violations. Cases involving 777 of these officials have been transferred to judicial departments. While hailing the progress of the country's anti-corruption efforts, Cui Shaopeng admitted corruption is still frequently seen in some government departments and sectors as economic activity booms in the fast-developing country. [...]. ^ top ^

China / Society Rush for home kicks off (China Daily)
2012-01-09
The Spring Festival peak travel season started on Sunday with tens of millions of passengers, mainly migrant workers and college students, on the move in the world's largest seasonal migration. It is estimated that the rail system will handle 235 million passenger trips in the 40 days, or 5.88 million passenger trips each day. Some 34.88 million trips by air, and 2.85 billion road trips, will be made during the period. [...] The national train ticket website (www.12306.cn) received more than 1 billion hits daily from Jan 1-7, Hu Yadong, vice-minister of railways, said on Sunday. [...] The annual 40-day travel rush lasts from Sunday to Feb 16 this year, with millions of travelers boarding public transport to journey across the country for Spring Festival celebrations. [...] Sunday was the first day that passengers were required to board trains with their identity certificates. [...] Transport departments estimated the number of passenger trips on trains, planes, boats and buses will reach 3.2 billion during the 40-day travel rush, up 9.1 percent from last year. To cope with the rush, railway authorities, bus companies and airlines are increasing capacity. But with passengers increasing each year, tickets are becoming harder to buy for major holidays, said Liu Tienan, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission. [...] Transport authorities vowed to ensure safety during some of the coldest days of the year, as "harsh weather" conditions, with fog, rain and snow, were forecast. [...]. ^ top ^

Two more cities join Beijing in tax on foreigners (SCMP)
2012-01-09
Three months after the mainland was supposed to begin levying a new tax on foreign employees, two more cities are preparing to adopt the controversial measure, joining Beijing to make a total of three cities to do so. For the past two weeks Tianjin and Suzhou have been registering foreigners who work there, in preparation to start charging the long-delayed social security tax on non-Chinese employees, according to a person close to the situation. The law was supposed to take effect nationwide on October 15, but Beijing was the only city that began registering foreigners working there on that date. The South China Morning Post [...] reported that local governments were caught off guard by the new tax, complaining of having too little time to implement it. But even in Beijing the implementation has been chaotic, the person said. [...] Cities have been told that contributions must date back to October 15, and that those who are late will have to pay a penalty of 0.05 per cent per day in interest - 18 per cent a year. "So far three cities have begun [complying with the tax]," the person said. "But other cities, like Shanghai, Dalian, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, haven't done anything yet." The central government acknowledged in October local authorities were not ready to implement the tax, but insisted there was no going back. Under the law, foreign workers and their employers have to make monthly contributions to a basket of social security funds. Firms say the law is vague and lacks detail and will add an extra burden to doing business on the mainland. "Many companies are still looking at each other, waiting for others to be the first to pay because nobody wants to be the first, when it comes to paying the government this tax," he said. Some multinational companies and chambers of commerce have begun negotiations with Beijing, hoping to win better deals, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu vows strict Party discipline amid elections (China Daily)
2012-01-10
President Hu Jintao Monday called for strict implementation of Party disciplines amid elections of Party committees at all levels. Hu made the remarks at a plenary session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party's anti-corruption body. The CPC will tighten supervision on the whole procedure of selecting and promoting officials and improve transparency, said Hu, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. [...] President Hu also noted that the Party will improve education of senior and chief officials in its newly-elected organs. Newly-elected members of CPC committees should keep developing a correct attitude towards their work and stick to the principles of putting people first and serving the people, Hu said. Acknowledging the anti-corruption efforts made by the CPC organs, governments and discipline regulatory agencies in 2011, the President warned of the tough situation and difficult challenges to curb corruption. "We should be fully aware that the battle against corruption is time-consuming, complicated and difficult," he said. "We should have firm confidence and step up efforts." [...] The Party will also check the implementation of policies concerning the economic and social development in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities. The meeting was also attended by other senior CPC leaders including Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Zhou Yongkang. [...]. ^ top ^

China to step up land reform this year: minister (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-10
China is planning to launch new pilot projects to promote land reforms this year, Xu Shaoshi, the country's minister of land and resources, said here Monday. The ministry will summarize its experiences from previous pilot schemes, especially from those related to land acquisition, which has been an issue of wide social concern, said Xu at a national conference on land resources that closed in Beijing on Monday. The new pilots programs will cover the examination and approval of urban land use, the transferring of land under collective ownership, land management that supports economic zones, and differentiated policies on land control, according to Xu. In China, the latest notable dispute over land use, financing and elections last year in the village of Wukan in the southern province of Guangdong led to months of large-scale villager protests against local authorities. The Ministry of Land and Resources will start pilot programs that allow local governments to build rental housing on construction land under collective ownership, drawing experiences from previous land protection and compensation trial programs, said Xu. ^ top ^

China to enhance paper recycling (China Daily)
2012-01-10
China's paper-making sector will eliminate at least 10 million tons of outdated capacity by 2015 while further enhancing recycling in order to reduce pollution, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced Monday. The world's largest producer and consumer of paper and paperboard products aims to raise the recycling ratio of waste paper to 72.1 percent in five years from 71.5 percent currently, according to the government plan. The nation's paper-making industry faces resource, energy and environmental pressure, which requires faster restructuring of the sector, a statement on the ministry's website said. The statement forecast the country's consumption of paper and paperboards will hit 114.7 million tons in 2015 and that consumption will see an annual 4.6-percent rise during the nation's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). Meanwhile, output is likely to hit 116 million tons, the statement said. ^ top ^

Death penalty cases rife with evidence flaws (SCMP)
2012-01-11
Inconsistent standards of evidence and inadequate defence are among the shortcomings of death penalty cases, the deputy chief of the nation's highest court told a criminal defence conference in Beijing at the weekend. Supreme People's Court Vice-President Zhang Jun, speaking at a conference organised by the China Law Society, said the court had found the quality of capital punishment cases to be worse than expected since authorities ordered all such cases to be reviewed in 2007, according to report by Caixin online. The biggest problem was with evidence, Zhang said. Law enforcement authorities lacked awareness about the importance of collecting evidence and rules regarding evidence were not applied uniformly. "For example, [evidence in] murder cases must be subjected to DNA tests," Zhang said. "But this is not always carried out." [...] It was because of such problems, Zhang said, that the SPC in 2010 introduced two guidelines on the use of evidence in death penality cases and on the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence [...]. Defence lawyers also bore responsibility for the uneven application of evidence standards. Zhang noted that of the death penalty cases the SPC reviewed over the past five years, none had been overturned due to discoveries by defence lawyers of problems concerning collection of evidence. Veteran criminal lawyer Zhang Qingsong agreed with the deputy court chief's analysis, saying he also believed lawyers should play a bigger role in death penalty cases. [...] "Lawyers' participation in the criminal process is still limited, for example, in terms of their power to carry out independent investigations, review court documents or cross-examine evidence and witnesses," Zhang Qingsong said. "And sometimes they did raise points related to the collection of evidence, but such points were not accepted." [...] Right now the court in not required to hear the opinion of defence lawyers during the hearing of such reviews. [...] The number of death penalties in China each year is a state secret, but court officials said in spring of 2008 that the review procedures, since being introduced the year before, had reduced the number of executions by 15 per cent. ^ top ^

Tougher sentences put in place for safety violations (Global Times)
2012-01-11
The Supreme People's Court Tuesday issued a judicial explanation asking courts to hand down harsher punishments to those involved in production accidents. The document listed 14 charges of production safety violations, and said that criminals convicted for any of the charges would not receive probation. The charges include organizing illegal productions, violating national safety standards, hiding victims' bodies and bribery. Government officials, who have invested in illegal production or whose dereliction of duty helped cause accidents are also subject to harsher punishment. The supreme court listed three cases with heavy casualties as examples. In July 2008, 34 people were killed at an illegal mine in Weixian county, Hebei Province after explosives stored in the mine were adversely affected by damp and leaked hazardous gases. In a bid to cover the accident, the mine's owners sealed the pithead and destroyed the site. They also secretly cremated 28 dead bodies to dodge an investigation. One of the owners was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. [...] According to government figures, 79,552 people died in production accidents in 2010, down 4.4 percent from 2009. ^ top ^

Energy use to be regulated by central system (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-11
China will set up an integrated system to control national energy use during the 12th Five-Year-Plan (2011-2015), a senior official said on Tuesday. There has been some progress at the provincial level, and the central government will focus more on top-down planning for energy consumption, Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), said during the agency's annual work conference. The NEA started planning last year for a total energy consumption limit, which would regulate use by each province. [...] In the future, provincial governments could trade energy consumption shares among themselves, which could lead to a more rational development of the energy sector. According to the NEA, China will raise its coal production capacity to 200 million tons by the end of this year and its total installed power capacity by 70 gigawatts (gW). Liu said that 16 gW of wind capacity was connected to the grid in 2011, bringing the total to 47 gW, while solar power capacity reached 3 gW, three times higher than in the previous year. New hydropower capacity will reach 20 gW in 2012 and the country will develop the nuclear power sector "efficiently" in line with safety standards, said Liu. Liu also said that the country will increase natural gas supplies in the coming years, and it will bring the number of residential natural gas consumers to 250 million, up 100 million, by the end of 2015, which is when the current five-year plan ends. ^ top ^

China's automobiles top 100 mln (Xinhua)
2012-01-11
The number of automobiles registered in China topped 100 million in 2011, the country's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Tuesday. The Traffic Management Bureau under the MPS said that the number increased by more than 14.9 million in 2011, the first year that automobiles outnumbered motorcycles in China. Having more than 4.7 million automobiles, Beijing tops the list of 14 Chinese cities that have more than 1 million. Privately owned small and mini-sized automobiles account for 58 percent of China's total, or 61 million in number. Motor vehicles, which include motorcycles and automobiles, have reached 225 million nationwide. In the past five years, the number of drivers of motor vehicles in China has increased on average by 19.86 million annually. However, among the total of 230 million drivers, less than 19 percent are women. ^ top ^

China's Internet population estimated at 505 m (China Daily)
2012-01-12
The number of Internet users in China is estimated to have reached 505 million as of November 2011, up from 485 million at the end of June, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said Wednesday. The Internet penetration rate rose to 37.7 percent in November, up 3.4 percentage points from the end of 2010, according to a CNNIC report released at a conference here. As of the end of November, the number of microblog users exceeded 300 million, jumping from 195 million by the end of June, the report said. [...] The value of China's Internet economy surged 72.7 percent year-on-year to 71.6 billion yuan ($11.3 billion) in the third quarter of 2011, according to statistics from the Shanghai-based Internet consulting firm iResearch. [...]. ^ top ^

Company blacklist for quality problems (China Daily)
2012-01-12
The country's top quality watchdog will establish a blacklist of businesses with shoddy practices that will be made available to the public, the State Council said in a meeting on Wednesday. The meeting highlighted the demand for greater efforts to crack down on quality failures as the country's overall quality standard lags behind economic development, and quality problems, especially food safety incidents, occur from time to time. Some production operators lack credibility and manufacture and recklessly sell fake and shoddy products. In 2011, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine established a blacklist system for food companies engaged in import and export, according to Zhi Shuping, minister of the administration. [...] "The quality credit system, which will be built up this year, may mainly target manufacturers of food, building materials, agricultural products and small and medium enterprises," Zhi said. Experts welcomed the practice, saying it will further urge enterprises to be responsible for the quality of their products. [...]. ^ top ^

China drills major tunnel for ASEAN railway (China Daily)
2012-01-12
China has completed construction on a long tunnel that will allow a major railway to reach countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The 10-km-long tunnel, located in Southwest China's Yunnan province, was completed on Tuesday after six years of work by nearly 1,000 construction workers. The Xiushan tunnel will be pivotal for the construction of the 141-km Yuxi-Mengzi Railway, which is part of the eastern section of the planned Pan-Asia international railway project. [...] The railway is being built with a total investment of 4.5 billion yuan ($703 million). The railway is expected to become operational later this year and will boost land transportation between China and ASEAN countries. ^ top ^

China approves hepatitis E vaccine (China Daily)
2012-01-12
China has approved a hepatitis E vaccine, claimed to be the world's first, said the Ministry of Science and Technology Wednesday. The vaccine received the certificate for medicine production in December 2011, according to the State Food and Drug Administration. A team of researchers from Xiamen University and Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co. Ltd. in southeast China's Fujian province had worked for 14 years to develop the vaccine, and the 863 program, the government-funded high-tech development initiative, began to sponsor the research in 2005, said the ministry statement. The country will apply the vaccine to high-risk members of the population and work with international organizations to introduce it to other countries, the statement said. [...] According to a research paper from the vaccine's development team published in The Lancet in August 2010, researchers conducted a trial involving 97,356 healthy participants in China. Half of them were given the vaccine and the other half a placebo. [...]. ^ top ^

Southern droughts deepen water diversion skepticism (Global Times)
2012-01-12
The South-to-North Water Diversion Project is advancing smoothly and its eastern route will begin to transfer water next year, authorities said. Considering the recent droughts, some analysts, however, are skeptical about the plan's feasibility. The project has used a total of 137.6 billion yuan ($21 billion) in investment since construction began in 2002, according to the Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project Commission (SNWDPC) of the State Council. [...] Consisting of an eastern, middle and western routes, the project is designed to divert water from the water-rich south to the arid northern regions, and also to boost flood combat capacity in the south. [...] "Although there were various challenges during construction, such as cultural relic preservation, migrant settlement, and rising costs of materials and labor, we are still confident in completing the project as planned," Du Bingzhao, a spokesman for SNWDPC, told the Global Times. The project is set to transfer a total of 36.8 billion cubic meters of water by 2030, more than twice as much as the 15 billion cubic meters of water stored in the Three Gorges Reservoir. Some analysts are concerned that there will not be enough water for the diversion to take place by that time. [...] In January, the Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, China's largest freshwater lake, shrank to 200 square kilometers from its usual 5,000 square kilometers due to the worst drought in the region in 60 years. [...] To make way for the massive project, a total of 440,000 people have been relocated, including 330,000 for expansion of the Danjiangkou Reservoir, according to Du. ^ top ^

Writer flees to the US with his family (SCMP)
2012-01-13
Dissident Christian writer Yu Jie has fled to the United States with his family, he said yesterday, citing fears for his safety after the authorities had warned him about his criticism of the communist leadership. Yu, who accused Premier Wen Jiabao of hypocrisy over democratic values in his book China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao, said by e-mail that he could not tolerate the increasing pressure from Beijing. "My safety was seriously threatened," he said, adding that police had beaten him until he became unconscious when he was detained on December 9, 2010, the eve of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honoured jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. Yu was warned against writing more politically sensitive material. Yu said he believed his book and his close ties with Liu were major factors in Beijing's action against him. "But I have no regrets over writing that book. What has happened to me just proves that my judgment about Wen was correct." He previously said that if the leadership imprisons him because of the book, it would ruin the tolerant image they have been building. [...] Before the book's publication, Yu said "Wen was just putting on a show about his democratic [leanings]... there won't be any changes". In his book, Yu describes Wen as a mediocre technocrat who rose to the top by avoiding political conflicts, and by manipulating public sentiment. He has called the Communist Party rule dictatorial and tyrannical in his previous essays. ^ top ^

Dissident 'questioned by police for seven hours' (SCMP)
2012-01-13
Hu Jia, one of the mainland's most high-profile dissidents, said he was questioned by police for more than seven hours yesterday and warned that he could be detained again if he continues campaigning on behalf of fellow activists. Hu, who was released in June after serving a 3-1/2-year prison sentence on subversion charges, was summoned by police and accused of violating the conditions of his release. Hu was subjected to a year of "deprivation of political rights" upon his release. Under the terms, he was barred from giving press interviews, protesting or publicising his views. However, he has since posted messages on Twitter calling for the release of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia, who is under house arrest; blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who is confined to his house with his family and cannot be contacted; and rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was recently sent back to prison after disappearing for 20 months. Hu has also urged his internet followers to show their support to these activists. "They were targeting the opinions I expressed on the internet, mainly about these three cases," he said. [...] "They could charge me again with subversion - I think this is highly possible," he said. "But there are so many people in trouble, and their pain is much greater than mine. I can't just ignore them." Eight policemen went to his home with a search warrant on Wednesday night, interrogated him for 1-1/2 hours and confiscated two computers, he said. Hu told his four-year-old child that the policemen were his friends so she would not be frightened. He said that after being questioned at length, he and his wife Zeng Jinyan were told to return to the police station today for further investigation. [...]. ^ top ^

China's journalists told to improve awareness of national situation (Xinhua)
2012-01-13
Chinese journalists and news organizations have been told to improve awareness of the national situation with better coverage of grassroots stories. Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a forum held Thursday on a campaign designed to improve journalists' working styles and get more grassroots voices heard through news reporting. The campaign was launched in August 2011. Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said in a written instruction to the forum that journalists should gain more "first-hand experience" in the campaign and write more meaningful and attractive stories that show people's genuine concerns and have the greatest relevance to their lives. [...]. ^ top ^

West area tops illegal land deals (China Daily)
2012-01-13
China's western regions have become the new hotbed for illegal land seizures in 2011, the country's top land administrator said. A senior official of the Ministry of Land and Resources on Thursday said 344,000 cases of illegal use of land resources were reported in China's western regions in 2011, accounting for 45.7 percent of the country's total. Only 134,000 such cases were reported in the east and 273,000 in the central area of the country. Compared to 2010, the number of cases increased by 47.6 percent in the West, against a 21.5 percent drop in the East. "Illegal use of land is on an obvious increasing trend in the west," said Li Jianqin, head of law enforcement and supervision administration of the ministry. The main factor contributing to the shift of hotspots is "fast development of the West and short supply of land amid high demand", according to Li. Analysts said the western development plan and the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) are driving industrial transformation that involves migration of industries, capital and projects from the high-cost East to a resourceful West. [...] According to the ministry's figure, 1,416 people received Party disciplinary punishment and 1,149 people got administrative punishment in 2011 over cases of land resources infringement. And 140 people were charged for their criminal responsibility. [...]. ^ top ^

Religious groups appoint spokespersons (China Daily)
2012-01-13
Spokespersons for China's major religious organizations have been appointed for the first time, a step experts said will help promote religion in the world's most populous country. Nine spokespersons, including one woman, were appointed by six national organizations, according to a statement released by the State Administration of Religious Affairs. China has 243 million religious followers, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in October. The spokespersons will be responsible for briefing the media, answering queries online and will be available for interviews, the statement said. Their role will be to enhance understanding of religious matters, it said. Many of the spokespersons hold degrees from top foreign or domestic institutions. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Thick smog shrouds skies over capital (Global Times)
2012-01-11
Nearly 130 flights were delayed or canceled in Beijing due to the thick smog shrouding the city Tuesday morning, as the US embassy's PM2.5 read "beyond index" on the scale. The PM2.5 air quality index system, which rates levels above 150 as unhealthy, above 200 as very unhealthy and above 300 as hazardous, stopped producing figures as the maximum limit of 500 was breached Tuesday morning. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its Sina microblog account Tuesday that the maximum PM10 density measured in the morning had reached 560 micrograms per cubic meter of air, with excessive pollutants in the air. However, the center said the air quality in the city was "good" however. The city's meteorological center said thick fog reduced visibility to less than one kilometer in most areas, and even less than 100 meters in some parts of the city. "The smog began at dawn and caused the density of particulate matter to increase. It began to clear around midday as cold air came from the north and the wind speed picked up," Niao Xiaonong, chief meteorologist at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, told the Global Times Tuesday. Heavy smog also hit Hebei, Henan, Anhui, Shangdong and Jiangsu provinces, as well as some provinces in the south, resulting in traffic problems. Five car accidents occurred on a section of the Beijing-Shanghai expressway in Cangzhou, Hebei Province Tuesday, leaving one person dead and 10 vehicles damaged, according to the Xinhua News Agency. [...]. ^ top ^

Pollution data released after outcry over smog (SCMP)
2012-01-13
Authorities in smog-plagued Beijing yesterday began releasing hourly readings of three major air pollutants, in an apparent bid to appease residents angry about the government's prolonged secrecy over the city's deteriorating air quality. The move coincided with a pledge by Mayor Guo Jinlong to tackle smog-causing pollutants, notably PM2.5 - hazardous fine respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns - and ozone. Guo also promised to publish hourly PM2.5 data this year, after a national outcry sparked by persistent smog in major cities since October. [...] Pollution readings of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10 - large particles less than 10 microns in diameter - are now on a local government-sponsored website of the Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre. Before yesterday, only daily pollution readings were published. It comes just a day after local authorities banned media coverage of PM2.5, after apparently being embarrassed by pollution at the start of a government conference. Smog hit Beijing on Tuesday morning, coinciding with the opening of this year's session of the Municipal People's Political Consultative Conference. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Province faces hard times in 2012, boss says (SCMP)
2012-01-13
Guangdong party boss Wang Yang has warned of a tough year ahead and lamented a lack of results in the province's joint development with Hong Kong of overseas markets. Yang said at a meeting of the provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Wednesday in Guangzhou that the next 12 months could be the province's most difficult since the central government enacted economic reforms three decades ago, the China News Service reported. Guangdong, he said, sat "on the edge of economic difficulty, social conflicts and even political risks". [...] He also told provincial CPPCC members that progress in co-operative efforts with Hong Kong to expand the region's international trade had so far been limited. [...] Wang said the province would take along Hong Kong business leaders who invest in the province when it goes on overseas trade tours. Wang said Guangdong should be the engine of the Chinese people's resurgence, rather than a lit fuse of social conflict. The manufacturing region has been beset by protests in recent months, including a high-profile uprising by villagers in Wukan angry over confiscated farmland. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

2 former monks set themselves ablaze in SW China (China Daily)
2012-01-08
One person was dead and the other injured after they set themselves on fire successively in Southwest China's Sichuan province Friday, local authorities confirmed Saturday. A 22-year-old man set himself ablaze at around 1:00 pm at a crossroad in Aba county in the Aba Tibetan-Qiang autonomous prefecture. Police rushed to put the fire out and sent him to a local hospital, said a spokesman for the county's government. Another man, who was identified to be 18-year-old, died of self-immolation in a hotel room not far from the crossroad later. The injured man receiving treatment at the hospital confessed that they conspired the two self-immolation incidents, the spokesman said. An investigation by the local government showed that the two men were former monks from the Kirti Monastery in the prefecture who have resumed secular life. They were involved in thefts, with the deceased man being a suspect at large in the case of the Kirti Monastery Buddha statue burglary, according to the investigation. "The several self-immolation cases recently were committed by people who previously had got punished for their wrongdoings such as whoring, gambling and burglary, or deep in debt because of gambling," said Gang Zheng, a Tibetology expert with the Sichuan Tibetology Research Center. According to Gang, the Dalai Lama clique had instigated and enticed them to commit self-immolations, taking advantage of their wish to wash away their sins and humiliation. The Dalai Lama was trying to make this serve his political purposes, said Yi Fei, another Tibetology expert with the center. ^ top ^

Tibet's officials vow to strengthen management of monasteries (Xinhua)
2012-01-09
Senior officials of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region have pledged stepped-up efforts to strengthen the management of monasteries in the fight against the Dalai Lama group. Basang Toinzhub, a senior political advisor in Tibet, said at a meeting of the regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Sunday that it is a top priority to maintain stability, enhance unity, and promote harmony in Tibet because it concerns the stability of the nation. The official, deputy head of the CPPCC Tibet committee, said the committee will focus this year's work on helping the government strengthen the management of monasteries to push forward the patriotic and legal education among monks and nuns. Basang Toinzhub's speech came only a day after Chen Quanguo, Tibet's top official, made a similar pledge. In his visit to Lhasa's Sera Monastery Saturday, Chen told the monastery's monks that stability is not only good for the nation and people but also good for the Tibetan Buddhism and its monasteries. He urged monks to cherish the current unity and stability and unswervingly fight against the separatist activities of the Dalai Lama group. [...] After the deadly riots of March 14, 2008, thousands of local officials were sent to Tibet's monasteries and take turns to stay there as "station cadres" to strengthen monastery management which include promoting the legal awareness of monks and nuns and dissuade them from being duped by separatist forces and ensure the normal practice of Buddhism. [...]. ^ top ^

'Living Buddha' dies in self-immolation (SCMP)
2012-01-10
A Tibetan monk set himself on fire in Qinghai on Sunday, becoming the 15th Tibetan to self-immolate on the mainland in the past year and sparking protests by hundreds of Tibetans in the process. [...] His body had been returned to his relatives so they could hold a funeral, Xinhua said. Radio Free Asia said, however, that his body was only released by police after several hundred angry Tibetans marched on the local police station to demand his remains. When their request was initially denied, they smashed the windows and door of the station. They then paraded the corpse around town. Radio Free Asia said the monk had set himself ablaze in front of the station, shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom. He had earlier climbed a nearby hill and distributed leaflets saying that he was taking action "not for personal glory but for Tibet and the happiness of Tibetans". He drank and threw kerosene all over his body, according to witnesses cited by the report, and his body exploded, with only the head and parts of his chest intact. Several Darlag residents confirmed yesterday that there were mass rallies on Sunday night and yesterday morning and that police had ordered shops in the town to close yesterday. [...] Radio Free Asia said Nyage Sonamdrugy ran an old people's home and an orphanage in Darlag and as a Living Buddha (or "Rinpoche") was the most senior monk to have self-immolated so far. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibetan studies periodical to launch English print this year (Global Times)
2012-01-11
Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region plans to launch its first English-language periodical on Tibetan studies this year, targeted at global researchers on Tibetan culture. "The proposal for the English version of Tibetan Studies was submitted early last year and received a warm welcome from the central government," said Lan Guohua, a researcher with Tibet's regional Academy of Social Sciences, at the annual regional political advisory session in Lhasa yesterday. Lan is a member of Tibet's regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. His academy has been publishing Tibetan Studies, a bimonthly periodical, in Chinese since 1981 and in Tibetan since 1982. The publication focuses on Tibet's economy, history, religion, culture, archeology, language, traditional medicine, art and folklore. "It's mainly distributed to foreign embassies and diplomatic missions in China, as well as universities, research institutes and worldwide Confucius Institutes." [...] Lan said his academy is expanding cooperation and exchanges with foreign research bodies, hoping to share ideas and research findings with their global colleagues. ^ top ^

FM warns US on exploiting Tibet issues (China Daily)
2012-01-12
China on Wednesday said it opposed foreign countries using Tibet-related issues to interfere in its domestic affairs after the US expressed "serious concern" over three self-immolations by Tibetan monks. "The Chinese government has always attached great importance to and guaranteed the various basic rights of ethnic minorities, including their freedom of religious belief," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said, responding to a question about Washington's concerns and demand that the Chinese government protect human rights. "We firmly oppose such remarks and practices making use of Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's domestic affairs, which could disrupt Chinese social stability and national unity," he said, adding that China has always administered religious affairs in accordance with the law to maintain religious order. [...] "The repeated occurrence of self-immolations in Tibetan-inhabited areas does not meet the aspirations of people there for realizing social stability and a peaceful life," Liu said, adding that these self-immolations were organized, premeditated and instigated by overseas groups and people. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Pledge to stem violence, mass incidents in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2012-01-11
The government head of far-western China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Tuesday pledged to stem acts of terrorism and serious violent attacks. Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, told a congressional gathering in the regional capital, Urumqi, that his government will also work unswervingly to prevent mass incidents. The official said, while religious freedom is to be upheld, the government will continue to crack down on illegal religious activities and acts of crime under the disguise of religion. He said social services for migrants and marginal groups will be strengthened. The comment came after police shot dead seven kidnappers during a hostage rescue in the mountainous border county of Pishan in late December. The authorities described the suspects as a group of "violent terrorists.". ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

No interference in justice, declare HK legal figures (SCMP)
2012-01-10
A string of senior figures in Hong Kong's legal system have defended the impartiality and independence of the judiciary against public and political interference, after a year of controversial cases. Speaking yesterday at a ceremony marking the new legal year, Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung urged the public not to put pressure on courts deciding cases of great social importance so as to uphold judicial independence. At the same ceremony, the chairman of the Bar Association, Kumar Ramanathan, also urged people not to attack lawyers who represented unpopular clients, saying it was their duty to ensure people have access to justice. The increasing number of judicial reviews showed that people were aware of their freedom and right to challenge a governmental policy, said Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal. He said that the courts would only consider the arguments of the case and would not be swayed by political issues. Their comments came against the background of a number of controversial judicial reviews last year, including the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, and foreign domestic helpers' fight for right of abode. "Judicial decisions must be independent and impartial and must not be dictated by public opinion or convenience," Wong said. "We could help strengthen judicial independence by carefully preserving an environment where judges may decide cases strictly in accordance with the evidence and the law, free from any extraneous considerations as well as improper influences or pressure, direct or indirect, even though the judgment may result in serious consequences for the community as a whole." [...]. ^ top ^

2011 big year for protests and big year for arrests (SCMP)
2012-01-12
A group of activists who helped organise some of last year's biggest civil rights protests said yesterday more than 400 protesters had been arrested in 2011, eight times the number in 2010. In its annual report, the Civil Human Rights Front said at least 416 protesters were arrested last year, 24 of whom were charged. Four of those charged were acquitted and the remaining 20 still faced legal procedures. This compared with about 50 arrests in 2010, it said. A police spokesman declined to comment directly on the report or the front's findings, saying only that the force respected freedom of expression and assembly, and expected protesters to observe law and order. He said the force did not target any particular protesters or groups and would not tolerate any violent and unlawful behaviour. Jackie Hung Ling-yu, a member of the front, said the figures showed it was obvious activists had been suppressed since Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung had taken office last January. "I am concerned that the suppression will be intensified in future and that will trigger more conflicts between the police and the protesters," she said. Legislator James To Kun-sun said: "While Andy Tsang's personal style of being hawkish could be a reason [for the increase in the number of arrests], the fact that protests have been more radical in recent years could also be a factor." [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong ranks world's freest economy for 18th consecutive year (Xinhua)
2012-01-13
Hong Kong has been ranked the world's freest economy by the Heritage Foundation for the 18th consecutive year since the index was first published in 1995, according to the city's government news website on Thursday. According to the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom released Thursday, Hong Kong scored 89.9 out of 100, well above the world average of 59.5. Of the 10 economic freedom factors assessed, Hong Kong ranked first in financial and trade freedom, second in investment freedom and property rights, and third in business freedom. [...] The Heritage Foundation commended Hong Kong's tax system as simple and efficient. It considered monetary stability well maintained in the city. It also noted Hong Kong's economic interaction with the Chinese mainland has become more intense and sophisticated. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao SAR, EU to enhance wide-ranging cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the European Union (EU) agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, culture and creative industry in the future, according to a statement issued by the city's Government Information Bureau (GCS). SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On and Jos Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, agreed to step up cooperation in a wide range of areas when they met at the EU Headquarters on Tuesday, the statement said. Chui, who is on a visit to Brussels, Belgium, and the European Union, briefed Barroso on the latest social and economic developments of Macao SAR. He later told the media that both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in business, higher education, culture and creative industry and environmental protection after reviewing the past achievements of bilateral cooperation. Barroso described his meeting with Chui as fruitful and praised Macao's success in economic growth. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Candidates for Taiwan's leadership election rally support in "Super Sunday" campaigns (Xinhua)
2012-01-09
Candidates for Taiwan's leadership and legislative election stepped up their final round of campaign Sunday with several "Super Sunday" rallies across the island to rally support ahead of the Jan. 14 election. As it was "the last Sunday" before the election, held every four years, Taiwan's two major political parties -- the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), held their largest ever assemblies in Taipei and other major cities, to gain as more votes as possible. The KMT organized a series of parades simultaneously in Taipei, Taichung, Taitung and Hualien. Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, 61, who is seeking a second term, led the 6-km Taipei parade from the city hall plaza to the Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Taiwan leader's office building. Ma, who is also the KMT chairman, was joined by Lien Chan and Wu Poh-hsiung, two KMT honorary chairmen, as well as more than 200,000 people in the enthusiastic parade. The long procession was cheered by bystanders and passersby. Tsai Ing-wen, 55, who represents the DPP to run for the leadership election, attended four large rallies in Taipei, New Taipei City, Changhua and Taichung, with the one in Taipei attracting about 150,000 people. [...]. ^ top ^

180,000 secure flights to Taiwan to vote in elections (SCMP)
2012-01-12
With the presidential election just two days away, more than 180,000 Taiwanese businesspeople on the mainland are preparing to return to the island to cast what they believe will be crucial votes. In the closely fought race between incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou and chief challenger, Dr Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, some businesspeople believed Ma needed every vote he could get to stay in office, trade union officials said yesterday. "My understanding is that many Taiwanese business associations based on the mainland have plans to send their members back to Taiwan before Saturday's vote, and the number of returnees should top 180,000 or even 200,000," said Yeh Hui-teh, spokesman for the Association of Taiwanese Businessmen on the mainland. [...] "The race is so close that many businessmen, originally not planning to return, have decided to fly back to Taiwan for the vote," Yeh said. [...] Yeh denied rumours that the mainland had subsidised the businesspeople's return in an attempt to strengthen Ma's re-election chances. Beijing has reportedly backed Ma for a second term in a bid to maintain warming cross-strait relations. [...] Airlines said all Taiwan-bound flights from the mainland and Hong Kong were fully booked, despite the addition of more than 100 charter flights. The peak travel days for people flying to Taiwan should be today and tomorrow, they said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese ministries give SMEs preferential policies in gov't procurement (Xinhua)
2012-01-07
The government has created preferential procurement policies for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost their development, according to a government statement issued on Friday. It is often difficult for SMEs to win tenders when bidding for government procurement projects due to the government's strict procurement requirements, said a joint statement by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Government departments normally prefer larger companies and brands during the procurement process, adding to the difficulties SMEs already face, the statement said. When budgeting for government procurement, authorities should set aside at least 30 percent of their total budget for SMEs, of which at least 60 percent should be dedicated to small- and micro-sized enterprises, the statement said. Small- and micro-sized businesses will also get an extra price preference between 6 and 10 percent when they submit a tender for government procurement projects, the statement said. [...] The definition of what constitutes a small, medium or "micro-sized" company in China varies by sector. For industrial companies, those with fewer than 1,000 employees and an annual income of less than 400 million yuan (63.32 million U.S. dollars) qualify as SMEs. [...] China's government procurement reached 842.2 billion yuan in 2010. [...] Although SME data from 2011 has yet to be released, small- and mid-sized enterprises are believed to have created about 80 percent of the country's jobs last year. [...]. ^ top ^

China's financial system stable, but potential risks remain: Premier Wen (Xinhua)
2012-01-08
China's financial system is running on a stable course despite the global financial crisis. However, apparent problems and potential risks still linger, as the crisis has not ended, Premier Wen Jiabao said. Wen made the remarks at the two-day National Financial Work Conference that concluded Saturday. The meeting, held every five years, mapped out development plans for the financial sector in the upcoming five years. [...] China has resolutely pushed forward a series of financial reforms which have set significant historical milestones. Large commercial banks have remarkably improved their capabilities of guarding against risks, Wen said. "We should especially note that the global financial crisis has not ended. We should strengthen our awareness of risks and responsibilities in order to push financial work to new levels," he said. In the future, China will stick to the principal of having the financial industry serve the real economy to prevent virtual bubbles from inflating the economy, he noted. Wen voiced his support for the development of financial innovation, but stressed that this should not escape supervision. "Risk-aversion should be the lifeline of our financial work," he said. He pledged to allow market forces a greater say in deciding fund allocation and to more clearly define the government's role. Financial oversight will be tightened and improved, and banks should establish a more complete and prudent supervision system, he said. According to a statement released after the meeting, China's assets in the financial industry totaled 119 trillion yuan (18.8 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of November 2011, a 149-percent increase from that at the end of 2006. As of the end of September 2011, the banking capital adequacy ratio stood at 12.3 percent, 5 percentage points higher than that at the end of 2006, while the non-performing loan ratio was 0.9 percent, 6.2 percentage points lower than that at the end of 2006. ^ top ^

China to maintain monetary policy "prudent" this year: central bank (Xinhua)
2012-01-09
China will maintain a prudent monetary policy this year with "timely and appropriate adjustment", the People's Bank of China (PBOC), or the central bank, said here Sunday on the closing of a work conference of the central bank. The PBOC will adjust credit supply and keep social financing at a reasonable growth under a macro-prudential policy frame with a set of policy tools, such as interest rates, exchange rates, open market operations and banks' reserve requirement ratio, said the central bank in a statement on its website. The PBOC said that it will strive to optimize credit structure and better serve the development of real economy, with more emphasis on the agricultural sector, the affordable housing projects and the small and micro-enterprises. China's central bank on Sunday said in a separate statement that the country's new yuan-denominated lending in 2011 reached 7.47 trillion yuan (1.18 trillion U.S. dollars), down from 7.95 trillion yuan in 2010. ^ top ^

Foreign trade surges, trade surplus narrows (Xinhua)
2012-01-11
China's foreign trade surged 22.5 percent in 2011 from a year earlier to hit 3.64 trillion U.S. dollars, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Tuesday. The country's annual trade surplus narrowed 14.5 percent year-on-year to 155.14 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, the administration said. The figure has fallen from 295.47 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, 196.07 billion U.S. dollars in 2009, and 183.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. Exports rose 20.3 percent year-on-year to reach 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars last year, compared with an increase of 31.3 percent in 2010, while imports grew 24.9 percent to 1.74 trillion U.S. dollars, much lower than 2010's growth of 38.7 percent, the GAC said. In December, the country's exports totaled 174.72 billion U.S. dollars, up 13.4 percent year-on-year. Imports increased 11.8 percent year-on-year to 158.2 billion U.S. dollars. [...] The country is scheduled to release its GDP data for the fourth quarter as well as all of 2011 on Jan. 17. The GAC data showed China's trade with emerging economies greatly outpaced last year's average growth, with its trade with Brazil, Russia and South Africa rising by 34.5 percent, 42.7 percent and 76.7 percent, respectively. The European Union (EU) remained China's top trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to 567.21 billion U.S. dollars, up 18.3 percent year-on-year. China's trade with the United States, the country's No. 2 trading partner, rose 15.9 percent from a year ago to 446.65 billion U.S. dollars. A free trade area arrangement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continued to boost China-ASEAN trade, which rose by 23.9 percent year-on-year to 362.85 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. ^ top ^

Govt pledges to erase illegal charges (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-11
Five ministries on Tuesday reiterated a pledge to stabilize commodity prices by cracking down on illegal charges foisted on suppliers. "Maintaining price stability is an important step of the 2012 economic policies," Peng Sen, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a national teleconference on Tuesday. "Excessive intermediaries and high costs are major factors pushing up the prices of goods," Peng said. The five departments, including the Ministry of Commerce and National Development and Reform Commission, previously pledged to stabilize commodity prices in December by issuing a work plan to crack down on illegal charges levied by retailers on suppliers. "Part of the problem between suppliers and retail giants is caused by market imbalance," the Commerce Ministry said. "As the country has too many suppliers and a limited number of large retailers, the latter have gained tremendous leverage over suppliers." [...] According to management consultant McKinsey, suppliers in China typically pay retailers a "commission" or "rebate" of 10 to 15 percent, but for some retailers, that number is more than 20 percent. And that's not including some form of under-the-table commission. "So the suppliers have to raise their product prices to offset all the charges demanded by retailers," said a Fujian-based retailer, who declined to be identified. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt invested $1b to boost TCM industry (China Daily)
2012-01-11
The Chinese government put about 6 billion yuan ($948 million) from central financial budgets toward boosting the development of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry, nearly tripling that of 2010. More than 4 billion yuan was used to support services in 1,814 TCM hospitals, including 88 in the less-developed western regions, Vice Health Minister Wang Guoqiang said at a TCM meeting on Tuesday. Another 1 billion yuan was used to build 70 county-level TCM hospitals, and the rest was spent on supporting TCM-related clinical projects and passing down TCM knowledge. By investing a total of 17.3 billion yuan in the TCM industry over the past three years, the country supported 16 state-level TCM research centers and 313 key TCM hospitals and promoted TCM, Wang said. However, Wang noted that the country's TCM industry still faces many difficulties and problems, such as a lack of leading TCM professionals and slow academic progress. "The TCM service system, especially at the county level, still has room for improvement, and the TCM authorities' administrative abilities and management level need to be enhanced," Wang added. Traditional Chinese medicine is the result of thousands of years of knowledge, and includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and dietary therapies. ^ top ^

China's CPI growth dips to 4.1 pct in Dec (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-12
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.1 percent year-on-year in December, down 0.1 percentage point from November on falling non-food prices, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday. The CPI was up 5.4 percent in 2011 from the previous year, well above the government's full-year inflation control target of 4 percent, the NBS said in a statement on its website. The inflation rate in December marked a five-straight-month decline after hitting a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July amid government tightening measures, according to the NBS data. [...] Food prices, which account for nearly one third of the basket of goods in the nation's CPI calculation, went up 9.1 percent year-on-year in December and 1.2 percent month-on-month, the NBS said. [...] China's Producer Price Index (PPI), a major measure of inflation at the wholesale level, rose 1.7 percent in December year-on-year, further weakening from 2.7 a month earlier. [...]. ^ top ^

China's private sector facing credit, cost challenges amid expansion (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
A Chinese association representing private enterprises and individually-owned businesses announced Wednesday that the number of registered private companies in China had topped 9 million as of the end of September, up 14.9 percent year-on-year. Their total registered capital rose 38.6 percent to nearly 25 trillion yuan, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) said in a report released Wednesday. [...] The non-public sector of the economy has become the largest among urban fixed-asset investors as its investment reached 14.2 trillion yuan in the first 10 months last year, accounting for 58.9 percent of the nation's total, said ACFIC Party Secretary Quan Zhezhu. The private sector is also the major job provider in the world's second largest economy, creating around 80 percent of jobs in urban areas. [...] The expansion of the sector was also marked by its fast-growing exports, which surged 33.3 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of last year to 570 billion U.S. dollars in value, accounting for one-third of the nation's total, according to Quan. [...] The ACFIC is a non-governmental chamber of commerce largely representing enterprises and individuals in the private sector. However, challenges in credit borrowing, rising production costs and thin profits, heavy taxes, and worker recruitment remain, hampering the sector's development, Quan said. [...] However, Quan said the development environment for the private sector has gradually improved in recent years. [...]. ^ top ^

Nestle to invest 2.5 bln yuan to build fresh milk supply base in NE China (Xinhua)
2012-01-12
Swiss food giant Nestle will invest 2.5 billion yuan (396 million U.S. dollars) to build a fresh milk supply base in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. Nestle and the government of Shuangcheng city signed a memorandum Wednesday, which specified that Nestle will invest 2.5 billion yuan to build the city into the biggest fresh milk supply base of Nestle in China within five years. According to the memorandum, Nestle will set up a training center in Shuangcheng to offer training on the management of diary farms. Self-employed diary farmers in the city will also be assisted to improve their farms. "The establishment of the base shows that Nestle has the determination to build a long-term and sustainable dairy industry in China," said Roland Decorvet, chairman and CEO of Nestle China. Shuangcheng, home to more than 20,000 milk farmers, produces 1,200 tonnes of milk every day. In October local milk purchasers working with Nestle in Shuangcheng were blamed for paying farmers below government-mandated prices in addition to using a rounding system for weight on the point of sale device that favored the company. Nestle later promised to improve its operations and boost the development of the dairy industry in Shuangcheng. ^ top ^

Huge diamond mine found in Liaoning (Global Times)
2012-01-13
A newly discovered vast diamond mine in Liaoning Province has resources to last for 30 years, which is expected to ease pressure on diamond demand around the globe, Liaoning mineral exploration authorities revealed. The mine, which is estimated to hold more than 1 million of carats of diamonds, was discovered in Wafangdian, already abundant in diamonds, at the beginning of 2011, Yu Wenli, director of the Liaoning Geology and Mineral Exploration Bureau (GMEB), told reporters at a meeting of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Wednesday. Yang Zhanxing, the deputy director of Liaoning GMEB, said this diamond mine is the biggest discovered in the province for 30 years. The value of this mine might reach more than 1 billion yuan ($158,190), with diamonds of high quality and with few impurities. [...] According to CNS, no large-scale diamond mines have been discovered for a decade worldwide. The current exploitation rate might lead to the exhaustion of the world diamond supply in the next 20 years, but the new Wafangdian mine should help delay this fate. ^ top ^

Outbound travelers continue to surge in 2011 (China Daily)
2012-01-13
It is estimated that the number of Chinese tourists traveling overseas surged 20 percent year-on-year to 69 million in 2011, authorities said Thursday. Despite a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the growth rate only dipped slightly from 2010's 20.4 percent. "China's tourism industry is in a period of strategic opportunities, as the trend of increasing resident income and demand for travel will continue," said Shao Qiwei, head of China's National Tourism Administration (NTA), in an interview with Xinhua. [...] Future tourist consumption will be boosted by expanding infrastructure investment as the government views tourism as a major aspect of stimulating domestic demand, he said. However, authorities predict a slower growth of outbound tourists in 2012, Shao said, citing the negative effects of the economic downshift and inflationary pressure on nationals' appetite for traveling. The NTA expects 77 million Chinese to travel overseas in 2012, up 12 percent year-on-year. [...]. ^ top ^

Cross-border channels for the yuan to expand (China Daily)
2012-01-13
China will increase cross-border circulation channels for the yuan and encourage commercial lenders to provide "packaged" financial services for companies going abroad, to accelerate the yuan's float globally, said a senior central bank official on Wednesday. "These are the major tasks we aim for in the next phase to promote the yuan's internationalization," said Li Dongrong, assistant governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), in a statement on the bank's website. [...] Yuan-denominated trade settlements surged from $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $90.9 billion in the third quarter of 2011. The share of China's trade invoiced in the yuan rose from 0.39 percent to 9.33 percent during the same period. As of the end of 2011, trade settlements in the yuan had reached a cumulative 2.58 trillion yuan ($408.57 billion), and foreign direct investment conducted in the currency had exceeded 90 billion yuan, the PBOC said. It also said that overseas direct investment from China settled in the yuan had reached 20 billion yuan. The central bank had signed currency-swap agreements worth 1.3 trillion yuan with 14 countries and regions by the end of 2011, including South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Belarus and Argentina, to expand the use of the yuan. In December, Japan said that it would become the first developed economy to hold yuan-denominated bonds as reserve assets. It also said it would cooperate with China to promote the yuan's role in trade and financial transactions. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK media calls reunification top priority task (Xinhua)
2012-01-07
The official Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) news agency, KCNA, appealed for the reunification of Korea in a commentary Friday. According to the KCNA, national reunification is the fixed will of the Workers' Party of Korea and the DPRK government, and is the biggest task late leader Kim Jong Il left to the current generation. "Nothing is more vital than national reunification for the Korean nation at present," the commentary said. National reconciliation and unity are preconditions and a guarantee for national reunification. The interests common to the nation should be placed above all and everything be subordinated to them, the commentary said. The nation should uphold the slogan "Let all the compatriots open the gates of national reunification full of fresh confidence!" this year, marking the fifth anniversary of the October 4 declaration, it said. The commentary called upon all Koreans in the north and the south and abroad to "step up the nationwide general march" for reunification with the stand of independence, peace and the great national unity and achieve the cause of national reunification. ^ top ^

North Korea hails Kim Jong-un's birthday, not marked as a holiday (Global Times)
2012-01-09
North Korea Sunday praised its young leader as "the genius among the geniuses" in military strategy on what is believed to be his birthday, AFP reported. In a documentary about Kim Jong-un's virtues, state television showed the leader driving a tank and giving orders to troops in artillery, navy and air force units, lauding his "excellent military leadership." "The respected comrade Kim Jong-un is perfectly versed in all military strategies and... displays excellent military leadership," said the film, over images of soldiers jumping in joy at seeing Kim on field trips. [...] The heir has been appointed the supreme commander of the North's 1.2 million-strong military, the world's fourth largest, which under the regime's "Songun" ideology enjoys priority treatment in all fields of policy. [...] "Our great general Kim Jong-il... called him (Kim Jong-un) the multi-talented, genius of the geniuses in military knowledge," it said, describing him as "the spitting image" of his father and grandfather in personality and leadership, according to AFP. [...] It was not known whether the North has designated January 8 as a public holiday and the documentary did not directly address the new leader's birthday. [...] Kim Jong-un is believed to have turned 28 or 29 Sunday, though his exact birth date has not been confirmed by the North Korean government. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK to grant amnesty to convicts for birth anniversaries of leaders (Xinhua)
2012-01-11
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will grant amnesty to convicts as from Feb. 1 for celebrations of the birth anniversaries of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the official news agency KCNA reported Tuesday. The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly issued a decree on Thursday concerning amnesty for convicts, said the KCNA. The year 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung's birth and the 70th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's birth. The cabinet and relevant organs will take relative measures for the integration into society of the convicts to be released, said the KCNA. The decree said it is the steadfast will of the Workers' Party of Korea(WPK) and the state to embody "the noble benevolent and all-embracing politics of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il" generation by generation. The DPRK granted amnesty to 150,000 prisoners in 2010 on the 65th anniversary of the founding of the WPK, reports said. ^ top ^

DPRK accuses South Korean government of accelerating confrontation (Xinhua)
2012-01-13
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday accused the Lee Myung-bak government of South Korea of accelerating confrontation on the Korean peninsula through various measures, the official news agency KCNA reported. The Lee Myung-bak government had pushed the inter-Korean relations to the lowest ebb out of its "hideous crimes" over the last four years since Lee assumed office, the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea was quoted as saying in a white paper issued on Thursday. The National Defense Commission of the DPRK said in the statement issued on Dec. 30, 2011 that the DPRK would never make any contacts with the Lee Myung-Bak government. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongol bank president blames petroleum importers (News.mn)
2012-01-10
Mongol Bank President L.Purevdorj spoke at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Economics on Tuesday. He said Mongol Bank had a foreign currency reserve of USD 2.8 billion, USD 290 million of which has been sold to keep the tugrik from falling further against the U.S. dollar. L.Purevdorj said a combination of factors account for the tugrik's fall, including Mongolia's foreign trade imbalance. He said the country's economy is highly dependent on imported goods. He also said Mongolia has been vulnerable from the global economic crisis. He added that other nations are economizing while Mongolia has a large budget and inflation. He also said Mongol Bank and international banks have warned that inflationary pressure could be higher in 2012 than it was in 2011. L.Purevdorj stated that the tugrik's fall is partly, but not entirely, to blame for rising gas prices. He said a liter of gasoline cost MNT 1,200 when the tugrik was MNT 1,450 against the dollar in 2010. He said gasoline prices in Mongolia are 60 to 70 percent higher than the world average. Besides, he said, petroleum importers did not reduce gas prices when the tugrik rate rose from MNT 1,450 to MNT 1,200 in 2010. ^ top ^

Fuel importers increase price (Montsame)
2012-01-10
Due to a soar of the U.S dollar's rate against Mongolian togrog (MNT), the fuel importers such as the NIC, MT and others augmented the price of fuels by MNT 260-300, from last Friday. On Monday, the Sod Mongol and Petrovis increased their price--of “AI-92” auto fuel reached now MNT 1,820 per liter and of “A-80”--1,515--a bit lower than that of other fuel stations. The diesel price is MNT 1,885 everywhere. The fuel importers explain their action as a response to the U.S dollar rate increase. “It was unavoidable, because in the last three months the rate of dollar has been going up sharply,” says M.Khaliunbat, executive director of the NIC LLC. “We asked the cabinet three times to take a measure for keeping the rate, and we, bearing a social responsibility, had not sold the fuel at the increased price until we ran out of fuel reserves,” he said, adding that if the U.S dollar rate increases further they will increase the price as well. The Bank of Mongolia says the current price of fuels may not change if the dollar rate is kept at MNT 1,400. ^ top ^

DP officially pulls out of coalition government (News.mn)
2012-01-11
The DP has officially pulled out of its governing coalition with the MPP. The decision was made at the 35th meeting of the DP's National Consultative Committee (NCC) on Wednesday. The meeting was sometimes contentious, with some party members criticizing DP Chairman N.Altankhuyag for announcing the withdrawal last week, before the party could discuss the matter collectively. Altankhuyag's resignation was not discussed at the meeting, nor was revising the party's administrative structure. N.Altankhuyag stated his rationale for pulling the party out of the coalition government. Some members, including Road, Transportation and Urban Development Minister Kh.Battulga and MP D.Gankhuyag, criticized the way voting at the meeting was conducted. Eventually members approved a protocol to pull out of the coalition and support N.Altankhuyag. The six DP ministers and seven deputy ministers in the coalition government reported on their work and answered questions from delegates. The meeting was closed by quoting the words of the eighth Bogd Jabzundamba. ^ top ^

What says frontier securities survey (Montsame)
2012-01-11
A survey shows that the coal export of Mongolia is expected to reach USD 2.75 billion by the year 2012. This survey has been conducted by the Frontier Securities financial firm. "Mongolia is expected to export 30 million tons coal this year," it says. The Frontier Securities also expects that the copper export of Mongolia will reach USD one billion, and export of iron ore will reach eight million tons costing USD 500 million. It means that the export of copper export will be at a constant level, whereas the export of iron ore will increase by about 10 per cent. The World Bank and the International Monetary Bank have calculated that the economic growth of Mongolia will reach 15.1 per cent, and the inflation rate will reach 17 per cent. ^ top ^

MPP faction: Dollar rate was not reason for price boost (Montsame)
2012-01-11
On Tuesday, the faction of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) at the State Great Khural received the conclusions from two working groups who had inspected meat processing factories, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy and fuel importers. Led by B.Darinchuluun, a head of the Investigation and monitoring section of the Cabinet Secretariat and by Z.Batbayar, a senior expert of this section, these groups had tried to reveal reasons for fuels and meat prices soar. The faction's leader O.Enkhtuvshin said the increase of the U.S dollar's rate served as a cause of the consumer goods price boost. “A political influence is laying undeneath,” he added. Some members said the government must deal with oil import contracts, instead of enterprisers, that the ties between the government and the Bank of Mongolia must be improved. “The U.S dollar rate increase was not a reason to boost the fuel prices by MNT 200-240, besides, the action and its consequences were not calculated, moreover, I cannot deny that there was the political influence,” Ch.Ulaan stressed. Economists-experts underlined that this price increase should not have influenced so dramatically on consumer goods prices. "For example, when the price of one liter of fuel goes up by 200-240 togrogs, a price of one kilogram of flour increases by 2-5 togrogs only, according to economic calculations, so the Department for fair competitions and consumers' interest protection must control those entities exaggerating prices," they said. As the group said, the prices were increased due to an agreement reached last week at a meeting between the fuel importers and a working group, headed by a Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy B.Ariunsan. Namely this permission, which had not been agreed with all related authorities, has brought such consequences, they said. The second group, who had worked "on meat", said 7.8 billion togrog have been approved in the city's budget for this year for granting incentives to enterprisers reserving meat. This sum is bigger by MNT 1.8 billion than that of the previous year. “The politics and economics must go separately, bearing own content. The problem has confirmed their dependence on each other, and it may cause a threat not only to people' life but to the country's security as well,” stressed the Premier. ^ 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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