SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  14-20.1.12, No. 406  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Nepal issue eight-point joint statement on relations, cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-01-15
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday paid an official visit to Nepal, during which China and Nepal issued an eight-point joint statement on boosting bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation in various areas. During the visit, Premier Wen met with Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav and held talks with the country's Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. [...] Firstly, the two sides decided to further promote China-Nepal friendly relations of Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation Featuring Ever-Lasting Friendship on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. [...] Thirdly, the Nepalese side expressed its firm support for China on its efforts to uphold state sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity. "Nepal does not allow any forces to use its territory for any anti-China or separatist activities," the joint statement said. Fourthly, the two sides agreed to further intensify cooperation in socioeconomic development, promotion of trade and tourism, hydropower, and transportation infrastructure development, as well as other fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. At the request of the Nepalese side, the Chinese side assured of increase in the volume of regular grant aid for the implementation of various infrastructure development and other projects. [...] The two sides maintained that the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Nepal should make full potentials and take their respective advantages to strengthen people-to-people exchanges in the border areas, and to promote trade, tourism, and the flow of goods and services to expand mutually beneficial cooperation. [...] In the rest part of the joint statement from the fifth to the eighth points, China and Nepal agreed to improve the meeting mechanism between law-enforcing authorities of the two countries, and to deepen cooperation on border management and law-enforcement capacity-building, so as to uphold peace and stability of China-Nepal border areas. The two countries also announced the year 2012 as "the China-Nepal Year of Friendly Exchanges," saying the two sides will continue to promote exchanges and cooperation in the areas of culture and education and between youths, media, think tanks, scholars and friendly groups of the two countries. [...]. ^ top ^

Sudanese president meets with senior CPC official (Xinhua)
2012-01-16
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met with Li Yuanchao, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Sunday to discuss ways to promote relations between the two countries. Li, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said China is willing to strengthen dialogue and exchanges with Sudan, deepen political relations, expand pragmatic cooperation, achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, boost the traditional friendship, enhance coordination and preserve the peace and stability. Sudan is one of China's best friends in Africa, Li said, adding that cooperation between the two countries will not change no matter how the situation changes. [...] Al-Bashir, also chairman of Sudan's ruling NCP, said the friendly cooperation between Sudan and China has achieved fruitful outcomes and Sudan is satisfied with the ties with China. The Sudanese president further expressed appreciation for China 's support for promoting the economic and social developments in Sudan, saying the relations between Sudan and China are a model for the south-south cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

Two pandas from China find new home in France (China Daily)
2012-01-16
Two giant pandas from China's southwest Sichuan Province arrived Sunday at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport to start their new life in France. The two giant pandas, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, both 3 years old, will be directly delivered to the Beauval Zoo near the city of Tours in central France, where they will settled down in an living area of 2.5 hectares as their new home in France. "The arrival of Huan Huan and Yuan Zi is a historic event for the Beauval Zoo. It reflects our excellent cooperation with China and our long-standing involvement in the protection of endangered species," said Frances Delord, Founder and President of the Beauval Zoo. [...] Chinese Ambassador to France Kong Quan and the French officials in charge of the panda project came to the Paris' airport to welcome the two pandas that had travelled on a Panda Express, a Boeing 777 non-stop flight connecting China and France in minimum flying time. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier calls for concerted global efforts to secure energy supply (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday urged the world to work together to secure a safer and more stable and sustainable supply in the global energy market. "To reduce the problems and inequality brought by the energy and resources issues, countries in the world should take further action and exert more effort," Wen said in his keynote speech at the opening of the 5th World Future Energy Summit (WFES). He offered a four-point proposal to achieve the objectives. Firstly, increasing energy efficiency should be put on top of the agenda to establish national economies that featured reduced energy input, lower energy consumption and less emissions. Second, the development of renewable energy should be promoted by adopting more favorable policies to help expand the technological application in an effort to cut costs. His third proposal was to actively promote new technologies to enhance efficiency. [...] Lastly, the premier urged countries to effectively safeguard energy security. To this end, Wen proposed establishing a global energy market management mechanism based on the principle of mutual benefit and within the framework of G20. He also stressed that China had, as always, respected the paths that governments and peoples in West Asia and North Africa had chosen to develop their own economies by taking advantage of their abundant natural resources. "China will work with the nations in the world to step up international cooperation and promote sustainable innovation to build a new world with green development and sustainable growth," the Chinese premier said. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Saudi Arabia vow to enhance relations (China Daily)
2012-01-17
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Saudi Arabia's King and Prime Minister Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz agreed on Sunday to make concerted efforts to enhance bilateral relations under a strategic framework. In their meeting, Premier Wen said [...] China respects Saudi Arabia's political system, development mode as well as its culture and traditions, and is grateful for Saudi Arabia's understanding of and support for China regarding the latter's core interests and major concerns. As the world is undergoing profound changes, China is willing to strengthen coordination with Saudi Arabia on major issues, develop an all-around cooperative partnership in the energy sector, expand cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, high-tech, finance, security and law enforcement, so as to enrich the contents of the bilateral relations, he added. [...] The Saudi king proposed setting up a Saudi Arabia-China high level committee to supervise the two countries' cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security sectors. Premier Wen agreed with this proposal. On the situation in West Asia and North Africa, the visiting Chinese premier said China respect the choice of the peoples in those countries, understand and support their appeal for reforms, and back the role of regional bodies like the Arab League in maintaining stability. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier meets UN chief on international issues (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on major international issues. During their talks, Wen said the United Nations had played an indispensable role in boosting international cooperation and coordinated actions among related parties. China supports the UN and the Secretary General to play a bigger role in international affairs and achieve greater success, he said. In promoting global sustainable development, the UN and the international community needed to focus on the elimination of poverty, help developing countries properly cope with the difficulties in their drive to transfer to a green economy and provide them with support in such areas as finance, technology and capacity building, Wen said. Ban said China had played an important role in helping attain the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and settle regional hot issues. Appreciating China's support for the UN, Ban said the United Nations stood ready to advance contacts with China and make concerted efforts to safeguard world peace and promote sustainable development. [...]. ^ top ^

US must be objective, Xi says (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-17
The United States should view China's strategic intentions in an objective way and ensure that disputes between the two countries do not harm ties, Vice-President Xi Jinping said on Monday, ahead of a key visit to the US. [...] "We hope that the US can view China's strategic intentions and development path in a sensible and objective way, and be committed to developing a cooperative partnership," Xi said. "Ultimate caution should be given to major and sensitive issues that concern each country's core interests to avoid any distraction and setbacks in China-US relations," Xi said. "By no means can we let relations again suffer major disruption," Xi told a meeting in Beijing. [...] "No matter what changes might take place in the international situation, our commitment to developing the Sino-US partnership should never waver for temporary development," Xi told a meeting commemorating 40 years since US president Richard Nixon made his historic visit to China in 1972. [...] Xi also emphasized that China and the US should cooperate more closely to defuse international crises and enhance coordination over regional hotspots. They should also strive to encourage the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. [...] Sino-American tensions were heightened in recent years by US strategic re-engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the South China Sea, where China and some countries have overlapping claims. Tension could be further heightened this year by the US presidential race, when the candidates tend to play the China card to win more votes. [...] Henry Kissinger, Nixon's national security adviser in 1972, who also attended the Monday meeting, said that although the election campaign will hear different voices, it will not change the general trend of China-US ties moving forward. [...]. ^ top ^

Nations vow co-op in S China Sea (China Daily)
2012-01-17
Senior officials from China and ASEAN member countries vowed to deepen pragmatic cooperation in the South China Sea during a Saturday meeting, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the comment during a routine press conference in response to a question about the fourth meeting of senior officials from China and 10 ASEAN nations on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). At the meeting, both parties agreed that peace and stability have generally been maintained in the South China Sea, Liu said, adding that both sides appreciate the positive efforts made by all relevant parties in this respect. [...] Liu said ASEAN highly appreciates China's establishment of a 3-billion-yuan ($476 million) China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund and believes the move will further promote the implementation of the DOC. Both sides also discussed a timetable for DOC implementation in 2012, he said, adding that both sides agreed to hold a series of symposiums on DOC implementation in 2012. Both sides also pledged to give full play to meetings between senior officials and the DOC joint working group in order to boost cooperation in the South China Sea, Liu said. ^ top ^

Premier Wen: China-UAE strategic partnership to create broader prospect for bilateral cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-01-18
The establishment of strategic partnership between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will create a broader prospect for the two nations in the expansion of bilateral cooperation, visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday. China and the UAE have witnessed great progress in bilateral relations [...] Wen said at a meeting with UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. [...] The decision to establish a strategic partnership between the two nations is in line with the fundamental interests of both sides [...], Wen said. Wen said that China is willing to expand cooperation with the UAE in trade and exploration of oil and gas as well as in the field of developing new energy resources, with the aim to establish a long-term, stable and comprehensive energy partnership between the two sides. The Chinese government encourages Chinese businessmen to further invest in key UAE infrastructure construction projects of transportation, telecommunication and electricity, Wen said. Wen also said the two sides should step up their joint efforts to crack down on cross-border crimes and safeguard the safety and social stability of the two nations. A peaceful and stable Gulf region is of great significance to world peace, Wen noted [...]. For his part, Mohammed echoed Wen's views on the bilateral relations, saying that cooperation between the two sides has greatly boosted the economic development in the UAE and Dubai [...]. Mohammed [...] said Chinese companies are very much welcomed to establish businesses and expand their investment in the UAE, adding the UAE is willing to serve as a bridge for China and the Gulf region to enhance exchanges. After their talks, the two leaders signed a joint statement on establishing strategic partnership and witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing and New Delhi aim to prevent border rows (SCMP)
2012-01-18
China and India said yesterday they would work peacefully towards resolving their disputed Himalayan border while improving management of the region by establishing a committee. The two sides agreed to look into conducting military and information exchanges along the mountainous border, which is unresolved despite 15 rounds of talks and a brief but bloody war in 1962. A joint statement, released after two days of meetings in New Delhi, says that holding to the 1993 Line of Actual Control would be "significant for enhancing mutual trust and security" while the final boundary is determined. The planned secretarial-level joint committee, meanwhile, would meet once or twice a year to improve co-operation, although it would not be involved in drawing the final boundary, the statement said. [...] This week's talks, involving State Councillor Dai Bingguo and India's National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, had been scheduled for November and postponed. Though no reason for the delay was given at the time, local newspapers blamed tension following India's refusal to cancel an international Buddhist conference being attended by the Dalai Lama. In an article in The Hindu newspaper on Monday, Dai called on both sides to strengthen mutual co-operation. He said China was committed to developing a long-term friendship with India. [...] At a banquet hosted by India on Monday, Dai said the two countries should play greater roles in the global political and economic order. [...]. ^ top ^

Wen's Middle East bonanza (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-19
China signed economic and trade agreements worth 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up a six-day visit to the Middle East on Thursday. The first currency swap agreement with Arab nations, worth 35 billion yuan, was also signed in Abu Dhabi, Wen told the Fourth Arab-China Business Conference in Sharjah on Wednesday. [...] Wen said on Wednesday that China had signed more than a dozen agreements, across a broad range of sectors, including trade, energy, infrastructure, finance and culture, with the Saudi and UAE governments. Sinopec on Saturday sealed an $8.5 billion deal with Saudi oil powerhouse Aramco for a joint venture oil refinery that will become operational in 2014. [...] Reflecting on his first trip to the energy-rich region, Wen said trade between Beijing and Arab countries registered record figures in 2011 despite Middle East turbulence. "China has always given priority, and focused on, developing relations with Arab nations in its foreign policy," Wen said. Beijing and Arab states have, historically, been "good friends, good partners and good brothers", he said. The visit by a Chinese premier to Saudi Arabia was the first in 21 years. Wen's visits to the UAE and Qatar were the first by a Chinese premier. As "natural partners" with Arab nations, Beijing is willing to expand imports from the Middle East and extend economic and technological assistance to the region, Wen said during his speech on Wednesday. "China does not seek a trade surplus. It is willing to import more products, in particular non-energy products, from Arab nations," he said. Wen also called on Arab nations to "seize the moment" and push forward ongoing negotiations to sign a free trade agreement between China and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The negotiations, which were launched in July 2004, are now "close to the end", he said. [...] Wen and GCC Secretary-General agreed to speed up the talks process when they met in Riyadh. [...]. ^ top ^

Wen says China against "any extreme acts" at Hormuz (Xinhua)
2012-01-19
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Wednesday that the Strait of Hormuz should be kept open under all circumstances and Beijing opposes "any extreme acts" at the strategic passageway. "Any extreme acts across the Strait of Hormuz, under whatever circumstances they are taken, are against the common interests and aspiration of the people across the world," Wen told a press conference during his official visit to Qatar. The Chinese premier said that cargo transportation through the strait should be protected because it concerns the interests of the whole humanity. China maintains that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through peaceful means, he said, adding that Beijing supports the political process between Iran and the Iran Six, a diplomatic group made up of the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany. China firmly opposes Iran producing and possessing nuclear weapons and will work with concerned parties to establish a nuclear-free Middle East, Wen said, while stressing that China will not trade its principles for profits. However, just like many other countries, China has also kept "normal" and "justified" trade with Iran, which should be protected, Wen said, adding that should normal trade not be protected, the normal international order would be disturbed. [...]. ^ top ^

China to increase its voice in 2012: senior official (Xinhua)
2012-01-19
China will have a more open posture and adopt more forceful measures to spread its voice in 2012, as it seeks to obtain increased understanding from the world about its values and development pattern, a senior official said Wednesday. Wang Chen, head of the State Council Information Office, said China also hopes to seek a better understanding about its national conditions as well as domestic and foreign policies from the international community. Wang, also deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a news briefing during which he elaborated on the work of his office in 2011 and 2012. By openly providing timely and accurate information, the office had presented China's economic, political, cultural and social progress in 2011, Wang said. In 2011,the office also contributed to the publicity of the Chinese government's stance and policies, pro-actively responded to domestic and international concerns, and worked to promote China's soft power, he said. ^ top ^

Li urges cooperation in meeting with Kissinger (China Daily)
2012-01-19
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang met former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in Beijing on Tuesday, urging the two countries to properly settle differences in bilateral relations and promote the healthy growth of ties. It followed Vice-President Xi Jinping's speech on Monday commemorating 40 years since US president Richard Nixon made his historic trip to China in 1972. "Under the new circumstances, the two countries should build a cooperative partnership featuring mutual respect and benefit to strengthen trust, expand common ground and properly handle differences, in an effort to facilitate the healthy and stable growth of bilateral ties," Li told Kissinger. Kissinger and his delegation came to Beijing for the third meeting of the China-US Track Two High-Level Dialogue, a gathering for dozens of prominent retired diplomats and officials from both countries. [...]The US delegation included former secretary of state George P. Shultz, former secretary of the treasury Robert Rubin and former US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Michael Mullen. These former officials have administrative experience and possess a deep understanding of China-US relations. Compared to officials still in office, they are less strained by domestic politics and can engage in more candid conversations, according to Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies. [...] In the face of increasing interdependence among countries, Li said the two countries should achieve win-win and all-win situations through cooperation. China and the United States are highly compatible in their cooperation, the vice-premier said, urging both sides to create a fair, equal and transparent environment, and expand cooperation in trade, investment, and alternative and clean energies. [...] The China-US Track Two High-Level Dialogue mechanism was launched in Beijing in October 2009. The previous two meetings were held in Beijing and Washington in 2009 and 2010, respectively. ^ top ^

Chinese premier's visit promotes friendly cooperation with Nepal, Arab countries: FM (Xinhua)
2012-01-20
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's just-concluded visit has promoted friendly cooperation with Nepal, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Thursday.During his four-nation tour in the past six days, Wen attended more than 40 bilateral and multilateral activities and delivered important speeches at the opening of the Fifth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi and the Fourth China-Arab Business Conference, Yang said. Wen's activities have demonstrated China's sincere wish and firm resolve to enhance political trust and strategic cooperation with Arab nations and highlighted China's notion and policy measures to follow a path of green and sustainable development, he said. And the Chinese premier's active engagement with people from various circles of the countries that he has visited has been warmly and greatly appreciated, Yang said. Despite its tight schedule, the visit has produced fruitful results and is thus a complete success, he said. Wen's visit to Nepal, the first by a Chinese premier to the south Asian nation over the past 10 years, is aimed at further consolidating China-Nepal friendship, boosting mutual support, promoting cooperation in economy and trade, and expanding people-to-people exchanges, Yang said. [...]The two sides signed eight cooperative documents and issued a joint statement. [...] During his gulf tour, Wen spoke positively of the significant roles of the three gulf nations in the Arab and Islamic world, and exchanged views and reached agreement with the leaders of the countries on expanding bilateral relations, deepening mutual trust and friendship, and facilitating mutually beneficial cooperation. Wen also signed joint statements with leaders of the three countries and witnessed the signing of dozens of agreements on bilateral cooperation. [...] In a speech delivered at the fourth China-Arab Business Conference and Investment Seminar under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in the UAE, Wen said China gave high priority to its relations with Arab countries and regarded them as an important part of China's foreign policy. [...] Wen put forward a three-point proposal on the China-Arab relations: strengthening political mutual trust and deepening strategic cooperation; deepening mutually beneficial cooperation for common development; expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges and carrying forward the traditional friendship.[...]. ^ top ^

"We are proud of our friendship with China": Belarusian president (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-20
Belarus sees China as a real friend and wants to step up cooperation with China in all fields, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says. This year marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Belarus and China. "We are proud of our friendship with China," Lukashenko told Xinhua in a recent interview. The president recalled his trips to China."China surprises the world. I saw with my own eyes the country has been changing," he said, "China has assimilated the best from America, Europe and Asia and integrated them with the Chinese lifestyle, culture and traditions. I would say, China offers a lot for us to learn." The president noted that China's experience in fighting corruption is useful for Belarus. Besides, Belarus has set up several special economic zones to boost the country's economy, which, in the president's words, was also inspired by China's economic success [...]The president said Chinese banks have offered loans to his country and many Chinese companies are interested in working in Belarus. The two countries also have agreed to build a tech-park to produce cars in Belarus. Meanwhile, companies from the two countries have set up joint ventures in Chinese cities aimed at China's huge market. "Ties with China have grown at a pace comparable with no other. Trade between us exceeded 3 billion U.S. dollars last year," Lukashenko said. He also praised China for its assistance to Belarus, as "China does not set preconditions for assistance to us." With regards to the Common Economic Space that consists of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Lukashenko noted that the creation of the CEC, a custom union designed to promote free movement of goods, capital and workers within the three countries, will also bring new opportunities for China. [...]. ^ top ^

China hands over 50,000-seater stadium to Guinea (Xinhua)
2012-01-19
China has officially handed over the multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 50,000 to the Guinean authorities. Chinese ambassador to Guinea Zhao Lixing on Wednesday handed over the stadium to the West African country's Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana. The Nongo multi-purpose stadium was built on a 239,000 square meters piece of land and is considered as one of the biggest projects to be undertaken by the Chinese government on the African continent. The stadium construction costs more than 50 million U. S. dollars. [...] The Chinese ambassador reiterated his government's commitment to support Guinea its socio-economic development programs. Guinea's International Cooperation Minister Moustapha Koutoubou Sanoh spoke at the hand-over ceremony, thanking China for supporting Guinea's development programs and hoping that more projects will be accomplished in 2012. The minister said besides its sitting capacity, "this stadium was the biggest and most modern in the West African region." Prime Minister Fofana spoke on behalf of the government and President Alpha Conde, hailing long standing friendly ties between China and Guinea and bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, health, telecommunication, energy, agriculture and education. The Guinean prime minister announced that from now on, this stadium will be referred to as "The Unity Stadium.". ^ top ^

Beijing, Tokyo to commemorate ties (China Daily)
2012-01-20
Beijing and Tokyo are planning to launch a grand opening ceremony in mid-February to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa said in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Thursday. China and Japan normalized diplomatic relations in 1972. Both countries agreed to mark 2012 as a year of friendship for Japan-China people-to-people exchanges, which will include the theme of "encounters with new friends and bounds of hearts". The agenda for the commemoration is based on the "tangible and substantial achievements established in the past 40 years", he said. The second Japan-China Green Expo and a series of receptions and commemorative ceremonies are expected in cities including Beijing this fall to mark the 40th anniversary of the historical release of the China-Japan Joint Declaration on Sept 29, 1972. The year-long series will conclude in the winter, the ambassador said. "Sports, movies, animation and cartoons, music and youth exchanges are among the priorities campaigned by both sides" to promote public diplomacy, Niwa said. [...] President Hu Jintao held talks in Beijing on Dec 25 with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. During the visit, both sides agreed to launch a massive youth exchange plan this year involving around 5,000 people. [...] It was a milestone in bilateral ties. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Officials urged to beef up process of handling public's complaints (Global Times)
2012-01-15
Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang has called on government departments and officials to better address public grievances through more efforts in handling public petitions and resolving disputes. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting Friday on the work to handle petitions in 2012. Zhou noted that despite a generally good situation nationwide, problems still exist in the petition-handling work. There are still some legitimate appeals from the public that await resolving and it is an arduous work to address these problems, he said. Zhou asked leading officials to personally take part in the petition-handling to get the grievances resolved in a more timely manner. Moreover, government departments are told to establish and improve their systems of social stability risk evaluation in the decision making process to avoid poor policy-making triggering social conflicts. Social management capability of the governments at grass-roots level should also be enhanced, Zhou said. Furthermore, Zhou called for the implementation of a responsibility system to hold leading officials to account if their failure to properly deal with complaints leads to aggravation of the problems. [...]. ^ top ^

Wen's land pledge gives farmers hope (SCMP)
2012-01-17
Mainland farmers' hopes were raised when Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to let them benefit more from land sales, saying that China had "lowered the costs of industrialisation and urbanisation by sacrificing farmers' rights to land". Speaking at last month's National Rural Work Conference - details of which were only published in the Communist Party journal Qiushi yesterday - Wen listed reforming collective-land requisitioning in rural areas as a major task. He said the government should respect and protect farmers' property rights, especially rights to land, and allow them to use the rights as they wished when they left for cities. "This administration should work out regulations regarding reform on this issue," the premier said in the article, which was a speech he made at the conference. Wen promised that regulations aimed at increasing farmers' share of profits from the sale and development of rural land would be issued this year. Local governments have been requisitioning rural land cheaply in recent years before selling it on to developers at great profit, triggering conflicts. Analysts say the root of the problem is that farmers do not own their land. Since 1956, rural collectivities [...] have owned the land, not farm households. The system, which allows farmers to farm their share of land but bans them from using it in other ways, such as trading or mortgaging it, has remained untouched for decades despite reform of other sectors of the economy. [...] In Chongqing, farmers have been allowed to mortgage their farmland, houses and trees in collective forests when applying for bank loans since October. Huang Qifan, mayor of the municipality, told an economic forum last month that the biggest problem facing farmers was that they did not have property rights. To solve this problem, the Chongqing government had included farmers' rights to use the land as a property right under the Property Law and made mortgages on land possible. [...]. ^ top ^

China's online population hit 513 mln (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
China had 513 million Internet users by the end of 2011, showing that 38.3 percent of Chinese people used the Internet, the country's network information center said Monday. The China Internet Networks Information Center (CNNIC) said in a report posted on its website that the ratio was 4 percentage points higher compared to the previous year. The report said the growth of China's Internet population has slowed from that of the past five years. Since 2006, the proportion of Internet users to the country's total population rose by an average of around 6 percentage points annually. "Further growth of the Internet population is going to be difficult, as those who have access to the Internet and the skills to use it have almost all turned into Internet users," the statement said. People surfing the Internet with cell phones increased 17.5 percent year-on-year to 356 million by the end of last year. There were 194 million Chinese people shopping online in 2011, up 20.8 percent from a year earlier, the report said. China has the largest online population in the world as well as 23 percent of the world's total Internet users, according to the latest data from Internet World Stats. ^ top ^

Senior leader urges religious believers to promote harmony, development (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
A senior Chinese official has called on the country's religious believers to contribute more to harmonious religious relations and social and economic development. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks Monday at a meeting with leaders of national religious groups at the central government compound, Zhongnanhai. Jia said 2012 is a key year as the Communist Party of China (CPC) will host its 18th national congress, and creating a favorable environment in the run-up to the event is vitally important. Jia called on all religious groups and believers to uphold ethnic solidarity, religious harmony and social stability, and to contribute more to social and economic development. [...] China is home to more than 100 million religious adherents, largely Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Catholics and Muslims, according to official figures. ^ top ^

585,200 migrant workers receive overdue wages (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-17
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said Monday that 585,200 unpaid migrant workers had received their wages as of Jan. 13, due to China's intensified efforts to crack down on malicious wage default. The ministry's inspection teams visited 162,500 companies in 15 provinces, including Guangdong, Yunnan and Hunan, and found migrant workers in 14,000 companies had not been paid on time. Their unpaid wages totaled 1.91 billion yuan (303.17 million U.S. dollars). Inspection teams ordered the companies to pay overdue wages and compensation to workers, totaling 1.95 billion yuan. In December, the country launched inspections of migrant workers' wage payment in order to ensure that they would be paid in full and on time, the ministry said. ^ top ^

Urban dwellers exceed rural population (China Daily)
2012-01-18
The number of people living in China's cities for the first time exceeded those living in the country's rural areas as of the end of 2011, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday. The number of urban dwellers increased by 21 million to hit 690.79 million as of the end of 2011, accounting for 51.27 percent of the country's total population, the NBS said. Meanwhile, the rural population fell by 14.56 million to 656.56 million as of the end of 2011, the NBS noted. The nation's total population increased by 6.44 million over the past year to 1.34 billion, it said. The number of people between the ages of 15 and 64 stood at about 1 billion, or 74.4 percent of the nation's total. The amount was down 0.1 percentage points from that of the previous year, the NBS said. ^ top ^

Outpouring for purged party leader (SCMP)
2012-01-18
Mourners flocked to a traditional house in a quiet alleyway near Beijing's downtown area of Wangfujing yesterday to pay respects to purged Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang on the seventh anniversary of his death. People also used Twitter and Chinese weibo sites to post online tributes to the reformer, who was ousted in the aftermath of the crackdown on the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests in 1989. This year, with a leadership reshuffle planned for autumn, people seem more keen than ever to remember Zhao as frustration grows after almost a decade during which there has been little to no political reform. Crowds that arrived at No 6 Fuqiang Hutong to pay tribute appeared larger than in previous years, said Zhao's son-in-law, Wang Zhihua. "It's related to the current situation, as people seem to see the country moving backwards, rather than forwards as they'd hoped," Wang said. [...] A Peking University student who visited the home but declined to be named said: "Authorities deliberately covered up the real history, but I still had access to the information by getting around the 'Great Firewall'. [...] Wang said the authorities did not warn them or try to stop them from receiving mourners. [...] Authorities forbade Bao Tong, a former secretary of Zhao's, from attending any activities related to his old boss for three days, said one mourner who had visited Bao yesterday morning. Plenty of online tributes posted by microblog users were not removed by authorities, although searches for "Zhao Ziyang" on Sina's microblog yielded no results. [...]. ^ top ^

Dissident Zhu Yufu to stand trial for poem (SCMP)
2012-01-18
Authorities have indicted veteran dissident Zhu Yufu on subversion charges for writing a poem urging people to gather to defend their freedoms, his lawyer said yesterday. He is the latest activist faced with such charges in a tightening clampdown. However, the Foreign Ministry stoutly defended the country's human rights record, rejecting an assessment by US ambassador Gary Locke that the situation was deteriorating. "Such statements are not true," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin. "The Chinese side attaches great importance to promoting and protecting the fundamental rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including the freedom of expression and of religion." Locke made the statements at an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose on Monday. Liu said: "As for some people who have dealt with the law, it's not because their freedom of expression and freedom of religion have been suppressed. It's because they have violated Chinese laws and regulations and so should be punished by the law. It has nothing to do with so-called human rights." Zhu, 60, from Hangzhou, was arrested in April for "inciting subversion of state power", a charge often used against critics of the Communist Party. No trial date had been set, his lawyer, Li Dunyong, said. "The main reason for the indictment was a poem he had written calling for people to gather. He had written the poem around the same time there was chaos [in the Middle East]," Li said. "He believes in the freedom of expression." Li collected the indictment on Monday from a Hangzhou court and met Zhu. He described him as being "in a good condition". [...]. ^ top ^

China's micro blogs help fight corruption (China Daily)
2012-01-18
The discipline authorities of the Communist Party of China (CPC) appreciated the positive effects of microblog websites and other new media channels in the country's anti-corruption drive, said an official of the discipline watchdog. The CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) as well as the country's Supervision Ministry have received a large number of online reports of corruption through these channels and corruption and misconduct cases were uncovered by official investigations responding to the reports, Sun Zhiyong, deputy director of a research center on clean-governance theories under the CCDI, said during an online chat with Internet users on Monday. New media has carried a significant weight in the public's engagement in the country's battle against corruption, and the authorities will beef up the collecting, examination and handling of clues from this kind of media, Sun said. A communique released last week at the end of a CCDI plenary session pledged to enhance efforts to tap the positive role of new media in China's anti-corruption drive. ^ top ^

President Hu bids New Year's greetings to non-communist parties, personages (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-19
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday extended Lunar New Year's greetings to all people from non-communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and those without party affiliations. Hu saluted non-communist parties and personages at a symposium held in Beijing to mark the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 23 this year. At the event, Hu expressed appreciation for their hard work last year, and he stressed delivering new goals in 2012 as the year will see the Communist Party of China (CPC) host its 18th national congress. "We must rely on all Chinese people, including those from various democratic parties, societies, ethnic groups and people from all walks of life and in different strata, to achieve this year's goals of reform, development and maintaining social stability," Hu said. [...] Hu called upon the non-communist parties and personages to consolidate political common ground with the CPC, which adheres to the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics. [...] Moreover, Hu called for passing on the "flame" of multi-party cooperation to future generations, drawing on the good traditions inherited from older generations of non-communist parties and personages. The CPC committees at all levels should support non-communist officials in fulfilling their duties, said Hu. The meeting was chaired by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang also attended the symposium. ^ top ^

Larger migrating population in China last year (China Daily)
2012-01-19
China's statistical authorities said Wednesday that more people migrated within the country last year. According to a report issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, 271 million people did not live in the places of their registered residence for more than six months last year, up 9.77 million from 2010. China has adopted measures to reform the household registration system to facilitate internal migration and make migrant workers eligible for more social services. Meanwhile, China's labor force dropped in 2011, the first time in 10 years, due to low fertility rates and a quickly aging population. Laborers aged between 15 to 64 accounted for 74.4 percent of the country's total population, down 0.1 percentage point from 2010, the bureau said in the report. ^ top ^

Weibo users face wider controls on name registration (SCMP)
2012-01-19
Real-name registration for microblog users is to be expanded on the mainland, in the government's latest step to better control wildly popular Twitter-like websites. Officials acknowledge that microblogs are useful as an outlet for critical public opinion, but have repeatedly accused them of spreading what they call unfounded rumours and vulgarities. They have issued warnings that online content must be acceptable to the Communist Party. [...] "Currently, this type of registration is being tested in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, and we will extend it to other areas once the pilot programmes prove successful," said Wang Chen, minister in charge of the State Council Information Office (SCIO). [...] Wang said name verification would be standard for new users of microblogs, such as Sina weibo, which allow users to issue short messages of opinion - a maximum of 140 Chinese characters - that can course through chains of followers who receive messages instantly. Existing users will be required to register later, he said. "Microblogs on one hand can reflect the social situation and public opinion, and broadcast a positive public voice," Wang said. "At the same time, microblogs... can make it easy to disseminate a few irrational voices, negative public opinion and harmful information," he said, noting that they possess "strong capabilities for social mobilisation". However, Wang said that the regulator had not yet done enough to control the weibo. "The current management of weibo is not up to date to meet [the new situation] and it has posed challenges to internet security and social harmony and stability." [...] Wang said there were 150 million postings every day on average. [...]. ^ top ^

Yu Jie describes brush with death (SCMP)
2012-01-19
Dissident Christian writer Yu Jie who has fled to the United States with his family, yesterday accused Beijing police of torturing him to the brink of death over a year ago and vowed he would not return before dramatic political change took place in his country. In a statement, Yu [...] gave a graphic account of being placed under strict house arrest and living under humiliating conditions for most of last year during a sweeping crackdown on dissent - something he was unable to write about until he left the country last Wednesday. "After the announcement that my best friend Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8, 2010, I lost my basic freedoms. Illegal house arrests, torture, surveillance, being followed... those became part of my everyday life," he said. "I had no choice but to leave China, to make a complete break from the fascist, barbaric and brutal regime of the Communist Party." [...] Yu said he was immediately placed under house arrest for two months on his return to China from a visit to the US in October 2010. On the eve of the Nobel award ceremony for Liu on December 9 that year, Yu said police placed his head in a black hood and drove him to an unknown location. There, he was kicked, stripped naked, beaten and tortured for hours until he passed out, he said. [...] The head state security officer overseeing Yu said he was being punished for his literary collaboration with Liu over the past decade, for his Hong Kong-published book China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao - in which he accused the premier of hypocrisy over democratic values - and for writing Liu's biography. [...] Yu said he survived only after several hours of emergency treatment at the Beijing Hospital, where he was forced to write a statement promising not to talk to journalists and diplomats before being taken home on December 13. For most of last year, Yu was barred from publishing essays, was placed under house arrest during sensitive anniversaries and prevented from worshipping at an underground church where he was a leading member, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Rural disabled people to enjoy full social security coverage by 2015: authorities (Xinhua)
2012-01-19
Disabled people in China's rural areas will enjoy full coverage by all the country's social security systems by 2015, the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) said on Thursday.

According to the CDPF-published Outline for Poverty Relief and Development for Disabled Persons in Rural Area (2011-2020), those social security systems include the minimum living security system, new cooperative health care system, and the new rural social pension insurance system. The outline said that the household incomes of 10 million disabled people in rural area will be improved by 2015 due to the government support, and community rehabilitation service will be provided around the country. In the meantime, compulsory education will be fully promoted among disabled children in the countryside by 2015, with the aim of getting at least 90 percent of them enrolled by then. The government will also provide applied technology training to a total of one million rural disabled people by 2015, in a bid to give them skills to earn a living, the outline said. It also set a long-term target for 2020, when the country's disabled population could expect all-round equal access to basic health care, education, public housing as well as rehabilitation services, with their family income reaching the local average level. The outline calls for expanded coverage of government support in related poverty reduction loans, enhanced social security and relief services, favorable policies and more jobs suitable for disabled people. ^ top ^

China losing its 'population dividend', experts warn (SCMP)
2012-01-20
Demographers and economists are advising Beijing to keep a close watch on population figures, with the proportion of people of working age having shrunk last year for the first time in a decade. Although they insist there is no cause for alarm, they say the data provides further evidence that the country has lost its "population dividend" - the notion that nations with younger populations fare better economically. [...] The population aged between 15 and 64 - the internationally accepted range for labour forces - dropped to 74.4 per cent of the total population last year, a drop of 0.1 percentage points from 2010, the National Bureau of Statistics said. [...] But analysts also noted that because the population had risen so quickly, the number of workers had not dropped, despite many baby boomers born six decades ago dropping out of the work force and the birth rate falling dramatically under the nation's one-child policy. [...] Chen noted that the labour force was still growing, and that its growth rate had outpaced that of the ageing population - those above 65 who are not considered part of the labour market. He also pointed out that the statistics bureau said it was the first time in 10 years that the workforce, relative to the population, had declined. [...] But some economists said the decreased proportion of the labour force provided further evidence of widespread fears in recent years that the mainland was witnessing a labour shortage and ushering in an ageing society. Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank's China resident mission, said the latest data had at least provided further evidence of a decade-long trend towards a growing ageing population and an increasing labour shortage. [...] He said the demographic trend called for a transformation of the development model, as the previous model, which capitalised on the ample supply of cheap labour, was no longer viable. Demographic studies suggest that the elderly will account for more than 30 per cent of the population by 2040, and that China will face the biggest ageing-society problem of any country in the world, exacerbated largely by its one-child policy. ^ top ^

Wen bangs drum again for reform (SCMP)
2012-01-20
Premier Wen Jiabao called again this week for political reform, saying social turmoil often arises from within a country, as recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have suggested. Wen made the comments on Wednesday in a news conference in Doha, Qatar, where he was asked what lessons governments should take from the recent developments in those regions. He said he had made it clear to other countries' leaders that people's demands for reform and the protection of their interests should be respected. Wen then turned the focus to China. "I always emphasise that reform, not only economic reform but also political reform, should be carried out," Xinhua quoted him as saying. "It is of paramount importance for the government to maintain close ties with the people, listen to the public's opinions and their voices and improve the government's work, so as to better develop the economy, improve people's livelihood and bring good to them." He said it had become more complicated than ever to govern a nation in the information age, amid everrising expectations of government. "Government's duty is to pursue its people's interests... not its own interests," he said. Wen said nations should look within for social turmoil's source. "All turmoil has both an internal and external cause," he said, "but I believe the internal cause is most important."The Communist Party journal Qiushi carried an extract this month of a speech by President Hu Jintao in October at a plenary session of the party's central committee in which he said he wanted China to ward off "hostile" attempts by international forces to westernise the country. Wen has made several statements on political reform in recent years, sharing his thoughts with different people in various locations. In June, he said in Britain "there will not be real socialism if there is no real democracy, and there will not be protection of economic and political rights if there is no real freedom". But some critics said concrete reforms had yet to be seen."It's meaningless political cliches that everyone talks about on the mainland; there's nothing fresh," said Professor He Weifang, who teaches law at Peking University, referring to Wen's remarks in Doha. "It would be significant if he could give us a step-by-step plan for political reform. He did not spell out exactly what reforms are necessary. So far, there is nothing new.". ^ top ^

Tycoon's death sentence under attack on internet (SCMP)
2012-01-20
The upholding of a death sentence against legendary 29-year-old Zhejiang businesswoman Wu Ying for fraud has sparked an uproar online, with many questioning if the penalty is proportional to Wu's crime. The decision announced on Wednesday afternoon by the Zhejiang High Court has also sparked intense debate, over issues like whether the entrepreneur was treated fairly in comparison to corrupt officials, the difficulties of mainland private companies in obtaining funds due to government policies, and whether it is reasonable to retain the death penalty for economic crimes. The sentence awaits a final review by the Supreme People's Court. [...] The court sentenced Wu to death for fraud, saying that she illegally collected up to 770 million yuan (HK$947 million) from the public using high interest rates and deception. The decision immediately drew sympathy from many in the public, as they believed Wu was only a victim of current government policies, which make it very difficult for private companies to borrow from banks. The possibility of criminal charges for collecting funds from the public makes raising funds through private channels risky. Wu admitted to illegally collecting funds, but said it was only business gone bad, and denied intention to defraud. Her lawyers and the online community have another question: Authorities have pledged to reduce the use of the death penalty, especially for economic crimes, and many corrupt officials have been given suspended death sentences in recent years - so why must Wu die? Also, Wu co-operated and gave the names up of other guilty parties - including government officials - while in jail. Many posts asked if local officials want Wu to die for fear she might implicate others. "Killing Wu won't stop the operations of underground banks," said Professor Hu Xingdou of Beijing University of Technology, who has a blog on current events. "According to the current definition of illegal fund-raising, all money-lending from investors could be illegal, if done without the approval of the authorities. This charge only gives the authorities the right to monopolise China's finance and banking system, but does little to help small and medium-sized enterprises to raise money for their business." [...] Microblog user Han Zhiguo gave the example of former Bank of China official Yu Zhendong, who with his accomplices swindled more than US$80 million and illegally used 132 million yuan in public funds. He was only sentenced to 12 years. ^ top ^

China to launch 30 satellites (Global Times)
2012-01-20
China plans to put 30 satellites into Earth's orbit this year with 21 launches, after the country's space activities hit a record high last year, when 22 satellites were sent into space with 19 Long March rockets. "A total of 100 satellites will be put into orbit through 100 launches by 2015. This year, China will launch 21 rockets and lift 30 satellites into space," the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced Thursday. [...] "The number of China's space launches in 2011 surpassed that of the US, which sent 18 satellites into orbit," Pang Zhihao, a researcher from the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, told the Global Times [...] Richard Fisher, a Chinese military affairs specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told the Washington Times that information collected from Chinese online military bulletin boards suggested China had test-fired six Julang-2 missiles from waters near Dalian, Liaoning Province. Meanwhile, a fisherman in Changdao county, Shandong Province accidentally retrieved a 4-meter-long, 2-meter-wide cylinder object, which seems to be the "booster stage of a missile," the Jinan-based Qilu Evening News reported January 10. While some Western defense observers claimed the wreckage is evidence of a recent Julang-2 launch, China's military and defense authorities have remained silent on the alleged missile tests. On November 9, China successfully launched a Long March rocket carrying the Yaogan-12 remote sensing satellite. The Xinhua News Agency said the satellite will be used to "conduct scientific experiments, carry out surveys on land resources, estimate crop yield and help with natural disaster reduction and prevention." However, space.com, a major space and astronomy news website, said the satellite could collect intelligence for the PLA and that "all previous Yaogan satellites carried radar or optical sensors for reconnaissance missions."An anonymous space technology expert declined to discuss whether China's Yaogan satellites are for military or civilian use, but told the Global Times that in other countries, similar satellites are also designed for both purposes. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing rolls out huge forestation plan (China Daily)
2012-01-14
Millions of trees that cover an area of 1 million mu (66,667 hectares) will be planted in Beijing in the next three years, according to a top government official. Starting from March, the city will begin planting trees between its fifth and sixth ring roads, on 200,000 mu of land this year, said Chen Gang, the city's Deputy Mayor, at the 5th session of the 13th Beijing Municipal Congress on Thursday. Some villages will be smartened up, and desolate waste land will be reused to make room for the forestation, which is estimated to take up an expanded area of 1 million mu by the end of 2014, he said. A series of measures combating the city's serious environmental pollution were set forth at the meeting. Besides the ambitious forestation plan, Beijing will also promote more stringent emission standards, improve fuel oil quality, and strengthen the control of dust in construction sites and so on. [...]. ^ top ^

Petitioners languish for weeks in Beijing 'black jail' (SCMP)
2012-01-18
The three petitioners from the central province of Hunan were held in Beijing for more than a month in a "black jail" linked to their local government despite a crackdown on such secret detention facilities. The petitioners from Chenzhou - including two over the age of 70 - were beaten and, for a time, fed only instant noodles, one of the detainees said yesterday. They were released after other petitioners brought reporters and rights activists to the jail on Friday to demand their release. The petitioner, Yo Hong, 57, said she was thrown into the detention centre in Beijing's Fengtai district on December 5 after she was stopped by guards near Zhongnanhai, the central compound that houses the headquarters of the Communist Party and the central government. The widow was locked inside a three-storey building with metal mesh windows along with Chen Bixiang, 72, a woman, and Gong Jiangbao, 82, a man. They were watched by guards with Hunan accents. "We had take-out food in the first few days, but we were later only given one pack of instant noodles per meal," Yu said. "Sometimes they just beat us up for no reason, regardless of how frail we were." [...] Media revelations of the existence of the jails forced police to launch a campaign last month targeting security firms involved. [...]. ^ top ^

Persisting fog drags Beijing's air pollution to "hazardous" level (Xinhua)
2012-01-19
Beijing's air was rated as "hazardous" on Thursday, as north China was enveloped in fog for the fourth day. The rating comes even though the city continues to gauge air quality through the PM 10 measure ahead of its much-anticipated use of the more sensitive PM 2.5. The Beijing Meteorological Bureau said Thursday that the air in two districts -- Tongzhou and Fangshan -- has been rated "hazardous," meaning particular matter over 500 micrometers in size was detected in each cubic meter of air. The bureau vowed earlier this month that it would apply the tighter PM 2.5 standard, which measures finer matter considered more hazardous to people's health, ahead of the upcoming Spring Festival which will start on Sunday. The Beijing Environmental Protection Monitoring Center said on its official microblog Thursday that the PM 10 data soared after Wednesday's evening rush hour. The average reading in the city Thursday was over 300 micrometers per cubic meter of air, which was rated as "medium pollution." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Wukan gets new village committee (Global Times)
2012-01-16
Villagers in Wukan, Guangdong Province, hailed the new village Party committee that was established yesterday after a provincial investigation team declared the previous committee election invalid and ordered a new vote in the wake of months-long protests. Lin Zuluan, who represented the villagers in the previous protest, was appointed secretary of the village committee of the CPC. The committee went into operation yesterday, Nanfang Daily reported, citing an official microblog of the Politics and Law Committee of Guangdong Committee of the CPC. "Generally speaking, we are satisfied that Lin is heading the Party committee after the special investigation team dispatched by the provincial government came to the village to find out the truth and restore order," a Wukan villager surnamed Zhang said. "I hold a positive attitude toward the new leader, as he was respected by us when we were fighting for our rights. And I hope he will not let us down and lead the village to prosperity," Zhang told the Global Times yesterday. Noting that the investigation into an illegal land transaction - another appeal made by villagers in Wukan - is not yet finished, Zhang said he hoped the new Party committee, together with the investigation team will give them a satisfactory answer. Petitions and protests against previous acts of electoral fraud by village heads and farmland seizure by property developers have been held by villagers in Wukan since September. [...] The standoff between villagers and the local government, which drew wide media coverage both in China and abroad, only ended in late December after the provincial government stepped in to investigate. On December 20, Wang Yang, Party chief of Guangdong Province, said that the unrest was "the result of the long neglect of social problems that have accumulated during economic and social development," and vowed to crack down on corruption. [...]. ^ top ^

Zhu to confront causes of unrest (SCMP)
2012-01-18
Social discontent poses a greater challenge to Guangdong than the economic risks the province faces, newly elected governor Zhu Xiaodan said yesterday. Guangdong would address land rights and land certification issues this year, and also enshrine farmers' land rights in law to ease social conflicts over the requisitioning of rural land, Zhu promised yesterday at his first press conference as governor after the close of the annual meeting of the provincial people's congress. [...] He said the root cause of land requisition problems was that some officials did not abide by the law and ignored farmers' interests. "Social conflicts will build up, become more acute, and even evolve into mass incidents [a mainland euphemism for protests] if not dealt with properly," he said, insisting that the way to solve such conflicts was by improving the legal system, protecting people's interests by law and setting emergency response systems. He also highlighted the economic challenges facing Guangdong and vowed to pursue steady foreign trade growth, deeper co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong and increased domestic demand. [...] As a province highly dependent on foreign trade, Guangdong will pursue new international markets in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Russia, and Europe, he went on. [...] Zhu also echoed comments made by Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang with regard to decentralising government power. "The government should not undertake all the things on the earth," Zhu said. "It should do what it is entitled to, and entrust things that it cannot do or cannot do well to the lower ranks, or to society.". ^ top ^

Second village wins swift graft probe (SCMP)
2012-01-19
Guangzhou city officials have agreed to investigate the property and financial records in Wanggang village and put a village party committee election on hold. The moves to appease protesting villagers came after about 1,000 Wanggang residents, angered by land seizures and alleged official corruption, rallied in front of Guangzhou city's government headquarters on Tuesday. They vowed to turn their urban village, under the Jiahe subdistrict in the city's Baiyun district, into "Guangdong's second Wukan" - referring to the three months of protests late last year by villagers from Wukan in the province's east with similar complaints. The Wanggang villagers' demonstration came as the annual session of the Guangdong provincial people's congress came to a close. The conciliatory gestures by officials were seen as a continuation of Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang's use of the "Wukan approach" to address public grievances over land issues with a speedy response and peaceful negotiations. Three hours after villagers began protesting at the city's People's Park, vice-mayor Xie Xiaodan was sent to negotiate with five village representatives. Xie promised a thorough probe would be conducted, with a reply by February 19. [...] Li Peichuang, Wanggang's deputy party secretary, told the South China Morning Post [...] that Baiyun officials visited the village yesterday morning and formalised the agreement the villagers made with Xie on Tuesday. The agreement includes a thorough investigation of all newly built high-rise buildings in the village that had been linked to Li Zhihang's alleged misdeeds, as well as appointing a third-party auditor to check Wanggang's financial records, and postponing the election until the release of the probe's findings. [...] Villagers have vowed to launch an even bigger protest after the Lunar New Year should the government renege on its promises, said Li Hongding, one of the five village representatives. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Troops battle Tibetans in Sichuan: activists (SCMP)
2012-01-15
Security troops clashed with Tibetans yesterday after the latest in a series of self-immolations that have come with growing resentment of Beijing's grip on the region, two overseas advocacy groups said. The latest case of protest by self-incineration - the 16th in less than a year - happened in Aba prefecture in Sichuan, triggering a clash between Chinese security troops and an angry crowd, said Stephanie Brigden, director of the London-based Free Tibet group. "According to at least two or three sources, a Tibetan layperson set himself on fire this morning in Ngaba town. As police put out the flames, they beat him severely," said Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet, another London-based group. "At some point local people managed to take the layperson away from police - it seems he was dead at this point. We don't know any details of his identity. More police arrived and fired upon the crowd." Both groups cited sources as saying that least one resident appeared to have died in the clash. "An eyewitness described the situation as terrifying, said that 'a strong gas' was used on the crowd and described how 'many had fallen to the ground and people were being beaten'," Brigden said. "Numerous people have been detained." There were also reports of continuing clashes between Chinese security troops and Tibetan residents, including Buddhist monks, Brigden said. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibet to invest 17 bln yuan to improve rural living conditions in 2012 (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-18
Tibet Autonomous Region will continue to invest over 17 billion yuan to improve the infrastructure in rural areas in 2012, including water supplies, power supplies, traffic and communications. Tsewang, a member from Tibet's Rongnado Village, attended the 2012 Tibet People's Congress. He has acted as village head for over 20 years and had deep feelings for the changes in his village. "Villagers used to live in tents, use oil lamps and travel on the horse," said Tsewang. "They had nothing expensive and their children couldn't receive good education, either." With the construction of the new countryside, great changes have taken place in Rongnado Village. New houses with unique Tibetan flavor have sprung up, and modern transportation and household appliances have gone into their life. "All can be attributed to the implementation of the housing project," said Tsewang. "The herder can receive a subsidy of at least 20,000 yuan from the government to build a house and one just needs to spend several thousand yuan." "Now, we sell yoghourt in summer, beef in winter and cow leather at ordinary times," added he. "We are now living a well-off life." In 2012, Tibet will allocate 17 billion yuan for 64 key projects to further improve the rural living conditions and benefit more Tibetans. ^ top ^

China opposes politicians contacting Dalai Lama (China Daily)
2012-01-19
China is, without exception, against the Dalai Lama's activities in the international arena, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday. China also opposes contact between political figures, official representatives of relevant countries and the Dalai Lama under any form or excuse, said the spokesman Liu Weimin at a regular press briefing. Liu made the remarks when asked to comment on the Dalai Lama's so-called "non-political" visit to Britain in June. The Dalai Lama has never simply been a "religious person," but the general head of a political bloc which is organized with guiding principles and has carried out separatist activities against China, Liu said. ^ top ^

Army sends medical team to snow-hit Tibetan villages in NW China (Xinhua)
2012-01-20
A military medical team has been sent to mountainous villages in the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province where Tibetan villagers and lamas face severe difficulties in their daily lives due to recent heavy snowfalls. The medical team, from the No.7 Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), headed off, braving bad weather and poor road conditions, on learning of the villagers' plight, according to military sources.The PLA detachment also took food and cooking oil to villagers and lamas, in addition to providing medical services. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong's chief executive unveils economic growth strategies (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang unveiled the city's strategies to promote sustainable growth in spite of the global economic downturn at the fifth Asian Financial Forum Monday. The strategies include stepping up infrastructure investment, promoting a more diversified business environment, attracting a wider variety of foreign firms to Hong Kong and enhancing Hong Kong's accessibility and potential as a capital-raising platform. Noting the eurozone debt crisis and the U.S. recovery, Tsang said that Asia is well placed to drive sustainable growth, having a sound economic environment and providing a springboard for sustainable global growth. [...]. ^ top ^

HK, UK to jointly promote RMB business (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the UK Treasury on Monday announced the launch of a joint private-sector forum to enhance cooperation between Hong Kong and London on the development of offshore renminbi business. The forum will focus on exploring cooperation by enhancing linkages between Hong Kong and London, specifically regarding clearing and settlement systems, market liquidity and the development of new renminbi-denominated financial products. It will comprise representatives from both Hong Kong and London banks, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of China, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, and may invite other institutions' representatives as appropriate. "With the support of the Central Government, Hong Kong has developed into a global hub for offshore renminbi business. Banks and financial institutions in London are most welcome to make good use of Hong Kong's offshore renminbi platform," said Donald Tsang, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government. The forum will meet twice a year, with the first meeting to be held in Hong Kong in May. It was set up following last September's landmark accord in which the UK and the Chinese government for the first time welcomed the development of the offshore RMB market in London. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Ma re-elected Taiwan leader, mainland reiterates 1992 Consensus (Xinhua)
2012-01-15
Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected Taiwan leader Saturday and pledged to work for cross-Strait ties in next tenure. Ma extended appreciation and gratitude toward his supporters at a large gathering held in the KMT headquarters in Taipei, which was packed by swirling campaigning banners, stunning trumpet and hectic crowds amid a heavy rain. [...] Ma attributed the victory to the policies his team has made to fight corruption and maintain peace. Taiwan people showed their recognition of the efforts KMT has made to shelf disputes with the mainland and maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, he said at the gathering. Ma promised to continue to deepen the cross-Strait relations, consolidate the mutual trust across the Strait in the coming four years. He also believed that the cross-Strait relations "will become more harmonious." [...] The 61-year-old Ma defeated rivals Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong in a three-way race. Ma led Tsai by about 800,000 votes in the poll. Ma and his running mate Wu Den-yih, who is incumbent chief of the island's executive authority, got more than 6.89 million ballots, or 51.6 percent of the votes, whereas Tsai and her running mate Su Jia-chyuan, got more than 6.09 million ballots, or 45.6 percent of the votes. PFP chairman James Soong and his running mate Lin Ruey-shiung got more than 369,000 ballots, or 2.8 percent of the votes, according to the island's election organization. [...] At a press conference at the DPP headquarters, Ma's major rival Tsai admitted her defeat in the election and announced that she would resign from the post of DPP chairwoman. [...] A spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council delivered a speech after the Taiwan leadership election, saying that the facts over the past four years have indicated that the peaceful development of the Cross-Strait relations is a correct road and has obtained support from a majority of Taiwan compatriots. [...] However, analysts in Beijing also noted that the situation on the island remained complicated and supporters of "Taiwan independence" would continue marring the development of cross-Strait relations. [...] The "legislative" elections was held simultaneously with the leadership election, for the first time, in order to save costs. Among the 113 seats in the island's "legislature," KMT gained 64 seats while DPP got 40 and PFP got three. Three seats went to the Taiwan Solidarity Union, two went to the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union and one to independent candidate. ^ top ^

1.84 million mainlanders visit Taiwan (China Daily)
2012-01-18
About 1.84 million residents from the Chinese mainland visited Taiwan in 2011, up 11.02 percent year-on-year, according to statistics released by the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office Tuesday. Among the visitors, more than 1.25 million were tourists. Of the tourists, 1.22 million went there on package tours, and 28,000 went on individual trips. In 2011, the mainland registered 5.26 million Taiwan visitors, up 2.38 percent year-on-year, according to the office. Taiwan has become a popular destination, especially for families and the elderly since 2008, when the two sides of the Taiwan Straits lifted the ban on mainland tourists' traveling to Taiwan. Since June 28, 2011, residents of the mainland cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen were allowed to make individual trips to Taiwan through a trial program that is expected to boost cross-Straits travel. ^ top ^

Cross-Straits trade hits record $147b (China Daily)
2012-01-19
Economic exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan saw progress in 2011, the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday. Cross-Straits trade volume in the first 11 months of 2011 reached a record high of $147 billion, according to a statement issued by the office. By the end of 2011, the mainland had invested a total of $220 million in Taiwan, establishing 47 new business projects worth $68.19 million in 2011. From January to November 2011, the mainland approved 2,376 Taiwan-funded business projects and put $1.95 billion in Taiwan investment into use, it said. By the end of 2011, 41 cities on the Chinese mainland and nine cities in Taiwan had implemented cross-Straits direct flights, including 558 passenger flights and 56 cargo flights every week. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed by the two sides in June 2010 has been effectively implemented, bringing multiple benefits to Taiwan's enterprises and people, the office said. In 2011, mainland authorities allowed five commercial banks in Taiwan to set up branches on the mainland and approved three companies in Taiwan to be listed on the mainland's stock market. The mainland also allowed six financial organizations in Taiwan to invest in the mainland's capital market. ^ top ^

List of Taiwan's new leadership released (China Daily)
2012-01-19
Taiwan's election commission on Thursday announced new leadership and legislators for the next four years beginning from May. The commission adopted and released a public notice after a meeting of commission members, announcing that incumbent Taiwan leader and ruling Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate Wu Den-yih, incumbent chief of the island's executive authority, will be the island's new leader and deputy leader, respectively. Chang Po-ya, chairwoman of the island's election commission, will deliver certificates to Ma and Wu Friday. Last Saturday, Ma comfortably secured a second term in office with a victory in the island's fifth leadership election since 1996. The 61-year-old defeated the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and minority People First Party Chairman James Soong in a three-way race. Ma took 51.6 percent of the votes, leading Tsai by nearly 800,000 votes. According to electoral rules, leadership candidates who collect more than one-third of the total votes are entitled to campaign subsidies to the tune of 30 New Taiwan dollars (about $1) per vote. Therefore, Ma and Wu are entitled to an allowance worth 206.73 million New Taiwan dollars, while Tsai and her running mate Su Jia-chyuan can obtain 182.8 million New Taiwan dollars. Both subsidies are to be received by the political parties they represent, the commission said. As both Ma and Tsai got more than 5 percent of the votes, the 15-million-New-Taiwan-dollar deposit they paid when registering for leadership election in November will be returned to them, it said. Soong and his running mate Lin Ruey-shiung gained only 2.8 percent of the vote, preventing them from receiving their deposit. Thursday's election commission meeting also adopted and released a list of the island's 113 legislators. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's Q4 forex reserves down from previous quarter (Xinhua)
2012-01-14
China's central bank said Friday that the country's foreign exchange reserves as of the end of the fourth quarter last year topped 3.18 trillion U.S. dollars, down 20.6 billion U.S. dollars from the previous quarter. The net quarterly decrease was a rare case in recent years in the country, which is currently the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves around the world. In breakdown, foreign exchange reserves increased by 72.1 billion U.S. dollars in October, but decreased by 52.9 billion U.S. dollars and 39.76 billion U.S. dollars respectively in November and December, according to data from the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank. However, on a year-on-year basis, the nation's foreign exchange reserves still expanded from 2.85 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of 2010. The PBOC data released Friday also showed the country's yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchanges fell to 25.36 trillion yuan (4 trillion U.S. dollars) in December, down 100.3 billion yuan from November. The December data also marked the third monthly decline. ^ top ^

China targets 10 pct growth in foreign trade in 2012: NDRC official (Xinhua)
2012-01-15
China aims to expand its foreign trade by around 10 percent year-on-year in 2012, significantly slower than in 2011, as the country is facing a "grim situation" in terms of boosting exports, an official from the country's top economic planning agency said Saturday. "We expect more difficulties in foreign trade and the export situation will be grim in 2012, especially in the first half of the year," said Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at a forum held in Beijing. The world's largest exporter will suffer from weak external demand, increasing trade competition and disputes, the appreciation of the yuan and rising costs for domestic enterprises, Zhang said at the Annual Meeting of China's Economy 2011-2012 organized by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. [...] Zhang said trade has slowed down over the past few months. Compared with January of 2011, year-on-year export growth in December was down by 24.2 percentage points to 13.4 percent and import growth down by 39.8 percentage points to 11.8 percent. [...] He warned China could encounter more trade barriers in the forms of stricter standards for technology, salaries, environmental protection and intellectual property rights. Foreign countries implemented 67 trade remedy measures against Chinese exports in 2011, 41 of them coming from developing nations, he noted. "When we go through a difficult time, we should stand more firmly against trade protectionism," Zhang told the forum. He suggested further promoting the Doha Round trade talks and advancing talks on free-trade agreements with more countries. ^ top ^

China's economic growth decelerates to 9.2 pct in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
China's economy expanded 9.2 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, and 8.9 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday. The quarterly growth was the slowest in 10 quarters.8 China has set the full-year growth target at 8 percent in early 2011, after its economy grew 10.3 percent in 2010. ^ top ^

Iron ore trade platform will improve price transparency (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-17
China launched its first iron ore spot trading platform on Monday, a move meant to help the nation - the world's largest user and importer of the commodity - gain more influence in global pricing. The China Beijing International Mining Exchange (CBMX) launched the online platform together with the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) and the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters. "The iron ore market should be determined by and reflect real supply and demand. However, monopoly practices and price manipulation have exerted a big impact on prices" and hurt many Chinese companies, said Wang Xiaoqi, vice-chairman of CISA. China accounts for 60 percent of the global iron ore trading market. The nation's iron ore sources increased from 48 countries in 2010 to 67 in 2011, and there was a marked expansion in physical transactions. However, the widely used Platts iron ore index is regarded with some skepticism as to its transparency and fairness by steel companies and iron ore traders from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe, according to Wang. [...] CBMX is also publishing a new iron ore pricing index, an attempt to better reflect supply and demand as well as reduce price volatility. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese economy heads for soft landing in 2012 (China Daily)
2012-01-19
China's economy can achieve a soft landing in 2012 despite a global economic slowdown, World Bank chief economist Justin Lin said Wednesday. China's massive foreign exchange reserves will help the world's second-largest economy shrug off external pressures and maintain a growth rate above 8 percent this year, Lin said at a press conference on the global economic outlook. As official data show that the government's fiscal deficit is equivalent to about 25 percent of its gross domestic product, China has "lots of room" for a stimulative fiscal policy to stabilize its economy and maintain rapid growth, due to its low debt levels, Lin said. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, China's GDP rose 9.2 percent year-on-year in 2011 to reach 47.16 trillion yuan ($7.26 trillion), with a projected fiscal deficit of 900 billion yuan. To stimulate its domestic demand, China can rely on either investment or consumption, although the key will be to increase incomes, said Lin, who is also the World Bank's senior vice president for development economics. "Judging from official data, the proportion of consumption in China's GDP is relatively low and still has room for improvement," Lin said, adding that China should learn a lesson from overspending in Europe and the United States. In its "Global Economic Prospects 2012" report, the World Bank projected China's economy to expand 8.4 percent in 2012 and 8.3 percent in 2013, warning developing countries to prepare for further downside risks, as eurozone debt problems and weakening growth in several emerging economies are dimming global growth prospects. [...]. ^ top ^

FDI registers another drop in Dec (China Daily)
2012-01-19
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China registered the sharpest year-on-year decline in December since August 2009, when the country was hit by the global financial crisis, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday. Officials and analysts attributed the slowdown to a fragile recovery for the world economy and increasing labor costs. Yet they still believed China will maintain stable FDI growth in the future as the country continues to open up its market and improve its investment environment. [...] In 2011, the country's total amount of FDI reached a new high of $116 billion but its growth rate slowed to 9.72 percent from 17.4 percent in 2010, according to the ministry. Investment from the United States decreased by 26.1 percent in 2011 to $3 billion, while that from the European Union decreased by 3.65 percent to $6.3 billion, the ministry said. "China's FDI increase in 2011 was one of the lowest in recent years," said Shen Danyang, a ministry spokesman. He said the slowdown was mainly the result of a sluggish economic recovery in the US, the European Union and other developed economies, which has prompted investors to hold back. In the meantime, foreign direct investment in the Chinese service industry outstripped the manufacturing industry for the first time, making up 47.6 percent of the total investment recorded in 2011, the ministry said. [...] The value of China's outbound investment in 2011 stood at $60 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent from the year before - much lower than the growth rate of 36.3 percent recorded for 2010, the ministry said. Pressed by the dismal world economy, countries have increasingly begun to take protective measures against investments by China's State-owned enterprises, Shen said, citing a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. [...]. ^ top ^

More cities see price of new homes fall as market cools (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-19
MORE Chinese cities reported falls in new home prices last month as tightening measures continued to have an impact on the market, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. Excluding government-funded affordable housing, prices fell month-on-month in 52 of the 70 cities tracked by the bureau in December, compared to 49 in November, 34 in October and 17 in September. Prices remained unchanged in 16 cities, the same as in November, and rose in the remaining two, both by 0.1 percent, it said. In Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where home purchase restrictions have been rigorously enforced, new home prices fell by between 0.2 and 0.5 percent from a month earlier. They dipped by between 0.3 and 0.4 percent in November. [...] Year-on-year, nine cities saw a decrease in new home prices last month, more than double that in November. Government data released yesterday also showed that prices for previously owned homes fell in 51 cities in December, unchanged from November. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK reaffirms never to deal with S Korea's Lee Myung-bak gov't (Xinhua)
2012-01-17
KCNA, the official news agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has issued a commentary, reaffirming that DPRK would never deal with South Korea's Lee Myung-bak government. The commentary said the Lee Myung-bak government is now "pretending to be interested in the north-south dialogue". The DPRK solemnly declares before the world that it would never deal with the Lee Myung-bak government, it said. The National Defence 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

Live births increase, child mortality decreases (Montsame)
2012-01-16
Last year, 70,328 mothers gave birth to 70,576 children, increasing by 4,668 mothers or 7.1 per cent, and by 4,687 children or 7.1 per cent respectively against the previous year. In 2011 at national level, infant mortality decreased by 123, or 9.6 per cent, to 1,152, and child mortality aged 1-5 decreased by 89, or 25.6 per cent, to 258 compared to the previous year. ^ top ^

Unemployment rate and educational sector in figures (Montsame)
2012-01-16
The number of unemployed reached 57.2 thousand at the end of 2011, reflecting a 18.9 thousand people increase or 49.5 per cent against the previous year. As of the beginning of 2011/2012 academic year, a number of students and pupils in all levels of educational institutions reached 890.6 thousand people, increasing 40.1 thousand people or 4.7 per cent, against the previous year. In the 2010/2011 academic year, 133.7 thousand students and pupils graduated all levels of educational institutions, of which 86.7 thousand pupils graduated general education schools (51.9 thousand pupils 9th grade, 33.1 thousand pupils 11th grade); 11.2 thousand students graduated technical and vocational schools; 35.8 thousand students graduated universities, higher educational institutions and colleges. ^ top ^

PM reveals candidates for ministers' posts (Montsame)
2012-01-17
The Prime Minister of Mongolia and chairman of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) S.Batbold gave on Tuesday presented six candidatures for posts of ministers. He said the ministers nomination is in full swing. "It has been decided to select three members from parliament and the other three will be 'outsiders". The MPP's secretary-general U.Khurelsukh has been proposed as the First Deputy Premier, D.Khayankhyarvaa MP--the Finance Minister; Ts.Dashdorj MP--the Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development; J.Enkhbayar MP--the Minister of Defense; a former State Secretary of Foreign Ministry D.Tsogtbaatar--the Minister of Environment and Tourism; and the State Secretary of Health Ministry N.Khurelbaatar--the Minister of Health. He noted that approved in 2008 programme must be fully realized. For the time being, it is going with 82 per cent, he added. “All the candidates have professional skills and political experiences," he said. As he expects, the new ministers will be able to start work this week. In respect of the law, a head of the Cabinet Secretariat of Government Ch.Khurelbaatar has sent to the State Head the names of the candidates. ^ top ^

President sends note about resignations to PM (News.mn)
2012-01-19
President Ts.Elbegdorj sent a note about the resignation of DP ministers and the appointment of their MPP replacements to Prime Minister S.Batbold on Wednesday. He wrote that the following DP ministers have submitted resignations: First Deputy Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt, Nature, Environment and Tourism Minister L.Gansukh, Defense Minister L.Bold, Road, Transportation and Urban Development Minister Kh.Battulga, and Health Minister S.Lambaa. Ts.Elbegdorj said Parliament should consider the resignations according to the law on government and the Constitution. ^ top ^

Consumer rights group fines petroleum importers (News.mn)
2012-01-18
The Consumers Rights Protection Association says petroleum importers have increased gasoline prices unreasonably. The group says prices should have risen no more than MNT 100 to MNT 170 a liter, considering the tugrik's rate against U.S. dollar. Under the law on competition, the association says it has sent a note to petroleum importers fining them a total of MNT 10 billion. But there is no information about what fine amounts were delivered to which companies. Director of M-Oil Group R.Batbayar told the newspaper Uls Turiin Toim that gasoline price increases could be understood in economic terms and should not be related to politics. He said petroleum prices depend on three factors: foreign market prices, foreign currency rates, and taxation. The last factor, the excise tax, has been canceled by the Government. He said that the gasoline price would increase along with a currency rate increase, and it would decrease along with a currency rate decrease. R.Batbayar added that his company has not received a notice of fine yet. ^ top ^

Rio Tinto set to take control of Oyotolgoi (News.mn)
2012-01-19
Global miner Rio Tinto is clear to take over the Oyutolgoi project, which promises to be one of the world's largest copper-gold mines, after project owner Ivanhoe Mines decided to scrap a controversial “poison pill” that would have allowed it to block Rio Tinto from raising its stake in Ivanhoe. An agreement capping Rio Tinto's holding at 49 percent expired on Wednesday. Rio Tinto, which has built its stake in Ivanhoe to 49 per cent as it has helped fund construction of Oyutolgoi, welcomed the decision. “As the 49 percent cap on Rio Tinto"s ownership of Ivanhoe expires today, we are free to increase our shareholding as we see fit,” a Rio Tinto spokesman said on Wednesday. In a statement, Ivanhoe said Rio Tinto recently told Ivanhoe's board that it intends to buy additional shares to raise its stake to more than 50 per cent. Ivanhoe's rights plan, backed by shareholders in 2010 and due to expire next year, was dealt a fatal blow in December when a court ruled it could not be used to dilute Rio's stake. ^ top ^

 

Gina Schmied
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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