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
  28.1-3.2.12, No. 408  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Top Chinese political advisor meets AU, AUC chiefs on friendly ties (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-29
Top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin met African Union (AU) Chairman Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and African Union Commission (AUC) Chairman Jean Ping here Saturday, pledging to promote the China-AU relationship to a new level. During his meeting with Obiang, who is also president of Equatorial Guinea, Jia said the AU has played a more and more important role in Africa's internal and external affairs. Faced with complicated influence of international and regional situation, the AU has reacted independently addressing the issues in Africa and maintaining the unity and dignity of Africa. [...] Obiang said as Africa's great friend, China has offered selfless support and help to Africa, especially the new AU headquarter constructed with the aid of China. African countries must unite and cooperate with China to achieve development, he added. When meeting with Jean Ping, Jia said the AU is a banner leading African countries to achieve independence and development. "China will unswervingly support Africa's unity, independence and integration process," he added. Jia said China will provide 600 million yuan (about 95 million U.S. dollars) in aid to the AU in the next three years for projects agreed by the two sides. China will also enhance cooperation with the AU in terms of infrastructure development planning, peace and security, peacekeeping capacity building and China-AU strategic dialog mechanism. Jean Ping said the peoples of China and Africa have witnessed a time-honored friendship and that they have supported each other in pursuit of independence and development. The AU hopes to boost cooperation with China in infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacture and other fields, so as to improve self-development capacity of Africa. [...]. ^ top ^

Top Chinese political advisor delivers speech at 18th AU summit (Xinhua)
2012-01-30
Top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin delivered a speech on Sunday morning at the opening ceremony of the 18th African Union (AU) summit. Before his speech, Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, presented the congratulatory message from Chinese President Hu Jintao to the summit. "Since the beginning of the 21st century, China-Africa relations have grown rapidly and made in-depth progress on all fronts. The establishment and development of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa have boosted bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the political, economic, trade and cultural fields, making our political trust stronger, our shared interests closer and the friendship between our peoples deeper," said Hu in his message. [...] After delivering Hu's message, Jia said "We are glad to see that the AU has become an important force for peace, stability and development in Africa and the world as a whole thanks to its growth over the decade. [...] " Jia said, "China views and develops its relations with Africa from a strategic and long-term perspective. We will look harder with African countries to bring the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to higher level." The Chinese top political advisor put forward five proposals to boost China-Africa ties including promoting the traditional friendship between China and Africa, intensifying coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues, endeavoring to raise the level of economic cooperation, expanding people-to people exchanges, and enhancing the building of FOCAC. [...]. ^ top ^

34 Chinese workers of attacked Chinese company in South Kordofan arrive in Khartoum (Xinhua)
2012-01-31
34 Chinese workers on Monday arrived in Khartoum after the camp of their company, which operates in field of road construction at South Kordofan State, was attacked by rebels. The returning group included 17 Chinese nationals working at a camp near Al-Abbasiya town in South Kordofan that was attacked by Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)/northern sector, while the others are working at another camp. Another group of 12 Chinese, working for the same company which is constructing a circular road in South Kordofan, is expected to arrive later in the day. Chinese ambassador to Sudan Luo Xiaoguang and a number of Sudanese officials received the returning Chinese workers upon arrival at Khartoum airport. Luo, speaking to reporters, expressed thanks and appreciation for Sudan government's efforts to help the Chinese workers and urged Khartoum to continue and intensify the search for the missing Chinese workers. "This incident is individual and does not affect the bilateral ties between Sudan and China", said the ambassador, describing China-Sudan relations as "strong". A group of SPLA-N on Saturday attacked a site of a Chinese company operating in field of roads in South Kordofan State. [...] It is to be noted that when the rebels attacked the camp of the Chinese company, there were 47 Chinese workers, 29 of them were abducted and 18 fled to neighboring areas, where the Sudanese army found 17 of them and transferred them to a safe area while one is still missing. ^ top ^

China voices opposition to forced "regime change" in Syria (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-01
China on Tuesday voiced its firm opposition to the use of force to resolve the Syrian issue, the practice to forcefully push for the "regime change" and other actions which violate the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms guiding the international relations. Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement as he was taking the floor at an open meeting of the UN Security Council on the current situation of Syria. [...] "Sanctions, which rather than help resolve the issue, often lead to further complication of the situation." China supports a draft resolution proposed by Russia on the issue of Syria, Li said [...]. Arab states and Western countries are pushing for the adoption of their joint draft resolution at the Security Council to demand what they called "political transition" in Syria while a Russian- drafted text called on all the parties in Syria to put an immediate end to violence and resolve the Syrian crisis with a Syrian-led political process. [...] "China is of the view that the Syrian people's request for reform and safeguard of their interests should be respected," Li said. "It is imperative to put an immediate end to all violence in Syria and oppose and stop the killing of innocent civilians." [...] "We believe that Syria and its people are able and resourceful enough to find the way to resolving the issue, and find a political system and mode of economic growth suited to Syria's national conditions," Li said. "The international community may play a positive and constructive role in this regard, and provide assistance for the peaceful and political settlement of the Syrian issue through dialogue." "Syria is a member of the Arab world," he said. "China hopes to see a proper settlement of the Syrian crisis within the framework of the Arab League." [...]. ^ top ^

25 Chinese workers freed in Egypt (Global Times)
2012-02-02
The Chinese embassy in Egypt confirmed Wednesday that 25 Chinese workers abducted by Bedouin tribesmen have been released, the Xinhua News Agency reported. However, 29 Chinese workers in Sudan were still being held by rebels. Zhang Zhizhong, director of consular affairs at the Chinese embassy in Cairo, told Xinhua that the 25 workers were released at 3:00 am Wednesday local time after being held for one day, and met with officials from the Chinese embassy in Egypt. The 25 released workers are in good physical and mental condition, according to Zhang. A rescue team was sent to Sudan Monday after 29 Chinese workers were kidnapped on Saturday, according to Liu Weimin, the spokesman with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Qiu Xuejun, the leader of the team, said that the kidnapped Chinese workers in Sudan were safe and rescue work was continuing, according to CCTV Wednesday. On Saturday, a camp belonging to a Chinese company near Al-Abbasiya in South Kordofan was attacked by the rebel group Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and 29 Chinese workers were abducted while 18 fled to neighboring areas, according to Xinhua. Seventeen Chinese workers were sent to a safe location by the Sudanese army, but one remained missing after being shot in the head. [...]. ^ top ^

China-EU year of intercultural dialogue opens in Brussels (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-02
The European Union (EU) and China on Wednesday opened their year of intercultural dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and cultural cooperation. "China and Europe should not only join hands politically and economically, they should also aim high in the field of cultural cooperation," said Chinese Culture Minister Cai Wu. Cultural cooperation, as well as political and economic exchanges, would serve as the three pillars of the China-Europe relations, said Cai. Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, hailed the successful launch of the event while addressing the opening ceremony. Europe is ready to work with China to enhance understanding between their two peoples and contribute to maintaining and promoting the diversity of world culture, she said. [...] In addition to the China-EU year of intercultural dialogue, China also saw the opening of its cultural year event in Germany earlier this year. ^ top ^

China sends work team to Libya (China Daily)
2012-02-03
China's Ministry of Commerce is to send a work team to Libya to exchange views on China's participation in the African country's post-war reconstruction. The work team, led by Wang Shenyang, director of the ministry's foreign investment and economic cooperation department, will visit Libya from February 4 to February 8, the ministry said in a statement on its website. The team also includes representatives from Chinese companies that have business operations in Libya. [...] The work team will visit Tripoli and Benghazi to check the damage to Chinese companies' assets caused by Libya's political conflicts and exchange views with Libyan officials on the future operation of projects which Chinese companies had already undertaken before the civil war, according to the statement. Making appropriate arrangements for the projects' implementation is beneficial to the improvement of Libyan people's livelihoods as the projects mainly involve housing, railways and telecommunications, the ministry said in the statement. China encourages Chinese companies to participate in Libya's reconstruction and it is willing to deepen economic and trade ties with Libya, the ministry said. ^ top ^

China mulls more efforts to help address Europe's debt issue (Xinhua)
2012-02-03
China is considering "involving itself more deeply into" the efforts to address Europe's debt issue through channels like the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Thursday. Wen made the remarks at a joint media briefing after talks with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [...] The Chinese premier said it is "very urgent and important" to solve the European debt crisis and China attaches great importance to the issue from a strategic perspective as the global economic situation remains grim. [...] Wen said that Europeans' own efforts play a vital and fundamental role in resolving the crisis, which also calls for efforts by other parties of the international community. He called on the European Union to keep pushing ahead with financial reforms to put forward a consistent and clear-cut solution toward the international community. [...] The long-term solution to the ongoing crisis lies in strong and sustainable growth of the economy, he said, urging Europeans to stand with China against all sorts of protectionism, expand mutual investment and enhance cooperation between China and Europe in high-tech and emerging sectors. [...] Reaffirming China's opposition to sanctions on Iran, Wen said that China believes dialogue and cooperation are the only correct and effective solution to resolve the Iran nuclear issue, and that sanctions will not fundamentally address the problem. "China firmly safeguards the international non-proliferation regime and opposes Iran and any of the Mideast countries developing nuclear weapons," said the premier. [...] The Chinese premier said China opposes the politicizing of normal trade relationship, and normal trade relations between countries should be protected. In addition, China will not trade its principles for profits. [...] Wen and Merkel agreed that bilateral relations have achieved tremendous progress since the two countries established diplomatic ties 40 years ago. Both sides agreed to maintain high-level contacts and arrange a series of large-scale economic and cultural exchange activities for 2012. Wen said under the current complicated international and regional situation, China and Germany need to strengthen strategic cooperation from a long-term perspective. The two countries should strengthen communication and coordination on major regional issues to jointly maintain world peace and stability, and cooperate more efficiently on global challenges [...]. Merkel said Germany is willing to strengthen communication and dialogue with China to enhance mutual understanding, carry out cooperation at higher levels and in broader fields, and play a positive role in promoting Europe-China relations. [...] Merkel also delivered a speech at Beijing-based thinktank Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and visited Nanluoguxiang, an old Beijing style alleyway with a history of over 800 years in the city's downtown. ^ top ^

China calls for greater world efforts to fight poverty (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-03
China on Thursday called upon the international community to make greater anti-poverty efforts, including the creation of an international environment conducive to poverty eradication, the integration of poverty reduction in the overall planning for national economic and social development, and the formation of an international synergy on poverty reduction. The statement came as Wang Min, the deputy Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, was addressing a session on poverty eradication by the UN Commission for Social Development. [...] In his report to the UN commission, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon spoke highly of China's efforts to fight against poverty. "As stated in the secretary general's report, China, in its own efforts, has made contributions to the global cause of poverty reduction," he said. "Indeed, as a country with the largest population, China is also the first developing country to realize, ahead of schedule, the MDGs in the area of poverty reduction." After more than 30 years of reform and opening up, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of people living in poverty in China, Wang said. "The fundamental reason for that achievement lies in the fact that China has found a path to poverty reduction in accordance with its own national conditions and has included poverty reduction in the overall planning for its national development.". ^ top ^

India, China to combat pirates together (China Daily)
2012-02-03
India and China are arranging cooperation in combating pirates in the Indian Ocean by holding a meeting of navy officers recently to ensure effective communication and cooperation, reported local daily The Tribune Thursday. This is the first working relationship on the high seas between the Indian Navy and the People's Liberation Army of China navy forces, said the report. "The Naval arrangement cooperation started a month ago and has provided more safety and better utilization of resources. It is a working-level meeting to ensure effective communication and cooperation," the paper quoted Rear Admiral Monty Khanna, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for foreign cooperation and intelligence as saying. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese army urged to boost advanced military culture (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-29
China's Central Military Commission (CMC) has issued a guideline on boosting advanced military culture as the urgent need to build the army while maintaining its nature and qualities both ideologically and politically. Advanced military culture, as the "spiritual fortune" accumulated during the army's long-term struggle and fighting under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, reflects the army's nature, functions and traditions, and is key to boosting the army's combat power, said the document. The guideline noted that fostering soldiers' core values should be the basic goal for developing advanced military culture, and called for more mainstream cultural products that are close to army life in order to cater to soldiers' spiritual demands. The guideline was approved by CMC chairman Hu Jintao. ^ top ^

Paper rejects HRW criticisms of judiciary (Global Times)
2012-01-30
The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), ran a commentary Saturday rejecting criticisms of the country's judicial reforms. In its annual World Report published last week, the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed that China's "police dominate the criminal justice system, which relies disproportionately on defendants' confessions." The People's Daily article, under the byline of Shen Hui, said the HRW's description of the country's judicial reforms is "particularly biased and untrue." "It is known that China's criminal justice system is not dominated by police organs, but consists of investigation organs led by the police organs, people's procuratorates and people's courts," said the article. Concrete measures have also been introduced to stem the source of forced confessions under torture, the article said. The World Report "gave no word on the great progress in terms of China's judicial reforms that have been demonstrated in the Criminal Procedural Law draft amendment," the article said. Legal experts say the draft amendment will help improve the protection of criminal suspects' human rights, by preventing judges from accepting confessions from tortured suspects and giving these suspects more defense options. ^ top ^

China's railways see 31.3m trips during holiday (China Daily)
2012-01-30
China's railways carried 31.3 million passengers during the week-long Spring Festival holiday from Jan 22 to 28, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said Sunday. The figure was 2.85 percent less than the number of passengers carried by railways during last year's holiday period. During the holiday, a total of 31.97 million train tickets were sold. Among them, 20.3 percent of all tickets were sold through the official ticket-selling website 12306.cn or by telephone, according to the MOR. In this year's Spring Festival travel rush, passengers could buy train tickets online or by telephone for the first time, rather than have to stand in long queues or rely on ticket scalpers to get tickets. [...]. ^ top ^

Big input on water conservation (China Daily)
2012-01-31
China invested 345.2 billion yuan ($54.75 billion) in water conservation projects last year, a senior official said Monday. The central government invested 114.1 billion yuan in water conservation projects, up 71.2 percent from a year earlier, while local governments provided a record high of 231.1 billion yuan, according to Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei. The investments effectively helped provide 20.55 million people in drought-hit regions with access to drinking water and ensured safe drinking water for 63.98 million rural residents, Chen said. Part of the investments also went toward strengthening reservoirs, farmland irrigation and water conservation infrastructure, he said. He said the ministry will step up building infrastructure in rural areas in order to ensure safe drinking water for 60 million residents and 8 million teachers and students in 2012. The ministry has also pledged to put 50,000 square meters of land under erosion control in 2012. China has attached great importance to improving its underdeveloped water conservation system, and has pledged to invest 400 billion yuan in water conservation projects annually over the next 10 years. ^ top ^

Govt work report seeks opinions (China Daily)
2012-02-01
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, announced Tuesday that it will send drafts of the annual government work report to local governments and some central departments in order to solicit opinions and get feedback. The decision was made at a work conference chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, as representatives gathered to discuss the draft of the government work report which is to be delivered at the opening of the fifth session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature. Wen said the government should create channels for people to voice their criticisms, and the government should listen to, and absorb, their suggestions in order to improve government's operation. He said China faces difficult development tasks in 2012, and the government should keep pushing for economic and political reforms and strive to make breakthroughs in some key areas. [...] While acknowledging economic achievements made in 2011, Wen also mapped out the government's work plan in some key areas. [...] The government will work to ensure the capital flow in the country's key projects to keep investments growing at a steady level, Wen said. It will also step up credit support for the real economy, especially for small- and mid-sized enterprises, said Wen, who also promised wider market access to invigorate private businesses. Meanwhile, Wen said the government will continue to "strictly follow" and perfect its policies to stem speculation in the property sector -- a move to rein in home prices. He also reiterated the government's efforts in boosting agricultural production, promoting foreign trade and strengthening food and drug regulation. [...]. ^ top ^

Verdict pending in trial of dissident writer Zhu Yufu (SCMP)
2012-02-01
Veteran dissident Zhu Yufu stood trial yesterday on subversion charges for a poem he wrote that purportedly incited protests during the "jasmine revolutions" in the Arab world, his wife and lawyer said. The 2-1/2-hour trial at the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court yesterday morning ended without a verdict, lawyer Li Dunyong said. He expects the verdict to be announced this month. Zhu, a co-founder of the banned China Democracy Party, has been detained on the charge of "inciting subversion of state power" since March. [...] In his poem It's Time, which he posted online, Zhu wrote: "The square belongs to us, the feet are yours, it's time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice... it's time to make your choice about our future China." Jiang Hangli, Zhu's wife, said her 58-year-old husband, who defended himself in court, had argued that his poem could not have actually led to any rallies because it did not mention any specific gatherings. "He said it cannot be proven that it had any impact," she said. Li said Zhu's poem did not express any desire to challenge the regime and should not constitute "inciting subversion". [...] Unnerved by online calls for people to gather in public places to demand democracy last spring, police rounded up scores of activists, even though relatively few people took part in the protests. The Chinese Human Rights Defenders advocacy group said Zhu was among 11 people known to have been arrested after being detained on criminal charges amid the crackdown. If convicted, he will become the fourth such detainee known to have been sent to prison. Zhu, who was jailed for seven years in 1999 for "subversion of state power" and imprisoned again for two years in 2007 after a confrontation with a police officer, was expected to receive a relatively heavy sentence, his lawyer said. [...]. ^ top ^

Official microblog of China's public security ministry attracts 2 mln followers (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-01
The official microblog of China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has attracted more than two million followers, sources with the MPS said Tuesday. The twitter-like microblog is used as a new platform and tool for the police to crack down on criminals, publish authorized information, post teaching video as well as organize online debates on hot issues. A total of 937 microblogs have been reposted and 415,000 comments have been received, since the ministry released its first microblog at weibo.com and t.qq.com in August 2011. [...] According to the MPS, the official microblog is expected to be used as a channel for interacting with the public, releasing correct and authorized information to dispel misunderstandings and receiving clues in order to better serve the public. On the platform, netizens have reported clues through the microblog's function of personal messages, helping local police to break cases. Three criminal gangs of selling die pork were cracked down on, with 16 criminal sites cleared and 28 suspects arrested in October 2011, in east Zhejiang province. By the end of September 2011, about 5,000 police officers nationwide had registered personal microblogs with their real identities verified. ^ top ^

Science and technology seen as crucial to ensuring food security (SCMP)
2012-02-02
China will keep increasing its investment in agricultural science and technology to ensure food security amid growing pressure on the environment and resources. Beijing should also ensure that growth in government spending on agricultural science and technology "markedly" exceeds revenue, according to the central authorities' first document of the year, issued yesterday. The government's "No1 document", which has been its annual manifesto on agricultural development for the past nine years, also pledged to develop more livestock breeds and seeds and to improve the technical education of farmers in order to increase productivity. "China has entered a period when it has to rely more on improvements in science and technology to boost modern agriculture. Progress in science and technology has become the most important solution," the Ministry of Agriculture's chief economist and spokesman Chen Mengshan said. [...] Chen said the three most important tasks for government departments dealing with agricultural affairs would be innovation in science and technology, especially in the seed industry, grass-roots promotion of farming technologies, and the fostering of agricultural industry professionals. This year's No1 Document vows to improve the salaries of staff in grass-roots, farm-skill promotion stations to that of those in equivalent government institutions. [...]. ^ top ^

8 detained for S China's river pollution (China Daily)
2012-02-02
The official probe into an incident which resulted in cadmium polluting a South China river is making progress and local police have detained eight executives from two companies that are suspected of waste dumping. Investigators have pointed to Jinhe Mining Co and Jinchengjiang Hongquan Lithopone Material Co Ltd as the two most likely sources of the cadmium pollutants which were first detected in Longjiang River on Jan 15, mayor of Hechi city in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region said Wednesday. [...] At the press conference, He publicly apologized for the pollution, saying it had "a severe impact" on the lives of the local residents, particularly those living in the downstream areas including Liuzhou. [...] Though water supplies were not cut off, it prompted panic buying of bottled water. "On behalf of the Hechi city government, I apologize to those people," the official said, with promises to revamp local industries and seek more sustained development. As of Wednesday, 145 firms have been scrutinized, of which 11 have been closed or suspended for revamps, the mayor said. He said the local environment watchdog has also ordered closure of more than 90 dumping sites of minerals and tailings before Feb 5. Lab test results published on Wednesday showed the cadmium concentration level in the Longjiang River was going steadily down, and drinking water produced by four major water plants in the downstream Liuzhou city was up to national standard, said Feng Zhennian, an official with Guangxi's regional environmental protection bureau. [...]. ^ top ^

China to cut pollutant emissions by over 30% (China Daily)
2012-02-02
China has set a goal of reducing its major pollutant emissions by more than 30 to 40 percent by 2015 in its latest 12th Five-Year Plan (2010-2015) for environment protection, according to a Wednesday report in the People's Daily newspaper. Compared with the 11th five-year plan, more indicators, greater pressure, stricter requirements and much higher investment needs are featured in China's latest environmental protection outline, issued by the State Council,or China's Cabinet, an unnamed official with the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in the report. The outline specifies 7 major indicators, with ammonia nitrogen and nitric oxide added as two new indicators, the official said. The plan calls for ammonia nitrogen and nitric oxide emissions to be cut by 10 percent by 2015, while chemical oxygen demand (COD) and sulfur dioxide emissions should drop by 8 percent, the report said. [...] The five-year outline also calls for an investment of 3.4 trillion yuan ($539 billion) in environmental protection efforts, or 1.4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product during the period, the official was quoted as saying. [...] He said the number of major cities covered by China's air quality index system has expanded from 113 to 333, with stricter assessment standards established as well. [...] The outline also includes nuclear waste, heavy metals and dangerous chemicals as materials that should be focused on in terms of eliminating environmental risks, the official said. [...]. ^ top ^

58 websites showing HK, Taiwan news shut down (SCMP)
2012-02-02
Mainland censors have shut down at least 58 websites in four provinces that rebroadcast content - mostly news programmes - from Hong Kong and Taiwan, in the latest attempt to crack down on unauthorised content, China News Service reported yesterday. The authorities targeted websites showing programmes - often featuring animated recreations of news events containing violence or "pornographic" content - that the censors said corrupted social values and sparked young people to commit crimes. Some of the programmes were from Hong Kong's Apple Daily and Taiwan's Next TV, both of which are owned by Hong Kong-based Next Media [...]. The report said 34 managers and technicians from the websites were detained and interrogated following raids on their headquarters in Guangdong, Jiangxi, Hebei and Henan provinces. The crackdown was jointly launched by the Ministry of Public Security, the Anti-Piracy and Pornography Working Committee, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Websites belonging to Next Media are blocked on the mainland, so authorities are investigating whether the websites used special software, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxy servers, to circumvent the "Great Firewall". [...] Last year, the Anti-Piracy and Pornography Working Committee said that it deleted more than 1.8 million pornographic items from mainland websites and shut down 1,200 websites and channels. [...]. ^ top ^

2012 Spring Festival gala attracts 770 mln viewers (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-03
The 2012 Spring Festival gala, an annual show featuring artistic performances aired by state-run China Central Television (CCTV) during the national Spring Festival holiday, attracted 770 viewers during this year's run, according to a Thursday report in the Chengdu Daily newspaper. The CCTV advertising center announced on Wednesday that the gala's market share reached 69.83 percent, with a 32.75 percent audience approval rating, according to the report. Although the 2012 gala's audience rating was higher than that of last year's gala (31.04 percent), it was much lower than the 38.26-percent approval rating seen in 2010, when pop diva Faye Wong and a reunion of pop group The Little Tigers pushed numbers up, the report said. ^ top ^

233b yuan lost to droughts, floods (China Daily)
2012-02-03
Droughts and floods caused 232.9 billion yuan ($36.97 billion) in direct economic losses in China last year, according to new figures. Some 89.42 million people were affected by floods in 2011, with 519 people dead and 121 missing, Zhang Zhitong, a senior official with the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said at a national work conference in south China's Chongqing municipality on Thursday. Floods affected 108 million mu (7.2 million hectares) of crops, destroyed 690,000 houses, and caused direct economic losses of 130.1 billion yuan. Meanwhile, droughts affected 244 million mu of crops, left 28.95 million people and 1,617 livestock suffering drinking water shortages, and resulted in 102.8 billion yuan of direct economic losses, Zhang said. Despite severe droughts and floods, China's grain output rose to a record high of 571.21 million tonnes in 2011 due to the government's intensified efforts to minimize the effects of the natural disasters on agricultural production, Chen Lei, minister of water resources, said at the conference. Last year's grain output figure represented a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent and marked the eighth consecutive year of growth. Chen said more efforts should be made this year to ensure the safety of rivers and reservoirs and that people have access to clean water. ^ top ^

Draft on occupational illness published (China Daily)
2012-02-03
China on Thursday published draft regulations on the diagnosis and verification of occupational diseases to seek public feedback. The draft, drawn up by the Ministry of Health, said that employees are entitled to visit diagnosis clinics in the region they work or live, and the clinics should not refuse to see patients. As diagnosis clinics are relatively few in China, the draft suggests that health care departments make full use of local medical resources to set up diagnosis clinics in accordance with local needs. According to the draft, employers must identify potential occupational hazards and inform local health offices about their findings. People can submit their suggestions via mail or email before Mar 4 to the address provided at Chinalaw.gov.cn, or the official website of the Ministry of Health. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

China's largest electric car charging station opens in Beijing (Xinhua)
2012-01-30
China's largest electric vehicle (EV) charging and battery swapping station has been put into operation in Beijing, sources with the city's power supply authorities said Sunday. Gaoantun charging station, located in the eastern Beijing district of Chaoyang, has been installed with more than 10 types of EV charging or battery swapping machines, covering all charging modes that are available in China. The station can charge up to eight vehicles simultaneously and it takes only four to six minutes to swap a battery of an EV. [...] Beijing is striving to build a new energy vehicle grid as part of the nation's plan to usher in more energy-saving and environmentally friendly vehicles. Beijing hopes to build a three-level EV charging and battery swapping network that consists of six large-scale concentrated charging stations, 250 charging and battery swapping stations and 210 small-sized delivery stations by the end of 2015. So far, Beijing has completed construction of 12 charging and battery swapping stations and 274 charging posts. Beijing was chosen as one of the 25 pilot cities in China for the utilization of new-energy vehicles. China plans to have more than 500,000 electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020. ^ top ^

Beijing to set up PM2.5 monitoring stations (China Daily)
2012-02-02
The capital will set up more than 30 fine particulate pollutant monitoring stations to inform the public of the air quality by the end of this year, according to the city's environmental protection bureau. Six of the more than 30 PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) monitoring stations will be set up soon in both downtown as well as surrounding suburbs, based on existing facilities, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said on Feb 1. Yu Jianhua, director of the air pollution control division of the bureau, said the bureau would carefully choose the locations of the stations, in order to represent the city's air condition comprehensively and objectively. [...] The bureau said the capital would place the stations in accordance with the general international practice. "The station should be located selectively, neither around the most clean nor polluted areas," said Yu. Yu said that according to the national standard, the location should be 50 meters away from the pollution source, including automobile exhaust by the roadside. The US embassy's rooftop air quality monitor is only 15 meters from the road, which might detect a higher figure of Air Pollution Index, Yu said. [...] The government plans to add another 200,000 mu (3,3000 acres) of forest planting in 2012, mainly in urban areas, freeways and arterial roads, to improve the capital's air quality and reach the stricter standard of PM2.5 concentration laid down by the Ministry of Environmental Protection at the end of last year. [...] According to the ministry's new standard, which is to be adopted nationwide by 2016, the average yearly ceiling for PM2.5, which is for the first time included as a detected pollutant, is set at 35 micrograms per cubic meter, while the daily limit is at 75. ^ top ^

Beijing plans new residence permit (China Daily)
2012-02-03
Beijing plans to launch a new residence permit instead of the temporary license for migrant workers in 2012, the vice-mayor Liu Jingmin said on the city's two sessions, Guangzhou Daily reported Thursday. The new Beijing residence permit will allow people to enjoy more public services than the current temporary pass. The move will also allow the city's government departments to get a better grip on Beijing's population, jobs and public resources, said Liu. Experts predict that the residence permit would provide holders the same rights as people with Beijing Hukou, or an official permanent residence permit in the fields of public transport, employment, social security and medical insurance, but not in housing and car purchases as well as children's schooling. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai aims to become global RMB product center by 2015 (Xinhua)
2012-01-31
China plans to make Shanghai, the country's financial hub, a global center for innovation, transaction, pricing and clearing of RMB-denominated financial products by 2015, the country's top economic planner said Monday. The plan will be part of China's bid to build Shanghai into an international financial center by 2020 amid a shifting global financial landscape, with China's economic weight and its currency taking a more prominent position on the world stage. The 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) will be "a period of strategic opportunities" for the construction of the international financial center, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement. The government aims to increase the total transaction value of all financial markets in Shanghai, barring foreign exchange markets, to around 1 quadrillion yuan (158.5 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015, the statement said, quoting an unnamed Shanghai government official. That will be more than double the transaction value of 2010, which stood at 386.2 trillion yuan, up 10 times from 2005, according to the statement. [...] To achieve these goals, the city will speed up infrastructure construction to build a cross-border RMB payment and clearing network geared toward global demand, the official said. A cross-border RMB investment and financing center will also be established in Shanghai, he said. As China's two major financial centers, Shanghai and Hong Kong will continue to step up communication and cooperation in areas such as financial markets, institutions, products, businesses and talents, the official noted. Foreign-funded financial institutions will be encouraged to set up their regional or global headquarters in Shanghai, he said. [...] The State Council, or China's Cabinet, announced in 2009 that Shanghai would be built into an international financial hub. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Villagers vow to continue democracy (SCMP)
2012-02-03
Members of the committee that will oversee an election in Wukan village, in Lufeng, Guangdong, next month have vowed to pass its nascent democratic tradition down from generation to generation and hold direct elections every three years. "I am very happy to win trust among our villagers, and I will make every effort to make sure our village committee will be elected under a clean, fair and just process," said Zhang Shuimei, who won the most votes in a direct election for the 11 members of the village's new election committee on Wednesday. [...] The committee will oversee the election of Wukan's village committee on March 1 and will not be able to stand as candidates. [...] One Wukan villager who requested anonymity said that besides democracy, villagers also realised the importance of co-operation. "We didn't look after each other before because different clansmen in our village preferred to do their own business rather than negotiate together," he said. "But this time, we found that when we work together, we can gain much more." Xiong Wei, a Beijing-based advocate of parliamentary democracy who visited the village to monitor Wednesday's election, said that Western parliamentary culture had taken root in the small fishing village. [...] "It's a symbolic victory for all street politics on the mainland and will set up a hopeful model for other villages to study and follow.". ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Lhasa Party chief calls for more vigilance (Global Times)
2012-01-31
A top official in the Tibet Autonomous Region has urged vigilance against sabotage attempts and called for more well-designed social management programs that would win over public opinion. The remarks came days after unrest in nearby Sichuan Province that saw the death of one unidentified rioter. During his weekend visit to Mozhugongka county, a gateway to Tibet from Sichuan, Qi Zhala, Party secretary of regional capital Lhasa, asked for more attention to be paid to security at certain "sections of national highways and key temples," and requested that cadres strengthen registration and inspection work to prevent trouble-makers from entering Tibet, the Lhasa Daily reported Monday. At the same time, Qi ordered cadres working at the frontline to continue to work on new social management models and reinforce a series of favorable policies on the management of monasteries and do more work to win over people's hearts and minds. [...] Referring to recent social management models and favorable polices, a local official with the United Front Work Department in a county near Lhasa told the Global Times Monday that management committees at monasteries headed by government officials and including monks have been set up in every temple in Tibet by the end of last year, which greatly boosted regional stability. Mobile police stations were also established to enhance police presence, the official said, noting that police officers will be stationed at temples located in remote areas to further ensure the region's stability, the official said. "Meanwhile, universal coverage of social welfare for monks in Tibet launched last year also contributed to improving monks' well-being," the official added. In order to crack down on separatist and other criminal activities incited by the Dalai Lama clique, all cadres should cooperate closely and raise their sense of responsibility, Qi was quoted as saying by the Lhasa Daily. [...] "I don't think the riot that occurred in Sichuan last week will affect life here in Tibet. We have established a sound network to ensure social stability. Monks enjoy their life here," the official who asked for anonymity said of the Ganzi incident. [...] Nevertheless, local government officials are not relaxing their vigilance. According to the official website of the autonomous region, as of January 22, police officers, armed police forces and firefighting troops had checked more than 4,800 people from the floating population, 2,100 rented and residential rooms, randomly checked over 4,600 people and examined more than 1,900 vehicles. [...]. ^ top ^

Authorities condemn rioters in Ganzi (Global Times)
2012-02-01
Sichuan provincial authorities Tuesday condemned the riots in two of its Tibetan-populated counties early last week, in which they said local police were forced to open fire, killing two rioters and wounding several others. The riots were serious crimes plotted by Tibetan separatist forces in and outside of China, in a bid to break the peace during the Lunar New Year as well as create conflicts between ethnic cultures and histories, according to local authorities. The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China's Sichuan Committee published an official statement for the first time concerning the riots a week ago. Both the incidents were plotted copycats of the March 14 riots in Lhasa in 2008, with a deliberate plan to incite hatred among the people, the statement asserts. Security was stepped up after the riots in and around the counties. Armed police officers were checking inbound vehicles at the checkpoints along major routes leading to the mountainous counties yesterday, and police vehicles were present at major streets and squares in Kangding county, where the government of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is located. [...] The official document does not mention deaths from the riots or the number of rioters. Hu Weidong, an office director with the CPC Sichuan committee's publicity department, told the Global Times that one rioter was killed in each of the counties, and 13 others were detained in Seda. Some injured rioters were suspected to be hiding in local monasteries. Official figures show the relentless destruction of public and private property resulted in direct financial losses of at least 3.77 million yuan ($598,000). Rioters involved in both attacks also smashed residential houses that had Spring Festival decorations and lanterns, in an apparent attempt to intimidate people observing Han culture. [...]. ^ top ^

Lhasa ordered to tighten security (China Daily)
2012-02-02
A top official from Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, has ordered tightened security in the city amid an "arduous" fight with the Dalai Lama group, local media reported Wednesday. Qizala, secretary of the Lhasa municipal committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), warned local officials that Lhasa is a top priority in terms of maintaining stability in Tibet, as it is often chosen by overseas separatists as a prime target for sabotage and infiltration. The official said officials should be clearly aware of the "arduous, complex, and tough" nature of the fight against the Dalai Lama group and should always plan ahead in order to take the upper hand in the situation. He ordered officials to tighten management of the city's migrant population by changing housing rental, household registration, and transitory residential permit issuance policies. Qizala has also ordered the region's border checkpoints to require all people entering Tibet to carry identification starting from March 1. He also asked officials to unite the city's monks in order to promote the stability and harmony of the region's monasteries. ^ top ^

Tibet's foreign trade up 63% in 2011 (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-02
Southwest China's Tibet saw robust growth in foreign trade in 2011, as local government increased efforts to improve infrastructure in inland port cities and the efficiency of customs clearance. The Himalayan region's foreign trade stood at 1.359 billion U.S. dollars -- its highest volume in 10 years, up 62.53 percent from a year earlier, according to a statement released by Lhasa Customs on Wednesday. [...] The government offered more support to export-oriented cities, foreign trade companies and export products in 2011, Ma Xiangcun, head of the region's commerce department said at that point. [...] Neighboring country Nepal is Tibet's top trade partner. In 2010, bilateral trade between Tibet and Nepal stood at 542 million U.S. dollars, up 65 percent over the previous year. Tibet mainly exports wool, carpets and Chinese caterpillar fungus - a valuable ingredient in traditional medicines believed to boost the immune system. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang to recruit 8,000 police officers to boost security in rural areas (People's Daily Online)
2012-01-30
Authorities in far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will recruit 8,000 police officers to be deployed in all villages to beef up security in the vast countryside. The recruitment program will enable each village in the ethnic region to have at least one police officer, said a spokesman with the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee on Monday. The tasks of the police officers, together with the auxiliary police and militia, will mainly include security patrols, management of the migrant population and cracking down on illegal religious activities, the spokesman said. "It is an important move for Xinjiang to consolidate the foundation of security and ensure the lasting peace and stability in the region," he said. Xinjiang has been battling separatism, extremism and terrorism for decades. About 41.5 percent of Xinjiang's 21 million population are Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group, and security experts worry growing religious extremism in the region has fanned most of the violent attacks. [...] Earlier this month, a high-ranking security official in Xinjiang pledged to strictly guard against "violent terrorism" to create a harmonious social environment ahead of the 18th CPC National Congress to be held in the second half of this year. [...]. ^ top ^

Xinjiang rolls out big job creation program (China Daily)
2012-02-03
Authorities in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have rolled out an aggressive job creation program which, along with other measures, aims to provide about 400,000 new jobs this year. The region has enacted a job creation regulation in which the government promises to provide employment opportunities for jobless families who lodge verified requests for assistance, Ma Mingcheng, deputy head of the regional legislature, said Thursday. Ma said the regulation also makes it easier for people to sue their employers for workplace discrimination based on race, gender, religion or disability. "The regulation embodies the principle of fairness and attaches great importance to job creation for ethnic minorities," he said. There have been no immediate estimates of the size of the government budget that will support the job creation program. [...] Creating jobs has been a top priority for Xinjiang officials over the past two years, as they consider stable income through employment crucial to lifting poor Uugur families out of poverty and preventing younger Uugurs from turning to crime to support themselves and their families. In July 2009, the regional capital of Urumqi was hit by the worst riots seen in decades, leaving 197 people dead and about 1,700 others injured. Authorities blamed overseas separatists for instigating the riot, but have since vowed to boost economic development and job creation in the region to solve "the root problem of poverty." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Anger at mainland visitors escalates with 'locust' ad (SCMP)
2012-02-01
A row between Hongkongers and mainlanders is reaching boiling point after internet users raised more than HK$100,000 in less than a week to finance a full-page "anti-locust" advertisement in a Chinese-language newspaper in the city. Critics, urging the government to uphold Hong Kong's values or face a social crisis, warn hostility towards mainlanders will only worsen. A full-page ad featuring an image of locusts - a label used to refer to mainland visitors among sections of the city's web community - appears in today's Apple Daily, according to the organiser of the fund-raising campaign on the Golden Forum site, a user calling himself Yung Jhon. [...] Denny Ho Kwok-leung, associate professor at Polytechnic University's Department of Applied Social Science, said placing the ad in a mainstream newspaper indicated the row was unlikely to end any time soon. He warned that the city's authorities must uphold Hong Kong's core values, including the rule of law and freedom of speech. [...] Web users coined the term "locusts" to describe mainlanders who consume resources in the city - including delivering babies here in order to obtain benefits - and splash their cash, on the property market and at luxury shops, with the effect of driving up rents and forcing out small businesses. Residents are also disgruntled at the increasing use of simplified Chinese characters. Images of signs bearing such characters have circulated widely online. [...]. ^ top ^

What a relief... for middle class (SCMP)
2012-02-02
In what is likely to be his final budget, the financial secretary presented an HK$80 billion basket of relief and fiscal measures - HK$28.2 billion of which will mostly benefit the middle class. Observers say that given the city's fiscal reserves - which are expected to reach HK$658.7 billion by March 2013 - the 2012-13 budget came down on the side of caution and ignored many long-standing problems, including the city's wealth gap. However, John Tsang Chun-wah said caution was justified because of the difficult outlook facing the global economy, particularly in the United States and Europe, which was certain to have an impact on Hong Kong. Relief measures included a salaries tax rebate of up to HK$12,000 for the 2011-12 financial year, an increase in the basic allowance from the current HK$108,000 to HK$120,000, and a waiver of property rates. [...] This year's budget was tempered by the gloomy outlook for the city's economy, which Tsang warned would grow by just 1 to 3 per cent this year, compared with 5 per cent last year, amid bleak prospects for Europe and the United States. Nevertheless, Tsang was able to offer some sweeteners, as the government coffers are flush with cash. Thanks to record land, salaries and profits tax revenue, he estimated a surplus of HK$66.7 billion for the current financial year - against the original forecast deficit of HK$8.5 billion. [...] Henry Tang Ying-yen, the former chief secretary who is hoping to succeed Donald Tsang as chief executive this year, said the government could have been more proactive in rolling out relief measures. [...] Leung Chun-ying, Tang's main rival to be the next chief executive, said this year's budget was similar to many proposals that are in his own manifesto. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland's top Taiwan affairs official stresses new chances for cross-Strait relations based on "1992 Consensus"(People's Daily Online)
2012-01-31
The Chinese mainland's top Taiwan affairs official has said that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait expect new chances for the development of cross-Strait relations based on upholding the "1992 Consensus." Wang Yi, director of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks in this year's second volume of the magazine "Relations Across Taiwan Straits," [...]. "We hope the two sides of the Strait make efforts to maintain the common political foundation of opposing the 'Taiwan independence' stance and adhering to the '1992 Consensus,' which safeguards the long-term and stable development of the cross-Strait relations," he said. [...]

Moreover, Wang pledged further practical measures to advance the development of cross-Strait relations in an orderly and gradual manner, which will include efforts to promote cross-Strait economic cooperations and the cross-Strait talks between the ARATS and the SEF, as well as the scheduled signing of a cross-Strait investment protection agreement. "We are also willing to accumulate agreements and lay conditions to handle the political and military issues between the two sides, on the basis of mutual understanding and fair negotiation," Wang said. [...] "We have full confidence and expectation in the prospect of the cross-Strait ties. [...] " "In brief, we have confidence because we are compatriots with the same ancestry, and the blood lineage is the momentum for the progress of the cross-Strait ties," he wrote. Wang also said that at the very beginning of 2012, cross-Strait relations overcame a major test, and Taiwan compatriots have made a decision for peace, cooperation and progress in cross-Strait relations, instead of turmoil, confrontation and regress. [...]. ^ top ^

Ma looks to Sean Chen's finance ability (SCMP)
2012-02-01
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has named a financial expert as the head of his cabinet, in the hope of steering the island through economic uncertainty brought on by the European debt crisis. Sean Chen, 62, the outgoing vice-premier known for his strong financial expertise, would replace Wu Den-yih as premier, effective from Monday, government spokesman Philip Yang said yesterday. "With his expertise, capability and experience, I believe [Chen] is able to properly tackle a possible crisis brought by the European debt turmoil," Ma said in a statement yesterday, as the island cut back its economic growth rate for this year to an estimated 3.91 per cent, down from 4.19 per cent projected in November amid the global recession. Wu, the president's running mate in the January 14 election, will become vice-president. Ma, the mainland-friendly incumbent, has won a second four-year term, and both he and Wu will be sworn in on May 20. As a sign of respect to members of the newly elected legislature, who will assume their posts today, Wu and the rest of the cabinet under Ma's first term resigned yesterday. After the mass resignation, Chen announced the first round of cabinet selection, featuring a line-up heavy in economic and financial experts. [...] The new cabinet officially assumes power on Monday. Among the newly appointed ministers are Christina Liu, the outgoing head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, who will replace Lee Shuh-der as finance chief. Former economic minister Yin Chii-ming will take Liu's old post. [...] Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah will move up as vice-premier and will be succeeded by civil engineering expert Lee Hong-yuan. [...] But the opposition has criticised Chen's cabinet for having too many holdovers. Of the 47 cabinet and ministerial-level positions in the reshuffle, only 16 officials were newly appointed - three of whom were part of the previous cabinet. [...]. ^ top ^

Mainland banks move closer to opening Taiwan branches (Xinhua)
2012-02-03
Taiwan approved Thursday the Bank of China and Bank of Communications to remit operation funds to their Taipei offices as the mainland headquartered banks prepare to open branches on the island. The two commercial banks are allowed to shift 1.2 billion New Taiwan dollars (40 million U.S. dollars) and 1.55 billion New Taiwan dollars, respectively, for the running of their branches Taipei. The Bank of China and Bank of Communications respectively established representative offices in September and November 2010. [...] As for Taiwanese banks, so far, six Taiwan commercial banks operate branches in the mainland. [...] Taiwan's financial authorities also on Thursday gave the nod to a shipping company in the coastal province of Fujian to set up a branch in the island. Furthermore, the authorities ratified seven application cases of Taiwan companies investing in the mainland, with a total value of 390 million U.S. dollars, including Hon Hai Precision Industry setting up two more mainland branch companies with investments of 50 million and 70 million U.S. dollars, respectively. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Attack on RMB exchange rate 'unfair' (China Daily)
2012-01-28
Attack on China's currency exchange rate is totally unfair as the renminbi, also known as yuan, has been continuously appreciating, an adviser to China's central bank said Friday. "Renminbi exchange rate has probably caused the biggest misunderstanding between China and the world," Li Daokui, a member of the monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. "Perceptions about the renminbi exchange rate in the international community are absolutely groundless, as the yuan is probably the only emerging economy's currency that has been rising against the US dollar since August last year," said Li. [...] Since the Chinese government embarked on the reform of renminbi exchange rate mechanism in June 2010, the currency has appreciated by more than 7.5 percent against the US dollar, according to the PBOC. Taking into account the higher rate of domestic inflation in China than in the United States, the yuan has appreciated even more against the US dollar, according to a report submitted by the US Department of Treasury to the US Congress on international economic and exchange rate policies in December. The renminbi has risen against the US dollar on a real, inflation-adjusted basis by nearly 12 percent since June 2010 and nearly 40 percent since China first initiated currency reform in 2005, said the report. ^ top ^

China to continue crackdown on hot money inflow (China Daily)
2012-01-30
China will continue to crack down on illegal cross-border capital flow this year in an aim to protect the country's economic and financial security, the country's top foreign exchange regulator said. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) investigated 3,488 cases of foreign exchange irregularities in 2011, and confiscated a total of 503 million yuan ($79.59 million) in illegal funds, more than twice that collected in the previous year, the organization said. The SAFE has investigated 17 major cases that allowed illegal cross-border capital to flow into the property and financial markets, which involved 19.3 billion yuan, according to the SAFE. In the past year, the SAFE has also cracked down on illegal private banks, Internet-based speculation in foreign exchange and illegal foreign exchange trading, and has severely punished those who had illegally borrowed foreign loans and settled foreign exchange transactions, it said. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing 'regrets' WTO ruling over rare earths (Global Times)
2012-02-01
Chinese officials expressed regret Tuesday over the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s decision to uphold its ruling against Beijing over alleged unfair practices in raw materials exports. Energy analysts, however, dismissed any major impact of the ruling on China's protective measures that are meant to limit environmental damage from excessive mining. The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in an online statement that it is regrettable that the WTO affirmed the ruling that China violated global trading rules by restricting exports of raw materials such as bauxite, coke, magnesium, manganese and zinc, which inflated prices and gave domestic Chinese firms an unfair competitive advantage. The MOC welcomed the WTO's support for China's appeal on some important issues in the case, including allowing the ruling body to declare false judgments on quota distribution management, minimum export price requirements, quota bidding and export licensing requirements ineffective. An MOC official reiterated that China has tightened the administration of energy-consuming and highly polluting resources in recent years. "The WTO should not only uphold free trade but also allow members to take necessary steps to protect the environment and natural resources," said the statement. The ruling has acquired even greater importance amid growing international demand for China's export of rare earths, a category of 17 elements that are found in an array of high-tech products. [...]. ^ top ^

China's 2011 bond issuance drops 20.4 pct (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-01
China's bonds issued in 2011 totaled 7.8 trillion yuan (1.24 trillion U.S. dollars), down 20.4 percent from a year earlier, the country's central bank said Tuesday. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement posted on its website that the bond market experienced sound development last year and played an active role in implementing macro economic policy and optimizing resource allocation. Treasury bonds and central bank notes issued last year declined, as the government made inflation control the priority of its economic regulation and strived to mop up excessive market liquidity. The PBOC hiked banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) six times and the benchmark interest rate three times in 2011 before cutting the RRR in December. ^ top ^

Fall in long-term loans 'could hurt nation's economy' (China Daily)
2012-02-01
A dramatic decline in new medium- and long-term loans by Chinese commercial lenders last year highlighted the insufficient financial support available to the real economy, which produces goods and services, analysts said. Medium- and long-term loans refer to those maturing in more than one year. According to data released on Monday by the People's Bank of China, the central bank, such new loans in 2011 stood at 2.19 trillion yuan ($347 billion). The same category of new loans made throughout 2010 was 6.17 trillion yuan. In 2009, it reached 7.1 trillion yuan. [...] Last year, senior officials at the China Banking Regulatory Commission highlighted three major sources of loan risk: government-backed loans to businesses, property loans and medium- and long-term lending. As of Dec 31, commercial banks' outstanding loans to industry had reached 6.09 trillion yuan, up 9.3 percent year-on-year. The increase was 7.1 percentage points less than in 2010. Outstanding loans to the service sector reached 14.92 trillion yuan, up 9 percent. The growth rate was 16.8 percentage points lower than in 2010. [...]. ^ top ^

China to give further support to small, micro-sized firms (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-02
China's State Council, or the Cabinet, on Wednesday called for more efforts to support the sound development of small and micro-sized enterprises. "Small and micro-sized firms serve as a significant channel for creating jobs, a major platform for the growth of entrepreneurship, and an important force of scientific innovation," according to a statement released Wednesday after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. Further supports for small and micro enterprises are crucial as they are still facing great operating pressures, rising costs and financing difficulties, the statement said. China's central government will earmark 15 billion yuan (2.38 billion U.S. dollars) to establish a development fund for small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly focusing on newly-formed ones. [...] It will establish an evaluation system to provide incentives for commercial banks offering credit to small firms, and support qualified banks to issue financial bonds to get funds to lend to those firms. The development of small financial institutions will be accelerated, and the country will relax restrictions on the usage of private capital, foreign capital and funds from international organizations in setting up small financial institutions. The country is also going to support small and micro-sized firms to seek financing by becoming listed on the stock market, the statement said. "The central government will expand the fund for technology upgrading and give its priority on supporting small and micro-sized firms to apply new technologies, new techniques and equipment," it said. The government will encourage the opening of small enterprises by supporting 3,000 bases for incubating small business. China will also improve services for small companies by establishing 4,000 public service platforms for those firms, according to the statement. [...]. ^ top ^

New Year luxury spending overseas hits $7.2b (China Daily)
2012-02-03
Chinese had the biggest share of overseas luxury market around the Chinese New Year, with total spending of $7.2 billion, according to a World Luxury Association report cited by the Beijing News on Thursday. Chinese spent the record $7.2 billion overseas for luxuries around the New Year, up 28.57 percentage points from the previous year's $5.6 billion, triggering the most powerful engine of luxury purchasing, the report said, based on statistics collected from Jan 1 to Feb 1. The report said Chinese buying takes up 62 percent of the European luxury market, one-third of the North American market and 69 percent of the luxury consumption in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, citing the tax-free policy and abundant goods as reasons. Seventy-two percent of the sampled Chinese think that luxury goods overseas are cheaper than at home, 69 percent of whom go for the wider choices for luxuries, and 45 percent said they enjoy the service overseas. The report also said the consumption is mainly on luxury watches, leather bags, designer clothes and perfumes, and cosmetics. ^ top ^

Online shopping revenue to hit 800b yuan (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-03
The total online shopping revenue in China for 2011 is expected to hit 800 billion ($127 billion) yuan, with 3.65 billion pieces of express mail and parcels sent, said He Liming, chairman of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. In 2010, people spent 450 billion yuan on online shopping, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce. However, the development of logistics services still lags behind the country's booming e-commerce industry. Express delivery services are usually delayed if e-commerce websites hold low-discount promotions to boost sales, which leads to consumers' complaints. The value added of the logistic industry, express delivery included, last year is expected to hit 3 trillion yuan, according to He, with a year-on-year increase of 14 percent. ^ top ^

Uptick in official PMI 'signals stabilization' (China Daily)
2012-02-03
China's manufacturing sector expanded in January, as indicated by a slight rise in the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) to 50.5 from 50.3 in December. The rise was a signal that the pace of economic moderation was stabilizing, analysts said, and further easing policies might soon be announced. The official PMI, which was jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing (CFLP) for the first time on Wednesday, unexpectedly exceeded the consensus forecast of 48. The uptick in the PMI was mainly supported by growth in new orders and manufacturing output. The PMI is a preliminary reading on the nation's manufacturing activity, with 50 demarcating expansion from contraction. [...] "External shocks may bring more threats in the coming months," although China's economic deceleration was likely to stabilize, said Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council. [...] HSBC Holdings PLC released a separate index on Wednesday that portrayed quite a different scenario. The bank's PMI came in at 48.8 for January, the third consecutive below-50 reading, compared with 48.7 in December, showing a continued contraction in the nation's manufacturing sector. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

S Korea's humanitarian aid to DPRK nosedives last year (Xinhua)
2012-01-28
South Korea's humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) last year saw a marked decrease compared to the year before, local media reported Friday. The volume of Pyongyang-bound aid stood at 19.6 billion won (17.4 million U.S. dollars) last year, down 51.5 percent from the amount estimated in 2010, according to KBS news. Government-level aid stood at 6.5 billion won last year, down 68.1 percent from the previous year, all of which was donated last month to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for the organization's humanitarian projects in the DPRK. Private aid went down 34.5 percent last year from 13.1 billion won in 2010. This year, South Korea earmarked 544.8 billion won for humanitarian assistance to its impoverished northern neighbor. President Lee Myung-bak cut a free flow of food aid to Pyongyang when he took office in 2008, hurting bilateral relations that had flourished during the stints of Lee's two liberal predecessors. Cross-border ties reached their lowest ebb in 2010 after two deadly border conflicts which killed 50 South Koreans, prompting Seoul to sever most exchanges with Pyongyang. Amid tension on the divided peninsula, the Lee administration last year executed a mere 4.2 percent of the inter-Korean cooperation fund, the smallest-ever amount in a decade. ^ top ^

U.S. to begin search mission in DPRK for remains of missing Korean War soldiers (Xinhua)
2012-01-28
The United States will soon begin searching in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for remains of American soldiers reported missing in the Korean War, the Defense Department said on Friday. According to Carie Parker, a spokeswoman for Pentagon's Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, members of the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Accounting Command are preparing for their first mission to the DPRK in seven years. The humanitarian mission, expected to begin this spring, will bring together U.S. and DPRK military members, said Parker. U.S. teams will work in two areas in the DPRK: Unsan County, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, and near the Chosin/Jangjin Reservoir, where more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines are believed to be missing, Parker noted. [...] U.S. specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command had conducted operations in the DPRK for 10 years, recovering remains believed to belong to more than 225 American servicemen since 1996. However, the United States halted such operations in 2005 due to increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Washington and Pyongyang agreed last October to resume the recovery missions. ^ top ^

DPRK denounces U.S.-S. Korea military exercises (Xinhua)
2012-01-29
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday denounced the planned U.S.-South Korean military exercises as "a nuclear war rehearsal" and provocation to the North. "This is an unpardonable grave military provocation to the sovereignty of the DPRK and a wanton challenge to the international community's desire for peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," said the official KCNA news agency in a commentary. The war games code-named "Key Resolve" are a nuclear war rehearsal for aggression on the DPRK aimed to occupy the whole of the Korean Peninsula by force, said the commentary. It warned that the exercises scheduled for February will harm inter-Korean relations and drive the tension of the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. More intolerable is the fact the war games are to be held when the people of the DPRK are still mourning the death of their late leader Kim Jong Il, said the commentary. "The army and people of the DPRK will mercilessly punish those gangsters who rush into a house of mourning with flaming torch of aggression," it said. ^ top ^

Leading DPRK newspaper calls for foiling imperialists' ideological poisoning (Xinhua)
2012-01-31
Rodong Sinmun, a leading newspaper of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Monday called for waging a positive struggle to foil the imperialists' ideological and cultural poisoning by seeing through its vicious nature, danger and grave consequences. Bourgeois ideology, culture and the decadent way of life are the most reactionary and unpopular ones as they represent and protect the interests of the capitalist class and reflect their class stand and way of life, said the paper in a bylined article. This amounts to very dangerous ideological virus making people mentally crippled and morally degenerated, said the article. When people are taken in by bourgeois ideology and culture, they will be reduced to "ungrateful snobs bereft of faith" who neither know the party and leader nor their country and people. Consequently, the power, army and people will be torn apart, said the article. Bourgeois ideological and cultural poisoning has a very harmful impact on the young people, in particular, the article added. The historical experience proves that if people fail to strictly guard against the poisoning by unsound ideas and culture spread by the imperialists and wage a fierce struggle against it, they can never check it, said the article. ^ top ^

S Korean lawmakers to visit Kaesong park to hear grievances (Xinhua)
2012-01-31
A group of South Korean lawmakers plan to visit an industrial park in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) next week to hear grievances of South Korean business operators there, the government said Monday. Eight ruling and opposition lawmakers, all members of the parliamentary committees on inter-Korean relations and foreign affairs, will visit the joint industrial complex in the border town of Kaesong on Feb. 10 to meet with business owners hit by frozen cross-border ties. The lawmakers do not have plans yet to meet with DPRK officials, the unification ministry, which oversees inter-Korean relations, said. [...] The planned one-day trip will be the first such visit since September last year, when former ruling party leader Hong Joon-pyo paid a working visit to the industrial park. ^ top ^

Defense officials of S. Korea, U.S., Japan say DPRK leadership "stable" (Xinhua)
2012-01-31
Defense officials of South Korea, the United States and Japan said they believe the new leadership in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is "stable," local media reported Tuesday. The assessment was made at a two-day meeting among South Korean Deputy Defense Minister Lim Kwan-bin, Peter Lavoy, U.S. acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Masanori Nishi of Japan's Defense Ministry, KBS news reported. The closed-door talks, the first of its kind since the death of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il last December, was held in the South Korean resort island of Jeju. The three officials have reportedly discussed political and military developments in the DPRK after the country's new leader Kim Jong Un took charge. They also agreed to share information on Pyongyang ahead of major joint exercises by Seoul and Washington next month to deter possible provocation, said KBS news. ^ top ^

DPRK workers at joint factory park in S. Korea exceed 50,000 (Xinhua)
2012-02-03
The number of workers at an industrial complex South Korea operates in the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK) topped 50,000, the highest-ever number, government data showed Thursday. A total of 123 South Korean companies newly hired 449 DPRK workers at the factory park in the DPRK border town of Kaesong, bringing the total number of employees to 50,315 as of January, according to data provided by the unification ministry in Seoul. The yearly volume of production there has also steadily increased to 400 million U.S. dollars last year, according to the ministry, which oversees inter-Korean affairs. The achievement is a contrast to icy inter-Korean ties, which had seen nearly all cross-border exchanges put on hold following two deadly border incidents in 2010. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Vice ministers appointed (Montsame)
2012-01-31
Some vice ministers were appointed on Tuesday at the irregular cabinet meeting. G.Tenger has become the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; P.Bayanmonkh--the Vice Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry; N.Nomtoibayar--the Vice Minister of Social Welfare and Labor; B.Tsengel--the Vice Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development; Ts.Garamjav--the Vice Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy; and B.Undarmaa--the Vice Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The Premier said these appointments have been made in order to smoothly run the state works and obliged the fresh officials to be effective in running routine work and to initiate at least two grand realistic and fruitful works. ^ top ^

Number of mining workers increases (News.mn)
2012-02-01
The number of workers in the mining sector is growing as rising foreign and domestic investment in the sector is rapidly expanding it. About 48,100 workers worked in the mining sector in 2010, three times the number in 2001. The demand for workers is growing due to the building of new mines and processing facilities. But economists say the salaries of workers in other sectors is having a hard time keeping up, a symptom of the so-called Dutch disease. The salaries of workers in the industrial and agricultural sectors lag behind the mining sector. ^ top ^

Teachers threaten to go on strike again (News.mn)
2012-02-01
Teachers are threatening to go on strike again if the Government fails to give them raises on February 8 as promised. Teachers from 87 secondary schools and 61 kindergartens went on strike last December demanding raises. To end the strike, the Government agreed to increase teachers' salaries in two phases. The first raise is scheduled to take effect on February 8, but a Finance Ministry working group has not yet submitted the required paperwork to Parliament. Ministry officials said the paperwork will be submitted “soon.” Teachers' Trade Union President J.Batzorig said teachers hope their salaries will be increased on time, but if the Government fails to give them the promised raises on February, the teachers may strike again. ^ top ^

MPP received opinions and requests from over one million people (Montsame)
2012-02-01
The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) has announced that it received proposals and opinions from about one million people through its campaign called “Let's hear our people”. Organized from January 2010 through November 2011, the campaign reached all provinces and the city's nine districts, covering over 106 thousand kilometres way. According to statistics, the party's officials met 978 thousand people and received 74 thousand proposals and requests from them, at duplicated number. Some 15 thousand requests of them were tackled on the spot. The MPP's board discussed on Tuesday results of the campaign, and a report on the matter was given by S.Batbold PM and chairman of the MPP; U.Khurelsukh, the MPP secretary-general; O.Enkhtuvshin, head of the MPP faction; M.Enkhbold, the Deputy Premier; D.Oyunkhorol MP, a president of the Social Democracy Mongolian Women's Association; and D.Sarangerel, the MPP secretary. ^ top ^

Small and middle businesses will be provided with proper tax policy (Montsame)
2012-02-02
The Premier S.Batbold has stressed that the government will create a system when the rich pay high taxes and the low or middle-income ones--less. It was said on Wednesday at opening ceremony of the Year of Supporting Family Development, in the Government House. He added that those families doing a real business will be provided with a tax policy. “It will help to set the justice in realistic way, not in empty words. We intend to create new policy that allows people and small- and middle-sized businessmen go out from a difficult situation when there is no pledge to be held as security for taking loans, and that reduces the loans interest tax when the money is obtained. The government will able to create a legal environment and to implement projects and programs giving the business people a financial freedom” the Premier underlined. “Policy will also be realized to bring the livelihood of low-income people into a middle level and to encourage those families who are striving to live better. All this must be launched before the election,” S.Batbold stressed. ^ top ^

Social insurance fund still owed MNT 13.7 billion (News.mn)
2012-02-02
The Social Insurance National Council delivered its 2011 report to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science on Wednesday. The most pressing issue in the report was the failure of some businesses to pay their social insurance fees in a timely manner. The report says delinquent businesses owe the social insurance fund a total of MNT 13.7 billion. This has forced the fund to reduce services. S.Lambaa suggested that the social insurance fees should be collected with other taxes. The standing committee also discussed allowing people to use their MNT 1 million allowance from the Human Development Fund toward their social insurance payments and pensions. At the end of meeting, the committee passed a protocol to propose reforms to the social insurance system and submit them to the Government. ^ top ^

 

Gregor Muischneek
Embassy of Switzerland
 

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