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
  11-17.2.12, No. 410  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Vice Premier meets Swiss minister, pledges closer cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-02-14
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang met on Monday with Swiss Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications Doris Leuthard, pledging closer cooperation between the two nations. Zhang hailed the development of bilateral ties between China and Switzerland, highlighting close high-level interactions and smooth trade cooperation. "China is willing to make joint efforts with Switzerland to boost exchanges and advance cooperation between the two nations in transportation, energy, environmental preservation and other areas to achieve win-win results," Zhang said. Leuthard hailed China's sustained and rapid development and pledged to boost economic cooperation with the Chinese side. ^ top ^

China ready for a bigger part in European debt solution (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday that China has been ready for a bigger part in the resolution of the European sovereign debt issue. Wen made the remarks when meeting reporters with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after they held the 14th leaders' meeting between China and the European Union (EU). [...] China's willingness to support the EU in dealing with the debt issue is firm, the premier said. China supports the EU in strengthening fiscal discipline, and hopes the European side will create a positive and favorable environment to deepen China-EU financial cooperation, Wen said at the leaders' meeting [...]. In a speech at a business summit on the sidelines of the leaders' meeting, the premier reiterated that as the EU's comprehensive strategic partner, China supports the efforts made by Europe. [...] China supports the important role of major international financial institutions in addressing the crisis, Wen said, noting that China remains open and positive about the increase of International Monetary Fund resources. China is also considering more involvement in addressing the issue through the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism, he said. China is confident in the European economy and the euro's stability and believes that the crisis will be overcome if the EU stays united, enhances confidence and adopts appropriate policies, the premier said, noting that the key to solving the problems is the EU's own efforts. Van Rompuy said that China's support helped the EU and Eurozone restore confidence, and they look forward to further cooperation to strengthen the stability of the Eurozone. [...] The leaders' meeting had been previously slated for last October, but it was postponed as EU leaders scrambled to combat the Eurozone debt crisis. ^ top ^

Chinese VP calls for deeper strategic mutual trust with U.S. (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping suggested here Tuesday that China and the United States promote "strategic mutual trust" by respecting each other's core interests and accommodating each other's major concerns. "The development of cooperative partnership could be guaranteed only when the two sides view each other's strategic intention and development path in a correct and objective way, respect each other's core interests and accommodate each other's major concerns, avoid making troubles for each other and do not cross over each other's bottom lines," Xi said in his talks with his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden. Xi said Taiwan and Tibet issues concern China's core interests. He expressed the hope that the U.S. side could deal with these issues prudently and properly so as to avoid repeated disturbances to bilateral ties. Xi urged the two sides to treat each other candidly and to enhance dialogue and communication. [...] The two countries could also further enhance exchanges and cooperation in such areas as trade, anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, environment and science and technology, and between localities and youths of the two countries, he said. [...] Xi also urged the two sides to enhance cooperation within multilateral frameworks and maintain close coordination on international and regional hotspot issues so as to maintain regional peace and stability. Both countries should step up cooperation in combating pirates and cross-border crimes, maintaining cyber security, and addressing various non-traditional security threats, he said. China would like to enhance dialogue with the United States on Asia-Pacific affairs so as to promote positive interaction between the two countries, Xi said. Xi started his five-day official visit to the United States on Monday at the invitation of Biden. He met U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday. ^ top ^

China, Brazil agree to further boost strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
Two senior Chinese and Brazilian officials agreed to further promoting the strategic partnership between the two countries. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer co-hosted the second session of the China-Brazil High-level Coordination and Cooperation Committee here Monday, and reached the agreement. [...] In a bid to boost the world economic recovery, the two countries pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation in multilateral mechanisms and firmly oppose all forms of protectionism as well as avoid any moves to politicize economic issues. The two sides vowed to make joint efforts to implement the two countries' Joint Action Plan and set out the formulation of a 10-year cooperation plan on economy and culture. They promised to maintain the good momentum of the rapid growth in bilateral trade and continue to improve trade structure. They also agreed on further investment in such fields as infrastructure and emerging industries. The two sides would also strengthen bilateral cooperation in science, technology and innovation, and deepen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as nanotechnology, biology, telecommunications and agriculture. They agreed to maintain high-level visits and deepen political mutual trust between the two countries, as well as enhance exchanges and coordination over macro-economic policies. They would also strenthen cooperation and information exchanges concerning cross-border supervision of their banking industries. The two countries also reached consensus on promoting cooperation in the fields of telecommunication, software and hardware, high-tech innovation and Internet security. [...]. ^ top ^

China calls for peaceful resolution of Syria issue (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-16
Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby met with Li Huaxin, ambassador of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at the headquarters of the League of Arab States on Feb. 13, 2012. Both parties exchanged their views on the situation in Syria and the two sides agreed to focus on maintaining regional peace and stability, strive for solving the Syria issue in a peaceful and political way. Both parties agreed to keep communications and contact on the issue. Li said, given the continuous escalation of the situation in Syria recently, his visit to Egypt, the League of Arab States and other Arab nations mainly aims to introduce China's stance and basic policies and listen to the perspectives of the Arab nations as well. Li said that China has placed close attention to the situation in Syria and urged for a peaceful and constructive resolution to the Syria issues according to the principles of defending the fundamental interests of Syrians, maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and relevant norms on international relations. He said relevant parties of Syria should immediately stop violent actions and respect Syrians' requirements for revolution and appeal to maintaining their own interests, start inclusive political processes participated in by all parties of Syria as soon as possible and solve problems through dialogues and negotiation. Li also held talks with the vice minister of Egypt's Foreign Ministry and exchanged their views on the situation in Syria. ^ top ^

Antarctic activities to be regulated (China Daily)
2012-02-16
A draft regulation of Antarctic human activities is under discussion, which aims to keep the environmental impact to a minimum in the South Pole, according to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration. The draft covers all activities including scientific research, tourism, exploration, fishery and transportation in the Antarctic. Activities involving nuclear, mineral resources and those of a military nature are prohibited. No Antarctic activity shall take place until it is judged, based upon assessment of its possible impact, that the activity in question would not cause significant adverse effects on the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems. The assessment report and advance notice are required before entering the Antarctic area, according to the draft regulation. A senior official of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration told China Daily anyone who violates the regulation will be punished. He said if someone polluted the Antarctic area, he or she must restore the affected environment and receive a penalty or be forbidden from entering the Antarctic area temporarily. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese VP ends Washington trip, reunites with old friends in Iowa (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday wrapped up his trip to Washington and flew to Iowa to reunite with old friends he got to know 27 years ago. On Wednesday morning, Xi visited the Capitol Hill to meet with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority leader Mitch McConnell. Later, he met House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner. At midday, Xi attended a luncheon hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the U.S.-China Business Council. [...] He said China welcomes a constructive role by the United States in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. "At the same time, we hope the United States will respect the interests and concerns of China and other countries in this region," Xi said. On economic cooperation, Xi called on the United States to adjust its economic policies and structure to address the China-U.S. trade imbalance. [...] On Wednesday afternoon, Xi left Washington for Muscatine, Iowa, to reunite with old friends. Xi joined a dozen of his old friends for a teatime chat at a local house in Muscatine. Most of the participants at the tea reception were Xi's American friends back from 1985, when Xi, then a local official of China's northern province of Hebei, visited Iowa as a member of an agricultural delegation, and stayed at the homes of local residents and dined with others. [...] Sitting near a fireplace, with several Chinese paintings on the wall, Xi and his old friends recalled their memories of the days 27 years ago. Xi recalled how his American friends invited him to have a picnic, visit hog farms and agricultural companies and tour the Mississippi River. "I will never forget all that," Xi said. [...] Thanks to the tea time, Muscatine has shot to fame among millions of Chinese watching and reading the news. [...]. ^ top ^

China opposes armed intervention in Syria (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
China does not approve of armed intervention or forcing a so-called "regime change" in Syria, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said here on Thursday. "We condemn all acts of violence against innocent civilians and urge the government and all political factions of Syria to immediately and fully end all violence, and quickly restore stability and the normal social order," he said in an interview here. The Chinese government consistently pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and is committed to upholding regional and world peace and stability, Zhai said, adding that China has closely followed the developments of the situation and is deeply worried about the escalating crisis that has caused civilian casualties and affected peace and stability in the region. Zhai, as a special envoy of the Chinese government, will pay a visit to Syria from Feb. 17 to 18 to exchange views with the Syrian government and relevant parties on the current Syrian situation and push for the peaceful and proper solution to the crisis, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin Thursday. "We call on the government of Syria to seriously heed the people's legitimate desire for reform and development, and call on the various political factions to express their political aspirations non-violently under the rule of law," Zhai said. We urge all parties concerned in Syria to immediately launch inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions and jointly discuss a comprehensive political reform plan, he added. Zhai said China calls for a referendum on the draft of a new Constitution and parliamentary election at an early date and establishment of a national unity government. China understands the concern of Arab countries and the Arab League (AL) on seeking a quick solution to the Syrian issue, and values the important role as well as the efforts of Arab countries and the AL in seeking a political solution to the issue, the official said. [...] Zhai said China believes the international community should fully respect Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, the independent choice of the Syrian people, as well as the results of political dialogue among various parties of Syria. "We don't believe that sanctions or the threat of sanctions is helpful to achieving an appropriate solution," Zhai said [...]. Zhai said China takes an objective, just and responsible stance on the issue of Syria and is willing to maintain communication with the government and various political factions in Syria, as well as with Arab countries and the AL. [...]. ^ top ^

China calls for early resumption of Iran nuclear issue talks (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
China on Thursday called on relevant parties to seize the opportunity for the early resumption of dialogue on the Iran nuclear issue. According to media reports, Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief,received a response from Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Wednesday, a move the West had demanded was a precondition for the resumption of talks. Ashton sent the letter in October last year. "China has been deploying diplomatic efforts on Iran all the while," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular press briefing. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu paid a two-day visit to Iran on Sunday, said Liu. During the visit, Ma urged Iran to respond to Ashton's letter, restore nuclear talks with the P5+1 partners -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, and enhance cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). China's call met with a positive response from Iran during Ma's visit, Liu said, adding that China appreciated Iran's prompt reply to the EU. "We hope related parties could snap up this opportunity to restart the dialogue between Iran and the P5+1 partners as soon as possible, so as to pull the issue back on the track of dialogue and cooperation," Liu said. [...] Liu said China has also taken note of reports about Iran's nuclear achievements. [...] Liu said that Iran, as a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has the right to peacefully use nuclear power, as well as the international obligation to comply with the treaty. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Iran set up committee to enhance cultural exchanges (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
China and Iran on Thursday established a joint committee to boost coordination in bilateral cultural cooperation. According to a memorandum of understanding, the China-Iran Joint Cultural Committee will review the implementation of executive programs on cultural and educational cooperation between the two governments, study and tackle existing problems, formulate periodic implementation plans, exchange information and experience and discuss issues of common interest. The memorandum was signed by Yang Zhijin, vice minister of culture and Mohammad Mehdi Imanipur, deputy chairman of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization of Iran, after the committee's first meeting. [...] During Thursday's meeting, the two sides agreed on the reciprocal establishment of cultural centers. [...] Imanipur, also head of the Iranian delegation, said the cultural centers are expected to be set up later this year in Tehran and Beijing, respectively. The cultural centers will be used to promote cooperation between the two nations in the areas of tourism, media and publishing, he added. ^ top ^

BRICS countries oppose EU carbon tax (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-17
The 10th Ministerial Conference on Climate Change of BRICS countries was held in New Delhi, the capital of India on Feb. 14. Xie Zhenhua, head of the Chinese delegation and deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, reiterated China's stance of resolutely opposing European Union's unilateral imposition of carbon emissions tax on airlines. He also said that the European Union's practice has violated international conventions and multilateral principles. [...] The minister of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests said that India strongly opposes the European Union's unilateral action and urge the European Union to adopt measures continuously under the multilateral mechanism instead of adopting unilateral actions. Representatives of Brazil and South Africa also expressed their support for China's stance and consider the European Union's practice is not favorable for coping with the climate change in a better way. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China plans to steady birth rates (China Daily)
2012-02-11
China will further promote family planning policies in a bid to steady birth rates and alleviate poverty in its less affluent counties, according to a new plan on poverty reduction. Under to the plan, China aims to keep population growth rates within 0.8 percent in key poverty-relief counties by 2015, a move that it hopes will see people's living standards improved. By 2020, birth rates in these counties should be kept low and steady. The plan was jointly issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. "China's population development is in a significant changing period and affected by population structure and quality. And the large population and rapid growth also leads to regional poverty," it said. While calling for the promotion of free pre-pregnancy examinations in key counties, the plan requires local authorities to integrate resources based on local realities and transform economic development to safeguard and promote people's well-being. [...]. ^ top ^

China simplifies procedures for those seeking state compensation (China Daily)
2012-02-11
The Supreme People's Court, the nation's top court, unveiled a judicial explanation Friday to simplify registration procedures for eligible claimants who have had their rights infringed upon by the state. The 11-article explanation, to be effective on February 15, 2012, requires courts to date claimants' applications and abandon lengthy application standards in a bid to ensure their cases are handled in a timely fashion. China adopted amendments to the State Compensation Law on April 30, 2010. The amendments, which took effect on December 1, 2010, allow a citizen to seek state compensation if his interests are harmed through state negligence. [...] Many lawyers in China say state compensation cases are difficult because of complicated procedures. In 2009, Chinese courts dealt with 1,840 such cases, of which less than one third received compensation. ^ top ^

Thousands protest over alleged govt cover-up of contaminated water (Global Times)
2012-02-14
Tens of thousands of people in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province reportedly protested against the local government Sunday, claiming that it had covered up the fact that the city's drinking water source had been partially contaminated by a chemical spill and had delayed in investigating the incident. Despite rainy weather, the protesters gathered in a square in downtown Zhenjiang at around 2 pm on Sunday to express their anger at the government's incompetence in solving the water pollution problem, the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily reported. More than 400 policemen arrived at the square after the number of protesters grew and cordoned off the area, angering many people at the scene, who then quarreled and even fought with police, the Taipei-based United Daily News reported. Several people were injured during the clash, and some reporters and protesters were then taken away by the police, who also forced reporters to delete videos and photos taken of the incident, according to the United Daily News. [...] The Zhenjiang government last Tuesday confirmed that levels of Phenol - an organic compound that can irritate the eyes and skin - collected on February 3 in water samples in Zhenjiang were excessive, and the pollution caused tap water in some parts of the city to emit a pungent smell, sending panicked residents to stockpile bottled water from supermarkets. An initial probe was conducted after authorities said they "highly suspect" a South Korea cargo ship that had docked at Zhenjiang spilled the chemical into the river. Water samples of Zhenjiang and cities further downstream on the Yangtze had not been found to have excessive phenol since February 4, officials said. ^ top ^

Newspaper lashes out at political 'falsehoods' (China Daily)
2012-02-14
The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), ran an editorial on Monday lashing out at leaders engaged in various kinds of unethical and dishonest behavior. "In some regions or public organizations, leaders are engaged in lying, empty talk, fabricating statistics, or trumping up political achievements," according to the editorial, which cited examples such as leaders "turning a blind eye to social problems while reporting nothing but good news to superiors; covering up mistakes made in work; fabricating statistics to overstate political achievements." "These [actions] not only hold back regional development and threaten the interests of local people, but also hurt the credibility of the CPC and the government, as well as distort social ethics," the editorial continued. The paper attributed "falsehoods" to some leaders' inappropriate intentions, such as putting their insatiable appetites for power ahead of serving the public. "As they care not about doing work, but about being promoted, they only court attention from their superiors rather than solve problems for the public." [...] It also said that as local governments reshuffle their leadership, the general public should demand honest leaders who speak the truth and work in a down-to-earth manner, as well as a political environment that allows honesty and encourages men of action. ^ top ^

China limits overseas TV series imports (China Daily)
2012-02-14
Foreign TV series imported into China must last for less than 50 episodes and may not be shown between 7 and 10 pm, China's TV watchdog said Monday. The broadcasting time for an imported TV series on a given channel may not surpass one-third of the total amount of time that channel dedicates to broadcasting TV series, according to a circular released by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). In order to enhance the quality of imported TV shows and expand sources for high-definition (HD) TV programs, the HD versions of overseas TV series will receive priority consideration during imports, the circular said. TV channels may not air unauthorized overseas series in disguised forms, such as through introductions on domestic programs, the circular said. Programs that are specifically designed to introduce foreign TV series may not show more than 3 minutes of a given series, the circular said. SARFT will make efforts to avoid situations in which domestic channels lean too heavily on programming from one particular country or region, the circular said. It also urged all provincial TV administrators to intensify supervision over all TV channels under their jurisdiction and to increase penalties for content providers who violate regulations. ^ top ^

China to boost seawater desalination capability (China Daily)
2012-02-14
The State Council, China's cabinet, unveiled guidelines on Monday to ensure sustainable supplies of fresh water and to protect water resources by raising China's capability to desalinate seawater. China will increase its daily seawater desalination capability to 2.6 million cubic meters by the end of 2015, up from 660,000 cubic meters in 2011, according to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission. In the next five years, China will lay out and build a chain of seawater desalination facilities and technologies. A shortage of fresh water has become a key constraint on development, according to the Commission. China's freshwater resources per capita are about 28 percent of the global average and about two thirds of Chinese cities are facing a shortage of water. ^ top ^

To fugitives: there's nowhere to hide (China Daily)
2012-02-14
Fugitive numbers have been slashed by 84 percent following a seven-month crackdown, an officer from the Ministry of Public Security said. The crackdown, launched at the end of May, targeted nearly 320,000 fugitives who were listed online, said Wang Zhigang, deputy director of the police supervision department under the ministry. A total of 2 million police officers nationwide participated in the crackdown and nearly 270,000 fugitives were arrested. [...] Of those arrested, 23,000 had been on the run for more than 10 years. [...] "Many fugitives are allegedly involved in serious violent crimes, such as homicide, kidnapping, rape, drug trafficking and smuggling, which threaten social order," Wang said. Fugitives were able to take advantage of shortcomings in law enforcement technology, but this has been tackled as can be seen by the results, Wang said. [...] "DNA, fingerprints, skull reconstructions and other technical advances have helped us catch suspects on the run." [...] The public have also helped by reporting anything suspicious. Last year the public provided 30,000 items of information but these led to more than 19,000 arrests, he said. As for the fugitives still at large, Wang hoped they would offer to turn themselves in. "We will adhere to relevant international conventions to protect human rights and other legitimate rights of fugitives in line with China's laws and regulations," he said. ^ top ^

Culture to be pillar industry (China Daily)
2012-02-16
China will build a modern cultural industry system featuring innovative content and strong competitiveness, according to a national cultural development blueprint published on Wednesday. China's cultural sector will gradually grow to become a pillar industry by 2015, Sun Zhijun, deputy chief of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at a news conference Wednesday on the release of the Outline of China's Cultural Reform and Development in the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011-15). [...] Zhu Zhixin, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, elaborated on the aims of the outline. "To encourage the development of the cultural industry is essential to restructuring and stimulating economic growth," he said. [...] "With the current growth of China's cultural industry, it is totally possible that we will see it grow to be a pillar industry by 2015." [...] Other goals include ensuring 99 percent of rural population has access to television and radio programs, and opening all libraries and museums to the public for free. While continuing to support traditional sectors such as film and publishing, the government will also promote up-and-coming ones, such as animation, digital publishing and mobile multimedia. The five-year development plan is further aimed at promoting good values among Chinese citizens. "We will positively explore effective methods to guide public opinion, pursue justice and denounce evil... strengthening ethics for society, professionals, families and individuals," stated the cultural reform and development program, urging a "sense of self-respect and credibility among citizens as well as a positive and rational way of thinking and doing things". According to the outline, "the cultural environment should be cleansed so as to ensure the healthy growth of young people." [...]. ^ top ^

Gov't makes move to defuse labor disputes (Xinhua)
2012-02-16
Chinese authorities announced Wednesday that the country will create improved channels over the next few years to handle increasing labor disputes. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Wednesday that China will set up institutionalized arbitration offices for handling labor disputes and make them generally available in county-level regions by 2015. A document posted on the ministry's website said social disputes have emerged as a particularly acute problem in China, as clashes are occurring more frequently and flaws exist in the country's social management. The task of addressing labor disputes has become increasingly demanding because of these problems, the document said. Chinese authorities attach great importance to building harmonious relationships between workers and employers and have called for greater efforts to reduce conflicts in the labor sector, the document said. Disputes arising from wage delays are still a problem, especially for migrant workers from rural areas, where some companies fail to sign formal labor contracts with workers. According to preliminary figures from the ministry, at least 14,000 companies had delayed salary payments to migrant workers as of Jan. 13, 2012. [...]. ^ top ^

Authorities to crack down on water pollution (Global Times)
2012-02-17
Nearly 40 percent of river water in China failed to reach water quality standards last year, said State authorities Thursday, as they vowed to take the strictest possible measures to tackle the severe situation facing China's water resources. A total of 75 billion tons of waste water were poured into China's rivers last year. About 20 percent of the sub-standard water was so polluted that it could not even be used for industrial or agricultural purposes, Hu Siyi, the vice minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, said at a press conference Thursday. If weak water resources management policies continued to exist, the demands of human health and economic development will not be met, Hu said. By the year 2030, the quantity of water exploited must be less than 700 billion cubic meters, and the efficiency of water exploitation must meet international levels. Industrial waste poured into rivers must also be controlled according to the accumulated capacities of rivers, making sure 95 percent of water meets standard quality, according to guidelines on water resources released by the State Council Thursday. According to Hu, as China's heavy chemical industry develops rapidly, severe pollution disasters are likely to occur due to lack of supervision, especially along river areas where heavy chemical plants are located. [...]

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times that standards on water resources management are stricter than before, but the key to ensuring water quality and appropriate water resources exploitation lay in the effective implementation of policies. "Some local governments make economic benefits the top priority and disregard the protection of the environment," said Ma. ^ top ^

Panhe land protests halted after villagers detained by security forces (Global Times)
2012-02-17
The protests over a land dispute in Panhe village, Zhejiang Province, have come to a halt after several more people were detained by security forces, local villagers told the Global Times yesterday. [...] Three protests over land disputes were staged on February 1, 3 and 5. Several dozens of people who took part were detained on Tuesday, local villagers told the Global Times. According to a notice issued by the a local official news website, the local authorities have paid close attention to the land dispute since the first protest. A team was soon established by the county government to investigate. The team met with village representatives to address any reasonable demands made, the notice said. But a few villagers incited others to destroy public property and establish roadblocks, which seriously disrupted social order. Three suspects had been arrested in connection with these events Wednesday, according to the notice. The issue in Panhe dates back several years, when village authorities gradually took villagers' land and sold it to 12 companies. Since last July, the villagers have elected over 20 representatives, who proposed several solutions to the local government and demanded compensation, to no avail. A lead official of the work team, surnamed Huang, told the Global Times Wednesday that the local government offered a settlement of 16,000 yuan ($2,540) per mu (0.067 hectare) and the money was to be paid into the village's account yesterday. But local villager said yesterday they did not receive any money and nobody has ever informed them of the compensation process. Remko Tanis, a Dutch freelance journalist in China, told the Global Times that he was beaten and expelled Wednesday by a crowd of men. "I tried to talk to them and find out who they were, but any questions only resulted in further beatings or threats," he said. ^ top ^

Soccer referees going to prison for game-fixing (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-17
Soccer players and commentators were saying the jail sentences four match-fixing referees received on Thursday were not enough to clean up Chinese soccer. "Golden Whistle" Lu Jun, once regarded as the nation's top referee for being the only one in China to referee in the World Cup, was sentenced to five years and six months for accepting 810,000 yuan ($129,000) in bribes from 1999 to 2003. Other bribe-taking referees got jail sentences from three and half to seven years in courts of Northeast China's border city, Dandong. Hao Haidong, a well-known soccer player, said on Thursday that sooner or later, corruption anywhere will be found out and punished. "But one or two sweeps for fraud (in Chinese soccer circles) won't solve the problem. Only prolonged, regular attention and restructuring will do," he told China Daily, adding, "Chinese soccer is a microcosm of Chinese society." [...] Opinion on the verdicts was mixed among netizens, many saying the sentences will set off alarms and breathe new life into the game in China. Three other referees found guilty of taking bribes were sentenced to prison and had their assets confiscated on Thursday. [...] The sentencing is part of a crackdown on soccer gambling and game-fixing that began in 2009, when Nan Yong, former Chinese Soccer Association vice-president, and his predecessor Xie Yalong were arrested on bribery charges. [...]. ^ top ^

Supreme Court to cautiously review death penalty of female billionaire (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-17
Sun Jungong, spokesman of the Supreme People's Court of China, said that the Court will deal with a financial fraud case of Wu Ying, an ex-billionaire by law and with caution. Sun said that the case had attracted widespread attention during the first and second trial that sparked outcry. A few days ago, the Supreme People's Court received the death sentence checking and approval application from Zhejiang Higher People's Court. He said the fraud case, involving a huge amount of money, was quite complicated. The Court will stick to the legal procedures and deal with the case by law and with caution. ^ top ^

Millions on the railways (Global Times)
2012-02-17
The Ministry of Railways said yesterday that an estimated 220 million passengers used the country's railways during this year's 40-day Spring Festival travel rush. Railways transported 216 million passengers during the first 39 days of the travel rush, which lasted from January 8 to February 16, the ministry said in a statement on its website. Passengers were able to purchase train tickets online or via telephone for the first time this year, allowing them to avoid long lines and ticket scalpers. ^ top ^

2.85 bln road journeys over festival period (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) said Thursday that about 2.85 billion passenger-trips by roads were made during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush this year, up 9.6 percent from the corresponding period last year. A total of 42.45 million journeys were made by water during period from Jan. 8 to Feb. 16, up 1 percent year-on-year, said MOT Spokesman He Jianzhong. [...] To meet the rising demand, the country put into operation 850,000 units of vehicles, which made a daily average of 2.65 million trips during the festival travel period, according to He. [...] Hundreds of millions of Chinese, mainly migrant workers and college students, travel home during the holiday every year to reunite with their families. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Wukan village voters elect representatives (China Daily)
2012-02-13
More than 6,000 villagers of Wukan in South China's Guangdong province, who made headlines with a protest over illegal land use and other issues, voted for deputies on Saturday in the second round of democratic elections for new leadership. The voting, presided over by an 11-member election committee chosen on Feb 1, lasted from 9 am to 3 pm at a village school. Yang Semao, director of the election committee, said that 6,466 secret ballots were cast for group leaders and 6,475 were cast for villagers' representatives. The election was held to select a team of 107 village representatives and seven group leaders. The election results were announced late on Saturday. [...] Yang said turnout exceeded 80 percent of the 7,923 villagers who registered to vote and the election results are therefore valid. However, Saturday's voting failed to elect seven group leaders, as all the candidates got less than 50 percent of each group's votes. Another election will be held to fill the seats of group leaders. [...] Those who applied for group leader candidacy were required to get supporting signatures from at least 100 voters, while village representative candidates were required to get at least 50, according to local election procedures. [...] Volunteers also stood by to help other illiterate villagers fill out ballots. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Premier Wen meets 11th Panchen Lama (China Daily)
2012-02-11
Premier Wen Jiabao met on Friday with the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, in Beijing in Zhongnanhai, the compound containing the offices of both the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. During the meeting, Wen, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, offered his well-wishes to the Panchen Lama and all Tibetan compatriots in advance of Tibetan New Year, which will fall on Feb 22. [...] Last year was the 60th anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, and over the past six decades, Tibet has undergone enormous changes as a result of leadership by the Party and the government, assistance from peoples of all nationalities and the hard work and continuous efforts made by the different ethnic groups within Tibet, Wen said. Talking to the Panchen Lama, the premier pledged that ethnic autonomy will continue in the region and that greater efforts will be made to improve the lives of Tibetan compatriots, as well as protect the environment, the region's cultural traditions and the religious freedom of the Tibetan people. Wen asked the Panchen Lama to deepen his research on academic works on Buddhist doctrines in an effort to ascertain positive thoughts from Tibetan Buddhist doctrines. He also asked the Panchen Lama to lead Buddhist lamas and followers in loving the country, abiding by laws and abiding by Buddhist commandments. He also called on the Panchen Lama to play an even greater role in safeguarding national unification and the unity of all ethnic groups. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibet received 8.7 mln tourists last year (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-14
Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region received 8.7 million tourists in 2011, up 26.9 percent year-on-year, local authorities said Monday. The number of domestic travelers the region received surged 27.2 percent year-on-year to 8.42 million, and the amount of international tourists increased 18.6 percent to 270,000, according to a press release issued by the regional statistics bureau. The region's tourism revenue last year totaled 9.7 billion yuan (1.54 billion U.S. dollars), up 35.8 percent year-on-year, it said. [...] Tourism is an important industry for the resort-rich region. [...]. ^ top ^

Officials deny self-immolation reports (Global Times)
2012-02-15
Local officials Tuesday denied the latest report of a Tibetan monk's self-immolation in Sichuan Province, while Premier Wen Jiabao condemned those who instigated previous similar incidents. [...] Wang Zhongchen, the press officer of the Sichuan provincial Party Committee, told the Global Times Tuesday that the latest self-immolation incident to have occurred in Sichuan Province was reported last year. Xiong Kunxin, an ethnicities expert at the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times that self-immolation directly violated the Buddhist commandment prohibiting killing. "The purpose of those who conspire to self-immolate might be attracting attention globally with such sensational actions, which has pleased the Dalai Lama clique," Xiong said. [...] In response to foreign reporters' questions after the China-EU summit Tuesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said China has been making efforts to protect the environment and culture of Tibet and respects the religious freedom of Tibetan people. Anyone who attempts to instigate extreme acts among some monks intends to sabotage the stability of Tibet, and these acts are against the will of Tibetan people, he said. ^ top ^

Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in SW China (China Daily)
2012-02-15
A Tibetan monk set himself on fire Monday afternoon on a street in the county seat of Aba in Southwest China's Sichuan province, local authorities confirmed Tuesday. Police rushed to put out the fire and sent him to a local hospital, said a spokesman for the county's government. The 18-year-old monk Losang Gyatso from the Kirti Monastery in the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture set himself ablaze at Qiatang West Street in the county. A Tibetan nun died from self-immolation in the same prefecture on Saturday evening. The 19-year-old nun has been identified as Tenzin Choedron at Siwa Nunnery. She died on the way to hospital. Investigations into these cases are under way. ^ top ^

Committees to ensure stability in Tibet's monasteries (Global Times)
2012-02-16
A management committee has been established in every monastery in the Tibet Autonomous Region to oversee general monastery affairs, an official in charge of local religious affairs said. Headed by government workers, the so-called Monastery Management Committee also consists of monks and nuns who carry out duties including tourist reception, cultural relic protection and assisting locals with religious affairs, Luobu Dunzhu, a director with the office of religious affairs under the Tibetan United Front Work Department, said to the Global Times. "It is under the mission of establishing harmonious monasteries that we are stepping up these committees," Luobu said. [...] During an inspection tour Tuesday to monasteries, Lhasa's Party chief Qi Zhala urged monastery committee workers to raise vigilance and create a "harmonious and stable" social environment for the 18th National Congress of the CPC to be open in a few months, the Tibet Daily reported. [...] Tibet began establishing monastery committees in November last year and managed to expand them to the regions' 1,787 monasteries early this year, according to Luobo, who said that the number of staff members at the committees could reach as many as 30 for some big monasteries and only a few for smaller ones. [...] In response to concerns that monastery committees might disturb religious practices, Luobu said that "monks and nuns have the freedom to perform their religious rituals and the establishment of such committees is aimed at ensuring such practices.". ^ top ^

Aba Party chief reshuffle ‘routine' (Global Times)
2012-02-17
The change of Party chief in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province is just a routine job transfer, and foreign media have exaggerated the number of self-immolation cases among Tibetan monks, a spokesman with the Sichuan government said Thursday. "The transfer was not related to stability-maintaining activities, but was just an ordinary job adjustment," Cao Lei, a staff member with the publicity department of the Sichuan government, told the Global Times. Liu Zuoming, the new Party secretary of Aba, visited several local temples and sent his greetings to some poor monks on Tuesday with the Tibetan New Year approaching on Wednesday, said Cao. Liu has been in the judicial field for more than 20 years, serving as head of Sichuan's Department of Justice and director of the provincial stability-maintaining office, among others. He was deputy secretary-general of the Provincial CPC Committee of Sichuan before being assigned the job at Aba. Shi Jun, former Party secretary of Aba, has taken up his post as head of the Sichuan Provincial Public Security Department, the Aba Daily reported. There has been speculation that Liu's job transfer was related to stability-maintaining activities recently conducted in ethnic Tibetan regions after some 20 Tibetan monks set themselves on fire since last March, according to zaobao.com, the website of Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao. But Sichuan spokesman Cao dismissed the link as speculation, and also denied that there were some 20 monks who set themselves ablaze, saying the actual number was far less and there were no self-immolation cases this year. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China's largest inland port foreign trade up (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
China's largest inland port, the port of Alataw Pass in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, saw its foreign trade value reach 17.4 billion U.S. dollars last year, up by 46.5 percent from the previous year. Last year, China imported 18.62 million tonnes of goods through the port, with an import value of 14 billion U.S. dollars. Exports hit 1.72 million tonnes with a value of 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Customs of Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. Bordering Kazakhstan, the port of Alataw Pass has a combination of railway, highway and pipeline transports. Crude oil, petroleum products, electrolytic copper and cotton are the main imports through the port. ^ top ^

Xinjiang to send more pre-school bilingual teachers to countryside (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
Another batch of 5,257 bilingual pre-school teachers will be sent to the rural areas of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, predominantly inhabited by Uygurs, as the government pushes for greater cultural integration in the region. The teachers, after completing Mandarin-Uygur bilingual training, will be sent to a dozen prefectures in Xinjiang before Feb. 19 to teach in the bilingual rural kindergartens there, officials with regional education bureau said Tuesday. China has allocated 1.52 billion yuan (243 million U.S. dollars) to fund the development of about 1,016 bilingual kindergartens across Xinjiang to bolster the language ability, especially the national tongue Mandarin, of pre-schoolers in the ethnic region. [...] The government said in its push for bilingual literacy nearly 60 percent of the 290,000 pre-schoolers in Xinjiang presently received two-year bilingual education. ^ top ^

Xinjiang uses mass lectures to fight illegal religious activities (Xinhua)
2012-02-16
Authorities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Wednesday started to hold a series of public lectures to rally mass support for the government's religious policies and to discourage illegal religious activities. The lecture campaign will be carried out throughout the year in every village and residential community in Xinjiang, a vast region featuring a large population of Uyghurs, or ethnic Chinese Muslims, officials said Wednesday. Lecture officials will elaborate on the government's religious policies and the danger of illegal religious activities, while lecturers from religious circles will advocate proper dress codes, patriotism and efforts to promote peace and discourage violence, local officials said said. While Uyghurs traditionally practice a moderate form of Islam, incidents of religious extremism have been on the rise, security experts said. Xokait Imin, a senior official from the Xinjiang regional government, said the latest campaign is aimed at promoting social harmony, patriotism and ethnic unity, as well as rallying unified support for developing the region.. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Chief executive election nomination opens in Hong Kong (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
The nomination for the candidates of the fourth term Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region election started Tuesday, and will end on Feb. 29. The candidate must be a Hong Kong permanent resident who is a Chinese citizen with no right of abode in any foreign country, and must be at least 40 years old and have resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years. An eligible candidate must be nominated by at least 150 Election Committee members. Each member can nominate one candidate only. The fourth term chief executive will be elected on March 25, and the result will be submitted to the Chinese central government for appointment.. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland to keep wider communication with Taiwan (China Daily)
2012-02-16
The Chinese mainland is ready to expand cooperation and set a stage for the ultimate solution in eliminating disputes between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, a senior official said in Beijing on Wednesday. Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a regular press conference that although shelving differences and seeking common ground have worked to a certain extent in dealing with political issues, political and military disputes are still hard to avoid and it will eventually have to be faced. When asked whether the Chinese mainland is willing to push for political dialogue with the island in the next four years, Fan said Beijing will keep deepening business cooperation while developing wider communications in other areas, such as culture and education. "We of course would like to place an eye on the future and create conditions for eliminating political and military disputes," Fan said. [...] She pointed out that the Chinese mainland believes that it is the common wish of people across the Straits to end the cross-Straits hostility and ink a peace deal, which will benefit the interests of people on both sides of the divide. ^ top ^

Beijing's mayor arrives in Taiwan (SCMP)
2012-02-17
Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong arrived in Taiwan yesterday for a six-day visit, becoming the first mainland local government leader to visit the island following its presidential election last month. Guo is the first Beijing mayor to visit the island's capital, Taipei, and his visit is being seen as highly significant given the political sensitivity of cross-strait relations. "This is my first trip to Taiwan, and I hope to experience and understand the economic development as well as the walks of life here," Guo said upon his arrival at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport. Some 80 protesters, including Tibetans and Falun Gong activists living in Taiwan, unfurled banners calling Guo a "political persecutor and human rights abuser". They scuffled with about 200 police who stopped them approaching Guo, who has been Communist Party boss in Tibet and Anhui. [...] Guo is leading a 500-strong delegation made up of more than 30 municipal-level government and party officials from Beijing as well as business leaders and celebrities. He has described his visit as a cultural trip, unlike the purchasing or business trips by other mainland officials, and Guo and his group are scheduled to attend Taipei's 2012 Beijing Cultural Week today. It features theatrical shows and exhibitions by top artists from Beijing. Guo will take part in a "cultural night" at Taipei Arena tomorrow and meet students from National Taiwan University. Although Guo's Taiwan itinerary does not include meetings with Taiwanese ministers or even lower-level officials, it has been described by pundits and the Taiwanese media as highly significant. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China to expand government procurement program (China Daily)
2012-02-11
China will try to expand the scope and scale of its government procurement program and continue to push for reforms in the area this year, China's Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Friday. While pledging to further improve laws and regulations concerning government procurement, China will respond actively to negotiations for entry to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), according to a MOF document that outlines the procurement work for 2012. [...] China entered its first offer to join the pact in 2007, but it was turned down as the offer did not include local governments' spending. Meanwhile, the document said the year's key procurement projects will include the nutrition improvement in rural areas and the purchase of school buses, which have triggered nationwide concerns. It also vowed to place an emphasis on emission reductions and environmental protection in the purchases. Regarding the purchase process, the ministry said it will strengthen management by strictly laying out the budget and stipulating the standards. ^ top ^

SWISS launches Beijing-Zurich flight (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-13
Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) on Sunday launched a direct flight route between Beijing and Zurich, which is expected to further promote business and travel ties between China and Switzerland. It was the company's third non-stop flight route with China after Hong Kong-Zurich and Shanghai-Zurich routes. "The route marks a new milestone in the development of our company and our network," said Harry Hohmeister, chief executive of SWISS. The route's first flight, operated with the Airbus A340-300 aircraft, departed from the Beijing Capital International Airport at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday. The flight between the two countries takes around 10 hours, and will be available daily starting May 31. "These non-stop services should be attractive to both business and leisure travelers from the two countries," Hohmeister said. Switzerland has become a popular destination among Chinese travelers. China has replaced Japan as Switzerland's largest tourist market in Asia, with 680,000 tourist overnight stays in 2011. Urs Eberhard, executive vice president of Markets & Meetings at Switzerland Tourism, said the route will help increase overnight stays of Chinese tourists by 7 percent to 10 percent. ^ top ^

China's forex transaction volume surges (Xinhua)
2012-02-14
China's foreign exchange market saw its transaction volume hit 14.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2011, up four times from 2006, the country's forex regulator said Monday. From 2007 to 2011, forex transaction volumes soared by an annual average of 40.3 percent, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement. [...] The SAFE has diversified forex trade and increased the number of forex dealers to improve the market's ability to allocate financial resources, according to the statement. [...] A total of nine foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, HK dollar, Japanese yen, euro and British pound, can be traded on China's interbank foreign exchange market. The SAFE said it will continue to facilitate the development of the forex market to support China's economic growth. ^ top ^

More Party organizations set up in non-public companies (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
More than 120,000 Party organizations were set up in non-public enterprises from May 2010 to the end of 2011, as the country's private companies sought to boost innovation and morale with the force of Communist Party of China members. As of the end of 2011, various Party departments had selected more than 394,000 Party officials as instructors in non-public companies, according to Quan Zhezhu, a senior official with the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce. At a meeting on Tuesday, Quan said that these Party organizations have been playing a key role in "uniting company leaders and employees in boosting the development of businesses." According to Quan, these Party organizations have collected more than 2 million suggestions for these non-public companies and helped achieve hundreds of thousands of innovations in the field of technology. [...]. ^ top ^

China's tax revenues rise 22.6 pct in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
China's tax revenues surged 22.6 percent year-on-year to 8.97 trillion yuan (1.42 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2011, the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday. The growth rate stayed flat with that of last year, the ministry said in a statement on its website. The steady growth was a synthesized reflection of the country's relatively fast economic growth, high consumer prices, and good corporate performances over the past year, the ministry said. Production-related taxes rose the most last year. Receipts from value-added tax and turnover tax grew 15 percent to 2.43 trillion yuan and 22.6 percent to 1.37 trillion yuan, respectively, in 2011, remaining unchanged from one year earlier. Meanwhile, revenues from corporate income tax surged 30.5 percent year-on-year to 1.68 trillion yuan, up from 11.3 percent last year, accounting for 18.7 percent of the country's total tax revenues. The resource tax made a noticeable 43.4-percent rise to hit 59.89 billion yuan last year, up 19.9 percentage points from one year earlier, as the country mulls tax reforms to boost the sector's sustainable development. [...]. ^ top ^

Enterprises asked to report statistics independently (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
China's statistical authority said Tuesday that institutions and individuals should not hinder enterprises from reporting statistics independently. It is the right and obligation of businesses to submit true and accurate information to the country's statistical authorities, Ma Jiantang, chief of the National Bureau of Statistics, said in a written statement on the agency's website. No institutions or individuals are allowed to ask businesses to provide fraudulent information or manipulate data, according to the statement. Ma warned that institutions or individuals involved in the falsification of data will be dealt with severely. The statement comes after the country decided to use a unified system to collect industrial, retail sales and investment data from Feb. 18 in order to improve the accuracy of key economic indicators. A total of 700,000 industrial, service and real estate companies, which contribute to about 80 percent of the country's gross domestic product, will submit statistical sheets, which include production, income and spending statements, straight to the National Data Center or approved provincial data centers via the Internet. They will bypass reporting to local governments. The new data collection system will lighten the burden on companies, ensure that the bureau obtains original, true and complete data in a timely manner, and provide a scientific basis for the country's macro control and economic management, the statement said. [...]. ^ top ^

Cabinet vows to bolster development via reforms (Global Times)
2012-02-16
China's State Council, or the Cabinet, Wednesday pledged to push for deeper reforms to address the country's economic problems. The government will use reforms to solve deeply rooted structural problems that are hampering the country's development, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. The government promised policy improvements in the non-public sector to encourage private capital to enter fields that were previously monopolized by the State, including railways, municipal administration, finance, energy, telecommunications, education and healthcare, according to the statement. China will expand a pilot program for value-added tax adjustments and advance resource tax reforms. To make financial services more accessible, the statement said China will actively cultivate small-scale financial institutions to target small- and micro-sized businesses, adding that the government will work to properly guide private financing. Electricity, refined oil and water pricing mechanisms will also be reformed. Reforms in rural areas will include regulations on the expropriation of collectively owned land. ^ top ^

BP gets OK for deepwater gas exploration (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-16
BP PLC has obtained approval from the Ministry of Commerce to explore in the South China Sea in what will be the company's second deepwater project in China. BP last week received a green light to have a presence in a gas field known as block 43/11, Chen Liming, president of BP China, said on Tuesday. The China National Offshore Oil Corp operates the field. Chen said BP will have a roughly 40 percent stake in the block during the exploration period and a 20 percent share when the project has moved into production. [...] BP and CNOOC signed a cooperation agreement for the project during Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to London in January. BP's participation in block 43/11 will diminish the size of a share held in the project by Anadarko Petroleum Corp, a US energy company, which previously had a 50 percent stake in the block under a contract with CNOOC. The planned exploration will mark BP's second deepwater project in China. [...] With CNOOC, China has shown its ambition to tap into deepwater resources. The country plans to use its first semi-submarine drilling rig, Hai Yang Shi You 981, for deepwater exploration in the South China Sea as early as the first half of this year. The rig is capable of working at depths of 3,000 meters and extracting oil from sources that are as deep as 12,000 meters. Chen at BP said such deepwater work is among the four areas of opportunity the company wants to exploit in conjunction with its Chinese counterparts in China and overseas markets. [...] From its entrance into China in the late 1970s to the end of 2010, the oil company has invested about $5 billion into the country. ^ top ^

China's overseas investment surges in January (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
China's overseas direct investment (ODI) in non-financial sectors reached 4.4 billion U.S. dollars in January, up 59.9 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced Thursday. The amount of investment calculated involved 355 overseas companies based in 87 countries and regions, said MOC spokesman Shen Danyang. Business volume in overseas-contracted projects in January hit 5.87 billion U.S. dollars, up 38.4 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the value of new contracts signed fell 10.2 percent to 9.33 billion U.S. dollars, Shen said at a press conference held in Beijing. As of the end of January, 811,000 Chinese were working in these investment projects abroad. The number was down 30,000 from the same period last year. ^ top ^

China's 2011 gold demand up 20 percent (Xinhua)
2012-02-17
The World Gold Council said Thursday China's gold demand last year reached 769.8 tonnes, representing a rise of 20 percent year-on-year. The leap was a result of increasing need for jewelry and investment in the world's second-largest economy, according to a report released by the council. In the investment sector, China's 2011 gold demand stood at 258.9 tonnes, worth 84.5 billion yuan (13.4 billion U.S. dollars), up 69 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the country's demand for jewelry grew in every quarter last year and became the largest single jewelry market worldwide for the second half of 2011, said the report. [...] There was also a surge in demand in Europe with the region posting its seventh consecutive annual gain to 374.8 tonnes. Germany and Switzerland were the main drivers of growth in the region as the eurozone remains in turmoil and the need for asset protection continues to be a priority. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK denounces S. Korean remarks on north-south dialogue (Xinhua)
2012-02-14
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday denounced recent comments by a South Korean official on north-south dialogue, the state news agency said. A commentary in the KCNA news agency referred to recent reports that South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik had said he expected north-south talks on the Korean Peninsula to resume in mid-April but there was currently "instability" due to the change in the DPRK leadership. The commentary denounced the remarks as "a blatant provocation," which was intended to hold the DPRK responsible for the frozen north-south relations. It has been reported that Seoul suggested resuming the north-south dialogue on Feb. 2 and mending ties from the outset of the new year, urging the DPRK to make contact with it. It was ridiculous for the south to talk about "resumption of dialogue," the commentary said. It also said the DPRK would make no contact with the Lee Myung-Bak government unless it answers a set of questions sent publicly by the DPRK on Feb. 2 about South Korea's fitness to be a dialogue partner. ^ top ^

DPRK blasts U.S.-Japan-S. Korea military alliance (Xinhua)
2012-02-15
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday denounced the U.S.-Japan-South Korea military alliance in a commentary issued by the official KCNA news agency. According to the commentary, the United States, Japan and South Korea recently called for the "maintenance of a close system for sharing information of the north." "Regular" talks are "part of the U.S. strategy toward Asia that envisages putting military pressure on the DPRK and containing powerful neighbors through the establishment of triangular military alliance," the commentary said, and "an expression of their stepped-up moves to form triangular alliance for aggression." "There is no doubt that its immediate target is the DPRK," it said. The United States seeks to ignite a war on the Korean Peninsula in a bid to realize its domination strategy toward Asia and Korea, the article added. The commentary also urged the international community to "heighten vigilance against the aggression forces' desperate moves" in the Asia-Pacific region. ^ top ^

DPRK holds national meeting to commemorate birth anniversary of late leader (Xinhua)
2012-02-16
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a national meeting here Wednesday to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary of late leader Kim Jong Il, the official news agency KCNA reported. According to the KCNA, Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the army and the state attended the meeting. Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, praised the feats of Kim Jong Il in a report. "Kim Jong Il's nearly 70-year-long revolutionary life was the most brilliant life of the peerlessly great man who adorned the protracted course of the Juche revolution, the Songun (military first) revolution with shining victory and glory, with boundless loyalty to the idea and cause of President Kim Il Sung," he said. [...] "All the party members, servicepersons and people should protect Kim Jong Un politically and ideologically with their lives and get united around him, cherishing the spirit of single-minded unity to invariably defend the center of the unity and the center of the leadership," the statement said. The DPRK would stick to the idea of independence, friendship and peace, and boost the friendship with all the countries that respect its sovereignty in the future, he said. Choe Yong Rim, premier of the Cabinet, and Ri Yong Ho, chief of the KPA General Staff, also attended the ceremony. They are also members of Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee. [...]. ^ top ^

FM denies $3 billion NK investment deal (Global Times)
2012-02-17
The foreign ministry Thursday denied a South Korean report that Beijing had agreed to invest $3 billion in North Korea's northeastern Rason special economic zone (SEZ) in exchange for leasing three piers for 50 years. "The report was not true," the ministry said in a fax to the Global Times, but added that the two countries had agreed on how to co-develop the SEZ, without elaborating. Citing unnamed sources in Seoul and Beijing, the Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday that China and North Korea reached the $3 billion investment deal late last year. [...] The two sides broke ground for a joint economic zone in June on North Korea's west coast, on an island in the estuary of the Yalu River. Also on Wednesday, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported that in January, the North Korean government sent a 1,000-strong delegation of trade officials and technicians to China, but did not explain the purpose of the visit. Choi Choon-heum, with the Korea Institute for National Unification, told the Global Times that these are signs that North Korea is continuing its economic opening-up. [...] The Dong-a Ilbo reported Thursday that Pyongyang will allow companies operating in the Kaesong industrial complex bordering South Korea to set up new facilities or build plants there, lifting a ban set on May 24 last year. [...] Also Thursday, a huge military parade was held in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of late leader Kim Jong-il. Battles can break out without warning, military chief Ri Yong-ho told the televised ceremony, vowing to "wipe out US imperialists and South Korean puppet traitors" and reunify the Peninsula in case of war, AFP reported. "Kim Jong-un! Protect him with all our might!" roared thousands of troops from the army, navy and air force, state television showed. Shortly before this, hundreds of top military and civilian officials paid tribute to Kim Jong-Il inside the main marble-pillared palace. [...] Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, led the commemoration inside Kumsusan, where his father's embalmed body will lie in state. Kim Il-sung's body is already on display there. [...] Also Thursday, Yonhap reported that South Korea and the US plan to stage joint anti-submarine drills next week off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. The five-day drills to be held off the port city of Gunsan are aimed at enhancing the allies' defense readiness and deterring potential attacks by the North, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Parliament discusses elections, Tavantolgoi shares (News.mn)
2012-02-14
Parliament on Tuesday discussed two competing draft laws on local elections, one that would have local elections held the same day as the parliamentary election, and one that would have local and parliamentary elections held separately. MPs decided to submit the drafts to the Standing Committee on State Structure for revisions. MPs then discussed proposed amendments to Parliament's 39th protocol, which deals with the Tavantolgoi mining project. The amendments would have most citizens receiving MNT 1 million in Tavantolgoi shares each, with the money to come out of the Human Development Fund. But students, elderly people, and disabled people who receive stipends of MNT 1 million each would not be eligible to receive the shares. The amendments would also allow citizens to sell their shares back to the Government before the shares are sold on international markets, and domestic organizations could buy shares at a set price. Parliament approved sending the proposed amendments to the Standing Committee on Economics for a final discussion. ^ top ^

New ambassadors approved by standing committee (News.mn)
2012-02-14
The Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy discussed the appointment and resignation of ambassadors on Monday. After a meeting between the Government and President Ts.Elbegdorj on Monday, Chief of the President's Office D.Battulga announced the new ambassador candidates: R.Bold has been nominated to serve as the next ambassador from Mongolia to Australia; D.Enkhbat to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; B.Odonjil to the Arab Republic of Egypt; Sh.Odonbaatar to the Republic of Italy; A.Ganbaatar to the Republic of Poland; M.Ganbold to the Democratic People"s Republic of Korea; Ch.Battomor to the Kingdom of Thailand; and T.Gandi to the Republic of Hungary. The standing committee approved the appointment of Ch.Battomor to the Kingdom of Thailand; T.Gandi to the Republic of Hungary; Sh.Odonbaatar to the Republic of Italy; B.Odonjil to the Arab Republic of Egypt; and D.Enkhbat to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The standing committee also accepted resignations from the following ambassadors: Ts.Jambaldorj (Austria), L.Dashpurev (Thailand), O.Dambiinyam (Poland), O.Erdenechimeg (Hungary), D.Bayarkhuu (Egypt), P.Sundev (Vietnam), and B.Khurelbaatar (North Korea). The appointment of the new ambassadors is to be discussed by Parliament on Tuesday. ^ top ^

Standing committees approve USD 15 million loan to fight pollution (News.mn)
2012-02-14
The Standing Committees on Budget and on Economics held a joint meeting on Monday to discuss a proposed agreement between the Government of Mongolia and the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) to reduce air pollution in Ulaanbaatar. The committees approved the agreement, under which the government will borrow USD 15 million from the IDA to implement anti-pollution programs. The terms of the loan are 1.25 percent interest over 25 years. The money will be used in part to pay for energy-efficient stoves in ger district households and to connect ger districts to a central-heating system. Some MPs questioned the need for the loan, since the Millennium Challenge Fund (MCF) is already implementing an energy-efficient stove project. Deputy Mayor D.Ganbold explained that the MCF will only implement the project for the next two or three years, and their stoves can only heat an area of 30 to 35 square meters. The IDA project will supply larger stoves, and could ultimately reduce air pollution by 80 to 90 percent, according to some estimates. D.Zagdjav said developing the ger districts would be a better way to reduce air pollution than simply supplying energy-efficient stoves. D.Ganbold noted that the “New Creation” plan passed by Parliament calls for the construction of 100,000 apartments by 2016. Altogether, there were 180,000 households in ger districts in 2011, and that number is expected to reach 200,000 this year. He said that, if migration from the countryside to Ulaanbaatar continues to increase, even more apartments will need to be built. ^ top ^

Mongolia wants to register its mountain in cultural heritage list (Montsame)
2012-02-15
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has decided to register Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and the reserved area of Daguur in the list of the UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage. In 1992, Burkhan Khaldun Mountain was taken in special protection of the state, so the Ministry intends to register the Mountain in the list as the world's very first worshipped mountain where Chingis Khaan was born. The Ministry's experts have drawn up related materials and have conveyed them to the State Head's assistant. The reserved area of Daguur locates across territories of Mongolian Dornod aimag and Russia's Chita Oblast and it was taken in a special protection by a trilateral agreement of Mongolia, Russia and China in 1994. Officials of a commission set up by the #230 order of the State Head have left for Russia to introduce the documents to the UNESCO meeting which has kicked off in Chita city. The Ministry plans to send the materials to the UNESCO Committee on natural and cultural heritage in September 30 of this year. It is expected a final decision on registration of the reserved lands will be made in 2014 in accordance with the rule. ^ top ^

External trade turnover reaches USD 735.2 million (Montsame)
2012-02-15
In January 2012, Mongolia's total external trade turnover reached USD 735.2 million by making trade with 94 countries from all over the world. Exports have made up USD 240.3 million, imports--USD 494.9 million. External trade balance showed a deficit of USD 254.6 million in January 2012, while it was in deficit of USD 139.6 million in January 2011. The deficit increased by USD 115.0 million or 82.4 per cent against the previous year. Total external trade turnover increased USD 178.4 million or 32.0 per cent, of which imports up by USD 146.7 million or 42.1 per cent, and exports up by USD 31.7 million or 15.2 per cent respectively, against the previous year. Mineral products, natural or cultured stones, precious metal, jewelry, coins, raw & processed hides, skins, fur & articles, animal origin products, auto, air & water transport vehicles & their spare parts accounted for 97.1 percent of the total export value amount. ^ 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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